"We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry."
“The opening line of a poem is like finding a fruit on the ground, a piece of fallen fruit that you’ve never seen before. The poet’s task is to create the tree from which such a fruit would fall. ” Paul Valéry
This week is figure drawing
Although there was plenty to pay attention to,
I drew only her left arm
Laid against a pillow, next to her head
Relaxed, with fingers stretching away from her open palm She was not grasping at something, simply open
Pointing toward the studio’s skylights,
Catching a ray of late afternoon light
"Confining myself to the severity of truth." Dryden
Frank visits his mother at the home every Saturday.
Or almost every Saturday, because the nurses don't like saying bad things about any family, because so few families come at all. Except during the Holidays,
what the Nursing home staff call Guilt Season.
Frank comes out on Saturdays for lunch- sometimes he brings Burger King,
and the staff know that Mrs.Hamilton shouldn't be eating a Whopper with
cheese, not to even mention the fries, but she is 84 and why should diet be considered such a big deal any way.
Frank looks at the clock, sometimes a little, sometimes frequently
in the winter, when the weather is bad. He has a pretty good drive, he tells
the staff, and that is probably true. He stays a few hours, and tries to make
small talk and wheels his mother up and down the hall a bit, so she
can say hello to the residents she knows and some that she thinks she knows,
but doesn't. If the weather is good he has been known to take her
for a drive, but that doesn't happen so much lately. Frank used to
bring his wife, but she doesn't come anymore. There are rumors about a divorce,
but no one has specifics and Mrs.Hamilton wouldn't remember even if he
had told her. It is a secret that she doesn't have to keep. Which is probably
just as well, considering everything.
So many streets, with multiple destinations. A thousand houses filled
with soft lights.
Porch lights for private good nights. Living rooms with blue lights. Bedrooms with shades drawn.
Intimate in our dreams, but vague from a distance. They are the beginning and end of every trip.
Inches away from her face
Inches away from her face Close enough to inhale the scent of
while her fingers pull casual strands of hair
behind her ears Inches away from her face
sharing the same unspoken thoughts Inches away from her face
while her eyelashes whisper
Signal light -
The town I lived in had a single signal light, on its only major street.
The intersection of Main and Harrison, about four blocks from the high school and half a mile from downtown, which had plenty of stop signs, but no lights. There were some yellow warning lights by the railroad tracks, but they were mostly ignore unless some trucks were rolling through because of an accident out on the highway. At the stop light there was an almost faded set of lines for pedestrians, but since nobody crossed the street there, it hardly mattered. Most people crossed up the hill by the school because there were a four way stop there and everybody was used to people walking to and from the school so they expected to see people crossing there. Someone told me once that the stoplight had been installed at Main because there was a Planned Development that was going in on Harrison and they requested a light so trucks going in and out could move through. It never got built of course.
At midnight the light had a timer that moved it to flashing yellow until 6am the next day. If you had nothing better to do, and we didn't, you could sit on the curb next to the road on a particularly quiet night you could listen to the clicking of the light -on/off -while you waited for someone to drive through.
In the summer there were crickets, a couple of trains rumbling up from the South and the steady click of the light. A couple of kids took some shots at the light with a BB gun, but they really didn't do much damage. Every couple of years someone from the city would climb up on a ladder and apply more yellow paint. Mostly it didn't change at all.
Early morning-late summer. Just enough yellow/orange light makes it way
between the buildings to light up the Eastern sky.
Fall is still a ways off, but she is sending some previews, an advance notice.
Afternoons are still hot, but there are hints of her- cool air on certain mornings after a late night shower,
and geese, flying around- low and loud. I see a few stray dried leaves on benches sitting-accidentally and on purpose on the back seats of cars. Parallel parked on the streets near work. No one would intentionally put dried oak leaves in their back windows would they ?
Late evening- dusk- late summer. Just enough rose coloured sunlight in Western windows of my house. Long lines of fading light across the floor, and just enough cool air to justify opening up the windows as the stars come out. Just enough.
