The Glass Cage
It's a lousy photo and the drawing irritates me with its MANY errors/flaws. But, no one is perfect and it may be a while before I can make something better to share. I drew this in 2004. I used a photo of myself for reference, although I bothered with no attempt at capturing a likeness. I toyed about with texture, in this one, to some small degree at least. Since you can only see so much in a little picture of a large drawing, I included a close up of some texture/detail below. I had a hard time holding the camera perfectly still and the shutter was slow, since I skipped the flash, so forgive me if it blurred out just a tad. This was just done in graphite. Not my favorite medium, but cheap.
With emphatic gesture and searing glow,
punctuating your words, surging at each pause
when it meets with your lips, ample cause.
Without addiction, I soon ache for the taste
entranced by its dance with your reveling face.
It burns with delight, as would I in your hands.
The smoke stretches and curls in silver strands.
Smoldering, the blaze towards your mouth ascends
till it relaxes to dust and takes up with the wind.
So barren, there.
It blankly stares.
It blames me, I know,
That it is so bare.
Its impassive expression,
that indictment, is fair.
It's aching empty
Is too heavy to bear.
It’s nakedness howls.
It’s lifelessness glares.
My friend, I can handle
Your absence, I swear.
But I can’t say the same
For your vacant chair.
slaps my eyes
with blank and vain brutality.
to wrack my skull.
Each glaring, colorless
With no depth,
just futile phrases and weightless words.
This is the meal ticket
I sell my sanity for.
This intangible foe,
massive as redwoods
but evasive, fluttering
into wisp-thin sheets
to surround me,
bury me breathing,
beneath these swells
of vile and pointless
(a song for the papercut refugees... my fellow 9-5ers in the cubed-off hell of office work)
It curves generously,
opening wide to offer
its precious bounty.
It’s graceful side, an elegant line
broken by a mist of condensation
Black enough to hide me,
silent as I want my mind to be,
just cool enough to sooth me.
The froth, soft like flannel,
I want to pull sheets of it around me.
It can’t heal my body,
erase my anguish,
or bring anyone back
to drink with me one last time.…
It tastes good.
It softens my mind’s voice
for a little while;
a glassful of pub-chatter
that ferments my whirling thoughts.
Create threads, wires under my skin.
Each one has tangled,
Drawn up my flesh,
Into a constant cringe.
Every trivial folly or past moment’s sin,
Each fault that I still cannot shake,
Hangs from my elbows,
Clings to my heels,
And brings me to tire and to quake.
I strive to evolve, to grow and reach,
While held back by ties and regret.
No ropes bind me,
No one chains me down,
It’s just I who cannot forget.
My religion tells me to forgive myself.
Culture hardly has morals to break.
But, something in me,
Of my own obsessions,
Can never accept a mistake.
Crushed against me
Like a toy store window
To a child's flushed cheek,
With my drumming pulse.
Aches to be
Consumed by fevered crash.
This vacant air,
This wasted space,
My fire and fervor
And in it I am burned alive.
The Winter / Summer Poem, Untitled
Hangs upon the atmosphere,
The air grows weary, defeated.
The wind howls embittered.
The sun has retreated.
But, beneath the crust,
A coup mounts and rages.
I feel the churning fires of insurrection!
The earth’s rumble and conviction
Resonates through my veins.
Bearing the icy lash of my oppressor
I can endure, knowing...
Sensing my tormentor’s demise
Closing ranks on the horizon.
I will be liberated,
The sun will rout
Frigid, dismal darkness-
Leaving the murky slush
To cower at the poles!
And I will romp wild
On sun-baked earth…
Through plush verdigris…
Amidst those honeyed columns of light
truth not just belief,
but mankind cowers against itself
when the combine bares its teeth.
Note: The first line is a quote from George Orwell's 1984.
A Poem In Attempted Chinese
What I hope I just said, but in English:
My words are simple, but they are sincere
I hope they bring you smiles and good cheer
If my poem fails to inspire joy or hope
At least you can use it to roll your dope.
