Saturday, March 29, 2014

Essence Found

I can not find my shadow.
            she is lost.
Perhaps, she leads a secret life
without me; has left because I move so slowly.

And she misses childhood days
of play.
Haven’t I since neglected her?
Didn't I outgrow her?
Abandon her along with dolls
and toys and games?

And can a shadow exist without
Maybe, now she follows someone
Someone small
who still
skips and runs. 
Someone young enough to know
just what a sun-glimmer can do and sees
what happens in its absence.

Or, maybe, she’s gone and made a life for herself.
Free of codependence, she’s found herself,
at last.
Found herself where unneeded, undone
        shadows gather.

Never again behind,
but side by side,
silhouettes pirouetting, winding
their long, lean
gray bodies whichever way they like.

No longer flat abstraction, they need no reason.

Perhaps, stray shadows, once removed
from ownership, undergo a metamorphosis
and their ashen limbs stretch and stretch,
into rainbow wings and high
           above the treetops,
even in the night, they fly, unseen
by human eyes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In This Desert

Tell me, steadfast green, your secrets.
How, even in desert span, you so prettily infest;
lend color to this dry, drab dust.
This broad expanse of brown:
brown trunks climbing
out of brown, sandy grime. 
Brown needles scaling
 up and banding cacti.  Green stalks
turned sun-burnt brown.

Tell me how to breathe here; thrive
in deprivation; stain a barren landscape fresh and then fade in dignity
in domination of desolation.

Tell me, God of green, God of brown; Jealous for me God,
your holy secrets.  How, even in this desert span, you enter,
lend life to these dry bones.
Tell me how to breath here, thrive,
find gratitude, color abundance fresh and then fade in sacrifice
against domination of demands.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Je ne sais quois

I want to write you into a poem   Write a poem right into you  I want to take your kindness  Your winter-warm words
Your grace  Return  Turn
to words                
     words to turn  I have tried  so many times  
so many unfinished pieces 
angles  points  directions  unsaid words
Words not quite right 

I   the girl with words at a loss   your tenderness has stolen them   or they exist as thoughts  risen  but unuttered
dissolving on my tongue but absorbed 

It is this: 
I am in the depths
of our hallowed one flesh but separate  still  somehow
and trying
to flesh out ever deepening view 
magniloquence to mystery
and even with poem brush inspired  this is impossible 
My view of flesh  somehow 

How do I hold you as I do each night
                                  as if new 
as if experiencing
                                a reality
of evolution
The evolution
                                of reality

                                Our limbs
convolve like that solemn fixed banyan tree I stood staring
long at
          at the mission  stirred   photographed (learned only later that it grows in the style of an epiphytic strangler vine
This the reason the fatted branches
                                seem to melt)
                                Still now-  captured

are fluid   moving and I cannot capture us
                                            maybe then
it is our movements
                                   magnified and rapid that blur
But my mind’s eye
                       sees with salience
                         Evidence discerns  

Maybe  the best I can do is create just
                     a collage
of these keepsake images

I touch he stretch of your back
                  and both wonder at who you are
                 and know

It is too much
                  this love
this long spread of lovely hours
and never enough 

can I write this:
that just as I know my need, so, too, do you   What?  This private
of the clouds
                       covering the sun I wrote by one Sunday and the sudden chill and then suddenly you are walking toward me holding out your sweatshirt
The night sleep failed and I was angry so aching and you sacrificed your own sleep to work your hands
deep into my muscles
and I could not explain the tears
That just you standing in the kitchen is a mystery  And a poem I cannot write All the unbeforerealized
That there is favor in all of this   blessing  beyond
That there is enlightenment inside of ever deepening
and enlightenment


The path up to the beach is smattered
with small salmon and lavender
wild flowers, patchy with grass.
I can’t see the water yet. 
I want to sprint
like a wild child but the ground is rocky. 
Flip flops off, I navigate the hill climb with my tender feet-feel.

The sky is pristine blue,
the air fresher and there,
from the top of the hill, the sea, the sand, sailboats.

Behind us, back over the hill we hiked, there is a playground
where we paid to park and I wonder why anyone is there
and not here. Families enjoying their Saturday and the nice weather
not interested in the beach.  I can’t imagine.

I stand at the edge, toes in
the splashed sand, numbed,
curling from the cold. 
It is not enough.
The waves roll in bubbling, spinning, soapy. 
I want to run straight into one.
Be enveloped. Immersed.  Cleansed.
Not wait to be met.

But I do not run.  I am fully dressed.   Grown.
So, I wait, grinning at the ocean.  Grinning at a God who made this.
They diminish before they reach
me so I step out further;
let the water rise
around, caress
my calves.

