Tag: poetry

Fly Away Home, Blessed Body

In Memorium, Jnani Chapman

“Blessed body heal this beauty,”
Her song flowed gently —
We lived longer in her hands.
Once, all at one time
She let fly love’s bounty:
The heart’s harvest floating on
A barge atop a boundless wave.
Rivers of tears flow beyond our sight,
Farther this time — please, to not return.
Within the star white
Light of the quilted night, sewn into
A blanket of every color
By her own hands.
Swinging movements to and back
Here, to find the constant:
Love equals gravity plus motion.

Calling to us on the shoreline,
With a Cheshire smile
We wave her back in, yet
Calliope, turned to me
Whispering in the wind,
“Wish her safe passage, instead.”
Lifting our eyes to the skies
Ethereal blue air filled
With the soft silence of
Dandelion feathers blowing
And billowing in winter’s dusk.
Everywhere, time to head home.
All the better for knowing
Grace once embodied us
With the cure of her touch.

Let night shine with a million bits
Of candlelit diamond dust and
Let her spirit dance and spin in
Swirling white wild robes.
We seek the wide eyed child
Instead finding her silk sails had set
A course just above the curve
Of earth, into the horizon.
Glimmering into the shimmer
Of the red ruby crystal day
Behind the shadow of the sun.
Landing everywhere together
Touching every space, untethered
To the mystery unseen,
Now shimmering in us and in between.

A blue velvet bag opened by this single
Movement – her hand reached
Into the spaciousness above
And all stars’ light unpacked, and
Secreted away in drawer full of daydreams.
Now the seashore glistens
With the promise of night, and
Eternally luminous
With all the befores,
And all the ever afters,
Moving our millions of tears
Into a single smiling river.
“Goodnight my beautiful bodies,”
And we fly away home, laughing.

Humid

Unlatch me, catch and return me
scales, underbitten and in the flesh
A real guest of honor.
Crumpled shirts creased,
A Western hanging for
Black hats. Barn door closets
Open and craving smart suits.
Drawers devoid of life,
Almost empty except
Gideon’s guide book —
The Special Edition
With tourist maps all

Pointing north at heaven.

City of the mourning,
New Orleans. Crowning delta
Below the Mississippi
Yawning maw of God’s gulf,
Inhumane with heat and Sunday
Revival tents wailing
Bodies flailing fall
Into hands holding healing swords.
Flashing off for good now
Our red light died a slow
Death of the reception’s
Nightly cries passing.
I lift the receiver to hang
So lifelessly in my hand

In place of a revolver.

I paid for a view not a single window
Dirty false balconies
Overlooking rooftops and
A city-brown river.
Lime junkets float down under
The bridge of my nose.
Hangover sweat on sweet
Silk sheets of honey, carts
Of cigars and molten cherries
Jubilee. Bananas
Charles Foster Kane,
I believed in his full name. He

Came from nothing, too.

The Light of Reason

The light of reason
Shines least
On the most alluring
Accompaniments.
Good works gleam
With diamond dust intensity,
Arrested by a photographer
Caught setting jewels:
Emeralds, sapphires, rubies
Where the eyes once saw you.
Scintillations and
Ministrations of cold
Creams to cover girls.
Replete with therapeutic virtues –
Liquidsolidgas
Scientific foundations
And loosely pressed theories:
For lips
Two-fold
Exuberance.

Eventide

Riding passenger side snapping right,
I’m down in front stealing long exposures.
From the back seat our youth sits
Mocking us with instant polaroids.
Destroyed pictures of minutes and memory
Precious and precarious slip a stone
At once here and at once gone.
Right under the driver breaks hard and higher
Up another mile, silently stealing all we pass.
As if it meant nothing, had no value.
Yet we never stop to salute the flowers –
All wilds and yellows and purples.
The foothills’ shoulders grow peonies
Upon sunshine golden with military ranks.

How jagged time?
We spend ours climbing again as
Eventide approaches us.
Stealing the light
Squinting and teasing Every photographer’s eye.
The lens escapes the fight as fists fly
Above us rung the first punch
Headliners: the over-real versus the unbelievable.
Then we drop down tearing around
The Summit dragging the day with us.
With us flat then right over on the side.
Buckshot sprays whitetail from
Underneath the wheels,
My skin and bones chill fast underneath
Blankets just a quarter mile thin –
Count the microclimates in a 14 mile exposure.
My imagined assignment, anyway.

