Poem with No Name

if you see it from the moon
depth and translucence of blue
drawing you into a breathless sway
as you move with the swirls of white

you cannot imagine the violence
committed in the name of drawing lines
the naming of intangible things
thoughts as swirls of white smoke

to choke, to kill, to die
for heroes of the past
children of the future
blood red under the swirls of white

touch down in the desert
feel the waters of a tiny brown hand
peeled from her mother’s breast
wails not muffled by the swirl of white

do we all stand as she does
alone in front of our judge
to be named criminals who lay witness
to the caging and skinning of all that is not white

in the name of a thing with red stripes
against the blue and stars of white

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She is not a poet. This is not a poem.

She leaves poems all over the place

like dirty socks.

Words worn for a minute and rolled off into a wad in the hall,

under the bed,

in an imaginary New York apartment with wood floors,

but this is just Phoenix

and the fucking heat will burn a hole in your soul

like the words you want the world to hear,

but instead just sit on an unread unfollowed unsubscribed blog

without anyone–not even your mother

ever laying eyes on them.

She

sits in her white suburb at the kitchen table scarred by the

careless hands of children, and she stares

at the wall thinking

about how to put these words into some sort of meal

that makes people devour them and sit back with full bellies

savoring the juiciness.

She is just making poems from a box, ordering takeout

phrases that just do not satisfy.

She

used to be part of family dinner and even though it wasn’t New York,

the poems didn’t matter anymore.  She was full.

And now, she is alone in a room full of people

and the words matter to no one else

but fill up the moment, the day, the life

for they are all

she

has

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

she was honest from the start
she could only handle so much

when results were in
her hand writing over and over them

the only solution was to wail and
begin lying—to everyone she knew

if anyone ever imagined the worst
of those paper bags in the clinics

they need not worry, for the bags
are filled with lies

those we tell ourselves and others
especially our children

whose death is a truth and sorrow
leaving us like an abandoned chrysalis

frail, transparent, with a hole we’ll never fill
only the spirit of a blue butterfly

escaping with the lie

Cold Vegetable War Era

anyone could tell by the menu
I was raised by a kid
not even young enough to vote

vegetables in my childhood
were onions on a McDonald’s hamburger
which I scraped off

they were mashed potatoes
whipped with heaps of whole milk and butter
which I glazed in gravy

or sort of green
green beans from a can
which I tricked my brother into not eating

the way I refused to eat tater tots
another bygone vegetable
my mom could send to all the starving children

if I ate the iceberg lettuce salad
with lots of Wishbone dressing
then I could have strawberries with sugar

oh–my kids with their broccoli, peas, and carrots
would rise up in a five-a-day rebellion
if they knew my secret vegetable history

To the Moon (but not back this time)

quiet comfortable floral decor
could have easily been the Hilton
except my father lay dying
between his wife and me

his shallow breath
a silent movie playing in the background
white feet on their way to bones
poking from under the covers

his bald head
nodded in peaceful sleep
when the rise of his chest
stopped too long

as if to play a joke
another deep breath in
not ready to let go
as we crowd him to comfort ourselves

before we say goodbye
like a baby again
an occasional sleeping smile
as his organs shut down

perhaps he was laughing
at his father’s joke, a prankster
gone before, here to give my dad a grin
as he prepares for his departure.

Wasting the Good Surprise

Sitting quietly waiting
at the OB-G Y N
when who should appear
but the EX of my worst mistakes
his sweet new wife, their parents
and their peanut’s ultrasound

Trying to avoid his stare
to identify his former conquest,
I didn’t look up from my tabloid
to see who he used to be.
Flashing a coffee stained smile,
he sat down to tell me his life.

He bathed in himself
through five or six patients
until finally “wifey” ran out of
3D pictures and grins for
courteously questioning in-laws
and her mother’s raised brow

She smiled to my rescue
through awkward introductions
and polite recollections of the years
I wasted in her shoes;
although so happy now
for unanswered prayers

Alone at last, still waiting
I realize, my secret is unknown
to everyone but the beast unburied
from the wasteland of my past.
I can no longer sit smiling with the secret
you and I were saving ‘til the bump of the belly.

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.