Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dream | I Woke Up Coughing


Walking up the cul-de-sac, I hum Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.  Not because I am not perturbed or anxious.  But, because I went away for a long time.  The grass is still cut crisp as a golf green.  Stella D’oro lilies kneel straight backed before the daisies and zinnias who tilt their heads to the sky.  So proud and obedient.  Mounds of impatiens beneath the dogwood and ornamental pears make me giggle. For a good reason, I was gone a long time.

Not a fuzzy headed dandelion or prickly headed clover in sight.   I return to the same house in the same place.   Unsure of why, I thought the house would grow larger while I was in that place.  When I was gone, I had hoped someone might plant Cleome.  A little flippant, constrained perversity lends character to a city block.  Especially a cul-de-sac needs.   I don’t remember, 

but, knew.  I had been.   There.  Was a change.  I thought perhaps they might not uproot the Purple Archangel.  And that the house would be bigger.  While I was gone.  For some reason that was about calm or maybe growing.  Pumpkin.  

I remember pumpkin ~ the color that is.  Maybe the wet.  And vague ~ like recollection without calling anything to hold because there is nothing separate.  As the fair sticky strings embedded in the rounded flesh dangle seeds but don’t really think about their job, they just do it.  So I was there 

and now I am here.  And being there is not important to remember even though I was gone a long time.    I am returning now.  My hands open and close at my sides as if they should remember 

something.   The flowers would never overstep their beds or boundaries.  Not even one head peers from behind a curtain.  Such a quiet, comfortable little dead end roundabout.   Perched on the bottom curve of a waning moon,  

 house does not grow larger as I approach.  I remind myself that I am here for a good reason.   There is some noise bigger in me than the work songs and banging I hear.  But, I am not sure what

I am supposed to hear.  So I hum Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, because everyone is happy to see me.  That is why smiles pinch their faces.   The sudden cessation of discourse and song.  This is what the squinted eyes mean. They are all wearing work clothes.  Thick dungarees with flannel shirts or plaster stained orange and red t-shirts. 

Everyone’s hands are dirty.  Every waist supports an empty tool belt.  The house hasn’t gotten any bigger, so I notice I have arrived without a carpetbag even though I had been gone a long time 

for a good reason.   Nobody says anything.  They just watch me walk across the grass.  Pause on the threshold.  Feel the rough wood on the open iron studded door.  I rather like my cream and pink floral night gown when I wear it with a bra.  Chuckie dips his head like gentleman tips his hat.  I stand underneath the upside waning moon doorframe.  Between the sky and the small house which didn’t change except for the color of the interior 

walls.  Split open pumpkin creme is what I’d call it. The walls changed hue so the inside seems even smaller now.    I have always liked faux finishes. Whoever did the sponging must have a clandestine love affair with anger.  I bet it was a woman.  But, that doesn’t bother me.  A woman in my house 

while I have been away.  What bothers me is the absence of the usual noisy frantic living chaos.   The kind children make.  The kind children made.  A child is supposed to be here.  Or maybe I am wrong.  I have been gone 

for a very long time.  This chaos is sullen and rude.  Mountains of boxes, furniture, artwork and bric-a-brac in the center of every room.  What bothers me is that a child could get very badly hurt in this type of environment.  A lamp could fall off of a cliff and bash its skull in.  A letter opener could flee from the paperweight that is has been forced to lay next to on the princess pea bed of boxes and dive in the safety of a child’s chest.   Suddenly everyone starts clapping 

and cheering.  I am being hugged,  so I am glad I put on that brasserie.  I reach up to touch my hair.  And find that a few wisps have escaped the lacy ecru night cap. I lick my lips to check for the taste of lipstick.  I take a deep breath because I can not remember if I have showered, applied deodorant and spritzed myself 

with perfume.   Every is in order.  So, I smile.  My husband takes my elbow.  He has a ball of golden thread which he unravels as he leads me through the maze.  Between the boxes, I can not see the walls. I am comforted by that cooper chafing dish who dangles her one leg over the dock of the boxes over the river of grain frozen in the hardwood floor.  I am walking on a petrified river of sap and I know this is something almost biblical.  So I hum ever so carefully and inaudibly Try Not To Get Worried.  And the tools in everyone’s hands raised hands become

palm fronds.  My husband leads me through the french doors out onto the back desk.  The side garden has been landscaped to the exact specifications I once scribbled on graph paper; ripped up for no apparent reason 

and then taped to the inside of a hat box.  Before I can grin and giggle, I feel the gentle pressure on my elbow guiding me down the stairs to the garage.  Which isn’t 

