Saturday, July 31, 2010

Verse: untitled

once
upon us

time began
to tell a story

in an enormous
repulsive language

that our secrets
somehow defy

they remain pure
they remain ours.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Verse: exhausted bliss

(today's poem draws on suggestions from @seaempire & @tsaphanbabe)

who are you
when no one
is watching

do you alter
your course
or are you constant

i would not change
those who would not
change themselves

they tend
to resent
such intrusions

yet i change
when you
are not here

i am silent
restive and plagued
with doubt

and i
blame you
for that

because you
are not here
to hear it

time
tells me
to be patient

even as it
murders each moment
mercilessly

but i
make a resolution
instead

that next time
when you are here
i will be more attentive

i will catch
exhausted bliss falling
from your lips

and sew it
into a song
for you

and i
will walk
in your shadow

singing it
when i am
a memory

singing it
when i am
alone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Verse: Intermission

(Unwittingly inspired by @Miracles4Ring14)

at night
when everything
is peaceful

i let
my wonder
wander cautiously

you never know
what you will
encounter

when the stars
enrobed in onyx
thirst for shelter

the moon
is solicitous
of your company

and silence
is a secret language
of longing

that is
pure and impossible
to master

and incapable
of calling you
by your name.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Verse: intruder

somewhere
far from the sky
far from
tiny satellites
that yearn
to illuminate you

i approach
hesitantly
bearing only
a kiss
to decorate
your warm lips

for they
are the crucible
for the coup
that is yet
to come.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Verse: i lose my heart

i lose
my heart
to you
every day
in increments

this piece
has burrowed
deep into
your eyes

that one
resides in
your smile

this one
is nestled
in the
small of
your back

and this
piece goes
with you
when you
leave here
for work

and when
there are
no more
pieces left

then i
will be
your dream
your ghost

then i
will be
gone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Verse: Bird's song

(for @bird42)

this is
a letter
to sleep

a memoir
recounting
late nights

when 3 a.m.
was just
a taxi home

or one more
bottle of wine
before bed

and you
deep and filled
with dreams

would penetrate
all of my
struggling senses

lingering
with me
well past dawn

those sweet
nights and
generous mornings gone

it was
not you
who left

i gave
you to
my babies

and 3 a.m.
became a time
of negotiation

a time
to navigate
an uneasy truce

between you
and them
each night

until
they learned
to trust you

in that stark
dark crucible
a bond was formed

now i marvel
at how they
sleep deep

yet they
never submit
for long

i think
they grow
tired of you

so soon
3 a.m. will be watch
and wait

to make sure
they get home
safe

but if
you ever pass
by here

and you see
the light
is on

come in
i will pour
the wine

and we
can catch up
or reminisce

about the nights
when i wrapped myself
in your coat

and slept
in your arms
until noon.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Verse: soft morning

sunday arrives
once more
without fanfare

the cool morning air
is not so bold
to knock at our door

it waits
instead for us
to come outside

where everything
is vague
and hasty as a sketch

so we
fill in
missing details

adding dog walkers
with a brisk
purposeful stride

crows cackling
at some joke
unknown to us

drowsy oaks and elms
stirred from
their slumbers

by jubilant hymns
and the chatter
of occasional cars

and clouds that drool
at the scent of
bacon and eggs

the sun
is content
to sleep in today

and i have
lost my voice
to the rain.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Verse: Raspberries

in the morning
i eat raspberries
purchased from
the grocery store

succulent
and joyous
they always leave me
wanting more

my mouth
begins to water
before they even
touch my tongue

packed and shipped
from california
i used to pick them
when i was young

ruby red
and dimpled
i place a handful
in a bowl

like a sunday
kind of loving
it is best to
take this slow

Friday, July 23, 2010

Verse: Because

i received
no instructions

there is no reason
for this offering

that i make
every day

it is just
something i do

and will
continue to

even now
in this

my time
of famine

i beg
of you please

let me
feed you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Verse: addicts

it is
of no consequence
who we give
ourselves to

the light
portrays us
as ghosts
when we surrender

we lose everything
in that instance
even our fingerprints
deny us

only the sound
of our voices
restores us to
our identities

and we
look up
to see
what it presages

just as
our history
rises to swallow us
from below.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Verse: Next

how strange
this is

i close
my eyes

but our shadows
are still dancing

and your mouth
is pressed against mine

you animate me
with each breath

and i
surrender my fear

and i
learn how
to survive.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Verse: summary

the language
of love
is under siege

be patient
we will transform
the reality together

even as
our breath
overtakes us

one by one
like waves
assail the shore

revealing the things
that we recklessly
abandoned

in the
invisible republic
of night

see how
they approach us
with caution
now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Verse: slip

broken
by your song
i sighed

all the secrets
i carry
are not mine

but they fed me
in a time
of famine

and all i ask
is that you take them
from me

and
in doing so
make me yours.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Verse: 5:45 p.m.

