Below zero

Snow I have always

been thankful for your expunging

whiteout

how you take dirt

and suffocate it

beneath insistent layers

the wild and untame methods of your

settling, blown like befuddled

birds in all direction, swirling in

lost echo, falling eventually to

sugar-coat the dim world brighter

as pipes fail, their fragile egg shells

bloated with trapped water

a parallel I think

to our own shuttered lives

When I was a child I would

be told

do not go out in the snow for long

you will catch your death

and I hoped

very much

that were true

for to sleep

a red rose in bosom of white

I could fancy in my child’s mind

no greater perishment

though fancy and its

myriad ways of suggesting

death

grow less appealing

the older we get

Now I avoid slipping on ice

for fear of crushing my elbow into

shards like my father did

I see in the distance

my grandmother’s dog

he is trying to eat snow flakes

and puzzled when they melt

barks into whiskering storm

I think he speaks for us all

in this grand illusion

half wanting to be

taken off by encompassing whorls

carried to ice palace

where surely the meaning of

everything can be found

along with my mittens I lost

in tenth grade

stooping down to place

the cherry in

my snow robins

breast

Misleading light

You’re not leaving yet are you?

Girl with mango skin, every direction she turns

a kalidoscope of hopefulness in her smile

I notice how she wears her rings on her fingers like mine

that is because she is me

lost to time, a pull in a favorite knit top

the burgundy losing its focus as

it gathers holes

this is because she is me

bound to gravity and her weighty entreaty

toward inexorable end

a time away, yes, yes,

and nearer now than ever before

the steal of youth cloying on her dry hands

people slip her sweets and say: You are a doll

and she knows if she were a doll she’d be

able to affix the grimace all day and probably say

mama if you tipped her upside down

which is what she cannot say now

anymore than: I hurt, I cry, I feel

for she is passed that invisible line in the sand

where confession is pretty

she’s on the side of adulting

among the oaks and bulbs promising

fertility in Spring

but maybe they will be too tired

to show much of their lustrous potential

isn’t potential for under 25’s? She

read that somewhere in one of those

damaging women’s magazines before

they were transplanted to a screen

where weary eyed, prematurely hunched

poor postured youth eat their life’s golden ticket

like it is a salty snack at bedtime.

For sleep, for retreat, into the veiling woods

the silence unfolding like a veil, mist disgusing

her disappointment, even love doesn’t always

fill in where that ends, fickle in ways

you only learn when it’s exhausting

to find alternate routes, still she finds herself

thinking of the mango girl, the weight of the future

bowing her head like a shy dancer in the wings

of some hot lit theater

how then it was overwhelming in an entirely different way

the touch of a stranger, electricity firing her magic

quills into ether and those nights of no sleep

spent creating, describing, entire worlds

the future, a glittering prize, a lover, a friend

perhaps

perhaps

perhaps

it is time for her to leave

her skin shed in parts like impatient lizard of the desert

indigo handprints leading into arroyo

the scars of her like points of light

shining through

perpetual dark

as we mistake a falling star

when it is ignis fatuus

mere oxidation of phosphine

causing us to believe

remarkably and with some relief

in fairies again

Heed

I resent

No, I am angry

It is my regret that

You steal my thoughts

every day

even as you do not really

exist

damn

you.

Is it my wield to wake and smell the coming

of Autumn, her combed wild intruding on Summer’s

last heady retreat

and with her, all the memories of us

tumbling like leaves of every color.

You are a shade of me I cannot forget, nor

am I able to extricate your taste from my soul

as if you were the darkest liquor and I, the thirsting

sinner.

We do not know one another, yet in this russet world

where people step out with reddened cheeks and think of

night as a place to venture deep and become lost in

the reflecting faces of glasses brought together

I recognize in you, someone I need.

It is foolish then, that you will never know this,

as time reveals a betrayal, thick in coming like smoke

from a burned pyre

I see you there, in the crowd of onlookers, your

shoulders thin in a cardigan, eyes dark against

flames, a smile on your face as if

without my saying you knew

it was my heart that burned with longing

and your hands

putting out the fire

with the coldness

of disregard.

