Sunday, June 30, 2013

Her(e) it is

Here it is.
The swing-footed pumpkin-faced fool of a mailman brought it
and laid it right in my dainty little hand.

Why, thank you, sir.
Now, put it out;
a girl can't live in a cloud of smoke,
and I never learned to choke gracefully.
Be a man,
throw yourself on it for me.
It's right there, under your nose where I slammed it
in one of my sudden fits of pique.
Bleed it to death.
Drown it.
Dress it red, and then, lured by my favorite color,
I might be tempted into having a look,
or even taking it in.

Why does everything I love, do this?
Tell me, mailman. 
Stop with the stamps and spit out some Golden Wisdom.
Look in your bag--
you may have been staggering all afternoon under the weight of something Important.
A lady doesn't like to be kept waiting.
Oh, leave it then, you ashy anthill. What good are you?
Never mind;
I'll handle this myself.

Oh look, someone sent my heart back to me,
postage due and damaged.
I have been feeling hollow, like a human celery stick sat up and rotting 
in a wrought iron chair
with a fork in its forehead,
nattering on about bullshit with the girls at the salon.

Now, I can do what I want.
I can run the place and scribble poems out of my skin with a jacknife,
the very epitome and pinnacle of suburban womanhood.
My heart restored, 
I can beat myself from within, minute by minute,
a clock-girl swaying with the systolic and diastolic of my pretty balancing act.

I would thank that mailman, but I can't wake him up,
and anyway, now the crows have been at him
and he can't see my Evolvedness or my perfect tits, so what good is he?
Besides, at this point in my life,
I only want women.
Now, I am the one billowing thick dark plumes,
going up from inside my own skin,
singing gorgeously, like Tarja Turunen or an emergency alarm.

I want what I have always wanted--
to please some Dark Queen with the poems from my tongue,
and then to crawl inside her and hum,
rocking, a second soul,
her name and my name twined like a caduceus,
and finally to be cured into the bend of her arms,
favored and desired,
not Venus On The Trash Can
ranting and waiting for delivery into something better than the mail.
_________

picture: Johanna Herrstedt

for Real Toads mini-challenge


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caroline

Caroline's feet are black on the bottom from going barefoot.
She doesn't attend teas.
Her old handbags moulder on a shelf in the closet,
pretty and delicate and all in a row as if they were empty birds.

Caroline loves cheetahs,
and watches every nature show that she can find.
Once, she painted their characteristic black tear tracks across her face,
and was pleased how they looked with her spiky yellow-orange hair.

Caroline's married love calls,
and with every word she hears, it is like flying
loose-backed and sweet-quick across the savannah.
She pours out her heart as if a dry season were coming
and she might not get another chance.

Later, after sunset,
blue and sinking,
she goes out walking with no shoes
across the tall wild grass behind her little one bedroom house.

Caroline thinks of the cheetahs all evening
as she writes her poems by silence and lamplight.
They are so gorgeously gifted--
she envies them so much it becomes an ache,
and she wonders how they know not to spend themselves
on hoof or heartbeat
they can never catch.

By midnight,
she feels stupidly human and separate from her beloved cats
as she lies on her back near the tiny window fan,
overheated,
hungry,
and as still as a stone.
_________

for Fireblossom Friday: "Loss"
  


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sleep Walk

one day, he'll be shot through with cancer,
empty as an old oxygen tank.
she'll forget him before the year is out,
and marry somebody else;
when she's three months along with a baby conceived from make-up sex,
she'll take thalidomide to help her sleep.

bill and larry have dates,
but would really rather be with each other.
larry will solve it with a noose;
bill will become a cop and bust fags with a baton.
ellen is already bipolar, but doesn't realize it yet.
millie will marry a dentist who will beat her brains in,
then he'll sit in front of that same fireplace sucking gas from the clinic.

tonight it's still early, and they're waiting for larry's cool aunt
who will tell their fortunes from the tarot.
on his deathbed, cancer boy will remember how his date's boobs felt in his hands,
but he'll have forgotten his own sons' names--
the ones whose hair will be longer than hers is now.
_______

for magpie 174

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

in the time of the eclipse

in the time of the eclipse,
when you wore skin made from shadows,
i wrote down your every breath
and saved them on the sanctuary of my tongue.

