fears of the fathers

sailing through cherry blossom days
and crème brûlée nights
she wasn’t going to lay down her arms
for a mere brat of a boy
saving up her trinkets for later
giving him all her daydreams
and night sweats

he did not know the tango
but they moved through summer
amid a soundtrack of Ravel
and Aguilera
all second thoughts
stuffed under the mattress

back in the town onto which
they shook the clay from their shoes
all their dues, paid
if you took into account
their mothers’ latent wishes
and the fears of their fathers

Answer: never

Jeopardy question: When is it ‘too little, too late’?

In 1989 I met a family that a year later I would become a part of. I had come from a place and family from the mid-west U.S. and was about to enter a very American-European family on the east coast. I was insecure about fitting into a family. Put me in a room with 30-100 strangers and I was the life of the party. Put me in a living room with 15 folks that were about to welcome me as sister, daughter, etc, and I had utter stage fright.

I came from a family where I had not hugged anyone in years, except a side arm hug at the airport and a bear hug from my mother who had longed for that for years herself. I entered a house where every face was kissing me and every arm was hugging me. But I still felt outside. Why?

I didn’t know how to express affection that way. I wanted it, but I was afraid of it. I questioned their motives, I assumed they didn’t accept me. Didn’t like me.

Didn’t get me.

Continue reading

don’t worry
about the trash in your yard
it’s not
from my yard
it’s from all the thoughts
that heap up
in the middle of the storm
whirling
with a gig of their own

she doesn’t know who she is
all the clouds look like rain
every man walks by
in a white t-shirt and faded jeans
and no one ever asks her
who she is – no one ever wants to know
where she came from
all her weather she brings with her
all the storms she leaves behind

you do the math

dancing tall in my living room
to George and Elton
(does it really happen
if no-one sees it
like that tree in the forest)
he says sometimes I never go out
(could tell him stories about 1985
when I lived ten years in 12 months)
and I dance and dance

my head full of 1990
(wonderwall,hammer,hit me baby)
one more time-let’s dance as one
I’ll lead this time, you follow
if you still have that notion
that 1+1=1
and 2+1=no end of joy

perhaps we find
a new kind of happy-
ness, wrapped in understanding
and lessons learned
(old flames, new rites of passage)
let’s not forget, and dance to now
(rhianna, poison, blended with
the Beatles, Eagles, and 21 pilots
shaken and stirred)

once I thought it was most crucial
to fly without a net
but I believe
the trick
is
to not let go

***
***

A playlist just for kicks- must say it’s hard to find original Beatles music online, just covers. Also- it feels strange to be this close to 64, oh so much closer than when we first sang it to one another, it felt so far off.

Why it did not work (two lifetimes)




I wish I was not the one
to turn his head
to make him think of me
(that time)
over coffee
and raspberry danish
but I do not know why

He called me brutish
for not wanting him-
and not wanting her
to have him
I said – it is not
that I don’t want you-
I don’t know
what to do with you

He could not see
that I had been taken apart
(more than once)
and put back together
not like the others –
it isn’t for lack of desire
(God knows I desire)
but fear pokes its nose in

He wants cruises
and long treks into the hills –
I want a lifetime
to learn how
to make the best lasagne
to figure out how words weave
and grow powerful

(why do I feel guilty)
(that) there are times
I want to be left alone

Saddle up

It started yesterday
as I went through my chores
my lists
working and doing
my thoughts got lost in hoof beats

Someone shook me
to get my attention
what is this dark, this shadow
that makes its way through my brain
with a will of its own? And later

during dinner, the pounding
that I perceived to be my own heartbeat
again, riders of another world traversing
my thoughts without consent
my concentration and my focus
comminuted as they picked up speed-

Why?

I am no one-a poor girl with dreams
it is hard enough to sift the toothsome
dreaming from the nightmares
but now I must try to harness them
in my waking hours
and I am not capable

I don’t have that sort of cunning
to put the bit in the mouth and keep reins
taut, to bring the thoughts back
to what I wanted, what I will
these convoluted desires

these wishes become goals
and they ride on, with no thought
the night is coming
and I will be trampled