skyfall ~ poem

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she drove and drove into the day
into a sky of azure gray

she drove and drove into the night
without another car in sight

she drove and drove up to a cliff
and wondered quietly – what if?

but this was not a passing thought
for she got out and jumped right off

and then the strangest thing came true
she sprouted wings of azure blue

and as she floated on the wind
blue feathers soon became her skin

and everything seemed far away
except the sky of bluest gray

and so it was she flew and flew
into an ever-deepening blue

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her mind is a chrysanthemum (words from a dream) ~ a poem

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her mind is a chrysanthemum
a blade her every thought

though deeply analytical
perhaps she ought to be
involved in calculations
or solid geometry

instead she spends her time
examining a dream
wondering what these words mean

angels all around ~ a poem

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angels are swarming
angels from the past
they talk to me in code
and I somehow understand

this one spoke about
the boatman from siddhartha
and the beauty of his struggle
(as if angels ever struggle)

this other stopped to ask
for a compass, the drawing kind
(I guess angels need to draw
concentric circles now and then)

another told me he’d been
mistaken for a hooligan
(what’s a hooligan? he asked)

they’re innocents, all
though ancient in spirit
they’re earthbound now
dragging molting wings
if wings remain

but their smiles are genuine
as so is their joy
and because I’m on to them
they’ve started to swarm
swarm all around
speaking in a cryptic code
only I understand

11:22 ~ a poem, inspired by mayakovsky (from the archives)

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11:22 pm
a train is passing by
it is far away
miles away
from where you live
but for a moment
you feel the rush
the quake
the stream

all is not quiet
it is not a time to rise
and address
the ages
history
and all creation

and yet
the white fog
the streetlamps
the distant lighted view
all wait
for just one word
from you

crepuscule ~ a poem from the archives

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she always remembered
everything
she would have remembered
that crepuscule
means twilight

i had to look it up

all day the word haunted me
teased me
with images of a slivered moon
hanging low in the sky

did it mean crescent moon?
was it even an english word?

i didn’t find it in the dictionary
(since my spelling was off)

then with frequent repetitions of the word
shaping my mouth into a small moon
i remembered it was a french word

and when i found its meaning
(and correct spelling)
in an old french dictionary i keep
from college days
i thought
my sister would have known this
from memory

a collection of grievances ~ a short story (flash fiction)

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My younger brother came over the other day to share with me his collection of grievances. We sat on the porch of our childhood home, drinking beer, as he went into some detail about all he had collected over the years. The collection fit into a single box – a tin oblong box, about ten by eight inches in size, jade green in color, that he found somewhere during his vagabond days when he was wholly out of touch with the family. The box lay open with its lid beside it on a wobbly folding table between us. I had never seen his collection, but I had long suspected he kept it safe inside his knapsack.

The first thing he took out of the box was a smooth opalescent object the size and shape of an almond. “This is one of my more pleasant grievances,” he told me. “Maybe not even a grievance at all, but it irks me all the same.” The quartz-like object smelled of rose water and old sweat and when he turned it over in his hand it glistened. My brother put this object down rather quickly, only to take up another. This piece, smaller than the first, was rough-hewn, obsidian black, and, in truth, rather boring to behold.

“This is just one of many petty grievances,” he said, “but I’ve collected them anyway. You know the sort – I’m sure you have plenty of your own. I find it’s good to look at them now and then, even grab a few and hold them in your fist – makes you feel righteously indignant and ready for the next volley.”

I leaned in to look more closely inside the box, and he was right. There was a dense array of these little objects, igneous and ignoble in nature. But here and there I saw other curiosities, some almost beautiful, needing just a little buffing to shine more than dully in the afternoon sun. I asked him about these, and he regaled me with their histories, one by one.

As each story quickly turned into the next, however, something else in the box at the very bottom of the pile caught my attention. It was a large piece and probably would have remained hidden had my brother not been moving the other pieces around as he was telling me their stories. It looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t remember exactly when or where I might have seen it. I said, “So what’s this one?” pointing. He must have thought I was going to grab it because he immediately pulled the box toward him.

“I don’t really want to talk about that one today,” he said, looking away. But in his abrupt silence, I could tell he was weighing whether to do just that. And after a few more moments, he began to explain. He said, “Well, I guess it would come as no surprise to you to hear that this one’s probably my biggest grievance of all. I thought you’d recognize it, but apparently you don’t. In a way, it’s part of every other grievance, going all the way back to who knows when. I’d say it’s like an ache that’s been there for so long you hardly even know it’s there anymore. But you really don’t recognize it?” My brother looked at me in earnest now, his usually distant eyes wide open and questioning like the eyes of the child he once was.

Though the box lay on the opposite side of the table, I could plainly see the large object inside. In fact, it was even more exposed than before, due to the jostling that had caused the other pieces to fall away when he had pulled the box toward him. It was a gangrenous thing with bulging red striations, like a gnawed bone long buried in the earth. And though I couldn’t detect an odor, for all the world I imagined a salty metallic smell, like the tang of dried blood.

I think my brother saw the change in my expression, the dawning of memory, for suddenly he pulled the box even closer to him. How I wanted to take that object in my hands, feel its contours, remember everything. But my mind was reeling from an avalanche of memories, bits and pieces of shattered memories flashing before my inner eye, and I felt frozen, unable to speak. If only I could find a way, I thought, say what I always wanted to say, I would apologize for everything – for everything I had done, everything we had done, for the whole damn history of our childhood.

But before I could find the words, my brother placed the lid back onto the box with a firm click and returned the collection to his knapsack.

 

 

 

portrait ~ a poem

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i wanted to paint a portrait
but a portrait will never do
it would never depict
the hidden face of you

i wanted to write a story
but a story will never do
it wouldn’t unravel
the mystery of you

i wanted to make a list
but a list will never do
it would never clear up
the confusion of you

and so i write this poem
but a poem will never do
it will never reveal
the unknowable you

10 in the morning ~ a poem

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other loves
obsessions
have shriveled
and turned to dust
all from the curse
of your love
lost

i remember too much
kisses on skin
airy
like frightened moths
shame’s impasse
my dream
then a nightmare
of longing
and loss

but it’s 10 in the morning
and years have gone by
my husband’s at work
we now have a child
i lie here recovering
from a three-day flu
whose low-burning fever
brings memories
of you

when the world becomes a small room ~ a poem

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the world contracts
if you let it
you may know the feeling
been there done that

but think back
to when the world was wide
and you traveled with ease
through its multiple dimensions
of intangible beginnings
that always beckoned
for you to continue
without knowing where
or if the journey would end

think back
to a time when you weren’t
so wise
to when the world was
an open window demanding
your escape

and not this room
that entombs you now