Wednesday, July 30, 2014


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.

Figure of a Man

My husband whose speech is suave,
            but only for me
Whose heart is worn upon his sleeve
Whose hair is the dark of a starless night
Whose hair is soft as a kitten’s fur
Whose skin is smooth anointing oil
Whose words make gentle waves
I wallow in like at a lazy river
at a water park, like a hippo
in a mud bath, like in riches
Whose words are filling like the cream
of breakfast pastries, sweet
         and delicious
Whose teeth are white and flashy
precious pearls
The teeth of an actor
in a toothpaste commercial
Whose tongue is an orphaned child begging,
            the heart
My husband whose tongue is the monsoon
wind bringing rain to the desert
And is the cherry topping the whipped cream
topping the ice cream sundae
Whose eyelids are as innocent as a swallow’s
My husband whose feet are the soft tread
of an approaching cat
My husband whose eyebrows are sepals
his soul,
enveloping developing buds of roses
My husband whose grin crinkles the corners
of his eyes like toes curled in
Whose toes are witch fingers
Whose fingers are spades for finding
and stunt doubles for tightrope acts
in circus films
My husband with a back that is a field
of stories
That bewitches
My husband whose back rolls
like a centipede’s, like an accordion
Whose shoulders are passwords
                             and secrets
My husband whose wrists
are the chills in a haunted house
Whose wrists are floorboards creaking
in a house that has held many dreams
My husband whose lips are the memories
brought back from a souvenir
Are a pop song
Whose arms are long branches of a willow
and the arms of tongs willing and able
to withstand heat
Whose chest is a down pillow
to rest my head upon when sleeping
Whose falling and rising motions are like
a tide at swell
My husband whose stomach is stirred
by hunger for me
With lips that are the last bite
of a favorite dessert
Whose soul is a room I make my bed in
My husband with the eyes of a tundra
sunrise glow
My husband whose heart is the tapping
of stones sent
to a window at midnight by a secret courter
And is the rim of the steepest cliff
I’ve stood on, calling out to hear my echo
And is half of mine

Monday, July 28, 2014

Struck by Lightning

Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity. – Joseph Addison

What if I want to write another poem
on love?  Would that be alright?  Would I need
to apologize?  Last night, the rain fell
just when we were thirstiest, and
as I held you, I listened to the whack
of water smacking against the window.
I watched the drops stain the glass, the blowing
thin-twigged bush outside our bedroom that I've
paid more attention to of late, greeting
it when I wake in the mornings, its gold
buds barely visible except in light
of sun rising.  I am trying, lately,
to form new habits, to notice the small
beauties that surround me and to practice
gratitude.  So, last night when the storm came
I remembered that you love my touch, that
the way my fingers skim your back sends chills
so I traced the outlines of your tattoos
again and then attempted to recall
if I’d ever had an experience
like this− if I've made love to the background
sound of thunder and rain pelting louder
than the music playing to set the mood
and if I have, I can’t now remember
so even though I knew I left my books
outside in danger, I stalled, centering
in the moment, hallowed by our presence
and our choice to still and to acknowledge
that inside love there is something holy
to be revealed so even beckoned by
the worry for my words, surely soaked by
now, I waited until I felt the beat
of your heart slow down.  We unfolded
bodies, redressed and walked out into
the rain, letting the cold drops pelt our skin
welcoming the blasts of wind because in
the desert, we’re parched and storms are something
of a thrill, but still, after rescuing
the abandoned books, we sought safety in
the car, enthralled like children, saying, “Did
you see that one?” whenever lightening flashed,
hunting the sky with eagle eyes for streaks
so as not to miss one and I wished for
a moon roof because they seemed to strike right
above us and you said you could under-
stand how people could want to chase storms and
I nodded and said I understood why
kids and dogs are so afraid of thunder-
storms because even inside the bubble
of the car, the sky lit, at times, so bright
and there seemed to be no seconds between
that and the thunder that I couldn’t help
imagining what it must be like when
one is struck by lightning so I dabbled
in the fancy of our house on fire
even once we’d fallen back into bed
but then I remembered that once before
I’d been struck by lightning – it was when we
first made love, so I settled down against
your warmth in the hollow of the blankets,
fulfilled and remembered that nothing bad
had ever come from entering the storm.

The Sunday Whirl

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Misguided passion hangs perilously
   in the foreground of temptation,
begging action−words form, tease
                 the tongue.
                 The ears
imagine.  What can ward off
what has now begun?
       This dark magic? 
       This heart swells in anticipation,
            spreads for flight, belly full
                             of worms, of lies.
                                 Without heed,
deception jumps, believing
it can fashion
from desire, wings.
Storming through
on sheer will, this style
of flying,
for a while, works.
        toward fancy, mania elicits
superhuman power. 

Wind whips through the creature’s imagined glory.
The forest of reality
beneath hums her warning
as trees
by the force created.
The birds clear the air
and nest for safety.
            This supposed beauty continues
                  soaring, riding miles
                          in the lawless sky

on the tides
of lure; fangs grow as e
self now seeks prey 
and landing; catching 
sight of innocence
unaware, the creature
swoops with malice
but nearing, finds his whim
and thriving within a swarm of angels,
before unseen and now

fabricated feathers fail and only
by an act of mercy
does the predator not fall.
Hands of God
pride from fate and casts it
into hell.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The men have written the women into stories;
painted them into pictures; allotting
flesh and virtue,
vice but omitting blood.  Captive,

stands at center, at backdrop, jagged hills
and clouded sky. 

She is cloaked in rags of mourning, surrounded,
yet alone.
Arms clasped to chest, head down
like bird at rest.
She protects herself from blades of gaze.

Leighton later frees his brooding image, posing
her deep in dream,
closing the violet eyes
of England’s most beautiful woman,
so that she might not see
the poison that would kill her.

Liberated from laborious mortality, positioned
now as nymph, her sanctuary lies in sea of sleep.
Here, Ada, aka Dorothy Dene
blooms beneath the brush
stroke of a master.

Finally, a reason to be.
in summer slumber,
engulfed in golden
hues like candlelight
that flicker in the distance.

Warmed in still life.
Imagine if you will, relations between
the artist
and his muse; the classicist and his colors;
the fear of lust,
of men; the mission, then,
to cloister
what is mystery, to vilify as sinful,
the simplicity of love.

Or perhaps, blinded
by the spotlight,
inspiration confuses
love with art, envisages romance
kindling in winter,
unaware she’s doomed to neverending May.

Only when finally, flighted
as Iphigenia’s ghost, does she find her voice.
Under authorship of woman, she states
that the lyricists have lied. 
She did not willingly
sacrifice her life, nor did a hind
arrive to take her place.

Weakness strives
then to possess her but myths
no longer
and she reminds her audience
that “women are no good..

Quote from The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper