Saturday, December 10, 2016

Inevitable

The music is defined by the silence between notes
The light, defined by shadow, I live in your story.
Wrapped in winter sky under that voluminous missionary,
it is told all are one.
Whole in its brilliant breathless hoop,
the sun kindles our need for closure.
For if we don’t shut the door, how can we open it again?
How can we unbury our heart of secrets,
turn the truth inside out?
All is one, all is one, all is one -
the bones of our existence exposed:
icy lip of river, murmurations of cirrus
deep miles of frozen tracks.
Here we find what truly supports us,
the muscle and sinew of our days -
revelation to transform rusted fender
into feathered wing, to transpose
painted canvas into anthem or dirge,
the mettle to welcome pause and shadow.
All is One, You and Me, Inevitable -
let’s breathe in this darkness,
and breathe out the coming song.

--(co-written with J.M. Hurt)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mirror Mirror

What is the opposite of rage?
A bass breaking pond skin, ever widening rings of calm.

What is the opposite of rancor?
Children bursting through double doors, gleeful for recess.

What is the opposite of humiliation?
A yellow pot of orchids, a riot of summer fields.

What is the opposite of apology?
Times Square to Fifth Avenue brimming with rainbow flags and pulsing voices, standing fast side by side, feet planted now dancing.

What is the opposite of mercy?
Knees pressed into a sidewalk filled with road grit and gravel; no shelter from the storm.

What is the opposite of moonlight?
A dusty corner with bedside table stacked in magazines and plastic lipstick tubes, big screen TV.

What is the opposite of celebration?
Island of plastic riding a salt water gyre just off the coast of Chile, blue whale beached and bloated, belly full of straws.

What is the opposite of preemptive strike?
Circle of strangers moving widdershins, shaking hands, blessing each other with Shalom.

What is the opposite of betrayal?
A pink bow of lips latching to its brown nipple for mother’s milk.


What is the opposite of patriot?
Ocean touching every shore, clouds dappling a planet, Zeno’s arrow seeking its bulls eye.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Medicine

1
Rain churned puddles to mud,
an earthy agitation, unbound and determined.
Medea could not remember such audacity, had it been so long?


Oh... she knew good, good and righteous as Sunday morning.
Divine too, sandalwood rose from her skin,


her hair, a tumble of honeysuckle, of ivy,
her toenails, tiles of teal, robin egg shards.


Like a prayer wheel, her cat circled.
The hour was sepia, it twirled with house wrens,
handlebar moustache on a tall dark afternoon.


Medea slipped into flannel, tucked up with books of blue stories -  
with Anais Nin: “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.”


She took another look in the mirror.


The burmese curled behind her knees, bony bag of fur
had followed Medea’s trail of spice and Gershwin for a feline century.
He was her familiar worn down to essentials:
whiskers, heart, liver, lungs - a living altar of impunity.


She rose from her reading, the cat stretched;
another tin peeled open: chicken of the sea.
Bag of bones preferred cottage cheese,
and Medea was oblivious.


She poured a dram of scotch, silky smoke on her tongue,
her night train at the station.
Peck and rattle - interloper at the window,
her train idled, and she gazed at true frontier.


The flicker tapped again.


She sat her wide bottom onto a blue chair.
It groaned out of habit, she sighed out of envy
for the prowess of the aerial swimmer, messenger
who made an afternoon tilt, goose-fleshed and breathless.


The old cat licked its paws.


Medea decided if birds were couriers, then vespers
should transcend providence, and 3 am would be
the portal of preference for neglected souls.


She often confided:


in this life, dismiss what you will -
But never take mischief for granted.
Trouble knows us better than God.


A crow called amen from a fence post.
A cobweb fluttered in the breeze.


2
Naughty needed to be here…


Medea imagined being veraciously rendered in hot water,
in calamity; opening a door to deep sky, star-dizzy,
corrupt with space trash and comets.


She wanted to swap galactic murmurations
for love knots of pine in a brush pile,
pyronic, ready for flash point.


So she flattened to follow the flicker: banshee, angel, bogeyman.
Unfurled as cautionary tale, as taboo wooing its sister fate,
A compass-rose of slash and burn.
All night she soared until she was dream demanding a body.


Some say baptism Is a shit storm for sin,
Some say life wants to soak up the holy.
That morning mischief chose to dance with everything.


Medea decided to forgo coffee and toast.


Gumption had dusted each surface,
the wind was at her back, a flicker between her knees.


She was spirit and blood, vessel and  journey, pendulum,
suspended on thin nylon in every window.
She swung east and west - spring to winter.


A pilgrim unfolded into lion, into lamb, into ladder, into tomb of kiva.
She crouched in sage dust, in dappled sun.
It was her turn to be sipapu, cedar smoke, dog soldier, shaman.


To be her own blue book -
to sidestep tweets and memes, to keep the cast confusing.


She was dust storm, swarm of riled bees,
eagle feather lance, acres of bison headed for the cliff.


She exuded America indivisible -
home of the brave, home of kaleidoscopic clans.


Poetry of mycelium and aspen clone;
the invincible persuasion of wide prairie, of Badlands,
of Black Hills and Red River, of Standing Rock First Nation.


Mirror mirror: mythic to granite!


Coyote clan to cleave the heads of a pipeline monster,
Green bottle flies to carry them far from our story.
Grandmother Spider to seal the rend.
Heyoka to rouse the rooster at 3 am.


