Archive for March, 2009

invocation #1

Posted: March 31, 2009 in Poetry
Tags: ,

sing, sing to me
of milky ways soured
and of rotten eggs,
sing of rusted spatulas
and grottoed skillets,
sing freshly squeezed
tangy oranges into a
water-spotted glass,
sing of hardened toast
and pitter-pats of pale
butter-I-believe-it’s-not,
sing of blackened bacon
and disheartening oats,
sing of improvised trays
from pieces of cardboard,
sing of a single sunflower
swinging in a canister,
sing as you sling the
motley brew of syrupy
coffee grounds and hidden
jewels of sugar, sing to me
as you play chef and
claim my royal goose
has been cooked.

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A weakness of my writing is I have to place it in context to my own life and beliefs. I don’t understand the value of writing in the third person because I think it’s important for the reader to know these words come from me. I think it’s important that I know and understand it too. I don’t like the tone of teaching people or speaking as if something is established, even though I believe there is nothing new under the sun. Something will always surprise us as temporal beings, yes; but in the end, there is nothing new under the sun. We face the same peril — death — that we’ve faced since we were born. How we die may be a surprise. But the actual death? It’s canon.

#1.

Posted: March 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s weird to follow those poems up with a fantasy; but it needs somewhere to breathe.

My conceptions of sexual desire are incomplete. I don’t know if it’s fear, shame, disbelief, or disgust; but I always imagine sexual situations and scenarios to a certain point before the thoughts disintegrate. A steamy situation hits a wall and it collapses instead of breaks through. Like love. Like life. It hits the wall but very little breaks through.

So here goes. It’s only a couple of years later, and I’m with you. You haven’t changed; your smile is still bright and beautiful and wide. And you’re still enthralled with basketball. I’ve decided to throw you a party while you and a few of your friends watch the game.

Because it’s for you, I pull out all the stops. Mini-deli sandwiches of different varieties. Homemade chili for the hot dogs, the hamburgers, the nachos. A fridge full of alcohol, soda, water, and freezer’s ready with ice and ice cream. A newly baked cake, though I don’t know the flavor — I only know there’s cream cheese frosting on it. It’s very plain but tastefully frosted. Chili’s warming on the burner. I bring in food by request, tray by tray. But unlike the sitcoms, you notice it. You smile every time I do, and you miss glimpses, seconds of the game as you smile. And I keep moving.

Sometimes, you pull me down gently next to you and you whisper in my ear what’s going on in the game. It’s garbled, gibberish to me but I smile and occasionally cheer when the team scores. The guys start to laugh when my cheers become indiscriminate — not for any particular team, just celebrating a nice play. Essentialism is an art, not happenstance. I smile and move back to my preparations, my food.

I sip a beer and smile. There’s something fitting in this dynamic for me, even though I don’t think people would understand. I’m comforted in preparing and organizing, in cooking and eating food, in helping people enjoy themselves. But I know from the outside looking in, I appear to be a housewife or a helpmate. And not a woman enjoying a hard day’s work, capping it off with a cold beer. Watching a man she likes, watching him have a good time. Watching him smile at her as her lips wrap around the bottle.

He appears to want something more than what’s in the room, something that I can’t serve on a tray. My eyes try to deliver it; but we need to close the distance. Slowly, aware of my body and its motions, I start to move. He licks his lips as I enter the room, his friends enjoying the last minute before halftime. His hands flexing before I kneel down and whisper in his ear, “Come upstairs.” His smile is terrible, devastating, real in its presence and happiness. We’re closing the gap, one bright emotion at a time.

He does not follow right away. The guys help themselves. But he’ll follow soon. I will have to wait a few minutes, many seconds. The wait will be painful but worth it.

And that’s where it stops. The waiting, the anticipation, the… what happens next? Is it what I imagine or is it something else? Dread blocks my dreams. I don’t know if I want to know.

Most women are taught to maintain relationships at all costs.

