in a stew

 

will you make me stop
thinking about you
when sleep finally arrives–
waiting out all of our seasons
for the sake
of bitter herbs in the soup

the bitter
with the sweet and savoury
is always there
not this one-dimensional
two-headed
Frankenstein monster
you imagine us to be

yesterday was a game
will you take a chance
and paint your dreams
on a griddle of hotcakes
with syrupy regret
that makes you sick
and leaves you wet

shouldn’t keep
hunting for the hunter
running after our destroyer
one step ahead
and two back
for no good reason
except that it feels right
to stroke the dark places

if no one sees
who does it hurt
when we re-configure our
boundaries
some given
others drawn
with the same old piece of chalk
nearly used up

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Communion

august roses.jpg

 

In the hot car
that damned a/c we never fixed
I pull my hair back and twist it
impaling the knot with chopsticks
wiping my forehead with a napkin
The heat is oppressive

And the tension
of what distracted me in church
from hearing the gospel
hangs between us
anger. frustration. pain.
all hovering in the void

Starting the car
I pull my dress up over my knees
to be cooler
and catch his brief glance
sure he’s a breast man himself
but will still admire my legs
blatantly

The mood lightens at this
and pulling out of the parking lot
I turn the car towards home
thinking, yeah
we’ll stay together, but
don’t you dare call it fate

you do the math

dancing in my living room
to George and Elton
(does it really happen
if no-one sees it? like
that proverbial
tree in the forest)

he says I never go out
(though I 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 will find
a new kind of joy
wrap’d in understanding, and
lessons learned (old flames–-
new rites of passage)
let’s not forget, and dance to now
(rhianna, radiohead, foo fighters
+ the beatles,
the eagles, and 21 pilots,
shaken and stirred)

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

Didn’t we die, bit by bit

each night
something new
tossed into the stew
with the carrots and red potatoes
the gravy and its
discontent
covering everything

I walked around
the disease
adding up the slights
I heard talk of gangrene
as I searched
for that four-leaf clover
since ten
(holy shit)
that seems foolhardy

Then wasn’t it sweet
following that wretched meal
with cheesecake
and café au lait
each measured step upon rose petals
toward silk bliss
the decay forgotten
for hours

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

Forest for the trees

You are not mine–it was a dream
and each time I imagined us
I saw you–solid–under me
(not) considering
I would be (not) yours;

What is to be done? I do not know
you were a dream, and we together
felt bigger than [the sum of] us apart–
I would have given anything
I do not know what to do;

And what of this logjam?
Each tree we cut down
(logs from every bridge we burned)
charred and slamming together–
kind of hard to see the charm
in this river now;

So will you go? I cannot
offer you what she does
my hands are not small
they are strong
they have worked hard–

I hear her words are gold, but
my words are like cymbals
wind chimes on a headache
ineffectual at the least–
I am not a social success;

Once I hugged a tree.
I put it on my resume, and
they were not amused
each road I took that felt right
had a block, and an impasse;

So here you are:
treehugger
poet
scribbler, to be accurate;

I held babies
until they slept. I sang
Silent Night, Holy Night
until she
let go of my hand;

a mother
singing karaoke.

(peace)

Coupling as improv

I always thought I was
clever at ad-libbing
even in the middle of a tornado
ripping the seams of the house
while we slept, never panicking
figuring on getting by
on rations

Thus, when you told me
you would be leaving
I had a new resolve, and
it did not lay me outright
like a lizard, drinking
from a puddle of my fears
and your disappointment

I ask you again, are we
a mystery or a thriller, as
much of what makes us
who we are
is simple to understand
regardless of the storm coming.
Are we not thrilled?

Falling in love
was the easy part
though once inside, the
getting out
took more work
than we could have imagined

My doubts oozing around the windows
your suspicion coating the walls
foolhardy at our best
trying to read the future
in the dishwater
always murky

the wind is changing again

all of our spring and summer
went wild with autumn
then froze solid
each tender caress replaced
with slaps and words tossed askew
seasonally mad

each private spot I showed you
in a weak moment, is
now vulnerable to windy storms
and harsh words
like a little girl eyes up
(please be kind)

it is a matter of time, before
that girl will recall her strength
close the door forever
that allowed you in, and
let inside
the wind and weather

In the ring

Each day we brushed
up against one another
(we could have had
all the chocolates
a friendship can offer)
sweet notes
spoiled by bitter tones

I was in awe
of you on a pedestal
you did not ask for
walking around me
in bullfighter stance, when
bending my head to charge
I watched you crumble

While regrets ate my resolve
no sleep, and no inclination
to count days
measuring quality of life
reclining
sucking up oxygen
and strawberries