El largo invierno acaba

(March, 2015)

Attempting to leave behind all of it
the anger, the inability to forgive-
I bathe and put on something new
I purge my body of everything toxic

How do we live as if the winter was not
how do I go on pretending you did not bruise me-
so I go, I sear with fire and cauterize the wounds
so I go, I remember how to let go of the list of wrongs

Without letting go of the wonder, the miracle
as spring takes over my house, as love fills
the empty heart chambers, still sore
and I weep for what is lost – this day

I tell you, this day is for weeping, for what
could have, should have, would’ve been-
looking for purity of heart, something
nobler than good intentions

But tomorrow, tomorrow the weeping will be put away
life allowed to flourish, love allowed to nourish-
tomorrow will be today, and the anger swept up, tucked away
put in the bin for the burning, the burning of the last

The last remains of winter

 

sworn to silence

mom said be quiet
some say
I never spoke
back then

pigtails
dresses
don’t tell
months that felt like years
took years
to get over months

is it unbearable
to not be cherished
then try to join the world
tentative
aloof, and
scared of shadows

staying mean
to keep the walls standing
in the middle
of the crowd
I screamed
my anguish

one on one
I was sworn to silence

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

Would time allow

Again, we are in this crowd
but everyone looks different
and when I look to you
your eyes accuse me (the moon
above does not point fingers)

I resist being pulled into your circle
(how I robbed her of you) oh
the euphoria in our time together
oh, the regret when I consider my debt
and my selfish taking

Not paying attention, til suddenly
you were gone (and so was the time)
relegated to memory and storytelling
our faces changed and softened
my eyes wistful as I remember

That year you wanted me
(more than anyone else alive)
and I had all of you in my hand
until you were not

Sum of my parts

(2015)


I was composed by
Dickinson and Poe
Ingalls and Alcott
Cummings and Keats;
A pen with the ink of
Matthew, Mark, Luke
John, Ringo, George
And Paul, the apostle;

Shaped by the lashes
of a leather belt
and overcooked vegetables
with Sunday roast, and
endless vats of gravy
poured into cups

put food on the pain
eat until you’re stuffed;

Composed by Rock of Ages
What a friend we have in Jesus
sung by saints and the
pure-of-heart-
wife-beaters-closet bigots
friends and adulterers;

Unexpected kindnesses
wrapped in Jean Naté
and Chanel No. 5
a soft, wrinkled hand
with hard candy
wrappers that crinkled
during the prayer;

Constructed by long rainy walks
endless nights without sleep
teachers that saw through me
a welcome friend
in the middle of the heat;

Each cell, every organ complete
I won’t deny any of them
for to remove the painful limbs
would cause the others
to fall apart;

So I walk on
head up-chin out
this is me
take me or leave me
this is who I am
a sum of my life

Until I am done
I’m coming Grandma
some day-to sit next to you
and hear the rest of the stories

Of how we were all
written-prodded
stewed, and shoveled
into what we are





My forest

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

But this life was destined
to be a life of dungeons,
pitfalls, and swamps
and utterly
uphill only

Decisions

(2002)

I sit and wait
for the final take
too soon to waste
the love we taste
I can’t forget
how you laid in my bed
I can’t relate
to the song in your head

Be calm, stay cool
don’t be a fool
you wanted it bad
now go be glad
and let me be
stewing over me
my dead self
there on the shelf

Waiting for life
to come choose me
I’ve waited an eternity
to just be free

Tiramisu

My dearest of valentines
Again we meet
To share cake and wine
And shake off defeat.

I am never on my own
When this day comes around
But your eyes come to mind
Sincere and honor bound.

A day I put violets in your hair
The memory above the rest-
Picking blueberries, stains on fingers
And hearts – forever bless’d.

Bring us to a close – with fondness
The roses in your cheeks will swear
We did not go the distance, my dear-
But none will say the love was not there.

blueberries

Eating fried shrimp together

We fed one another shrimp
my long hair getting in the way
hanging between us, over our arms and laps
he would chew, and take it up in his fingers
playing with it, smelling it

I would lean in, not wanting this to end
kissing his chest – what is the rest?
what do you want to hear of hedonistic folly-
days and weeks of answering to no one but each other
consuming only from the earth

We lied to those we loved
and lay over one another for months
taking turns being on top – ‘don’t stop’
he would say, surprising me
with his submission

From out of the blue, he’d say,
‘You are too kind. You could be meaner.
Too sweet and good to wield
the strap and the rope.’
And I would just laugh
pink nail polish on my toes

Never giving away my true intentions
to keep him held in my grip for as long as
well, as long as I wanted him
wanted only him
he and his flesh my undoing

His voice I still recall
‘please don’t stop,’ and I
would say – please don’t-
I won’t want
to stop

pink sunshine

I could live the rest of my life
with no more tears for you
if it meant Central Park was ours
and W. 32nd when
you sang “My Kind of Town”
at The Spot
my pink sunshines and your beers
no more than a memory now
that small hole in your jeans pocket
from your wallet
all the stupid things I remember
that keep me awake when it is cold and gray
and too foggy to drive