i spoke you to the morning glory blooms
so that your sadness would be beautiful, and temporary.
i spoke you into willow bark
and kept my fever in another language, privately.

in the time of my wicker bones,
in that year when i broke and burned,
dispersing myself and then coming home
to my new name,

i was sure of your constancy.
i need more eyes, so i can see the reason why you weren't.
a gift of pain makes it easy to find my heart--
it is that badly balanced wing, in the center of me, spread in foolish display.

in the time of the eclipse,
i saw a double shadow that i imagined might be us.
now, you are more beautiful than ever,
but not mine, and lost to the language of those darker days. 
 

 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

American birds

shake loose your hair.
run your fingers through mine,
like spirits dancing in fire.

lean over me.
take your time, as the hawk does,
or the gentle mourning dove.

do anything you like with me.
i will stay with you,
just as the native grass leans with the wind,

unable to help itself
and not meant to.
_______

for Susie's mini-challenge at Real Toads: the poetry of Jim Morrison



Friday, June 21, 2013

Comanche Lily


Where you've touched her,
she has left herself--
stepped outside herself--
double-deviled, smoke-boned,
back for more.

She kisses you,
but watches from some broody shadow--
she is the dark leaf beneath the bright bloom--
poppy-strong, moon-hearted,
and all yours.

(isn't she?)
________
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beautiful Indigo

Summer is the stack of dishes the busboy drops--
too bright, too loud, too public;
A harsh-edged sun carves me from my nested silence,
dries me and stitches my mouth shut--
I choke on the songs I would have sung, come fall.

If I could kiss ice, I would.
If I could teach the clouds a good strong gray, I would.
If I could split November into wings, and fold them,
I would send myself into a steep dive
and kill summer with a single sudden strike.

All of this is because I miss your voice.
All of this is because you are too far to touch,
and too taken to ever be mine.
All of this is because of the skew of the stars,
and the curse of longing that has snaked between my ribs,
forming a second heart, jammed with poems,
a jar for beautiful indigo.

Summer spares me one gift, though she knows how I resent her--
She finds me on the floor, beating my brains with my fist
for the poems that refuse to come.
She gives me something--
not the thing I need, but still something--
light through blue lace,
making delicate, shifting patterns
on my untouched skin.
_________



Sunday, June 16, 2013

turn and burn

I dreamed of you last night.
It was an outdoor summer party,
with lanterns, and I was walking barefoot across the lawn, 
carrying my shoes and the same old broken heart.

In the far part of the yard, where the wax myrtles grew,
I found a path and walked down it,
wearing my light gray and white dress
as if it were undecided clouds over moonlight.

I have dreamed of you before, with my eyes wide open.
I have watched you choose tomatoes,
or swing into your Cherokee,
like clear water that calls you with its movement,
knowing it will never stay.

Finally, I came to a barn, its doors and loft open to the night.
The light was yellow on the hay, and as I walked in,
I caught the strong scent of horses and saddle oil.
There you were, with your back to me,
wearing Wranglers and a blue and white snap button western shirt.
Your hair was tied back loosely, 
like you'd done it in a hurry,
and you had roping gloves tucked into your belt.

In my dream, you turned,
and I knew what your wandering strays must feel like when you find them.
You dipped your head and then looked back up at me;
I recognized your old shyness, the sweetness that you hide.
Kissing you is all there is, really.
Being touched by you is all I care about.
Don't you know you are water to the willow,
and the whole reason I came here?

I said these things out loud, in my dream of you,
and maybe out loud as I slept, who knows?
Later, it rained, and I went into town wearing my brown cowgirl hat,
the one you gave me,
the one people always notice up here in Michigan.
"I like your hat," they say,
and I tell them, "Thanks. So do I."
Sometimes my voice catches when I do, in spite of myself,
and I quicken my stride,
though I'm not on my way any place, even though I'm in motion.
_______

for Artistic Interpretations With Margaret at Real Toads.

Image by Merri Melde, used with permission.

for you city slickers, "turn and burn" is a barrel racing thing. I love barrel racers.