Missy, who is 12, knows when not to talk. Her dad, sitting next to her on a bench in the grocery store is on the cellphone. She is waiting with him to get her allergy prescription. They come about once a month and she is very patient, but clearly bored. Missy is all legs, sharp eyes behind serious glasses and usually carries a book. Her mother is never with them, which is because she died several years ago, but I don't know that. Her dad works long hours and leaves her with his sister (Auntsilvia) a lot. Missy doesn't tell her dad that Auntsilvia talks loud, and smells bad (she smokes) and drives really badly. He has too much to worry about she tells her friends. Missy is verygrownupforherage. She has heard this from people for years. She used to be proud of that, but now she knows it is a phrase that sounds nicer than- "her mom died and we feel sorry for her." Now that she has figured it out it doesn't really mean much, but she gives her best GoodGirl smile and they smile back. Missy wishes her dad would buy her a cellphone, but he won't. She thinks it would be cool to talk to friends while she hangs out at her Aunt's house, but he says its wasteful and he can reach her there when he needs her. Missy thinks her dad is missing the Big picture, but she doesn't tell him that. The prescription is ready and she reaches over the counter and grabs the bag. Her dad pays, but she always carries the bag. They don't hold hands when they leave the store, but they walk close together and her dad makes sure she is within arms reach. Missy would never tell her Dad that she appreciates that, but she does.
Because, perhaps she was cold
Awkward at a distance
standing in the hallways of the Chemistry building
pulling on the sleeves of her green turtle neck sweater
until her hands were invisible inside them.
Looking impatient or cold
Because it was a colder than expected April afternoon
Winds having turned around midday to the North Perhaps she thought it would be warmer
or that she would not have to wait so long
the only person in the building without books
the only person left in the hallway when classes ended
when whoever she was waiting for did not appear
probably wishing she was
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
Now the color of anything
Fades in the air
She is the film of a book
Of the story, of the smell of her
Tuesday in Amsterdam
"The mark of a poet is one who can break your heart with a straight face."- Bitriot
On Needing to write something:
"Never compose anything unless the not composing of it
becomes a positive nuisance to you" - Holst (1921)"
As opposed to wanting to write something.
One of the answers
Can I help you with something? There are tens of thousands of possible answers
to the question she asks several times a day.
She imagines it will be predictable, because it is usually so.
I pause a moment and consider
hoping to find an answer she has not yet heard
-something that will make her think, something to make her bite her lips,
or cause those long lashes to flutter in silence for a moment...
. No, I just wanted a moment of your undivided attention .
------------------------------------Quote of the month/year-
Wislawa Szymborska -
"All the best have something in common, a regard for reality,
an agreement to its primacy over the imagination."
Southerners are fascinated by almost anything in ruins, be it graveyards, barns or cars..."
quotation- from Ron Rash
It had been there awhile. That is what people said, when I asked them about the diner, or to be more specific, what was left of the diner. Some people said it had opened in the 50's and then reopened, closed, etc a couple times in the decades since. In the four years I lived in that small town it was closed non-stop. The chrome wraparound exterior barely shone, even on the brightest of days. The neon sign, perched on top had slipped to one side, looking more than a little like a bad hair piece. It said: Mike's.
Carol loved the place and took probably four rolls of pictures of it. Nighttime, daytime, black and white and color. She entered a set of them in a photo contest and won 3rd prize. She titled it simply "Tribute" because to her it was about respect. A certain respect for the place, the people who used to eat there (her parents) and the folks who ate there (half of her relatives). To Carol her photos were her own version of preservation. She told me she wished she had the money to repair and reopen the place as a coffee shop.
not some kinda of fancy nouveau sorta thing, but a coffee shop, with doughnuts and greasy food ... It was just talk of course, she didn't have the money and still doesn't. At least I don't think so. I don't see her that much anymore, and I haven't lived in that part of the South for years. Still, it is a fond memory and that makes this my own act of preservation.