You steal my thoughts every day

as if, possessed of confidence that all should

fall at your knees, you hold the world and its

caprices in your little flowering hand

sometimes I want to ask; How did you become

so fat on yourself? Who gave you that belief

you were worthy? And bitterness might add;

I am better than this, better than you,

not someone used to, or wanting to remain

subject. Inhaling your sugar pill …

Instead I say nothing and spells

boil off like alcohol leaving nothing but

clear water, I plunge into and try to

forget the nagging impulse to find ways of altering

your hooded intractability.

I live in the crossword puzzle of your

eyes, the bewitchment of your fruiting mouth

as you open your lips and speak, drowned

out by time and distance

I think nevertheless

I hear.

You steal my thoughts

every day

I once wore self-belief like a rosary

around my wrists and counted every

subject. You took on the role as if

those clothes had been yours all

along and I had been carved from

the wood of your ancestors tree

some type of mango tree or

something as bright and hungering

as your skin when sunlight bathes

your full cheeks and I forget how

to swallow. Our fates are written

in secret alcoves we may never find

the chapter, until it is upon us and

falling in line, we play out our part

in this incantation you master me

because you feel nothing and no

words I possess will fill that

empty place and fetch from it

an urge to dive with me

into the wet of my angry tears

perhaps this is karma

it could however,

be just, a passing cruelty

like so many other things

forgotten by those, who do not stop

long enough, to

pay heed.

The huntress

yes

She

knows her power

heaving out of her like

red clay forming stars

the power it has on

those who watch

unable to quit her

imperfection as much an aphrodisiac

as those fine lines converging into

her thin bones

drawn tight and ageless

she smiles a drowsy grin

down turned eyes glinting

the thin shake of her hair

sharp curve in high cheeks

noble and unrepentant

she has more confidence than you

with your excuses and your fumblings

could ever possess

if she’d taught you, she’d have said

no, no, no you’re doing it all wrong

if you want that woman to like you

be cold, be indifferent

and occasionally, throw her a scrap

don’t ever show her your full regard or

the depth of your eyes

heft her over your shoulder when the time comes

take her to a dark place and without apology

do what you must, thinking nothing of her

she’ll be crazy for you and that’s how it’s done

you know that’s so, because you’ve seen it

every weak knee’d soul who begs for her

underestimates her lash

only small, seemingly weak

her fierce nature, a molten thing

she has them on their damn knees

it’s not even a look, a word, a sign

it’s the power exuding from her focus

she believes in herself totally and knows

if she slips even a little, they’ll eat her for dinner

feast on her failure like the hungry things they are

I want to be like her one day

I can wear short skirts nearly as well

but as she tutors me in the act I know

it’s a parody, a puppet act compared to her art

I may look the part, even when drunk

act a little like her

but she’s used to the taste of blood

and I don’t know how to eat it raw

sometimes I think of her and why

she’s the kind who defies all the rules

charging that opposites

and only opposites must attract

when she could be my cousin and yet

I want her, despite myself

I want her to want me and that’s the rub

she wants nothing of anyone and never will

hers is an icy indifference

cool queen of thorns and calm

she controls the game, for it is a game

by moving through this life without letting yourself slip

requires poise and balance only artists of the tightrope possess

I am filled with trembling emotions

impossible to blot out or walk in a straight line for

I see my error in my every move

she wasn’t interested, because she saw me coming a mile off

an unsteady shadow cast on her savvy wall

canny enough to smell, the scent of desperation on my breath

I learned from the huntress

and failed my exam

she makes mouths turn dry and water

by just being everything we cannot

remorseless, pitiless, without guile or guilt

somewhere inside of her there is a girl

we want so badly to take as our own

if only for an hour

and without seeming to try

she holds herself apart, unreachable

closes each desire with her little hands

gazing into our disappointment

with a small smile

there is a sadness in her winning

it shows in the day time

when the light hits her eyes and they

despite their great beauty

look ancient

The song of her

white and black mountain
Photo by Nikhlesh Tyagi on Pexels.com

My fantasy was placed in a velvet box,  buried at garden end where the ivy grew heavy

those were the days gone now, or perhaps forgotten, where fantasy was all you had

walking into bars, confronting realities better spared

shadows in corners, leaning, lurching, enveloping, retreating

you did not exist, we did not exist

our images were not part of the collective, the minority, the clique or the open space