Inertia now driving our ascension
Finally dousing my focus.
Yet I am pacified by
Deep coastal royal blue velvet,
And by the courtly cape
Of dense silver fog.
Trees, reach in and take my attention
Lost in the sky and yet at home.
Away with the little brick foxes
Already started by the drooling hounds,
Running in distant golden broken lines
Shrinking to a pointed index
Finger of bent redwood lumber.
Penciled between the knotted trees
Escaping our eyes
They write letters to us
To one another, to anyone.
I imagine the trees alone love themselves.
Writing in dead languages those
Modern towers of Babylon
Without oral tradition
No monks or followers to take dictation
The mighty ones tie rings around
Paper and papyrus of their own making.
They, like me, can write their own stories.

Distant deamons dance to the music of the eventide,
Whose eardrums thump and pop from slight descents.
Mercies clear the stares and the macabre glances.
And up ahead the night hides just around
The voluptuous Earth’s curves.
Yet she shakes off the road upon her hip
Langushing and lounging
Laughing at all the forsaken highways.

You snap me awake.
My hypnotic state undone
By our quick duel and I, only me –
I roll one window down
With enough sense to know
The party orange of evening presents
A moment for exposure
Showing the night undone
By the simplest flash
As we find a space and stall the motor,
King and queen of the hills
Announced by snare drums and trumpets.
Goodbye, twisted bruised skin of eventide.
Eventide, goodbye.

Mine Fields

Is the rain bothering you awake?
No honey, your breath tries my dreams.
Silence, broken by my
Finger tips tapping out
Warnings in barbed Morse code.
So even a clock stopped dead
Is twice right, like opinions or
Pain medications.
A real mistress knows that
Night whispers her end.
Pearls, wisdom and
Idioms stick to the black
Floor of a yellow city cab.
Like all irrelevant souvenirs,
We leave it on the seats.

Do you hear the cat snoring?
Yes, he lies back pure in sleep,
Swift tail whips a dream’s fiend.
Wagging sinuous and snapping,
Fortunes of thumbs and scams or
Of more dexterous hands, of
Beasts who feed and caress.
Swiping the tiny dimple up
Right between his almond
Eyes. Exactly where four
Fumbling aimless paws
Aim yet miss. He must always
Itch, just as you flip and fumble
Over to find a cold field
Covered head to toe in clover.

Follow the Queen

My room unlatched
Releasing shirts, slacks
To hungry closets for
New black suits.
Drawers devoid, empty,
Open for guides and
Maps. A single dirty window
Opens to a brick wall.
My memory of the word
“Defenestration” fell out.
My mouth shares the doubt
Of an incomplete education.
Underneath paper thin sheets
Uncover my form asleep dreaming,
Murmuring bird breeds.
I fly into the diaspora.
Street artisans took to the
Deep sea once, yet to which land?

I hold the receiver and
Wish for a revolver.
Legal language defense
Foreign escapes
Hold up in court.
Unknown room numbers
In a delicious series of
Chambers marked 12, 31
Maybe 2004.
Remembering a stone cold six story
Buddha in a wide open gin palace.
Cigars and molten cherries
Jubilee. Bananas foster
Charles Foster Kane,
His full name from nothing.
Mother’s greasy brunch pumpkin
Markets and street tchotchkes.
Snow globes from America where
Going down South the snow
Attracts curious tourists.
Temporary neighbors
Angry without rose beds,
Lawnmowers without preteens.
I learned the names of
Chateaux. Bordeaux, Chablis
Pure sunshine Chardonnay.
Tastevin and Caskets
Down in the catacombs
The same town underground.

Rise up and run off
Spilling me like syrup
On pancake embankments.
A cooing stewed pigeon
On an expired warranty the
Black dial telephones,
Hissing tube televisions.
Anonymous but you only
Would send such indifferent
Cheap bouquets of sprayed
Carnations and baby’s breath.
Such sorry little pimples
Those flowers, like calling
Cards for bill collectors.
Or foreign exchanges between
Currencies for emergencies.
Ladies wearing smart suits
Tahitian pearl chokers
Rhinestone bangle bracelets
Bengal tiger-print hot pants.
A real mistress
Ends in a whisper
Her knowledge sits stuck
In the back of a cab.
Like all irrelevant souvenirs.
Bees swarm from the 300 year oak
Guarding the fire department.
Emptying from the hive
Growling as one great
Carpet to cover the daylight yellow
Moist and musky bungalow.
Shotgun shacks, powder kegs open
Their queen, a patron saint
Leaves her scent, thinning the
Hive of the dullards,
The abused and the confused.
One last time, dressed
For success the top opening
For California mornings air.
I sneak out the back and press on,
Press on emerging into traffic.

