The magic fairground

I scratch my head, the mixture of henna and indigo dyeing my

finger nails black

thinking of the red pill and the blue

Alice and her little vial

Drink Me

Pandora’s Box

Athena’s head exploding, a rebuttal to Zeus

yellowing wallpaper closing women’s mouths

Radcliffe shouts in her lesbian manifest

those following her down the well of loneliness

high waisted and limber of spine.

I want to nibble upon you morning, noon and night

but I do what is right and keep my fantasies in check

behind the lines of notepads and in the ink of pens

I suck till my tongue turns blue-black

your lips remind me of a pomegranate even without rouge

they look edible, lush, full like an excuse never to apologize

we are girls of violet, our pin in the concentration camps was

a pink V

last night I watched When Hitler Stole White Rabbit

at the Jewish Film Festival, chewed the inside of my mouth

in frustration at the abhorrence of others

when I was a child I did not have a pink rabbit

you left your hair brush and your rose water and your

tattered lace-edged simple night gown

I don’t think you ever wore one again, in the 1970s

nude was in vogue

women coming and going

from my father’s room

with dimpled bottoms and breasts like Claire Bretécher 

I learned my likings on photography books, under the section

‘erotica’ and other arts, believing archly

pornography an expression, when now, thinking back

they had such sorrowful eyes

like deer who stare into

the lights of an oncoming truck

is it bravery or hypnosis? Perhaps

it is fatalism, the French, myself

moving to countries who do not condone

indolence, expecting different results

when escape has no good set of keys

just jangles from your pocket like a taunt.

It’s not cute when you’re over thirty, to

long for the purple balloon in the supermarket

or lie, cat-like on the carpet and me-ow when your lover

is mad

it is not seemly, to be childish when you have

your first crows-feet, or need a push-up bra

unless you leave your glasses to the side

dive in, deep and thick

the molasses of not giving a fuck

where 80 year olds, excel and laugh

like they did at eight without front teeth

much the same, much the same.

The magic fairground, everyone remembers names,

I recall songs and colors of girls eyes

how they look sleeping, with their hands flung

like emotions above their heads, bent at the wrist

bangles on the floor, hidden beneath cascading sheets

elegance in angles, the way eyebrows furrow

in thought, how that line shapes over time into

a question mark, the parchment of skin, in

darkness, tracing braille, for the day none of us

will see, more than the outline of certainty.

You said: “Maybe you won’t love me when my

breasts sag, when I stop working out and the

lines of years begin to encroach. Don’t you like my

firm arms, they do not hang like bats, my mother’s did

I am mortally afraid of skin that hisses when you look

at it.”

Perhaps men had done this to you, torn down

your childhood gauze, made you feel the need to

apologize for things to come. I have read

Dreams Of Young Girls, I know how the photographer

can project a fantasy upon a real girl, even

when she is young, begin to pick her apart

as she unfurls like a Christmas amaryllis, not

caring the pickpockets of their distain

leave her in rags. Or maybe it was another

woman and her cruelty or her hatred? Tight

in an ill-fitting jar, straining to propagate.

“After all, you are so perfect,” you said,

smiling at my narrow hips (like a boy)

my unmarked skin (sun-screen)

the thickness of my hair (good shampoo)

how taut my calves look in leggings (optical illusion)

girls with girls tend to compare

it is not always favorable

though we find in our mixing bowl of humility

a little easement

the tasty wick of joy

burning low into auburn night

going over

those fears

with soft fingertips

and gentle reproaching …

Oh softening

Motioning

Nightfall

In whisper find blessed felicity

A body untouched, lain emptied of worth

brought to life, my Lazarus, spinning moon beneath our chins

rounding music fluting her velvet want to stay beautiful physically

for you to hold your breath as you touch, yes I understand

and still, beauty retains a deeper chord

dancing on raw feet to Erik Sate, trying to impress.

No, love, no, age is wine

spreading in the roof of your oval mouth

each place it has visited will transport you back, among the

grapes, tanned beneath reliable sun till just ripe, rolling in barrels

aged over centuries, buried with

secrets, the taste of fruit and toil, lustily on its wood

roots reaching deeply into history, for every year lived

another branch uncoils, the leaves, a brilliant green, bearing fruit

then flowers, finally sheltering, those beneath

such is a woman, such as you are

lying in my arms, the sweat of sleep, hot on your neck

cheeks pushed against my shoulder blades

causing you to look like you are pursing your lips

in effort to dream

finding ways always

to hold you closer,

closer

closer

closer.

Quiet

There is a silence

deep within me

it threatens

to sever my tongue

as the quickening silver moon

dissolves behind tremulous cloud

enriching peace

I am no longer peturbed by

the absurdities of humanity

their voices receed and leave behind

what has always been and always will

a landscape larger than our debris

even planes dare not cut across

the cadant movement of stars

This wide world

marthagraham1It is lovely

Watching you sleep

Perchance to dream

And with the late snow storm

Whitening outside like hungry baker

Spilling his bag of flour

We cocoon ourselves

Close by spitting fire

Casting spirit animals on chalky walls

The photos of your ancestors

Their ink held eyes glaring

I fear they may not understand

Our kind of intimacy

Their world scrapped tenderness

For raw knuckled survival, no time for choice

Yet we knead our own rise with weary elbows

Perhaps the nature of love has changed clothes

And now wears matching nightgowns, joining toes under blankets

Reading books with curling corners, still watching with appreciation

When like a slip of shimmering glass

You get up to draw the curtains

Only the sound of falling snow

Hushed against our warm roof

Can be heard in this wide world

Even

Even the light

Is different

Testing the dura

Of oxygen

Without you

Even thirst

Has no desire

Back to you

What used to matter

Hangs damp in cold room

Thin at neck, gravity urging shape

To stretch uneven and gnarled by neglect.

