Monday, February 21, 2011

Romeo and Catalan

While wandering, Catalan saw a boy quite recently dead and resurrected
While Catalan carried her heart around in a box the boy had no heart to speak of
Someone had cut it out
So he limped along with one hand pressed over the hole in his chest
Catalan followed him in secret for many miles, spying on him as he scavenged for bugs and rodents and sometimes stopped to read from a large old encyclopedia he carried around with him in a red and white plastic Target bag
He had black hair, green eyes and wore a long black overcoat, and in spite of being dead he appeared quite beautiful
At least to Catalan
She decided to call him Romeo from one of the books she had read in the house
It seemed appropriate because the original Romeo was beautiful and dead
Catalan followed him for days before she finally made herself known to him
He backed away at first but Catalan sat quietly with her palms open on her knees, and eventually he crawled up and lay near her and they spent the whole night in this way
At dawn they set off together side by side and Romeo played a little tune on a harmonica in his pocket though it was dangerous and might draw attention from bands of marauding zombies or humans with a vendetta
Once Catalan tried to hold Romeo’s hand but he shook his head, gathered his fingers in a bouquet beneath his throat and hobbled ahead of her
So one night while they were camping in a field Catalan took her heart out of the box that said For My Beloved and put it in sleeping Romeo’s cavernous chest
for hope can be resurrected even in the walking dead
when love comes to town

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love said

Love said, Good luck with him
You have a tender heart

I never trusted the words Good Luck
Break a Leg is better
Break a Heart more apropos

After five dates Music calmly said, I just want to be friends first
Get to know you
Then we’ll see what happens
But he already fed me
carried me to bed
And kissed me like he wanted
to climb inside my mind
though he did not
touch me inside

Music said, It’s me, not you
And that he had a broken heart
Didn’t want to injure mine
But I’ve been building scar tissue
Up inside
For years now
that shit is thick

Love, I’m tougher
Than I look
And just as alone
As was I
before

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love Quadrant

I wanted Music but he was evasive
As Music always is
Making us feel things we don’t understand
We don’t know why
A visceral experience made of blood and sinew
So it seems at the time
But ultimately ephemeral

Love was resentful and left
I understood
I would have done the same thing
In fact we shared a name

But Kindness persevered and continued to give to me
Poetry and chocolates
Even though I was far away
And had not been able to hold him
As he desired, perhaps needed

We are not alike, Love and Kindness
But together we make a whole person
With perfect sight and hearing

Still I waited for Music
To take me out again
to feed and tell me stories
and then drift off
to dream about Heartbreak
or was Youth her name
who was still his soul mate
in the forgotten pictures on an abandoned Myspace account

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love is Blind

It does not take much
A glass of wine, an offer to look at my computer
Swaying to some music
A held hand
A warm wool coat draped over cold flesh shoulders
The right thick black boots
A kiss in a bar
A kiss at the door
A walk on the boardwalk
A walk on the sand
A raw food meal made of coconuts, cashews and mangoes
The words, You look great
The words, You are so beautiful
The words, I’m so attracted to you
The words, I love your mind
A deleted Internet dating profile
An Indian meal and a party in sequins
Thai soup and a movie brought when I’m feeling run down
Exquisite animation that makes me cry
Plus high cheekbones big eyes and a wicked grin
And thirty poems in as many days
Words that seem to reveal a soul
And might just contain a secret message
Or perhaps not

I’m so ready for love that those things are enough
And I’d rather disregard the evasive words
The lack of plans
The unsent valentine
The aborted touch

I know I’m partially blind
But perverse winged child with your bow and arrow
Just this once
give me the good grace to see

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day (photo by Mccabe Russell)



In some cultures there are no words for music or art
Because they are just part of life

I wonder if love should have a name?
And a holiday
Mylar balloons and chocolate filled with hydrogenated oils
Plastic roses and store bought greeting cards

Like most of these occasions
An excuse to get drunk and have sex
When what I want goes so far beyond any of that

My mother always made me Valentine’s out of construction paper and silver doilies she found forty seven ways to say I love you in her gracious script
until cancer silenced her

My ex husband always filled my car with bouquets almost as tall as I am
When I just wanted him to hold me with a sprig of lavender behind my ear
The last man came over with every plastic toy he could find at Rite Aid
Took me to dinner and kept me up all night
When my torn eye needed rest
I said I love you I love you while he rocked above me
A week later we were as far apart as two people could ever be

I don’t want Valentines
I want to twine myself in lights
And kneel before you
In black lace underwear and motorcycle boots
On a bed of roses
Thick and soft as flesh
And I don’t want anyone
To say a word

Friday, February 11, 2011

There's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse part 4

There’s no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 4

As Catalan wandered through the desert her heart began to fall out of her chest. She took it out and wrapped it in a piece of fabric torn from the hem of the gold dress and continued to walk.
One day she heard shouts “Heya hot Z, nice dress!”
She fell to the ground behind a rock and slithered on her belly. Gunshots rang out and she could smell beer and man sweat.
“Kind of cute for a...”
”Z-bait.”
There was hole in the ground big enough for her to slide into. There was a tunnel.
The tunnel led down under the earth and there she hid until nightfall. Digging in the dirt she found a small wooden box.
On the front it said, For my beloved
but there was nothing inside.
Catalan put her heart in the box and when she no longer heard the men she made her way back up.


