Letter to Emily Dickinson

Trapped in a white world
by nothing but choice

a space not universal
grown and cultivated

by your breath on the candle flame

music that rose up from the cellos
of the earth and called us

in our night clothes
in the midst of the Sun God’s

eternal night

words born of the silence
in the Sistine Chapel

sparkle of the sun flecked meadow
mist of the velvet forest

I pluck and bestow my heart

a pink petal on a white rose
speaking only to you

like the sound of the rain
typing this epistle to you

Heartsong

I fold myself up, and you wrap around
I the seed, you the ground

in the breeze, soft piano
I watch closely the purple aura of your hands

in comes the violin
your solid gaze guiding me in the dance

no one has ever looked at me that way
I recognize you from years of wanting

your face no longer a shadow
your touch no longer a whisper on my neck

music playing a slow sad melody
something acoustic my bones can hold tight

I miss you even from the time before
I knew you. Waiting for your dark eyes

to come settle into an all night conversation
between our bodies and the music; a love without words

even when words are all I know
I am humbled speechless by this vast thing that is us

born silently over a pile of broken rules
through the pounding bass of naysayers

captive breath, as notes like butterflies release a prayer
let this ballad last

never apart
until there is no sound

After the Rain

It rained in the desert
the night before you left this world.
I should have known.
We all should have known.
When the heavens open up like that,
they’re taking something back in return for the blessing.
Something or someone larger than this life
with a spirit that could not be contained.

Little did we know,
your handstands
were really just you, holding up the world
for the rest of us to taste.
You did not belong to us.
You gave us back ourselves–our yearning,
our determination, and grit—you lifted us up
to meet our own challenges face-to-face.

When the rain stopped in the desert,
you were gone. In the time it took
a shooting star to fall to earth.
Gone, but not without leaving
your imprint across the world.
It is within us.

When we sing, when we dance in the moonlight or
run on the beach, when we smell fresh linen,
or wear it soft on a hot day,
when we write a poem for the person
who inspired us more than most.
Thank you friend, for opening up a window
to the words and a world in need of poetry.

Can you see from that view,
your growing legacy in the flame
of every candle lit in your name?
For you, who brings us to life over and over again
even when this part of yours has come to an end
too soon. I give you a poem. You gave me
the rain.

Coltrane and Rainy Days

Cursor blinking on the page

unfinished labor of money, not love

while lost in a moment of Coltrane

always back to those honeymoon days

where it was cool and rainy outside,

cool and warm inside, barefoot in blankets and books

philosophical political purposeful conversations,

nights filled with red wine, the soft twinkle of

patio lights surrounded by passionate minds and

laughter, the burning of more than just candles

between us.   Another time before children,

before the fast-forward of life and cymbals

banging, before beds were strictly for sleeping,

before bright lights.  Maybe it was only a moment

or something we saw in a movie once

where Uma Thurman played me, and Brian

Greenberg, the light skinned Jewish version

of the brown and beautiful you,

but without the conflict.

Lost in the lazy piano and hot-blooded

trumpet, I can see those artist hands

of yours against my white arm

resting on the slow breaths of your chest.

Music drawn to a sad close,

I hear it– flashing cursor, pinging email,

stacks of paper.

But this day; this life,

was meant for so much more.

Glazed in esteem beside the white parchment

black pen and blank journal
like the red wheelbarrow
on which so much depends

keeper of dreams
delicate wrapper of the future
and the past

a field of flowers clouded
with darkness and shadows
a battlefield of mistakes

defeated by knowledge and
gratitude for lessons learned
seeds of regrowth

black pen and blank journal
let your secrets escape
to shine their light

on a world bereft of poetry
flowing through the veins of society
and fill its soul once more

Gratitude

Pale peonies are open

as were my arms to the sky in winter

in a field, in a twirl, as the snow brushed autumn

from my face, leaving fresh pink cheeks, a sign

of something that blooms in winter.

During these moments of silence and peace,

I find gratitude.  A poem taped to the wall

of my heart, the peonies, the snow,

a call from a friend

from long ago.

When Elvis Died

When Elvis died in the seventies, too soon for some, my mother wore a t-shirt, “Elvis Lives” bedazzled in rainbow sparkle across her shapely chest all I knew was that this angel was sent down for me unaware of her life outside of motherhood. I watched her in the day. screamed for her at night, longed for even the scent of her on my weekends away. It may have been Elvis then that had her heart or someone taller and darker, but I don’t think it was me coming into adolescence, learning how to be. Elvis did live through that faithful decade in the rooms of our house, in the shag carpets, and green velvets. Blue suede shoes danced the darkness from our lives. It was the seventies sound of Elvis dying, leaving us behind but keeping the soul of my family alive.

Swing

All the treasures in childhood
like sparklers on Fourth of July

sparking memories of campfires and
bullet pops to pass the summers by

Tucked in by Hans Christian Andersen
sweet dreams in a yellow canopy bed

Flying with Peter Pan and pixie dust;
cartwheels, back flips, standing on our heads

Boat races in the pebbled park stream
baseball games and matchbox cars

filled our days with other lands of pretend
until the sky was filled with stars

Snapshots of our nostalgic youth
flown quickly by on a butterfly wing

None of them quite as special as you and me
smiling and swaying on the old oak’s tire swing

Scientific Method of a Kiss

1 – Ask a question
His lips are moving, but what is he saying?

2 – Form a hypothesis
He is talking about work, but his lips are mouthing love.

3—Conduct an experiment
Smile back. Let go of doubt.  Release inhibition.

4—Analyze results
A second date.  Attraction. Lips and hearts magnetic. Explosion.

5—Make a conclusion
This kiss, resulting in explosion, confirms hypothesis.

We are in love.  Have been since ask a question.

Splendid

Alone on a morning walk
splashed in a rose watercolor dawn

Together in the forest
under a clear sky raining glitter

Watching these babies
freshly bathed and sleeping

Oh—what a splendid life