Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Happiness, Intelligence and Love

I, who long ago denounced the notion
of a soul mate, can no longer deny
                     the obvious
and after numerous attempts to swear off
                    sentimentality,
I find myself right back here, writing
                                                 what I know.
What I know is you.
All morning, I have drafted notes and
                                                 verse
and lines and form
around unfamiliar subjects to escape
                                                all lingering
                                                           emotion
and technique and research increases in multiplicity
and then I’m stuck in mire of too much
information
and not enough.
Simply put, I miss you. 
And the longing both to have you and to say this
becomes stronger than my will
                  to hide.
And suddenly I find it necessary to enounce admission
that you’re my inspiration
and… shit, did I just say that?
Here’s the thing: 
I never was oblivious to the slow erosion
of my resistance, though, perhaps I never dreamt I’d let go of quite so much.
Now, shackled
to this new reality,
I’m content to be a prisoner of…
rapture.
See, love creates a monster of the lingua, vomiting
             thoughts
             that can only be defined as nuts.
So, like I said, all day, I’ve tried to wrap my brain around
the greats, twist words to do with Hemingway
and happiness
(or Hemingway and lack thereof)
with Dostoevsky’s thoughts
on intelligence and pain.
And here’s the thing-
intelligence aside, my happiness derives
from you and even with the children just arriving
and even though soon I have to leave,
my senses crave not just you but silence.
So, my escape is to a parking lot- my solace,
the cramped confines
of a car-
just to attest
to the awareness of our connection.  Really,
                                                   this only appears new. 
And the truth is that whatever part of me
said yes, held this understanding
and somehow, even you, I fear, can’t fully grasp
how strong the pull. 
So, here- just these few images expressed belatedly
                                                   to sum things up:
I am writing outside – away.  The sun can’t decide her purpose this day and it is warmish
then it is not and just as I think
to remember to request of you next time you come to check on me a sweater,
I look up and you are walking toward me, sweater in hand.  That’s one. 
Two is every other
single time you complete my thought or grant
unstated desire and three: today, I pick up phone to say
                    I miss you
and your words are waiting, mirroring my own.
So whatever woods
of my own making
I might find myself lost within,
whatever
grappling I frustratingly engage in regarding fear of love,
undying and pain’s inevitability,

I now release in order to embrace
what’s happening right in front of me.  I have endured Earth’s
great sadness and earned my depth of heart
and if sorrow is the cost of brilliance, I’ll just find bliss
in ignorance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Imploration

We pray to a God who won’t respond…or so it seems.

We pray to a father God, a mother God, a man God, a child God,
a Buddha god, a yoga god, a nature god, a million other gods.

We pray for wants, for needs, confusing these. 

We pray desperately in disaster or alternately denounce existence, disseat,
disrate, spit in the face of what appears to be a placid god,
maddeningly calm in midst of chaos,
refusing to intervene.

Inept or cruel?  Easier to efface:  God is dead.

We worship at makeshift shrines of momentary sacrifice.
Congregate in cathedrals of ecclesiastical d├ęcor with alabaster
windows with stained hands clasped and our perfume hoarded.

We are a searching people, blind to what we find.

We look for you in burning bushes, in consecrated bread and wine. 
Parched, we need to taste you. We look to the clouds for signs.
We mine the scriptures, memorizing passages to suit our purposes but not to live by.

We confess to priests, we hail Mary, we pay our tithes, we swear off church, disassociate
with those who claim your name, return in hopes. We are gold-diggers. 

We praise ourselves when all is well and blame you when it is not.
In measurement of altitude, we place your elevation low, humbling you and not ourselves.

We,
who are open and bared before you
                              beg for you to bare yourself.
Herald the works of your hand, we say,
                          so we might believe,
                          then we turn away
from words that say,  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. 

We hunger for milk.  We try and force your hand with pleas,
with demands, with the works of our own hands.
We drift away and feel you've left us.
We, who are so depraved with such gall, feel deprived.

We fear you and we do not fear you.

We emplaster you in icons-we want you plastic and adaptable.

We want vivid, graphic, blatant.

Our prayers lay out Irenicons- God, sign here, on dotted line. 

We are a loud people, bold in our absurd appeals,
errant in our exaction.
You are a quiet God, slow to anger.

Your gifts are bared before us, everywhere-

Embossed in vein of leaves we step upon, traced in space of sky with argent stars,
sketched in shadows after every storm.

Yet, I am deafened by your seeming silence.
Open the eyes of my heart. 
Take my mustard seed of faith
and multiply it. Perforate my conscience
that I might observe the wondrous
works of your own pierced hands. 
Create in me a clean heart.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Sky

Listen to the sky.  The clouds are slipping
                                                 down
coming
closer,
sliding nearer. 
Do you hear
the pull? 
The rain forming, thick?  Ready to release,
pour down her healing…

I hear
her voice in my dreams sometimes-
                                         soft
and whispering
of a coming storm but comforting,
revealing secrets. 
She tells me where there’s shelter.

Can you taste the air tonight? 
It’s sharp and sweet. 
It smells like sleep.
It’s winding
closer. 
There-
it’s settling
in our bed.

The stars position
                                        outside
                                        our window-
flickering night lights
It’s all for us.

Now,
      we wake
to a shroud of mist.
The land
is damp.  The day is glass.  We tiptoe
out
and our footsteps vanish in the grass. 
Our breath appears. 