I really do have a brown cowgirl hat that I wear whenever it rains.

 


Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: "The Myth of You & Me"

The Myth of You and MeThe Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book is magnificent. That's the word for it. Every now and then, I read a novel that changes the way I think about the world, and about myself. Every now and then, a book wraps itself around my heart and stays there forever, becoming a permanent part of me. This is one of those books.

The story is told by Cameron, a young woman just shy of thirty, who has drifted into a job as personal companion to famous 92 year old Pulitzer-winning historian Oliver Doucet. One day an envelope arrives, in Cameron's own handwriting. If that isn't odd enough, the letter turns out to be from Sonia Gray, Cameron's closest friend when the two were teenagers and young women. Though they've been estranged for eight years, now Sonia is writing, because she had a dream about Cameron, and because she is getting married, and feels lost that Cameron won't be her maid of honor, as she had always assumed she would be.

Remember that friend who was so close to you, knew you so well, that it seemed impossible that the two of you would ever drift or break apart? The kind of friend who could finish your sentences, hold your secrets, copy your handwriting, and who knew you better than anyone else on earth? Cameron and Sonia were that kind of friends.

Cameron doesn't answer the letter, but Oliver's last wish is that she deliver a package from Oliver to Sonia. So, she sets off in search of her old friend, and what she recounts and what she comes to understand on that journey made this book unforgettable.

On a personal note, I really identified with Cameron. For one thing she is tall, six feet two, three inches taller them I am. Her bluff, military father gives her the rather mocking nickname "Camazon", but Sonia turns it into an endearment. What could have led Cameron to speed away from a Texas gas station, leaving Sonia alone in the middle of nowhere, and then not speak to her for eight years?

I don't want to give any of the story away, by saying more. I will just say that this is an absolutely absorbing read, graced with so many moments that ring so true and universal that any woman will instantly recognize them. I loved this book, fell in love with this book, and have put it on my "special" bookshelf with the ones that mean the most to me. If you've ever loved and lost a friend who was like your other half, then you must read "The Myth Of You & Me."



View all my reviews

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Nightfall In New Mexico

Do tall girls have the ear of God,
and if We do,
is it only because we are never inconspicuous,
and so always feel we will be caught out if we fail?
Are we closer to the Stars,
or just further from our own boot heels?
Could we leave if we wanted to,
whistling songs from the Mass as if we learned them from the radio?

I am a good Catholic girl, and I love God
in all Her beautiful glory--
but I like to place my faith closer at hand, too;
in you, so dark-eyed and so warm to me,
this hungering Soul.
Be the indigo Sky to my easy Earth--
I lay myself down for you like a warm road;
settle over me and mark me like a silver moon.

I want to run my hands up under your pretty, loose dress
as if they were the breeze and me the Believer--
cover me, like Nightfall in New Mexico,
speaking Spanish in my ear, or Redemption,
rewarding my faith and desire with my own whispered name.
_________

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

dead beauty

Professor Christophe Keskesay adored beauty,
sought it,
championed it,
would have liked to wade right into it, if he could.

"You little troll," said his wife.
She had once been a dancer, but was now a horror,
sucking on black cigarettes,
and as wrinkled around the lips and eyes
as if she had kept them open while kissing Decay on the mouth.

Professor Keskesay could have forgiven her churlish bad temper.
He could have forgiven her grasping, shallow nature;
but her ugliness pained him to his core.

It seemed to him that the beauties of an earlier era
possessed a rare charm that had been somehow lost over time.
How they shone!
How their sepia faces made his heart quicken
and his soul expand!
Why would they not speak to him?

Finally, he could stand it no longer.
Sharp at midnight, he went to the famous cemetery where the beautiful slept.
He passed the poets, disregarded the financiers,
and strode straight to the marker of Babette Jolie-Fille
the celebrated star of the silents.

He dug her up.
"Still enchanting! Still a goddess!" he exclaimed,
casting away his shovel in order to embrace her.
From then on, the joyous Professor Keskesay could be seen
tooling about town in his 1929 convertible,
with Babette leaning against him, her scarves flowing in the wind.

