Over at Real Toads it is Fireblossom Friday--or will be, a few hours after I post this--and I have asked everyone to select their best or favorite poem from their own work. I really had a hard time deciding. I finally couldn't decide between these two. One is more truly poetic, but the other is a story poem and as my readers know, I love to write that way, too. Please forgive me for trying your patience with so much babble, but I couldn't find any haiku in my notebooks!
"The Far Garden"
When I was young, I asked,
Why are my arms made of blackberry vines?
And why do I
Most love to sit
In the far garden filled
With strawberries and mint?
And why do I have
Cat-tail colored hair?
Why is the thunderhead
A black mother bear?
Why is my skin filled with restless blue lightning
And the pull of the moon?
You dreamed it, child--
Is all that I
Was told, and it's
A sin to lie
A sin to lie.
When I was young, I ran
Away through the wheat under bright summer sun
Until I was alone
Save for sparrow and crow
With south wind for sign post
And further to go
I sang to the quicksilver
Dead in the earth
Who lay with the bear's teeth,
The strawberry red,
And the sweet things that were
You dreamed it, child--
Was all I was told, but the
Far garden called and we
Grew up wild
Grew up wild.
"The Far Garden" is included in my poetry book My Mad Love, available from Amazon.
"At The Aviary"
There is a woman screaming.
She snaps her compact shut and asks, "How did I get so fucking old?"
"Cry me a river," says GorgeousCrazyGirl.
She and the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist are sitting on some concrete steps at the bird park.
"My fingers hurt," complains the Violinist. She has arthritis in her joints.
"Quit bitching, darling," says her companion, serenely.
A peacock calls.
oh OHHH, oh OHHH.
His spread tail makes the Violinist think of a Japanese fan.
"I played Tokyo once. They loved me. I played them a program of Bach and Vivaldi."
GorgeousCrazyGirl says, "Are they the ones who bind their feet?
How do they get to their seats? They must be like Weebles."
"You need treatment," says the Violinist, sitting hip to hip with her.
"Treat me, baby!"
They kiss. There is nothing wrong with the Violinist's lips.
The Violinist says, "When I was young, I didn't know there were lesbians."
"There weren't," replies GorgeousCrazyGirl, as calm and smooth as new snow. "There were just dinosaurs, and covered wagons and shit."
The Violinist smacks her on the shoulder, then says, "Ow" and inspects her hand.
It has been a long time since the World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was able to perform in a professional venue.
It has been almost as long since GorgeousCrazyGirl has been socked away in the bin, or gotten her pretty ass arrested.
They are arcs,
moving in opposite directions,
GorgeousCrazyGirl is wearing a ginormous cowgirl hat, a white tee shirt with a quote on the front, and cut off jeans.
Her bare legs could stop an army in its tracks.
The Violinist is wearing dark glasses and a Burberry rain coat. She might be attending a funeral.
"What do you think happens, when we die?" she asks her friend.
"Don't be morbid, honey, "advises The Girl, untroubled as a blue sky in May.
Once, The World's Most Brilliant Unemployable Violinist was reasonably famous, financially well off, and as lonely as the last Great Auk, if it lived on a precipice surrounded by a shark-infested moat.
Once, GorgeousCrazyGirl got her dinner out of dumpsters, and believed the wacky shit her head told her. She didn't have a nickel, or a clue, or command of her own mind. She knows what terror is.
There is Aleve, and Wellbutrin.
At the bird park, most of the birds are paired off, making babies like Detroit once made Packards.
"They have wings. There's nothing to stop them flying away. Why don't they?" The Violinist is looking up, into the April sky, as if it were the steps to a stage.
"Maybe they like it here," suggests The Girl, as zen as a zebra in a hay factory. "Maybe they have everything they need."
"You really are awfully beautiful," says the Violinist, playing tenderly with The Girl's long black hair.
"That's the rumor," she says, wearily.
"No," the Violinist continues, "you would be beautiful in the dark. To a blind person. With no hands."
GorgeousCrazyGirl snorts loudly, then laughs, a sort musical braying. "You're crazy."
"So was Mozart." The Violinist looks quite young when she smiles.
Then, they are intertwining their fingers and saying nothing at all,
like rests and notes,
which, together make peacocks and people go oh OHH...
Dedicated to Dana, wherever she is, the first charming crazy girl I fell in love with.
I bear this in common with The Girl: I frequently wear an old cowgirl hat.