fears of the fathers

sailing through cherry blossom days
and crème brûlée nights
she wasn’t going to lay down her arms
for a mere brat of a boy
saving up her trinkets for later
giving him all her daydreams
and night sweats

he did not know the tango
but they moved through summer
amid a soundtrack of Ravel
and Aguilera
all second thoughts
stuffed under the mattress

back in the town onto which
they shook the clay from their shoes
all their dues, paid
if you took into account
their mothers’ latent wishes
and the fears of their fathers

Why it did not work (two lifetimes)




I wish I was not the one
to turn his head
to make him think of me
(that time)
over coffee
and raspberry danish
but I do not know why

He called me brutish
for not wanting him-
and not wanting her
to have him
I said – it is not
that I don’t want you-
I don’t know
what to do with you

He could not see
that I had been taken apart
(more than once)
and put back together
not like the others –
it isn’t for lack of desire
(God knows I desire)
but fear pokes its nose in

He wants cruises
and long treks into the hills –
I want a lifetime
to learn how
to make the best lasagne
to figure out how words weave
and grow powerful

(why do I feel guilty)
(that) there are times
I want to be left alone

Saddle up

It started yesterday
as I went through my chores
my lists
working and doing
my thoughts got lost in hoof beats

Someone shook me
to get my attention
what is this dark, this shadow
that makes its way through my brain
with a will of its own? And later

during dinner, the pounding
that I perceived to be my own heartbeat
again, riders of another world traversing
my thoughts without consent
my concentration and my focus
comminuted as they picked up speed-

Why?

I am no one-a poor girl with dreams
it is hard enough to sift the toothsome
dreaming from the nightmares
but now I must try to harness them
in my waking hours
and I am not capable

I don’t have that sort of cunning
to put the bit in the mouth and keep reins
taut, to bring the thoughts back
to what I wanted, what I will
these convoluted desires

these wishes become goals
and they ride on, with no thought
the night is coming
and I will be trampled

 

 

 

grievances

self-pity
forgive me
isn’t pretty
crying with ruby-
throated sparrows
roof-top
when he did not
see me
he’s a
one-strike-
you’re-out man

all my words
any accolades
mere dust
when I see his
eyes go blank
knowing he
does not hear me
(desperately braiding
a tether to reach)

I was not her
I don’t have
delicate hands
(they have fought,
caressed,
held up babies
and made love
like a warrior)
my hands are not small

through another window
someone moans
complains
my mind still wedged
in fascination
(her voice
fading
to a hum)
smiling
as fairies come

Wild flower on asphalt

Agraulis_vanillae_at_Isla_Margarita.jpg

Lying in the middle of prairie flowers and wild
grasses-better than in the road-and how much do I owe
for loss of time money and how much it cost
in the long run. Sometimes we mourn and then find out
we were holding the knife that cut down our past

When we met I was in a shop buying a chicken, writing
a poem on the back of a grocery list. I want that mystique
that kept you coming around. A rose died-so what
you gave it to me-so what. I can buy dozens of flowers
but you-there is just one-you fell asleep on my breast

Our love is not like the others, cool as Eskimo nights
our love is crispy like chalupas – with a creamy center
driving through the days and weeks, trying not to
drown ourselves. I painted you with a touch of noir, making you
over with the look of Bogart I needed to navigate life

I get blue when I see what has become of you
so far from the happy times I barely recognize
the boy from 1989. Did someone do this to you
(did I ) or did you let it happen?
Every happiness flown away like fritillaries

 

*****

The Gulf fritillary or passion butterfly (Agraulis vanillae), photo by The Photographer

lying flat under a shared sky

clouds.jpg

you broke your word
and you changed your terms
your ideas about
what that meant for us
for the world
we had imagined then

clouds float by
bringing me peace
making me feel safe
you know, you can’t
touch this heart, anyway
it is not yours to save

writing songs
about love affairs
struttin’ smug
but that is not
what this game is about
called because of rain and mud

and the clouds
they leave me peaceful
not sticking around
to turn gray, and
it’s alright if you
don’t want this heart

it isn’t yours to save
no, it isn’t yours to save

Playing catch

I am not so brave
this mask
took years to craft
he says
are you obsessed
with being heard
I think
listening to you
that
he could be right

but first
before you decide
hold out your hands
and know
my deepest wish
is when I throw the ball
that you will catch it

fingers crossed