Monday, May 30, 2011

Alone I fell twisted

Alone I fell twisted in a tumble
of army blankets from your bed,
fellating the dark green bottle
of your name in my head.
You walked in from Matins
to see me drunk on my own bower,
spiraled in the white jasmine
still-starlit sheets,
tonguing the thought of you
and twining the rose
wet conch of my lips
around my hot fingers.

You stared at me as though
I were a stranger
dropped from the sky.
We once were brothers,
soldiers together,
and here I had crossed the line,
betraying our friendship
with the purple outlay of my sex.

You left.

I got up, hoping to glimpse
the pageant of your life
I had never known:
So many players parading.
I sat at the foot of the stairs,
a child thrilled and clapping
at the endless twisting surprises,
Jacks and Jills kept popping.

But no one had a name.
I asked a man who looked
at me askance.
No one was so foolish here
as to give that sort of thing away—
your given name, your private,
sacred self.

Your wife appeared in a fanfare
of gasps, brocaded in barnacles
and circuitry.  Her auburn hair pulled
to an elaborate knotted chignon,
speared with scrimshaw
curved in loving homage
to the soft yellowing
nape of her neck.
Her palazzo pants
swept along,
satiny waves,
an inky caress
of us all.

I vowed to honor
your pledge to her
and bowed low
to see you lying laughing,
soft-spun in cashmere,
sparkling aquamarine,
starfish woven across your chest,
dredged in fine gray salt—
a silica confection
I longed to taste.

Silently I kissed your breast,
stinging my lips
with your impossibly
beautiful sand.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Strong Clasp

How I suffered to give you Sunday.
You’ll never know, I suppose, since
most of the sorrow was my own mix:
Guilt from betraying my current
lover, slipping out of my once
strong clasp, and that thorn
of hurried worry to catch you 
before you left the station,
to give you this piece from under the bracken,
this part of my own heart’s song that hummed
off the blasé beige bricks wet from a dull rain.

My man picked me up—stopped for coffee
to wait out the storm—slow low clouds.
I could barely see him,
blurred through my urgent mission.

Don’t go, yet.
I was breathing to you,
I need to give you this
talisman, this beating beauty,
my prayer for your journey.
But I had to wait wait wait
Ungrateful girl,
living in the somewhere,
not in the here.
How I burned both ways
with desire
and shame.


And what gift did you hold for me?
The strong velvet marble vein
standing in a shaft of light.
I didn’t even know.
I stood at the opening

longing to undress.
yet so afraid of my nakedness.
Something kept pushing me
though these clouds

I dreamt of mountains
and then I could fly~~

 I could fly!
Why hadn’t I known
So softly were my ankles held,
I didn’t need to be afraid~~
I was cradled in light.

How could it be otherwise?

And I broke open for you
 by the fire
where the Celtic gypsies were keening.

You knelt and unhitched the black lace mantilla
that held my breasts.  I still recall your lips
shushing the floating plum isle
of my left nipple
while you brushed my thighs,
my rippling new-born flesh.
How could it be other
than this?

Caught and released,
tip toppled
wasn’t it, then?
As I sang out into
your arms your mouth
your hands?

Hold me again
in your eyes
so wide.
Oh, darling,
how did it
how could it

Friday, May 27, 2011

emily strong, or I write myself down

"We'd never know how high we are 'till we are called to rise; and then, if we are true to plan, our statures touch the sky." ~ Emily Dickinson 

"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.  We seek out problems because we need their gifts."  ~ Richard Bach 

(This is basically a journal entry, unedited.  I may pull it, but I cannot bring myself to edit it.)

I’m acting like a jilted lover
Jesus, I can’t believe this.
I just want love and . . .
it’s not available to me.
I thought I got it.
Last night, I got it.
I went through my story
and it made sense.
But today I can’t do it.
I want love, goddamit.
I don’t want to be alone.
I don’t want to be precious Emily Dickinson.
I want someone to hold my hand
to hold me
to kiss me.

I don’t get it.
I didn’t do anything wrong.
Why is everything wrong?
I can’t do this anymore.

Everything is a fucking process.
I’m so tired.  It has been so long.
It takes so long.

So I made it up.
I made the whole goddamn
thing up.
I wanted love so badly
that I just pretended and made up scenarios
and then they came true,
sort of.
But it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t right.
I don’t get to have what I want
and I’m so goddamned hurt.
I hate it.
I hate it.
I hate being like this.
I hate myself for being like this.
I don’t know what to do.
And fucking love songs.
I can’t even listen.
I feel so cheated.
Somebody tell me.

Today I banged my fists against the wall and said,

“It does NOT get better!”

Where is this “better”?