In response to the assignment "draw your secret place" as well as a lingering thought of the prior assignment, "draw your alter ego", I disintered an ugly scrap of self from my guts and attempted to express it. This is the shower (would look shiney white to you) where my demons could show, where I could no longer hide the conflict, desolation, etc... within that I swallowed behind a smile when around people. There is also some hatred of the place, here, because of the hatred I felt for my own emotions/weaknesses.
I used a combination of french pastels, charcoal, chalk, and graphite in this piece. It's on a very thick stock of paper, but the layers of pigment are probably even thicker. It's a shame that it is impossible to see the depth of those layers in a photo. There was so much pigment, it became a somewhat pliable substance all it's own. I slicked down the layered colors with hard graphite in some areas, and roughed it up with charcoal in the others, trying to bring the textures alive a little. This drawing is not precise. The tiles are off, for instance. I forced myself to draw very quickly in order to avoid giving myself time to think over the emotions, although the layers ended up taking quite a lot of time. I was trying to capture my cave, as in my sanctuary, as well as show the daunting darkness you might expect in such a cave. There is also some hatred of the place, here, because of the hatred I felt for my own emotions/weaknesses. Accurately drawing a shower was just not that important.
I'm normally against verbal explanation of art, since a visual piece should need no such crutch to make it's impact, but I thought you might be curious, so I shared.
A Survivor's Song
is a fool's illusion.
fusion and dissolution;
the earth beneath my feet
and slips away.
By quick sand’s
I‘ve come to understand
why they say
“Nothing gold can stay”.
My Tara is me.
I will build and sow;
my words will grow.
I will be the land
that feeds and supports,
even as I hang
upon the vacant ether.
Your momma’s a mystery, left just a shadow and a shout.
Daddy’s a porpoise gone swimming down south.
The rest of the litter I never have met
It’s been 10 years and I haven’t seen ‘em yet
In my mind you were made of smoke, steam, and sparks,
Come to be out of the paper-thin breeze and the dark.
Your years spread out like mis-matched piles
of miniatures, broken nic-nacs of various styles;
no complete sets, rambling rows with little reason or rhyme;
a misguided search for all the beauty you could find.
Can’t trace you back to a place where you begin.
Maybe no one place or time was enough to let you in.
My dreams must have called so hard, they drew up a mist
out of every churning steam-spring, with a moan and a hiss,
to roam in sighing winds until collected in one mass wealth
that couldn’t settle down, till you settled up with yourself.
Vapor, spell or birth, however you came to be...
By whatever means, you’re here. Have you come for me?
Wrap me, layered,
in tweed and corduroy;
texture to breathe life
into a grey Formica world.
Even the secrets
Victoria supplies me
My brain is patchwork,
an eclectic selection
of what my eyes
have gleaned of art,
books, earth and darkness-
what my hands have known
of skin, of ice, of locust trees,
what my spine has felt
of weight, of work, of sweat.
Grooves and weaves
for the holes in my life,
stitches for the gapes.
No silk can drape over
my coarse, thread-bare,
and haggard soul;
no satin capture the grain
of all that my mind contains.
Wrap me in rough and toothy cloth
so, by contrast,
I can somehow believe
that my skin is still soft
and I am not entirely without
some innocent newness.
Rushes impatient from May clouds.
Clinging to my flesh,
Sapping my strength,
Yet I embrace it.
Natsuko, but called Moriko...
My body has imbibed summers enough
That I no longer leap into the sun.
I swim slowly into the golden light
And stretch and curl into the familiar glow
While my mind springs new, reborn
Into the past,
When such heavy air and raging sun
Meant freedom and amnesty-
Freedom to be Natsuko, Moriko, Me, Myself...
and no one in paticular.
A girl born a natural part of earth and sun,
No piece nor party to the bustling seas of man.
This was always my time.
