Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

This may not be true

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

This may not be true.

My father doesn’t remember exactly,
But says he may, he just may.

I was in a dress just above my knees.
I want it to be white with red trim,
Prim, crisp cotton. And my hair just so,
Large curls reaching up, and my lips too.

He carried me on his hip, I would say.
Sat me in place on the bench beside him,
Or on his lap, I was so small, looking up and out.
Fronts of warm wind reached from him,
And he smelled warm, like breath
And spiced sweat,

Like a summertime hug, his smile close to mine.
They pulled the bar tight across our legs.
The light made him squint and search the sky.
So I looked too.

And the wheel began to turn. Up we went,
Round and round. So high into the air until
We could only go down. There were probably
Clouds, or not clouds, and everything was blue and sun,
Everything was two smiles, two hands clasped,
Mine a bird in the high up nest of his.
Maybe I was two.

A few years later he left my mother and us for another
(Though he would disagree, say he did not cheat,
It has always been the family mystery.)—
Toothy Wilma with boys who chased to kiss us—
And it didn’t last.

And he was lonely and cried, he tells me now.
Rode his Kawasaki with the wind, and tried to keep
Numb watching the Gong Show or Three’s Company,
Or CHiPs, in an apartment whose red curtains
Made everything red, even my naps next to him,
Whispering I wish we lived together, and he said,
Sometimes things can’t be what we want,
And I cried in the heat of that sorry truth.
And he held me till I slept.

And I cried with my mother too, on her lap,
In the corner of a dark dining room, on the extra chair,
When he didn’t call but every few months
And holiday visits were not enough, and the years spun
Blame. I made him pay.

I wrote the kind of letter only a twenty three year old
With some psychology in her pen could write.
He was surely the archetype of my distant boyfriends,
Too old, too wounded, or too far away.

And now, a gardener instead of a student, I could say
He’s the soil of my two failed marriages, my heart
Too lonely or wild a weed to be pruned and tamed,
But wanting to be, just the same.

And now, I see how he could leave, how he could trust
The wheel, how he could love me, and leave me,
And return, and be
Far away and as close as my own breathing.
As unfaithfully faithful to himself as I have ever been.
I have given up believing in him, or me, the free.

And I’ll never know if any of this is true.
But what is true is that I want it to be,
And that we have always been turning
On a wheel into sky above things,
Far from where people on the ground
Can see what we see, and then falling,
An arc of falling over the edge into nothing
Toward earth, never hitting, just— look! –lifting,
Moving blind backwards so we can move forward, up,
Past the red of what we feel, even when we aren’t strong.
It isn’t us, just the hub doing what it does, reeling
Us along into the song of the ferris wheel.


bless the white haired teacher

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

~for Gary Bloemker

who fills his classroom with stones,
waterfalls and dashing fishes,
who built a golden castle full of books,
stars and pillowed caves
for my son to learn
that earth is the best page
ever written and
school is not a place—
though what a room!—
but a state of curious
grace and bloom.


Sometimes Women

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

For Susan, who frames spun mud and grass pulled from tiller tines and says they are like the way we spin and spin into certain things, making them tighter

Sometimes, after our babies die and the grief wraps around
every small dying thing, women feed worms to fallen baby birds
that won’t thrive, and, sobbing, smash their skulls with a garden rock
under the neighbor’s lilac. I couldn’t save you, we cry, and bury them there
because we’ve already buried so many in our own borders.

Sometimes, women must tell their fourteen year old daughters
we no longer love their fathers, and the girls wear pennies in their shoes
to heal the broken wing of the thing, but we leave anyway, and find
or become love, while their fathers wonder what went wrong and weep.
The daughters decide not to keep the pennies.

Sometimes, when the peppermint reaches too far beyond borders, choking
the thyme we have planted, women pull it, then poison it, against
our better judgment, and still it returns like spring. We eat of it
when there is nothing else, search for the acrid chemical on our tongues,
wonder if we have also poisoned ourselves.

Women share these things over creamy coffee, or peppermint tea,
and our liquid sorrow lifts from us, sometimes, like steam.


