Poem 90

for b…

We are gods
with our hands in the rain
making slim sounds down
terra cotta shingles; reminding
the desert it was once the sea

Come away from the window–the rain
will be there when we return
we can watch it write histories,
cast destinies when we return

From lightening–gods say lightening brings life–spark
jolt magnetic electrical pulses:
We are pulsing plume blooming all on our own,
not hindered by:

Mere mortality–I say we are gods,
this act of lightening, this act of life.
It is god-work bringing the Saharan
to flower again.

This love: immortality carved into tablets… a fish tailed siren seducing odysseus…
Lightening: a cackle from the lips of a past life…

We are the gods, darling, we are the gods.


Poem 89

because i am the self proclaimed unofficial poet laureate of Michael Foote’s death, because we are all so far apart and won’t be coming back this fall… because the ache never goes away, we just learn how to live around it. I love you, I always will… love, Mama Bear!!
            When theglow from the streetlights is low enough
            —ephemeral even—Iunlace my shoes ad dig toe-ward in the grass.
            I waitthere
            until I cansense the pulse beat roots
            imagine myoak atop a sprawling mound
            long beforethe insects or half abandoned pencil nubs of fall.
I am small,
            but itbegins regardless
            as ifcarried by breezes, a pilgrimage of pieces
            pennies withgreen-grey edges
            pea coat buttons
            couch cushion mints
tumbleweeds of crumpled worksheets,long lost before due dates
single socks in technicolor
tiptoeing across dog eared pages ofpicture books
a purple gel pen
a half filled journal
maps to treasure buried in thebackyard
shards of mirror
snippets of photos
a single useless key
It is everything I’ve ever lost…
Loved, remembered—hours spent searching, countless tears
            a locket
            a small Minniemouse figure.
            a letter
            a birthdaycard signed in cursive
            a ring
            a barrette
When you’re small every loss feels raw, essential, laborious
they collect at first by my heels,but quickly it is my knees brushed by handkerchiefs and headbands
            I could wade through—but I don’t daremove…
            waitinstead for the inventory to be complete:
            a threewheeled suitcase
            a promdress with a misaligned zipper
past due college acceptance letters
a roped coil of my long dark hair
a map from trips unplanned
the front door to our unpurchasedhouse
            the crumpled calendar leafletsto mornings slept away
I make no haste surveying the damage
            —theartifacts of a privileged life—
            the scrapsof me the universe saw fit to take away.
            Thispile-mole-hill-mountain-monument is everything I’ve ever lost…
and everyone.
            Thereperched high in a rusted beach chair, the silhouette of a straw hat andoveralls.
            I couldwade through—but I don’t move.
            I am solidas this tree, barked to its flanks
            buried ineverything I think I’ve lost.
I watch for vital-signs. wait for you to move
readjust, sigh, smile
or for the morning to reach across the lawn
and make it all tangible,
but it never does.
I wish I had known;
consumed by anguish over lost legos
—I wish I had been told by someone older, wiser, more worndown—
that some losses are deeper than others:
some carve at your soul.
What I would give to brush aside the strings of florescentglass beads and…
but I am small—barked to this tree.
What I would give to dig my nails into twenty-two years
and climb to where you are,
shake you conscious
beg you to stay
—but I am small, brittle as my grieving tree…
            I’ll nevermake it, I’ve put too much between us, I’ve trust you out of reach
If only—
            If only wewere face to face:
            you in youroveralls, me sprawled across the green
            I couldknow then
            with certainty 
            that the things the universe takes away make it out of this place
            transcendtheir own trifleness
Sometimes when I ache for you I remember all the things I’llnever lose
            a wheezinglaugh
            a whiskeylaugh
            a handprinton my shoulder
            a bear-hug
and I sit Indian style with my back to the world waiting forthe buttons to scatter
the love letters to slip silently into the deep
for the man atop my mourning pyre to raise himself
onto his legs and cascade calmly back to the grass
            I wouldstand and extend my fingers
            I would abidewith sturdy roots
            for you toput your forehead against mine and breathe again
            I would holdyour whiskered cheeks in my palms and say what I always meant to say…
Go now.
   You are not lost.

Poem 88

For B…
this is probably too personal to be a poem… but it sure looks like one…

the funny thing about beauty is
I didn’t much feel beautiful before I met you
muddled skin and scars. not the metaphorical kind, the simple kind…
the growing scars.
I was a fish hinge-jawed perusing a grey-green hook…
Convinced myself to write out every line,
like it were more real with words stapled sideways–carelessly limiting what it all means–
what does it MEAN! where does the middle become the new standard for happiness…

the funny thing about beauty and happiness is
i never was happy enough to feel beautiful before I met you.
not in a sad way, just a textbook way… happiness is black and white but i’m translucent.
and when i stopped trying to smile, i found my jaw was stiff
a portrait is a poor substitute for a face.
my face. in your hands. keeping track of every inch between us…
like counting crows feet, I am more interested in what happens when i decide upon a number…
are they like tree rings? is this how many times you’ve made me smile?
do we get to turn them into poetry? is a wrinkle the best kind of scar…
the eventual kind.

I wanted to tell you today, in the cafe, that i’ve stopped wearing purple mascara
on purpose. because you thought my eyes were green anyway…
because when i stopped trying to make them green, they were that way on their own.
like when i stopped trying to be thin, or smart, or desired…
like when i wrote across the sand the many wishes i had for the sea to take away.
little did i know the desert is made of sand most of all…
and water is made of bubbles,
and the sun brings out everything beautiful there,
the things the shade covets, hoards.
the sun.

And of course you know in spanish smile is sonrisa… 
and if i went through every language, trying to stumble on a more beautiful
word for smile i would end up with your name…
you can’t make these things up… not with the best intended words.
and if i wrote this all ahead of time, like it so often seems,
i might have been more romantic about how happiness translates to beauty…
more beautiful than the truth….
but what is more beautiful than sending a seed into the air and knowing it will grow anyway…

because the air is made of ambition
like the soil is made of memories,
and the sea is made of silence…
but silence fills the spaces we type upon, the network, the globe…
all silent, and stiff
save for the one whispering after-thought
maybe it’s beauty, pulling people together by accident…

or fate.