The masses cower in power-cooled shelters,
Leaving me free rein over
the sweet ripe air,
The sun-baked earth,
And lush green world
For which the more human humanity
Was sparked to life,
And for which the rich and waving nature
Thrives, glowing, excited to nourish and sustain.
by my empty bed.
It spills over with clutter,
books, glasses, and chocolate boxes.
The silent face of your watch
once marked this plain ledge
like a bookmark,
a mental note to return;
to find your place, and the girl
who’s heart is an open book.
But, the story wasn’t looking like
a happily ever after.
Now, this night-stand standing
me as I sleep alone.
Untitled (a poem of compensation and excess)
Truth (do the math)
People cower from thought, discussion, and observation.
How can they learn to add up the clues around them?
After calculating against eachother,
thinking only for one,
no one accountable for error;
their capacity to put two and two together
is so far gone
they think “truth” a four letter word.
Poem of the Unseen
Plans well spread in proud display,
or merely subtle hopes of love,
all taste bitter when disregarded
by the one such hopes are of.
Lipstick and silks can lift one's spirits
when such details are noticed and known,
but few things will drag a soul so low
as late night tea alone.
(No, I did not paint this, though seeing this piece always makes me want to paint. I just can’t afford oils and brushes right now)
Painting: Late Night Tea by Pino
enemies ousted, but grow
with company kept.
Any fool can start a battle
and someone must always win,
but a wiser man knows not to make
the war ever begin.
the escapist addiction.
Dopamine waves climb
the colors from frame to frame.
Give me another…
of eye-fed drug.
I’m tripping, 24 pages at a time,
through Technicolor worlds
with roles to play,
villians I can grab hold of,
and a “chair-leg of truth”
with which to pummel
the grey of life that clings to me.
Acceptance pays off.
Why dare grasp
what you can cast off?
No logic can birth conception
in the deliberately barren mind.
Thought, a felony,
comprehension a crime.
Build no scaffolds on your own
from the facts that you might glean.
Accept teachings by the numbers,
add nothing to the mean.
Flow with the mainstream
to rancid pools of status-quo.
Incite no-one to insights
lest you bring them to woe.
The masses masticate
on what’s been processed at the mill.
There’s no market left for reason
but stagnant custom makes me ill.
Going Going ...Sold
Your soul is in the sewer, boy, your mind is out to lunch.
They came to find some lackeys and you beat them to the punch.
Ready to sell your loved ones short for 30 pieces of pride,
you leapt into the mire and put “priorities” aside.
Used to wear the pants in your castle, but now only dockers'll do,
so you live in a shallow cave, nibbling scraps as they feed on you.
How’s it gonna wind up, boy? What does it amount to in the end,
when you come to the last of your days, your life yet to begin?
Ask the bright-toothed boasters, then, for the reason you're alive,
after you’ve traded in all your living for fancier means to survive.
Lovers of masks,
From themselves they run.
Children well taught,
A pattern ingrained,
Never knowing themselves,
In denial well trained.
mark I wear
I must be tagged,
Bagged, and marketed
Like a plastic doll
Well, fuck it all
Tired of being used,
hated; Fated to be relegated,
Slated for disposable status
What am I?
Marble to your Pygmalion?
Sculpi without formation?
Are you the God who’d
Cure me of my self?
Discard the wealth
Of who I am, all I am
To make anew
Your precious Barbie?
Your perky stephord dream?
I could scream
But you took my voice
And replaced it with
now my patience is gone
along with hope, faith, youth
it’s no use
my face is a mask,
a label, a purple triangle,
a yellow star
you use to categorize me
for not becoming
your bubbly, athletic antithesis
of the real me
the thinking, dreaming, breathing me
heaving with sensuality and thought
I will not
Apologize for being real.
We all have flaws
I have my share,
But my whole self
is not an error
to be revamped
and cheerfully stamped
"new and improved"
or to be supplied
on your demand.
Death of a Poet
in your words,
and in your echo
shown on damp but glowing faces.
