All my reasons

He left wearing his game face
past adobe archways
mid-century balconies
threatening to pour down
on his sore head
passing a row of casement windows
shaking off yesterday
and all my reasons

I insulated my boudoir
my heriot paid in full
a coat of arms on every wall
with something to prove
but my vassalage is for life
all the dried flowers littering
the base of hoary shrines
are no proof that my heart
is on his sleeve

He replied to my missive with sadness, papers
clearly wet first, then dried
still unsure how to tell him
that I am enclave’d here
where melancholy is indigenous
but I stay, I stay and no predator
will yank me thus, so long as
this undeserved forest
shelters me

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72 rue de Belleville

I can’t get in front of it
wide berth
soft shoe
every listed thing
from all the January’s
I have lived

When you come to me
tripping
falling
failing
I can give you all of
the patience love and waits

But I am not enough
for me
for what I wanted
what was planned
during each hurricane
through which
I have lived

I am not enough
and I do not know
if I can live with me
failing
falling
tripping
I do not have the patience
to wait
for me to catch up

Late

Two hours
I have been reading instead of writing
because my tank feels empty

Two hours
left to accomplish a goal that takes five
oh grief, let me be

Two hours
lazy and sucking down eggstoast and coffee
feelin’ guilty about
(everything)
goals

Two hours more, to
writetenthousandwords
take a walk
read three chapters
showershavemylegs
write a letter, do my hair
and show up looking
like there is life

in here

On finding old cherry tomatoes in the back of the refrigerator

Why do I feel sad, pulling them from the back with some resistance from a bit of old green Jell-O gluing their container to the clear glass shelf

their red firm flesh when I bought them, cylindrical and perfect; I paid twice what they were worth in order to have that pop-into-my-mouth sweet satisfaction–how I don’t bite with teeth but compress between tongue and roof of the mouth until

pop

the juices wash over tongue and teeth and slide down the throat–

and now I see the puckered old skin and raisin-like rind, and I almost cry for what is lost what was and what could have been

in a salad, or sitting on a plate plump, ripe, and ready for tasting

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

where your cache is

yesterday I want to make over
start from five a.m.–
take each step slower
deeper through the mud
for it is so clear
that sliding through did not work

breaking the rules
is fine and good
but I did not write them
and I see so much clearer
than you do
can you take that in the jewels

I’m still in
but not like this
everyone watching
you know I am not
a palm tree on the sand
kind of girl
you can keep
your little umbrellas

the best of you and me
wrap’t together
in fog and gauze–
it’s alright
I never wanted the sun
but if I can catch it
I have always lusted after
the moon

The usual scars

I tried to be cool about it, no tears
at the start when small losses
left minor marks upon my body
civility insists we do not complain

Who does not have failures? Misfires
we wear like weights from our limbs
that happen once, then dog us.
I am never alone in this muck we tread

When another incident let blood
I was mortified, staying home
to not leave a trail, don’t
upset people. Don’t remind them

But when some flesh was sheared
from the kneecap and an elbow
where I could scarcely afford it
self-pity set in and I wrote about it

Someone called me poet, and
another brought soup for my troubles
we sat and shared a half-pint left over
from the new year celebration

We sang a song–making up verses
about a monkey and a typewriter.
She showed me where she had lost a toe
the year she tried to join a gym

Our songs reached into the neighborhood
as we walked to the liquor store
well into the night, we listed our losses
and we sang a good deal more

of love and coincidence, of kindness
and bearing each others burdens
falling asleep with our feet in the fountain
where someone had said that we could be healed

*

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2
English Standard Version (ESV)

*

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

Puddles

Can you hear me?
My voice is quieter
after the storm
the windows shut tight
to keep the rain out

When the blue gets in
in spite of my weather-proof house
I pull up the memory of a day
when the rain felt good

We splashed and danced
and thumbed our noses
at the soaking wet
knowing we could take it

wearing our
falling-in-love-again macs