Monday, January 31, 2011

gratitude

gratitude

on the good days when i get to go to a yoga class and do sun salutes to a patti smith song and then drink from a young thai coconut and then teach my students in my cottage full of my mother's books and my father's flower paintings and then i light the lights and see all of my friends and we dance around and sip champagne and wear false eyelashes and then maybe i get to go out to dinner at a japanese restaurant and sit in the tiny hidden booth room behind the curtain and eat lotus root that the immortals ate and then be cozy in a bed full of two children and a dog or maybe one wise, kind lover and i wish that i life wasn't so short
i try to remember the night i lay in this same bed in the dark with the gauze over my bleeding eye and the world closing in black and i wished that life wasn't so long

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Remember when we lay together drinking wine from the amphora and you played your lyre and sang to me
Our lips were stained and then my breasts
The cypress trees swayed ever so slightly and even the birds stopped singing to listen
When I was stung by that serpent of our tragedy and carried way beneath the earth
Where no thing blooms
You came to find me but I was already Hades’ girl
You could charm the trees, the birds, the boatman and all those walking dead but it was not enough
Even your song could not save me
Only my own will ever bring me back to life
And if those maenads of lust dismember you and you become a tree
I will lie at your roots and feed you with my blood
And in this way again will we be one

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mortgage Crisis

Mortgage crisis

When I walked inside
I cried
Like arms I was contained
And in exchange
I put a roof on it
To keep out rain
Gave it all of what I’d earned
By making worlds
with words
We keep each other warm and dry
It is my earth and sky
A thing
But one that holds me while I dream
brings me flowers in the spring

It costs me everything
And though I hope within its arms to lay
Me down
Someday
I may
Be forced to walk away

Friday, January 28, 2011

conversation with my dead mother

Conversation with my dead mother

I can see you sitting across from me in the little pink booth at Govinda’s where we always used to go and where the blue gods wear jewels and carnations. You are leaning forward looking at my lentil soup and salad with green sunflower seed dressing and your eyes are big and your hands are long and bony and your hair is thin and your cheekbones are still so beautiful not to mention your smile. You no longer have something growing inside of you except love. You say, “How are Jasmine and Sam?” and I tell you about Jasmine’s play and Sam’s baseball tryouts and how they are in love with our new rescue dog. “Elphi!” you say what a perfect name. He’s sounds adorable. Elphi! Will it be too much work for you, though?” I reassure you that it is worth it because it makes the children so happy especially Jasmine who needs that much love and comfort 24 hours a day. You ask about work and I tell you about the secret project and the epic and the book I finished in your doorway the night you died, the book that still hasn’t found a publisher. “Oh it will!” you say. “I just know it!” I tell you about my classes and the party we had and I worry aloud about money though you think I shouldn’t and we talk about Gregg’s beautiful singing and how much we missed you at his last show. I avoid talking about the secrets I found among your journals and letters because I have already processed this and who knows how much time we have left? You ask about the man and I say I really like him and that he is smart and kind and gifted and deep and unusual and things about him remind me of my father. You try not to get too excited but we are both excited, it is in our natures. When I finish my lunch, which you are very interested in and continue to eye hungrily, I ask, “Why don’t I miss you more?” and you look at me with your glowing green eyes and say, “Remember the night I flew away? When you held my hand and you saw my spirit leave my body? Where do you think it went, my darling?” and then I feel this strange solid peace deep in my chest, not the emptiness or the longing but the feeling of being fully a woman, fully a mother, fully alive and I know the answer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Self Portrait in Clothes and Boys

Self portrait in clothes and boys


Tiny blue turtleneck, baggy green cords
That’s all I will wear! No dresses for me!
Staring up at Jeddy with pure adoration
We are three and four

Peach French cotton wrap skirt and T-shirt
Square dancing with one of the Davids
Warm thick boy hand on my twelve year old waist
Allemande left and the scent of his sweat