It seems presumptuous to intrude
and blessed to witness
the fingerprints of your life
in the ideas, inspiration,
and memories you left behind.
I'm embarrassed to dare speak
of whom I know nothing
but I regret only that I met
just the shadow of you
after the light had passed.
Still, it's evident to me
you did fulfill the dreams
of a writer we both admire
who's aspiration was simply
to "cease not 'till death".
I was asked to read Guinness at the Review release party but, before I read, I heard so much about a certain writing professor who had just passed away that I was moved by the things he wrote and what people said about him. I scrawled the poem above on a knapkin in a couple minutes before my reading. I read Guinness, then I read the poem above. I was afraid that it had been too presumptious of me to speak of someone they all loved so much, and whom I had never met, but he sounded like someone who would want to have that sort of affect on people. I shyly ran off after the reading was over, but I met the editor in my favorite pub the other night and she said everyone loved the poem and had been talking about it ever since.I felt so honored to know that my little poem meant something to the people who loved this man, that I decided to post it. I wish I had a link to his poetry to show you. I think we all would have liked him.I can only hope that, after I'm gone, strangers will be moved to write by hearing my words.
To and Fro
And destiny having bid me pass on,
The anchor has torn free, the compass is lost,
Shores recoil, and the sun withholds the dawn.
Softly, a beckoning sound drifts from far aft;
Perhaps a port... perhaps a siren's song.
Maybe I should follow, or just idly drift
Either way I sail blindly without star or sun.
Yesterday Will Come
with dreams and darkness
enough to burst the seams,
no matter how tightly bound
the future is,
to hopes, to fate, or heart's resolve,
history never relinquishes
graze me in passing?
How many paws
find excuse to land
of guiding me aside,
or under ruse
of friendly greeting?
It’s as if the air
is as thick with hands
as it is with smoke.
The smoke clings to me,
pushes into my lungs,
while the hands take away,
stealing me in portions,
like a hundred passers-by
one striped peppermint each
from a community dish.
No one takes it all,
just a little taste per person,
never knowing or caring
what, with group effort,
they will empty.
spin through my head
like crossing winds.
The room goes dark
My body turns to water
swept off in currents;
by my racing pulse.
thoughts slip away,
cannot form words,
(dedicated to Stephen, my favorite spell-caster)
Pressed two layers deep,
For Fortitude, strength, resilience…
Would it flow up my vertebrae
And permeate my flesh?
Could it remind me, center me,
Unify my soul?
I need iron in my veins,
Steel in my bones,
An adamantine will.
I would not feel pain
Or fear my mortality.
Lord, grant me fortitude,
Health, and self-control.
I want a powerful body.
I want a bionic soul.
I’m a very jumpy cat
I lapped up a pot of coffee
And I’m hallucinating rats
So I pounce on every shadow
And bounce off of all the walls
I climbed up here on the curtains
And I fear that I might
- - *thunk!*
over a toothy mind.
The shadow of a villain
drifting within the confines
of code, of honor…
Fighting for truth
but lusting to clash
against daunting darkness
for the opportunity
to unsheathe steely claws.
Only for good
can my evil
come out to play.
I would lay my hands
upon your cheeks,
lean my forehead
Like a mother to a child,
in hopes of taking
your torment from you;
Like a disciple seeking
contact with the divine;
Like a friend saying,
without need for words,
that I understand;
Like a child against
the door of a magic toy shop,
hoping to hear the gears
that churn out
such wondrous gifts.
Play and pray
that William James
and Sylvan Tomkins
Dance little doll.
Become by being.
Learn the role
by playing it.
my sweet gift, found unsearched.
I expected to find no sun, no warmth
in such grey-washed corners of this earth.
I ran from love, from this, from you,
afraid more darkness I would see.
Eyes closed, I stumbled through dim alleys
but somehow my light found me.
