Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dorianne found a bolt of silk and I have a jasmine tea

The scent of her you remember the longest, I suppose.
Not consciously, but buried like a recital piece you once
worked over so stiffly, like a sore tooth, but now can’t even hum,
until you pass by an open window where notes start and then suddenly stop sharp,
or you hear someone say “air” with a small rise at the end,
as though they had meant to swallow it, but a gust had lofted it
like silken milkweed at dusk.

And her skin, yes, the warmth of it, the buttermilk sheen
that deepened to sweet citrine as the summer bloomed.
You walked up hills together.  In the bright sun,
in the open places, the snakes uncoiled on stones,
the wasps wavered over pink balm that stood
both so earnestly straight-stemmed and faintly wilted at the leaves.

And then her hand closed tightly around yours,
as she spied, with a small gasp of wonder,
an elk cow, softly feeding on the grass by the pines.
Her hand just as quickly released,
as the cow bolted towards the trees,
and in the stars that could not yet be seen,
a lovely queen let her head tilt back,
with her distant hair
so flowing, so free.

Ode to a Nightingale

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Iridium Nib

I’m watching the Mulberry, waiting for the Oriole’s quick, graceful flash: 
Each season, the last to arrive, the first to leave.
The Grackles mob in, the Robins squawk at each other, their fledglings,
A pale Viceroy flutters by the daylilies, then a Monarch. 

I had a small, neat stack of your letters; standard white business envelopes,
tri-folded eight by elevens inside, filled with your harried scratch.
I can almost see your fingers lankly flicking that fast tattoo
of black twisted lace across each silken page.
A short stack like pancakes, creamy blintzes. 
I wonder what you had meant to say to me,
in those notes from the coast.
I wanted to ask if you had ever smelled oranges,
or almonds in bloom, or heard the ocean’s shush.
But those letters I had kept tight in a crush of blue rubber bands;
they frayed, they flew away.

Last night I was thinking:
You, oh, you.
Like a comfort, as though your shoulder was a pillow for my sorrows.
But when I rested my head there,
the warmth of your torso blazed up like a furnace
and I felt the sudden fragility of your pulse
through the thin print of your shirt,
the unease of the machinery,
and shuddering.

There, there he is . . .
but no sweet slurring whistle here.
He quickly picks the darkest berries
then flies away to the high trees by the creek,
the Cottonwoods, the White Elms
where the woven nests sway,
only there does he un-ply his shiny bill
and sing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Obsession: What if you just own it?

Sherlock in Añjali Mudrā

OK, I’m obsessed with Sherlock and I’m feeling some symptoms of withdrawal--moody, edgy, sad.
There are only 6 episodes (so far) and I’ve seen all of them twice and the pilot.
It all started when I was just wandering through TV channels, which I hardly ever do, but this show caught my eye.  I jumped in and out of the last half of the last episode of the first season in a re-run on PBS.
That night I dreamt about his hair, the luscious dark curls in my fingers, against my lips . . .
I awoke with a start and realized that I was remembering someone from 30 years prior who bore a striking resemblance to the actor playing Sherlock and someone with whom I had been in an off-and-on correspondence of late.  Oh!  Are kisses what I’m wanting, what I’m hoping for with 30-years-ago guy? 

Gah, so, yes.  And I get to watch myself doing it.  I had already told myself the reasons for contacting T. (30-years-ago-guy) was that he reminded me of my college years, those dreamy and unreal four years when I got to be immersed in the heady pursuit of literature and my confused approach to boys.  And a few years back, when I was feeling dissatisfied with my life, I Googled him and found that he was teaching English at an Ivy League college.  I read an excerpt of a book he’d written and heard his voice through it again, funny and erudite. 
I cried. 
He also had reviewed some poets I didn’t know and as I began to read them, that old feeling that I had set aside for so long came back, that excitement of deciphering the meaning of language, the flowing power of a wash of images in verse, the tones, the colors . . . .
At that time I was on the edge of joining MySpace and a circle of supportive writers.  Finding T. again helped me realize the direction that I wanted for my life, what I had been missing.
I contacted him.  We hadn’t been lovers, but I had fond memories of him.  We were friends.  He liked my poetry.  I loved hanging out with him and listening to him talk.  That may sound odd, but he was extremely smart and I liked to have him explain philosophy and literature in ways that were quite foreign to my brain.  I thanked him for indirectly encouraging me to write again after a decade or so hiatus.  He had fond memories of me as well, but that was the end of it.  I could see that at that time, I wanted him to help me, to be my editor, perhaps, or somehow help me get published.  I didn’t ask him directly, but I sent him some of my poems and then heard nothing back.  I let it go.