a garage anymore.   Clematis and bamboo patterns interrupt thick frosted stained glass doors and windows.  Drywall has been hung.  Two skylights make a spot lights on a desk and easel.  My sewing machine is set up in a little corner.   One cupboard door is ajar. I can see my bobbins, ribbons and hoarded fabric neatly organized and labeled.  A deep purple chaise lounge invites dreaming with its embroidered pillows  and plush fleece throw. My husband 

lets go.  I burrow deeper into this little imagination den.  Behind a carved mahogany door is a bathroom with crimson claw foot tub.  Through the window, the pond looks like a Matisse overlaid with a Picasso.  I find that quite soothing.  Everybody’s eyes have machetes dancing with sugar cane 

in them.  Smiling.  The inside is much larger.  Neatly stacked against the walls are every painting I had ever loaned to a friend because I was always moving to a smaller and smaller house.  But, there is space for all of us! There is enough space for all of us here.  There is even space for something new.  It seems as if this room could continue to expand forever.  Chuckie is suddenly twirling an ebony cane; wearing a top hat and wearing a death grimace grin.  Behind him a boy tries to use his watery eyes to scream something very important.  The crowd cheers. My husband backs out 

of the door.  I raise my hand to my lips to blow kisses.  I wink at the boy.  And then I realize he is chained to the very small house.  He is tugging so hard at the chains that his wrists and ankles are bleeding.  And I suddenly recognize him as the most beautiful thing I ever made.  As I run towards him, my husband seals the door shut.  He blows a kiss.  Draws the shades and walks away.  A music box on an end table pops open.  The ballerina spins as it tinklesPeter Peter Pumpkin Eater.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nursery Rhyme For Black Folks

(to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle)


#1

whipped black man strung up high

looked a white woman ride in the eye.

pick a nigger then laugh and cheer

picture postcards, “wish you’re here!”

whipped black man strung up high

Mamas hug your boys before they die.


#2

penis in a pickle jar

makes me wonder who you are

up upon the southern shelf

cut away from your black self.

penis in a pickle jar

on my heart you leave a scar.


#3

oh them days are long and gone.

all us folks, we just moved on.

all is love and harmony,

them folks really love their trees.

oh them days are long and gone

‘cept for the bullet in little Trayvon.


NOTE: Saw this today. This is all I could think. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-afghan-photos-20120418,0,5032601.story

Marie Has a Virtual Chat With Lena and Ann On The Internet

1.

I catch myself in the shadows

of sunlight cells on the floor. back bone,

an animated broom stick flaring into

a swishing, sighing of brocade

and lace. up and down,

back again. sometimes I yell

at golden angels, arms always ready

to light my path. “vous pourrez vous

détendre ! reste ! arrêter! I can’t

choose le salon de la guerre ou salon

de la paix. restless kid

slippers between the sighs

of my whispered muttering.

les évents toujours amplifie…

I gnaw at my memories

twists my hands like those famous

words they put in my mouth.

they taste like resuscitated

jerked beef and seven day stale

baguette. not cake. jamais gâteau.

never again. but no. mais non,

mais non, jamais gâteau

2.

pour être certains. a web pulses

from the angel's arms. trail of light.

the Swedish chef makes Americans tears

Bork! Bork! Bork! Ha! Ha! Ha!

on youtube. Dude, I'm dying!

quoi? Lena, qu'est-ce que vous avez dit ?

Non! No you did not say,

vous n'avez pas dir

puur effreecun vumee! dun’t knoo

vhet zeey vunt. um de hur de hur de hur.

soorely a poossy is mure-a impurtunt thun cleun veter,

Perheps sumetheeng tu groo. herfest

meel und seed. bork bork bork!

a releeeble-a cuukeeng defeece- a,

tu serfe-a zee cheeldree’s stretcheeng muooths

egeeen und egeeen, zeey esk fur seed und coos

nefer zeeur poosseees. um gesh dee bork, bork!

thuse-a deleececies. um gesh dee bork, bork!

ve-a knoo vhet tu du. this is a statement.

a cake should always be sliced.

there will always be screaming and crying.

art shuoold elveys be-a prufuceteefe-a.

bork! bork bork!

foolish. pas drôle ape!

3.

le nord ne peut jamais apporter la paix.

tellement stupide! Hear me? Madame

des la Suède m’entendre étouffement

sur mes propres mots? my head!

j'ai perdu ma tête. vous ne vous

en souvenez pas mon bouge encore les lèvres

dans un rough panier en osier?

a wicker basket! my lips still moving.

my crimson neck pumping blood

no different than a slaughtered cow.

the cheering crowds. this gallery

haunted. mirrors and my shadow

divided by sunlit cells. the stupid angels

refuse to put down their arms

so stupid! vous ignorant chatte

d'une vache. does no one remember?

