Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Trutina

Lucy and Schröder in a cardboard box,
Herman and his dogs,

Andy Warhol offers me saltwater taffy under the barn door.
Will the absurdity of this moment induce me to succumb?
Yellow hay is strewn around his shoes.

Quivering in balance,
Between pungent printed pages and a bundle of letters, wrapped in diaphanous white, from four and a quarter years of patience.

Wrapped in blinding white,
I will carry a rock in each hand,
And climb this fragrant summit,
Damp in the scents of myrrh, cinnamon, cane, and cassia.

"In Trutina": Carl Orff

Melodramatic Tree-Hugger, Nov. 20

The weight of a dropped nut in my hand
Reminds me of a thimble.
Embarrassed alone in the woods, wanting to cover over obscenities on trees with my bare hands.
Do the leaves know what is scored into their bark? A scar of the shame of humanity:
The desire to deface the good and holy.

There are a few trees I have befriended. One to press my hand on six days of the week. One which made a chair for me when I found it in the snow, and now shelters a cairn of stones.
But this       white       wonder
Is a tragedy worthy of the prayers of the saints...

A tangle of helpless elegance supports it from a slide down the forest's incline,
For it is a broken body, voluptuous and angled in a dozen curves and bends of almost human forms,
But fallen with its arms outstretched along the ground, beseeching travelers to muse on the passing of the  white beech of Round Pond.
Clearly, this is a friend in need of company (I will kiss you youngly while I rest my cheek and neck against the swoop of your outstretched arm).

I am a waif of melodramatic tendencies, and my raw feet will reproach me in the morning.

But for now, I only smile at myself and the yapping dog who found me.
Somehow a wooden family soothes my wounded soul, and grows my heart another ring.

Friday, November 25, 2011


On the almost frozen ground

The young spring up, the old fall down.

O tender, tender, tender,

Why do you bloom in November?

Why do you bloom in November?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It was easier for me. I've been learning floating anyway, so relaxing was an exercise in life. Resting was a prayer in itself (but I admit to thinking how funny it would be if I held the ceiling handle, like our mother does).

I wondered if you felt carried as I did, or if you felt the pressure of causality, the burden of decision in a complicated way. Your voice sounded flushed. Nevertheless, we made it safe.


However do they drive so bravely? There are several things I am stepping out to learn. I am climbing in behind this wheel with real fears from all that I have (never) done before. Signal, Merge.
Single, Merge.


Rain pounds our faces faster and harder than we are prepared for. City lights blaze over black water like music and clinking glass. We taste wine on our lips. Or maybe it is blood, from biting them. A white flash - and the danger is behind us. We have passed.

Maybe, I hope, you understood,
That as I sang the words of those songs,
I meant them for you.

In some ways they were written for us,
For last night on the ride back.

Credits: "Umbrella" by The Innocence Mission.

Penned Again

Glittering like bits of blowing tinsel, the stars gathered in a patch of
midnight sky, the Pleiades one bright smudge against the darkness.
This will be a brief meeting, a one quick feeding in the lawn before being
penned again.
- Eat of the earth's richness while you can -
But my plate is too full: feed my soul.

Press my eyes closed. I will feel it is you by your fingertips.
Hold me as tight as I hold you. Tighter. Your bark is rough on my lips.

Branches design to blind me as I run,
(Run? Stumble, as inebriated as I am with the sap of stars)
Cold mud numbs my spinning feet to the point of pain.
I will not will not stop until I fly, or fall. It has begun.
I will not linger at the threshold. I will run down the aisle to your arms.

We Are Separate Flours

Grow me a garden of this kind of nothing,
Draw me a picture of this kind of fine.

Tell me why I can't sneak back inside
After playing school in the yard until midnight.

You hear me scratch at the window, and turn your head.
We are separate flours.
Together, we'll make bread.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Patience in a Pulse and Helplessness

Bring me back to the child, forward to the woman,
Only let me hear music in the air and feel your breath.
My ivory tower is easy to hide in: it's only on top of my neck.
My hands once were clenched
Around what little I could gather for my confidence,
But now they are open, and what filters through my fingers leaves them heavy and confused.
If You were a bed of nails, I would pray You bend the laws of physics, so that I could lay down, and
You would pierce me through and through.
Do not leave me halfway shedding my cocoon.

Let me prove to you that I am afraid of helplessness:
I have already acquired a share of the viciousness and shame that I see in the lame, in the man that limped along with his walking wife, heavy and slow, intent on healing though couple after couple and dog after dog and jogger after jogger passed by. I wanted to tell him he was kingly, but I did not know how. His wife was a queen in her patient prodding love.

