Monthly Archives: June 2009

dragons

Dragon

You swooped low to claim me,

All scales and claws,

Glittering eyes

And whiplashed tail.

We flew together

Into a velvet night,

Shrieking stars

And lightless moon,

Leaving my breath on the ground.

Too soon, too soon,

Your talons relaxed,

The fire you breathed

Toward some other

Lost and desperate soul.

I fell and fell,

Sharp night wind

Screaming in my ears,

To an endless,

Silent earth.

JOY

Joy sits quietly,

Waiting for an opening

Then moves swiftly

Toward the blue sky

Of the soul.

Joy is small, compact

Taking up little space,

Expanding as far

As the heart can reach.

Joy does not come,

It is already there,

Built in, only needing release,

Letting out the clutch

To race and soar

Over the next

And every horizon.

More poems

HOSPITAL

“Water, water, water,”

she repeated softly,

papery lips over bloated tongue.

The daughter stroked

her mother’s dry hands,

smoothed the matted, lifeless hair.

“You’re being given fluids, Mama,

we can’t give you anything by mouth.

Let me rub some lotion into your hands,

You’ll feel better.”

Her mother’s eyes

fluttered briefly,

opened to her daughter’s face,

“I want to go home.”

“I know you do.”

Her mother was anchored

to the bed

by tubes running

from her swollen body

to humming, clicking machines.

Her mother sighed

as her daughter stroked

and spoke softly

of everyday things:

the day of the week,

the weather,

who had come to see her.

Nurses came and left

at regular intervals,

checking machines,

making notes on charts,

smiling at the daughter.

Doctors came and left,

still dumbfounded

that outpatient surgery

a week ago had struck

this woman in some

silent, vulnerable place

and rendered her still

and helpless.

They struggled for reasons:

a weak link

in the chain they forged

with knives

under their masks.

The daughter longed

for a frame where she

could safely place this picture

of her mother;

this woman had caused her to be,

steered her on the path

to her own daughter

and the husband whose strength

held her calmly at this bedside.

She knew she would go home,

lie safe and warm,

listen to the breathing

of her family.

The tick of her bedside clock

would replace the clicking

of machines next to her mother.

She closed her eyes

and breathed the flat,

sterile air.

She imagined the sparkle

in her husband’s eyes,

the smell of her daughter’s hair.

SPRING

He left in March.

The pansies were dressed

in tender green and yellow.

I look skyward

to let the sun touch

my face

that will feel

no other kiss.

Bamboo is the new wood

I’m listening to comics, my neighbors, people in the grocery store, near me in a  restaurant, I’m reading newspapers, watching CNN and you know what?

I’m tired of the same old shit that may have been funny once but after years of thinking about this stuff, it just gets on my nerves.

I miss George Carlin.

For years I’ve been laughing out loud at the relationship jokes. Inside, I’ve been hearing those jokes over and over and they’ve been fermenting.

You know, the ones about women are from Venus, men are from Mars? No, we aren’t; we’re all from planet EARTH.

I finally realized we laugh at all that crap to jusitfy the stupid shit we do and put up with!

You know how male comedians drawl about how their wives either can’t or won’t cook or won’t give them blowjobs and that’s why men cheat…or how their wives always remember their birthday so they live in terror of forgetting her birthday even though they remember every hole of golf they EVER shot … you know that bit. And they end up explaining that they are “wired” to cheat and disregard anything they don’t find important so it’s not their fault and we should giggle and muss their hair and sigh with happiness that he finds his way home…most of the time.

After all, they’re really just little boys with pockets full of rocks and snails.

I don’t know about you, but it creeps me out to contemplate sex with a child.

Then the female comedians rant about their husbands forgetting their anniversary, or running into the stewed tomato dispayy in the grocery store because he was gawking at some teenager in hip huggers. The comedian tells us about her husband who spent $400 on a  golf club and shrieked when he saw the price tag on the shoes she bought for work in the snobby uptown office. But then she ends the story telling how gooey she got when he got all teary-eyed at their baby’s birth.  (We don’t need any more people!!!)

He gagged at the first diaper change and remained a breathing corpse through the baby’s endless middle-of-the-night feedings (though both parents had to get up for work.) Then she brags about working all day, doing the housework-like women should receive a medal.

This is not a man-hater rant, so don’t bust my chops with a bunch of  “boy, you must be a dyke or something.” This is a rant about accepting less than adult behavior-just to say we’re in a  relationship.

Can’t we evolve past our primal programming any better than this?

Some of us have opted out of the baby derby. Life can be just as rewarding without multiplying or even being in a committed relationship. You know what else? We don’t have to justify living with a Neanderthal (or a shrew) no matter how cute they are.

I’ve got a cat.

Something else-these trendy slogans …”60 is the new 40.” I remember when 40 used to seem so old. Now that a lot of us are 40+ we’re still using an age for old! 60 is 60!! I’m healthy, bright and I’m learning stuff all the time. I know lots of people of different ages and I do everything that I did at 20-except sit by the phone and hope “he’ll call.” Lots of the people I know who are LOTS younger than me can’t keep up, so don’t cram a lot of preconceived ideas into a number-we have insurance companies to do that (gggrrr.)

I’ve learned age is relative. (yeah, what insight, huh?) Also, if you’re trying to varnish your number, you’re hanging with the wrong crowd.

OK, comments welcome, but remember, I don’t hate men, I actually know a few people in good relationships and I take my hat off to them, and there are old people around (though not necessarily 60) so please don’t comment if it is to tell me something I already know.

more poetry

THE READING

She hummed and sang in the car

Rising bars of melody

That warmed her throat,

And filled her diaphragm with breath.