She slithered and ran back to the ambulance.
She had never driven it in this state but she vaguely remembered how so she rode haltingly across the rough terrain back to the road and then along the highway over a bridge beneath which lay the skeletons of hundreds of men
The bridge led her into a town full of large houses and wild gardens.
One house felt familiar so that is where she went.
It was made of river rocks with a gabled porch and inside it was still in tact though dusty and dank.
She took her little wooden box and went up to the attic where she found a cot and lay down and stared at the dust motes and tried to remember.
She knew she had not always been this way…
There was a girl with smooth skin and blue eyes looking at her from a mirror
There was a man and a woman who hugged her and another, smaller girl, with blue eyes
They played together
There was a place the mirror girl went to learn things
And big mirrored places where she went sometimes to eat things and buy things
And there were books some of these were in the house downstairs on the shelves
Catalan brought stacks of them up to the attic and read them all day, emptying their contents into her head. At night she hunted for small rodents and then she went back up to the attic.

One day she woke and heard voices downstairs.
They were high and light as flowers would sound if charmed into speaking.
She remembered this sound
Children
She listened closely at the door but she did not go downstairs.
For days she sat up in the attic listening to the children.

She could see them from the window playing in the garden overgrown with weeds and ivy tangles.
At night she peered at them asleep in their beds on her way out to find rodents.
Sometimes she left them some.
But one day one of the children—a small, blue-eyed girl who looked strangely familiar, tiptoed up to the attic and saw Catalan lying on her cot eating a rat.
The child ran downstairs screaming, “Emma. It’s Emma!”
And from her window Catalan saw the others assembling an army of sticks and stones
So Catalan took her heart in its box
And left as fast as she could

Thursday, February 10, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse part 3

there is no such thing as a zombie apocalypse 3

one night they heard catalan mewling and coughing in distress

they went to the highest point of the house and breathed the winds that came from the south
yes, they could detect it
that smell
stench, really
riding the air

they were coming again

so the man and the woman got into the ambulance with catalan tied in the back
and they rode toward the desert

they parked among the joshua trees as deep in the monument as they could go hidden behind boulders
there they stayed, keeping watch
eating rabbits and feeding the rats to catalan
scouring the sky for shooting stars

but soon the woman found
that her body was changing
she'd thought her cycle had stopped
that night in the cabin when she picked up the gun
but now something was forming inside of her stretching out her belly
filling her breasts in undaunted preparation

(that night...
the ruined mansion
the gold dress)

she did not want to tell him but finally he noticed too

he took his gun, handed her hers and stomped out of the ambulance in his boots
she sat at the window watching him go
catalan curled at her feet

he was gone all night but she did not allow herself to cry
at dawn he returned with the pink streaked sky
that once in times now almost forgotten
they had camped beneath, drinking wine and eating sandwiches
when camping was a past time and not the default
when they had the audacity to actually try to make a child

when they had not been accompanied by a dead girl with molting skin

he got on his knees and pressed his face to her belly and wept
"there is no life here " he told her
and she begged his forgiveness
and told him that somehow things would change

months passed like this and one night they saw
catalan shambling in circles around the ambulance
pointing to the sky

they looked up and saw it heard the soft thrum of it
the lights flashing over their faces blue blue blue
the woman fell to her knees her hands on her belly

when it took them away
catalan stayed
they watched through the glass
as she staggered off
wearing the gold dress
the pearl leather shoes hanging around her neck on a string

decimated and stubbornly undead
preciously almost still alive
as the planet they left behind

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 2

There’s no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 2

They left the cabin in the old ambulance he had been able to barter in exchange for their home
The one they had before
With the wrap around porch and the french doors
And the garden with amaryllis and fig trees
She had hated the ambulance and the cabin
But now she was grateful as they headed down the hill into the ashy air

By nightfall they arrived at a ruined mansion
He went first, she followed with the other gun,
found herself waving it back and forth like antennae
The way she’d seen him do some nights
When he paced around the cabin

An empty foyer with parquet floors walls had crumbled and trees grown up inside under the shattered glass dome
a staircase swept up into nothing and spiderwebs curtained the spaces where there had been windows

Later they found Catalan, for that is what they called her, weeping alone in a corner
She must have been beautiful when she was alive
And she didn’t look like she would eat you
They couldn’t bring themselves to kill her but they had to put a rope around her neck just in case
At night sometimes the woman would wake to find Catalan staring at them from the corner with her glazed bloodshot blue eyes and her leprous face

