Sunday, September 28, 2014

for those who navigate these meshes

She sits on the bed, slowly laying out cards
on her cherry lapboard.

A glass of Vinho Verde shines on the half moon bedside table,
Something sweet and baroque twists from the clock radio.

She’s lovely, in her way, in midnight blue palazzo pants
dotted with little stars.  I get lost in their drape
that butterflies down her legs, crossed at her ankles.

There’s a fussy buzz of some winged creature
caught in the milk white lamp globe, fusing with the lute and harp.

The faint scent of blooms she picked floats my way—
lily-like Hosta blossoms, white and trumpeting,
a cluster of butter yellow bell-shaped flowers that grow in the yard,
some herbaceous Bee Balm in plummy spikes. 

She glances at me, checking to see how disrupted I am
from my own pursuit in a book, brushing her hair back
from where it’s fallen across her black crop top.

I was in the hills above Sarajevo, looking down on red roofs and stone streets,
fingering my Browning, but I find myself moving closer to her,
brushing against the small swath of skin on her belly. 
Feeling the luxury and warmth of it, of her,

Believing that she spells out joy for me
in a mysterious tattoo beneath my touch,
as she stretches her legs out to greet mine.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

La Passeggiata

I know from experience that one can’t go walking one’s beloved dogs forever.  Not off the edge of the earth.  Not, perhaps, even for a few stolen minutes at sunset.  I found that out yesterday.

Yesterday was Sunday and overcast, threatening to rain, but never delivering.  I spent the day alone, mostly.  Sporadically weeding, doing laundry, dead-heading the washed out pale pink Bonica roses and golden Stella D'oro lilies, turning from one thing to another and never quite completing anything.  The dogs alternated lounging on small rugs and beds to watching for bunnies in the front yard, eyeing the mulberry tree for squirrels, worrying the base of the lilac for moles.  After supper I sat on the back lawn, relaxed on a faded blue-green canvas recliner, reading.  Dogs found spots nearby on the patio to lie down and yet keep a sly watch for movement from me, or any errant creature.  The evening was quiet, amazingly so.  I heard no neighbors, no motors (only some quite distant).  I was reading Jean Rhys’ “Good Morning, Midnight” about a woman set adrift in Paris.  And though it was peppered with French phrases, I could parse them out well enough:  What is she doing here?  That old woman?  And I felt for the protagonist, alone, without purpose, a bit damaged, and trying to stay alive, to move through this life quietly, invisibly, if possible.

I took a small break from reading, breathing in the wonder of the quiet, to see that the sky had opened up, the smudgy haze had broken apart to reveal pale blue expanses marked with puffing pink and orange tipped cumulonimbus clouds billowing up.  I decided to talk the dogs for a walk.

We walked down to the creek, which is our usual route.  The streets were silent, but away from our house the wind was picking up and clearing out the sky into more high thunderclouds, both pinker and more orange, to the north and east (and thus, not coming towards us).  The light was turning golden as we came nearer the water.  The creek was full, but still.  Here and there a bullfrog sounded a thick, waterlogged twang from the banks.  A night heron flitted from between some locust trees.  We moved through patches of midges, which clouded around my face, but didn’t deter the dogs, which were busily sniffing the edges of tree roots and mown burdock along the rises of newly blooming elderberry bushes showing sprays of white dots in the darkening green.  Our movement also stirred up the mosquitoes, which began to light on my arms.  I pulled the dogs along, away from the water and up to the grassy park.  The cottonwoods were shimmering with the breeze, each leaf applauding into one another so ecstatically it seemed.  I rejoiced a little with them and wondered how long I could walk like this, in this lush twilight.  I thought of how no one else was out.  I passed houses where I saw televisions on, a man with his laptop parked on a couch.  I thought about how romantic it was to stroll the street at dusk, the freshness of the air, the show of the clouds, the holy silence of the earth.  I thought about being in Italy and how the evening brought the promenade, the walking around the piazza, before supper, being out amongst others, being a community, flirting, seeing and being seen.   Suddenly I felt tired, and I realized that this golden hour held only a few moments of splendor for me before I turned, pulling dogs with me, to go home.

Monday, March 3, 2014

You got married

It seemed obvious once I said it,
yet, I couldn’t picture it clearly at all,
the wedding, your bride . . . 

Waiting at the checkout,
those in front of me all seemed to have
complicated transactions—
vouchers, exemptions.
They looked rather well-fed and well-to-do.
Then all the cashiers walked out.
I was irate.
What was this country coming to?
What happened to good service?
Or any service at all?
I wanted to yell at somebody.
No one was listening. 
The President had resigned.
Didn’t I know?
Was the First Lady a lesbian?
Someone asked.

And so, some sort of coup
happened while I was getting groceries.
The spring sun was warm 
and everyone poured into the streets.
Water slowly trickled, melting off.
I felt it,
Cool on the yellow walls
Vibrant on the pavement.
I brushed my hand against the stucco
and tried to make sense of it,
to feel what was real,
if anything,
but it was all so distant,
any danger/chaos/bloodshed,
a fog above a thawing pond.
I could see two or three dogs
rambling down the street,
fighting amiably.

I sat on the curb
and you settled next to me
as I slowly caressed the rue
that was growing up,
pale and new,
through the cracks,
and the detritus—
Yellow bits
of discarded sponges.
and crumpled plastic cups.

You started to speak
And I pretended to understand:
Destiny, dynasty,
It all meant nothing to me.

You choked on “rococo”
And your voice went up
Like a bird
To a high branch,
And I saw
The whitened bones of a steer
Resting there,
Gently draped
As if asleep.

And you, too,
Washed up by some long ago flood,
And now here beside me,
Black and white
In your lace trimmed
hounds tooth.
Your hands
Anchored so easily
Between my legs.
As we watched
The people and
The dogs,
The smoke rising in the distance,
And the thinning sun,

You knelt closer
And I felt
Some cool murmur,
the smooth
dark lining
Of your heart,
and the coming night.