Ruffled sleeves

couv70586873You age up, your desires age down

you’d be too old for me now

but then when I was barely grown

you looked so good in your thirty-ish suit

the jaw line of age beginning to show

just enough to create a stirring, I wonder …

something deeply sensual in a confident woman

who has lived enough to feel

comfortable in her own brand of skin

I longed to touch the lapel of your shirt

or where your cuffs peaked out ruffled

little moments

your perfume lingering

the sound of heals on carpet

fading as you were accompanied

by a tall man to lunch

how could a girl just out of her teens compete?

I considered the movements of love

like Tai Chi, a gentle push

if you can sweep past obvious attributes

aren’t they also found in the twilight?

when you let me light your cigarette

and notice how close

I stand

our heat merging

the touch without touch, of energy

he may have spent a lot on lavish outings

but sharing wine from a plastic glass

on a warm night in the park

I touched where your heart beat

querulous against your tanned wrist

pressed to my lips

you sighed

more than you ever had

when he with his obvious methods

tried to beckon you near

sometimes birds flock in one motion

drawing out light of day

as I close the blinds and walk

a perfect line of longing

to the bed and

your nude warmth

waiting

Thursday’s child

costume-cute-dinosaur-funny-girl-inspiration-Favim.com-48812They said Texas was more friendly than the East Coast

but she’d lived in New York and that wasn’t true

not for queers and people who didn’t attend church

the year she arrived they put up picket signs on every corner

marriage equals a man and a woman

with a red X marking the hate

obliteration of alternatives

a dirty word it was

not to be homogenous and touch your

four corners to the cross

the year she arrived they said

if you don’t like BBQ, if you don’t eat meat, if you don’t go to Dairy Queen

get the fuck out of our state

you wear too much black we’re certain

you prefer Satan

she became a shut-in who didn’t

believe in mythical devils but had

met a few who walked the earth in the flesh

not leaving the house an irony

for a Thursday’s child

who has far to go

 

You may ask – girl why did you stick around?

but we don’t all of us have the luxury

of choice

the saying

you made your bed / now lie in it

can often apply

so you suck all the oxygen out of the room

hold your breath

hoping they won’t notice you are still there

but they did

pinching and pulling

you’re far too thin

you’re far too white

you’re a spoil sport who doesn’t like to go on team building exercises

she began to drink in the afternoons

wanted to swear the way she used to do

in Europe

where every other word was an expletive

but swearing is crude in Texas

they like you to sweeten your words like your tea

and drink it ice-cold

 

It isn’t really their fault

if you move somewhere you’d better try

to fit in

even ghosts can see the purpose

in choosing where you haunt, wisely

it’s not enough to think you can carry on liking the same things

she cannot wear tights in Texas

even in December it’s too hot

you have to mow your lawn A LOT

though she would plant weeds and watch

them enclose her from disapproval

in time, she learned it’s a state of mind

sometimes when you stop realizing you don’t fit in

you just might

and if that doesn’t work there’s always

four walls and closed eyes

growing wild flowers in her mind

swearing a little less often

in time everything works differently

you look back and see

what was once strange

feels like home

 

 

La Fin de Chéri

(Influence from; La Fin de Chéri, Colette 1926. )

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Darling

one day you will either strike yourself out

with an exact deepening cut

or own the world with vinegar fingertips

coloring upturned lips

looking through letters in search of single word

to describe the ecstasy of youth

though before all these things I had

you first

before you knew what you were

and only lay in my arms shivering with

the desire of a young boy caught in his lust

one day when I am old

I will remember your beauty and capture

wound around your pomegranate mouth like cold leaves its burn and sun turns boys to gold

