Archive | September 2011

Birthday

Words grow heavy in the womb.
There is so much I would tell you, love.
I have been too long,
Reposed on the forest floor —
A pyre for selves
Who passed before.
And the clouds blow high and fast —
The rain has passed,
But the gray remains to incubate
New windings.

I am foolish —
Driven by wild instinct and domestic grooves
Straight to the cliff’s edge.
One eye open,
Just in time,
I can step back from it now.
And, pregnant
With the contemplative solitude,
Weave words into fiery sun and sky —
Sculpt my arid and fecund faces
Into lovers —
Drop the defensive stance,
Claim the victory.

Nine golden goblets —
Filled to the brim —
Pass the bottle
And celebrate the reaping.
You see,
This is how I will come to you, love —
Dropping the quest for mastery,
Incomplete but whole.
The light shines forward and back.
Eyes cast down to the path,
I step up to it.

Patiently spinning the fine threads,
I turn it upside down
To get a new view.
And remember
All these lovers —
Monarch and moth,
Earth mother on the throne,
Lady in the garden walls —
And how they learned to dance —
To shine and fade —
To embrace —
To release —
To balance the scales at last.

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Equinox

The wheel
Shifts gears,
And turning sets
Another cycle aflame.
Wind’s whisper pushes me,
Stumbling,
To the temple.
It’s always like this —
Discarded reminders
And so much movement —
The living! —
Right in front of me.
(How can we be so blind?)

Rhythm left me behind –
I catch it again.
Add a new twist
With syncopating murmur –
More breathless flaws.
Goldfinch in the oaks
Is trading coats
With the trees,
Song-throb throat
Brings me back.

Let’s celebrate –
Passersby and permanent.
Remember again,
The treasures –
No luxuries these,
Just the finding.
We were magpies.
An old green shirt,
Its buttons all pulled off.
A wooden box, carved rose,
Full of sweet smoke.
Dragonfly’s pillow by the court.
All sculpted
Into sacred tools.

The ritual returns.
And who was I to question?
These gifts were for savoring.
Cattails and chattering chickadee.
A hunter wheeling on an updraft.
Slow progression of gold to gray.
And the following crow
Who orders the march.
Maybe this will be a better year.
Please, bring me back.
Bring me back.

Like a child in her mother’s dress,
I didn’t know if it were better
To grow into it
Or drop it by the road
And run naked into the field.
I want to embrace all of this,
Devour it and hold it
Closer than close.
We are children here.
We have lost the way.
We must unlearn,
And grow small
And grateful again.

So much wasted time and turning,
We are sightless before it.
Let me be the empty jar
Collecting sunlight.
Help me find my way back, love,
To the discarded treasure.
Weave me a blanket of dry grass,
Seeds and wind.
Wrap my hollow bones
In these unseen celebrations,
And bring me back.
Bring me back.
Bring me back.

Curious old crooner,
Tell me you will wait.
When the darkness is littered
Like glass shards behind me
And I tiptoe past
Cocooned walls
Into sunrise spotlight again,
Promise to bear witness.
Remind me,
How heavy the fruit,
And the splintering
Of all that birthing.

One hand resting at my hip,
Lead on, love,
To night’s soft edges.
Split the sea with dry hands.
Bony fingers on new skin.
Wrap me in your mellow voice.
Let the pictures melt away.
Hold me when the moon
Gathers clouds in the jar,
And bring me back.
Bring me back.
Bring me back.
Bring me back.

Stilled

In the lucky season
He snared a songbird —
Tied it with a golden thread
To a silver perch by the window.

Her tune pulled clouds
Down into a foggy sunrise,
And as the golden leaves dropped
Her instinct rose —
Told her to hunker down
If she could not chase the sun.

She listened to receding voices of her clan —
Grew still as first the low geese,
Then higher,
The cranes,
Took to an updraft
And warned of its coming.

He locked the window,
Drew curtains tight.
Black magician
Stole her song
And turned his back
As she withered and grayed.

The silent watcher
Witnessed the changing light
Through a crack.
The weavers in the window
Built monuments to hunger,
Curators of unheeding flight
And a thousand resurrections
Amongst their tear-beaded webs.

He ventured forth
Into the blue rooms,
Blood on his lips.
He shone with the power
Of seven suns.
A clamoring need,
The dusty crowd —
Ask and you shall receive.

Simultaneously,
In retreating minutes
Of darkness,
He showed her more darkness.
Each confession
Another steely scale
To build up her armor.

Rusty voiced,
She called to the night-cousins:
How long?
How long?
Inward gaze and private notes
Struggling songward.

