Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Speaking to the Stars

On the brightest
Of moonlit nights
While every other lost soul
Sleeps like a stone slab,
Hands folded across chest
Like the death grasp
Of a concrete pigeon,
I keep company with the stars.
I imagine each one
Dancing across the lifeboat
Of an aurora cloud,
Ghostly specters
Who gather my sins and secrets
In their slick-backed pockets,
The whites of their pointed heads
Connecting sacred, ancient holograms
That glow like spirit orbs,
Silently dripping into the atmosphere
All the words yet unwritten.
And stupified of the grandiosity,
I catch them with the ‘awe’
Of my open mouth.

Written for Magpie Tales.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"How Love Is"

This is how love is…

One is misunderstood,
Another walks into the vast sparkle
Of a Van Gogh night.
Street lights illuminate
The city bridge and high-rise buildings,
A concrete map constructed
Of midnight black and chip-block.

Somewhere in a field beyond
The lonesome road, another stray soul
Roams the green fields,
A pale piece of ivory moving with the wind.
And beyond the pavement and
A crowd of trees, their leaves
Whispering softly in a warm breeze,
Roars a bitter sea,
It slides amongst the coast
And the darkened underwater coves
Like a blue silhouette of the finest ink.

And somewhere someone
I don’t know is speaking
Into the hollow neck of a tall glass,
Gazing out their window
Into the landscape of an alleyway.
But this does not matter.

What matters is
It is midnight,
And it has been a long time
Since I gathered the ocean in my hands,
Felt the wing-beats
Of pelicans and seagulls
Flash their quick breeze past me.

And somewhere far away
Center-piece in a square
Of yellow window-light
Someone is dancing alone.

Written for a prompt at Magpie Tales and shared at Toads open link.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The 'Goodbye' Girl

Maybe life is about learning to live with disappointments, but miles behind me there’s still a place in the sand where we stood together.  I remember a snow-globe horizon, the chill air of a condo balcony that spun behind us in an early evening full of poker chips, chocolate doughnuts and cheap wine.  Then my heart, a heavy paper-weight I adorned in black lace, fishnet legs that found me walking in mirrored shadows past the corners where your heart slept soundly, at peace with the doubt of your mother swinging the door shut on my dreams.

Until then I’d never thought of love as a luxury.  Nightfall full with the waves of an angry shore dancing in the dreams of my illusions, botanical sweet and draped across my shoulders like a funeral shawl.  I should have known something was falling apart.  You silently spelled it in the limp of your hands, the salt of your kiss that burned my lower lip, the glassy look that told me you were already seeing something past me. 

I was too proud to allow you to say the words, and I left you with the red fiery of a midnight flight. 
I prowled the cold sidewalks of neighborhood alleyways that winter, the frozen soles of my shoes clanging against icy concrete, crushing whatever was left of you like the clinging weeds of a dead root.

I heard you married her soon-after, some grotesquely thin girl who danced into your night like a bright light, rang the bells of your ears in ways I never could.  Your silly play-thing, the gray girl next door.  As obedient and mediocre as a small-town Sunday paper.  Perhaps she indulged you in the double standards I swore against.  Maybe her nights were empty jars she was more than happy to fill your whims with.  

She’s just a tasteless dish with your marks on her skin but there’s a dusty shelf in my memory where I caged your heart.  And I bet she'd be sad to know that some nights I still hear it beating for me like a phantom limb. 

Written for a prompt at Red Wolf Poems.   
I think I used 24 of these words...

Monday, August 11, 2014

checking in

Well guys my net is down yet again.  So if I owe you a reading or comment it will be delayed.  I'm sorry.   I appreciate all your beautiful comments on my last poem.  Hopefully I will be back soon :(

Saturday, August 9, 2014

"Garden Beans"

“The pressure cooker,”
My grandmother would call
Her conversation from the kitchen,
So we’d gather around the table
To finish breaking and stringing.
My father would turn the 5 o’clock newscast
Down to a mumbling monologue
But still the tragic stories and relays
Of hometown miracles
Would linger about the table,
Spiraling their white noise
Between the pop of a knuckle,
the spine-crack of a bean seed.
Drifting amongst the salty sweet aroma
Of simmering ham-hocks,
A sharp clang of soap dishes
To shatter the funeral parlor quiet,
Reminding us we were still awake.

Twenty-some odd years later,
Sometime after adolescent fears of death,
While drinking wine and looking out
The window of a busy restaurant
I realize how much
the comforting words of my uncle
Once meant as he hoed the garden
In the brittle heat-wave of some long-gone summer,
How familiar the sound of my father
Slicing cucumber, the sizzle of his frying zucinni,
My mother measuring milk and pouring drinks,
And the prattling rattle of my sister setting the table;
history lost to an old clock,
The years of time melting it’s metal innards.
But the moment still lives,
Voices long-dead still immortalized
In the smell of fresh string-beans,
A kitchen bustling with the drone
Of table-conversation and the
winking tinkle of my empty wine glass.

