Collecting Mother’s

As a child, as an adult

I collected mother’s

Bewitched by what had been absent

The soft strength and maturing gravitas

Of gentle women who suspend the sky

It has long been a desire of mine

To inhabit the energy of mother’s soul, long enough to learn, the mystery

It is as if I am a man-child, cut from peripheral cloth

For she who is a mother, has a remote wholeness I cannot absorb

The density of putting others before herself, to bring life squalling into this world

Surely her soul is closer to the reduction and encroaching waves, shaping time

For her voice speaks of places I have yet to go

Mysteries in the birth and death of life, she intuits

The breaking foamy sound, one of collapse, folding in on itself and remaking

Like marbles in opaque jar, clustered too close to roll, will eventually spill

These tears, when dried, leave furrowed salt smudges

They do not know their existence well enough

To forget that another breeze, wild and hennaed

Would lift even leaden spirit, from washed reproach

Like children on the cusp of summer, appear ethereal, in fine grain light

Laughing with a freedom not found, in classroom

Imparting her knowledge, handed down by palm print

Sometimes I feel I am a fragment of her rich tapestry

A thin thread that could easily unravel and with strong wind

Be carried into puzzling wilderness, away from her sure footed climb

I feel safer when she is near, holding up the world

Her feet deep in red mud, her head just reaching heavens gate

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The preserve of her emotions

Get up.

When you were ten, your body was a springboard

You bent in the wind, dashing forward.

Get up.

When did you start to believe otherwise?

With the coming of stiff mornings and anxiety in your belly?

As life crept nearer to unknown trials?

When did you give up believing?

You could again, hold the Fates cupped in your hand

And blow to scatter, seed to four corners.

Get up.

The white sheet, covers a multitude of unsaid

An imprint of the living, breathing, fear of mankind.

She appears to be a well behaved woman, with hair needing to be trimmed

But like a cake of many layers, the face fit for public consumption, is just wet paint.

If it was acceptable, she’d grab the quiet man, stooping to take her vitals

And craw in his ear, the gravy of her distress.

What would she say? That has not been said before? Who would care? In an ever-ready world powered by rhetoric?

When she was eighteen, she could command attention just by crossing her legs or flashing her eyes

But what a dismal game that felt, a fraud of poker and thighs.

They only paid her heed due to the bewitchment of youth and some promise it told their nether regions.

So often she’d mistaken lust and hunger for love and care

But they were no more than empty vessels, wishing to dock briefly in her harbor.

Her game, if it was one … of fishing for favor, a warm body, a pretend consolation

Left her desolate, like an addict without pipe

All her fancy, dried up and rotten in the artifice of it all.

And then she’d tripped over that invisible and superficial line

From youth, to something men did not wish to define and women morned.

She however, felt relief.

Not to be the party planner, proving her game was fitting in

It was gentler to command less and need no filling or straight flush

Though they say a woman’s worth, must be found in herself

For her sell-by-date leaves her invisible to the world.

And that was true. She did no longer

Turn heads or find men leant in, too close

Instead she was a ghost, haunting the specter of herself

Unsure why she claimed purchase on earth anymore.

It was as if the mic had been turned off

And everyone left the room

For the audition of younger models next door.

She was not a mother and could not connect

With married women who worried their husbands would stray, with downy cheeked baby sitter.

Nor was she eager to fill her face with plastic, just to feel a little of what she’d lost

(Why was it a loss?)

There seemed no path cut out for castaways of normal

No clear direction to take, on the other side of age.

Men … they remained mostly unchanged

Still harboring the illusions of youth, with rapidly balding heads and expanding guts

She felt so much … but who now wanted to hear her words?

Where was an audience for silver haired creatures of Artemis?

If she’d been an owl, she’d have screeched at night

And people would have woken and said; Goodness, that sounds like murder!

Such was her need to share

The preserve of her emotion.

So get up.

Though it has been long since you hopped on one foot

Or worn brightly colored hats, just because you could

And not, for the fondle of admirations dusty nod

But the sheer delight of being at last

A woman of substance.

Her light


Once

I was a narrow backed bird

My wings were thimbles 

Dipped in vermillion

And male birds

With fat heads and thin legs

Betraying insubstantiality

Bowed and pecked, scratched in dirt

Of ardor and the absurd

Inflation being the territory of youth

Puff up, and let loose, shallow breath

I stood, cased in thought

Whorls of sea, hissing in my ears

Watching the pantomime of suitors

Without impression beyond wishing

To reveal innermost truth

To tell them, I am not the amaretto heart

My legs may part but the secret requires a key

The covet you have, is not for me

But a flickering illusion

Born on gold wheat and full fat milk

Where shyly school children sit hip to hip

Attempting to swallow the future, spoonful by spoonful

Wondering

Will I grow tall and willowy? Attract the grazing male?