Tight jeans and suede hiking boots
JC waterproofed them for me
The pale pretty suede looked dark and flat
There were girls at the party in red dresses and heels

Prom in pink taffeta mini
My date should have been the one with the broken nose and the Mohawk
Doc Martens and kilt
But I picked a blond coke head surfer instead

Engineer boots and velvet, rhinestones and lace
Spread out on the floor to hear X
I see Thorne in eyeliner
That's my boyfriend I say
With the bravado and will of 18

I cut my hair short, bleached it blond
For Dirk in his creepers and black Elvis pomp
’55 Pontiac, swing dance all night
He has eyes for the boys and my hair is gone

Face painted in white
Roses scrawled on my cheeks
By that boardwalk clown
I don’t remember Smoke’s clothes
Just narcotic blue eyes and his songs

Rose wreaths and tutus
Angel Juan in a top hat
Or we’re dressed as dead surfers
Wrapped in garlands of seaweed
Every day was a play
Until naked I lay
In the bathtub weeping

I was married in thousands of tiny white pearls
Like a beached mermaid
Praying I’d get one good egg
If I courted the gods
With so many imitations
I got two

I bought Prada shoes, leather with studs
Tortoise shell heels that made my feet bleed
Hot pink satin Lou Boutin
Before I ruined my feet trying to impress a man
Who wore Payless Van's
and whose favorite book was Jonathon Livingston Seagull

And you in your long leather coat and fedora
So respectful and slow
But I already know
Your body

Here is the costume
I’ve thoughtfully selected
To cover the smoothest
Whitest parts of my skin
And the invisible fingerprints of others
Sequins and stretch pants and leather and silver

We've said we'd stay clothed
until we know our souls
here's mine

undress me

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Treatment

My grandmother left her beloved husband and shining daughter to come to Hollywood to write screenplays in the 40’s
and when she felt too anxious or too sad
received shock treatments in some clinic
whose name I’ll never know

My mother worried all the time
infections and earthquakes, cancer and accidents
She never took a drug in her life
Until the morphine on her death bed
just a drop

I swallow one half pill each day
5 mg.--the very smallest dose
To stop the loop of worried
self-deprecating thoughts

What if my gods had this?
Anne and Sylvia? Vincent and Virginia?
Would they have lived? Would they have been
the artists that they were?

I always have enough
pain inside to write
but this treatment makes it hard to come or cry

So, the other night, dripping honeyed nectar
I was grateful to you
Even for the tears

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Never Not

Sam says, “Will you squeeze me five minutes straight?”
And, “Will you cuddle me all night long?”

At four in the morning he calls me into his room and I hold him while he sleeps
The dog on our feet

In the morning he has a dream I got an Iphone
And that grandma had come back

“When was the last time I saw her?” he asks
I tell him Rosh Hashanah when we ate challah and said a prayer, holding hands around her chair
He doesn’t quite remember
Thought it was the time before
“Did I say goodbye?” he asks
Then the tears come
Big almond eyes and high cheekbones and everything and everyone I’ve ever loved in that one face now in pain

I kneel before him and take him in my arms
“It’s okay to be sad, to cry
When you need me to I will be her and hug you the way she used to”
“My darling, Sam,” she’d say
bending down, encircling him in frail arms, kissing him with a prance of delight in her eyes

I would hold him forever for her if I could
never not
never stop

click

What else are you searching for?
A different number
a different color?

When my poetry and kisses are not enough
I falter
When my sequins and stories aren’t sufficient
I step back
Wondering what more I can do
To keep your eye

Trying not to wound myself again
Knowing I deserve the unbroken gaze
If not the unbroken heart
Since those are virtually impossible to come by

Were you bored were you lonely did you miss me?
Were you looking for a backup or something more?
Did something I do or say push you away?
Or were you just not quite enough enchanted?