Shyly, blushing like a girl, he confessed to her
that she made him feel more alive than he had felt in years!
How his fine sensitivity had been wasted on his gruesome wife!
He thanked her with diamonds, stoles, and endless passionate desire!
Though she never spoke, he understood her perfectly.
She was the Queen of the Silent Screen,
and to speak would only ruin everything.
How wise she was, in addition to her matchless beauty!

The Professor presently divorced his hideous cow of a wife,
and married Babette, in a necessarily private ceremony.
So composed she always was,
knowing how just the right pose and poise
could bring the world to her doorstep--
a dazzled Mountain coming, hat in hand, to her,
the most voluptuous and female Mohammed ever to grace the garden
where Professor Keskesay liked most to place her chair.

Together, of an evening,
they would watch melting, disintegrating celluloid reels
of Babette in her heyday,
the Professor scarcely glancing at the screen, but rather,
gazing continuously at her, seeing only her fineness and her pulchritude.
After many years of this, the Professor died--
his love had built to such a pitch, that his heart simply burst,
and he keeled over at Babette's tiny feet.

The silent vixen was buried in the cemetery for the famous,
with Professor Keskesay beside her--
her second interment, his first.
Some said she was rotted away,
nothing but bones and gray tendons in a bejeweled gown;
but to the Professor, she was always the ideal of feminine perfection,
and because of this, as any woman who's been truly loved could tell you,
she really was,
and their souls still entwine
demurely out of the sight of unbelievers.
_________

for Izy's Out of Standard at Toads.


bird and bat

bird and bat both claimed the sky,
and each to that element kept--

except one by day and the other by night,
in nest or cave where they slept.

bird had no fur, and so, to keep warm,
began to sing and sings yet--

bat heard her song in his cellar of stone,
but bat couldn't sing, and so, wept.
_______

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Salome Explains

Don't be one of those men, darling.
Don't be one of those who thinks that a woman is just an equation
scribbled in chalk across a dusty blackboard.
Don't set yourself to turning your tongue into a key
that will unlock every feminine heart--
that is the stuff of teenage boys' daydreams.

No, rather,
come say goodbye to me.
Stop trying to stifle my nature.
You may have paved the lawn but I am unlikely
to lie down, acquiescent, to be buried like that.
Soon, my girlfriend will be here,
with that empty passenger seat
just begging for my happy behind.

It could never have worked, you and me,
because you are all head and no heart,
trying to talk intangibles into formulae.
Still, perhaps this is my fault,
my failure,
for having separated you from yourself somehow;
Leaning on the counter, near the beveled kitchen window,
I had time to learn where every edge was,
and its purpose.
See, I am pretty smart, after all.
What do you say to that?
________
 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Woman Seeks Vagina

Lambs, it's time for me to play Stage Mother. You won't mind if I have Bosco the super herding dog use his herding talents to shove guide you through the doors of the Ringwald Theater, will you? I'll tell you why.

Back in my open mic days, when I would trot my happy ass down to the late great Xhedo's, to inflict treat my fellow java junkies to some of my poetry read aloud, I made a young friend named Julia. This girl had style, and I liked her right away. 

Look, I don't often talk/post about my transness. To me, talking about my Previous Life is like talking about high school; I hated it, it's over, move on. All that to say...I don't often feel a connection with my fellow transpeople. I feel like I should, but I don't. Julia is different. She felt like family to me, right from the start; a soul sister, despite age difference, despite her being straight and me being lesbian, despite the details, baby. My lil sis, if she'll let me say it. I have always been really proud of her.

Unfortunately, I lost touch with her. Still, I have often wondered what happened to her. Well dayum! She's a star of the stage! Who knew?!

June 23rd, she will perform her own "Please Give Me Your Money So I Can Buy A Vagina" at the Ringwald! I will be there. Oh, and...I said "vagina" on my blog again. Can western culture survive it?

Please visit Julia at her blog, and tell her to "break a leg". I can't wait to see her show. Read more about Julia HERE.

Here's a little video gift for you, Julia, if you drop by:

  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Double

There are stupid women everywhere--
thick as pigeons on every sidewalk;
if you step on one she will try to lift her snapped neck
to kiss your boot heel and make it better.

