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.