wide and tumbling with questions, a loneliness at the core, the petals red

filaments of each others minds like fire flies without dark to make of it light

had you existed then, I would have traveled continents, just to know

feel your long black hair trace my need to be, closer than possible

only books, only songs, only walks on moors with other people’s dogs in tow

I imagined meeting you, what you would say, how we would get to know each other

and somehow shape the magic to follow

but it was only ever like the rain, predictive in falling but without control

impotent magicians we, beseeching the moon her unearthy feminine

pieces of me, pieces of you, strewn in directions not able to connect

I stayed young in getting old and before you know it, you’re no longer there

hunched over youth, abundant in dream, filled with need

chewing the heads off time, gnawing the bones of ancestors who disapprovingly gaze

instead you have learned to bottle your desire that the world create girls who love

from marigolds and pieces of ourselves cast to the wind

put it somewhere you won’t be ridiculed, join the line of other pursuits, a job, a direction, all taking me away from fantasy becoming true

the lines on my face, the fall of my skin, these things that shock and horrify

only remind me of what I once was, bright teeth, shy smile, large heart, empty pockets

how I longed for you to take my mittened hand in yours and

drag me out of myself, let me know you don’t have to fit in with the crowd

to feel love

in petrograph, in Kodak camera moments, in the unmade bed in the corner of my desire

I wanted you before you could put words to desire

I was born alone in my 1 or 2 percent of the world

a girl who loves other girls

yet it wasn’t plural, it feels when I touch it

circular

as everything I did and everything I lost

returns to this moment and winds around my wrist

showing my scars, developing an image in chemicals

of two girls even if they had to wait

after the storm and before the calm

did I mention I would stay here forever if I had to?

It is my wish we could rewind time and begin again when both of us

were new and shining

but such things are not always possible, and fantasy is rarely permitted her turn

in you I find proof of life

miracles, however tired exist in your eyes

they have fine lines like you are ever squinting against the sun

I find myself tracing the shape of you

over and over

until my fingers are numb with joy

maybe born too late, but oh we were born

in this aching world of few and far between

I listened closely and you gave up your song

Turkish delight

alexander-yakovlev-dancers-everythingwithatwist-17I didn’t have time to un-knot my hair or brush it down

it used to hang to my thighs and I had to cut it

when the sickness came and I was green with bile

all those years I held my hair as my calling card

for I had nothing else

so when you see me this way you know

I’m not pretending anything anymore, this is me

this is the girl you once loved

I remember thinking I was old back then

what a laugh

and time is a cordial of horrors and trickery

what we need to know is, it’s all in the eye of the beholder

so if I feel tired and beat up now, remember, I tell myself

in ten years I will rue the day I forgot to dance

I dance now

bare footed with dirty soles

to the memories of

our liquid union

and planes do not fall out of the sky

the day is quiet

despite the tornado in my mind

I would let you in and not let you out

shut inside me like a favorite book

chapter marked by the sinew of my want

clasp you tightly with my muscular need to belong

within your kaleidoscope, a star in your universe

behind these accoutrements and forbids  I burn electric

you never get too old for longing

I want you to take me in your arms

crush me into sugared pieces

eat each one and never spit me out

I want to become you and stay

inside your candied warmth

where amber things are less real

set in time to wait out storm

but you care about them more

as part of your compass, to set your destination

I was born of your desire

I am now without wing

soon I will fade into pieces

and nobody will pick them up to eat

 

 

Its shining watch

Then make me a tree

that I may reach through earth

lengthening root

climb up, take form

gather again, that moment shook

from memory never

where moon was twice its natural size

reflected in your angry eyes

sitting in idling car

my sticky throated youth

your still punching vigor

movement then, as taught immemorial

of lovers who are not yet.

watchful of your thin wrist

flickering just before touch

warm air, window down

languid stroke of time

painting all these years hence

something you have

absented from, like unpicked fruit

in turning, strange and unfamiliar

I dial that feeling

quite often

not fantasy, no

something real

painted over

turned to shellac, too hard to prize

open again

I watch her in time

the girl I was

wondering at her thoughts

as I know them almost

unformed and loose

like her hair, thicker and tumbling than now

the auburn xylophone of her back

I could fall in love with

each of us again

the blush of your pomegranate lips

how your dark eyes soak up light

extinguish it black

no wonder, I say … no wonder

yet, would I be here now?

