B side

franccca7oise-dorleac-photo_03One

There you play your favorite B side and drive in your mind

fermenting beyond chicory

no-one else knows

basking in old songs

she finds the segment of Clementine

hidden from view in liquor box

melting resistance

as nationalists surge in Catholic crimson

could be now or a light house seeking ship

printed beneath creamy lost voices

 

Two

She could propel herself with saline drying her toes white

transfixed on survival as

Boudicca led bronze and stone fighters

daubed azure over thorny field

if she lived today she’d share a Menthol Salem Light with Stevie Nicks

warning women against Xanax

in Miu Miu sunglasses

capturing the drum-beat of her many-armed dervish

as a little girl learned to spell

sounding out her letters

heroine in slow motion

A

B

C

fire

walk

with

me

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We believe

Use your long words

describe the smell of memory

antiseptic

there in your transparent igloo

born to incubate

smoke before it’s legal on your mother’s habit

bequeath me the tendency

to live without need

from pockets we pull

the nurture the seed

sprouting in defiance

when everything else died of frost bite

against the ire of a late Winter storm

gusting itself into white rage

through the glass you see

yourself being re-made

in the eyes of old women whose wrinkles

make a universal puzzle

and the swell of hills

cast over with violet

a heaven of sorts in setting light

glazing countertops

for foot prints of unseen beast

leading off into nearby copse

could we will ourselves

another go around?

stepping backward into

infancy, chewing the umbilical

surrounded by potential like

a wet firework strains to explode

would it be any different?

your hands, molding my shape

DNA

the type of pasta eaten

over Lake Como the day

of conception

holy was the love that bore the wish

lost in steepled weather vein

glistening against straining light

a mockery of control

just out of reach

there she is

eighty years from now and

just re-born

in unfurled leaves and first sprouting

green a forbidden thing

among the white ushers and

dark flitting ponderable

marveling we can be conscious

of ourselves and of nothing more

than a stream aching to unfreeze

creep closer to living

inch by inch

two warm bodies without a thing between them

aside the shame of knowing

we live both futile and richly

worming our way into the meat

and tender bruise of absolving

those things we believe we need

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

 

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

The undead heart

b7e9260585815d324f4850ebd699eaf3In my head

there’s a record on a turn table glossy and black

when it gets to certain grooves I recognize the play of needle over vinyl and each crackle is a familiar passage through well-worn emotion

I turn everything on to create loudness

to expunge what I hear by drowning out

the washing machine, the dish washer, the blender, the coffee grinder, the lawn mower, the radio, the alarm clock, the hair dryer

I run the bath, I run the shower, I run the sprinkler, I run the garbage disposal, I run away from the song

It has one word going round and round

one face, one memory, two memories, a thousand

a wrist with a silver bracelet on, flung in sleep against burgundy sheet

every time you brushed the hair away from my eye, every squeeze of our fingers captured, every kiss, every smile, every year I see the wave of loss it is not so far beyond turbulence

today the clouds will not clear, I get in the car, I tune to the loudest song, I scream as I drive, years burning my eyes, straining to see through my own download

If I had a name for it that name would be wreckage, ruin, destruction, destroyed, unplug  me, burn it out, scold,  defeat, disintegrate, desolate, muted, drowning and burning at once

I would be a legion of black horses sweating sorrow

I would be a night never turning into tomorrow

I would be a shroud worse than death for the one glimmer

that hurts the worst and makes you hold your breath ever deeper

a chain, a spike, a hammer, a knife

and all I felt was love

and all I wanted was you

and all I am is nothing

It plays round and round

like two hands cupping sound

no amount of running or noise can disturb

the undead heart

Full

f64c917f731235b5604b2779ecb5e01bMy hand

resting a top yours

the same size in our shadow

you with little feet and longer ties

inheriting portions

 

I see in your eyes

the easement of life

as if you are in slow motion

falling gently behind yourself

going back in time

I think of the local cinema

being old enough to see over the railing

a film about a man plugged to a machine

all his memories flickering in retreat

until he is a fetus a heartbeat a blip

so far back he does not exist

 

is that you?

dissolving, reducing

I watch bread rise and moon’s sink

wonder at the circular motion of things

how I slept with a light on

now you remind me

not to close the door

my chest aches for what I long to give but cannot

 

it is as if you were born of me

my longing to love

I cannot make sense of why

but you were always the only one

my arms reach at night for your surround

 

I hear your voice on hungry chime of wind

all the pain blooms around me

like cancan girls frothing their scarlet hems

I remember bougainvillea climbing up the walls

can see you with your hair slicked back from the bath

steam rising in dark breeze

 

you made a circle of me and wore me around your neck

where I lay far too still listening to your heart beat

now we are divided by wire and thread

two half-made mannequins

no matter how far I stretch

I cannot reach your gaze

it stared listless at angry waves

as they build and recede

in the abyss of your memories

Cadenza

220px-Beethoven_-_Concerto_in_C_minor,_cadenza.pngWhat is life?

but a pinch

a child’s voice garbled underwater

sinking like stone’s cadenza wish

for more or less

but just

this round

made with cupped hands

holding cream in meshed fingers

lift me over the wall

what do we discover?

in gardens walked with made

 

I have been unable to let you out of my blood

you are the circle of red wrapped around my wrist

a memory of starting point

whistling in cold pirouetting trees

I light an amber fire

to keep you from passing by

don’t stop

don’t call my name

cool the snare about my self

I may recognize

I may respond

It was ever my way

 

you had my brine rubbed into permanence

I was pricked on the thumb

the cast of fate showing me our join

a thin silver line not wide enough

to separate us

the villain lies in that ache

birthing longing on your shore

will you pull me closer

stitch ever, the bind fastening

a snatch of braid

wound like ivy to darken

descended skies

in timerous pause