Ash

I have always been ash

ash was in my mouth when I first cleared my lungs

coming from the inside out

unwrinkling doubt

I have always been ash

ash was in my hair tinging it with streaks of despair

shouting from roof tops

some of us are better off unborn

I have always been ash

ash was my bed fellow when light was dimmed

we lay side by side, reluctant sardines

licking the brine from our dessication

I have always been ash

ash was my first lover who turned the oiled key 

a world of hurt in carnival ride

the painted horses, so noble, so fine

I have always been ash

ash is my name, fingerprint, DNA

ash is my best friend, last sex, the one who will

nail Beachwood coffin shut, throw the earth

on top, along with ash it mixes and turns

white like skeletons

dance

between

the

plots

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Defiance

14718735_10202095537187418_8475389863967140182_nAs she ticks upward

the hours tick down

crossed off by permanent pen

no you will not live this moment again

seize it as you would a hot sparkler

waved maniacal by laughing children

through mittened thin protection of wool

and in that conjure

you still the thunder of

what you didn’t achieve

what you didn’t yet reach

in the circumference of your dreams

just before burn

becomes indelible

raise up

let go of all worldly commands

to obey and bow

you are beholden only

to ushered majesty of tomorrow

make it worth your time

here standing in line with

other decaying eyes

blinking against saline

for soon you will rise

a little sorer for your walk

parchment for skin

timidity taking over waltz

then when you think it’s too late

surprise yourself again

swelling with love and energy

like the old dog who hears his returning master

will out run even March hare

for nothing is as lasting

as devotion

turning blushing cheek to quixotic moon

spilling beyond possibility

like frozen water is released

with first thaw

purest of all

Social

I do not have one photograph of me in a crowd

since I was 15

dispersal it seems

happens when clams

decide they do not want to be eaten

lying upside down in shell

rocking slightly to the swell

of another’s hunger

nor does the sour effervessence of champagne

dull the gritty pearl’s fate

when she is presented raw and quivering

longing for the sea and the weight of water

upon her shell

perhaps that is why shell fish was outlawed

in the Tulmud

we sit in our red tents

beyond the barnacled city walls

wondering at such things

and though we stand alone in photographs

it feels much like we are in a crowd

for the boyance of honesty is best of all

perhaps like pearls comprised of rubbed elements

swirling into circles

the truth has a way of

brining us back to shore

 

Forlorn

Are you sorry now?

Cowlicked

Sallow youth

Fingering the dried sheets

Of childhood

Painted manouschka 

Could you know

The first hallilullah?

Fused life

As you sat with well worn magazine 

Mopping up what’s left

Wheeling out of butcher’s theatre

Give the cigarette girl

A penny….. so she

Doesn’t bend in two for the muscled drummer

Who plays the same record throughout a long night

Testing her tightly strung strings

With bitten thumbs 

Let her know

The birth of understanding 

Comes not in filling empty bottles

With crawling dark

But something of the learned

Depth of solitude

Dying out imprints 

Like stretched skins behind glass

Look forlorn

Clock-face

a-girl-a-dog-and-a-horse-1921Laughter spills out, an unexpected guest

been many seasons replacing themselves since

she danced to a good song

look! What shakes now that used to be firm

standing painting your public face on

you omitted to check

the clocks wound themselves forward

now you tear the grey from your hair and lament; how long it takes to recover yourself?

standing flat-footed before a mirror where is the succor for survival?

in the weight of your accumulation? Bales waiting tied snug and square

maybe the lake doesn’t ask for praise when it endures the ice

nor the escapees praise, their fortune

we wear the badges of our internal battles on the inside of our skin

nobody congratulated, the warrior who holds us from despair

media will not report those valiant souls making their way through treacle

and every once in a while it surprised you to witness

winter talenting to spring

water getting warmer

new generations crowd shoreline

unknowing in a blink

they too will wonder

how it had been so long?

since they danced

in the arms of someone who saw

the silver thread in their being

as if miracles were fashioned for the living

and stories of a shared song could rub true

instead of lifting your sagging arms toward heaven

halving wan light of a late winter moon

lighting the shift of clock-faces

tucking their knowledge in shadow

Except smell

I did not speak your language

until I learned in the dust of play

communicating with shapes and funny faces

then I understood more until

giving away who I was 

I embraced your world

step by step accents relent

we pawn our histories

to fit in better like the crayon

is never quite the right hue

coughing scarlet consumptive 

we want to be unseen unnoticed

to fly at night when all are sleeping

do not point us out in a crowd

or remind us of who we once were

the immigration of battleworn hearts

denies who we were before we marooned ourselves

in other tongues, other culture

they say you never forget your childhood

what do they know? sitting in the same

room as when they were knee high

the truth is you forget almost anything

except smell

and when you come to hold me close

you ask me why do you cry?

and the cumin of your hair is

something I can never explain

except with hands making

feelings out of air

Now

4617517731She took her cod liver oil

laced her shoes in the dark

completed her paper round

spread her legs for the gynecologist

and occasionally, her husband

dutifully wiped enough asses

to qualify for sainthood

but life said

we don’t feel like being fair

you ate three biscuits when you were ten

that were not yours to eat

and you didn’t tell a soul least of all your grandmother

who would have slapped your wrists with her nylon slipper

greedy girls don’t find husbands!

greedy girls don’t go to heaven!

since then you didn’t take more than your portion

gave away your just desserts

why then should you bend over once more?

no, you say

I think I’ll stop carrying the world on my shoulders

because tomorrow may be the day I’m diagnosed or

a bus will hit me as I cross the street or

I may be tempted to eat 3 fairy cakes

we must live now

in the heat of our step

never unwilling to let go

and dance to the quiet music

in our heads