if I had not

beseeched night in stolen lament;

if it is meant …  let her call

fate or you obey, though months had passed

a moment, as electric as fire burns oxygen

like fingers on your neck portend soft doom

female silhouettes of trees sway in night breeze

would they have whispered?

no don’t do it, don’t go, turn back

heavy keys in light fabric, jingle like steps

wide open un-rehearsed land rushing past

silence and folded roosting birds, holding their breath

it wasn’t lust

it wasn’t yet love

something other

we were always

in between, time and sense

every song written about

when you leaned, close enough

fusion then, a kind of glory

unspoken of to this day

sealing our fate

like flightless coin

run over many times

shall silver

in tarmac, make

an echo of the very stars

blessing

its

shining

watch

The terror & beauty

145675384-640x640When you’re a writer people tend to think

you’re writing about them

that’s if they are arrogant or believe you must feel that way 

so often I am not writing about the person who believes I am

so often I want to write that as a preface before the poem

this is not about you / that ship sailed / that ship never was

securely moored or even existed

sometimes

or should I say, just once

it was about you

I did want you to know

just as I couldn’t bring myself to say it face to face

or sound the words out loud for fear

what is spoken is then real

I didn’t think of myself as a coward, where emotions were concerned

yet found myself floundering and blushing in your presence

like a school child again

perhaps it is because from the outset, you were impossible

as if I had stuffed all my wishes into a jar and set it to sea

and you had returned in the jar, stepping out and holding out your hand

I didn’t know if you liked women, if you liked me and my kind

there’s a die-hard rule among girls who like girls

don’t date bi-curious, don’t let yourself get broken

don’t show your cards until it’s patently obvious

but you’re not an obvious kind of person and you weren’t going

to show me anything until I took the plunge

you said i’d get bored but it’s the other way around

you stay like migrating butterflies, only a short time

before going on with your pilgrimage

and those who want more of you

watch the skies with only memories

I admit I am a simple woman emotionally, who has

a heart easily penetrated by the feeling of loss

but it is time for us both to change

you to trust, me to let go and not need

forever as a promise

it was your mystery from the outset

the little shape of you and your deep voice

wound me up into knots,  got me crazy

a tiny dancer on the fringe of my consciousness

I held back because it terrified me

those kinds of feelings don’t come around often

I keep myself in check and don’t pursue

I wait for them to come to me, it’s safer

but you wouldn’t do that, it’s not your style, I found myself

walking in your direction, wobbly on my feet

from the taste of nerves

for girls like you don’t exist

they are carved out of yearning

I made you with my thoughts

for if I could have said everything I searched for

and put it into a woman

she would have been you

except surely I was imagining it

when I saw you look at me in a way

usually meant for other times

surely what I felt, was not reciprocated

for emotions aren’t psychic are they?

could you hear what I felt, as clearly as if I had

spoken it aloud? Could you tell by the burning

in my eyes, the wetness of my mouth?

As I lay in bed at night I would try to unpick

the moves we made around each other

trying to guage what was real and imaginary

how could I reveal my heart if there was a chance

you’d repulse me and i’d be wrong?