i saunter
along chebucto
passing bronze boys
shirtless, glistening

a girl
on a trampoline
briefly escapes
gravity

sweltering branches
laden with leaves
grateful for the breeze
but too exhausted to move

sprinklers spit
tiny sparks that sizzle
as they are swallowed
by the sun

and the air
has caramelized
a perfect medley of sugar,
tomato, vinegar and spices

so sweet
i yearn
for just
one taste

but i
content myself
with frozen
sugar water

winter
never seemed
so far away
as now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Verse: 1:18 a.m.

muted gold
and hazy silver

the lights
hover, bleary eyed

barely noticing
passing cars

tiptoeing
around the corners

because you never know
who might be there

looking for
their shadow

wandering
into the night

calling
your name.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Verse: goodbyes

(based on a true story...)

in the morning
when you depart

we say goodbye
blowing kisses

i reach out
to catch them

slip them
in my pocket

so soft
and warm

just one
small gesture

to say my love
leaves with you

when you go
just as yours remains

with me
always.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Verse: untitled

(at the last minute, this became a poem for @feckedyfecker, through a crucial but minor addition. Offered in the hope someone somewhere thinks similarly of her. And thanks to @kattcalls, who really should be writing these herself...)

love
sleeps here

locked in
an embrace

a dream
lights up your face

your eyelashes
flutter

like the wings
of a blackbird

your skin
as delicate as silk

and i
watch you

reluctant
to break the silence

too much in awe
of it
to say a word.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Verse: wordless

first
i exhausted
the sky

tucked it
in behind
some clouds

i turned down
the tides
revealing the shore

the delicate
filigree
of the foam

cold
and wet
on my fingers

and then
i lay down
next to you

and sang
until you fell
asleep

and i
let my words
rest here

nestled
in my notebook
they waited

for silence
to tell me
what's next.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Verse: Rehearsals for retirement

(the title is stolen from Phil Ochs.)

it's time
for change

time to find
the way

time to let go
of the ten thousand things

that i
cling to

how will i
know the world

if i am
not in it

i am
an empty vessel

every day
filled to the brim

until i
spill over

and start
again

until
the cracks appear

what is there
that we cannot break

physically
metaphorically

hearts
tissue and bone

everything
breaks eventually

even you
and me

and you
know me better

than I know
myself

none of this
is new

i'm just
reprising

every day
writing

a rehearsal
for retirement

and every time
wanting it

to be perfect
it could be the last one

that's the thing
who knows

but this
you should know

if i never
say goodbye

i've left so much
behind for you

there's evidence
everywhere

to discover me
anew

and if
by chance

we do not
have occasion

to say
goodbye

i'm glad i met you
on the way.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Verse: water

water gives
and does not
starve

it flows
where we
do not know

shifting
winding
frozen

yet always
essentially
the same

you and i
empty ourselves
and yet

we maintain
our forms, distances
and differences

even after
the dream
of sitting

and forgetting
that which was
our given names

we negotiate
our way
with hesitation

to places
we have never
been before

and the water
it will
nourish us

it will
take us
there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

verse: night shift

(Today's poem is by request for @eyeseeyouarein. I asked her for a word, theme or phrase. She gave me several words. And this is the result. Musically, I was inspired by Scott Walker, and Night Time, an Alex Chilton song, in case you want to set the mood.)

at night
silences are
temporary, uneasy
truces broken
by cries

here among
the dead
the dying
and those
who plead
for mercy

the steady
slow drip
that anesthetizes
the pain
that touch
alone could
never dispel

here where
machines breathe
and pulse
writing lines
that spike
then plunge
and level
stretching out
long past
life itself

here where
no thing
is assured
and all
are vulnerable
i am
ever vigilant

a bride
in white
i give
my hand
to everyone
and anyone
in sickness
and health
as long
as i
shall live

that is
my vow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Verse: Morsel

(based on a dream recounted by @juicymorsel. Apologies for the ending.)

at night
i close
my eyes
and see
the sea
inside me

i hear
it call
my name
asking me
to dive
to follow

but i
hold fast
it is
a long
way down
from here

just imagining
the drop
when gravity
hastens me
to her
terrifies me

and when
i think
i just
might jump
i hear
a voice

a name
i heard
years ago
when i
was nine
not mine

'the bells
they ring
for annie.'
i don't
know what
it means

and suddenly
my ears
are ringing
is it
school bells
church bells

it could
be christmas
it could
be sunday
for all
i know

one moment
of grace
the sea
in me
claims as
her own

just before
i am
revived, restored
to the
waking world.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Verse: Epistle to Her

