Kinder

I am in the kitchen writing out my life
Chopin is in the living room, urging me not to quit
the sadness (over breakfast) and a hurried car ride
heavy and burdensome

I don’t care (I said) because of course
I care more than life itself
but if I have to give up my life
in the process (I don’t care)

Then what is the purpose of living
this strangling, overarching plot
that no one would buy
is dancing in my last nerve

So it is like this. That you will
treat me kindly in the future
and I will continue to write my life
both wonderful and terrible, and
this is the contract I bid you sign

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Mama

Sing me to sleep
Mama
The night is hard
press’d to give up
its joy
you went too soon
I want to hear you
tell stories
you used to tell

I knew you were happiest
Mama
when you were a little girl
traveling state to state
in a time when
girls didn’t give up dolls
so young
as now

For you I would have tea
Mama
so we could share
iced, with chips
laughs again over
silly thoughts
he never understood
but I always laughed

Laughs come at a premium now
Mama
like gasoline
and forgiveness
your unbounded joy
something I got for free
and tonight
I remember
and laugh

Come now and rest

trees and sky

The trees are welcoming me back
and the dust from which I was created
my flesh, failing me from too many nights
no sleep, too many words, not kept
and my lack of care has brought me here

The dirt says–come now, be still
rest here where no one will harm
I am soft and forgiving; I will not push back
when you lay over me seeking rest
your heart stilled by serial killers–

The ones we know, we all know
take your soul and they won’t let go
moving on to others, despite my best effort
to hold them here, but I tired, got so tired
leaves surround me, weaving a blanket

The sky watches, the clouds in their misty wisdom
call upon the Father to bless. I know
He sees all, he sees me, when I long for home
and home’s not best. Don’t fail me now
warm hay, soft fur. Take me back

where I came from, take me back
where I was born, this pure, safe place
bring me back to forest,
and dust and dirt
and home

*

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

*

endurance

the speed bumps were hell–every movement forward a vertical climb–each sodden word meant to comfort and encourage pulling her down hard–magnets in her shoes, sticking her feet solid to the road

tripping on cookie crumbles and gravy-laden track, she would never be Secretariat and not turn back, but hell if the memo-rees didn’t sprain her right ankle just as she was pulling ahead of the others

she saw the impact on their faces–after 2 decades of tsunami and degradation–lipstick and powder trying to pull it off–oh, the meanness–how they looked away, then back, then away

God’s provision, the hope in her pockets, kept her looking straight ahead, never at her feet, where even the mice were against her, the skunks conspiring, the rattlesnakes ever loud and insistent–she was not alone

Precious

She cried during Star Wars
and he laughed at her
which made her cry more
turning to lay her cheek
against the cool glass
raindrops on the window
like diamonds

‘Isn’t it precious,’ she thought
lighting a cigarette
and hearing him cough
from across the room
but he’d never tell her to stop
crazy about her grumpy moods
in love with how she exhaled

“Maybe we should get away,” he said
getting up and walking over
kneeling at her feet, and
wrapping his arms about her legs
hearing her reply how she liked
things the way they were, and
feeling her fingers in his hair

 

Sleeping with the television on

Did I sleep?
I remember moments
when colors flew by
kaleidoscope
and merry-go-round
and you–-smiling
that must have been a dream

our fingers
formed a web between us
and you lifted your hand
to
brush hair off my forehead–-
shivering with the notion
of one hundred nights

I trampled you
and you asked for more
assumptions. predictions. affirmations.
and a storm
of peppermint schnapps
the tip of your tongue
lazy–
saying–
come on

and I was drawing you
into every waking hour
the way I saw you
each day
a new destination
to reach that sunset
with you still seeing me–-

cedar crypts

sunbonnet sue.jpg

Like a cedar crypt
they lie in bags, All
their childhoods
wrapp’t amongst lavender
and dust, and
the scent of every Christmas
Each disappointment
sanitized
with the colors of quilts
The squares of each dress
every drape
all our lives

Jesus, you are not a building

A good Friday psalm

You are not a building.
You are not songs, millennia old.
I am yours and you are mine
and that is my joy

Please don’t let me take that for granted
Or stop thanking you–
for you are not a building
or angry mobs, but you are there

You are not this hate-filled debate
but you see it–hear it–and know
what is true–not this circular argument
that breaks our hearts

You are not my race.
You are not my gender.
You are not my house.
But my body is your temple

I beg you to open my eyes
so I see all of the truth.
Is it enough to know that I need you?
I know myself

I am no better or worse
than anyone on my screen, or
on my street, or in that building
that you are not

crying twice
since coffee
over questions and fears
your voice comes through
the fog of yesterday
the dog barking
the mask peeling
and your generous love
touches my heart
each time I drop to my knees
even so, Lord
even so
You drop over me
a veil that brings
more tears
with only joy

Chasing butterflies

smell pink rose

every green
nourishes me
pulling me further
from the gray
fuchsia and coral
begonia and mother-of-pearl

GE

oh what a whirl
of sight
sound
and color
after paltry days of torpor
I tend to grasp at

bee in rose

so I learn here
what it means
to fill up with joy
I’m a girl
he’s a boy
chasing butterflies
across sun-dappled foliage

GE