Florida, State Your Name

You carry our secrets whispered into cardboard boxes tied tight with candycane twine
(That kind you find in old-time kosher bakeries.)
Tall cakes topped with buttercream flowers in new-fatigue green and suburban-Mustang blue whose
Stemless petals rise above yellow spongey layers with strawberries.
Pure as curbside snow. Pure as little girls with pinch pink cheeks.
Too early for my birthday the trail of a mistake runs upstairs from cheap paper doilies.
Pin striped suit coat and sea glass blue shirttails waving gooodbye, or hello,
(I never knew the difference.)
My hair twisted into a gilded fist as you push my resistance down,
Down into the drowned warped boards.
Raising my right hand, I swear you found a pushover:
A raggedy doll tape and bubble gum, of bare burlap, plaid, and buttons, of red yarn
Covering my torn skin where I stitch myself up and over
(And over to hold myself in again.)
A stray calico cat sits in the window right above your shoulder, startled by your loud heart.
I can still hear you slapping your thigh and then,
Distant laughter cries at your day-old jokes jokes and overtold stories.
Your hysterical, foul, scorn defers a look at me.
I hated you for that minute, then carrying on again I forget you already told me.

My face looks tired, uncooked, undone.
While white hot light sheds the palmetto scrub
Covering the non-natives invading our country- bright boisterously green parrots.
Which fly in on an uncommon flight schedule,
Catching a torrent of wind the turkey vultures wind into a tornado
Turning up higher and faster into the late afternoon rain.
Here, every shower comes in on time right at four.
Bursting open ladies with umbrellas, with daisy dresses, tulip capris, white rose tanks,
Waltzing by the front porch screen doors squeaking,
Slippery dimpled thighs sing together,
All sweet, easy, glide by leaving their perfume behind.
Then zipped into black patent leather hand bags powders, compacts,
Glossy rippled heat waves us in on a 45 degree right angle sun ray.
Show up the hidden mildewed sinews of ductwork,
And the hum of air conditioners masking our words.
Slowly dripping outside busy windows pelted by huge mosquitoes,
Or rain?
(Probably rain cries outside)
Only two minutes, like soft boiled eggs on timers,
Now done cooking. Her eyelashes, false
Newly bred widows sit with spidery eyes,
Single fingers silently making reservations for you.
They reapply the glue, so unkind, that damned humidity.

Home Ode

Stop and go in snow, in traffic, mother
Of course it’s the weather, noneother.
Midwestern December seasonal jokes –
As many as there’s names for Snow in Alaska,
Outcries and inside laughter.

Generously long routes, craning to savor day’s last light,
Good behavior rewarded, we finally turn right —
Towards the porch lit arms.
They wear glowing, wicks smoking, closed farms.
White, blue, red halos dripping, wax tendrils
Waning slowly, gasping on card crowded mantles.
But for one home, at once a sudden single
Moment and no more.
Staring, sending messages,
Minding the change. Her sharp, shrill voice calls:
I’m fine, no really fine, go worry about the environment.

Gulf side store-bought guilty cinnamon sweetness,
She’s now explaining,
(No patience anymore, as though you appreciated it?)
I change. I lay my gloves, toss my driving wet scarf
In the canyon eroded onto the old twin beds.
Returning, in a few moments all slippers and robes,
Old reruns of TV, family, historical arguments
Hidden in revisions and mistakes.
Taciturn remarks about topless cars,
About wild Mustangs and scorching scars.
Carbon, dating with all four on the floor.
Eternal dark hands latch white storm doors,
Snow pushed up on lawnless grounds.
Signs, wired ice knives — shattering, creaking, pointing down
Augers the night of Damocles, whose sword flashes
Screaming in the dark: stop, go, stop and go.

Spring brings black pitch tar steaming fill and rising streams.
He’s certain of the weather, again, I know.
When Minnesota blood runs south via the mouth
Of the Mississippi River byways and embankments,
The answer spits out as ice and precipitation.
The coin fed arcade witch or gypsy — your good fortune in hand.
Our God instructs with tiny gifts of anticipation,
And I, the torch of pain as a paper angel holds her wand
I sing of shame, tuning forks, and rabbit ears.
Why it’s so plainly true, your grin widens coldly, I suppose.
As a frightening hand clocks to and back a metronome,
Heavenly-made answer saves the wost worn.
How wrong, again, or all along, again.