I worked so fucking hard on this
relationship.  And now it’s shit.
This was what I wanted and I can’t have it.
because it only appeared to be what I wanted.
It was only part of a very complex mosaic.
The most efficacious way for me to change my life,
my path.
To fall in love with someone while in another relationship—one that seemed all right, but wasn’t.  To fall for someone with whom I seemed so perfectly matched, but who had this HUGE flaw that would always keep us apart.  One who I felt, for once I had an honest and open connection to, who ironically couldn’t be honest with me, because he couldn’t be honest with himself.  Bullshit, universe.  I see part of it, in retrospect, only.  The beautiful plan of having to break up a relationship that wasn’t good enough, by dangling one that seemed better, but always just out of reach, because I needed to be broken down enough to turn to my mother and cry to her as I hadn’t in decades, or maybe ever, so that she could tell me, at last, that she had loved me, forever.  So that I could hold her hand while she was dying, without any other clouding my view of her sparkling blue eyes.  All that had to happen.
And I wanted it to.  I wanted change.  I asked for it.
I didn’t know for what I hungered, exactly, but what I had wasn’t enough.  My life was too small.
I didn’t know I wanted something spiritual until an alcoholic asked me what I thought about God.  And then the Twelve Steps and meditation.  I was envious.  I wanted somewhere to go that would accept me no matter what.  Someplace at which I just had to show up as myself.
And soon-to-be previous boyfriend didn’t offer that.
Suddenly after meeting an alcoholic, I found myself surrounded by a cadre of affected folks.  Those who had been married to an alcoholic, were in a relationship, were trying to get out of a relationship with, or were in recovery.  A support system sprung up for me.  I slowly began to see how my life really was, how I was building resentment towards soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, how he didn’t and couldn’t meet my needs.  The alcoholic friend in recovery started up a chorus of “Go to Al-Anon.  Go to Al-Anon.”  I did not want to.  I don’t think anybody wants to go to Al-Anon, until they get there.  My first visit was eye opening.  Although I had been resisting for a long time, as soon as I stepped through the doors . . . .

The first thing that happens at a meeting is the reading out loud of the Twelve Steps.  Step One (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.) which I had previously thought to be so impossible, suddenly made sense.
I was there because my life had become unmanageable.  I was powerless.  I needed help.
Boom.  I knew why I was there.  By the grace of God, I had met and fell in love with an alcoholic and that had led me to this spiritual program, which opened up more in my mind and life—the change for which I had asked.  Of course, that realization didn’t happen all at once, but I was on the path.  Through Al-Alon, I met a yoga instructor and started a regular practice.  Through yoga I learned a formal practice of meditation.  Weekly interaction with supportive strangers in Al-Anon gave me the courage to join other groups and show up as myself.  Most recently, I went through the twelve-week course of The Artist’s Way with four other creatives—what a gift!  I found out that I have an interest in watercolors.  I’m not just a writer.  How cool.  I can make art and have fun!  Art feeds my soul.  
OK, universe, I get it.  Kind of.
Just not very graciously at the moment.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Here & There

Transit my dolorous planet
benevolent conduit,
luminous love.
Slip across my meridian
gently as milkweed
Pillow me
in your blue.

Here below,
on this broken tor,
this spiny divide,
I cannot decide
to which ocean I flow.
Tethered eddy,
I pony-circle ride

Unhitch me &
let me sigh into you,
slowly unfolding, unfencing
under cottonwood whispers high
& low trilling crickets and toads.
Hold me in the glow of late-night radio.
Incandescent brushes of your hand
smooth tear-matted curls.
Echoing shushes of snares
you breathe,
a willowy sax lullabies,
a piano skips stones easily~~
warm kisses
across the black air.

And the bass,
steadily keeps time:




 July 2008

Monday, May 16, 2011

how can the wind with arms all around me

I’m annoyed at the same burdocks,
the same box elders greening, the same yellow rocket
all aglow suddenly now that it’s mid-May,
after months of gray.
How often can I marvel at the cottonwoods’ arch,
the same patch of spreading vetch and bobbing violets?
And then, close by my head,
a violent orange shying,
up into the breezy poplars,
with a syncopated
slurring whistle flies:
tree, deedle dee dee.
And I spy the Oriole returned.
And my heart, sandbag silted,


Osborne once said a hundred pounds would take us to Australia.
I do not know what I need today.
What passage is a hundred pounds?
Osborne was a poet.  Sickly.
He died just off the road.
He lay down
watching the spring trees just budding sticky green and blowing so wildly,
eyes to the vaulted sky~~
and then a fly crossed his face and you knew he was dead.
A Poetic Death.  And I do not want to die.
I ring you up at 3 am in tears,
my emotions too big for my skin,
My thoughts larger than the darkness:
I don’t want to die.

And you say, “You’re not going to die, go back to sleep.”

I rest my matted hair, my hot cheek,
into the shoulder of your voice.


then, I.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Warm rolling waves up over roots recumbent,
Comes all blanketing an ardent flooding.
Aloft in your sudden gracious tropics,
A newly epiphytic orchid am I.
White-hot, free-flowing showy,
A fluttering moth living on air,
Finally full.  Igniting dust motes
Reflective flashing in moonlight,
Bathing through cracked panes
And smeared through sashes.
Deep from the dreaming,
The time of horses half-remembered,
Cashmeres plush kissing
and Sandalwood burning,
Smudging mists singing . . .
The mahogany grooved spindles
Of the four poster surrounding
And girding the rise.
Swinging on the rope bridge
Inside, pale and tenuous,
Finally catching fast
On to you at last . . .
The other side.

August 2007