Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bird in a Box

In the locker room
Where God cannot see,
In the dark corner,
Tube-socked and tank-topped,
Curled on the wooden slats
Pressed against the drab,
The cool of green tiles,
I’m shooting up longing.
I’m sucking in long
Sweet pulls of desire.
Nobody knows this.
Nobody knows me.
Even God cannot see
God God God

I close my eyes,
Expecting a harpsichord
Or the thin brass tines
Of a music box painfully
Grinding out Mozart:
Pling dah dah ding tra ling.
An emerald and citrine
Crusted wren will pop
Stiffly unfolding up
Spinning mechanically
Stretching in measures:
One wing two wing
Back into the box.
Clapped shut.

Instead, I’m caught in a luminous diorama,
Painted brightly with thick washes of gouache.
The deliberate notes of a samisen are plucked
And drop soft as pollen,
Sweet as plum blossoms
Slowly unfolding.
In the melancholic stretching silences
Snow melts, rills fill, sap traces upwards.
Flurries of pink crab apple petals
Scrunch together on scabby
Blackened forked sticks,
Poking the blue cornflower sky.

A white crane kimonoed woman,
A pale spirea abloom,
And pulls from her silken sandalwood folds
A warm peach,
Offering it to me across the stream.
Barely blushing,
It opens in my hand so easily.
A cockatiel rises from its center,
Pale olive and sulfur dusted
He lights on a naked branch above me.

“He knows your secret name.
Call him to you
And he will sing it.”

But I fear his sharp beak,
His strange snail-curled tongue.
His scimitar claws
Will bloody me.
He will tattoo his name on my lips.
I cannot hold out my hand
As he chips closer,
Questioning in rising tones,
In little hops
Down the branch:



  1. wow - that was quite a journey, speaking of beauty and ugliness, of danger and longing and seems to have an ending still to be decided on..

  2. Rich, sweet, soaring, deadly stuff. A good handle for the blog, if you can bear it. Longing's infinitude sings a long, long while, for better and worse. - Brendan

  3. i think it is a wonderful inspiration for a blog. i think it is a question that needs answered, a box that needs opened, a woman that needs witnessed. if god can not see you in the dark corner then call us to you. we can.

    i see in each of us these same elements, jane, the need for witnessing, the need for validation, adoration, love. reciprocity is a part of our foundation, our lungs like love, in and out. we're all here on the edge longing, even if momentarily sated.

    your vulnerability and honesty is beautiful to me.