then looking into half drunk glasses and fallen buttons I shall

smile crookedly at my mad fortune

if fortune is the word

to describe amusing memories

when boys knew nothing of themselves

when girls were powerful and roamed their needs

like hungry bees seek nectar and we all rummage the pockets of our clothes

hoping for a missed penny

for time may lie against us

a sharpness in daylight glinting

but for those brief afternoons

when we have yet to inherit ourselves

know nothing of the plight of fading

with each wrought year

you looked to me for learning

I knew a little more by virtue of bad experience

and my belly full of wine and violence

turning them to my own understanding

touching you as your mother would

then something different, deeper, untaught

a house with many shutters

open one, touch the countenance of my pearl

you sighed

just like a girl opening herself

your legs as smooth as mine

your lips fuller and pursing toward

the need

I bowed sleekly

not because I honored you

but to feel the excitement quickening

against your muscled thighs

gathering that brief surge of fickle love

before it spilt and grew

sweetly cold between us

I felt that first

acrid taste of power

rolling underneath scotch blankets starved of end

not my kind yet

you were a beautiful boy

soft against me pliant by longing

I held this over our heads like a shawl

blocking out harsh light

inspecting its temporary reflection

your wistful elongate pursed in quiver

a silver arrow ready to pierce

any who chance your heart

and in years to come when

my hands are tired of making shadows

I will think of you and amuse myself

the girl who inherited memories and made

palaces of them

you can be my Chéri and

I, the woman who painted solace to your

first

ache

 

The certainty

wars-begin

We may have it the wrong way

intellect being a dirge

for the cat carrying its kittens

does not question or consider

why do I torture the rat and flee the fox?

simply nature propels her onward

no coincidence then

the more we are aware the greater our potential for

grief and a disconsolate ring

with the emptiness perceived

we seek in our fervor

more out of this plain life

standing watching the first seasons’ dragonflies

wishing for meaning or distinction

spelt out in philosophy books empty of bottom line

who made us? why? why?

the infernal hum of internal conflict

I recall a russet haired cousin

born with the mind of a child

never to graduate or spell correctly

her smiles always somehow less

artificial

she delighted in as the young foal

spring filled fields of flowers and thick hedgerows

buzzing with honey bee mastering his lust for nectar

not considering all the pain

held in the wetted weight of world

hers inhabited moments

living under sun without query

heart unable to contemplate

greater or sorrowful fates

I dearly envied her that

for every year closer to increasing reason

intellect building artifices as often

as truths

without faith or illusion

clearing our eyes and seeing

the way the nest falls from ash tree

all offspring dying at the hand of passing predator

the way women walk with their

purses clutched to their sides and heavy tread

this is only nature or maybe perversion

yet we grieve attempting

change where none should exist

as well as those never-changing

each generation learning shared impulses

to destroy because they can

 

I planted a tree once

it grew without question

I married a man twice

he needed no religion to know

the sun would come up the next day

nothing was worth worrying about

when certainty took her carriage across

emblazoning sky with greater things

than our imperfect longing minds

we who fitfully seek

higher elucidation

writing out descriptions of existence

with punctuated heartache

as the blind man must fathom

his colors

we walk in darkness believing

ourselves electric

until the storm wipes out

all trace of our absolve

for we are ink running on a page

leaving time before even the imprint

is deep enough

impermanence our greatest torment

such is the grind of egos want

to matter

 

we who think and believe we feel

perhaps cursed by too much awareness

ironically know less than less

no more than the rabbit pricks up his ears

thinks he hears a sound, could be all of us

crying out

we cannot follow the wild

for our modern natures are muzzled

behind the weight of thought

as if consciousness were an apple

eaten and consumed behind library books

taking root in liquid storm

Genesis bequeathed us knowledge

to know suffering and our part

in the fragile glittering stage

at cost to inner peace

we search fruitlessly for purpose

whilst those who know less

sit in the sun and feel

the certainty of

nothing’s blessing

 

(I often want to give-up writing and thinking in favor of life beyond the social spectrum, where we learn to make things again, build and grow in basic and lost terms. Sometimes thinking can be a curse, much as I must covet it, I see the down-side. Moderation must be everything but it is hard, usually we are either thrown over to one side or the other, I have long valued words and reading, but I do see their potential fallacy just as I do, the bliss of unknowing).

You will lose

Lg_image_of_scolds_bridleThe glitterati

the critics

the populists

said

you will lose if

you write about Israel instead of Palestine

if you speak of Republicans not Democrats

if you emphasize feminism over patriarchy

if you ask why reverse racism isn’t decried with equal equality?

