Monday, February 1, 2016

Weaver Bird

When I was young, I had the words
but nothing to wrap them around--
I was a weaver bird with the instinct to build, but not the flock memory.

Now I am old, and still have the words,
but find that I have said most of what I needed to say.
I no longer bleed as much, nor yearn so hard. The seasons change by themselves.

In the middle of this oddly mild mid-winter,
I set out, by myself this time.
My favorite dogs are gone, but I have this new one, and she wanted to come along.

I wore new boots with purple laces
and a stick I've grown attached to, and sometimes really need.
The sun stayed low but bright while we walked, and time turned easy and slow.

I didn't know, when we set out,
how much I would love that walk and the cold air in my lungs.
I called to my friend; she came back from the trees and we turned back.

Now I hate to have left that walk behind--
taking off my boots inside the door, I wonder when I can wear them again,
but somehow, aches are assuaged, and there is sometimes balm

for all the things we lack.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recurring Dream Of My Childhood

Alone in a strange city at night--
everything dark, wet from recent rain,
lights too far away or just reflections in the damp pavement;
buildings empty hulks, yet somehow watching,

no sanctuary.

A car pulls up to the curb--
a late 40's or early 50s model,
black, maybe a Buick or a Hudson,
and though well out of date, shiny as a snake.

A woman in red dress steps out of the passenger side--
she's vaguely Hispanic,
wearing pearls and heels.
her cheekbones are high, she's almost pretty, but cold,
pretending to be helpful. A man sits in silent shadow behind the wheel.

"Are you lost?" she asks me. Yes. The curb feels like a cliff.
"Get in," she says, gesturing toward the car.
I don't want to.
It feels like a shark's mouth, a precipice, no good end in there,
and yet, I am lost and by myself,
in this strange city at night.

Sometimes I get in, and then it gets much worse--
they drive me to a doctor, a doctor who is not human,
whose treatments are misery, and who cures nothing.
Other times, I have some sense of a memory warning me
not to go with them, and I refuse.

My temporary escape is no joyful thing, but rather,
a stay of execution to be taken up on another night.

Not really a poem, but an accurate description of a recurring nightmare I had as a child.

For Bjorn's "nightmare" mini-challenge at Real Toads. 

Super Skittles

Skittles the wonder dog, recuperating at home from her spay procedure on Thursday.

Resting on her favorite snowman blankie.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Good News / Bad News

The good news: everything has been saved,
locked away for you:

real love, sunny skies, and on and on.

The bad news: you need a key to open the door.
You have to make the key yourself.
The lock is in a foreign language.
No interpreter.

The good news is, the world turns and turns.
Tides come in, then go out.
The equator is a ring on which hangs the key.
Already made, already spoken

by your own hand;
from your own mouth.
For Susie's challenge at Real Toads.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cliff & Clarity

At the cliff,
no Dairy Queen.
No airport.
No cinema.

Just the Confused,
with their dusty feet.

At the bottom of the cliff,
the No Longer Confused
in their matchless silence.

In between,
an empty space that is not empty.
Each entrant fills it (briefly)
with flight, adrenaline, instant regret, or transport.

As with all spaces 
of sudden clarity and 
you cannot live there.

Just when you so want to tell the world
--yes, that recently rejected world--
what you know,

Here comes gravity the motivator,
solid ground the schoolmarm,
and permanence the principal

to shut you up,
lest you warn those wide-eyed others
on their way
behind you.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chinese Box

The restaurant was a Chinese box.
My order was wrong,
then right,
then wrong again.

The waiters were men,
then women,
then men.

You were angry with me,
then not;
then you weren't you, or at least,
didn't seem to be.

An alchemist came and turned the soup to stone,
the stone to a poem,
together to alone,
despite all assurances printed on the menu card.

Lunch for 2.
Dinner for 4.
In your hand an apple,
then nothing; then a core.

I said, "My love...."
as I dug with my fingers all the way through the world,
to find a hard queen, a woman dissolved
in your eye looking back saying, "Now what, girl?"

For "Play It Again, Toads" at The Imaginary Garden. I was inspired by the image at top, which is by my dear friend Daryl Edelstein, and also by the image below, which was taken by Karin Gustafson.
 Optional--and quite insane--musical accompaniment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I am not the girl for you.
Mornings and evenings, 
I am lost in the roil and flock of myself.

Here is the hungry
coming out from me,
motion by slim margins denied.

I'm all sharp looks,
resenting restraint,
ready to die
if by dying I rise.

Do you think
you're the sky?
You look to me like a stick on strings,
a store-bought bell.

I weigh 
amount to

like love, or thermals.
But instinct drives me,
driven spiral-mad to know

That the rodent heartbeat of my inborn ambition
is out there,
stirring the leaves,
heading for its hole,

While I strain and scream,
knowing I can never spot it 
from here.