Grace

They found it next to her, floating upon the surface, half entwined within her fragile hair. The pond had swallowed them both, becoming a shallow grave of beauty. It was the technician who recorded each article, who felt that there was something special, something within the fabric’s electric swirls, that must tell her story. The turquoise, briefly slashed within magenta, yellow and black, mimicked the shade within her emptied eyes. Those eyes left us all unsettled that day. We shall never know why her body was there alone beyond the facts known – an art teacher, age 25, with no known family, fighting a battle of cancer. An autopsie eventually revealed that the poison had become too much, succumbing her with pneumonia. A neighbor, whom wept when he was questioned, spoke of her daily walks despite the damp, April nights. He wanted to walk with her, but she said it was her time with God.
The ceremony was held on an unusually bright day. I stood behind those that knew her, listening to their words. A student painted the final screen of her story: “She was like the wind of Spring – she would ruffle our thoughts so that we could consider a new beginning, find a new opening within our art.” I would learn that the scarf we found with her that day was her own art, her way of creating a new opening while too weak to create anew.
Years later, the fabric remains strong and true – the turquoise, a gentle reminder of a gaze of grace from a soul that knew what it was to live, to die.

??????????????????????

(This is the second reworking of this prose poem – the first one was written while waiting for a very moving lecture this evening. I was too lazy to get up and find my little notebook, so recreated the story into this – the premise is pretty much the same. I apologize for the somber nature – it certainly is not to say that Roberto Alborghetti’s art is somber – it is not, it is quite lively and lovely. I thank him for offering up this picture at my bequest of help for poetic inspiration. ~ a)

welcome to the zoo

Nothing soothes the flight of mind flying over violin snares seeping into a deep crescendo as I read her words – dear HD, how she seemed prayed (if that was her way) to write her world in poem in order to deal with each subjection into which she offered objection such as The Master, having just read sensing her anger welling believing it is her pen to Pound not seeing it is her Stein’s Picasso to Freud – he treated her with belief that she needed a man to keep her willow from weeping – I weep for her (or is it for all of us) a long note, a cello’s masterly cry into this cave “for whom are we living” Dear God, he preaches tonight your loving but if that is so then why these games since Adam went a wandering – each day there is fruit consumed from the apple tree – is this why you plant bombs in our head – or is that not you, that is what they call free will or is that what I mean when there are too many parlor games- thee shall be no preaching to anyone to follow these folded hands for the only prayed thing is to a master who is already dead to the noise of the living’s heart song and redemption is so dark when it has already gone to seed – should we not moor up our boat on this blood soaked sea and cast an anchor to something ahead of us for behind us is only more the same as the insane can testament to anyone who is kind enough to listen, but we are never listening to the chatter of them only to them – dealers of power – yes, it is a parlor game in our virtual salon hoping to make aces out of marked cards whilst someone outside on the street screams I AM only to not be the way but to pretend he is Nietzsche and his battle cry cries out the death – the death- where are all the animals locked up tonight – I have faith – it is not in the zoo ~

::..:.:snow::..:.: bank..::.:

12.19.12

a stillness invokes a maudlin air that recalls childhood dreams of christmas eve spires sprinkled in holy waters & thick frankincense that settled deep into innocence’s eyes causing a tear to arc across a ghost cheek as stale choirs sang silent night. tonight purity shines from rooftop to uncleared sidewalk, an ephemeral brightness highlighted by thunderclaps and blue-silver flash, it is a scene saturated in december romance as north winds stir bowing cedars upright. our tiny vigil lasts past midnight hoping for epiphany, but as each tree waivers under blank weight we wait and wait — amen – but nothing appears from within just a flicker remains dancing amongst wax ruins; blowing out this light but a light remains brighter than the blues inside our comfort zone gathering milk sap from a ten-year-old weeping tree; throw open your sash let this blizzard bless us until a dream finally comes to fill tomorrow’s day – and if it never comes, do not salt our walk remembering a waiting diary for nothing is forever whilst living on this side of a snow bank ~

lightening strike

we shall wander these ink blots with untethered feet wishing for a bit of moonglow to illuminate our soles searching black paces that reflect nothing but our dissidence painted on building sides, street signs, with nothing but a fingertip and the blood that was pricked during our pact to remain pure to the cause because we feared the reaper less than the man who forces us to march to a country band banding us together in little clusters of tumors growing like red cancer all over a healthy brain.

