Sunday, January 25, 2015

Girl of the Roadside Stand

She imagines her name is Juliet,
Brown-haired girl of the Spanish plaza,
She wears the sun like a sombrero,
Dancing her beating heels across
The cobblestones of an outdoor café,
Toppling a drunken laugh onto
The splintered wooden tables,
Pock-marked of the pedestrians
Cigarette burns.
She muses the city is a scar.

She spends her mornings
Sewing squares and lacing
Second-hand sequins
Into braided centerpieces for men
By American names of Jack and Sam.
Men of pale skin who love her
On Saturday nights, kissing
The sweat from her caramel neck
As if the odor of her skin
Were some succulent, foreign fruit.
She willingly obliges their frozen drinks
And pricey cabana daiquiris,
Then returns them to their wives
Like spent fortunes.

She vows one day to leave
The fields of dust, the tumbleweeds
And blistering strings
Of the bracelets she makes for
Her overbearing Madre, arthritic wrists
Twisted of ten kids and the
Saltwater back-streets of Cancun.
For now she marries the frozen forms
Of isolated mountains,
The seaside fury of brown toes
And sunburned shoulders.
She tosses a smile towards the sea;
wears the noise of the city
Like a satin slip as she pushes
The color of night across her left breast
Like a bra-strap, mis-sewn.

Written for a 'Postcard Poetry' prompt at Pink.Girl.Ink.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Star Dreamer

I dreamed I dipped
water from the sky,
that the stars were thieves
that stole our illumination.
And in that dream
I sat silently in a tree,
smelling of birch and honey,
eating wild cherries,
uncaring how I'd come
to that perch on this branch,
Satiated of an unnamed sweetness,
I watched as naked women
in long, unruly hair walked
barefoot through dense,
wooded greenery,
holding out their hands
palms up, offering
earth gems of exotic nuts,
vines of grapes draped
across their shoulders and wrists
like summers' finest rubies.

Written from a prompt at Pink.Girl.Ink.

I also invite you to check out the very first issue of Think Pink, an independent ezine for which I put together for Pink.Girl.Ink.  We take submissions for our quarterly magazine if you'd like to check that out, the next one will be published in April.

Friday, January 9, 2015

One, Alone (a blackout poem)

She was
out of the past,
a shadowy woman
still sitting at the table,
pale and tired
she mumbled a greeting
and poured herself
a cup of coffee,
attempted a smile
that did not quite make it
and then put her elbow on the table,
rested her head in her palm.
a gesture to be alone,
always alone
in a crowd of a thousand.
Some people are like that,
the happiest, friendliest people,
other artists.

Written for a prompt at dverse poets.

The Eve of a New Year

Moonless January night,
A cocktail of neon-white possibilities,
The stars sharpen their
Quick-witted progressions
Against a vestibule of
White on black,
A party of silence
Mistaken for sleep.
Somewhere across the avenue,
Two drinks deep into the new year,
The light-hearted laughter
Of a lady’s voice
Blows into the atmosphere,
A haunting, invisible smoke
That sends blackbirds to scurry
From their power-line perches,
A succession of receding wingspans
Face-painting shadows
Across the twilight.

Written from a prompt at Warning The Stars Saturday.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Saturday Afternoons, Royal Theatre" by Michelle Bitting (and my commentary)

April drizzle, a triple espressso
buzzing my nerve cage like trapped bees.
This was my temple, my new religion:
Truffaut, Banuel, Goddard – triumvirate
of cinematic splendor, I'd hocked my choir ring
for the steeple-marquee, the pews of creaking plush
where I could shift my seat back,
sniff the buttered sprigs. This is where
Deneuve descended: luminous manifestacion,
swathed in blue Parisian light –
housewife, whore, she oozed Chanel,
a wild insouciance I worshipped, forgave anything.
This is where I sat with rank thoughts,
my brown calf-length cardigan
buckled around, making me sizzle, a stick of TNT.
Where I dreamed of Monday
and him, two long days away,
my married teacher – tall, shadow-thin,
our trysts and late-day talks
on the back stairs of the art studio
where he let me smoke in my uniform.
Then time off for 'bad behavior' whisking us
to West Hollywood, to galleries and dim cafes,
our knees kissing beneath pink table linen –
did they know how close we were to...?
Hurrying back for carpool – breathless,
quickly, quickly, smoothing the pleated skirt again,
and him telling me about some film,
fresh this weekend at the Royal:
Go in the afternoon, he'd say. Enter when
its day, emerge into night...

I think some days the thing I miss the most is an over-sized pair of sunglasses and the anonymity of a college campus...or a coffee shop cafe...intellectual conversations with strange kids in classes with exotic-sounding names like Film Lit  or Introduction to Greek Literature.  

How could I properly deny myself the night-class love affairs in dim-lit hallways with boys by the name of Chris and Keith...young men who loved me for my skin, the dashing unbroken dreams I breathed to them during 2am phone calls.  

How could a girl so young and impressionable, who'd just (metaphorically) met Bukowski over coffee and a morning stop by the library, not love the erotic touch from a professor who published gutsy pieces of prose in magazines like Ploughshares?  

The first time I read this poem, I was immediately thrown back into that atmosphere...since then it's been a nostalgic read, albeit a favorite one.  These words are a literary sum of my first few years of freedom, the liberation of becoming a woman all my own, the first few years of college when I allowed myself the time to dream and experiment between work and responsibilities and the relationships I worked so hard at yet was so quick to abandon.

I miss the leisurely strolls in art galleries where amateur artwork piqued my curiosity...the writing classes with professors who encouraged me to abandon form and fearlessly write about my life.  I miss the first bitter taste of mocha latte over conversations with an animated screenwriter of twenty-six who told me success would never have anything to do with Hollywood and news magazines.  

I miss the things that made me believe there was something more to life than routine, responsibility, a steady clock ticking behind the tunnel of my right ear...always urging me on and on and on.  I need only read these words by Bitting to know a great film and a stop by the bookstore are leisures long overdue.  Sometimes it just takes a good literary piece to remind you it's time to get back to yourself.