She parked the car,

Still singing Amazing Grace,

But softly now, concentrating

On enunciation.

There were other cars in the lot,

Other performers,

Early for practice.

Inside, they walked around

The stage, papers in hand,

Speaking, singing quietly,

Rehearsing away the butterflies

And tremors.

As the hour neared, she searched

Each new face,

Each stranger settling into a chair,

Chatting, eager for entertainment.

She fretted over last minute changes,

Worried that her words

Would not fall from her mouth

In sequence.

Wondered if her poems

Were too dark,

Too metaphorical.

Were the images clear?

Would the audience

See and hear

The message she needed

So desperately to convey?

Then she stepped up,

Lights shone in her eyes,

Voices hushed,

For one long, frozen moment

She stood alone

In the silence.

She lifted her eyes

Saw beyond the light,

And spoke eloquently,

Projected and enunciated,

Seeing the world

She’d committed to paper

Laid out for strangers.

Afterward, warm praise

Made the fear a little smaller,

A little softer.

On the drive home

She sang Amazing Grace.

Carefully, carefully,

Enunciating.

ONE LAST TIME

Hold me in the dark,

Not talking.

Breathe against my hair.

When you’re asleep

I’ll go,

And take this memory.

Save it,

Hidden,

In a velvet place

Where only I can find it.

LITTLE WAYS

Those waking moments

In the darkness

Of the morning

Do you still reach for me?

When you’re walking in a crowd

Do you look, without seeing

For my hair?

When you unwrap

An ice cream sandwich

Do you want to share it,

Bite for bite?

Do you remember

The little ways

We loved each other?

Are they still small

Or have they grown

To fill the empty place

Where I used to be?

LONGING

There is a place in the bed

Where the blanket never wrinkles,

Or shifts.

It’s on the side where I don’t sleep,

Where the lamp

Doesn’t cast its glow

While I’m reading.

Even during the darkest

Hours of unconsciousness,

When my dreams are real,

My hands never push the

Pillow askew, or yank

The sheet from the corner.

When I wake in the morning

To crisp birdsong,

And sunlight,

bending over the windowsill,

I see that smooth,

Still place,

Where you slept,

And loved me.

Writers, artists and readers

I’m not going to bore you with where I was born and if I like walking in the rain (though I do, actually) because I really want this to be a place for me to post my writing and reactions to things. I have no desire to become a repository for political rants-there are SCORES of places like that. If you want to bitch about the state of the world, go to them.

I am interested in hearing from other artists. I draw as well as write. One day, if I’m very fortunate, I can make a living from my creative efforts. In the meantime, I work 60 hours a week as a CNA so my time is very precious to me. I try to create every day and encourage feedback and crits from anyone reading my blog.

NOW! Writing posts!!

 

TREMBLE

One night,

in a  bar,

I saw a man

Grab a woman around the throat.

He slammed her head

Against the pool table.

 

I ran between them

Shouting, “Stop! Stop!”

In the struggle

He fell on top of me.

I lay against the floor,

my feet planted against his shoulders

Still shouting

“Stop! Stop!”

His face changed

As his rage dissolved.

He took my wrist

And we stood.

He walked outside,

Muttering and shaking his head.

His woman disappeared.

The bartender asked me

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” I said.

Many nights,

When we were children,

We watched my father

Beat my mother.

We scuttled under the bed,

From the darkness,

And safety,

Under the bed,

We saw him

Slam her head against the floor.

In the dark,

Under the bed,

I trembled.

I was too little

 To help her.

Nobody

Ever

Helped her.

One night,

In a bar,

I stopped a fight.

I’m not under the bed anymore.

 

FEED ME

We work every day

to pay for our bread.

But the meat and potatoes

the lettuce, tomato

is the morning soft spoken

the evening, unbroken

and the long

slow

nights

of skin touching skin.

 

THE DEED

For her,

there was only one thing

that could have ended it.

Not his drinking,

not his lazy attitude

about the yard

or the broken step

at the back door.

His friends were loud

but she never

turned them away.

He drank the last of the milk

and put the carton

back empty.

He dropped his clothes

and left them.

He trimmed his beard

over the sink and left it.

He snaked all over the house

leaving trails of dirty glasses

and crumbs.

Still, for her,

only one thing

could have ended it.

And finally,

it did.

 

 

 

A NAME

A name floats

from your mouth

at 3AM

curling like smoke.

A name

that drifts

through the darkness.

I breathe it into my lungs

expands into my blood

courses

through my veins

and imbeds into my brain.

A name,

a name,

that’s

not

my

name.

 

IN BETWEEN

Every morning

in the softness

before clarity

I

almost

hear you breathing.

Every night

in the moment

before sleeps descends

I

almost

feel you

pressed against my back.

Every day

in between

I struggle to forget.

 

THE WOMAN I MIGHT HAVE BECOME

lives next door.

She and her husband

have grandchildren

who visit regularly

They come over

and take back gifts

from my kitchen

or craft basket.

The woman I might have become

waves and smiles

walking toward me

across the back lawn

I look at pictures

of their recent vacation.

The woman I might have become

asks if I’ve met anyone new.

No, and I’m not looking

I remind her.

She waves her hand

and assures me

I just haven’t met

the right one.

The woman I might have become

strides back across the yard

to her husband

who tried to kiss me,

again, last week

until I stopped him

with ice in my voice.

The woman I might have become

gives me a final wave

as she goes into her home.

I wave back,

glad to be

the woman I am.