4.

et vous Madame Envie D’être Première Dame

des Amerique, si votre husband est un dumbass,

vous ne devez pas être à ses côtés.

la liberté ! l’égalité! sonorité! a fragile

monster ratatiné et de sucer les plâtres sur ma mort.

votre pays aurait dû être mon l'avortement.

my swallowed words could have rooted

la révolution bâtard né de mon sein.

I could have put a pillow over your head

alors que vous avez dormi dans votre enfance

si j'ai eu tout enfermés, et j'ai écouté.

just shut up and listen. tar flaring on the torches.

people in the streets. sick and hungry.

malades et affamés est votre âme!

mais non! mais non! mères bourgeoises

et démunies sont pas comme vous!

jamais! never! to hope for nobility

ce n'est pas vrai pour vous.

You eater of bon bons, avant le salon de beauté

mais après gymnase, profiter d'une séance

de massage, email the menu to the caterer,

dispatch the priority list to the cleaning crew,

aller faire du shopping et de la pratique

le kama sutra avec le garçon de piscine pour vous

satisfaire suite carte de crédit privilèges.

Vous ne parlez pas pour les femmes.

watch tour pretty little head. So full of illusions

like this hall of mirrors. fiats attention à votre tête.

5.

sortir ridicule les femmes! je suis

malade et je dois balayer

ces étages avec mon raffinement.

tell the angels to get busy with something else

than this pretense of eternal light. the chanting

torches. shoes drumming the pavement.

the angels must put down their arms

or surely I will lose my head again.

vous perdrez que vous dirigez. écoutez!

listen! shut up! ferme votre cuntish bouche.

repent or lose you head again and again

swallowing your words for eternity

jamais gâteau. jamais!

jamais! je suis finis.


NOTE: This poem came from reading this article and folds in some recent thoughts I'd been having about Ann Romney. http://www.theweek.co.uk/europe/46363/race-row-swedish-minister-cuts-cake-shaped-african-woman

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thin Envelope

could

spew

violet

vitriol

heavy

on cadmium. slap


eggshell

walls.

nail-gun

visions.

crush

oats.

sew sequins to discord


dresses.

take

arms,

legs,

torso,

head,

name; caress mannequins with


my chainsaw; sing

myself a lullaby;

thumb to tongue suckling;

hug my favorite plushy;

under crimson bankie

drift cozy off to sleep.

19 Days, 12 Months A Year

(thank you Arizona Women's Health & Safety Act)


Let it be hereby known.

given that every contraceptive device

~ including abstinence ~ has

a scientifically studied failure rate;


and if the age of a fetus

Is defined from two weeks

prior to conception; therefore

every woman with PMS should be treated


as if she were pregnant. the all important

unborn child must be lovingly protected

and accommodated until its existence

is otherwise definitively proven


imaginary. ice cream, candy bars,

chocolate covered tacos,

palak paneer with pad thai on top, grape

Jelly ham and tofu sandwiches must be retrieved


regardless of the absurd nature or time

of the request. be warned midnight, 3AM or 10:00

are now acceptable and legitimate times to request

said fetal supportive requirements regardless of


whether the partner must leave work;

turn off the superbowl; pause a video game,

or leave Hooters during boys night out. failure

to do so can result in charges of child endangerment.


furthermore, let it be known that:

feet, back and shoulders must be rubbed

on command. Also the perineum

without lust, arousal or


demands of a sexual nature. surliness and weepiness

are to be greeted with supportive, loving words.

sudden urges to clean and organize the entire house

are to be greeted with an I can do attitude combined


with a convincingly firm assertion stated

exactly in this manner: “No, no. I can do it.

Put your feet up, relax and direct.

We might just have to worry about junior.”


once a month all year long. until

the moon blesses her body red; the man kneels

weeping praise songs of gratitude to her benevolent

fecund celestial swollen magnificence and joyfully

makes tea, delivers heating pads and ibuprophin

because 5 days is less than 9 months;

he vows to march on the legislature

chanting about rights.

Out To Sunday Brunch

counter

strewn with pots and pans.

steel

wool rusted and blunt knives

laughing.

sponges taunt every last dirty dish.

sigh,

who will cook the sun for breakfast?

Birdsong

does not sleep in

Saturdays. loud

as a whore’s wet

rose lips. never abstains


from worming

into sluggish dream

soil. the sun,

a reckoning with sin.