you used to bring fresh sunsets, orange and white ones, because you said together they reminded of a perfect sun that you once saw in one blue iris that winked at you after a night spent camping under impossible stars and a angry coyote, or was it a wolf, howling at a blue moon which made you quote Ginsberg; when i questioned who, your doe eyes turned flying object not flying over us, engulfing me with insecurity that somewhere an alter ego was questioning reason, life, and why we had trekked a thousand miles together when clearly there was no connection beyond our bodies revolving, grinding up a singular universe heating this core so hot that you swore a burn from the inside scorched everything around us; in the morning the lone blue sleeping bag remained in tact other than a peculiar spot where the flannel had turned from grey to white.

you left me at that beaten station with a hundred different reasons stashed in a blue daypack that left my back sweaty, my head filled with square notes of shame; the cancer seemed to be growing, multiplying, feeding off toxic attachment that no amount of reasoning could kill; it kills that there is no shower in this godforsaken place in which to baptise myself reborn in the name of a new lover with old lover’s ghost noose still hanging on; let that be a lesson, girly, drag that host into daylight so that purity in action will burn away each donut shaped cell whose sticky ways tried to remain attached, just like that Man who i asked to leave me alone, he took every possession anyway, after a country hospital said there was no cure for me, and I quote this fact checked: besides we could mend your broken body but you’d die anyway, suffocating under the mountain of receipts we have ready.

a red dust highway, deep in a rust canyon, that i follow until my soul collapses under weight of surreal beauty, pouring thick oil paint into each pore; a purple blanket waiting to tuck me into the final day’s dream.

a red dust highway, deep in a rust canyon, that swallows this last sound’s reverb off prickly vegetation and bits of rock; upshot, i had reached some old Native’s crested butte, still holding his final possession; it remained standing despite alien invasion, no one lays claim on broken red crates and rusted metal hammered together; a smile crept into a shadow as a flash of silver swept across someone’s sky that some name heaven, i learned long ago a name is rhetoric waiting to die ~

there is a scream inside my head.

There is a scream inside my head. It was a scream but now it is dead. Scissors broke its beastly cry that kept shadows pacing to wind symphonies blowing Irish lace sideways. A lone branch still  reaches with its wicked finger, marking the nailed wooden cross above this mental bed. The fake leather boxed travel clock quiets midnight’s heavy breath with big ben hands and glow-in-the dark arms ticking out the obvious: there is never enough time before the fall of the dawn. The scream fell to the silver tool in her hands upon my command releasing years of wasted energy. Where did that leave the rest of the quaking aspen that whispers its pretty dreams to the tangerine sky icing new layers for the moon. You may think you understand this mystery, laying the cage to capture the lamb chasing the cow that tries to catapult the moon, but You are no wiser than the ewe. It is too soon to know if the scream has really left the echo chambers inside this soaped up head. The brain has been washed, now it just waits to build up enough dirt to attempt regeneration. Let the rains fall onto this parched ground, drowning the quivering that dare not question if it is okay to bloom early. Rise up! Don’t lay in-state, waiting for permission from the sun. You’ll wait enough, then an angry swirl of grey adventure will sweep up those innocent roots, uproot those dainty buds with a wrath befit for one deserving of San Quinton. No one breathes in polite company that the fine china doll from Aunt Bess is kept in the linen closet until the Girl grows too old to play with it. It is only when she has finally been broken, that the red bonnet baby will be wrapped in a trunk to travel to a new home where no one knows wrong, but right is whatever perfection has been declared by her mater’s throne. Wait! One moonlit night after all her seeds have been sown, the scream will grow so loud that it will send her outside to dig up every last white mum to bury every last locked year as her hot tears beat the rain for moisture ,covering the parched earth with a smell of detritus and blood: we call it death; others call it life; i call it love.

hellions: thirsting for more

It bothers me, that she, died after her revelation. Never one to pen a fan letter; I’d make an exception, to write to ask, do we ever really win? There seems to be an underlying line, a story in every manifesto burning pages these days; everyone claims power while cutting off a piece of ones own skin. Hellions? Every woman on that cover has done battle with herself: alcohol, drugs, starving, exercising, committing a sin of all sins, saying: “take me as I am”, yet never believing in the, “I”.

I wonder about girls today. Who are they believing in, in this facebooked/facetimed hyperaware digitized nation. Where are their strong voices coming from in a past generation? The 80s/90s had Murphy, Mary Jo Shively, a bit of Maggie (though she was weak/strong when it came to men), Mrs. Keaton, and even Mrs. Huxtable. Murphy, though, Murphy started me thinking: yes, why are there not more women ruling the men?

Are we not hungry? Appetite for destruction seems to feed us until we are starving. Caroline Knapp’s words are rubbing my face in my shit; waking me up to little girl blue that still sits on her playground swing singing, “ashes, to ashes, we all fall down!” Her voice low, always blue; already seeing that lack of power play out with her brother; he ran free while she got to sit, waiting, to kick that ball.

