I feel unsteady

these days
not the metaphysical bit
of the mind off kilter

but the way you did not expect of me
toddling over ice and snow
in fear of falling

no longer dancing lightly up and down steps
my skirt brushing my ankles
daring me to try it

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bending with the wind they do not break
strong, like my children
they are stalwart
enduring, their colours remain
long after first frost

in my forest

when I dream
I see what might have been
if Hansel and Gretel’s father
had a change of heart
if he went into that forest
to find them
courageous
before they tasted the candy walls

but this life was destined
to be one of dungeons, pitfalls, and swamps
and utterly
uphill only

The fight

The night is restless
I hear
the backfire of a car
out for a midnight doughnut run
firecrackers in the alley–
and I am awake too–my mind full.
This is not my home

Walls of steel
and your gaze
are not enough
this is not mine
this community
wound tightly
and me still, with
my hands in my lap

What do you suppose it would cost
buying a chance
at happiness
like yours–
do you think
me presumptuous
for trying?

In the arena
The audience goes wild
when the Lions are released–
And I with only my words for defense
might not survive this–
but I just might make it
into the newspapers

Those big cats
reclining and rolling about
yawning and taking their sweet time
–more toying with me than mauling me–
and I make a run for it.

Scuttling past the injured
I smile at each one–treating their wounds
giving them my blessing
their eyes closing as I pass–
they know
I could have done more

Bravery did not stand here
squeaky clean–I got off easy.
Yesterday, I promised you a fair fight
and today I leave without a scratch
my sword still in the sheath
rusty and cold

Chameleon

What do you suppose it takes
to conquer the will, and
bring under submission–
thoughts. urges. inclinations.
regrets. procrastinations. yearnings.
So that no one could say
this is mine you are me
and attempt to drive away
my essence. My me. My center?
I will continue to fight you
as long as I breathe. There is
only one of me and someone
my heart says will be in need
of that me some day. So, I
ought not change the colours
lest I be hidden in the crowd
when me is sought after.
It could even, you know, be
you some day. And I could be
hiding. So look hard. Be brave.

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

(leaving) Yesterday

Walking in the morning still moist from the night before, I blow away mosquitoes and duck pine boughs. No matter what took place in my heart last night, I know this mo(u)rning is a gem to be polished. It is a moment to be cherished and last night is a time to be embalmed and buried. I am through with it.

It is because of You only that I can find peace in this back o’ beyond, these sticks, these boonies, this place where the days merge into something brand new, if I do not stay there.

limbs stiff with worry
sorting wishes into rows
birds serenading