i’ve never been the kind of woman to put myself out there

take those kinds of chances

it’s not a lack of courage

I’m simply not going to walk into rejection

if you know its taste you don’t go searching

but as with all emotions, they either die from neglect

or swell in intensity

I could not sleep, I lost my appetite

searching for you in the folds of day

until it was impossible not to say

even if you turned and laughed

patted me on the cheek and said

I feel sorry for you

but we who have lived in this world a while

can hear beneath the arch and curl

if we really listen

those hidden things people do not tell

and I thought I saw

in the corners of your motion

something stir

so if you read this; yes it is about you

and if you wonder; yes I do

and if you call for me; I will come

to the summit where people who are strangers and known

stand and expose themselves to

the terror and beauty of

their desire

Reach out

the-hunger-1983-0-58-35-323If I had the courage to tell you

I’d tell you I’m foolish

as they say in Texas; this isn’t my first rodeo

I know better

here I am though, thinking of you

remembering the way you move when

you pause to sit down

sleek and translucent like silk

the fall of your chin, and rise of your clavicle

how the harpsichord of your mouth bows and sends

me crossing my legs in want

how I know you diminish yourself

cannot see, what I

quiet and observant

in my courageless pretense of being

just friends

notice in the gentle sway of you

sometimes I wish the world woke up

and girls loved girls everywhere

though it would be like chocolate

lovely at first and then too much

there is something sacred in smaller numbers

we are rare night birds who fly singing

when everyone else is asleep

sometimes we recognize each other just by

a glance

like a language only we damson girls speak

those who love others in whispers

for the most part it is a lonely walk

being the cuckoo in the nest

watching girls you thought glorious, invariably fall in love with boys

their hearts broken when you

could have given them the spin of a dream

it is not the weft of this world to permit

girls who love girls become the norm

we will always be the nightingale and the black swan

I will feel the need to apologize

if I look at you too long

for it is a respectful dance we learn

to stay our distance and not become

a pastiche or cliche; the girl who loved girls led astray

by someone incapable of returning her ardor

though if you could just break the rules

sometimes I suspect, in the way you gaze back

all redolent and tied tightly with secrets

we’d have a grand ole time

there are worlds you haven’t even imagined

places you cannot give names to

once you swim to that fair isle, few return willingly

I don’t boast but what’s wrong with admitting

love between girls has a special season

deep and sonorous, we think such things do not exist

only because our imagination is not so

vivid

if you gave me one word or even

on a certain day, when feeling bold I may

require just a particular arching smile

as you let go and said; Yes I do

I’d not hesitate to make you mine

all your closeted longing

the belief you hold, that love has a sell by date

and you are not worthy

I would remove each of those

aches like the layers of an artichoke

delving into what makes you tremble

and find there, the pain and the longing

owning no words just primal need

like a river coming to flood the delta

I’d pour myself into your loneliness

the many nights you dreamed, of being reached so deep

gave up thinking that will never be me, I could not be loved that much

in the reflection of my longing, you would see

the worth of you and how all those fears

were just surfaces as yet untouched

for we who dance

together

never

stop

and I will not let go

if you just

reach

out

Two cars going in separate directions

What is contained in motion? In separation? In the fluid trajectory of two cars

driving in different directions

when once they drove together in one, singular and twice

with music playing like a warm stove in Winter

watchful eyes glinting at the movement of her soapy shoulders

inhaling a song they both liked

was it really so long ago? time can be a fickle fellow

you believe things have not changed before

the car wreck distorting metal into specters, and then mangled see

all the signs and wonders leading to your loss

glaring and obvious as they were not before

I would say four years, six, maybe more

since like powdered sugar you shook her

out of your system and changed the channel

you think she couldn’t pick up on the dull flat key of your promises

or the way you did not meet her pleading eye

and had someone else nearby

parked with engine still running

waiting her eventual hot buttered turn

you were bound to return to the past

as your memory dissolved through gauze

that is all that remained sharp

like a knife on my chest will cut

only so deep and then retreive

sticky piecemeal

baking it into cakes and giving alms

when we are neither penitent nor dead

but live on

in seperation

as time comes and goes like a trance

one moment I am holding a glass

of your words

believing myself loved

the next the house is being emptied

sold for next family to inhabit, my footsteps

there was a time I held onto

boxes of memories like a kite

I saw if you let go of the string

they rose higher and higher out of sight

more beautiful for freedom

now I can pack the entirity of me

in one small bag and still have room for heartache

this is the season of change

the radio host warns us of impending rain

another storm like last year and the one before

we threw sharp glances at each other until there was no more

blood left inside to keep warm

I feel no regret, only the beckon of movement

on to the future and maybe

I will not need a car where I am heading

watching the horizon bleed

its first bidding autumn evening

and I remember laying with you watching tv

in the dark, the feel of your fingers on my neck

remember reading Bridges of Madison County, thinking

surely people do not live like that

and the car

waiting at the stoplights

long after they could have driven on

blinking in humid downpour

blinking for her to get out and run toward

something already buried and underground

I hear the gear shift

watch in rear mirror

the outline of you

grow gradually thinner

against orange light

and the sound of someone

crying out

https://youtu.be/voZI8NXEO6M