To hell with it all. This hunger that gnaws is growing; there is a scratching at the backdoor, hinges still needing oiling; where the doormat stays muddy, caked by men’s work boots, that then proceed to walk all over her white tile scrubbed clean after eight hours; after preparing his feast for tonight’s table. I know, as Caroline knew, we cannot blame these men. No, our self-hatred is earned from a seed akin to the mustard. We’ve found solace in not feeding our true nature; letting our stem slowly die so the white bloom never reaches tomorrow’s azure sky. Why? The truth resides where we must carry not only a flame, but a torch.

If you are a strong woman; if you know not what I write tonight; bless you; sing loud, sing strong, sing for the sister in me who has smothered her own for over twenty years. I worry that Caroline beat one beast with another, letting alcohol become her destruction when she finally fed her other hunger. Uncertainty sometimes causes us to feel thirsty, when really, we just want to be fed.

*******************************
1) Caroline Knapp’s book, Appetites. Currently reading after finding at used bookstore in Gender Studies.
2) Hellions. Maria Raha. Picked up in Gender Studies as well.
3) Murphy Brown. Mary Jo Shively, Designing Women. Maggie, Northern Exposure. Mrs. Keaton, Family Ties. Clair Huxtable, Cosby Show. (Just a few that came to mind.)

Caroline Knapp struggled in her twenties with anorexia. She wrote “Appetites” after penning other books, including her most noted book, “Drinking: A love story.” Sadly, after seeming to have finally found her place in life; she died unexpectedly after Appetites was published; she was 42.

Gladys dances to Kafka

I’m being a bit of a voyuer.
I lie.
A suburban bookstore is not exactly adventuresome highway, nor route 66 into rose existence where perhaps mars landed some crew in the sixties. This is more about how the day wears on under a south wind that lacks the warmth of even the coldest lovers embrace; even that one filled with pinked passion and it sent your mind wondering if he kissed you while scenes of Ryan Gosslyn, (wrong spelling, forgive me for I’m rolling with this inspiration under creative duress of slogging long hours in this cracked cranium) flashed behind thin skin.

Staycations buried the muse; she even begged those two bucks at a stoplight for a drag of smoke. We tried to chase windmills today. Last night’s Fuel memories had me turning my non-diesel, non-bling Honda around, 29 miles out. Z and I meandered, tail between our legs, backing into where we came, but never really been. Miles of paved grey landscapes, foundations for salt box houses with tarpaper patches and plastic wrapping each sagging sash. How must the ghosts go running at midnight under such a forlorn cacophony. Next door, a beige prefab, a windowless barn filled with glass menagerie. Hard working buxom frames moving dreams around so your bedside table holds a full glass of water, a PBR chaser, after a good buddy offered a dance on the house. Be nice, perhaps she’ll decorate your table next holiday; bring your voyeuristic tendencies to climax if you read aloud Kafka, feeding her hunger for other’s nightmares.

Letters to a young contrarian, damn that Hitchens, can’t even curse him for fear HIS ghost will haunt.

Stop!
Train wreck of thought just interrupted by, get this, some gold sweatshirt donning twentysomething, reading fantasy, talking loudly on his phone. He didn’t just say”I love you, I’ll be down in a minute?” Here we sit, on the second level, milling ants down below, trying to fill that empty space, or missing missing face in that family picture. Right, it is all about escape, isn’t it?

In my lap, I hold Raymond Carver. No, not him, but his book, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. It is me being voyuer, or is it being stalker, when you try to figure out what makes the blood pump harder through a stranger’s veins so that it oxygenates his mind to write brilliant prose of red words and blue sighs. Each ball a pop fly into the universe of words; holding breath, wondering if it will go out of Wrigley. Scanning the latest memo, holding most insight for later, perhaps sipping it slowly with a glass of rose trying to ignoring the couple at the bar next to me arguing if he will stay tonight. I do know the write mentions this book; obsessively compelled to know what fills those empty pockets as to widen my blank landscape that struggles to be industrial, yet the streets we rolled through held no unusual sidewalk trash.