I am not like them,
any more than a tigress is like a turnip.
I am nothing like those women laid out on the berber, weeping,
as if they were human carpet runners in the rental house of Love.

I have perfected the art of being solitary.
I cup my hands under the good sturdy faucet of just-enough.
You can lean on my doorbell all day, caress it like a clitoris, 
but I will stay in the far room, as bored as a blind Burmese.

Once, though,
in the months after Us,
when I spent my time plying puny needle and thread
building swaying rope bridges to find my way around the bomb-scatter of my heart,

I wept for you like a child.
I kept your last message on my machine until a power outage erased it.
I took myself for long walks and was jostled by strangers
who hurried through and past, like bad news from a Ouija.

Sometimes they looked like you,
and I would coo to them,
from my broken throat
like an imbecile.
_____________

for Karin's "entwin(n)ed" prompt.

 

Friday, June 7, 2013

mutation

I grew something for you,
even though I tried everything I could think of to kill it.

From the frictionless round of me,
came the product of your asphyxiating embrace.
Behold, serpent, your son
with the doublesharp smile.

Is your surprise because you see him coiled, ready to strike,
or because he has your eyes?

______

55 words for the G Man.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

By An Idiot

Stitched into this skin
by an idiot seamstress,
under pinched stars
and brassy Moon,

I turn in the heatless hands
of a confabulating breeze.
It lies me into dreams of a harbor in the hyena's mouth,
where I float, for one sweet moment, 

Unruined, in the darkness of impossible grace. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: "Heart Like Mine"

Heart Like MineHeart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm really glad that Amy Hatvany's "Best Kept Secret" turned up in my recommendations a month or so ago, because I really enjoy her books. In "Heart Like Mine", the heart in question is Grace's. A single woman getting close to forty, she loves her job and wants to meet a man, but doesn't want kids. Then, she meets a guy through a dating service. Oh, *that* guy turns out to be an ignorant troglodyte, and he (quite rightly) ends up wearing her drink. Enter Victor, the handsome restaurant owner! Uh huh!

The thing is, Victor has two children, a thirteen year old girl named Ava, and a seven year old son named Max. Still, they're only with their dad every other weekend, and with their mother, Kelli, Victor's ex-wife, the rest of the time, so not so bad. Besides, Grace doesn't hate kids, she just likes her peaceful life and her job. But then, the very week that Grace and Victor were planning to tell the kids about their engagement, Kelli is found dead in her bed, from unknown causes. That changes everything. Suddenly, Grace finds herself stepmom to two grief-stricken, shell-shocked children, and has to do it with Victor working long hours at the restaurant and not always backing her up with the children. She wonders if a heart like hers is up to the task.

The story is told from three different points of view: Grace's, Ava's and (in flashbacks and third person) Kelli's. Kelli was by far my favorite character. There is a secret in her past, one that caused a permanent rift between her and her parents, and has left her haunted and emotionally fragile. Certain flawed heroines in books have really appealed to my imagination, like April in Caroline Leavitt's "Pictures Of You", or the incomparable, unforgettable Antoinette Rivaudais in Robert Girardi's "Madeleine's Ghost." Here, Kelli is a beautiful woman and a devoted mom who just wants her family and to fit in with the other mothers, which she does not. But she loses her husband, the other mothers resent her for her sex appeal, which does not go unnoticed by their husbands, and she leans on her daughter for things like paying the household bills. She seems to be in a spiral, but why?

Grace and Ava both want the answer to that question, knowing that peace of mind and the future of this new family depend upon finding it. I should say here that I also loved the character of Ava, bravely trying to sort through her hurt and confusion, and Grace, who finds out just what a heart like hers is capable of. I wholeheartedly recommend "Heart Like Mine."



View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Accepting this award for Fireblossom....

....will be Catblossom! Hello, humans. It seems that Fireblossom's tiresome, flowery, miserable poetry has won her an award from some other human called Sioux. I expect that she would like to thank Sioux for thinking of her, but it's me here instead, and I was called away from my Meow Mix just for this. I don't feel grateful, for some unfathomable reason. Anyway, she has won the Super Sweet Blogging Award. Sicky sweet, if you ask me; I would have preferred something fish flavored. 

