Thursday, December 23, 2010

Strawberry Cigarillo

Today I was smoking a woman's cigar in the winter sun
and Frank sang to me from across light, filtered into stripes by the porch rail slats
I wore the peacoat that is too torn to wear for anything but adventure.

The peacoat, see, has housed me for all the baby epics so far:
it carried me like a wonder-dumb baby across Italy on a train; it was removed by the first impatient lover; it once hid an oceanic dress and revealed her to the strains of a low-lit opera house.

It is my adventure coat now. I suspect there are bugs living in it that I can't see (at any rate it puts up spirits and memories; they keep well in wool-polyester) and there are holes in the lining that play tricks on my hand as it slides towards the sleeve, but adventure takes no note of these things.

So I pulled it from the corner hanger for my first strawberry cigarillo (so cheap that it smokes itself in the wind) with china for an ash tray and the open sky for a gentleman's retreat.

You see, today I am a woman and a Christian hedonist. I eat pleasure for breakfast and love for lunch. The Lord has made me and he will unmake me again, slowly and with every most mysterious means.

I will wear adventure coat again tomorrow, and tomorrow will decide why.



I was taking a bath in the arts.

I wallowed in music--opera, folk, moody, soggy blues--dipped into the fluid emotions of a vivid alternative sound. I rolled in the glory of Impressionism's wake, and in the followers and rebels of all her daughters. I drank Keats, I slurped Wodehouse, I gulped a great mouthfuls of Shakespearian commentary.

I scrubbed my arms with a soupcon of post-war New Age abstracts and sudsed my thighs with the pseudo-poetry that was shaken and pieced together into frothy 50s hopelessness.

I was making myself clean, I thought, with the rough surfaces of the philosophy living on the bottom of these bottomless lakes

Until--one day--I noticed


That not every truth is equal.

That beauty does not equate with honesty
And abruptness is not synonymous with transparency
That the most open-armed (and highest) kites are still capable of self-deception.

I stood up quickly; the moist beauty slid off of me in rivulets
And when I turned around and knelt to look...
I could see them. They still shouted to me in chorus.

I stirred them around with a finger
and began
to ask them questions about themselves.

I pulled the answers out, dripping

and set them on a scale.

Friday, November 26, 2010


But how could I forget the ambition of my youth?
The glory of an ivy-clad blood-brick profession?
The romance of a life that doesn't exist, that has never existed, not for anyone?
(See, a horizon was never something you can approach and straddle)
Let these dreams die hard as a triple-armored warrior

For how could I forget the children of my mind?
They have danced and sung and I have watched them grow,
in the terrifying pallor of the doomed young.
My kids and I never spoke the word among ourselves, never once;
I glanced askance of truth and simpered little false sentiments to them instead:
"I love; I will make you grow; you will make me alive."

I laid in love with the love and art and beauty and industry of this age,
and these offspring were born for a sickeningly insignificant death

not even punctuated
not capitalized
not articulated

Like an afternoon comment from a teenage girl to a friend's wall:)

Surely someone could pull out a hankerchief and set up an exclamation point as a memorial pillar--
but no, the children of mine simply whimpered and fell silent,
and I never explained to them why it had to be.

One year I was to be someone, to have someone,
to make something with my hands that dazzled,
mature, supple grown versions of my children-dreams.
The next year I doubted; they were pale even in sunlight.
The next year they began to cough, and there was blood.
Then they were gone.

My heart, in shock, is beginning to understand--
I will sit behind this desk for forty years, married to an accountant from the south.
This, I know,

this is how one forgets the ambition of one's youth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I found a man named Luxury

I found a man named Luxury

And climbed up on his lap, to see

what answers to The Question he

might have for Generation Me

For Generation Y

For generation Why, and How

For generation Do Me Now

We push the cart and pull the plow

We swear our freedom, and we bow

to painted porcelain kings

I found a King named Microsoft

Queens Google, Lexus, Davidoff

With smarter car, and higher loft

So while our minds grow Downy-soft

Our speech grows cheap... not free

Give us this day our low-carb bread

And do to us as Oprah said

Sell pills for demons in our head

And guides for books our fathers read

for roads our fathers walked

We'll savor loose philosophy

In coffeeshops where we drink tea

We're coffee-shopping for the key

to holes in Dad's theology

And maybe to his heart

So give us now our daily cleanse

And pierce us with Palm Pilot pens

Tell us our stories through a lens

Design a logo for our sins

And sell them to us cheap

One day we'll notice that we're old

we'll notice that our kids are cold,

Our marriages are green with mold

But as for now--no need to scold

History must repeat


There is pleasure in my neurons
There is pleasure in the graze of a man's gaze
There is pleasure in the button nose this baby doesn't know it has
In scalding sunset, in stomping the feet on a beer-sticky dance floor

pleasure in the edge of a woman's face etched into a painting by a man who has been dead for 213 years
There is pleasure swimming in a bagpipe, and clutching to the inside plane of an open piano
pleasure in a bottle--in a crystal-cut glass

Galloping, swallowing, enveloping and streaming beyond these pleasures is that of the

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Rock For Us


And across the abyss of questions and terrors
I would reach
I would steal you, lover
I would stand with you on rock

Do you recall, my lover, in happier days--
when we stood in the gushing sun
on a mountainous stone?

And watched the birds panic
to escape the waves

Do you remember the way my eyes looked
bathed in the joy of baby love?

I remember yours

And I remember the sense of assurance's hole
left in its absence
So big that it ate up the cotton in the sky
and the life beneath our feet
And everything

We are not on a rock now

I believe I have found one for standing
but you are not here

my arms won't stretch across the great abyss
I only can sing
And hope that you know me by my song


The Great Uncertain Blue

I stood on top of people
and I said that they were You
I clung and pushed and painted
in a spiritual hue

I beat my pillow, wailing
that you'd driven me insane
And closed my eyes to all except
the haunting of my pain

When something gave me joy, my God!
I worshipped it as You
And pelted onward, heedless
of the great uncertain blue

of the fear of sober judgement

of the demons that I grew

of the Great Uncertain Blue

of the Great Uncertain Blue


I Believed


The day I knew that I believed
it was not on the word of a sage or a holy woman
nor was it sermon spoke or verse quoted

it was a tree that stood yelling in my backyard
it was the eye, half closed, of a tiny girl child
it was that when I fell to the floor and wailed a million losses,
my father knelt beside me and held my back.

in the last moment-- it was that I cannot ever see a horizon
without longing seeping out from under my eyelids and leaping towards it

the day I knew that I believed took five years

and was over
in exactly
three seconds.

And now I am His.