Consume my hope

If we leave the letter unwritten 
saying nothing

deer leaning in the window salvaging for morsel of night 
grimacing when we stir, wind chimes with pointed feet 
dancing awkwardly in ill-fitting clothes, vindicating a 
suspicion of absurdity

turn from me then, until you stop being and I sit alone
watching faceless walls communing with plaster
you shape my days and can as easily, burn me standing
waiting for a word, a finger-tip, a smudge 

for when you strike, you are a panther, encased in skin
charboiling my heart over wilting blossom 
it is not possible to deny you
the switch of myself shivering electric 
in that, we are alike, the one who loses her hair in bunches and you
who cook longing on high flame 

hang yourself up on the back of my hook, let me catch you wriggling 
in my wet fingers made into a cup
like rounding moons with promise will become fairy circles 

when you emerge, dry-eyed and hot-skinned, let me lick the burn 
ringing your throat like the words you will 
strike out again and again in every ink
catching river stones in your mouth 
under my tongue
stretch out, beckon me, consume my hope 

Unrequited love longs

New York in The 1960's - 70's (3)I didn’t know you felt that way

just as the golden-haired girl

with bleached French roots

didn’t know I felt for her

(or worse, knew, and felt

less than dismissal)

we are ebony dominoes

pass the plain papered parcel

our affections whittled and sharpen

by the smoky knowledge we can never

confess ourselves or pardon

to objects of secreted passion

so remote and out of touch

the girl who falls for

a woman who loves men

the heterosexual who has a crush

on a flamboyant boy

things get broken without throwing

why is emotion so deluded?

I will never tell her my secret

just as you will not reveal yours

in our actions and what we do not say

there is the truth

explaining the easy pain of social discourse

masking itself behind awkwardness

when she talks about the men she dates

I dare not say … choose me you fool

I could make you dance

in a way you have not yet discovered

some people hang out of reach

even for sailors

leaning into the confessional surge

I can empathize

I would never have said yes to unwanted

dinner guests

so why should she entertain a cliché?

girls who like girls fall for those who

cannot be reached across life boats

better I hold my green tongue

admire from afar

the provoking shape of her

the way she knows

people are watching

her sway to

unrequited love songs

Afraid of heights

boy-brunette-cigarette-cool-Favim.com-1321050I always wanted to visit New Hampshire

because of John Irving’s book & the film with Rob Lowe & Natasha Kinski

who

could not act

yet their chiseled attractiveness

stood in for them, a superficial filler

as often is the case

for some that is how

life’s entirety unfolds

they don’t really choose

going with the muslin crowd

falling into things like sharpened

pencils sit neatly on a desk

ready to be taken up & blunted

I never felt easy or molded to

others surges

when the crowd hastened to rise

I would take the other pew, sit a while

watching the admonishment of wood

bending over itself in prayer

where discarded moments

buoyed a sense of artificiality strung on a line

flung into frozen lake

as melancholy as any conjured mist

for it was my curse to be a romantic

& New Hampshire is just another place

where my dreams lay a while

purring against naped fancy

it is sometimes better not to seek them out

for they will never be quite as you imagined

life is no film or book

it is a long & windy road sometimes rendered ugly by

man’s fecund print

the only dream is found

in youth or its diminishing wings

when everything is a stage

& beauty elucidates our need

to believe

the hand of ancient love

helping each other dress stiffly by creaking radiator

four knees popping with affection

I want to retrace the mortar of what beseached

me to hold castles in the air & believe

one day I would witness magic

for if my hopes were less grand

more flat and ordinary

I may not have spent so long

gazing upward at empty rafters

thinking myself an acrobat

afraid of heights

 

SHE

17183914810_d81091c658_bShe has not answered the door in many years

even when she had a door

even when there was a bell to ring

or wood to pound

she recalls once

feeling as if it were only herself

and the world

miming in pirouette masks back and forth

echoing on either side of a shard of glass

and she cut out that feeling with thin lines

blossoming under the bath

bubbling their way into unconsciousness

until lifted from reddening closure

she could not recognize afterward

thin on blood and holy water

her face in the hallway mirror

though she saw how badly the brass frame

needed polishing

perhaps if I smooth the glass

it will show me as I feel

not the scars and the fear

dancing across with pointed shoes

every year she remained patent

underneath the mossy dander

listening for the interupted caller

watching herself grow in reduction

a vile experiment in self exile

once a color, become ash in circles

for her tongue to lap

words left beneath earth

chanting dieties

and her child

was in a bottle set out to sea

playing mahogany violin

that could be captured by

circling satelites looking

much like stars

 

 

Calypso

under-the-old-appletreeThe Gotan Project

reverberating tangoed reggae

the summer we spilled from the first floor

as steel bands pass by in their smart costumes

shiny buttons gleaming against oiled skin

feathered masks and sarsaparilla staining mouths

learning calypso had been the moment

I slipped from one world to the next

we listen peaceably

I tap the point of my shoe and then my heel

like when I wore coins on my sole

you have an oxygen tube in your nose

the bags beneath your eyes are gathering wool

serving your country leveled your ability

for small talk

but music can make strange bed fellows of us

you say

is this Spanish?

I confess I’m unsure

of the exact ingredient

isn’t that true of so much these days?

you snort and for a moment I worry

your beliefs are in line with segregation

until you unfold the photo

of your curly-haired children

their ebony mother with her muscular neck

crossed with sea pearls and a faraway gaze

salt breeze bleaching the tips of fingers

it’s them that keeps me going

you say and your eyes are veined and bright

for a moment as if you absorbed the joy

of love and it healed you

rising from mirthless wheelchair

we shift dry footed across lino floor

whisking it fast with purpose

I am spilling in scarlet, you in patent tux

your hair a wild brillo sheen

the world of what was and what is

flickering beneath rhythmic eye lids

 

For then was our time

three-girls-having-tea-party-at-grace-mcmonagles-house-probably-seattle-washingtonIn thatched thicket of March
invisible webs caught light
staying our hand to remembrance
for then was our time, roughly
put together we stayed storms
our footprints bleaching journey
like shells without swirl
though you often looked
straight-backed and supple
against the long glass
like a diver of pearls who
caught the sheen and glow
they possessed, capturing
in un-rinsed jelly cups the
reddened lips of a child
with her thick inky hair
fastened by protesting ribbon
pouring out of her the shimmer

of deep-sea ancestors

bequeathing you immortality
as cast in moon light you
pause against time’s salty thirst

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