____I drove by and saw:
Patrice, stopped at a park and ride, talking to a city cop. He was facing one way, she the other, so they could both roll down their windows and talk to each other. Directly, or something like directly. Patrice had her hair pulled back and had on bright sun glasses. It's a warm day and she had a tank top on and I bet shorts too. The cop is probably a friend of a friend who is just killing time while he does traffic. It's a Saturday morning and there is not a lot going on. I bet one of them wants it to be more than talking. But I don't know Patrice that well and I don't know any cops, so I can't say for sure. I went and bought some groceries and when I drove back that way later they were both gone. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. .
.Drill Field April 2007
I have walked on the Drill field. It is a large, relatively flat expanse of green set in between large stone buildings.
The name is derived from its original use: the place where ROTC cadets marched for decades as part of their daily training.
Preparation for combat. A place to learn teamwork and coordination. Long before I walked across the field it had become home for frisbees and hastily organized football games.
No trees for shade, but nothing in the way of lazy fly balls either.
It was a place to relax and unwind from classroom tedium- an escape field; a slacking field. Now it is destined to take on another function. A memorial. When all the cameras go home what will be left is that large open space with
a small ring of 33 rocks and a sense of emptiness. Recreation will move to a less somber place. The field is now reserved for ghosts.
Two old dogs circled the dining room floor
slow descent into familiar positions
one on a rug, the other leaning against a chair It might be poetic to imagine them grieving:
to give them sad faces
or lonesome howls
but they have neither. They are unaffected by the change,
oblivious to the absence. Two old dogs who are easy to please,
a soft hand to pet their backs;
a warm place to lie. Strangers and friends come and go,
but they will follow routine:
daytime, nightime, sleep, run, eat
slow descent into familiar positions.
"I try, but you see, It's hard to explain
I said the right things , But act the wrong way"
--------------------------this lyric is more autobiographical than I would like
The Strokes- hard to explain
Who we are
We have always been readers
We were the type of kids who sat at the breakfast table
long after everyone else was done
reading the sides of the cereal boxes to find out
what was in it
We are still trying searching
There might be a story about a kiss here
an eyes closed dizzy sort of kiss
citrus scented insincerity
motivated more by the challenge than by
affection there may have been a story about a kiss here
but I am choosing to forget it. Christmas lights
Here, just for a moment
the lights flash on and away
through the glass
in small eyes, filled with awe-
green-red-white-on-off- again Here, just for a moment
stop and watch the reflection
lights within a child
As close to hope as we might grasp
The essence of corduroy pants is not about comfort- or its place in fashion-( or out of fashion)
They are not like jeans- both ubiquitous and worn in all seasons. Corduroys are, almost by definition, a fall pant- perhaps even a winter pant.
What makes cordurory pants special is their sound.
Swish-swish -- a very noticeable echo--
A low whisper, one syllable per step—swish- swish. Does it make the wearer self conscious—like a skirt that is too short- or heels that are too high? Not generally. Does the sound stop traffic? Not usually. You have to be within a few steps—within earshot. Within reach.
We notice this at a young age- preteen perhaps- and usually in the hall of a school- or a quiet movie theater – that sound- mixed with cheap perfume, hormones and confusion- all mixed together created a connection.
Swish- swish – meant: a slow, steady walk that you wanted to follow. The moonlight is cool and white -here
mornings open up quiet steelblue-here
days are growing shorter -here
My nights without you are longer-
always ....forget what we're told
before we get- too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life
Snow Patrol-Counting Cars ... If I get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me threaten' the life it belongs to. -Anna Nalick No longer inside of me --
I understand it.
It is a slow boil- A low hum
It is a need, a desire
A compulsion Each image- visual and invisible
Rising out of the film lab tray
Ghostlike Make the fleeting scent of hairspray in the elevator
Tangible Capture the swish swish of lawn sprinklers and
Pin it to the cardboard Freeze the texture of wet elastic tank top
Onto my fingertips, then
Onto the screen. Then- exhale.