(so... @imreddy4u asked me to do a poem. As always, I asked for a starter - a word, theme or phrase to work into it. She sent several phrases that are constants in art, particularly love songs. But the fact they are constants does not in any way diminish their power. Or their veracity. So, I worked on it, incorporating some notes I had jotted down from a book on Tao. And then I focused on my muse... m'lady. So, while it is still @imreddy4u's poem, m'lady's spirit is in here. I hope this Epistle is more elegant than didactic. It was probably best that I left out @imreddy4u's musings about why kittens & puppies are cute, but not baby rats...)

how can i
live without you

you may as well
take the music

of the universe
with you when you go

and all the stars
i pin my hopes on

would be just distant
anonymous lights

i would cease
to wonder

how deep
the ocean

how high
the sky

without you
in my life

your love
returned me to love

that expresses itself
to you

in this moment
and every one after

and if i
should lose my form

i remain
calm knowing

you are
my center.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Verse: engulfed

we
who are lovers
love

we
who are stretched
by insatiable gravity

embrace
each other
as always

we
celebrate the pleasures
of the unknown

and
oppose clamor
with our calm

begging
silence for one moment
more

yet
beyond this love
where we live

somewhere
the sun is kissing
the sky

and
i am engraving
your name next to it

with
each and every
breath.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Verse: the secret life

(by request for @mytweecwetlife)

i
in my secret life
i go with strangers

i suppress the urge
to howl, and sigh

at every transgression
i see, real or imagined

and they don't know
they perish in haste and hate

in a single thought
it thrills and repulses me

ii
in my secret life
i dream

of wealth
and ease

that i
am someone else

intricate, elaborate
tableaus unfold daily

in my waking hours
and subconscious

stretching far beyond
the realm of possibility

and ending
when I hear my given name

iii
in my secret life
i find you

the hard thrust
of our hips

betrays the softness
of our flesh

and our voices
hide in whispers

far from the prying, public noise
of the world outside.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

verse: Cicadas

(After reading my Autumn poem, novelist @KMWeiland wondered if I could do a summer poem. I asked what to include, and she gave me a list of ingredients. Though some of are not local, I did my best to incorporate them all. Except meadowlarks. I never said I was a good chef.)

walking home
this evening

everything feels
impossibly close

it's like that line
from that old movie

this the anvil
of heaven

the cottonwood
aglow like fireworks

and even the sun
is moving slow

inching to the horizon so
it doesn't break a sweat

and lingering there
as the clouds roll in

waiting for
the cicadas

and the celebration
yet to begin

intoxicated
by the warm air

their muscles
contract, relax

in a symphony of castanets
and fingerclicks

and the thunderheads
respond in kind

tears of joy
pool around my sandals

and my toes
quench their thirst

grateful for
this small blessing

the dog days
are upon us.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Verse: Tammy's Song

i was born
a child
of snow

and i went
as far west
as you can go

sought out
the sun to tattoo
my skin

so winter
could not
find me again

the snow
in my veins
became sand and sea

warm rains that
dissipate in an instant
baptized me

from the peak
of Pu Ľu Kukui
to the shores of La Perouse

home is not
where you come from
but the place you choose

others
will make this pilgrimage
and they will not stay

they merely hear
the trade winds
but i am in their sway.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Verse: camperdown elm

beneath the bower
the canopy of branches
that bend like arms
and tangle like serpents
in a self embrace
i count the strands of leaves
ribbons of green
like party streamers
that deny the persistent sun
and marvel at how still
the pond water has become
the illusion of nature
slowing down, catching its breath
when it's only me
that is the most amazing magic trick
of all.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Verse: bring the rain

(for @yourjoye)

when you come back
next time
bring the rain

i've forgotten
the lovely sound
of its listless voice

the way that
each drop perishes
in an instant

accumulating
on the window sill
like ash from a cigarette

i love those
lonely moments
the most

when there is
no one else
to tell our dreams to

when the only light
is the tired eyes
of street lamps

peering into
our apartment
from below.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Verse: autumn

(For @GenniferwithaG)

this
is a season
of frivolity

of sand
sun swelter
and short skirts

and though
i do find much
to love

in summer
i prefer
autumn

people say
it is a season
of decay and death

but for me
it is a season
of vibrancy

a season
of bustle
and many returns

return to work
and school
to structured time

to mornings
as crisp as corn flakes
or fresh sheets

to leaves
with lips
of fiery reds

that stretch out
their arms
to fly

and to the harvest
when the earth feeds us
from her soft bosom

before wrapping us
in snow and singing us
to sleep.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Verse: aspirations

(for @EAwrite)

i want
to be
a butterfly

i want
to forget
words that injure

i want
to weave
beautiful illusions

i want
to awaken
into calm

i want
to let go
of many things

i want
to dream
of magics

and i
know that i
want too much

how can i
stay close
to shore

when i have
tasted the water
from mid-stream?