Open letter

Your presence is not required.
I am not the same girl, face down
on the cold floor for relief
not the same needy sycophant
begging for crumbs

Your presence is not requested
at the birthday party for this
newly born woman- not so penurious
as to give nothing back, but not
your problem anymore. My friend

of the east, of the wind and the meadows
showing up out of nowhere with your
five piece one-man-band, and I
with just a knack for getting to the
heart of things, driving you down

Your presence is not required, on your knees.
I won’t demand and deflate
the ego of your youth.
I have my own-and when someone has
got their own, they don’t steal anymore

I have this new path I’m on
mottled with the unknown, and
no map to speak of. Your presence
is not required. But if you would like to join me-
the path stretches far ahead

Ticking

 

Every day I open another door
watching an old one close
turning my head for that moment
hearing the click of the lock
my soul in chains and it is He
who unlocks them-one by one
reminding me I am here
for a greater purpose
everyone hurting – everyone needing
and I have something still to give away

Getting to know my own heart
hiding it even from myself
I get surprised – appalled – scared-
by what oozes out of this organ
the hate and bitterness
the color of death
leaving me now
and I do not look away
at the horror of the decay to my heart
once pulsing and new

So many doors – I get
so easily twisted ’round –
a face from the past
darkening a threshold
confounding me –
what do I really want-
which to choose
and which to board up-
pain when the cells reweave themselves
new life where once was merely debris

It is safe to come out now
as the thunder is less
and the ticking is behind me –
the further I travel down this path
the more I have to learn yet
and I find myself astonished
as I become reacquainted with myself-
loins girded – helmet fastened tight
that others should know me better now
yet you know me less

The fog came across
the hamburger joints and parking lots
and covered our path-
Kicking at clouds
we talked about what we wanted
in 1989. As we walked I said
how I feel no confidence
some days, and he said
‘time will give you confidence,’
But what if my time is short

 

She was a collage

a random spattering of life
over more than one canvas
every do-over leaving a mark

she spread sunshine
unwittingly with her
cutting sense of humour

based mostly on fact
but the ridiculous-ness of it all
made people smile

like a clown, dance for us
make us laugh and dance
and forget the day’s burden

her collage of reds and blacks
and too bright yellows
when she was seeking pure gold

her own heart of gold she did not trust
her thimble-full of hope
she brought out on holidays

Monday is the color of the dishes in my sink

When Monday comes you’ll be doing what you do
what you always do. A productive day
even if you daydream on the way
during drive-through coffee
or heart murmur’d traffic, a world
I left behind, responsible and hectic

Yet, you meet me where I am
in a sink full of dishes that does not end
looking out the window at a world
that is not always a friend
reading books that show me
a thousand worlds

I am not sad – so don’t you feel bad
only keep on covering me
in that sweet veneer
in times like this friendship is dear
when I’m waiting on rain and it just won’t come
brushing my hair with silence instead of a comb

When Monday arrives smelling good in your suit
I’ll be cleaning up from Sunday
and tucking away loot
a dollar in an envelope a fiver in the drawer
under my panties, in my socks
what am I keeping it there for

I’ve got this inclination
call it a whim call it a dream
I’ll check out of here someday
a momentary gleam – of fantasy
and thoughts of luck
and saving every solitary buck

So when I get enough of them
I’ll find contentment
looking like a friend

Extraordinary kindness

approached today
in the midst of clouds and clamour
by my mother(gone since 1997)’s best friend
from long ago

my age now what her age was then
yet I am always a child, the
age of her own daughter
grown, and a grandma now

speaking to me as an equal
saying – let’s be friends like
your mother and I, I believe
we have something in common

melting the cynicism in my center
floating to the surface like dross
her soft voice saying, yes
it’s going to be alright now

monday supper

stewing a chicken is not about
individual ingredients-
on tasting the finished product
no one says,
‘oh, that is delicious rosemary’

nor is humble celery spoken of
at dinner table
dipping delectable dinner rolls
into the gravy
though without it
chicken would be the less

carrot and onion marry and dance
but are never seen on the plate-
does the garlic moan
lurking unseen in the essence
of the graceful flavour

even the hen
the crown jewel of the pot
ripped to shreds
its bones boiled dry
every drop of flavour
extracted
for the succulent sauce

and the people sit and partake
of fulfilling food and conversation
storytelling with smiles
as condiment
rich gravy of friendship
over all

will you let it go



sometimes I write about myself
in third person
so you will never guess
that it is me
that I went through the fire
and came out charred and worn

it is best that you do not know
how often you come to mind
how well I know you
and talk about you to others
it is best you think
about someone else

don’t take this away from me
this safety of darkness
don’t lose the sense of wonder
they beat out of you, in the days
when you were just at the surface
gasping for air-

here and now

the birds brought comfort to my window
as if they knew what I had done
(I used to think I was nice)
my empathy unrivaled-peerless

I must have lit myself on fire
signaling to the others (that we)
were finished. Showing up
day after day, like vultures

I do not lie baby. And
I will miss you (painfully)
This circle of regret
broken up here-now

now while we can get out
now that we can run

making your brain my home

we are committed now to this journey through each others’ minds-
we took the steps and there is no backwards, no backward steps
at least until we reach the end, we’ll see it through to the end
of knowing you, stealing your thoughts until I understand your miseries-
feeling you snake through my head at times tickles, sometimes squeezes hard
in those spots where it is narrow, where I booby-trapped the entrance
every tragedy covered in shame and pushing out the light-
could you just feel your way around, feel your way about the place
so that I might have comfort and warmth where you find
Antarctica, so I could have piles of skins and a blanket of care
your wild passions and tanks against the battlements of a weary mind
and I walk-a-bout your head because you let me, and make it my home
for a little while, make it feel like home until I know you so well
I will conveniently forget where the doors are, forgetting
the front door and also the back