Monday, December 30, 2013

Snapshot Summer (A Poem)

The stars unhinge themselves
A thousand candelabras,
Celestial explosion across
City swimming pools
And the love-struck
Irises of June,
Girls in their upturned toes,
The time of year when
Trees become me,
Quick as a cipher
In my jeans and books.
Manifesto of fiction,
I climb behind the eyes
Of Ginsberg and Poe,
A grinning has-been
Of the hall closet
Where I sew my girlhood
Into the frilly shelf,
A place of purity
Where baby dreams once slept,
Back before the sins
Of summer dipped
My dainty hands into
What it was to be
A woman well-read,
A woman that could stand
Before a crowd of thirty,
Unashamed the make-believe
Breast exam, the twenty minute speech,
Psychosis and cancer,
Nor the night before,
Books on the floor,
So many strange grasps
From a strange girl,
Her touch a perfect defection
Of my then-Christian fingers,
Her boyish curls
For treading fingers,

A perfect way to drown.

Twenty Spent (A Poem)

At twenty I found it strange
The way college kids
Would touch each other,
Each eye roll and busy
Intersection kiss
Meaningless advances
In vintage movie theatres,
Over stale popcorn
And self-spiked soda,
As if any mere act
Or aliveness or vitality
Were a forced nerve-strum
To stroke the sleeping
Dreams of sixteen.
As for me, I preferred
The less dramatic approach,
I’d hide the raccoon-shadows
Of my study-weary eyes
Behind book stacks,
Fiction and poetry,
All my early Wednesdays
A library maze of
Rolling footstools and
The heart of me that wound
The beat of itself against
A wire-cage of words,
And the cool, dark hands
Of a South American boy,
His tales of burning villages
And doctoral degrees,
Kissing the inner eye
Of my own dreams,
Teaching me to persevere
Against the set-backs,
The main stream.
His voice a black jet
That flew the isles of my mind,
A carry-weight of my twenties,
The exit sign of an excile,
The kiss that swam

A fishbowl of his new America.

**Written for a prompt at MindLoveMisery.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Soup (A Poem)

She cooks for me,
An anonymous,
Bird in a blanket,
Veil of a napkin
Across the shaking knees
Of my winter shiver,
Embroidered initials
Of a man we neither know,
Soft thread of a no-name,
I strum the old ghosts
Of their soup stones
The mummified remains
Of their wilted silver,
a second hand silence
pushes against
taut knuckles
and full cheeks
as if this unknown
were whispering
into the silence
of our woodstove kitchen:
how to fold
their kitchen linen
into quarters,
how to trim
the trees and holly,
how to roast potatoes
and sauté onions
as if my father
were not a cook,
my grandmother never born.
These are the secrets
I’ve already been told,
Of the menial and plain
I have previously
Though I still listen
Like the child I was,
Soup on my chin,
Kitchen China falling
Through my eyes and fingers
Like see-through prisms,
A fine crystal,
The eight reflections
Of all my inner children,
Always watching, ever listening.