Or stay suet and solid, in the finery of my own chainmail?

Not shifting with the glare

Nor melting beneath reporate

Feet grounded and solid

Like a much weathered tree will gain, higher purchase

Had I known then

The value of solidity

I’d have filled my belly 

Stretching out like a catamaran

Ready to receive weight of water

Cupped once, twice, thrice

Until beneath us, all else sinks

A stone among stones, building

Fortress against cruel turn of attraction and other auctions

So easily sold for naught

I would have been a yellow woman

Christened by yoke

Feathered in shellac pose

Hardened in ocre sun

Yet able to rise like morning bread

To embrace the less savage road

Where love is not dependant upon

Rude strings of shiny beeds and fleeting sum

Nor the appraisal of one, unable to understand

The warm value of the feminine

And not that cast off coat, threadbare in her insulation

He will soon see right through his own

Penchant for the fantastical

She is weathered, moored in confidence, for her walk

He may never glance her way

Though when he says he saw

The sunset and it was beautiful

He may indeed, be describing

Her light

Inheriting the wind


Confessional poets

Are thought of in the feminine perjorative

Ironically men 

Confess their camoflage

When calling their characters Hank

That’s for you … Mr blowhard Bukowski

Or Billy Childish, nuff said, I suspect

Whilst this Plath enigma, I doubt shall ever be cracked

Anymore than the grey stones weighting sweater

Sexton either, what beautiful ankles and rouged lips

Even as she slipped, beneath the veil of sanity

Like a greyhound needing to outrun, even itself

Madness grows peacock feathers for weeds

Just another error in a misguided map

Thinking women lesser, colinders of experience

If I’d been a man I’d have 

Grown my hair like a mane

Been kind to my daughters

And changed the notion of authority

For my words would be exclaimed intensely feminine

Applauded for

A man having been 

A better woman

Like Bono and his award 

We give ourselves away

By the bouquet full

Whatever happened

To women inheriting the wind?

Carburetor

IslBGI knew it when

I popped the car hood

instead of the gas tank lock

and you

without chastising

pressed it shut

the movement of your muscles

against your pink shirt

a combining of female and male energy

my Korean acupuncturist said

ill-health comes from imbalance

and I

may love a girl

with a neck like a tropical flower

but we flow through one another

yin and yang

taking branches of each others

life force

gathering energies like streaks of rain

hitting the windscreen as we drive

listening to old songs

hand in hand

It’s a girl

Jean Shrimpton in Harper’s Bazaar.jpegYou try to convince yourself

but the only person who believes you

is you

with your hands in the warm water of the sink

faraway you hear the sound of dishes being washed

see a woman standing straight backed

her toes inverted

she’s staring out into the night garden

wondering why she believes herself

when everyone else can see she’s a fraud

a pretence

someone who subsists on delusions

like age doesn’t matter and

success isn’t measured by attainment

her thin veined hands

busy with pots and pans

to keep from stillness striking her dumb

 

behold her truth

she has gone through life with her mouth sewn

tied into knots of her own doing

and a few given her at birth

when they lifted her out into the stale city air

and said

well I see that

it’s a girl

La femme du tigre

6a0105356c398f970c0133ed4b470b970b-piA woman

may forget she is a woman

tear into another woman

becoming an ivory toothed tiger

when she has supped too long on the notion

she is without force unless she bites or rips the entrails

of those who may attack her first

and this woman

she does not understand yet

the color of doves and their cresting message

nor the many mistakes leading her to believe

she is a tiger in need of feeding on her sisters

those girls who should be under her awning

defiant beneath banded join

she forgets because she is afraid

she omits because she is scared

her time will come and others …

women who are also tigers

will eat her in juicy pieces with succulent delight

I tell this striped woman

put away your magnificent teeth

come and hold me high

together we are taller

we can clamber on each other’s shoulders

teach the other women who think they are tigers

who must bite and stifle our journey

it is better for women who are tigers

to earn our stripes by supporting the world

paw by paw

for we only keep ourselves down in fear and confusion

when we snap at the truth

we are as free as we want to be

the chains we think exist are our own

no man owns a woman

no woman can ruin another woman

if we promise to respect each other

if we hold back permission for cruelty

lower our arching back and offer

come ride with me I will see you to safety

it is just a short way over the mountain

we can make it if we ride there

together