Listen, do you hear the sky
call out your name?   
There- under feet,
do you feel the rub
of the ground-
          the mud moving
between your toes,
beneath your heels,
responding?

Fashion your feet with the not yet bloom,
the not yet green.
     Soften your skin
with the glisten of the dew.

There – now do you hear
the sky chattering
now shattering
the barely yet
blue?

The sky is shifting, reshaping
but I know where to hide,
where we can watch
the downpour roar.

Listen- it’s christening the earth.
  It’s christening you.   
It’s falling fast, beating out your name. 
It’s all for you.  It’s all for you.

Now, the sun shines.
The sky sighs. 
Now, she’s humming low. 
Close your eyes and listen. 
She’ll talk all day
and tuck you in tonight.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marvelous

A boy named Marvelous  African  from Monrovia Liberia
An orphan  left naked on someone’s front steps  a woman
who took him in and named him
                   Marvelous…
and he lives up to his name   the pastor tells us
clearly moved
           Marvelous 
he repeats  Named
           Renamed 
We are given
names
and then God renames us
and I don’t know God’s nickname
for you  says the pastor 
then after a pause-
but I bet it’s something
like Marvelous

So…Marvelous…he has something
Something you want 
Spending any time with Marvelous…
The pastor trails off   overcome 
He loves this boy  Marvelous-
                              marvelous
boy- and I am moved
I  too
want to
know this boy 
this boy  continents away

So…Marvelous  he continues 
invites me over
to his new place
It’s a ten by ten room 
Apartment 
And it’s dingy
Dirty
His voice chokes as he speaks the word low:  Perspective 
He shakes his head
like to rid the tears
get through
this story that still gets to him

So…the door is broken 
but Marvelous
he swings the door open like to the Taj Mahal
The pastor mimes the flair of movement
and mimes
Marvelous  proud  confident  beaming
And it’s dingy  repeats the pastor  Dirty
It reeks  There’s a light bulb hanging from the ceiling
but it doesn’t work
and he has a window
but it doesn’t have any glass
and it looks out into a slum
and there’s no furniture…
but there are bugs  probably carrying malaria
he wryly adds

But Marvelous  he swings
open that broken door like to the Taj Mahal
and he says  Look!  And he’s so proud of this ten by ten room  
like dirt floors and light bulbs are opulent 
Look! Marvelous says,
walking to one corner of the room  This  this is where
I’ll place my chair
and my bible and I’ll sit here and I’ll read
to all the men  And here!  Over here
  The pastor walks
across the stage
playing Marvelous  showing how small
in size this room is  This is where I’ll have a table
with water and everyone
can have water  and look!  Look at my window  I have a view
of the neighborhood 

The pastor stops his reenactment
and stares out  again shakes his head  I can’t quite bring myself
to say neighborhood  he says 
It’s a slum  

Marvelous returns  says and I can look
out my window and pray
for the whole neighborhood
and then
he holds his door open- and this will always be open! 
The men can come in and out
 

The pastor looks at us  We  he says 
Corrects himself   I – I am
kind of a whiner  A complainer 
I would want light
Electricity  especially in that heat 
Furniture  A window  With Glass 

You know-  I’ve met so many with so much less than we have here -
here in America  We lack nothing 
and still -we’re taught to be covetous- 
ungrateful - and these others  -they’re content  -grateful 
even  and -this is strange  -
they have peace  and what they have  most of all that we don’t? 
And what we want most?  Joy. 

I pray, he says, someday I can be as wealthy as Marvelous 
Perspective  he whispers

Elephantine

He is miserable, he says.  Desperate. 
Hopeless. 
He is a giant of a man (in size,
as well as in his mind, it seems).
He fidgets before
and after
his confession
but when
he speaks
he seems relieved,
confiding to a room
of timid listeners that the problem
is: we fight all the time. 
But…I’m in banking,
he says – wryly chuckles.

I’m Catholic. 
I have kids, I live in Laconia. 
I drive a suburban. 
He eyes his audience,
imploring,
      as if to ask,
“Can I?” 
Get divorced is what’s implied. 
Collectively,

we keep his gaze,
but no one nods
or shakes their head. 
We don’t give advice – we listen, hushed.
He continues, telling how he came to be here –
it was his mother.
She, he says, reminds him often
that he’ll be okay, but, we, of course,
already know this.  He’s self-reliant, he assures us. 
He doesn’t know what he’s so afraid of.  
Sometimes…
he wishes…she would just die
in a car accident.
Our guise of pure composure cracks a bit;

nervous laughter breaks
the silence.
The pression
of his secret, lifted, he sinks back
into his chair and fold his arms across his bulky
swell of chest.  I am both shocked and intrigued
by his honesty. 
His extremity
of thought. 
He can’t
rescind
his words- released,
they saturate, scandalize the air.

He removes his ring,
playing with it in his huge right hand
as if toying
with the fresh idea of freedom,
right in front of everyone.
He seems nice enough,
which is how he described his wife,
but secretly, I take sides, sympathizing
with the woman he wishes dead. 


During prayer, I squeeze his hand, praying
extra fervently
that we might be led out
of temptation.  I notice he’s returned
his ring to finger.  Keep coming back,
we say and I wonder if he will. 

Later, I say, to my husband,
if you ever hope I die,
just leave me.