The slow torture of the turning wheel,
She felt it in her bones.
Fallen feathers,
Heavy wing,
Dew eye —
An ominous memorial,
A shadowed accompaniment,
Her ghosts’ fading footsteps.

Somewhere a resounding echo rolls
Beneath the short hand.
Minute celebrations —
The shining and mundane –
Scent of leaf mould
Blown through a widening fissure —
The burning house —
A warbler in the dead wood.

Who will pull back the scales now?
Who will hear her whispered story?
Who will right the wheel —
Open the window —
Untie the knotted string —
Listen —
And then call her back again?

Unvoiced

Well versed in deception,
I outgrow and discard
Another skin.

Crow and coyote laugh it off.
But it is serious this time,
And why I am better known from a distance.

It isn’t that the boxes stacked
Behind turning wheel and wall
Are empty. No.

All along, I have believed
In the void concealed.
But this is a lie.

Too free with blood,
I am spread thin,
And fear the growing transparency.

In a cloud-woven coat,
Unpack the boxes,
Begin to discern.

Neglected treasure and the ancestral choir.
Words under snow and the subtly curved bone.
Forgotten birdsong, wind whistle.

Fallen feathers and the loneliness
Of too much flexibility –
Twisted, dust-softened roots.

Driven not by purpose,
But by pain,
Choose a vein to cut, wood to burn.

Naïve, undefended,
The violated and inviolable —
Scar tissue grown coarse, layered thick.

Send it to dancing flame
And watch the dervishes
Spin through bent branches above.

Shedding shadow skin,
At last I grow heavy,
Ripe and sleepy

In late summer sun —
The long-awaited reaping,
And the wind’s return.

Golden

Lexicography

We are focused, tight,
And it has always been our nature
To name —
To distinguish and discern,
Divisions defined.

You have a name, too,
And a long list of words to describe —
The outer mask,
Inner nature,
Growth above and below ground —
Words chosen by and for you.

Thus, the movement of thin hands,
Vein in the neck —
Name them.
The cracking skin —
Name it.
River-eye reflection
And the drum that marks the passage —
Name them.
A crow’s bone —
Name it.

Despite these attempts,
I never can quite
Put my finger on it,
Or pin it down.
Hovers like a dream
In the clocklight moon room.
(I try to hear with my eyes now.)

I tell myself
It’s some kind of story
Told long ago —
A hero myth
Or, perhaps,
A fairytale
With dark implications restored.
How these things happen —
Games of chance and choice.

Among the millions undefined,
My eyes wandered,
Searching for your familiar face.
The meanings had slipped their moorings,
And drifted away.
I let them go,
And looked
For something named
To embrace.

For the Minstrels

Out in a high wind,
And looking for roots again,
I dug up a daydream story —
Imbued it with meaning and myth.
Look!
A sun-warm snake,
Another symbol.

How we needed these:
The strings,
The membrane,
The minstrel voices
That threw the windows wide.
Winged nomads,
Growing strange
And weaving with the calendar crawl.

A dancing moment’s edge
Pulls deep from groundwater –
But not for me now.
Let the weathered taproot
Reap a gift of September –
Golden and sweet.
If I could pray
Or believe,
I would beg for it now,
And let each space
Between sole and unsettled dust
Ask the questions.

In the shadows,
I will forge a new vein,
Become a channel for wind.
Shift my bones
Among the prairie grasses –
Let it come to me.
Always at the core,
There is the devouring,
The incubation of this melody –
Cutting a visual arc,
The meadowlark told me
It was true.

Hopfoot now,
Happy muse.
I will gather the amber,
Crack bloodstone
And feed the vibrating strings.
Let the maze recede
With the water.
A goblet full of red wine,
Cast off the disguise
And let honey white skin
Glow with the harvest moon high.

A battered golden circle,
Tarnished wing,
A single note, heavy by the creek.
Let me breathe into it now.
It rustles in the understory,
Corner of the eye –
Robins gather
An oak leaf whisper,
Leapers in the grass –
My congregation of familiars,
Allies in this last-ditch effort.
Circling power
Harnesses western wind,
Pulls it along,
And another serpent sister
Speaks it.

These wild roots and conduits –
They are all I have,
But take them.
I choose to channel
This wind,
If it be more than myth –
To the minstrels.
Let masked power
Become a message
Whispered to the winged watchers.
Let them carry these letters.

The minstrels split the air,
The ear,
With an echo –
Warm wood,
Silver lines,
Green heart,
Footstomp.
Let the change
Be manifest.