For Sons on Solstice

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Because my boys still enjoy me and their smiles
are nearly mine, and summer solstice shines
through trees where thin mosquitoes whine
in shade, I took them to a park eight miles
from home today. With frisbee, rackets, birdie, balls
and wandering black dog, I watched them play and vie
for turns with me, throwing, swinging, thwacking sky
toys. Other children in the park, too small
to make a frisbee glide or birdie fly with ease
wandered in, and my two welcomed awkward play
with saintly patience, relieved to have a break
from brotherly, pleading motherly, disharmonies.
I marvel these two rivals fled my body, display
my wry dichotomies, love and sigh me awake.


Watching Swimming Pool

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Charlotte Rampling, once ravishing boyish bombshell, playing
Sarah Morton, crime detective novelist, nearly sixty.
A young writer shakes her hand with a cocky smirk,
“My mother loves your work.” His grin says it all. She seethes.

Her English publisher waning lover sends her to his French home to write.
His blond nubile daughter arrives unexpectedly.
Sarah watches, we watch, the girl bare breasted with still, hooded gaze
at the pool, or eating cereal, or writing in a journal, everything topless,
breasts bobbing over the mundane moments of living.
What she does when no one is watching. But the girl moves
as though she is being watched, as we learn to do, moving for men.

Later, Sarah listens, we listen, to the girl moaning with oafish older men.
Cut to bedroom: we watch her, not him, and she knows we are watching.
Charlotte plays reserved Sarah, but Charlotte has had her share of sex on film.
We know she knows this writhing for the best theatrical angle, yet, still,
Sarah reaches for earplugs. We see men notice her despite the girl, despite her years.
French cinema, you know. Tres complex.

We notice her. How can we not. She is Charlotte Rampling. Lying near the pool,
the camera pans her rigid angled length the way it panned the curvy smooth girl earlier.
We see Sarah’s veined sinewy feet, the boyish thin hips, the breasts flattened by gravity
in a modest swimming suit. Perhaps we are meant to be saddened by this juxtaposition,
the way age dries and robs the most beautiful women of water and luster. She steals it back
by writing, stiff faced, a rough wall, eyelids crumbling. The publisher avoids her calls.

These are the kept scenes, the ones we see, expect to see: an older woman,
leatherly, alone, stuck in her wordy mind robbing the lives of the young,
unable to land Franck, the interested sexy waiter, before he is killed by the girl.
She even helps the girl bury him. Oh, how we had hoped victory for her!
Let the old woman have the young man for once! We know what gives us worth.

We are surprised when she bares her old and surprisingly lovely breasts on the balcony
to the murder-suspecting gardener. As a ruse, a distraction, she seduces him:
short, unshaven, white whiskered, pear bellied, sweaty old man, to save
the young girl’s neck. She writes the girl’s story, becomes like a mother to her,
of course, and publishes the book behind her publisher lover’s back.
She has won, but it is the winning of a jealous crone getting back her own.
This is when she finally, truly smiles. The end.

But you know how DVD’s are. There is always more. What was cut. Click it.

Sarah wandering the French village alone, lean, self-contained, ordering at the café,
served by the sexy French Franck she barely notices. Clicking down stone streets
on stick legs in loose beige slacks, peering into dark rubbled windows,
touching rough walls of the fallen castle of de Sade, stiff limbed, tall,
upright, heavy lidded, self-bridled, always almost grinning. She is Sarah Morton,
writer, yet she is Charlotte. We know she is both, though it is cold
how she moves, selecting round fruits in the market and tubs of yogurt,
cool foods that need no cooking. And wine. So quiet. Days without words.

She eagerly plops perpendicular into a green slatted patio chair at a green slatted table,
straight backed, to type. Her mouth moves with her fluttering fingers. Later, cigarette
hanging from lips, curled into a cushioned, high backed, wooden legged chair,
scribbling quickly on typed manuscripts, revising. Her face registering peace,
sometimes laughter, tickled, obviously, with her own genius.
When the publisher asks on the phone what she is writing, she won’t say.
Alone, she belongs only to herself, breast-stroking
across the empty pool wearing a floppy hat, dry faced, slightly smiling.

Still the camera pans, but in these scenes, the gardener is not watching.
Neither is the sexy waiter or publisher. Only we are. We can see
Charlotte is happy being watched as Sarah not being watched. She moves that way,
in awkward womanly angles, the aesthetic of utility, moving from here to there.
And I am happy watching her unwatched and happy: the deleted scenes,
the ones that make us not-women in the world, objects only to ourselves,
the ones the director knows are lovely on a screen, but won’t sell.


