Monday, February 19, 2018

Pleased

The burial was a lollapalooza
I hit the slopes at midnight
Under the blinding light
of the gibbous moon
So cold was the arctic air
I shivered and wheezed
but then I saw a raccoon
with glowing eyes down there
it looked so lonely and yet so alive
that something in me felt pleased.

Monday, February 5, 2018

I Saw Rumi in my Dream

Asleep in his tomb in Turkey
I woke to Rumi in my dream.
He held a gold glazed pitcher
of rose water and mercy,
singing a soundless song.
Is life what it seems?
I asked him in Farsi.
Will you meet me there
in that field you said was beyond
our ideas of right and wrong?
But Rumi did not respond,
though I saw his eyes tear,
and suddenly here
I turned into the pitcher,
became the infinite container,
meant to serve the thirsty—
I, who parched myself, full of despair,
a desert myself, what could I spare?
But Rumi did not respond,
though I saw his eyes tear.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sun's Face

To awaken to the sun's face each dawn
As though this last night was the very first
Time you had slept apart from your lover
To kiss the golden curls that flow and shine
And warm your elbows and knees under cover
That's what I wish you feel each morn deep down.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The dead. But grieve they not.

The dead. But grieve they not.
And tears would drown their rot.
But us that breathe must grieve.
And us that grieve should breathe.
Inside I’m dead, shall never weep.
And fearing dreams I never sleep.
In fluid pain, I'm not afloat.
The desert in me needs no boat.
Alone and stiff, my island dry.
My stars appear blurry and bright.
Tonight the stars I hear them cry.
I dipped my toes in tears from skies
that poured like rain in my own eyes,
into my soul so close to rot,
my body its burial plot.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

As the old gust growled and spat in the sand
And packed the shore thick with pellets of ice,
It loathed life, loathed death—hell and paradise—
Hated the lights that emblazoned the land,
Pitied mortals and their joy and salaam,
When celebrating passing of the time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Shy Flurries

Flurries settle on sleeping lawns—
Refugees in flight from heavens.
Hush!  Hear the halls of light echo
Shy footsteps gliding into life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Brochure

You prepare the sherbet while I ponder the brochure.
You look so innocent, you look so pure,
As if you could heal me—like you could be the cure
To the infectious disease of my existence.
I am tired.  Tired.  Tired of it all.
You serve me the sherbet.  I blush.
And what if I should say no to this chance?
And what if I should say yes and then fall,
And even if you should come to me in a rush,
It would be late. And if not...oh, I feel so insecure...
And if not, how could you help me—and know for sure?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Not Knowing

You are reasonably beautiful.
That I intend as a warning.
I'm deceptive as water and sun.
Behind MEN AT WORK signs
I dig myself into a...hole
where dying desires still lurk
like yawning reasonless hopes.
It's safe to die not knowing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In This Poem You Can Be....

In this poem you can be protected.
Despite what you have just said,
Such grand assertion demands
Proof equally extraordinary.
Unless you were to trust me.
But why should I though?
Nevertheless I can only reassure:
In this poem you can be secure,
In this poem you can let go.
Merely repeating it does not make it so,
Nor does denying it or indifference,
But only what is absolutely true,
And in reality what is the case.
In this poem you can be safe,
In this poem you can be you.
Even if so then what about
That word there with that sharp angle
That reaches out for a stirring thought
That still refuses to untangle;
What about the endless lonely spaces
Between the words with distant faces?
You can be safe—just a hope or suggestion.
I believe that no poem is safe if it speaks
To deep feelings as it must, and if it seeks
To connect to the felt universe beyond;
No poem is safe if it claims to have found
The answer to what never was a question
But a courageous vulnerable expression.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Poem Spread Across a Day

Wrote this line when I woke to find myself
soaked in sweat on a raging summer night.

This one composed with the greatest of care
crossing the ol' Pattullo on a bus
in Richmond where potholes are known to bite.

Told Don this line's my reminder to buy
a rhino on my way home...but instead
wrote this and then forgot to get the toy.

Penned this with Donald's vintage fountain pen
I cried when he then took it back by force.

This scribbled on a napkin I had found
in Park Theater where Paterson played.