Your sleeping face glows ‘neath morning’s touch
and while my pestering you elicits a smile,
I think, through all my ill-fated quests and flights,
I must have sought you all the while.
to be a cop-out,
my crippled attention-span;
a pastime for women
with flowers on the brain.
But, the words come
of their own accord.
My hands, compulsive,
carve off excess.
I do not build stories.
I sculpt poems,
“an art of subtraction”,
compelled to disinter
in a muddied world.
Honey and habaneros,
full of fire and of mist;
moving like water
on the rocks with a twist.
Nice, with enough wicked
to make your toes curl
-what woman is made of,
'cause I'm no little girl.
From the Office
I think it’s giving me the hives.
Florescent light’s haze stagnates my brain
through the cobwebs in my eyes.
Wanna coil up my coif to a blonde afro,
don my favorite jeans, snug not tight.
Play me some Clinton, Southern Culture or Waits
I’ll live an alias for the night.
Mild mannered mannequins we are by day,
a survival routine only justified
by snatching up scattered time-crumbs wherever found
time to truly be alive
in more ways
than I can keep track of.
I rarely read
your letters these days.
I rarely call,
though you left a line open.
But, when I'm alone
on your big blue rock,
send me the sun.
その言葉は 美しい響きで 私の耳に届きはしない
Your words evade,
when words come,
though, rarely do they grace my ears.
Eyes say volumes,
or do mine misread
when I think I see yours speaking?
One More Haiku
while time sleeps and I laze here,
embracing gold skies.
In case you did not know, the Mimosa (much like the Dahlia and Iris) represents summer and is the required Kigo (season word) in this haiku.
in a dollar-store plastic patio chair,
he stares down the afternoon sun
from behind sharpie-black sunglasses.
From the waist-gap of his loose shorts,
his boxers chant “Gap” around the band.
I smile, amused,
and wedge a blue-glitter painted toe
against his white plastic throne.
I set the view in a steady rock,
sway in this cozy web beside him,
and watch the world pitch and roll
around my hammock.
the coming chrysanthemum-
I cling to the sun.
The season is ripe from basking in many sunny days, but I feel as if I have just met the summer. Well fed from warm june and july sun, the season is nearly ready to retire, but I leap to it, clinging to what remnants of it I have not yet squandered.
Give me a minute
to not keep watch
over my own shoulder.
Let me believe
that I could not
simply blow away,
Let me be
woman or child,
Forgive me for
to let go
Let me pretend
holding on to.
in the rubble at my feet,
remnants of a life I built,
a life since razed by man's fear and vanity.
The smoke long settled,
my wounds mended,
with iron eyes I taunt you, life.
You've killed many of my loved ones,
took my children, born and unborn;
made my own loves betray me...
You've scarred my body deeply,
battered my mind with heavy blows.
I laugh at you.
Give me your best shot.
These strong legs will not give way.
This metal spine will bear your blows.
These hands will build.
These arms will defy you.
Look into my steely eyes
and know I will not be beaten.
Untitled (Shotgun Glare Poem)
but watched so carefully,
her eyes sunken in
to weary flesh so deep
they looked like barrels of a gun.
I imagined the lines on her face
were thread-lines, sites to aim
her dark eyes on me.
I smiled into her wrinkled
and stern expression.
With a “Hmmph”
she turned both barrels away.
caught in a merciless ‘until’,
tangled between the now and then
when you’ll be drawn to me again,
when your breath will stir and light
this stale still air and vacant night.
I haunt this house a listless wraith,
cling to a threadbare strand of faith
that I’ll be the habit you crave most
and thus made a woman, not a ghost.
No dimmer deferral could there be
than the wait until you thirst for me.
The photo is neither by nor of me, just something found through google image.
but was a tool for him to use.
Fell hard for a musician,
but my love gave him the blues.
My heart fell captive to a Ninja,
but the shadows he preferred.
He slipped off into the night
the moment my love stirred.
Who now tempts my affection?
Is it just a cycle we begin?