Now I’m clicking too, though I’d rather just sit quietly
And look into your eyes

I wonder if we are evolving past the beat, the kiss
So that our modern heartbeats sound like this:
Click
Click
Click

Monday, January 24, 2011

OK Cupid

Love’s green Asian eyes watched me too closely
While I danced across the floor
He sent me too many lovely poems in one night
He was unemployed
not actually divorced yet
There were other problems, too
Mostly having to do with my own history
Of not being touched
So I turned away from Love
Went back to my computer searching

I met Resentment with his little rectangular glasses
And Pain who blinded me
I met Wealth with his home movie theater and red bathroom and ice cold bed
I met Kindness who took me to the atrium and planted flowers in my yard
But pouted when I could not make love to him
I met Fear who held up a sign that read I have a sexual disease that might eventually give you cancer
And Nameless who brought over his hand bound book of photographs and left it here and never returned

Then I met Music with his quick mind and measured speech.
But he, too, had his hand on the keyboard
And Beauty was only one short click away

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I who am usually pretty good with words

said "Thank you for a fun night!"

and "You are so sexy!"

What do those words mean anyway?

sexy?

fun?

Cheshire grin and corded forearms

Inked bicep

Fitted hips

Parking lot wandering

Blue purple sequin netting

Indian food doll heads poetry scrawled on paper table cloths


I forgot, climbing on top of you in the front seat of your car

Why there was any need to wait

What does the word date mean anyway?

The number four?



At two in the morning as I clench again spontaneously around air

I remember the meaning of the words caution

And attachment

And in the daylight I am grateful that you stepped away

This once
I can feel your heartbeat
through your thick
leather
coat
There are rugs on the ceiling and coconut milk curry
not to mention one hundred kisses


my present contentment
makes it difficult
to write
a poem

Friday, January 21, 2011

Love Song

Let’s go where caves drip crystals
The air a soft warm mist

Sea clear--we see our feet

Where walls are made of mermaid glass
with lilies white and roses black

And sleep in the grand suite

Danish still life splitting seeds
Melons grapes and honey mead

Eggs and bread we’ll eat

Let’s dress in velvet finery
Silk that’s scrawled with poetry

‘Neath chandeliers we’ll meet

But what I want and what I need
they are two different things
a book, a bed, a water flask
a bowl of rice and thee

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inspiration from Ketty

Just found all this on this BLOG!





Paul Monroe Jewels




TECHNICOLOR L.A.






1920's L.A.





Organs

I wonder why I thought it would be safer to
Exchange words with you
Than touch and body fluids
Himalayan food and conversation
Maybe a museum full of mummies
and some kissing

Even the deepest penetration stays outside the organs

But with each poem it is as if I’m handing you
A small knife and a plate
So you can extricate an angry liver, a fearful kidney and a bloody
beating
heart

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The White Horse

I do not mourn any love that was
Only the one that never was
My heart has not been betrayed
Except by disappointment
Because I knew what love could be

It walked down country lanes
swinging a picnic basket, and engaged
in joyous conversation
that lingered on the chilly air as mist
It painted dream-like images of its beloved, draped in gauze and cradling a lute to her breast
It dressed up in silly hats
And laughed with her by day
Feasted on risotto and bosc pears
And danced with her by night

It only wore one cotton batik dress and was still worshipped by him
It held his hand on every walk and errand
until the day blood bloomed behind his eye
He died

Even after death, it visited
in the form of a horse of white
And when she died, it came
to claim
her soul again

What I fear is not the loss of love
But that even the horse, the ghost of it will never come

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

blood

Blood

Even our blood was incompatible
Two babies bleeding away
One after the other
The first while we stood in the Rite Aid
Buying pain meds under the fluorescent lights
While you startled at the image of Halle Berry on the cover of a magazine
Brown and breasts and tiny nosed
And without a dead fetus inside of her
The opposite of me


But we persevered mechanically
eyes closed at 5 each morning
and two children arrived
With the help of the tiny pink baby aspirin
And sheer will
The same souls coming back in different bodies I was sure
beloved
and stronger than blood

