Facial Blindness*

Her brittle old tortoise shell prescriptions
Blur a head of softly graying curls
He needs a cut, she whispers, always to herself.
Anyone in or not in the grocery store line that afternoon.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, whole milk
Lettuce heads and newly sprouted wheat, and
Baby spinach asleep in the sway of her basket.
A figure furiously waves from ahead of him,
As if he’s about to shoot the games winning point,
Calling his name
Louder than a fool.
God knows everyone by name.
No one knows how old a person grows
When you meet them again for the first time
Every day grows old the second time.
Meeting a mirror,
Waving at a mistake.

She imagined him drawing
On her insides by
Some mysterious ancient men in the caves
of France with
Sepia stick figures or during the war
Kilroy was here.
Words and pictures.
Guilty of cervical vandalism.
Warm looks exchanged and
Holding him in her
knowing glance,
“Mother, it’s you.”

*Prosopagnosia – a brain disorder of the occipital and temporal lobes that doesn’t allow a person to recognize another person’s face. It’s as if looking at someone through a dense fog. Helpful in recognizing a person by sight include physical quirks and traits, for example a severe limp, large glasses, a very tall person, or bright hair, etc. Without any guideposts even a husband can look straight through his wife in a mall and never know they’d passed one another at all. The poem imagines an anecdote related to me by an acquaintance of mine who has had prosopagnosia his entire life. He could not recognize his own mother in line at a grocery store after she’d gotten new prescription glasses and had forgotten to tell her son. And he’d forgotten to tell her that those old glasses were his only queue…

Look into My Crystal Ball, or The Writer as Telepath

The blank page: at times a writer’s inanimate nemesis. The written output, the writer’s words lend themselves to an infinite life with inasmuch potential. This simple premise suggests a complex hypothesis: a writer’s output can bridge the gap between art and science, alchemy and physics, space and time. The writer becomes a telepath sending messages into the future for a reader to interpret. Somewhat like a clairvoyant or perhaps the act exists in the realm of remote seeing, where one person would send a thought or image across time and space or pick up images from maps or clues designed to lead the seer to a specific area for finding, for instance, another country’s nuclear weapon silo.

Interesting to consider these assumptions imbue alternative meanings to the act of reading. You immediately see the past and derive a picture of the past, or the future in science fiction or fiction generally by interpreting words laid out as clues by the writer.

Extending the conceit of my satirical discourse, astrophysicists might look for wormholes between the covers of a book rather than through the lens of mathematics. A writer collapses the past and future at the every moment in the continuum of time when another person reads their words. Without control over who reads and when they read, the writer interprets and translates physical or imagined information to convey meaning. Recall for a moment any biography you’ve read of a living or once living person. Is it factual or to a degree is it fictionalized through the writer’s mind to the page, still applicable in autobiographies?

Might I suggest that both reader and writer together create a closed circuit to bend the time space continuum. Reading uses clairvoyance and writing, telepathy, to communicate. Both acts indelibly change the past and the future. As the reader becomes a telepath who interprets the messages being sent from another time and place and create meaning that may have an impact on themselves or in some instances one or an infinite many others. I write messages for future others to receive. How far in the future will determine the degree to which my words are interpreted based on several key factors.

First, cultural distance between me and the reader or receiver. I’d bet if you’re reading this now, you’re not too far in time away from me and your physical space is not too different from mine. If you’re a Martian colonist reading this 100 years from relative “now”, I’m no longer alive and my meaning must be left to the receiver to recreate any meaning from my words.

That person can change the past by interpreting my meaning, my words, and something about me that may or may not be true. So I can change history (now) and change the future (tomorrow) by writing something evocative and capturing enough mindshare to get you to think about something.

Just a thought that provoked some lively conversation this Sunday night. Time to give my iPad a rest, wish my husband love and pleasant dreams, give my cat Simon a good petting, and ready myself for another week. A week when I hope to fend off the busyness that would have my attention rather than using my powers of mental telepathy and sending my remote viewers something to chew on from here in the past.

Three and Counting

Please, just listen.
I mean listen:
Life and Look and Playboy and Harper’s Bazaar
Black and white subscriptions
Ambiguous evidence in hand, hunting down women at work.
Sniffed out innocently by the Eisenhower oval office pet dog,
While a General brutishly  goose steps onto the front lawn of Korea.

In cloudy skies we can point to everything,
Curious index fingers ask why about that big dark bird.
We find similarity and we described it
In high school English to empty the milk cartons of meaning.
Gentlemen find themselves striped and
Reflected in receding ice cubes,
Swinging across Elm into suburban basement cock fights.
Floating, melting into her whiskey colored eyes
The missus distributes disambiguated steak and potato dinners
With a side of dry rye wit.

In science we would fold a mirror in thirds and
With respect to the hidden shadows find
Unnatural suspects. How dulled the senses
Thrashed by the gin mill of technology
Slowly pulled out of a Cage of empty spaces,
Drowned by the sounds of wood-paneled isolationism.
Yet we ask questions drawn from a box of angels at a miracle dinner:
An entire eight course galloping Gourmet special,
Or so-called, to feed on somebody else’s words.

The notorious vodka dressed with privately dismembered parts,
Smoking pipes, guns and skulls
Huge hips and house tits – giggles from beet red cheeky kids.
No, mother, advertisements, I swear.
No true story, with full magazines targeted by
Bullet points as submarine 100 proof alcohol holes.

And get this.
Seriously. As if that weren’t enough.
Mister Britain sent our commander in chief, still whole,
An artful paperback starring a spy and women with genitals for names.
How heavily infused with the bonds, stocks, red phones, a desk,
And one bombed blonde.
He related, I imagine he was stirred,
By her vermouth-scented breath waved like a magician’s scarf
Over his cold, bent body.
Promises of a universe held in a single Bucky ball…
And expressed on the moon.

In the years of our first breath our unfinished souls
We came out gasping for air.
Specific yet ambiguous enough
Though I wasn’t adopted as was the upper middle class
Interest en vogue back then.

Next door,
Someone defiantly sweats over a project;
Today’s Society: Our outdated social behavior.
Can you even determine a single source?
While we spread our arms wide across different domains:
Beer, soda, fashion, ties, cruises, cars.
Who wonders if a stenographer became involved with some director,
I think she probably typed for him at an agency,
He may or may not have knowledge of the messages
Samples slices of pies and examples between the unknown layer cakes.

Our lives backed over, in
1966 mauled in a dense article,
Stanley starts filming 2001.
A reenactment with photographs of Lord Snowden.
Phrases like:
“Alcohol consumption”
“Mind altering”
“Hidden innuendo”
Very redundant, for the affluent.
No apologies needed.
No offense taken.

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.