Or can you still thirst to be with me
after you drink me in?
slinks on slips of shadow,
creeps upon night’s mist,
tipsy on the taste
of her slick and hungry teeth.
I wrote poetry for
a handsome man.
I was fascinated.
He was witty, charismatic,
talented, sweet, silly…
his brown eyes
with my best naive prose.
That was years before
my strength fell and,
without sense, I tumbled
into a night long awaited
and finally whispered
the “L” word to him,
shouted the word and his name.
In the morning I said it
He looked at me and said
“it isn’t like that with us”
and I cried as I left.
So now, when I look back
On the men I’ve “loved” before,
I see him as one of the few I trust.
Oh, he’s a scoundrel, no doubt.
I know it.
But a scoundrel who gave me
what few men ever did.
For that I see him as a friend,
though we rarely speak.
And when he hands me my Guinness
With a heart on top
“what a sweet little scoundrel”.
compelled to sculpt,
my hands paint,
draw, write, shape;
My voice expresses.
I’ve built solid houses.
I’ve blended polymers.
I’ve soldered, wired, arranged.
I’ve spread pigments thick
among taught canvas threads.
But what should be
Is a confused and fragile mass.
What happened to determination?
Where is strength and focus?
Seeing my weakness, I fall
Knowing my sins, I lose faith.
Humanity breaks down, disappoints,
And, dispirited, I am a disappointment.
Show me the metal of resolve.
Teach me hope in man, in myself.
I will forge a greater thing
Out of this broken mind.
I edge up to my goals, fist to fist, toe to toe.
No crowd screaming, nor ache of blow
will sway my focus, because I know,
in life's ring, no rematch can regain what I loose.
I'm as weak as I allow, and as strong as I choose.
Distractions come - I slip left, slip right,
but I'm through with corners, now I fight.
these things I once thought
of the human heart…
Perhaps they are.
But, if so,
then the human race
We were raised
to living men.
Humanity has sunk
I bring my arms up to the easel.
A mist directed at my head,
I do my best to force a glow.
My roots are cramped in shallow soil.
My world, a portable bit of clay.
I'm shuffled about often
but I always find new air to breathe.
Some trees know wilder weather than I
So who am I to complain?
Some have solid earth to nurture their roots
Some have drought, some rain.
But I am my own gardener
I will define which way I grow.
I will reach, lean, curve my own way.
I will take this simple existence
And, within these humble confines,
I will make of myself something beautiful.
were once my one sworn enemy,
destructive fireflies of my fancy,
lights of dreams aflame in me.
I stomped in desperation,
blew cold despair over the coals.
I resigned myself to obey your will
and let smoke no longer roll.
My heart sprayed sparks of devotion
in the dry grasses of my eyes,
burning, blind, embers filled my mind
like stars more dense than evening skies.
Surrendered to your word, now
I swallowed fire and buried the flame.
But, forever burned into my soul
will be your haunting name.
One ember sustained upon my breath
can not cease until my end;
The flight, the folly, the foolish fires
both lit and stifled for a friend.
Deceptive Fires of Hope
like smoldering embers scattered thick
through miles of dry grass-lands.
I drive myself to exhaustion,
grinding wishes to the ground.
Still they flame up all around me.
Hopes rise up to taunt me,
to tease my hopeless heart.
The smoke of all these dreams of you
blind me from your declarations
that you do not want me.
In rising plumes of smoke and flame,
I see your eyes speaking thoughts
both gentle and passionate.
In white ashen dust, I see spirits
you’ve sent to bear your words to me.
Weak with wear, short of oxygen,
I can believe you hold back for noble cause,
but that you want to hold onto me.
Singed, worn, and tired of stomping,
I am overcome with foolish faith
that someday you will carry me away
from this burning field of confusion
and let me lay against you
wrapped up in your arms, in happiness.
A cruel trick these fires would play
to taunt a soul already burning.
Wrong Turn at Narrow Street
of toying with my soul.
I left religion at the altar
a long time ago.
Guess I derailed my own life,
stopping on a rhyme.