Weather and evening corralled the horses inside.
Our engines idled, cooled, then died.
Suddenly yet expectantly (as ice or apple pie)
Boring holes in us with collapsible eyes —
Like summer left us in an awful rush,
So the bent boys gasped
As tall awkward girls cried.

Shadow Dancing

Until the day comes when my breath no longer returns from the night,
Now visible from my lungs, vapor trails hang frozen in the wintry air —
Then if my labored lungs must remain longer, I remain.
When the last black bloom of your want wilts and waivers again,
And my secret history garden fades into the night like dreamers in the shallows,
Tumbling (at the seashore, swept up with any undelivered moonlight)
Until my breathlessness sheds the air’s sour taste,
Returning me to the source of persistent music and its instruments
Tuned by invisible, merciless hands.
Voices sweet like memories singing,
Louder than every sound ever heard all together at one time,
To drown out my questions,
Your ciphers long forgotten yet tested for time
To the unknown names of every crime.
Yet to ask from nowhere, I insist —
There, how effortlessly you knew when I waited until the day turned and left.
(You cannot say the name “Forever” again.)

While my words waltz to the end of time,
Dancing to a rolling lento drum,
I sent you a present, a tune wrapped up
With yesterday’s news knotted in pale silken twine – please
Right here in black and white, look at it.
How do you refute indisputable lines?
(Though now every last bite of it tastes rotten and bitter…)
Untie the infinite ribbons of light opening my hands, lost in midair
Drink deep from the water of my solace,
As it drips with words from my lips
To quench the ache of every moment:
Find a small skeleton key in my laced fingers,
Weakened from solving all history’s lessons.
As a body folds in on itself
It holds faster, together.
(We question the answers and quickly bury our words.)

Maybe next year we can awaken the annuals again.
The stuff of sudden daydreams —
You falling into the arms of the air,
I sit and wait although not selfish with my hope,
Yet this alone drives me home again.
(If cure becomes your solitude, then shame reminds you of my defeat.)
As the truth emerges, lighting dim violet walls,
Our bedroom shadows sway dancing, slowly.
As I sing softly in the key of grace,
Hold on to me so that I may keep you still
And reach gently into your memory’s halls.
Your open windows – please,
(Tonight unlatched, just this once I may return unharmed.)

Now, go back to sleep, stay still unmoved until
Morning as its long fingers find your cold cheeks.
Starting you awake once more,
By hearing some faint distant laughter you think,
“I know her.”
And you may possibly recognize my voice like notes of an opera,
(Now impossible to discern my spirit, ascending towards starlight and mournings bright sun)
No one takes anybody or a thing into the ever-years aspired,
And where the memory serves no use, we lose our hearts and fears.
And though we know the futility of life’s take, we all roll at once and descend to die trying.

Present Perfect

Ashen long shadow-colored faces stare back from my past.
Time sits in my lap a small child, hands raw and worried, consoled
Comforted by stories of never lands and ever mores.
Today, my words rendered illegible, erased nervously.
All the while
Darting back
Shoulder
To shoulder –
left right
left right.

Somewhere a darkened classroom with every wall covered
By blackboards waiting, vacant for me.
Now, turning deserted like a Western town,
With chalk wisps ghosts, picture the sentences
So long ago hung on a nail struck by an invisible hammer.
Tonight’s erasers let out old chalky coughs, like a smoker’s
Thick with phlegm and gravel. Cleaning the felt gills free
From years of numbers and letters,
I beat
Them
Together
Hard
And fast.
The remaining clouds too thin to grab hold
By the sky, shimmer, unlined heavy lids shutter eyes
So weightlessly, lashes feathery, they move too easily,
Then blow past us, like a divorce.
Folding myself in to bend at the cracked window,
Seeing a reflection in the mirror panes,
I shiver first at the draft, and as the stars give way to the day,
I see everything.

I find all the sunshine ever shined,
Filtered through my forests, my pin pupil eyes.
And I, without permission,
Acting out against all advice –
Finally stare into the sun.

Overcome by warmth in my extremities,
My silhouette against the wallpapers,
In a still house framed by night.
Looking over the unnatural hills a flutter appears.
No birds yet, not a song, no flights, no song.
Though late enough for a gray mourning dove.
Listing up over the trees, on currents along moves
The flightless wings floating delicately, white.
At my feet: paper with a single seam
Addressed to only me,
Retun to a boy named Eternally
I unfold but once, then read.

“Make one promise if you please: only now and for you,
if for want of love to capture the clouds,
snapped still like a photograph,
take just enough and give your heart to listening alone.
Talking creates your deafness of thought
and silences your laughter.”