“Don’t wait” the first
Subject and verb meant
What I heard: it’s my turn.
These wasted times,
My healthy days numbered
Counting crows in a line.
Life and death married
And birthed you together
So don’t wait for
Tonight or for daylight
When winds kick up a mess
Of better yesterdays.
Sour mash in a dirty glass
Ice diluting the burning
Hoarse throats from thirst
So deserted, beyond quenching.
Straddling my legs up to the bar
And wild wet eyes find
You outside of the frames
pictures -you took them, too.
Stored in musty boxes
In basements and attics
All dressed up, obnoxious
When glasses obscured by
Bottle blondes divorced and lonely.
Time in the mind only reminds
Us of what no longer stabs at
Our hearts. Funny things:
Gene’s helixes and a pine’s cones
All the sacred plans for galaxies
Spun Nautilus shells and
The ringing bells in my ears.
Yet some refuse any sound
Like the dying refuse food.
Outside nature awaits and what sings
Of life alone in the flutter.
Nudging the willow tree’s long locks
A hummingbird wings create unrest.
Crying tiny drops of firelight
Candles leave wax rings
Worn into wood, married by ownership
And warning our bodies
in the dusk’s lazy sun adrift the sea
Winking goodbye as it hides for the night.
At home we take the complaints of stuttering billy goats
Where clamorous hens kick
At the roosters who forgot a nest
Or two. What about me?
It’s the way we all feel
Have they no idea
our children fled the nest -
Leaving their rooms full
Of their trophies
While we wait to sleep
In fitted sheets
Dug in graveyards with
Names like Star of David.
Smoothed over blue grass grown
Watching the dead proves
Equally as boring.
It doesn’t mean a thing
I mean that nothing was meant by it:
To say that at birth
We become life and death, as one
Growing taller, spinning
Until we grow dizzy and
Giggling in the know
Of moment we will fall
Carefully goes the innocence
Spiraling, radiating out
Of our mouths the
breath of love itself.
Rejoiced in our screams and cries.
A call to our guilty conscience
That wears heavy on our bones
Asking again to what ever we’ve
Said no. Must we unpack and
Put their guilt in the pantry
Set the table with the China
The sheets hang out in the
Golden dusty fields
Collecting the scent of
Late sunlight in baskets
After hanging up on the lines
With the rest of the whites
Faded and drying we remain
Dying in the sky tidally locked
Like the moon to the earth
And never once asking
For more than a simple goodbye
“One day we will meet again”
Though I never have
Known you in your own skin
Only under layered pelts
Like laundry hanging from your deserted bones.
Dare we share the bond
That darkness cannot control?
Isn’t that a woman’s fate:
to allow men to drink
Until they drain our souls?
*from Frank Ostaseski’s The Five Invitations, highly recommended on audio book as read by the Author.
“Don’t wait,” is the first invitation. One cannot live their entire life or tell all those they love how they feel, or forgive even yourself of any pain; it’s never too late, however.
Pulling from the highest shelf
(Hoping no one noticed)
A book labeled too provocative to leave behind:
“Dead & Pretty”
How they once sipped water through stems
From beneath the clean garden soil.
I sit on oak old chairs at Along library table with hearts carved by keys
Holding initials of what love leaves
Turning pages of pressed flowers
Bowing their heads in prayer hour after hour.
Weak petals dry as ice
Lining page after page with the names
Of the dead typed carefully
To let me not forget:
Poppy, Lily, Daisy, Cassia, Aster
Carefully as though stepping through a grave yard - faster and faster
I close the tomb of wild things
With Short lives. I sit remembering
Trying to sweep away my cobwebs
I find dust and mold instead
My skin the color of smooth stones
My body’s brittle bones
Now the color of magnolias.
Water in those years
Turned ore to rust everywhere. Torrential winter snows
Opened up on sleepy
Flower beds. Springing now
Surprising early yellow tulips Yawning their petals open
Waiting to hear the breezes beat to begin dancing -
Bent and swaying
In their cradle and their grave.
Marigolds in my grandma’s garden
Weeds to her - once graced
Me with my tomorrow’s and memories and yesterday’s.
Can you recall when “I love you”
Was enough to buy more time?
Now that I’m expiring, do you still consider
That money well spent?
You bent me towards the light. Then let me go to cry alone.
I know the dawn - I tell you
Dusk I know, too, time lies.
We’ve come for shoveling
Our rough callous hands holding
A bouquet of ill gotten gains.
Some say we’re born of women
Some only children of men
Yet it’s in the heat of my own body
Where I am born again.
My own flowers are planted in clay pots
Held in by iron fences waiting
For chances at their time in the garden.
If you could do it over again
Would you mind not knowing why?
The fall’s done showing off,
Yet Women’s work is never done
Even once we have succumbed to the worst of it.
I set my timer for high tide
Boarding early. Late as ever
You stumbled as you rolled with the waves.
Why you insisted to save
Yourself yet let your legs give way breaking your stride
Now drowning in tears and years of regret
(told you so I told you so)
“Make memories like books of pressed flowers
Let the beauty lie for you
Make the memories last longer.”
Too busy to listen now listless and deaf
Now throwing yourself to a tear soaked ocean
Right along with my steamer trunk
Filled with your pasts
With all the photographs.
All the pressed flowers now floating like dead fish
Along side my face pressed
Against yours in a kiss.
Now Walking the house end yo end like an old pirate
You won’t sleep until you can’t stay awake.
Once you dreamed of drowning
Yet found a floating plank instead
Freed from a boat that crashed long ago
Its bounty sunk down down on a coral reef.
You never learned, yet I swam
Without taking a breath until I found the
Flowers of the sea at
Depths that mean only one things.
And now with the ahead and forwards alone
How easy to forget how love feels.
Rolling your shoulders back
And now put the book on the shelf where it belongs.
(You knew I was no thief)
I meant to return it at least you choose to believe it.
Cleaved cleft chins, white teeth, braces, pink watermelon lipgloss, and beards all seem ridiculous these days. Behind a mask there’s no way to shine a smile of gratitude to a shop clerk or for someone’s kindness in holding open a door. We look plastic in polarized soundless shock. The cranes fly overhead in t-formations migrating from and to places I never studied and to think about it those birds I knew, birds where I’ve been basking in year’s outside. We live in the same warmth that those millions of million year old northerners calved their ill suited families to drag suitcases behind them. Straining and scraping down all the front porch stairs while waiving goodbye wearing dry dirt colored corduroys and flag striped mock tops. Masking the sounds of the dead floorboards as winter draws nearer, I cracked my knuckles on hands divided by savage time.