Made a wish

You said

you can’t love me

I’m an underachiever

I said

you can only be an underachiever if you have the capacity to achieve

that means you do, that means you could and if you choose not to

that may mean you have principles in this unprincipled world

you said

you can’t love me

I’m fat

I said

when did the first person in the world say to another person?

that loving someone was contingent upon weight? When did it become

that facile?

and if you are fat then the Pope’s not Catholic, so come on, a stomach roll

or two is a sign you enjoy food

not

a valid reason to be harpooned

you said

you can’t love me

I’m nobody

and I wanted to cry but I’d run out of tears

worrying I’d never hear from you again

so instead I picked up the bucket I collected them in

dropped a silver coin and made a wish

I can’t say what that wish was, or it may not come true

but I’ll give you a clue

the only thing you are is

wrong

because

you’re everything

to me

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Herself

She is, dismissed by men her age who

Gaze hungrily at girls their daughter’s age like

Wolves without pelts, urging toward light

Perhaps they think youth will keep them steady, as age creeps into their veins

But their heads, empty yet, of the carousel of experience

Her soft skin does not reflect the many places she will inhabit

A wisdom in her eyes will more than compensate for any lines

As they draw together in laughter and back again with the sketch of time

She may

Lament her losses but surely not regret the gain

Of a certain suppleness of mind

Hers will one day be, the confidence found over fifty winter’s more

She draws you in with her knowing, like familiar shore

It would be her bursting chest of pressed flowers, against my own, making greater indent of memory

Not a fledgling bird nor snared fox but the beauty of a falcon, gazing into distance

Her love would be measured then blown about the room in spirit form

To chase my wonder of her self possession

She stands in a gown looking out and I see

A bead of sweat we made, caught on her neck like a pearl

Even as I touch her she is untouchable, for her strength

Was forged in deep water and honed over the years like a well turned bell

Can be clearly heard, ringing us towards her

Back still straight and the scars of her living like jewels

She has brought life, she has survived beyond herself and the low imprint of convention

Free of such empty things she is now a lover released from expectation

To be at last

Herself

This wide world

marthagraham1It is lovely

Watching you sleep

Perchance to dream

And with the late snow storm

Whitening outside like hungry baker

Spilling his bag of flour

We cocoon ourselves

Close by spitting fire

Casting spirit animals on chalky walls

The photos of your ancestors

Their ink held eyes glaring

I fear they may not understand

Our kind of intimacy

Their world scrapped tenderness

For raw knuckled survival, no time for choice

Yet we knead our own rise with weary elbows

Perhaps the nature of love has changed clothes

And now wears matching nightgowns, joining toes under blankets

Reading books with curling corners, still watching with appreciation

When like a slip of shimmering glass

You get up to draw the curtains

Only the sound of falling snow

Hushed against our warm roof

Can be heard in this wide world

New season

(This is from one of my poetry collections, I’m not writing much poetry at present due to my illness, so I will be re-posting older poems until I am up and running again).

ae634f02ec11ab548d30f0f0c6546128--girl-paintings-peter-otoole

When we were young

Wearing thrift store clothes like raw diamonds

Unshaved legs soft in abandon

One pair of shoes, muddy by door

Tumbling into bed without washing

Seemed like hair grew over night

And every day we woke fresher

Favorable light is youth

A supple branch that bends

 

We sat opposite each other cross-legged

Nimble in rolling weed

Feeling everything

Each other’s fluid tread

The children in our future

Kicking impatient song

Staying up all night

Laughing at where time had gone

 

We had plenty for every record

Listening carefully

See the message

Head back in dream

Impregnate the future

With transposed screen

 

When we were older

Cold the tiles this time of year

Flossing by the sink

Seeing bags and thinning hair

My breasts

Surely didn’t hang so low

 

Why does it take so long

To prepare ourselves?

First the mask

Then the teeth

Finally the wig

Are we in age

Madam Tussaud’s wax figures?

Where did sleeping on laughter

Shift to carefully preserved?

 

But as I climb into bed next to you

Cold limbed

A light headache

I feel the same

Peace

The familiar

And age falls from me

As leaf from tree

To become dormant and turn to bud

With new season

Such is time

When you are

With me

For survival is found

We looked at the bright box

Lighting reproductions of your brain

You made the inevitable joke

And I wondered how many had

Sat like us, closely squished into single seat

Faux leather gleaming with accumulated sweat

For humor seems solitary solace

When the world goes to hell in a hand basket

Leaving behind folded gloves with bitten tips

Back then I was untrained, in navigating pursing hallways

Pushing wheelchairs, your head horizontal, stapled

Youth’s strength saw us over the sanitized hump

Out into the car park where we ran, loose gowns and trailing bandages

Afterwards felt like climbing out of hell, without traction

Floundering to understand the submersion of health

I told you, even nightmares have to wake up

And with each removed staple, pulled from your sore skull, you found release

Near did I guess, my own oily cavort with sickness

Lay silently sheathed, like store bought bread, just around the corner

I should have worn those pinching purple shoes and danced

You should have run the glow foam 5k and eaten vegan tamales

We should have visited Kavik River Camp in Alaska and climbed jagged cliffs

Tried the new Japanese restaurant with pastel tea lanterns

Wrung out from quick glimpses, thimbles of life

Instead I borrowed on my new found strength

Worked long hours, forgetting to look out the window at passing moon and sun

Putting off tomorrow, building futures without living now

It is our mistake when shown a lesson, not to stop and be mindful

For survival is found in, the smallest moments

A glimmering girl of movement

images

Things are not always what they seem

I came from negative photography so I believed, beauty came from broken wings

She’s is a muted goddess but she feels she is muddied totem and godless

Running on raw feet to keep the fear at bay, she is Zola Bud without a flag

A thin line of angularity, stretching on tarmac into distance with her naked courage

She says, damn it, don’t put me on a pedestal

I want to tell her; it’s just believing in you, but she’s like me in that regard

Children brought up on curses, never believe velvet coated words

They’re drawn to the familiar caustic lack of praise, boiled with the bones of shaven headed ancestors

She feels safe in critical people’s iron gaze, mulling over flaws like antique appraiser

And if I could I would, redo her start, give her warmth and security, raise her up and place, the sunlight in her eyes

A golden trophy for my cousin, who runs at dawn to hide her cries, one long limbed stride into furious future

And as she runs she hears the chime of those who believe in her, even as she can only concentrate, on feeling motion tuning its drum

There in her deep heart, thrumming to keep going, against weather’s worst, she defies expectation, a glimmering girl of movement

 

FOR MY BEAUTIFUL COUSIN. I LOVE YOU.

As only truth will

For I have never

Touched you

Nor looked keenly into your eyes

Where flecks of gold reside

I have not

Made a circle of my arms

Nor placed your hand against my skin

In whispering we tell the bond, far and long

You reached me before, I knew to look

Like coming back from a journey

There you were, the one I always needed

Familiar and apart

In the courage of your determining

You are a whirlwind

You are energy and life made electric

You stir even the dry river, full

Bringing with you

The power of you

As redolent and unapologetic as

Only truth will