They went out in the day to hunt for small creatures and cooked them on a fire, then camped out in the ruined house
Huddling for warmth but not inside of each other the way she wanted
They had not made love for weeks now
He considered it a luxury but if truth be told
She believed it was the key to her survival

It was the first time in her life she was glad they had not had children but if they made love she could forget this and everything else

Once in a closet she found a dress
Gold satin with a full skirt and cloth covered buttons
And a pair of pearl colored shoes with pointed toes and tiny pearl buttons on the toe

She put this on for him one night but he told her, Where are your boots, not a question
and so she slunk off to uniform herself

Soon it would be time to start moving again
Because you never new who would find you unexpectedly
But for now she liked living in the forest house
And one night when Catalan had been tied up in another room
the woman put on the gold dress and pulled the man down into her arms
And kissed his mouth
Anyway

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse

"take off your boots and come to bed," she said
but he remained seated at the window
sharpening his knives and every now and then
looking up to stare out into the blackness surrounding the cabin

'we don't need a gun," she'd tell him
"and why all those blades?"
she liked how his boots looked
ordered on ebay from japan
thick soled black leather
with quilting and straps all up the leg
sometimes they made her wet
but she didn't think they were necessary
as more than a fashion statement
just as she thought his survivalist beliefs had gone too far
filling the basement with that many cases of water and cans of beans

"i'll tell you a story," she pleaded "about the way it was"
but he shook his head
and continued to work on his blade
his eyes that sharp, too
and even darker than the night

she fell asleep finally without him
and when she woke and reached for him
as she always did
he was not there

she got up and went to the window
in her t-shirt and underwear
goosebumps rising on her legs

pressed her face to the glass
thinking she might see his torch burning in the yard
where sometimes he went late
to improve his moves
or just to watch

he was not there

and then she saw them

rising over the hillside like trees that had been uprooted
staggering as if they had ripped up roots instead of rotting feet
arms flailing like dead branches
and the sewer smell that always accompanied them

she called his name but no sound came out
she felt as if impaled
standing there unable to...

and then she saw him
leaping forward out of the shadows shining his torch in their eyes
wearing his boots
a sword in his other hand

she didn't take her eyes off of him
reached behind to find the boots he'd bought her too
thick black monster stompers
they had laughed about it once
dressed alike as if for rock and roll or combat
sippping miso soup and eating clams at the little japanese restaurant that no longer existed

that was when you could go to see a movie
make love without listening for sounds in the yard
wear boots for fashion's sake
alone
that was when pacifism was an option
but now in the drawer behind her
her hand fumbled resolutely
for the gun

Monday, February 7, 2011

Parallel Play

Parallel Play

In the dirt I squat and stare
Making worlds I want to share
With you but you are busy too
Sword fighting with the hazy air

In my pile of sand and mud
I place wild beasts to face a flood
Fairies, angels, buddhas too
A castle, moat, a garden, zoo

You wield your sword and flash a grin
You dart and turn and slash and spin
While I pick up a baby doll
hold it so it will not fall

Come see my world, I beg, you smile
and run away to hide awhile
but then come back to check on me
and laugh at what you always see

The wild beasts lick each other down
The goddesses each wear a crown
Wild roses grow most everywhere
And some are tangled in my hair

And though our games so different are
You run away but not too far
We please each other in this way
So different yet aligned in play

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For my father : London, 1972

For my father: London, 1972

The girls wore floppy hats, bellbottoms or mini skirts and platforms
They all seemed so tall and bright
Like psychedelic flowers
I could never be or pick
But you bought me purple suede gillies
In Pickadilly square
So I could at least pretend

Then that underground Italian restaurant
With the bathed radiance of gold light
The waiter took my fettucine away before I was done
But you got me another
Your arm around me, tweedy jacket and the smell of garlic cream
Twinkle eyes and a crooked tooth

I learned early that if a man buys you food and shoes
It can make you feel safe
At least for a little while
But when you got sick and there was no one else
I learned that I would have to buy them for myself
Never trust anyone too much
Or lean too hard into the crook of any woolen arm
Wetting it with your tears and exposing your heart
Because eventually they are going to leave
Even if it's only death do part

For the girls who come to me

For the girls who come to me

”Does magic exist?” they ask with their glittered eyes
hair swishing down to slender waists
Petticoats and platforms
Feathers and lace and leathers and chain
They want me to confirm what they secretly know
Maybe prove it
so I write another story
light some fairy lights
give them cupcakes
and tell them they are beautiful

“In December I almost died”
She says
“But I graduated I composed more music I hung from a wire and danced in the air”

“Does magic exist?”
she asks
As if it is somewhere else
Some foreign place outside of us
Untouchable
And not just her standing here aglitter with youth and talent and the desire to love a lost soul
Who asks her with his eyes
Just before he leaves and breaks her heart
"Does magic exist?"

