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

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

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

Fractures

You are infuriating, he said
(I try, I said)
You drive me wild
(I am wild)
You forget to call
(my heart was calling
I hoped, you had
heard it)

Let’s get away, you said
(I am afraid to fly)
Let’s remember what we
wanted when we started
(I adore you)
I need a break, you say
(you broke me)

You are loud in public
(I wanted you to see me)
You keep to yourself
(it is safer that way)
I adore you
(I feel adored)
I want you
(I wanted you first)

Spring Picnic

They sat together and talked while the clouds couldn’t decide whether to be dark or white, changing and dancing in their indecision of midday. She would say, ‘I think it will rain,’ and look for her umbrella in the bag though she knew damn well she did not pack it. He would lean back and watch her shoulders move with her emotions, straight and soldier’d when content, shaking, when she laughed at his jokes,  then later, sagging under the knowledge of what was taking place. The day was heavy for her, but not to him, because she had not told him in advance. It was a picnic. It was sandwiches cut into rooftops with potato chips and red grapes in zip-lock baggies. It was a checkered tablecloth on the grass, still damp with May when one leaned with an elbow, feeling the earth depress.

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Twisted candy

I saw us
as chocolate and cherry
but over time
we are
Lemonheads and black licorice
sour and bitter
just enough sweet
to keep you on my mind

and every time it rains
we melt a little more
hold on baby
it is going to get
slippery
each dream
a place to get traction
if we do not let go

I loved you at the station

and to consider you anywhere else
whether it be glade or glen
or the food court at a mall
would tarnish our veneer

your backdrop of rail yard and crowds
a pillar of smoke rising
from your corner of the shelter
as you waited and I was late

was worthy of being painted
would it be possible to capture
all of you and the trains and the depot
in the brush strokes

our love is abandoned baggage now
left at the side of the tracks
waiting for its master, as we have gone
two separate ways

Confessions

I try to tell you
without warning
tulips
in a Sèvres vase
between us
your face full of care
but you don’t say why
stirring tea
endlessly

If I were brave
you would hear all of it
this plan
concocted in a
twelve-year-old’s
window
(looking out)
what will it take?
glass showering

Our fingers
forming a web
between us
(you lift your hand
to brush hair
off my forehead)
and I shiver
with the notion
of one hundred nights

I trample you
and you ask for more
(assumptions,
predictions)
and this storm
of peach schnapps
the tip of your tongue
lazy and saying
come on

Each day
a new destination
to reach
that sunset with you
still seeing me
armed-
I draw you
into every waking hour
(the way I see you)

Perhaps in time
my solitude
could be interrupted
by your own
sunlight
from somewhere deep
(do you suppose)
it could be you
in the long run