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

 

 

Landslide

One would think
awareness of the moment you lost it all
does not come
while sitting in a thick cloud of illusion that suddenly clears.
Too dramatic of course.
Ponder instead, how the littlest of things
are the beginning.
Pebbles and slippage of sand always come
before the landslide and breaking bone at the end.
And what of the ever present sense of dread?
Just a twitch, a fast heartbeat away from becoming
the truth
about us.
Before we know it,
it’s just a story we tell strangers
about how we lost our way.

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

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.

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.

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

 

Mark of a Dove

(for Ella)

Hiding your heartbeat behind mine
wishing to remain our secret
curled in the winter’s den of our love
until the spring thaw

You emerged from hibernation
a tentative spring tulip
questioning the world
seeking the butterfly and the rain

On your soft brown root
the pink mark of a dove, a stamp
from the lovebirds nesting on the windowsill
confirming you as our gift

A baby we will call Shai
still connected to both worlds
passing in dreams between the two
like the flutter of angel’s wings

When in your mother’s arms
on your fourth day,
you laughed out loud, some secret jest
I will never know

And when you are one
and the trees are to you like shooting stars
I know you have come from that other world
spirit of a dove

On the Road

Sooner or later

she’s got to realize,
1969 at two and a half,
blonde pig tails, and
embroidered bell bottoms
was a banner year.
The best of ’em.

When she said,
“I a hippie.”
She really had a good idea
of self–
back then.

These days, it’s just a run
for the money.
Watch your words, your back, and your
bank account. Forget those new
running shoes, I’ve decided. No shoes
will do just fine for this next part of the road.

What I want to be when I grow up
is everything I ever knew in the
sparkle of dandelions growing in
my backyard. I a hippie.
Not workin’ for the man or
the woman in his suit.

No, this jungle animal is breaking
free of this food chain. Dean and
Marylou would dig it. Time
for me to hit that high note too.

Island Exposed

I am an island
and you are the sea

Only you.  Surrounding me
under me, lapping gently over

smoothing my edges
until one day I feel exposed

and realize you are adrift.
Nature out of balance,

a tide out too long.
“I am the ocean.”

you want to say
but don’t

“I am tired of gazing at your weathered trees,
your stony beaches.

There are hundreds of islands,
new, different, in love with me like you.”

You say none of that.
You silently retreat.

“But, I love you,”
I say.

There is no ripple to that
whisper.

Only blowing dust in a desert
that was once the sea.