Living a sheltered existence
I try to keep organized. I have a notebook for my Important papers and I have a plastic medicine tray the lady at the clinic gave me. It has 7 slots for each day and they each close real tight. That way I can remember what day it is and whether I have taken my medicine. Each day has a letter-S, M, T, W, T and then F and S . (Even though there are two Ts and two Ss--its ok, because they are spaced out and you can tell its a different day) When it was new it had white paint on each of the letters, but they faded away. You can feel the letters with your fingers though. I try to keep my stuff organized because I can only stay at each shelter 5 days. That's the rule, and I try to follow rules and stay away from Police involvement. I've been to a couple of jails and they smell bad and the food is nasty and the people are mean. So I move around and Listen when people are talking to me and Stay out of harm's way. I have been on my own for a while and I think I'm getting better at things. That's what I think. chapter 2:
I heard a girl's voice today and I thought it was Bonnie's -but it wasn't. Bonnie spent a lot of time in the shelters last year-- she and her baby. Marybeth was a tiny, sickly baby and coughed a lot. Many people complained- because she cried a lot and kept people awake- the baby- not Bonnie. Bonnie had some drug problems- I didn't know a lot of the problem- but that's what everyone said. She was nice to me- and let me watch her baby sometimes so she could sleep- or go the bathroom- or go the Human service office- or errands. Bonnie had grown up Backeast- and that's where her family was- she said. She said she couldn't go back there- and I didn't ask why. I've learned not to pry- that is one of the things I have learned since I've been on the street. Mostly. Keep away from loud people-- follow rules if you know them- don't pry. It's not a long list. I miss seeing Bonnie and her baby. They both had the same misty blue eyes and their faces lit up real nice when they were happy. That didn't happen much- so I can remember it pretty well. Someone said the baby got sick and died. But I don't believe rumors. I prefer to talk directly to people when I can. The voice I heard today- it was a student worker from the college-- She was very young and was laughing about one of wheelchair guys. The laugh was the giveaway. I never heard Bonnie laugh. part 3-the police:
I listen to the police. Some people laugh at them- call them fat or doughnutsboys or somesuch. I know better. I've felt mace and I know how hard a stick can hit you when a cop is mad. I'm careful. I don't stare at them- say yes sir and no sir and move when they say to move. I say this because I see a lot of shelterpeople get hurt when they don't need to get hurt. If they would listen a bit- problems wouldn't happen. I don't know why people go looking for trouble- as if being homeless wasn't enough trouble- I know--but trouble with police means jail or worse. Worse is what happened to the guy from Ohio. I didn't know his name- he was just the guy from Ohio-- he wore a Browns hat and that's what he told everybody when they asked his name- he was TGFO. TGFO didn't like cops and used to spit at them. The shelter staff gave him warnings== the cops gave him warning=hell, I told him stuff-- he didn't care. The fact he decided to spit at a cop on a night when somebody had barfed in the back of a squad car was probably the final straw-I don't know-- but one thing led to another-- they pulled him outside on the parking lot by his shoes-- I heard some yelling and more than a couple of thumps. Then I heard the sirens. The report in the paper said A vagrant had died while resisting arrest. They said his name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin. They said he had no known address. Nobody from the paper came and asked us anything. I probably would'nt have said anything. Why ask for trouble?
Shattered glass is fortunate to be expendable
Shattered glass is momentary tragedy
easily swept up and thrown away
replaced by cardboard, then plywood, then new glass
then forgotten -quickly
A dent or a small crack -that's different
it is a reminder, it lingers
bad temper, good aim, an argument- or all three One does not sweep up such small damage
we are expected to live with it
or live without it
Explosions I have known--
Moving down the highway at dusk, a driver in front of me threw a still lit cigarette out his window. It struck the highway and exploded in a circle of red sparks and all I could think of was a volcano- and the way fire sprays out and around volcanoes when eruptions are imminent. The way my mind works- I started pondering the nature of all explosions-- natural, unnatural - yours and mine.
