Shade

There are

played

unwashed moments of

circumference

like silk wars

beneath unspoken seige

words hard to cleave

shape the ancestor

filling hallway with

limit and possibility

as day turns golden outside

we remain in shade

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The growing chronicles #1 Bitters


I’m too tired

dear one

to refute your love of harm

or as you put it

hard but necessary truth

just as Swedish bitters are

good for you

spare the rod, spoil the child

so you ensured I learned the hard way

 

why then

do criticisms often taste

like gunpowder?

that overwhelming urge to correct at every turn

just like you were created to hurt?

what line, invisible or seen, exists?

to guide the critic in their pursuit

of picking apart the flaw

remaking anew and improved

 

you can do better

was my Christian name

you need to apply yourself more

the nightly prayer

and being absent

my response

 

you see

tear someone down consistently and enough?

you light them on fire

they become not as you hoped

your obedient (but inferior) acolyte

but something fragmented

a faulty firework longing to explode

earthbound and simmering beneath

your superior

assault

The barrier of herself

The bird

who is not a bird

but has mosaic feathers

dipped in tar

this bird

who is neither oil nor waterproof

sinks

and then

licked by white fire

lent by God or fishermen

some happen-chance salvation of sorts

this bird

rises as phoenican ships will be

swallowed momentarily by

cresting waves the size of

mountains

bursts with light only matched

by a lifting of spirit into cloud

casting her netted permanance

against rush and churn

of life fighting with itself

this bird

who now possesses compass and ink

soars in oxygen and silence

this bird

who spent years

fearing how

instinctively breaks through

the barrier of herself

For Paul

016_imogen-cunningham_theredlistIn the other place of keeping

afterward when door is softly closed

and light extinguished

where flowers bloom without need of sun

perfuming air with unseen stamen

at last you are unburdened, free of torment

we sit at oiled wood table

eating buttered toast with fingertips

you tell me of  real things

that time you fell into a river as

you reached for tires swinging overhead

just one more inch and you’d have been saved

from submerging with oily fish

and yet you say, it taught you

the value of sinking and how quiet

beneath the world can be

where creatures with opaque eyes glide past

watching you try to breathe

they called it a near drowning

you claimed second-sight

we shuffle our checkers, mindful

it’s your turn to win tonight

 

for Paul

you were a brother of sorts

sprinting ahead of jostling crowd

lean and bronzed by effort

your heart a flutter of machination

once you said, now I am old

and I laughed and reminded you

there’s so much time left

except you knew

and I did not

time can collapse upon itself

just as it begins so it can end

all the days we spent waiting for the next

better to live now and climb

that tree to sling rope and dangle seat

children long after us

will come to the river and watch

each others fear and then wonder

jumping into the void

and as you are gone

I clear away the plates and ready for the next day

not sure it will be free of rain

I hear you outside among the trees

you are laughing at me

for my fear of things I cannot know

remember, you say, it’s not about control

it’s about having the courage to try

I watch you walk toward the river

you are straight and lean again

no scars, no pain cross your way

I want to go with you but you have told me

it is not yet time

we’ll play again, be patient

master this moment

live now in the warm rush of water

watching overhead

moving clouds turning from blue to white

and then to grey

 

For Paul. You counted, and you mattered.

 

Disabused

dee1425102310418306849166b24e12din the shape of hurt

disabused crumbs that should have been cleared up

leave indents in her skin

the dirty light lets in patterns

betraying themselves in dent

sophomoric hush of fan

blowing away evidence

her nose stung

from her plunge

into white rabbit’s secret stash

her thighs burned

from the price

all dare-devils pay

her lips hurt

where he bit them

stain the world red

baby

he said

and pushed her head

down where the glory

hole and the mad hum

met and danced

in fish net

fling yourself open

oh no please don’t

smile until your skin peaks off

they’ll never know

pensive sadness limbering in the wings

hide …. hide

behind the downcast flicker

comedians you see, are often glad to make you laugh

for they get

in audience

to bedazzle

through the glamor you hide yourself

a slow leak of helium

deflating

out of sight

lest we reveal

motioning truth

behind our tight, painted smile

they made a pact

to promise the impossible

and she did

because to her

nothing was impossible

she could hold her breath

swim all the way to the end

rubber bricks don’t scare her

she is made of water

hefting it from its press

her fingers cramp

she tells herself

this is just like every day

we get up …. we hold on

grasping harder, she pulls

surfacing to the sound

of suffered world

with its groans and verucca socks

a response to noise

to lie just beneath

the surface

glimmering

letting fawn dappled light

reach through

Pesadilla

retrato-sobre-la-pesadilla-de-tener-quintillizos-gana-premio1Dreams

when they turn ugly

are the more familiar landscape

and taste real in their message

though I drive them out

like wolves from the lambs gate must

be refused

prophecy or fear demands

we turn the taste of metal in our mouths

wondering which alchemy

holds the pick

to let us out of this clink

wrists accustomed to confine

sometimes I climb inside the nightmare

looking for signs and meaning

did one mind really create this world?

why am I so talented at weaving

the wrong perspective and

so weak in my try out for cheer?

was it the day I was left alone

to forage and forget how to be

one of you

or in wandering too far from the path

did I eat poison and lapse into a sleep

from which I am still part?

is this real or

do the hands of my foes

restraining wakefulness

feel the heavier and familiar both?

for we learn to grind our own grain

the sounds the pain

separate the chaff from the seed

who is and who is not

trust the mask

trust the god

trust the cat who sphinx like will

scratch and spit

they say women have no sisterhood

and circumcision can rent our heat

they veil us and shave us bald

we stand in our sagging against the merit

and scald

I recall once hearing a woman berated

for not sucking deep enough

without needing to see

I felt her knees ache, her back bend

her neck like a wilted flower

given out of obligation not affection

it taught me

to suck long and hard

in hope I could

remove the stopper holding us down

bursting we’d climb

out of our bottle

genii’s in rags

what would the world do if

men became pregnant and jin

held the whip?

what would the world do

if women no longer tore at each other

with blackened nails?

what would the world do

if I learned the way home

and nightmares were left to fringe

the lonely woods beyond

where crows pecked the gloat

exulting in their horror

what would I do

if I woke up whole

and climbing out of a sun filled bed

went downstairs to breakfast

and there you were

your arms out, your knives dull

sitting at the table set for all of us