Haiku 2

calendars color

skin. blushing mango. green then

ripe sunset lessons

Haiku

clean sheet ritual

shed rind gives flesh lips and tongue

teeth. tangerine moon

“Beautiful!”

I am not.

except

any moment paused


for a black nailed

man who smells of old

urine, sitting


concrete.

regrets knotted.

in his beard.


a shared sandwich

remains

the crumb’s


story. in my hands,

an hourglass

ready to turn.

Ephebe’s Quest #1

For Brian Springer

1. Fire - Before The Queen’s Fete


movie set sunshine sweats me worse than

that august noon I rode into the desert.

acrobatic medulla oblongata thrust

every urgent elemental rhythm to


cant my temporary flesh

to the scorpions and dung beetles.

even the snakes smell my life

and keep their venom to themselves.


on top of a dune, I watched wind waves

mirage the sand into an evaporating river

of angels abandoning their rippled lives

for a promise. soon I will be


glass. see. the first test ~

stay. surround my deep limbic system

like a shell fortifies the quivering fragile

yolk; coax my mule muscles to run; take off

my jeweled sandals; throw basil on the floor to free

the shrieking spectres ripping the draperies


on my memory. the script

is not a dog chasing its tail. every time

the tale is thrown, it fetches with

simple enthusiasm. adds slobber

or teeth marks. renews. the heart

will be shot in five. I must swallow

this version. smile. when boiled,


this hyperborean black ink

reduces to blood. I am told

freshen up for dinner; that animated

mannequin is the queen; I am

her every loving son and champion.

lies. gritty and shimmering,

every desert secrets the true


heart. remember childish games.

after hide always comes seek.

Ephebe's Quest #2

2. Water - Out Of The False Queen’s Reach

wet dark tangle of trees dripping

moss and vines. stagnant water.

mired and sinking in mud

this swamp does not want me

to move forward, I relieve these supple

boots of my feet. mourning the charade

of a second skin, my feet swell.

this place is the devil. tracking

hoofprints in the mud. I can see


nothing more sinister than a grazing

goat, mud slumbering sow, piglets yanking

swollen teats, lowing calf begging milk

to fill the spaces between rib

bones, dirt scratching chickens, swinging

dead gator. ignore me. from a barren tree’s water


twisted limbs, there is no wind forcing

colored glass incantations. bind me. chant,

there is no just passing through


here. in the splintered doorway

of a worn clapboard house with its matching

toothless old woman. black beaded eyes on my bare

feet, matted hair, torn refinement taking

inventory. detached and calculated as my mother

always did. my skin twitches like an army of ants

has invaded. and retreats as her sturdy clawed

hand like a broom pushing me towards

the steps. her skin a myrrh scented map


marked by each surveilled odyssey. lines

end in cicatrix or interrupted by freckle

or mole. she knows the hunt. the vessel failing,

falling or filled like those pious bottles remember

pouring out huzzah! content now to plink


their prayers. she kisses

both cheeks. gently lifts my eyelids

whispers at the iris. blows the whites

ignores the pupil. presses my chin down to examine

my tongue, she clucks disapprovingly.

holds my sword hand open,

yellow nail traces the palm.

her voice scratches my ear drums,


bones have no flesh

cards are just

paper flapping. lips

insist, return.

or inter spirit.

flesh is free.

turn back. I


move backwards. swift

as a water moccasin, she slides in front of me.

pinches dirt into parchment, squeezes out one tear,

spits, sprinkles bitter herbs, then folds, turns it

each time the crease facing her.

packet to pocket. remember

anyone can rip the soul out

of a body. few can return it.


and then I am running and tripping

over Mangrove roots. a jabiru startles

screeching to the sky. what that

old woman said, what that old woman

is what that old woman said.

Ephebe’s Quest #3

(This is the reason I haven't been posting. I can't finish this section.)

3. Air - Hunting For The Queen


finally, leaves make lace of light, thinning

trees reveal corpulent clouds purposeful

as a trundling chancellor delivering sour advice

above a bright alfalfa field like a ballroom

with swaying crepe paper poppies, garish sunflowers,

purple thistles prickling solidarity, fragile white cosmos

quiver as lazy Painted Ladies push proboscis deep tasting

their nectar, the humming muscles of a doe

relax. I have no bow. I am hungry.

my filthy skin itches more than that churning

organ. entranced. to see the entire sun!


damp wicks away as I walk. my clothes

stiffen. grass prickles. the dew renews, I kneel.

taste the fresh. beneath

relief, my mother scratches my

hippocampus like swallowing a diamond.

waiting for it to pass without tearing

and leaking, oozing detritus and freeing

that hot pressed sparkling precious bone

to stop my heart. I am being


watched. sunlight on a telescope lens reveals

a blind in the tree line. a dainty verdigris cooper castle

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dear Anonymous | This Is Not A Poem

(I interrupt my NaPoWriMo flow with this important request to the universe.)

my son, he looks

like some of you. has crackling

synapses quick with connections

like Signac painted Felix Feneon.

an orchid against a backdrop

70 years too early. dots

most of us disregard. or wllfull

disregard rhythm With Beats And

Angles, Tones and Tints.