Then my boyfriend of 7 years broke up with me, my mother died, my dogs died.  I tried to make a relationship happen with an alcoholic with whom I initially thought I could just be a friend.  I think I may finally be over that notion, but I’ve started up this little thing with someone from 30 years ago.  In December, I found some art he had done and sent me on a postcard from 1983.  I scanned it and sent it to him.  I had to wonder about my intentions and I decided that he would either decide that I was a creepy stalker, or be thrilled.  He was thrilled. At that time I was just starting to teach myself to draw and very enthusiastic about it.  He wrote back and told me that he realized that abandoning his Art was a mistake and he wanted to get back to it.  I said yesyesyesyes!  And then nothing for another 4 months. 

In April, T. sent me a short email that he was in his garden and thinking about me.  What?  I let three weeks pass before I responded.  I wasn’t doing so hot at the time.  My back was out and I was having an unhappy spring.  I sent him a longer message and some drawings.  And that flirtatious energy came up. Even though I knew I had a good chance of being very foolish, it still felt good.  T. had been kind to me in the distant past.  There was no enmity between us; he had rescued me from a verbally abusive relationship when I asked him.  Did I wish to be rescued again?  

And then Sherlock showed up: tall, thin, pale, dark curls, incredibly smart.  I got psychologically confused.  I knew that I was making up a fake romance with T., almost as I had with the online alcoholic, with even less;  I was just working off a couple of emails this time.  What are you doing!?  But Sherlock as a doppelganger to T. was a lovely distraction.  I could come home from a crap day at work and know that he’d be there in a blue dressing gown, or Saville Row suit, petulant and dark and dashing, challenging me to think, observe, figure it out. I shifted my possible obsession with T. to a TV show.  But now it’s over, well at least until new episodes come out next year. And, by owning it, my obsessive nature, that need to make up romance, I just get to say:  Yes!

A rather blue still from "Third Star"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Swan in the Rushes

what vein would I bleed free
to see your brown eyes close,
lidded like a starless night,
a new moon silence.

2 to 3 cc is all I need,
I am still the same girl
I used to be.

Somehow we made it
to Bloomington
and back;

Now, I would go to Tallahassee,
shoot up anything,
a mirror,
if only we could talk about
Mr. Calvin

My knowledge of Bossa Nova,
the deep yellow coreopsis,
or the sheer silk polka
dots: oh, don’t bother, they
won’t change your mind.

A gift beyond price.
Can’t you feel it?
The milk still gets
Echoing through
stainless walls,
plastic lines.

I’m lost.
am complete.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Goodnight, Vienna

A dragon drapes
between  us,
powder blue.

The bottom leaves,
you said,
I hadn’t
given them much
thought, until
you said you
liked them

Yes, the leaves on
the bottom right.
You apologize
for your cigarette,
trying to hold it
but I like the smoke,
the must of old twigs
and leather
burning beyond stone fences
we rode for ponies
those years ago.

Sometimes when I draw,
I feel the anxiety,
the hurry to get to the end,
and I notice my hand moving
faster, automatically.
Those leaves
fanning from the stem
were an afterthought,
quickly spilled out.

And holding me, now,
you bring your hand
to the soft petal peony
of my breast,
and drip some sweet poison in my ear.
And I won’t even wait
for your glasses
to come off
to kiss you