if you don’t apply fake tan by Spring

if you don’t die your roots when white scream shows through

if you say no to invitations to museum openings

if you don’t pretend you like fish chowder in New England

you will lose

if you can’t fake an orgasm

if you can’t pretend to be happy

if you can’t do a 5K and apply the bumper sticker

if you want more than a box with four corners

if you need truth over societal cacophony

if you pick staying home over social gatherings

Oh god, home, the empty temple of feathers

if you read a book that’s not on Oprah’s list

if you don’t like Jane Austin or Billy childish

if you approve of Brexit

if you want peace but also believe

sometimes in war

if you need a fix and everybody has been juicing since 2004

if you still smoke in your mind if not in your hand

If you bathe rather than shower and eat figs with unwashed hands

if you like drunks and melt-downs and unwell folk

over gyms and workaholics and hipster beards

if you don’t think a woman over 50 is invisible

If you want to touch her like this, just here, yes

if you don’t believe in knee-jerk vaccinations for HPV

if you think Shingles is a symptom of grief as much as

an arms worth of plague

if you like honey more than jam

you will lose if

you don’t shave into a triangle or wax

if you try to grow daffodils instead of cacti in the desert

if you don’t get your flaws frozen off at the secret dermatologist

if you gave up wearing push up bras when they hurt

Hey boys, get a life

if you didn’t remember all the eighties top hits nor cared for boy george

if you read instead of talk with your mouth full

if you don’t want to retail and you buy second-hand

if you think the planet should depopulate not reproduce

if you think choice

isn’t a dirty word

if you think rape

can happen anywhere

if you believe justice

is owned by man

if you think cars

cost too much and clog up the landscape

you will lose

by opting out of the din of most social media platforms

you will lose decrying our

infernal need for attention,  narcissism

and selfishness abounding

you will lose when you go on vacation

and see only the misery of the local

starved by tourists expectation,  fired upon your return for taking time off and not taking your phone

you will lose when you expect small talk

to be vanquished and long conversations

about life to resume

don’t wait for the bleep

don’t hold your breath

don’t anticipate

accept

that sometimes you must lose

in order to see

clearly

 

Full tilt

ww2_3_children_carrot_sticks

There was a woman who had five children

a thriving career and a clean house

who could cook for fifty guests and still

find time to drink wine by the pool

she earned her life as fishermen

pull their catch from the ocean

twitching in multicolored lust

reluctant to be garnered

it took a great effort to be everything to everyone

and so she stayed until disease grew like a weed

within her chest and despite fighting

she lost

I wondered afterward

standing by her memory like a mirror

etching granite thought

why life was so unyielding in its give and take?

like a cruelty

reducing effort to ash and rewarding

the indolent cat who purchases laziness

I could never have been

as full as her nor fought as long

I did not have her endurance, strength and will

to conquer life

flaming from her nostrils and burning desire

and yet it is she who dies

prematurely, leaving behind grieving hearts

when I would hardly stir a sail with my absence

in the grand scheme of a world that is

not grand but fond of scheming

something doesn’t seem right about the way things play out

randomness cannot answer injustice or

why some are able to live with so much

while others struggle to wake up and touch the floor of day

perhaps in that singularity and opposition

lies the answer

she lived more in fifty years than I

ever could, reaching vainly

even if I tried every day like an acrobat

desirous to spin above the void

which I do, falling short

not the girl who slurps ice cream to its stick with lavish noise

any wonder why then, some

consider Gods mighty chess players

merciless in their sport

of our small and absurd selves

floundering beneath with taut marionette strings

blown by a strange wind

percolating from unseen place

Phantoms of the brain

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Diana

didn’t intend to develop schizophrenia

which masticated within her brain regardless

of her want

inking pathways and dissecting certainty

a railway of colors lost in submersion

until Capgras Delusion bloomed

the moth of dissociation a star

sewn grossly on her shoulder

branding in disorder

 

Diana

didn’t mean to

self mutilate

causing a bald spot on her scalp to form

like paper becoming chinese lotus

a whirl of follicles perfectly circular

she wholeheartedly believed men made exact copies of people

“screens” that mimicked reality but were not

there were two screens of herself

one evil, one good

 

the good Diana

presented her doctor with a plea for help

I don’t want to be consumed by the whirl she said

biting her nails with reddened lips

the evil Diana considered if

she could reach the pencil and sink it in

to his rotten false arm

you’re obviously a fake she wanted to scream

I can see you! I can see your falseness!

like tar on the beach you wash up dead and stinking!

 

the good Diana kept quiet

this takes time to prove, she thought

sheltered behind her bamboo mask

tight and affixed with unknown glue

where once in a while she’d peer out

tongue lolling against wood

limbic system walking with disabled emotion

feeling like she was looking out of someone else

phosphorous haunting versions or a lighthouse

void of lamp

never finding her way back from cliffs edge

into phantom self

 

(Thank you to Vilayanur S. Ramachandran for his inspiring paper of the same name)