Archive | June 2013

Want

I don’t need
your hands,
when it’s words
that make me feel.
You say we
instead of you,
and I’m set to dreaming
of dreaming
under desert stars —
the courting
of the highway.

I don’t need
your arms,
when it’s eyes
that make me see —
clear and heated
as a sunlit
high-summer sky.
And I’ll bet
that you could tell me
all about the song
that goes with that.
And you know
it makes me high.

And I don’t need
your mouth,
when it’s your voice
that makes me quake.
Some days I laugh it off —
an accident, I say,
but I don’t know
how to answer.
And I can’t promise
to refuse.

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Spell for Planting

Here, we are
slow and measured,
salted skin
under sun —
the fluidity of movement,
listening to words
from the bone.

Here, we are
eyes and heart
in flight —
flowers and feathers,
greeted
by swallowtails
and goldfinches.

Here, we are
our mother’s children,
open and patient,
bowls waiting
to be filled.

Here, we are
the call,
and the response,
the feast
and words of dust,
the confluence
of calendar and clock.

Here, we are
relishing the curiosity
of being biology,
accidental chemistries.

Here, we are
bluebirds
and buntings —
brilliant in flight,
subtle in song.

Here, we are
water,
pooling in the low
places,
and pulling the shadowed
downstream.

Here, we are
losing
the divisions,
the nothing of everything,
eating and eaten,
drinkers of blood
and of nectar.

Here, we are
the balance found
on uneven ground,
not using the magic,
but becoming the magic.

Here we are,
crawling,
hands and knees
deep at the water’s edge,
and she rises all around.

Here we are,
digging,
clay-caked fingers,
and planting ourselves
in the good dirt.

Let It

This is the free
we seek —
to stumble past
all expectation,
out beyond
don’t
and can’t.

And it was never
anything worse
than water —
remember
how you have craved it?

Out on the high prairie,
the clouds roll back
upon themselves.
Stand in light
to watch the wave approach.
And then you’re in it.
You’re in the world again,
and it washes over you,
and now it’s in you too.

And here is where
I find it.
Kneeling in tall grass
by the marsh,
as the rain washes
us all into one thing —
here is where
I find the lightness
I had lost.

And there is no fear.
And the heavy dissipates.
And there is no regret.
After all,
it’s only rain.

Critic

One day’s reprieve
barely caught its breath,
and would stop words
with a mirror in mid-air,
because once landed,
it’s damned either way:
To reply or not —
both add
to the weight.

All the fight’s gone,
and this feigned strength
cracks. It’s
wound up
to bursting —
hope to catch
the first domino
before it falls.

So again upright.
Weary with confession,
wait for the wind to turn.
Frogs hum all along
the still water —
less shallow than it seems.
The grasping weeds
are well knotted.

Clasp hands,
turn to the sun.
Bring a blade
to cut them loose again.
And raise them
before they
pass these boundaries
into the landscape
of irrevocable night.

Stand

The woman speaks
of the futility of hope —
the necessity of
some substitute
that cannot so easily
be lost.

I wait for the clock
to sanction correspondence.
But then
just can’t bring
myself to it.
How you hurt,
without knowing you hurt.

Watch the moths
beat their wings
against the glass.
And wait.
And wait.
And wait.

Should turn them away.
Should turn off the lights.
Should find my pillow,
and maybe sleep.
But wait.
And wait.
And pray for the sense
to turn away
from this suspense.

Because she was right.
To hope is useless.
Wiser to take up these weapons,
assume the warrior’s pose.
Hope is useless.
And waiting, pointless.

And if you can remember
to forget,
perhaps someday
you might forget
to remember.

Achilles

I was the warrior —
the hero of all the realms
of grief and glory,
but there is no fighting back
from this.

In slow sweetness
of the 19th century
morning rituals,
discover skin rubbed away,
the tendon raw.
Pierce it with a nail
to be sure,
and it is not imagination.
Watch the blood and water flow,
and feel nothing.
Nothing.

They lie in wait,
and no one will wind
the flute to draw off
those snakes that circle
round the ladder.
I want to run from it
or run it off,
and wait for spirit shoes,
growing more human
in the battle.

Those medicine men
left me broken.
And there is no respite —
no remaining healer
to draw off these arrows.
I must either succumb
or find a way to put it
into my own healing hands.

Splinter

The day rises brilliant
in the storm’s wake —
its clarity a splinter
driven straight down
to the bone.
And grasping my pen
like a needle
I have at it —
while the wind gets
high and sweet.

I lay the raw,
beating thing
before you
but still go
unseen.
And you have
the mirror obsession.

Open these jars of night.
Spill blood on blank pages,
and still,
you do not care to look.
And if you will not look,
you cannot see.

I sink your voice
down to the root,
and save it for days like this,
when I can face the work —
strike flesh
with this needle
to dig out
what cannot be used,
what does not belong,
until I am again
grown receptive
to the world,
but with a better guard
against your barbed words.