So much of life is helplessness,
How stubbornly we struggle for independence!
And again, we are caught, against rain storms and our impotence.


Do you know that you're loved?
Give me words I can trust
Would you believe me if I told you?
Hold me. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dancer in the Dark

It was a blessed film over my eyes, enough to make me crumble,
Or make me cry.
I had to pause last night before I broke what was thinning inside.
But I danced in the dark and prepared my heart for today. For what always makes me girlishly tired and afraid, meek and white and smiling.

Lying still and trying to forget the only thing I feel while all the rest of me is calm:
A pinch, a chill,
Spreading from the top of my taped right hand toward my elbow. Dripping,
a tube. I close my eyes and image myself tearing at the cords that feel so foreign,
Attached to what should be whole flesh.
But I breathe deeply again. How like a child I feel.
Mother, gazing out the kitchen window, washing dishes,
Papa, sealing envelopes downstairs.
There could be soup and cornbread on the table in an hour. I'm only resting
In bed.

This gown is a humbler of humanity.
I am glad though, that it's flannel, and long, and large enough to fold around.
Powder-blue dancing triangles on a white background.
I feel more like a princess somehow. No show, I'm just myself.
I'm in a space made by cream curtains. The woman to my right is giving answers to a nurse. She takes a pill once a year for her skin condition. She considers vitamins solid food. She isn't anorexic anymore.
Humanity. The man who laughed when asked if he had piercings or tattoos (saying, What, at my age?!) is trundled by, grinning, with a weathered patchy face.

It takes a while before they are ready. I am wheeled along with all my attachments, but hardly remember.
Drowsy even before I was drugged, I smiled over my chin
At my doctor in the hallway.
Cheryl (or Cynthia, perhaps?) wore purple. Diane wore pink.
Cynthia. Diane. Did I laugh inside to think of those romantic names?
Hyacinth Claire. Cordelia Fitzgerald...
We played the game of making conversation before I went under. But I started with thin shoots of oxygen that smelled like a new shower curtain. I turned on my side, a white towel under my left cheek.
Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters...
We have a print downstairs. He looks older, and broken, but really a man..
Are you feeling it yet?
And I made sure to murmur his name as the last on my lips
Before sleeping.

Credits: Names,"Hyacinth Claire": Elizabeth Gaskell, "Cordelia Fitzgerald": L.M. Montgomery. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Find me in the woods and I will feel your intrusion like a lovebug
In my pizza crust, a maggot in my rice.
But maybe you will be around when I am lost,
In which case,
You are welcome to flavor my sauce.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Coins

My lips aren't close enough,
My mouth, my throat, my ribcage...
-I'm wishing it was safe to sleep outside-
...I cannot swallow this into my

You tuck my arm in yours, fondly,
And guide me firmly through a crowd I can almost see -
Stifling in a different way.
I smiled, surprised to realize I might have been afraid.

It was the naturallest thing in the world, the way you slowly recognized me, smiled. Our talk was smooth as the awkward unpolished good can be. But it ended just as naturally, reached its fresh end, and left me wishing differently.  What I meant to be a gift became a trade, and a gift the other way. You gave me more before I could object. You left, and I could not help feeling cut out from a catalogue, posing softly by the corner until you returned.
Conscious affectation of unselfconsciousness. Relaxation. Shuffle again.

You have your mother's eyes, your father's face,
And a strange way of being brother, ever loving everyone
In a way that I have yet to understand, without mistakes. 

Rejoice with me, I have found my almost-idol under the table
In the dark, groping over a filmy floor and squinting down sideways so a ray might glint on the surface.
It was vouchsafed, and by a gracious grace. The shadow on the stairs went down.
What You grant I will take, only not my will, but Thine.

I am left in the frost with two warm coins.
What do you live for?
All these songs have been heard before. What will make them live?
When there is nothing new to say, say what is.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Draw Me A Picture of This Kind of Fine

With you, it's like being continually in love with the world.
Are these the eyes that you see with?
You love the light of the morning, the deep dark arms of the night,
The steam in your cup of tea, the texture of tree bark.
Are we blind in love? Or is it then that we finally see
The truest true of things?

Let me only walk awhile with you so the sound of wind's fondlings makes up our silence.

You baptize your hands in a bucket of hot soapy rags. You are quiet and alive as morning sunlight.
You speed along streets as a bringer of peace, on your bike.
You write music in lamplit corners while the rest of us sleep.
You come back later to make sure I'm alright.

Let us breathe deep the delicate scents of time,
To remember later when we are grown too old for journeys,
And can only remember life.