Even Gladys, whose probably getting ready with another coat of paint; cinching up black garters, one held together with a tiny pin; her German expression is deeper than any of my contrarian pondering. Looking down, there is that heaven someone promised me long ago, it swims between a thousand covers waiting to be opened.

it may be poetry/ it may be prose/ it is her/ it is me

Summer blew in soft and swift, never a moment too soon under school’s stifling four walls. Funny how now we notice a prairie wind blows; back then, it was never strong enough to lift sapling arms or spindly limbs, turning wildly round.
She laughed at my Wilder nature; that Easter I begged to be Nellie; she rolled each strand; come morning service, a halo of ringlets topped with a white satin bow had mother in embarrassed tears.
We had been quite a pair; heading to the five and dime, seeking
99 cent bins of orange/pink poly yarn. Nervousness got me when we’d leave; having to choose, a doll or a stuffed thing. Money seemed a luxury not for toys; she’d tell her later, “she got all red, not wanting it”. They whispered; questioning if a child’s mind should worry quite so much. Inheritance came in handfuls; her nervous laughter; fear in what came next.
So quiet as a little girl, disappearing for hours behind worn slipcovered chairs, playing dolls with makeshift yearbook walls; something about that back-cover colored paper seemed so lovely. She’d call out, “Angie, baby?” thinking I’d slipped away; quietly, I’d re-appear, knowing she startled easily. We’d go hang laundry with unforgiving wooden pins; and roll pie crusts, never caring if mine tore, or was thin.
Lost memories; yet she nods when I remind her about Fridays, a big plastic bowl of cast iron popped corn; or that time I thought death had come when the pink basin turned magenta. No one thought to warn me pickled beets were the enemy.
There was a quiet loveliness when we posed today. I showed her us, Nona just sighed; “I look old”. When I left, there was a dandelion bloom that needed to be pulled; I wonder if she’d still smile.

dying prose while a cowboy sings

there is nothing silky black lacing around these words. how can I promise sexy when rain threatens to overspill broken lashes; a
3 o’clock sun brands a curled back gone into child’s pose.
pandora streams melancholia, jeffrey foucault radio has cat guts strumming, a low cowboy rumble roping harmony to the dying prose.
she promises wild adventure, but first you must follow her, clawing hell for an opening; depression becomes your mate; smothering any ember that may still remain.
how that clinical room still creeps under a halcyon haze, once green, now buzzing blue. innocently kissing death goodbye, not thinking it sucks away your life, too.
a wild howl, you know it well, trying to shake survivor’s guilt; if only because there is fear in walking alone. there is no sexiness in death unless you count the hunger that digs, yellow clawed,
into our frozen state; crystal dreams are teased by faceless eyes.
there is no filling the empty beast; confused, you seek lust
to feed the hunger, and call it love feeling a false control.
the scream continues building; a tornado rising off spring’s barren plain; innate survival has you begging anyone to take you home until the orange light reveals where the empty lungs still breath.

****************
(sidebar: not the poem I intended to end the day with but I continued to read Cheryl Strand’s wild (see earlier post) and it struck a cord; ergo, I wrote this as my head swirled with the wind while the sun streamed across my back.)

…tomorrow will hopefully offer a brighter stream of words…

duel nature ~

Ernest Hemingway seated in 1925 with the perso...

Image via Wikipedia

He stripped me naked, emptied contents from left hand pocket:
(one silver foil containing a torn piece of mint coloured gum;
one metal bobby pin, child size)
he then crossed me, priest style, absolution of all, or any, self-
adornment, exercising out leftover conflictions.

I stood there remembering Hemingway’s poem, Montparnasse:

(a suicidal poem gone horizontal with vertical sentiment
regarding successful death; never such luck amongst friends; actually,
Hemingway doesn’t mention luck, but, between lines, his depression bleeds
blanc spaces; he knew then, I posit, that his pre-meditated, self-
inflicted death would become the greatest bounty, amongst friends).

He walked away with everything that I was; I am; that I could be;
a frozen wasteland rose around me, drowning thoughts in silence,
white landscape loud with white faces; aggressive, their passive nature;
scratching heavy black lines, bas-relief, creating a lone place, a cafe,
imagining Hemingway would meet me there ~

***************************************

Not really certain where that came from, the above, other than I was driving home from work tonight and the start of the first line stuck in my head. It happens, but usually, after a marathon of checking emails; updating social media accounts for another job; consuming food I’ve not eaten throughout the day…the thought rarely ever reappears. Tonight it did, so I rolled with it after reading the short poem by Hemingway.

Sidebar thought 1:
A beautiful bouquet of coffee; earth’s gift born of proper cultivation. Fresh cut stems, heads heavy with delicate perfumes of rouge, blanc, or verde; bare loveliness, but the scent of roasted bounty, just ground, offers solace. I’ve come to believe that coffee, and sliced apples, define pleasurable scent escape.

Sidebar thought 2:
Imagine you’ve a book to read, you take it to bed with intention to read. Alas, midnight’s song, a loon’s call across northern waters; your head tips forward, lids heavy, lashes whispering down. The book falls left; your head sinks right; sleep. Not is all loss, however, for in this dream world, the power resides in the energy of the book. The story, contents, actually play out during dreamtime. Upon waking, all aspect of said book would be remembered. If there’s an App for that…. let me know ~

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