Bus Stop Shadows

are aware
they are living in an unparallel universe.
They gather the boy in his school uniform,
the baby in her flimsy stroller, and they walk

The tiny hands clasped–so as not to slip too suddenly
into this world, making their way in the summer scorch rising
from the sidewalks and the cigarettes in the
open mouths behind them.

Men dressed
in their best blue collared shirts and heavy
work boots hanging on the edges of the curb
as though ready to jump face first into
disaster–no shadow to speak of in that moment

It is only us–
the ones driving comfortably and air-conditioned by
who are unaware of that world.
We honk and we stress, we yell and we press
the stop and start gas pedals of our days

unknowing.
The bus stop shadows are there;
waking early, waiting and riding in standing room only,
making, cleaning, doing, and fixing
this comfortable, cool, full-color, riding in style
life we know.

Love Letter

Remember when they called you head-turner
and the comment turned your head around
to hear what they were saying.
You dipped yourself in that moment, and
soaked it into your skin,
when life was a ruffled white bikini.

Now gentle brush of the cheek,
a full frontal inspection
demands a closer look
revealing– who?

Tiny lines doing simple multiplication,
a smile making them exponential.
On the verge of condemnation
I felt something, recognized a familiar face
Suddenly and for a moment
doubt and mockery of everything self-love
cast aside,

I wrote what I could not say out loud:
Dearest,
Let all the drug dealers pushing Prozac
and cognitive-behavioral worksheets
with their calm Nurse Ratchet voices,
for once–  crack open a new universe
and say…

It’s okay to prefer darkness to light.
Go ahead with disdain for the day.
Celebrate the night!
It is only in total darkness
where we see the brightness of stars.

Like Einstein’s fish,
no happy pill can make a star feel worthy
by extinguishing its flight, roaming the earth
in full daylight.  Only swimming in the dark skies
of poetry, art, and philosophy can reveal the truth
worth living passionately for–

Sense the rage of injustice as it builds its mighty wall
feel the starvation for love,
in every orphaned child and
empty bottomless tearing off of limbs
for the world’s orphaned parents.
Cry.

Fill every watershed and well.
Let no wetlands remain dry,
and when all pain is sufficiently spilled–
released into the earth for regrowth,
sit silently smiling on the edge of the world.

See the green and the gold of your eyes,
embraced by the life lines you’ve earned.
Sit smiling for youth gone by and love
every small joy, every breath of early morning mist
every yellow butterfly against a blue sky

Let secrets flutter to the past
Throw your words of rage into wishing wells
Feel the tightness of the urgent present melt away
until now fills the room with a calm blue.
Let gratitude drape the shoulders of the mother, daughter, and friend.
Let it live in life’s poetry–

a familiar scent like autumn apples,
a welcome home to the voice
I have always known.
Welcome, my first love.
Come into the rain.
This is where the real you grows.

I am a Poet

Crawled out of my corner
No longer a prisoner in my own house
Un-blending from the shadows
Claw mark patterns, and red brick textures
Peeled from the coffee house wall
No need to bellow the truth
Tattooed on my breast since birth
Like an intricate badge, a hieroglyph message
Carved in the rings of ancient trees
Even when deciphered
Needed literal and serendipitous translation

Here I am
Here I write
A story no one has ever told
When the sun is rising and all of man
Silent as the morning after the big bang
I discover life teeming; not all around, but within
Suddenly aware of mathematical rhythms
Playing themselves into song
Singing and dancing out loud
What I was afraid to say all along

I
Am a poet
It is who I am
Who I have always been
Who I will always be
Whether or not the world knows
It is so

May You Always Have Mangoes:

with love for Ms Jones and Mr Brown on their Wedding Day
Two, November, Two Thousand Fourteen

at least one shared sunrise
waking to that slice of light across his or her perfect sleeping face
stimulating dinner conversations, wine flowing
just the two of you, or surrounded by family and friends
laughter. always laughter.
the right amount of longing
until your smiles are joined again
sunsets on the porch, on the beach, at the end of an argument
that never makes it through the night
love that feels as strong as the first time and as deep as the
last for all the rest of your lives
happiness together
like a bouquet of fruit flowers
delivered fresh to your morning table each day
may you never run out of things to say
and your love stay sweet and ripe to make your mouths water
through all the seasons of your lives

these things I wish for you
lovely couple

may your house always be full with the beautiful orange joy of mangoes

Fire Sign

(for Isabel)

A blue entry into the world cannot stop the little fire sign.
From the moment she is wrapped and warm, red becomes her glow

From her newborn breath, a whisper captures her father hypnotic
He is hers. His fire for her is instant as he protects and her little spark ignites.

throughout his life and hers.  Red ringlets bounce and dimples shine to top off
a gifted scientific mind. She creates inspires and is a colorful complex work of art.