You can hear

the binary pattering

of angel bytes.

and bits mumuring hush.

shhh, shades that color

the truth with gesso.

show me how light

slips through and vibrant

pigments can not be subdued


I know you can see me,

that walk free murderer, and

understand what to do. my son

looks like Trayvon Martin,

too. I believe in justice.

one of the many

who loves you.

NOTE: George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin has put up a website asking for donations. In his words, "any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment." Yesterday, his site crashed because the servers couldn't handle the hits after MSNBC reported the story. Trayvon Martin was an unarmed 17 year old African American boy returning home form a convienance store.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ephebe’s Quest #4

4. Earth ~ Rescuing The Queen

arrive ~ with worn soles, dusty homespun

frayed ecru, full of holes and dagger

lost ~ at the stone fortress she greets

me at the thick nail

studded, iron bar door. blue

and green tapestries adorn

her paper doll body. fingers play

her thigh allegro con dolore. eyes child

wide with secrets. no tell,


no tell, just read my pupil.

follow the optic nerve to the moving

picture library of arbitrary flash

backs burning. longer.

better than Un Chien Andalou,

catalog worse than the razor calmly

slicing the eye; an ant holes in wounded

palm; the mouth wiped away

by a the back of a hand;

waist deep in sand, bodies buried

look toward the tide. then leave her

organized, safe. once you’ve seen the

flickering; heard the slapping scream

soundtrack of a silent movie in your head.

she is safer here in the cold stone fortress.


when the turquoise limousine strains

up the switch back mountain road.

the stiff spine woman in black jerkily gets out.

ignore the fish wire strings when she beckons.

the painted smile is real. accept. you owe

her your fealty and honor. she loves

you. raised you once as her very own

in sunshine defiant of shadow.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Starlight Green As Tombstones

leave no footprints on the stone

sill or door jam fingerprints.

pass through the ivy

covered stucco house,

wisteria burdened garden

gate ajar, for safe passage

entreat the raspberry

brambles. down

the hill. flesh releases


crushed thyme’s salivating

promise to feast. on

muscles and sinew. push

and press; inhale the sage

scented scythe moon,

do not stop for poppy reminders

of sunrise. stroke the lock of hair

in your rough spun linen pocket.

finger the cutting you took from her

slumbering fancy. to hold me. red clay


dust your feet on the hunter’s track;

dandelion your bitter tongue to clean

your slow heart; run through the oak,

birch and evergreens. if

the hollies are berried, the sexes are

content. cut a sprig of rosemary. slip

behind. the pyramid mausoleum, dash

across the ribbon called creek to the squat

round stone tomb. through the iron ring

window, steal a vision

of the virgin still beneath the black rose

shroud on hard stone, under silken robe.


three times round the stone, identical

sets of prints like dried blood chant

about narrow slender feet dancing

before she went inside and laid down.


to enter, place your feet on her dusty remains.

the other way walk. imprint your wet terra cotta

mud tracks on her remnants three times round. until the latch

clicks. hinges sigh. door creaks

open. approach the stiff. knife ready

to sacrifice yourself, cut your own.

with rosemary, braid the lock to yours.

peer through her outer ear maze,


across the eardrum tautly stretched,

pass the ever ready hammer,

to see her mind. take the silver cross from her

upturned right hand. the cowrie shell

from under her left

palm. kiss the twisted union

of your drama. place it between her breasts.

wait. her eyelids may shiver. hands

spasm struggle to clench the token.

leave her in starlight green as tombstones,


I will. now that you are bound. who I was crumbles

as I rise. notice the comets in my eyes .


NOTE: This is a revision. And whilst we are supposed to write a new poem everyday, I figured this fit the spirit of NaPoRiMo, in that I devote such little time to making hard, tough, calculated edits on my poems. I tend to write, re-write, re-write again and then leave my poems for dead in the graveyard of my hard drive. So, from time to time this month, I shall resurrect a few of the elusive ones which always seem to get away from me and yet simultaneously haunt me.