The earth churns beneath me, sand working
up through my toes. Each wave calls me further
out.  We are meeting.  In agreement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Passing Through


Beauty is everlasting/and dust if for a time.  –Marianne Moore

Passing through the desert,
we stop and visit an old home from a past life. 
There is more desert to cover.  More dirt. 
More dull brown housing the praying trees,
the stubby barrel cacti, prickly pears,
sharp yucca.  The sterile, rocky land smattered
with, dappled with, the yellow creosote bush.
It’s not much. Slack fill landscape.   Gradually,
desert slips into tease of life, of fertile land.  Day
                        slips into night and night slips
on her softer evening colors. Elegance. 
Hitting city glitz
and freeway finally-
traffic.  Welcome to California.  It’s Friday
night and the megastores are lit lavender,
                      matching the luminescence
of the weather- gleam.  The mountains look like
 They pose,
                   positioned perfectly,
A charcoal drawing.  Shades darkening down
the page.
Pollution or setting sun – take your pick, prettifies
                  one wavy strip of pink
                   to the west. 
A gust of wind picks up dust.
A van swerves into our lane, then out,
a hand extending from the window. 
An apology.  I look out my window
from the passenger’s side
at the strip mall chapels where travelers pull
off to worship.
An exit sign says, Beaches.  Just- beaches.  Any beach
will do.  I am hungry for seafood at a waterfront
restaurant.  Shrimp
platters, fish and chips, crab.
I can’t yet smell the saltwater but I can taste
fresh seafood.   My stomach fusses,
growling.  Camarillo, A Thousand Oaks, Channel
I anticipate the sea.  Sanctuary.
Maybe, I was a mermaid in a past life. We are not
yet there and I dread return.  Maybe, I swam in pastel
painted waves with whales
still alive.


Driving back through
to desert.  Brown
here on out.
Or shades of brown:
green brush, yellow-
brown flowers, blue-
brown mountains,
grey-brown ground.
We pass a dozen or so
lopped palm trees,
fronds gone, leaning
beheaded, sad. 
A few mounds
of naked,
rocks piled like altars. 
We stopped the day
before at a row
of quaint beachside
antique shops.  Set up
in old Victorian type
houses.  Admired
a long necked orange
bottle.  A wicker
A few expensive
Now, we stop
to worship
at the crowded
outlet mall.
in no hurry to go
back home. 
I sacrifice only
a little to the gods
of brand name. 
in downtown
Santa Barbara. 
Maniacal throngs
past, push through
Coach; Versace;
Louis Vuitton
like seagulls
bickering over
their share of rotting
flesh.  I spend only
a small amount of
money on a
Calvin Klein black
shoulder strap bag,
with my reserve.
Fifty percent off! 
For God’s sake,
there was a wicker
in Ventura for twelve
hundred dollars. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It’s one of those few and far between, fleeting, winter clothed in spring days here in the desert,
and I need nature. My girls are birds and I am bird watching.  One we call Birdie, though it is her sister

who flaps her arms rapidly when ruffled as though in flight.  Kept home, they fashion
themselves in what they like.  Today, one’s plumage: a sassy, black, off-the shoulder

too-old romper and another wears a long and lacy, outdated,
ink stained, yellow “Princess” dress.   A lonely only,

I am endlessly fascinated by their sibling system.  This intimacy.
This sisterhood by birthright.  I ask the baby to bring out her sister. 

“Play,” I say, “and I will write a poem.”  She flies inside, and I watch through the window;
she drops her head down, waiting assent, desirous of a playmate.  Once outside,

they stop first to survey the boxed-in, blooming garden and take note
the opportunity a nearby abandoned watering can can offer.  They are earnest

in their fun.  Suddenly with rare proclivity for production, they ask if I am done.  “Read
it, Mommy.” “Play,” I say, “so I can watch.”  I determine to not mind voices but mark

their movements.  Lovely little girls taking turns filling from the hose the watering
can, then pouring.  The older one moves first to the toy littered, recently muddied

sandbox and begins to dig bunches of wet clumps into leaning lumps of firm packed dirt, mounds,
earthy dunes.  The younger bends down to join- to help- perching, dress draping down

over dirty knees, feet and toes.  Dirt is abundant here.  We are short on grass and green.
The older fills a bucket by shovel, carefully leveling the dirt before dumping. 

They both freeze, crouched, at some imaginary danger.

Some menace desert bird steals my attempt at deafness, hiding its giddy 
voice from view.  Soft, feathered clouds streak the blue and our certain sort of dry glazes

the air, a beginning mark of the radiant fever to come in Arizona.  Ardent, twin-like sisters
sit, stained but dollfaced, digging down now like as if sifting for treasure.  Treasures

to decorate a castle.  The twittering, invisible bird finds an answer.  Kindred spirits
their calls flit back and forth, suddenly emboldened to know they are not alone.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Like Rocks

The poet is finally at rest.  Half dead, his head
upon his arms upon his desk.
His eyes are bruised. Lids lead.  Mind rid
               at last
of memory.

Every dug up skeleton lays outside his window.
A garden of skulls.  Their revenge: a stoning.
Hurling every stupid word he summoned
      like rocks
through glass. Now, useless nuggets, they are
across his work space.
Empty but heavy.