What used to matter

Is a stain that isn’t removed by washing, even on high

A partial magnet on fridge, without part that gave meaning

Just an outline, take a guess; bird or city, resort or wise crack

We fill in what nolonger makes sense, with the dried impatience of ninety year olds

Unable to return volley.

What used to matter

Lies between us at night, tossing and turning

If we were milk, we’d spoil before first light

But you were always practical, rinsing bottles the night before

If you’d been a typewriter you’d have made a perfect sound at the end of each sentence

ding

You take out the old and bring in the new

I’m reminded of lamps, one shiny, one tarnished

And your face, free of regret, is smooth as avocado forest

But if I tell you, we’ll go round and round, quips about green skin

And eventually sing Kermit’s song; It’s not easy being green

I know this before you’ve even moved, to rid us of silence

That has grown like icicles, betwixt our garden

So it is I, who unlatches back door and places

What used to matter

Out for recycling.

Early morning hands will whisk away

All those spoilt emotions

And sun will dapple our lawn with fresh light

I figure, it’s the start

Of doing things differently

And I climb the stairs

Back to you

A summation of a little life


The soul of solace

Always surprised

As if some spectator diety laughed at the absurdity of prediction 

For mortal souls

Never expected … solace often follows despair

Down a well beaten path

Where all colorful leaves have fallen and turned grey underfoot

She is the red cardinal, flickering like an lacquered fan opening, starkly bright against bleak winter sky

She is the tucked warmth of your bed, greeting weary limbs, needful of respite

A silver section of moonlight, glimpsing like thin nyaad at frosted window

She is the irregular beat of your memory, draining thoughts to drip wet til dry

A summation of a little life

Like a letter from an old friend, coming just when, you’d given up believing in serendipity

Yet she is there, watchful in the eves, of your blunders and taut anxiety

It is in the harmony of reconciliation, laying palm over palm, folding away pain, putting our best clothes on, even as we feel frozen

Walking through ice, glittering from dark branches and exposed tufts of miseltow

A tree filled with scarlet berries, feasted upon by tired ravens, huddled as one

The slow plume of smoke, a tang of burning wood and wet wool

Somewhere, something tries to survive

And pulling together like floundered ship, we tilt wildly and lurch against current

Holding on tightly, the ache in ourselves

Reminder that it is far from over

It may be sometimes grief steals our faith

And then, doorbell rings, a little light climbs in India ink sky

Some discovered solace, salve to thirsting soul, clamboring over emptiness and filling chill with hope

Mercy

picasso-woman-with-fanYour mother would scold you

pick yourself up ugly child

clean your room, scrub and polish

until there is no room for doubt

you may be unloved but

you will keep a straight back and shiny shoes

 

and you

learned quicker than a mouse

can covet cheese and steal itself a piece

to keep yourself small and burning

for a time to pounce

back under the hot lights of attention

turn this way and that until you are

bronzed like an award you make yourself

for surviving

 

I am owed

you think as you spit on your reflection with shirt cuff

and shine it brand new

I am owed

for my childhood

all the taint it took, not to reduce to rubble

instead I built myself a fort and became unbreakable

 

because this world eats the tender-hearted

with morels and mustard for breakfast

crushes underfoot truth in her glass orb

it is better we inherit the sharp cold heart of our destroyers

lift up our skirts and cross the puddles

with insulated rubber boots

than wallow in the frigid water

wondering why

most of what we do and say is

superficial and a lie to

garner peace and stifle the dagger

aimed at our center

 

all good but for the gentle

soul who can no more hurt than

turn away from need

she who cups water in her hands

to feed the thirsty flower

struggling to grow through concrete

by the side of exhaust-ridden road

what miracles we behold

surviving against the odds

it is this solace

keeps us staying who we are

when the world would pitch fire

extinguishing mercy

leaving battlefields full

for crows to pick through

we endure, laying down our

arms, our faces pointed toward

the clouds and wait

for rain to pour down

Able to diminish angels (a love poem)

6f34adaec3d3f2a9a682a9e07e10cec5Was I too ancient?

unable to flatten hands upon ground

lost yogic verses in alabaster jars

will a future girl when her curiosity no longer shines like a wishing penny in carp pond? Steal your heart?

the fat Asian fish moving like they regret their enclosure as I regret time like a sweet taste after dark

not so much

was I too taut? Against the relentless sport of out doing

taking a seat from play they beckon me again

no I’m not interested, which is why I have no home phone or middle name

I can still make jelly and watch the t.v. flicker against dark windows

like fire is the stories soul and we the spectators of our calm downfall

you fit the mold

my legs are too long

when I bent to touch the floor I felt the weight on my back growing sore

for what did you ever know of absenting yourself from the world?

you were born with switches you begged people to turn on

sunbathing in rays of attention like a chimeric hot-house plant

and if we were orchids protruding from rotting logs in swamp

your petals would still be perfect

reminding me of the first time

you said no, head cast low

a bowl of gold from the sun

christening us both in shy taunt

and I said … yes

so please … say yes

meet me half way

where we shake off old hurt like moth balls

bound on their fate to repel the unseen pest

leaving lurching shadows to dust furniture

and there by opal of pearly light

dressed in rose glow you are

able to diminish angels

turning timidly into me

licking the envelopes lapel

revealing your want like

honey on my fingertips

tastes sweeter for all our longing

and age? Is a modern invention

for people who check their phones

whilst we lie

rolled like cigarettes against each other

feeling the weight of air pushed by fan

urge us deeper