..." And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary
screaming out aloud. " Anna Nalick- "breathe" '
Restraint, but only in the absract
Calm reunions after extended separation
but in application, improbable
When distance is erased-there is combustion
arms reach becomes hands searching
as indelicate limbs become involved in rediscovery Intellectually we might imagine a quiet conversation
but our words are few, if we speak at all
We have sent them over phone and wire for weeks
pressed together now, we share what could not given
in any other format ... like a cure left beside its disease...
Terrible is the juxtaposition
awful is that distance
it will be better if she were far away
but to be close enough to touch
is too close.
I avoid passing her cubicle
but she sashays by
close enough for a glance
a heat that can singe the hair on my arms
come pieces of faded sunlight
slow to glow
At eye level
sidewalks are full of children
faces hidden deep inside jackets
eyes above the collar, watching for their school bus
their bus yellow to my slate gray
where I sit on dark seats damp with humidity
it smells of coffee, wet jackets, hastily applied makeup and diesel Note to Fast food royalty
Dear Ms. Queen of hamburgers
at bedside you will find my cardboard crown
left for you and your radiant coutenance
I have made you some coffee but sadly
the wait staff have vacated the castle
you will have to serve yourself
please pardon the mess as the moat has backed up into the sink I will return forthwith
your servant e
Unfettered and alive
Needing only to inhale/exhale
Opening my eyes wide enough to take it all in Hyper vigilant
aware of my surroundings
Veins filled with electricity Daylight cannot give me this
A clear night sky, lush with stars, is required
Brisk air is better still,
Thin as glass, but full of sounds "I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive."
Joni Mitchell-Free man in Paris
Avalanche (feminine tense)
A fissure opens
then rocks, then
the hillside crashes with a roar.
A dust cloud rises, then
Find me another word for sublime.
Sort through the list and find me something to use in place of passionate.
Also, a replacement for succulent. You, who have words at your finger
are patient in your searches.
I have utmost confidence you can locate a substitute for
fragrant; for provocative;
You will look through books,
while I watch.
Still as a word in a book
Step out in my Moongarden gown
Strolling outside at dusk
I am thin cotton and sandals Shadows come to dampen the lawn
Deep green rectangle boarded by azalea and lilies Crickets find their instruments and
Owls begin their monologue
The sky melts into indigo waves Fireflies make small constellations
As a sliver of moon rises above the treetops Blanc contre le noir
When we were young we had a school project- you know- a holiday takeithometoyourMom project.
Instructions? Stick multiple spikes of cloveinto an orange. Place the dark brown spikes into the skin of the fruit until no colour remained- no colour save the deep death colour and the pungent clove smell coated our now bright red sore fingertips. The idea was to place the clove/orange in dresser drawers to leave a scent more favorable than mildew. Hours of washing hands did little to hide the smell and months later the drawer still held that musky magical perfume. So, we asked, where did the orange go? Where did the sweet fruit go? Why do grownups prefer such a smell to candy or a soft blanket? It was a mystery, to be sure. Still is.