He knows the answer, the one she wants to believe in
But he can’t take the risk of knowing it is true
Sense

If I lost my sense of sight I could still feel you

The thicket of hair
The big soft eyebrows
The lines of your smile
Sweet feral teeth

The lips I can suck
The ridge of collarbone
The mass of bicep
Strained veins on forearms

The defended chest
The narrow hips
The motorcycle thighs
Black leather boots

If I lost my sense of smell I could bury my face in your neck and armpit and lap and
remember
The musk sweat and salt

If I lost my hearing
I could press my head to your heart and feel the pagan drum circle in your chest
I could press my heart to our veins
And feel the symphonic swirl of your blood

If I couldn’t taste you I would have meat and rock salt dandelion greens and red
wine

If couldn’t touch you I would look and listen and smell and taste and dream

You see, I’ve known you before. A long time ago.
And I’ve been sense-less a long time since

You say you need to wait and see
Who I am
But I already know
You with every one of my imperfect six

Friday, February 4, 2011


yesterday at the roman villa
i saw a lot of things i really liked
the tiny rock crystal fragment of aphrodite's nude torso
glittering in its case
like it was made of tears and sunlight
and the heavy gold necklace with the large amethyst flower pendant
that I imagined pulsing at my collarbone
like a fairy jewel
and the little pointed toed red leather shoes with gold trim
belonging to a long dead girl
buried in her sarcophagus with her toys and bangles
making her seem like a real little person
and not just something dead
but best of all was the statue of orpheus with his bald head, his chiton and snadals
his hands held up before him
bearing a long gone lyre
a reminder that eurydice could not be saved
but beauty lives on even in death
the two bird women with their talon feet and wings on either side of him
will not let us forget our harpy fears

this is what i wanted to bring you back here for
so we could stay the night
hidden away somewhere
only to emerge and drink wine from the kylix
and bathe in the fountain mosaiced with tile and shells
filled with waterlilies
and surrounded by water gods
and you would wear the metal helmets
with little slits for eyes
and i would wear the amethyst flower and a pair of dead girl shoes
and my skin would shine like rock crystal
and we would dance with nymphs and satyrs
and be initiated into a cult of mysteries
at lyre-less orpheus' sandaled feet
while the harpies scream

Thursday, February 3, 2011

compassion

compassion


yesterday was really hard
not tragic just hard
the kids were fighting and the dog peed in the house soaking the bottom of my bed sheet
and then ran in circles around the front lawn nipping at my hands wild eyed when i tried to get him to come inside
i ruined my good pink suede sneakers
and the neighbor laughed at me
swearing and spinning in the mud
and then i yelled at my children
much too harshly
and i was so tired and over burdened
and none of my friends answered my calls
and i just wanted someone to comfort me
but then i got your poem
about your week
and i just wanted
to comfort you

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

blood II

blood II (with gratitude for the inspiration)

one year ago, february 21st 2am
one week after a valentine's day of mylar balloons and roses, real and fake
and chocolate i would never eat:
the last time i made love
the first time i made love without knowing it
though i know you asked if it was ok
the rest was black out

i'd taken a sleeping pill and one xanax
left over from my surgery less than a month before
still suffering ptsd
when the fight started i knew i had to check out fast
didn't want to stress my newly bound eye

you were rocking on the floor and speaking in tongues
about being good
and the dark thing behind me
and suddenly i didn't know you at all
though i'd been with you five months.

since then well i'm better
you are gone and i haven't opened the medicine chest
the pills are expired i don't need them
i want to remember everything
every single moment
feel pain and cry and bleed
my eye's healed as well as it will ever be

but when my mother died the blood poured for two weeks straight
then stopped as if for good
as if to match hers
and now you'd think i'd stop
too, searching for this thing i want
but i refuse to stop
i am not going to stop
loving extravagantly
open-heartedly, dazzlingly
but not blindly--
with a bitter little pill
dissolving under my tongue--
and then maybe my blood will come back

i'm not dead after all

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a pictures is worth a thousand words

I love you he ‘d say at the end of every phone call and after awhile I stopped saying it back
Just words
I love words
Succulent as fresh melon
Warm as the puppy curled in my lap with his head all the way under the quilt
But those were just words
And he never said it with his hands, his body
Although sometimes I would see it in his lasered eyes
When my hair was done and i was holding the children in my arms
The one night he tried after almost four years
The Sport’s Illustrated swim suit issue had just arrived
And I couldn’t help seeing those hairless bodies with painted on bikinis and huge breasts
Egging him on
I tried to confess my fears in the office of a shrink
But my husband flew into fury and that was the end of it

It was only pictures
But then I love you
Are only words