Thursday, August 28, 2014

Belonging

Not long at all
after we started dating, we declared our song to be “Ho Hey”−
which is a stupid name for a song so we refer to it instead
by the lines of its chorus & these lines, I bought for you
on your birthday with a frame & now hanging
above our bed
are the words, “I belong to you,
you belong to me.”  I read recently
that:
“There is a reason the word belonging has a synonym
for want at its center; it is the human condition”
& I suppose this is true, but the thing is, though now
I can’t imagine how I’d live (or ever did) in your absence,
belonging either to or with another was something
that I always feared; autonomy, the language that I spoke,
the rift that I created to exist between us & somehow,
in spite of this, you caught me & being caught
turns out to not be bad
at all.  In ways, to be sustained in union produces certain
new-found freedoms.
Shortly after I ceased resisting, I found
encompassed in your arms, room to move in brand new ways.
                                   Allurement
sifting previous notions, softening
the hard ground I’d stood upon, so flight became an option. 
Beneath my feet, the sturdy rocks
I’d forever taken for granted began to shift like old, rickety
floor boards in a dangerously aging house
& jumping now, a bit more promising…

another strange
fact of speech discovered in what it means to cleave−
the unwritten understanding that inherent in the explanation
of is a choice:  to split from or stick fast to or also
both if interpreted in biblical terms
& I think
my reasons for remaining
in my alienage were simply
tools
constructing makeshift cliff I wished someone would
save me from, quite confused on the differences between
what was desire & what was need until you kissed me
& my bones turned into wings.  I still can’t speak to you
of love without a stutter but at least the subject
no longer renders me completely silent.  Your courage
baffles me & fuels my own.  Together, we
compose unspoken,
unmatched melody reviving romance.  Released
from cloud-capped
captivity, I’m flourishing feet on ground.

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's Constant

Baby, I can’t tackle
the news or noise− I’ve tried.
I can’t take the static
or the slant or the supposed
statistics anymore, so,
I return to you
curl up in the comfort of us.

I read the stories,
the suppositions, all the slander,
and I get worked up
and then worn out and my ears
just hurt.

I start
to fear
for the state of the nation
and the future of the truth
and where it stands.
I start
to fear my own voice, the burn
in my throat
so I return to truth.

    I begin again to poise,
                          to position myself
                          on the side
                          of what I know
                          is right.
                          I return to you,
simply,
because baby, see,
truth is, you’re my voice
of calm in this crazy world
                         and you’re the reason
to my rhyme,
     meaning,
not that you’re my higher power
but only that you’re one
God-given reason to believe in one, 

so because
I can’t write lines
to tickle the ears of the masses
and because
I have a knack
for leaving unfinished
what I’ve started…
or
rather, an addiction
to new ideas
that trumps my commitment
to completion,
    I find it easiest
               to just write
never ending words for you.

I try and center,
remember back
two days ago
how we had a downpour
and the thunder
roared
and the
ground flooded, the rain trampling all
the dirt

and how
when the sun returned
I noticed like it was a brand
new phenomenon and I heard some bird
song vying for attention
                         that I’d never
heard before.

How suddenly the sky clearing−
sun-cracking ember first
then brightest blue warding off
the clouds
seemed quite poetic
and verse-worthy.
How I hadn’t even realized
before that moment
that my mood
had matched the weather.

The weather is as fickle
as the headlines
but at least it’s fresh.
So, I’m drawing from that instant
a little bit of joy
and cleansing and I’m likening it
to you because
I’m convinced that if anything
in this world remains as good, it’s love
and baby, love
is me and you.

Love is the way you
look at our daughters
like they are morning
glories just discovered
in earliest hours.

It’s the way
you teach our sons
how to be men
in a world of boys.

It’s the way you
tuck me in
and wake me up
with the prickle of goose bump kisses.
It’s that your kind
and that I’m rather fond of you.

It’s that your thoughts echo
and your heart mirrors mine.
It’s your midday call and your steady
talk that’s balm for my frantic
overloaded mind.

And though the seasons
                         shift
and the clock
ticks quickly and time
slips fast away
especially when we’re together
                    the fact remains
                    that your presence
is reminder
that love, not fear, fuels
voice.

So, I’m done wrestling
with words of protest.
I’m done with platform
and with preaching.
I’m giving in instead
to what some
             still
believe makes the world
go round.

I’m silencing whatever’s in me
that’s afraid of healing.
It seems this fallen world
            has finally culminated
to a place of mass insanity,
given itself over to terror
and to hate

but I now surrender
      in this dark
      hour
to a purer force−
that of love.

And I’d rather write sap than filth,
romance than lies; I’m energizing

   my own peace movement,
my own
sit-in where I don’t move
until I’ve swayed

my heart
toward courage; the courage
to write on and on to you,
unashamed of simple love poems
believing there’s still
room
for progress on that front.





Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spent

I.
To put things in perspective:
there are children starving
in Africa…
and in India…
and even here− in America ( the Beautiful).
The above−
       a note to self.
My-self:  who, sadly, it is easiest to think of.

II.
The list of what
                 we can’t afford
is growing rapidly.
Meanwhile, we are not in view
of any bright or grand futurity.
The middle class is learning
that the stark black type that wrote them in
and the white blank space that offered room
to move were merely hues….or shades.
Not anything to be counted on.

Now, the gap widens and we more clearly see
the grays defining
just exactly what transgressions truly are.
The grays grasped
like straws, like the slippery lowest rung,
are bleeding up as we begin to understand
what it means to go without.
Oh, Lord, forgive me for hoarding
such loftiness of speculation.
Je suis farci of self.
Hard times will soften hearts or lines.