Your mouth, close to my ears
So close I could hear your lips part
I knew you had something to say
Before you spoke a syllable
Your whispered voice, soaked in ambivalence
Told me you were
Sorry Your side of the bed
Your half of the closet
Lost its scent, more gradually
Years of days are filled with hours
Moments, such a small portion of the whole, fade
An unattended book
A single book, left alone on a Spring bench
open to a careless breeze
pages flowing back and forth
front to back
future to past
its owner will return confused
not be able to find his place
in the text, specifically
In praise of nodeshells
I am taking suggestions for a short factual writeup on the use of titles in artforms. Specifically, the use of OTHER works of art as the basis for the title of a new piece of art. Music, drama, literature, etc. example: All the Kings men-novel, from the nursery rhyme-Humpty dumpty
Also sprach Zarathustra-symphony- from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche
Something wicked this way comes-novel, from an exact quote from Macbeth-Shakespeare The Power and the Glory-novel-Graham Greene-from The Lord's prayer-this was suggested by -izubachi I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (novel; Maya Angelou lifted the line from Paul Lawrence Dunbar's poem "Sympathy"
The Sound and the Fury (novel; William Faulkner used a line from Macbeth's soliloquy)
-these two suggested by Kilroywashere Ouroboros- says Thing Fall Apart, the novel, titled upon the line from the poem- Sailing to Byzantium. Gritchka says from Macbeth: two phrases- By the Pricking of My Thumbs-novel- Agatha Christie, Something Wicked This Way Comes -- Eyeless in Gaza- Aldous Huxley, from the Bible)
The Kreutzer Sonata is a triple: Janacek wrote music based on the Tolstoy short story about the Beethoven sonata. Igloowhite- The pure products of america-novel- a Nebula award winner from John Kessel is from the poem To Elise by WIlliam Carlos Williams Pseudo_Intellectual- "perhaps what you are looking for is "derivative tities"? Lometa- I am the Walrus-song -The Beatles from The Walrus and the Carpenter - All that glitters is not gold-from both Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings -- and The game is afoot- from Shakespeare -Henry V and Sherlock Holmes When I receive twenty I will attempt a short summary of this time honored tradition. thanks in advance. e.
Good at everything
At 8, she played baseball
"a natural hitter," said her coach
a Tomboy, said her Mom
so she quit At 10, she played violin
"such a beautiful sound," said her teacher
a Geek, said her brother
so she quit At 19, she played Ophelia
"such grace, such pathos," said the college paper
a Goth, said her boyfriend
so she quit Now 28, she plays dumb
and is remarkably good at it. Is there love?
yes there is love
ask me to take a breath of air without
there are no skies that lack your clouds
each moon, each stage is your postit note
thinking of you
is there love? yes
as long as my mouth can form the word
here and there
but not all of the time
and not in every way
sending postcards and flowers
the subscription cards that fall out of magazines
Bee keeper monthly, for instance
it is not the calvary
but I know she is thinking of me
in ways no one else thinks
Face skyward -expectant
broad smile filled with cold air
two snow flakes on her eyelashes,
no jewels sparkle as bright
back seat window
I had never noticed before
the assortment of animals in her back window
some faded, and decayed, others fresh
the major players were six brown felt dogs with loose necks
with their backs to me, looking out into the afternoon son
they had the look of minature sentrys
when she awakens I will ask her their names
but she is still deep in slumber, half empty Dos Equis still in one hand
she is the kind of girl who names animals and forgets people's names The map is not the territory r.e.m
my eyes trace your face
the soft cheekbones
one edge facing the library window
warmed by highwindowed light
and the furrowed brow concentrating
deep in your studies
r.e.m. and w.p.m.
your eyelashes flutter
might I be a footnote
in your studies?
Waves on a shore
The wind through an orchard
oils on a canvas
your hands where oregano meets basil
as piano touches violin and
incense drifts into candlelight
your hands shadows across the floor
a whisper behind one ear
your hands on my skin fall, soon
I want frost on your windshield
silver and glistening
the scent of woodsmoke in your jacket
musty, peppery and cool
and I want your hands in my jacket pockets
searching for warmth
I want to kiss you when I can see your breath
tasting the inhale
words are never just
or sparkle. Marvelous.
they are making shadows
other times catching them
Small words tell stories
serious and false
or ridiculous and true, but
words are never just
as the sky,
is never just air Summit She is curled up in a ball
wrapped in warm sheets on a chair by the window
watching her conquest sleep
uncovered on the exhausted bed
She smiles, self satisfied
trying to picture a flag pole
driven into the bed (next to his head)
she imagines a snowy peak
She in white parka and gloved hands
holding tight to the flag in the howling wind
this spot claimed as mine Mid afternoon
early fall sky
ocean blue w/
an archipelago of dark clouds
moving across the horizon
a thousand destinations
a thousand dreams
The full moon created shadows in the darkness
On a evening almost daylight bright because of it
The silhouettes of trees and telephone poles stretched out
long and threatening
across the street and onto suburban lawns so stark were these shapes
black against pale houses and blue concrete avenues
one could not help but think of monsters
and ghosts Such lustrous moonlight
evokes more feeling than pitch black
Reflections having more power than a wall
generally "I need to know if you were real,
'cos I've been known to get things wrong."