Can not recount the story 'bout this one
been sworn to strict secrecy by the shore.

Wish there was a way to describe the taste
of sugar-dusted bleeding dark purples,
berries I wolfed down when I wrote these words.

This line I thought in line till heard my name
from that pharmacist's lips picking her nose.

Can't say much here without breaking the law
Can't say much here without following it
but this...I never could finish the thought.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Human Stain

Par for the course: Hollywood creeps,
threadbare couches, filming silence, cops
that strip...strippers that police: What happens
in Hollywood...
Are we flirting
with disaster?  Madonna:
truth or dare?
The human stain.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Silver Mascara

You apply coats of silver mascara
to the puffy folds about the setting sun.
In the screaming sky mannequins flew.
From the silent soil red flowers grew;
one in the shape of an umbrella,
another: a pointed gun.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Rich Cotton Quilt

On a rich cotton quilt we'd lain, us
like chess pieces: knee to knee,
shadow palms and white fists.  In such states
twitching, in knotted broken chains.  Check!
Our words and joints strategically placed—
not touching.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Friggatriskaidekaphobic

The friggatriskaidekaphobic moves
me to pity so much I laugh the laugh
of vestal vultures, homeless houses, grooved
graves, of the blazing blues, of fires, giraffes.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Punisher

I'm notorious
For punishing my mouth
Loving is easy
except myself
This thing here is my throat
disfigured by fury
Hear the agony in my voice
Despair everts my soul
Luckily too numb to moan
When I'm morose I think
I must be physically sick
That makes it easier perhaps
Very sorry if you're amongst
those who've felt what I mean.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Name

My restless feather-picking cockatoo,
Can you tell why denial veils my ire
(In turn cloaking my fears; and those my shame)
And shame's shrouding my rusting grief? But you,
Confined inside a mesh—of metal wire—
Just raise your crest, that sulphur-yellow flame,

Lift up your wings, then start to pace your cell,
And squawk in bursts, as though your bill’s on fire;
My pet, enough! I care for you the same….
Perhaps beneath my grief some geysers spell
Love’s name!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Waiting

Sometimes without even knowing
you choose not to do the dishes,
and there you are—I see you—
waiting.
Or you do them right away, do them spotlessly,
lovingly, the way only you know how to do,
but always waiting.
I know I’m not the one you would want
to notice such things, but I can’t help it.  I too have
dishes at home waiting.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Internet

Get banned, bite the dust.
End it all, delete your account.
Log out, sleep.
                                 In, to wake.
Live and die
                                 by the internet.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Donne Tell me Not

"Death, be not proud—" "Hey Donne," Death interrupts,
"I'm trying to sleep here!  Don't speak so loud!"

Thankful

I'm thankful for the words
Through whom I've learned to reach
I'm thankful for the birds
Who serenade the beach

I'm grateful for the rhymes
Who give my grief a form
I'm grateful for the chimes
Who salsa through the storm

Been in your debt my song
Who hold my bursting heart
Been in your debt so long
You feel like body part

Obliged to time and age
Who tame events in space
Obliged to pen and page
Who hide and show our race

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Weird Tail of a Whaling Wail with a White Tale

To be exact, I liked the white tale in the tail,
the wild waves, those sounds, save for the whale of the wail.
Some made no sense: I never learned how the made maid
the sea hare happy housed inside the ship’s pail pale?

When you wondered out loud about the weigh to way
a whale in ship full of hey, and when you yelled "hay",
my mind was somewhere else, not hear. I could not here
your views on whale’s pray either.  Pardon me, I prey.

I had left the animals and there plight right their,
since for sea hair and blue fish I care not a hare—
that’s not write, baleen whales are mammal, I should right,
not fish!—Sorry to air, I’m human…I breathe err.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bought the Moon

could not afford the stars   so bought the moon
keep it concealed   fearing burglary
moonlight means not a thing
to me
          having lost
                            my eyes
                                                                            way back              
to        b     r     i     l     l     i     a     n     t              
                            dreams