I wish I could say he came in the night, wielding a knife, cloaked in a ski mask and darkness.

Most of us are taught to endure it all, to stand up, to fight until our bones break.

I wish I could say I opened the door for a mailman with more than a package on his mind.

Most of us are taught to trust without any basis for trusting, to love in spite of violence.

I wish sometimes that it were some horrific violent attack, where the boundaries were clearly violated and no amount of self-blame would pass muster.

Most women are taught that if they only had changed one thing about themselves — often the one thing they already dislike about themselves — it would have never happened.

I wish that I’d known not to sing that song, to do that dance, to speak that word, to be in that place, in that time — where were my omens? Where were my zombies and lions roaming the streets?

Most women don’t reach out because people speak about these things abstractly, about if it were them the nigger would be dead, if it were them there’d be no excuse, if it were them… well, they wouldn’t do what you’re doing.

I wish I could run away. Do I need this body? I don’t need this body. Who needs a body like this one? I certainly don’t.

Most of us when we’re robbed start to rob the world of ourselves.

I wish I knew why it happened; I can’t trust the reasons and I can’t trust the man I’ve loved for so long.

Most women don’t realize the lack of trust and the overabundance of pain is more than enough reason to leave.

I wish I knew what I did to bring this on.

Most of us did nothing.

there are times i wish i could call you.
there are times i wish i could talk to you.
i don’t know why i miss you. i shouldn’t.
and yet i do.
i miss hugging you.
there are times when i sit alone and i wish you were hugging me.
there are times when i sit alone and i wish i could love you again.
then i realize i’m a fully grown woman,
i’ve started a life that i’m afraid to finish,
and as weak as i feel and as low and as alone,
i can never hug you again.

i don’t feel like i know what love is.
i don’t know. i don’t know how to love.
i always read, i always sang, i always put on shows
and i never really knew why you didn’t come.
why you never watched me.
there were special times when you were there,
and we’d walk away from the event,
and you’d tell me how proud you were of me.
i never questioned. it was enough.

i remember you telling me you were hurt once.
i remember watching you cry at a funeral.
i’d never seen you cry. i’d thought you weren’t
supposed to cry. but you did. and then
i decided i’d never cry again, in case you needed me.
once you scolded me for it, and you said i was
unfeeling. selfish and unfeeling for not crying.
you’d be proud of me now.

sometimes i cry for hours. for days.
many times a week. sometimes i’d cry
in public places. in class. during movies.
in cars. alone in my room. while reading.
during plays. in church. and i’d wonder
if you were watching me somewhere in
the back of your mind, like an old movie.
no one else seemed to notice. but i hoped
you’d find me crying one day.

and i would hear you say, “i’m so proud.”

i don’t think i’ll ever stop.

it’s so lonely to live a life
whose only joys rest in conflicts,
whose friends lapse and idle,
whose words live ephemerally
upon the whim of your certainty.

the tears cried are my own
and i stole them from my
misfortunes, my misplaced
confessions, and rhymes
replaying sins remembered

sins divined, sins delivered and
misread, sins removed and forgotten.
the only chronicler is music in a
crowded space, inklings of sen-
sation, and a ghastly bulb of light.

naming names

Posted: March 2, 2009 in Poetry
Tags:

the legal rule of
“don’t ask don’t tell” only works
when there is no love.

processing

Posted: March 2, 2009 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

i gasped the moment
you moved away
seconds
s t r e t c h i n g
into days
months
weeks of time lost
time hoping i was
wrong
dead wrong

i cried as
truth finally spilled
from your heart
i had to remove
my heart and
my hopes
drop it
drop them
before hearing
the full truth

if i hadn’t asked
what would you say
if i hadn’t moved
i wonder how
my heart would fall
how full before
it crashed
how deeply cut
before day
break

you don’t care
i am hurt
hysterical
and out of
your way
fixing hearts
is not in
your pay
grade