"dream a little dream of you ...."
Mamas and the Pappas Sandwiched around my day to day is this dream
of you, with you, flavored by you.
first how you might be
then how you could be
now it is
how we are
Aren't dreams supposed to end when you wake?
On days that are this hot
Air as thick as burlap
With no breeze to move the open drapes
I remember a bathtub full of ice cubes
And goose bumps that replaced sweat lines
On the rug by her bed
how the color came back to her skin
A poem for skyblue eyes
My Limitations are such
That I speak only two languages
And use a single voice
To reach your ears
I struggle to fit so much
Into such confined space
A narrow avenue
That cannot carry what is in my heart
I am left with only room for a footnote
a stone's throw
making love is not about the stone
or the throwing
the skill, or the effort
it is always about the ripples
sliding across the water's edge
infinite perfect circles
reaching in all directions every tone I play would give whatever I’ve not said away -Nicklecreek-beauty and the mess
Angels do not pontificate
Angels do not concern themselves with algebraic equations
they do not discuss erte and Sarte
their conversations are feather light angels do not worry about judicial precedents
or the number of Philosophers who can sit on the head of a pin Angels do not debate issues
they hum One more reason I love Charles Bukowski:
she was sure of herself, she knew what she wanted.
And one thing she didn't want was me.
I've known more women like that than any other kind.
A slow practiced motion
He dreams of her vibrations
As his fingers strum vertebrae
Back and forth
In a slow, practiced motion
Though even a novice knows this fact:
Following a routine
Doesn't mean the music
the rest of her inches
Not her measurements,
The distance she keeps from me
to me, with me
between what I desire
and what she expresses
the separation is inexplicable
no explanation could calibrate
I am staring at the generous sky and wishing for a lesson that will make me more innocent, not less. I would like periodic reminders that childlike wonder is enormously better than adult certainty. I want to believe that clouds that roll past a playground have more weight than a textbook of meteorology. Sit with me on a bench now and close your eyes. Listen to what Spring sounds like. Appreciate the arguments of barn swallows and the first songs of the ice cream truck. Don't try and figure out what they mean. They don't mean anything. Ice cream sandwiches arrive in wax paper wrappers without intentions
Perhaps by focusing on the mundane I can get a better handle on the Somuch. _______________________________
If brain injury or cultural disorientation would take hold and rob me of grammatical convention the words I would combine spin out of control in no particular order or assignment and I would list them here only by way all ways as they arrive and before I send them off to you and to others and with complete disinterest in their cohesion and with sincerest regard for their sincerity because I want them to be received with the same cool breeze that blew them into my lobby swirling discarded candy wrappers and the failed advertising circulars from yesterdays news which would be news to me because I hadn't read them and they are the same kind of words that are sent without regard to intention and without regard to actual perusal so in that sense I am in league with them because I don't control receipt only projection and if the images are glossy and provocative ripe fruit next to a bare back with discrete towels covering areas that might provoke than I am halfway to where I want to be.
I do know this much. There are no finish linesfor minds that race.
How cruel am I
To intentionally send chills?
How mean to create
Shivers and goose bumps
Toes that snap
And half bitten lips
Do I enjoy your chair squirming discomfort?
Is it amusing to see you wince,
when I trace the hair on the back of your neck with my tongue?
I promise to stop tracing your shoulder blades
I promise to stop leaning against your back
I promise to stop biting your earlobes
Tomorrow, I'll be good.