I’ve been to 1st and Main street,
but I signed no dotted line.
Never would have sold my soul
for money, love, or lust.
It was taken by foreclosure
when all my dreams went bust.
sand thrown in the gears.
words hang frozen in the air.
time will not retreat to withdraw them,
nor move forward past.
they linger, like a fist frozen in mid-air.
I keep moving, waiting, busying myself,
but the world is halted and untouchable.
I haven't seen the people
that once made time roll so easily.
I hug no warm companions.
I stare blankly into the void
of a computer screen. The only movement
is what I place on it.
Time has creaked into a deathly still,
and I'm left behind...
with books to read, as well as write,
and my will to see stamped out
by my clumsy tromping feet.
When there is no time at all, no motion,
you have all the time in the world...
and no more use for any of it.
Blow me into motion.
in this concrete wreckage
they call city.
Reach from the woods,
if your arms this far extend,
and rejuvenate me
as you always have.
Like reverse kryptonite
I am weak away from you.
Nature is my sustenance.
air to my smothered soul.
I loose track of who I am, here.
I loose track of what to do.
But there’s never any doubts,
when I’m wrapped up in you.
Alone, no one can hear my voice
but the trees,
and they never judge.
Running free among your pillars,
my fumbling steps
can leave no mark on you.
You are ancient, enduring.
In your shelter I can do no wrong.
On your soil, no cages stand.
I’m made of you,
my flesh just soil with a spark.
I am fed by your gifts,
and with you I will never die.
I will simply dissipate like smoke
to be absorbed
into the heaving, swaying sculpture
that my flesh and spirit
know as home.
It was the Spider’s day for a spin.
I remember when you drove a citation.
You laughed a lot back then...
not to kiss up to bankers and golfers,
but when good friends shared the joke.
Had a smart, devoted wife and a life
filled with friends, family, honest folk.
You played a Franken-Strat once.
Built it from second-hand parts.
You didn’t have a Gretsch or Les Paul
But, back then you played with heart.
A new girlfriend to fit in with new contacts,
buys her lovely tan from a bottle del sol.
Just make sure there’s enough left over
to pay the mortgage on your soul.
over the bar, podium, he caws his social report.
Deposing from the creaking perch of a rusted stool,
by threat of 30 lashes of the tongue, he rules.
Daily, he takes his image out for a strut,
flaunting his ego to conceal the rut.
Effusive curmudgeon, razing humanity to the ground
in hopes to slow the fall of a self-view unsound.
Second Hand Jacket
Of camel-colored fuzz
Look bookish, masculine,
Elbow patches and all;
But it’s thicker than most,
A deep corduroy,
Warmer than wool,
Softer than fur,
And made for me.
$1.25 at goodwill,
back when I was young,
with inside pockets
to carry what I needed with me.
Wearing my home,
a bulky stained real-estate,
the only place mine.
Inside those satin-stripe lining walls
no one could take a thing from me.
Little more to claim, back then,
than a tattered used coat.
Little more to claim me
than my since-deferred dreams.
If I dawned that jacket, like a super-hero’s cape,
Could I defeat the thought police…
evade the clutches of the combine’s henchmen
and slip into myself again?
Bubbling over with love, awe, devotion
For the girl he projected across my face
Like I was a white roll-up screen
She is always working, never forgets,
She is outgoing and bubbly
And could only fall short of absolute perfection
If she willed to, out of selfishness or spite
I’m introverted, pasted in place to the wall.
Some times my springs won’t coil.
Sometimes my edges fray. Sometimes I fall apart.
Sometimes I get dusty and everything I reflect is dim
She had his heart completely.
She had everything I wanted.
I had all the intellect of a roll of canvas
To have believed that smile was meant for me.
Brides By Design
It was his, for only wanting spent,
But beneath that add must have read
“Will build to suit” above my head.
your heart’s retreats…
Your words trample me to sour wine.