I gently twirl the stem
And think of the good old days,
Back when time didn’t scare me,
When people whom I loved had not yet
Been stolen from the dinner table of my memory.
I tip the waitress and walk
Into the bright of daylight,
At once in love with the crazy riff-raff of traffic,
The chipping brick of a historical town
I sometimes loathe like a misery tick.
The air of my world renewed,
Life clarified more clearly,
The bones of my flesh rejuvenated
In a way no wine ever could.
I catch a glimpse of my reflection
In a consignment shop window,
At once in love with my body,
The warm glow of it’s mortal flesh,
Right down to the crumbs
At the corners of my mouth,
The coffee-stain on my shirt collar.
I rejoice in the bleeding skin
Of a broken nail from the morning dishes
And the breaking, beating heart of me
that still lives to commit
to an old memory.

Written for Red Wolf Poems and Poetry Jam.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Girl in the Coffee Shop (Prose)

She always had an appetite for coffee, house blend was her favorite.  A morning cup meant bliss but, really, she’d drink it all day long.  She would enter every café she passed, flamboyantly flashing her silver rings and the jangly doo-dads of her bracelets.  She loved the sound of the percolator, a whistling teapot, liquid creamer dripping.  In fact, that’s where she met him, at the Busy Bee café.  He ordered a double-shot mocha latte and she thought the Gods must be sending her a signal.

During their first date she was a jumbled ball of nerves, unsure if she should disclose that some nights she felt like a reincarnated Janis Joplin dancing before her bedroom mirror.  But the sun set early during their dinner, the rare blood moon spreading pink clouds like blooming, effervescent flowers across the sky.  Pink was her favorite color, and so she felt that was a good omen.  She quickly fell in love and, he, into her bed.

It was summer break, ten days full of two bodies spilling their chemistry into the sheets of her bed, the old couch from her first semester in college, the shag carpet that absorbed her tears when on the tenth day his call never came.  She was okay for a few hours, wringing her hands and smoking cheap cigarettes (usually she didn’t smoke at all).  But soon her irritation with the front door grew as she waited for the 9pm knock that never came.

In a fevered tantrum of grief and shame, she busted the colorful coffee mug he gave her, save for the one lone point of porcelain, the shard she used to scrape his face from a polaroid picture of them together.  The only picture she had of them together, actually.  And in a pitiful fury of revenge, she flushed the bitter beans of his favorite Columbian coffee down the toilet.  After that she spent long days sleeping and took up baking.  She learned to make fruit loaf, yeast bread, sweet buns and sour dough, though she rarely ate anything she made.  Her loaves of fresh bread became sick gifts she gave to friends and neighbors.  She lost so much weight that her favorite sweater dress hang limp at the elbows. 

Desperate for caffeine, she started making tea.  She preferred it unsweetened so the tang of herb and tree leaves would tingle atop her tongue for hours.  Until one evening in October she ventured into a bookstore, surprised to see a homely café nestled into the far corner.   She couldn’t remember the last time she drank anything besides chamomile tea, so she quickly bought the current issue of Poetry magazine and ordered a Hazel Nut espresso.  As she savored the bittersweet nectar and words of poets by names she’d never heard of, she felt more like herself than she had since…him.

Now every evening you can find her there, in her long necklaces made with charms and hemp, reading poetry and having coffee.  Her favorite seat is in the back right-hand corner so she can choose to lose herself in a book, or observe the hipster patrons engage in conversations about new age rigmarole and the slow demise of pop culture.  Every day she orders something different…Vanilla Bean Latte, Macchiato, even black coffee.  But she never drinks Mocha anymore.

Written for a wordle prompt at Sunday Whirl and shared at Toads open link.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Cafe In A Strange City"

Chestnuts and yogurt
With a side of black coffee,
Street-lights and high-rise windows
Winking like stranded supernovas,
Our grand view of a foreign city,
Classy bus boys dressed in
Peacock-colored shirts
That blur into the atmosphere
Like a vintage tie-dye shirt,
Almost invisible except for the
Rolling-tongue baritone of their voices
Across a room dense of too-crowded tables,
The lonely blues of a saxophone
Sucking the air from your lungs
Like a monsoon in a garden gutter,
Addled, the words of your conversation
With me shed their meaning as swiftly
As a poppy-seed in a snowcloud.
I can tell you are always thinking of her
When you swallow your scotch on the rocks
Just a little too quickly,
Your pale-spidered fingers desperately
Scraping against my wrists and palms
Like dead tree branches
While silly, young hosts chirp
Like a flock of morning birds
In their skirts and heels, except
It is not morning anymore
And my head is starting to ache
From the energy it takes not touch you.
The starving artist waiters flutter
Past me, pockets full of straws and wishes,
Their trills and words only as beatnik
As they’d like to think,
Dropping names and taking favors,
They pillage for tips at the table behind me,
Their reflection shining at me from
Your pupils like a still life photo I’d like to shred.

Written for a prompt at Red Wolf Poems.

"Seashells on the Seashore" Digital Photo Manipulation Artwork

Created/Collaged from various free internet resources.

Made for an art challenge at Three Muses.  Challenge Word: Seashells