Feast of Burden

No. I can’t make it down tonight.

Through the door you

Knock on my belligerence

Testing my lock without a key

Imploring you:

“Please. Go down to greet our company.”

Delicately each holds paper napkins

Within which each hides

Their thin whispers of doubt.

“She’s better than expected.”

Suddenly everyone earns expert degrees

Doctorates of to each his own

Masters of there but for the

Grace of her go I.

Presenting cakes in white boxes

Secured with candy cane twine

Holding buttercream sugary sweet

Carefully crafted roses of pink.

I seriously consider meeting anyone

In an old baby blue chenille robe

Ragged and open,

My sash untied

I stand on the stairs waving goodbye.

The hours slipped out with my hair

From the knot in my head

Until finally the last clasp of

The door closes behind our pitied guests..

Don’t ask if I’d like a hug.

When did love become quid pro quo?

Kisses of dessert the price of a peach tart.

Clearing the table from the ruins of the night

Imagining Vesuvius and the

Bodies frozen in the flows of time.

Shoulders slump and I rock forward

Over my flattened chest.

Tired as a rag doll tied again and again

Stitched blue thread under my

Frilled little girl dress

Too short to cover this body

Underneath left a mess.

My torn head bowed in

Gratitude for advice:

Talk of cures and tinctures,

Beautiful fans of turkey tails cures

Sipping marshmallow teas

All my thankfulness

flows like champagne

Out of a magnum and into a glass

The shape of a queen’s breast.

I can still hear you slapping your thigh

Distant music about over-sold stories.

Hysterical scorn defers to look at me,

Your cheek down on my lap I stand up

Leaving your face on the old gold sofa

Its brocade brambles emboss your cheek.

I hate you in a moment.

My slippers slap the stairs

Punishing the floor boards

Just like a mother’s hand.

Upstairs the bedroom mirror stares back

I laugh along with her tight jaw —

My face looks uncooked and raw

Open the oven and turn on the gas

No not tonight I find a way

To stay and give this death a pass.

Hope Leaves

Hope lives 
In yellow lemons heavy and ripe with the color of all sunshine.
Trees aching with sour bliss
Somehow finding happiness
While wearing the remains
Of lingering acid kisses.
Long before we arrived
All that light found a single
Branch. I look in my hand
Having the entire universe
Right in my palm.
Mystery peels back the misery
Replaced by heat and the scent
Of innocence.
Delighted by impossibility
I come forward to bear witness to pure truth. Belief
In the chemistry, tested and
Drawn from within me - draining
Water now inside Where floats my will.

I beam with healing light
So I’m told, that my Mass, all my blood in a chaliceQuenched a thirst
To pass all these tests.
So I dress like a goddess
Secretly becoming more
But less than something
I knew before. Born
Safely here in a nest
Like a new red Robin
Cracked wide open
Leaving his blue speckled crest.
My shell belies the crisp spring air
That I breathed in and out
Still miraculously
All these tasks unconsciously
Sympathetic. My heart, my lungs
Fill with hope for any cure.

So cut me open and free.
Anonymous files stored away
Alphabetically by a steady hand.
Surgeons can fix anything
Sewing me up from the edge.
And hope renewed, miraculously.
Singly, we file out into a streak
Of white where we become one
Line. Our years walk heel to toe.
My turn will come
Eventually like everyone’s.

Where does the line end
In shreds of curled ribbon
Ripped against a scissors edge
In colors I wouldn’t choose.
Yes, we’re listening
Our ears to the wall Without the next answer
All of us fail and fall.

Yet there’s hope for truth:
Every green springs again
Every blue goes black
Every white wing flies
Even hell finds heaven again.
Our cheeks absorb - All the tears
Our heads defend - All the rain
Our mouths reject - All the words
Our bones crack - All the power
Our skin thins - All the scars
Our hands open - All the love Our wallets empty - All the hope
The gamblers and monks
The grifters and punks
Laugh at the boundaries
Of who you and I were now
Crossed like electrical lines
Connecting us to switch
On our heart lights.
The same power to know my soulExisted before I rode this train: Crossing border-less countries
Aimless and naked
Alone and afraid.
Breaking into my body
Stealing my baggage
A common robber holds up
My bones in steerage.
I’m nobody anymore
But a body to tear at
Until I’m empty of anything
Of value at all.

As a spawn of the dead
A pawn of this life
For what I deplore
And who I defend
Myself against the punch line Bereft of the joke.
It’s no longer funny
But simply strange
Not hearing any laughter.

Climbing up a shaky ladder
To unlock the attic
My life lies packed away
Saved for a future still unknown date
I slice open the boxes
Letting fresh air inside
Wipe away the dust
And watch
My memories fly out like moths
Faded pictures of the past rise up
Ascend above the trees
And into the cloud
Pouring down onto rooftops
Where my hope still resides.

Insomniac: Stage IV

Morning yawns and stretches its arms  
To part the curtains of night.
Tired midwife to light from
From her expectant horizon
The earth inches towards her morning.
Clean, cool fingers weave threads
Of sweet perfumed wisteria and more
Unnameable long forgotten blooms.
Clean and combed through dew damp air.
Buds nodding on their stems,
Draw blood from my veins with thorns
Like cat claws after a scare.

Suddenly clouds burst and showers fall
To save dry backyards and crops
Now cut away from the view unguarded
From natures reach over treetops.
Lost years and fences already raised
Desperate for mending and tattered.
Puddled earth evicts worried worms,
Plucked by late rising birds from their
Broken homes.

While in my solitary confinement,
Within an escapable white picket fenced
Yard, I wave farewell to school busses
And to the workers who clean up the world.
Alone to remember cubes and corners
Push pinned photos, plaques of platitudes,
Email boxes and bustling buildings
Where tight schedules and bright slides
Bore like radiation into the heads of
Departments of the thoughtless and benign.

My wooden porch now a port of call for
Rain long overdue for such late afternoons.
I’m stuck in an everlasting April spring day.
As sprinklers timed soak the lawn
The sun’s last rays motion with
Long, scolding fingers at
Now unknowable faded faces
Trapped like tonight’s fish for supper
In this morning’s papers.

Laid out on a communal table
Where wisdom and innocence
Convene to discuss the current
Events of still births and deaths.
Hands engaged with wild gestures
Waving forks and spoons for effect -
Interrupting pointless chatter to flatter
And cut meat from a fatted calf.
Everyone silenced by politeness,
Knifing right through the heart of the matter.

The evening’s news flickers
Behind the puffery of shades
Hiding shadow boxes inside windows.
Like a sober fly in a glass of whiskey
Wet wings legs spinning drowned
The hands of its god take it down.

I walk with solitude as she unwraps
Her arms thick with compassion
Beckoning me inside for consolation.
Using one wave to cast away
Anyone who might see me crying.
We sit together on a dark park bench
Watching every creature under suburban
Skies that all fit on a single broom stick.
If no one bothers then no one counts
Things yet unseen, like angels
Atop a pin head. Yet we must believe
That stars still sparkle until the dark unveils
Who’s home and left behind
To sing unearthly cries of grief.

Arched branches bow green
Soft leaves shake and flow
From willows left weeping
While night whispers to me:
Please save us all.
As the trees fade to black,
Wind whips at my face.
From the fringes, howls
Break into my mind.
I can no longer breathe
hidden and weak
In the between
With these heavier things.