Monday, January 17, 2011

Touch

When I stepped onto the sand I realized I was as in need of nature as food and touch
The grains delicately scratching my feet Then farther down smoothing and sleek the decimated sand castles pool with tide and the scattering of mussel shells I covet to pave my garden path
I wanted to strip off my clothes and throw myself into the waves like arms
Where light gilds and glimmers because it was born to do so and for no other reason
For even the ocean, Kali
Is more reliable than men I’ve let
put parts of themselves inside me


I like touch
But that doesn’t mean my body slips
So easily into the arm placed around it
Into the black woolen coat
As if it had just been there an hour before

I like kisses but
That doesn’t mean my lips slip so easily
Into mouth and tongue and teeth and lips
Almost as if they were its source
Or its creation

Make no mistake I like
The feel of love
And open easily my heart
at a word, a promise or a touch
But that doesn’t mean that my heart sings in key
For every tuning fork
Or that I’ll throw myself into every loving wave

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fine

Yesterday I was worried I was going blind in the other eye
So I went to the doctor
They probed me with instruments and bright lights and I imagined the cutting and the binding and having to lie with my head hanging off the bed again for five days straight
And the black gas bubble blocking my vision and the feeling of wanting to leave this place
If I can’t see it
But the doctor said
Everything is fine
Except for those little tears that could turn into another perforation
If you aren’t careful

Then I put on my mother’s pink Indian tunic with e the silver sequins
And went to party for my friends’ wedding
There were bowls of food and academics with wine glasses
One man seemed interested in me
And told me awkwardly about his music
Until a woman approached and smiled blandly at us
And I realized they were together
So I quietly turned my attention to her

Another man came to sit beside me
To eat the prosciutto on the plate, he said
With a sideways smile
But in a few moments
Was mentioning his wife
And how they drive to work together
And specialize in the same rare field
And I thought
I hope the man I am with is like this second man
When he talks about me
Not because he feels he has to
But because the doesn’t want the single girl at the party
To feel any confusion
And because he actually wants to tell her
How we are together in the world
How we write poems together or dance or whatever
To give her faith and that this exists

My friend the bride rarely fully smiles
But last night I saw her charming teeth and gums
As she stood for-the-first-time flustered in a taffeta dress
I told her I was jealous of her husband
And would have married her myself

And when I drove home alone
It was hard for me to see
I got lost even in Venice which I know
Unable to read the street signs
And I wished for someone to drive the car
And hold me in his arms when we got home
Like all those couples with their platters of salmon and rice and spinach salads and wedding cake and their glasses of wine
Taking off their suits and dresses and getting into bed on a night as warm as spring in winter

But when you ask me how I am today
all I say is okay
And when I ask you how you are
You say fine
How am I to know it’s not the truth?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

dark star has a fragrance inspired by the hanged man!

duendito

I dreamed of a black water buffalo with dreadlocked hair
Who came and placed his heavy head into my lap
And then rolled over puppy like to let me scratch his belly
At that strange watering hole where wild beasts swam and clambered

When I woke I went out into the day and found you my duendito
Little spirit little elf
Locked in a cage being humped by little dogs with matted ears and overbites
You retreated to the back less eager than the rest but something glimmered in the depths
Of your sad black eyes
And when you were released into my arms you slipped out a quick pink tongue to kiss
Then pranced like a pony for the show
Beside me in the prison yard

When they lead you out down that corridor
Death row
Of barking pit bulls and the like
Creatures with bloodied ears and ravaged souls
Jaws to kill and hope abandoned
Some wearing the red kerchief of fate
You seemed oblivious shutting out the deafening sounds
The hollow horrors of what would soon take place

But I don’t think you’ve really let it go
Now your eyes are huge and always bright
Your small feet fold tenderly in my arms
Your tail a spray of joy now not collapsed
Your warmth curled fur into our bed