Now, Fireblossom is supposed to answer five questions and then pass the award on. I would spray, to accomplish this, if I were a tom, but I suppose Fireblossom would say for anyone who wants to do this odious task, to jump right in. Hey, I'm a cat; in my world, odious is not such a bad thing. Now can I go back to my meal, if I give you her answers?

1. Cookies or cake? I was going through a baking mania recently, and many cakes were made, but cookies have always been my thing, though they have fallen by the wayside recently, as well. Keep reading.

2. Chocolate or vanilla? I like both, but really...chocolate is best thing going.

3. Favorite sweet treat? My new addiction, Chobani Greek yogurt. I like the strawberry/banana the best, but I also eat lots of the other flavors.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Um, whenever STWIASD purrs in my ear? Oh, you meant food. I always crave sweets after dinner. If there's nothing, it drives me nutty.

5. Sweet nickname? "Cookie". No really, that's my nickname! 
_________ 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

In the place where I first heard your name

In the place where I first heard your name,
grows birch and evergreen;
a viney dark-edged path to walk
that circles back where it's been--

You held my hand and looked away,
your face by dark hair veiled;
when first we came and first we stayed
where suns, extinguished, failed--

Your parted lips like wing from bird
soft-brushed my skin and drew
from every black-earth breath of me
a promise to love but you--

Away from the place I first heard your name,
I carry a lock like dusky night;
to wonder at plenitude of thorns
and such rarity of light.
______

 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bitch

I am not your bitch.
I am not the hottest looking bitch in this place
I am not one skank ass loose lip bitch
I am not here to take your shit
and I am not about to stand still for being called
bitch.

I will not dress to please you
smile to please you
go slack jawed stupid time airhead easy breeze to please you,
I will not deny my body
I will not deny my appetite
I will not deny my comfort
I will not deny anything except your entitlement you are so used to,
that you don't even know it's there
that you think is just normal business as usual
I will not play that
perpetuate that
suck up to that
just so your dumb ass won't think that I'm a
bitch.

Look at the crap that comes out of your mouth,
all the
bitch
nigger
fag
dyke
ho
that comes out of your cake hole,
all the
you are not the same
you are not worth respecting
you are not even human
crap that comes out of your face,
that allows you to not care
That allows you to beat and mistreat
that allows you to kill and brag and turn yourself to stone.
head heart skin fingers soul of stone.
I am not your bitch!

Look at all the poisoned puke from the pulpit
all the vile, excluding, tiny-minded, pseudo-holy
god in the image of man 
that's spewed out by smiling
clean cut
barbie blonde
well dressed
tenth tithing
bigots cherry picking their bibles
for something to justify 
their fear
their hate
their spiritual laziness
and all the righteous boil drain that says
you are not the same
you are not worth respecting
you are not even human.
I am not your bitch!

I will not change myself to please you, because
I am not your bitch.
I will not dumb it down, because
I am not your bitch.
I will love whomever I feel love for, because
I am not your bitch.
I will say "vagina" in a public place
on tv
in front of Congress
in front of God
I will say it
scream it
whisper it
and I will not be shy, because
I am not your bitch.

I will not be silent
I will not be obedient
I will not watch your gone-stupid summer blockbuster
unless there are two women, with names, who talk to each other in it
about something besides a man.*
I will not send my son to be fodder in your war
I will not sacrifice my child's life in order to spread testosterone around the world,
because I am a mother,
and I am definitely not your bitch.
I am a lesbian, 
and I am so not your bitch.
I am a Catholic woman and will call down the saints
to drag pedophiles out into the streets,
and to put a woman in the Vatican,
the White House,
the coffee house,
the whore house,
the big house,
every house,
BECAUSE WE ARE NOT YOUR BITCH!

We are flesh and blood,
heart and soul,
the keepers of the next generation--
they will not be your bitch.
With time, they will change the whole vocabulary of the world,
and you will join them,
or be left behind, irrelevant, cursing unheard against the wind.
_______

* the Bechdel movie test

A Howl for the Real Toads mini challenge.