An earthy agitation- the right medicine.
And drums to pound rain into stone.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Turn

Inside out and no wonder my hide itches.
There is a legless man parked in his wheelchair
On the corner of 16th and Broad
He longs to join the ranks of morning
He sits unseen amidst the roar of 9 am.
“Have a nice day”, scrawled on cardboard.
There is a ragged pigeon dashing
For asphalt warmed bagel scraps
among Subaru and Volvo, she
never missed a crumb.

Rerun is what I long for, so I
Flip through a collection of summer
wedding shots, basin of daydream.
Bittersweet, my confidence grows a tail
Sometimes fanned in grand display
sometimes curled around low lying limb
swinger in black and white cotton.
Blue tips in my curls. I recall the deep kisses
 how we all cheered, how the flower girls floated behind a shower of petals –
Then there were only owls and we crooned for dusk.

Not womb alone, let the matrons meddle!
No heart to be apart and their river has grown wide and swift.
My flight home is a nice diversion from
the scattered nest which has spun its own love light.
I drop into reminisce, how sweet the afternoon breeze
How gathered into the last tucks of summer
a meadow shimmering with crickets and moonlight.
Was it hemlock or steel pole that steadied me
to cheer Mazel Tov! and mean it.
I am the legless one that followed his dreams,
and I finally turn my skin outside in again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sun Up Tallies

  • five otters: watery rope to braid the Nolichucky with morning
  • three women: iridescent bubbles to pastel an empty sky
  • one man & IPhone: news to bob along a data jetstream
  • four orange rinds, nine cherry pits: exiles to witness the wages of appetite

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tongue

When I was ten, my dad
pot-roasted a cow’s tongue.
He brought it to the table on a platter,
unsliced, open: a chaise lounge, red and velvet,
slip of the lip to swallow us whole.

The tongue is a door,
a bed of confession,
zipper to seal the deal.

There is a jade plant on my window sill.
Its many tongues sip silent molecules:
water vapor, nitrogen, cool pool in the Kalahari.
Tongue as cave,
as conveyor, as flight of brown bats.

Tongue holding space between us,
gilded and strong with hope and death -
a pocket for everything.

Last night a snag of locust
blew down over chicken wire.
Five hens escaped.
The snag, a tongue to freedom,
to better pickings, a generous ledge.

Sometimes a tongue wags, ungenerous,
it keens to ten fingers times twenty
dangling over a hand-hewn gunnel.

There were children in that boat,
fleeing with family over turquoise water.
Maybe it was the Mediterranean
or cold Aegean Sea -
a wide tongue to crack their lips with salt.

Tongue tied were ragged ropes of souls,
Idiom of bodies below,
broken passage licking its wounds.

I clinched my lips tightly at the news,
still Luna months want to dust my teeth.
I stick out my tongue,
no black magic here,
only spring board for prayers.

Tongue as mother, a heavy curtain,
weighted in deep allegiance. She 

may hold a secret, but she has no bones.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

portrait of light and perfect sound

The night sulks, trespassed 
by halogen dazzle
racing through red railing.
An  edgy glare to curtain the stars.
The night glowers, and lucky us, 
witness to a magical thinking,
empathic and shining,
wordless like resting breath,
the morning grass, moonlight on water,
coyote’s patient hunger.

The day hung mired in dogwood winter, 
a cool flood of yellow pollen: 
Bradford Pear, everywhere.
Each surface, a granular umbrage.
The day, abuzz in bees knees,
felt genuflection to forsythia
and honeysuckle, long limbs,
maple and sweet. We come pink 
with desire to a night, 
snake-skin fragile, glacial and deep.

The wolf hours grow wrinkled,
long in the tooth, flabby with 
nettles and bothered stars.
The love songs of toads hide here.
In a moment, harpooned with sirens,
the wind is flimsy and flat,
no song in its piney tresses.
We squat sepia-speckled, chagrin,
you turn off the light. The night is reconciled, 
the dazzle undone, shadows lean in.

An old man listens, 
a wife dozes on joints arthritic.
Night rides her like a Mississippi
barge, low in dark water.  
Their years, carnelian, have made burrows 
in the bed linens, ivory line-dried.
To the old man, rain on tin was
the perfect sound, but tonight
he changed his mind as she rolled over,
her moans a trellis of doves, 
miracle of bodies so small for timbre so deep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Momentous

This moment is liquid, breached with spring peepers,
It is sandalwood smoke lifting prayers to Lakshmi,
Lifting standard bearers, it ups the ante.

It is a cool breeze up a cervical column, shivering 
in Morse code, a genetic ladder to the roof,
to Jupiter to a far black hole in one.

Nebulas yawn a kaleidoscopic Neverland promenade,
and gravity waves sing their arias of emptiness
and full again, in nano-rhyme, in tiny grand statements.

This moment is rich in grandchildren and great grandchildren,
grows thin with constant attention, runs curious as coyote,
moans in silken orgasm. This moment is ready as 4 o'clock.

It swirls perdition within paradise, it bobs on Adriatic waves,
swells with orphans adrift, threatens to wash us away.
It uncurls sad lingering memory, clings to vital shadow kin.

This moment is mitosis: gold to lead, sunflowers to chickadees, you to me.
It has folded the day into 366 paper cranes, each head upturned.
This moment is ululation, rooster crowing, white sheets on wind.

It is quicksilver, rolling about in the palm of our hand. Heavy,
we want to unpack it.  Like Grendel, it would swallow us whole.
It is courier, prayer bead, moonlight on the Pacific.


This moment wears a chrysalis, maybe chrome, maybe feather.