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Chewed Up Old Pencil

Perhaps I am a chewed up old pencil
but this body had once wrote beauty,
against the page had once sizzled,
a silhouette of seduction satisfying
the white face with sounds so tender
they melted into memory’s honeyed fountains,
had once tickled the pages with laughter,
once filled them with insights of such richness
no books could contain them nor hearts without
whispering them among silences of wonder―
dazzling celestial bodies in the darkness.
This body but I mean that I also
wrote masterpieces even, my
own Malvina and Vanessa.
Here’s something I have learned in my long life:
Whether or not it is turtles all the way down,
it must be pencils all the way up, for we write,
get written, and we’re the means of writing,
and words that move through our chewed up
bones, will have our signatures too somewhere
deep inside their marrow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pictures

Pictures:
             an empty folding chair to the left
                                                        a tart cherry tree
                                            through French windows
                                                                  to the right me and my chai tea
                                                                             my back 
to camera

Monday, July 24, 2017

I Will Forgive You

Forgive you how I did
For all things you had done to me
Now far enough for heart to see
I never felt what must be touched 
Unreachable
                   Unreachable
         Then                        for me
Forgiving you for
                                                     Who you are

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On the Porch

On the porch the sunshine pours into me
like a bowl of mom’s butternut squash soup
so hot the baby blue table turns white
where scented steam clumps or streaks across but
freezes long enough like a memory.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Emotional Overhaul

How do you overhaul
A mangled self severed
From the fury of libido
Strangling agency
Of ego?

The conscious commander’s left
Those silent bones
Splayed out on the divan
You can see inside
Where the troops have run amok:

Rage in clashes with grief
Paranoia shooting in the chest
Shame digging itself in the rocks
Despair hurling bolts up the clouds
The soul’s powerless but to watch....

How do you into this butchered land
Anesthetize the guarded bounds
Sharpen the sterilized words
Suture these psychic cracks?
How will you doctor
Assemble
                                  Me

                 Back?

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Hear Frogs Croak

A South African lion thundered, roared
at me: Stop! I shall be devouring you!
Shuddering, "When?" I asked the mighty king.
The fiend bellowed: It will be a surprise,
like one's birthday bash…or a fatal stroke.

Oh please have mercy on me, I implored,
sobbing: Is there anything I can do?
The big cat growled back, Not a single thing
can save you, so get up and wipe your eyes,
you look pathetic…man is such a joke.

I stood up slowly—though my tears still poured,
my bones convulsing with despair, anew.
Meanwhile a breeze, perfumed with blooming spring,
passed by, birds sang as sun began to rise,
and spill the warmth of that, that runny yolk.

But what if I kill you, you godless lord,
or end myself, before you could get to?
I’m immortal, the beast began to sing,
and second, as for wooing your demise,
go on, I even lend you my own cloak.

And then the jungle's king retired toward
a red bush, after bidding me adieu.
That mamba hangs as though a tail or string
from some dead-rat tree; here slime lily lies:
split white petals…but those are frogs that croak.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

To Kiarostami

Were you the one driving us sir,
alone, and one by one asking
earnestly...what...to bury you
right there—there!—by that barren sign?
Did you desire to heal, seeking
to find in our refusals lines
that lead to roots, curing you too?
Of what, tell me, your own despair?
Perhaps you were the passenger
who rode with us, the audience—
to whom cinema's for hiding
from self, who hope to find a friend
who'd stop a bit to throw a rope.
But what's the need for this pretense?
I too had seen me in your lens.
Abbas, confess though, was that you?
If not then what are you here for,
close-up or sound take only?  Hope
celestial winds would carry you
to roots at home—or at a friend's....

*Abbas Kiarostami, the world-renowned Iranian filmmaker, passed away exactly a year ago, on July 4, 2016.  He directed, among others, the Palme d'Or-winning "A Taste of Cherry" (referenced throughout my poem), a movie about a suicidal person driving around and asking others that should he go through with it, if they'd be willing to bury him.  I also make passing references to three of his other films, "Where Is the Friend's Home?", "Close-Up", and "The Wind Will Carry Us."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Life's Monorail

Is there a chance the track could bend?
A chance our fates have long been penned?
A chance that hearts would fail to mend?
A chance our meanings won't transcend?
A chance our lives will not extend?
A chance our souls will not ascend?
A chance we've failed to comprehend?
A chance this really is the end?
Is there a chance, my Hindu friend?