But when you see the wild dogs rescued heirs
You forget your small size
And that you’re safe
You bare your teeth you snatch
the air

Spirits even little ones are strong and wild
Too wild to forget
The caged and hidden horrors of this world

Friday, January 14, 2011

pictures of you

this small machine makes it possible to peer
into places long before we should

i found you in a photograph
laughing skyward
so much unbridled joy
flooding your great face

if you look you might find me
wearing a gown of torn gold lace
running through my garden
eyelids painted like blue dusk
holding hands with a boy i seem to love

as i curl into his arms gaze up at him you would never know
my eye would tear in half, he'd be
on the floor with arms around his knees
rocking forth and back speaking to himself in person third
you'd never know the love, the fear
unless we'd been close for months and months
and you allowed to peek into my books

but i've pictured, written it
for every stranger's passing eye

i would like to be that girl
who made you smile that way
engulfed in brightness of some late night world
the whole sky aglow above us, no distance in between

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the power of words

after a boy tells a girl she is ugly she will never be the same
even after he returns over thirty years later with solar powered flowered glass and a book on fairy gardens
and hints that he actually liked her back then

no matter how many times her radiant, adored mother tells her she is pretty
she may never fully realize it
believing that a mother's love is blind

no matter how many times men who love her say she is beautiful
she may never fully believe it
and she will hurt them as well as herself with her doubt

no matter how her body and face change with time and love and pain
she will always remember what that one boy said
and she will remain
that girl with braces and pimples and sad hair
or knock knees and funny glasses

she will forget that she has a beautiful singing voice
or can dance better than anyone her age
or enchant people from a stage
or she will work so hard to be the best poet and the nicest friend
and most perfect student--
hoping this will distract everyone from how she looks--
that she will have headaches and stomach aches and worry lines much too young

when she has beautiful, perfect daughters from her beautiful perfect body
and feeds them with milk from her enchanted breasts
she may forget for a few moments
proud of her accomplishment
but then she may remember again
the taunting words
and have to watch her own translucent, grace-filled girl
be called ugly by a thoughtless boy

this may go on and on
in a world where souls are less valued than hair and skin
until one day she holds her mother's dead body in her arms
and sees an exuberance of light
fly forth from the ravaged corpse
and she will finally understand
the true numinosity of the soul

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

to hades

if you give me pomegranate seeds
i'll stay with you below the ground
in clubs aflood with piss and beer
where boys wear horns and sing
so hard they bleed my ears

but now my mother's gone from me
i'm not escaping but her heir
as much winter as the spring
i must return above it seems
it only lasts so long these things

i've little ones to tend to there
feed and keep them warm
i have a world of light above
i have a willow thatched home
and little ones to love

the question is my captor fair
hades with your grin
your knife strong core, your mirror
your wild lips and your fingertips
will you join me here?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

someday a fairy tale

fairy tale

someday ravens will not fall blinded from the sky and fish will not die suddenly from a grenade thrown in a pond
someday nine year old girls will not be shot to death at supermarkets
someday boys will not come back from afghanistan with missing parts because there won't be a war there at all
someday we won't have to worry about the carcinogenic chemicals in children's birthday cupcakes because they will be outlawed
someday the pit bulls will no longer be overbred and then caged and then killed
someday no one will cut off a dog's ears in order to make it a better fighter
someday the beautiful women who come to sit in my living room will stop hacking at their bodies with their thoughts
someday cancer will be obsolete and a word that does not make friends run from friends and terror vanquish love

someday all of the missing souls i have been seeking will come back to me in some form or anther knowing we will always be reunited
someday i will be able to tell my lover all of my secrets and he will look at me with desire and tenderness and not with pity
someday i am going to be able to show him every dark cavern and every rose quartz palace inside of me and he will not be afraid of any of it
someday we will all learn that death is not the problem, not living is
someday when we kiss the chains will turn to dust the briars will disintegrate and the blind will open their eyes and see
the blackbirds soar