Her song is a bee-bop, her step is a bunny skipping to the beat of a humming bird
and when she dances, she is full of grace tiptoe on the moon as all the world looks on

She spins, and we all become dizzy.  She laughs and commands our hearts to grin
There is a fire-haired girl at the center of the galaxy where the sun used to be

Don’t tell her she’s the one lighting our world
Though I suspect from that spot on her Daddy’s shoulder’s, she already sees.

All the Best Poems are Hiding

In the never-ending summer of mid-September,
an early morning cacophony of psychological torture.
An angry metal band of crickets with the volume cranked
bashing out the same repeated death notes.
Man and nature–inescapable in summer with pre-sunrise barking dogs
ceiling fans and condensers, lawn mowers, weed wackers, and motorcycles.
Even in the joy of late night lasting pool parties with screaming girls and top 40 jams,
I am forced to beg.  Straight down on my knees, closed eyes, prayerful tears in the corners, for the cold dark silences of winter.

Winter cannot be called unassuming.
Let the mighty storm blow!
Once and for all, it shuts man up, leaving his lip all quivering.
It can muzzle his riotous machines with one snap of a storm–all is silenced,
but for the crunch of feet in snow or the fizz and pop of a sparkling amber fire.
Winter has no need to wake us early with daylight to seize.
Winter rolls its frosty blanket over us and we recover in sleep from harsh
sun burns with cashmere sweaters on the skin
from booming summer thunder with silent snowflakes
alighting on a strand of hair across the forehead
like little words falling from thick folds of gray clouds in a winter sky
where all the best poems are hidden
suspended in an arc of silence,
until they become full, and sprinkle
down to earth into a poem
waiting for sound to fade

Soldiers for Love

Her best friend is eight.
Wants to be a soldier
she says.  A sadness in her heart showing
through the patina of her disquieted face,
clear brown eyes as deep as ancient Camelot
cast upward in search of an answer
to war.

She worries about everything,
especially this blonde and blue
soldier boy.
She knows the smell of bloodshed.
She has lived this war before–
little old soul packaged in seven years
pale skin, auburn curls, sprinkled a golden gossamer
burgundy lips speaking ancestral prose.

She can tell us our past, but
does not know our future.
She understands, but no longer remembers
how the worst in us returns to earth
in the red blood of children, spilling hatred at our feet
still

we fight the other, words to guns, holy books to missiles
we fight ourselves, words, separation, starvation, deprivation, and guns.

She sees the best in us
comes from love
for the blonde and blue-eyed soldier boy
with the freedom to choose his own way
to fight
for love
with words
or guns.

Tiny Voices

She stares out from the kitchen
searching for words that only form
in the silences between here and there
little valleys of space while driving
cannot be captured

She sees mountains
laundry, toys, artwork, books
television singing away all the words
light like snowflakes on the tongue
quickly melt away

reverberating chaos swirls ’round
moves with her from room to room
until the noise becomes a deafening block
of nothing and time slows to a still

for only the opening of a sweet little brown
feminine hand reaches through, touches her lips
like the last slice of ripe mango–
only this can break through the tornado of lost
thoughts, words, stories, and jumbled pieces of her

tiny voice inside, quiet again
listening to the tiny voice outside,
smiling, always smiling, at her mother
since the day she came home

 

To all the Girls without Fathers on Father’s Day

If he’s gone now
or was gone early on
if he was never there at all
if he was there but didn’t see you

if you have a hole where your father should be

I grew out of the shadows of that empty space too.
I am a whole woman, here to tell you,
no matter where he was, or where he is now
sweep up these words, the pieces of all the world’s empty or
unfinished daughters on Father’s Day
plant them in your empty space, so love can grow,

you know? Because you don’t have any more days
to hunt, for whatever he wasn’t or isn’t anymore
or whatever you want him to be. Let the chase and wild-eyed dogs cease.
You only have now. Even if you never glimpsed him at all.
He already gave you everything

Hands and heart, eyes and soul, of a woman capable

Love and be loved if you choose. Step out. Barefoot and skirt twirling into the street,

arms to the sky and smiling because on Father’s Day,
you became whole and balanced spinning on one toe into a world just waiting
for you to be open, to hear the voice, the one inside of you
that says I miss having a father, but it will not stop me
from dancing into my own comfortable skin.

On Father’s Day, even without him, I will once and for all be me!

The Moon in Mexico

Somewhere deep in childhood
a time in Mexico
warm blue ocean, whir of foreign tongue
a girl’s dream began
building castles in the sand

Something more than shells came back
hidden in her lifeblood, in the cascade of golden hair
always a connection between waves and shore
always a love story born
by tide and moon

So when I saw you for the first time
I recognized the fiesta in your eyes, the waves in your smile
moon glowing from your heart
whispering to my senses in distant languages
all grown up now from the girlhood dream

There you are, sand on your cheek
helping to conjure up new girlhood dreams
with these tiny constellations we created
“I love you Mama Luna!” they say, but
are seeing your reflection in me

It is you who came to us from the Mexican moon
on the glittering ocean flowing into a young girl’s dreams.