I got you a gift today
an invisible piece of silver
a thin chain, around my neck
a locket filled with water from an ocean,
we have never seen
it makes me think of you
and when I imagine it there
today and many times
You will think of me
and the gifts you have given yourself
" Nobody writes them like they used to -So it may as well be me." Belle and Sebastian '
She leaves her memory on
sweatshirts and jackets and couches
her hairspray and perfume and powder
an invisible forcefield I cannot fathom
a timemachine that always takes me back to that instant
when her scent
I hate the taste of cigarette smoke (he says)
between soft, sideways kisses
I prefer women with long hair (he says)
as his fingers trace the muscles of her bare neck
I never spend the night with women (he says)
as he presses his face into her sunlit back
morning light on her smiling face
a face that judges not by words
but by action.
Scars left by sugarcubes
they are still here
where you left them
on my shoulders
by my ears
on my neck
They do not fade
like magic marker initials or gumball machine tattoos
they remain warm to the touch.
I do not know Sarah Kelly. But her exhibit caught my eye profoundly. A series of 25 charcoal drawings, with multiple attachments-candy wrappers, Polaroids, etc. All of the pieces had one common feature-a piece of a branch from a tree nailed to the border. They all had a short description, as well, written in pencil- ("this was Bill, I knew him before he left to go to school in England. I only kissed him once-he smelled like Beer and confidence"). Ms.Kelly said all of the branches came from the same Oak tree. The one in her back yard where she grew up (Grosse Pointe. She saved several branches when her parents sold the house. The tree was gone now, she wrote, since the new owner didn't want to be reminded about the hanging. Ms. Kelly did not go into detail on that point.
small bouquets of plastic flowers
sit in the median, on the edge of a hill
People drive by, but who notices? Cars with mothers, cars with sisters, cars with friends
after a while, strangers all
I would have ignored it too
but for the mourner, with her new white cross
and fresh red ribbon
bent in solitude
between twin rows of chaos
it was pale white, with whale bone inserts
and bright white eyelits for a single string
32 holes to pull it tight
and my fingers
so agile on the piano, minutes before
were now clumsy and awkward
misplaying this simple task
in, then out
as she exhaled
Yellow bug light goodnight
She is leaning against the doorframe, giving me the eye. Scuffling one sneaker against the other with jeanlegs crossed. I think she wants me to kiss her 'nite, but I don't think I would stop if I started. She looks away, then back. Her eyes are sparkles of yellow from the porchlight. She tosses a few strands of hair out of her eyes and bites her lower lip-she says "I'm gonna go in now, is that o.k.?" I put one hand, tentatively on the side of her face and she melts into it and at that moment I am a negative to her positive.
Tugging toward each other, both of us, at the same time. Five hours (minutes?) later she whispers in my ear: "What took you so long?" And I smile and say I dunno . I don't tell the truth-which is this:
It is such a sweet dream I didn't dare touch her for fear of waking up.
soup du jour
the reason I abandoned the shore
why did I swim away from the safety of Lighthouses
the calm of reluctant tides?
why did I set off into the woods
without a guide? why am I climbing this mountain
at such altitudes
that I can hardly breathe?
Why do I spiral downward,
racing for the ground
with a parachute that I am unfamiliar with
in a direction upside down?
A simple answer to all.
I have decided to live again.
the wind knocked out of me
they were tumbling to the ground
two bodies out of the tree limbs
one wincing in pain
one laughing out loud
and a quick check for bruises
pretend punches, followed by
a short wrestling match,
red faces and flashing eyes
and fingers in hair
quick breaths from parted lips
inches away she whispers-
the least you can do is kiss me... so I can get some air back
She dreams only of this----------------often:
standing in front of a wall length canvas
she doesn't see the white that is and
sees what it will be
all the long waves of blue/orange/red sky
a stained glass window sunset
soft green meadows below
puffy clouds moving past them, at ground level
just because she wants them there
she steps back,
tilts her head,
shaking the paint can in one hand
he is behind her, leaning against a doorframe
and he whispers ----------------------------------------------
"it's fine, dahlin' don't change a thang" and you don't.
They have a certain shape
like Hershey kisses
rounded bottom curving up.
Made harder,not softer with attention. --