The butter, the cool slick

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

and salt of us warming
becoming more

than two in the merge
warp chest, weft breast,

thighs braided bread
baking, yeast rising

multiplying heart
in heat. We tear

crust, expose white, dip
dripping oil and herbs from

lips. We become all
this, from breath

to bread. God eats us
with our own mouths.


song of a once sprinter

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

these legs remember fast
twitch, long gait, quick
thigh, piston yes,
toes earth,
heart sky, wide
gathering short burst,
arms reaching through
soulmade wind, hands
tunneling loose to
what is always up
ahead: unfillable
space burning
blue, my speed
just beyond
my teeth,
with no


Dear JC

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Now I know why I was a little unnerved,
spending time with you.
Your eyes are scissors and glue.
You may not harvest me
and then try to seduce me
by feeding me
my own creampuff snail toes
and Roman arches,
strangely lovely though they are.
Let our loving friendship be a living one.
I am not the Colosseum, exotic food
or your thousand eyed collage.


If we forget there is work to be done

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

And only notice the other’s irises widening bluish green
in light and the swirls of grooves on our finger tips
playing hairs like spinning albums through the hours
of morning, we hear a song perpendicular to the hum
of computers or the scribbling of pens. It is the song

of what we become in the heat of now. Senses
feed each other the way violet onions feed hot
oil, the way the scent of this plump potted basil
at the head of our red bed reaches through music sent
from your hands through wood and strings, the way

chilied chocolate rockets the tips of our tongues out
through Spanish red wine wider than our own cells,
the way fried potatoes, blood and sun peppers
kiss slivered onion skin, and salmon lingers on
salty lips and drifts across our silken chocolate

tongues a layered song I would love to hum
but only write in words instead. Our eyes are rayed
with the thrill of this dance and bright notes spin
off lashes and teeth a joy about which we don’t speak
to send it further in our chests and eased breaths, prayed

deep. Without saying so, we know: this is our real work.


thanks giving

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

I give thanks for my young boys’ muscled limbs
and taut bellies, their shameless animal ferocious grace,
gentle eyes promising gentle men, tender, telling more than war.

I give thanks for my daughter’s shy embrace
for the careful way she still arrives, touching hesitant edges
as we sleep, backs of hands, knees, feet, child-woman in mother-woman’s reach.

I give thanks for my lover’s slow speed
the open space he keeps, an ever present doorway
welcoming this tired mother, this freeway, this bending, stubborn glee.


benign pineal cyst

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

~for my mother who cannot sleep

I dreamt
I held her head like a baby,
thinking if I spoke gently
she wouldn’t worry she
had lost her body. Bodiless,

she didn’t notice, but I did. She
should be dead, I thought, though skin
had grown across her severed neck,
thin tissue tendersoft as scars,
so calm.  I felt she could live.

Sh, I whispered, brushing hair
back with my palm, kissing
her scented forehead,
It is okay, Mama. You
are okay.  There now.

Her expression a child’s
at the breast, eyes wide
and soft in mine, mouth sounds
making less sense, I talked
and rocked.

She slept.


In the middle

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

We’re in the middle of everywhere,
circling something circling something else.
Perhaps this is enlightenment, to be aware
of what we circle, what circles we share.
I circle you. You circle me. Though
our hearts live beyond this thin
dichotomy and laugh at the word “hearts,”
at the small strong muscle it suggests,
at the “s.” We love in between
letters and flesh, where love is best.


Speaking of Houses

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Your house is your larger body, said the prophet.
And your lover said: the house is no longer yours
when the sign is on the lawn.
And people walk through
who never invited you in.
And the realtor said they scoffed at the nudes on your walls.
They huffed: inappropriate for a home with children!
And the many armed deities of
myriad joyful capabilities became their demons.
And the unadorned Buddha with loose hair
became naked shame, not bliss unbound.
And they murmured on your stairs. So you
take this and other images down, box them
And laugh that, in closets, they will
still be the clothes of your most open spaces.


morning toast after a night fight

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

scrape off what is black
with a quick serrated knife
to save what is soft


After reading Rosemerry’s “Homecoming”

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

So lovely, this waiting to be scoured of longing.
May we never be. May the rain never come to rearrange us,
or may it come, and rearrange our longing, again and again,
sparkling like mica, calling us. Is it gold? Is it?
Are we fools? The answer is always, always, yes.