The underclass, the so-called dregs,
the  demimonde, still by definition work
and the women at the bottom relent to roles
and certain rites of supposed passage, sights
set on some lying light
at
the end
of a very long tunnel, the flame
anymore barely visible, just the dimmed
orange of a waning candle

Forgive me my judgment of all the women
who walk Van Buren selling selves,
who close their eyes beneath
the looming power anticipating
drug of choice and its promise of relief−
the feeling of (if only fleeting) being at last
reborn; the only promise ever kept. 
Forgive me scorn for those who only
seek asylum, fleeing to a country that at least
has food to offer if not welcome.

As we learn,
now, to live in a nation whose dream has expired,
along with any generation still inclined to mourn
the loss, I ask for pardon
for all previous assumptions. 


I still tell
my children that there are children starving
in Africa…in India…right here, in the land
of vagaries.  We’ve never missed a meal. 
We’ve never walked a mile in a child’s
footsteps on way to well for water. 
So what do we know of need? 
Divorce us, Lord, of separation if you will
or must to break us into recognition. 
Reveal your heartbreak and stay your hand.
Grant us less not more and bind perspective
around our necks.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ode to My Muse



Cloud promising a rainbow,  persistent, though rarely loud,
   looming moodily above my days, daze
          inducing.  Wisp of woman, shadow-formed, entering my kitchen
          in the steam
from stove; my bedroom in my husband’s arms, my mind
at any time, seducing.  Her hands are songs, holding mine, pulling me away, casting spell with wand
of many hues that bloom like flowers,
recognizable by aura
and soft scent
of childhood mixed with specks of mystery. Somber yet also playful, contradiction is her trade mark. 
I am powerless in her presence.

         I can taste her when I wear my apron
            and her lines crawl across my skin in looping scrawl, spilling
            into,
            in through my willingness to listen, to be found.  To see from the sea
            of my moments
            and my movements, her as land, lush
            and fruitful.  Voice of sirens carrying across my waves, reducing
            distance. 
                                      When she is through with me she leaves me                                                                                                 spent.
She knows I love to love and hate her
and that when I remove my apron,
she’s the one I blame.


Poetic Bloomings

Surrender

So, I drip sap for you.
Wrangle
words.
You are my vice.
You are mine.
I have given
up the fight, tired
of pretending
there's anything
                    I want
to write about but
you.

dverse

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I hate

I hate being a poet…and by hate, I mean love.        
And by love, I mean
             only,
that I am compelled,
driven here. 
I hate that I can’t write about Israel,
or sunsets and daisies,
or in the voice of Sophocles.
I hate that I still write best
in the language of a teenager full of angst − and by best,
I mean, I’m most satisfied.  I hate that I write poems
      to you
and that I write poems about writing poems. 
That emotions more than imagery crowd the page,
panting.  That I forget that moods aren’t facts.  I hate
the need – the greed for words.  I hate
that I tend to complicate with forced routine.  I hate
that I’m readable and relatable and I hate
that I just presumed that.  I hate that I’m confessional. 
I hate that I’m not more academic, scholarly, referential,
clever or elusive.  I hate that that’s a fact.  I hate
that I worry I’m meant to write not poems
but rather drivel in a diary
and that I want to wring the little neck of Philomel.
Most of all, I hate that I sling words like hate and words
like love around.  That I’m a typical fill-in-the-blank. 
That I’m an adult child always waiting for the other shoe
to drop, seeing things in only black or white. 
That I’m an alcoholic thriving in one
of only two extremes: chaos or that damn
short-lived pink cloud state. 
I hate that I’m a co-dependent who’s ill-at-ease
to think the honeymoon is over
so now I’m writing angsty teenage poems
instead of cleaning the bathroom like a good wife
would.  I hate these labels
and that I fit them
so damn well.  That the evidence is in.  I hate that I give
myself up and away with this need, this greed for words. 
I hate that I’m an ego-maniac with an inferiority complex
and that I can’t tell you outright
that I still feel jealous of other women
and that I start and finish stupid poems about you
looking.  That when we’re in what we like to call a funk,
I won’t admit
that I don’t want you to take that part-time job
because I worry you’ll run off.   I hate that the economy
has tanked and that we’re broke.  That real life
gets in the way of playing house and that our kids,
most days,
scare the shit out of me−meaning, the amount
and also
the responsibility.

But,
baby, I love you
and maybe that’s all that counts.





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rupture

Can you hear me over the sound of the story /
you’re rehearsing in your head? 
Can you see me out- / side the mirror
your reflection’s bound to, your image /
bending to your will? 
Can you see your heart in there?
My mouth is open, I’m speaking words,
while you are / posing, pursing
lips, pressing send.  What is it that / you pursue? 
What glory do you imagine?
What / wish is thrown in what well
when you casually / toss your change my way?
What hero from what Greek myth / do you play
today?   I need to know my part, my / role
so I can swoon on cue.  You’re the lead
and I’m  / supporting actor− is there another option? /
Your wisps of truth fall slow like sand in the hour - /
glass of time you’re wasting and when the glass
shatters / your lies will leak.
You’ll be exposed and I will wash / my hands of you,
because I have tried
to reach you. / I have stared into your vacant eyes,
tried to climb / the wall you’ve built to keep out
those you fear would call / you out
and my arms and legs are tired.  / I’ll leave you be. /
I’ll keep your secret.  You keep your superhero /
mask.  Save face with your stored excuses.  Hide
behind / feigned power.  Attempt to mend
your martyred heart and / I will pardon
your inability to love / because after all
you’re just a scared and hurting / boy grown
into the dim shadow of a man.