He will wake to disarray.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Unbegun


In this paradise, positioned where your sternum meets my origin, 
my hair streaming across your chest,
I petition for the promised afterlife.

Your arms are parted around my flesh, enveloping
our future and
our mortality
and my hollow, orphaned voice reaches out to touch you. 

We are crystallized inside command
of what still is beautiful, the dusk
descending on
our discovery
of eternity
and where
we are still enlivened by the silence set forth,
the secrets breathing through our bones,
our blood flow,
our innocence. 
Soul subdued, heart-pardoned here where it began
and ends, we are cradled in completion.


the unbegun thunders  warning.
Somewhere in the distance-
Rain descends, steady
 on our utopia,
but we stay, still recovering from poisoned plumes.
Now your still tender hands cup my face, and
                                                                          at last
my tears unsettle; an apology,

We are in the womb of time.
Keeping pace only with what we await, moving to the beat
of the repetition
of our fearful hearts.

Sabotage proved successful,
and disconnected from the bloom,
maddened doom
inches ever closer.

Like Birds

I am trying
         trying to make words
what they simply cannot do.
I list them neatly; arrange
down page.
Fail.  Cage;
align; break; change;
apprehend, collar-
 imprison with connection,
syntax, chains of chanting. Trill,
 like birds,
words. Sing,

has passed, entombed
inside entendre. No, she
sings daintily, sweetly, so,
Sing, sweet
songbird, smooth notes,
 to ease this solitude. Stroke
 your wings against my brow. Dark
                   sing.  Catch
me with
your grace.
Upon my fingers,
 as if matches to ignite
burning into rhyme. Trigger

Thrust, thrush,
your smooth,
surmising  point of
upon me. Thrill me. Your lay
paints, slanting on my window
 the rain
way. Rush
through. Stir
the wait
of twilight.  Trace the
or bead them on a string you
bring to me. Feed spherules to
me as
you would
your young.

Feed me
theme. Glittering, on my
flowering. Fledgling star-words,
germinate,  blossom, claw up
and out
            to sign,
glossy hues of words
dapple blank; flitter, hover,
perch, halve to double. Truss. In
my mind,

 in verse,
in verbs, in vowel-chimes,
fire witness pressing in
imagining  influence,

Some Low Lying Place In My Belly

held a loss that sometimes I could
taste, tart and acidic snipping
at my throat.  The fistful sloshing
defined my steps,

It coursed truthtelling through
my veins
until your piercing
stare cut me open
and I bled the loss and lost
its meaning

And I did not die
You sewed your skin into
my wound and your heartbeat
became my bandage

Now I hold a loss of memory 
sweet as wine and I swill the
view through your eyes

Sunday, March 2, 2014

transport of shadows

I am trying to sleep,
but that place in my stomach that turns,
will not let me. 
my door is open­-
just a crack
but enough
that I can hear
the television
blaring and
that place turns.

it sounds like violence, always,
                                        and I remember

later, I will need
the doors closed
and the lights off
but now, I do not
know this. 
now, I only know that, though the shadows
                               always splay
                               and trick my stomach
                                         into turning
they are better than the black.

I have memories that are only shadows
and not yet memories yet that haunt;
unhatched, fragile traumas
that I carry carefully 

I stay awake as long as I am able, refuse to close my eyes, the shadows behind my lids more terrifying than what is seen on walls.  I pray my pat prayer, reciting like a poem from memory.
Self comforting. Dear God,...please…
help…please….don’t let….

I list the worst. 
the string of worries: fires, thieves, bad dreams
            and then pleas to spare all loved ones
from the pits of hell.  

I am not yet practiced in gratitude. 
I am not yet practiced in keeping company. 
I do not yet know your secrets or even mine,
but I know anticipation

I know that if I fall asleep early enough, the soft sound of the bath water running blankets me. 
I won’t hear the tv blaring
but the bath is drawn earlier and earlier in season of depression and approaching twelve,
I stay up later.

I am too old
for your lap,
so I am confined
to the loneliness
  of my bedroom
I am too old
to cry,
so I am confined
to the loneliness
  of adolescence
I am too young,
so I am confined
I am surrounded
by the loneliness
I am in the middle,
in the loneliness
I fantasize illness.

You are reclining in your chair in the hollow confines of your room,
your tv room. 

I pull the covers up and anticipate the dreams and the dreams anticipate the dreams. I am cold inside this age of aging

I miss my mother
      singing me to sleep.
I miss her
           hand on my back
with the suspicion that her touch is as of yet, false suspicion of a memory.  waiting,
always, for this touch  mourning the touch

sometimes, I feign the nightmare early
to come the distance
to come to your chapel
to your seclusion
to talk.
to hear your deep voice that
once I feared.

sound is well defined but image still intangible and waiting to form
            in the recollections
I can’t yet know this.  
I know my hands are full.  
I feel the weight of age
if I’m lucky
you’ll light
the stove to scramble eggs