You didn’t want me anyway
You expound on my failures,
and stay safely above my love
till I can’t tell which is real…
Is it true affection hidden beneath fear?
Or contempt softened with guilt?
no love of mine can reach you,
or win your approval.
I’m just the rogue who dared to scale
the stone walls of your surface smile,
wishing to revel in the treasures within,
the heart I love,
the mind I cherish…
but it’s better to swim in the moat beyond
than to live hunted by guards
in your castle.
A Simple, Unpoetic Truth
then required I change completely
into some polar opposite,
some cheerleader suburbanite.
Well, then… I love cantaloupe,
But only when it’s red
and tastes like raspberries.
I feel the threads rip between us
Tugging too deeply
I rely on myself, not so much on you
You turn back and see me
Looking my own way
We shove, tug and turn
Our words cut, tears burn
We side-step around our fears
Our arms reach out
They push away
We curl and tense, our bodies sway
Moving around each other
Like a tribal rain dance
Summoning down pain on us both
Out of Reach
decorates my little world,
lays gifts at my feet,
and loops around again.
I try to catch him in my arms
when he comes close,
but I trip over the flowers on the floor
and he speeds away, back to his task…
of embellishing the life around me,
giving me every precious little thing,
padding my life with care
so nothing can snag or scratch at me.
I live in a room, plush and perfect,
where the splinters of my own need
prick my lonely heart to bits
and the only gift I want, dances out of reach.
curled into clouds of cotton,
safely enveloped in sleep.
His lengthy strong back
creates graceful curves
that whorl into shoulders
and curve around his pillow
in an innocent embrace.
He holds onto sleep,
his face serene and weightless
like a child not yet trampled
by the rigors of daily life.
I want to curl up into
this spell that frees him in sleep.
I want to be a part of the smile
that glows on his handsome face,
still smooshed against the bed.
I wrap myself against him,
kiss the artful angles of his shoulder
and thank God he is mine.
a leaden fill
I’ll walk my own way
With a clank and a whirr
Cool mechanic motion…
My insides slick
With grease and steel
My carbide backbone
Near as hard as my will
Flesh is full of cravings
For sex, cocoa, and sun
The heart is treacherous
Full of need, pain and fear
The combine is at my heels
The darkness at my soul
But I’ll evade them all…
Once strong, perfect, and cold.
(written in 2004)
gentle hands laced with the scent of cigarettes.
I kissed your knuckles, cold from the bite of winter.
I buried my face against your neck,
my arms around you under your jacket.
The thick leather sheltered me
from the bitter December winds.
The scent of your cologne warmed me,
soothed me from the lungs out.
I was so young back then.
You were larger than life.
I was entranced with you,
nervously hoping to win your affection.
Your jacket changed through the years.
Your fingers rarely smell of smoke.
We no longer have to steal moments
in the cold winter wind to be alone.
But some things do not change;
your eyes still strike to the soul of me,
and I would trade anything for your love.
Nothing to Fear, but...
my distant love.
Have no fear of love.
Fulfill no dark
prophecies, my dear.
The threat is in the fear.
Test as you must;
what will fail is your trust,
though you’ll still say I blew it.
Keeping love at arm’s length
will spend its strength
till you can say “I knew it”.
(a poem on self-fulfilling prophecies)
The Road to Belgium
His eyes are the color of the pheasant feather
that I use to mark my place in Leaves of Grass.
is strong and perfect, sculpted…
My paintbrushes retire inadequate
now seeing they cannot produce beauty –envious.
Kind, a bit sad,
more lost than he realizes.
He laid his head in my lap
so tired and familiar.
I studied him and wondered,
Love him for his body or his heart?
Both seem more than deserving.
I felt like water bending, reacting—melting at his touch.
I fell asleep with his arm around me…
…I’d like to live that way.
Now, I think of the road to Belgium and dreams that line the path,
like crepes in the morning.
I’d fill out with pasta-fed fat in Italy
and he would call me wife.
(written for S.P. in 1995)