The things that made us

April 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

I can never taste the whole of you—
only little sips, sparkling springs from hidden wells

fed by flows that brought us here:

I’m glad you saved this part for me.
It had a chance to mellow in the weather.

What joy to know that we will never know it all.
I’ll touch a place and find it wet, and press
and feel the droplets form
and weep because I never guessed.

I’m glad I saved this part for you.
It had a chance to bleach and split.

The more we speak, the less we say.
Thank goodness words are not enough.
Thank goodness we are sweet and tough
and curious and bold.
Thank goodness words are not enough.

My Patchwork Streets are Beautiful

March 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

The wear and tear,
the quick repairs,
the heaving roots,
the shifting underlayers.

Like paint over graffiti
over paint
over the scribbled marks of a surveyor
whose children
ponder his last pair of steel-toed boots,

the patches are stories
and the stories are uneven patches,
cracks, and potholes that ask us
not to stop, but pause, and

see their graceful asymmetry,
read their faerie calligraphy,
before we lose them forever
under freshly spread concrete.

Photo by Penina S Finger

Never Arriving

February 15, 2017 § 1 Comment

It’s a hard habit to break, being
always on my way somewhere,
everything in motion
or just paused, waiting
for the next train
or the snow to melt
or the hill to wear away.

I’m fine with my itinerant life,
and I recommend it.
It’s just that I would sometimes like
this impatient tide to
slow long enough to soak the riverbed,
let some cattails grow, catch light,
and feel the tiny dragonflies whirring in my hair.

Leaving Union Station, photo by Penina S. Finger

Thank you

February 13, 2017 § 3 Comments

There is an eagle in the back of my throat,
with a wingspan the length of two tall men
and a hooked and unforgiving beak.

Right now, it speaks in raw, red coughs
but very soon
it will rise high up into the sky
where the air is thin
and there are no beaten paths.

It will pause on your shoulders
and then leap with a lurch so great
its talons will tear your suit
and its weight will throw you down.

eagle2-bryanhanson
Photo: Bryan Hanson | Morguefile

Nobody will ever

December 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

… hear this song but you.

… see this drawing of a mermaid, but one or two.

… or taste this genius soup I cooked,
though I could post a picture on Facebook.

They won’t be reading this poem,
so I write to hear myself talk,
to knit words while I ride the train,
and count syllables as I walk.

I fingerpick the uke,
and find pretty sounding chords
for myself to hear,
and maybe you will like the words.

Joy Ragged

October 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

When I see a silken
wilting flower, I don’t ask myself
if life’s worth living, or decide that being alive is great.
I only want to
tell the world about these perfect petals,
pink, and bruised to purple,
crumpling and
exhausted.

This exquisite impulse
transcends symmetry to dance drunk, fling torn veils,
and be.

img_20161027_162013.jpg

:Tailspin

September 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’d like to sit in the big chair
but everybody’s leaving.
No one left to lord it over,
at this rate.

I’d like to fade to gray-
be a tiny gray bump on a granite face.
No one would spot me in the crowd,
ever.

These loves are, in fact, not like death at all.

Someone gave the china cupboard a good shake.
No matter how wide I stretch my arms,
I can’t catch all the falling crystal.
One at a time, the pop and crash releases shards so fine
they make a mist.

My eyes water.

Jerk

July 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Oh Death, I don’t like you today
and can’t abide by all that nonsense
about your birdlike grace,
swooping like a darkwinged owl
to snuff a breath and cradle souls away.

You’re a boor, rude and self-absorbed,
overdressed and loud—
abruptly pulling guests by their elbows from the room
as if yours are the most important needs.
You swing your boorish arms while you pretentiously quote poetry,
knocking people’s drinks from their hands.

I don’t buy the stories
that you’re cordial, but misunderstood,
“just doing your job,”
an archetypal instrument of fate.

Unlike the folks you interrupt and shush,
you have nothing new or interesting to say.
It’s always the same,
and I had plans.

 

The Open Road

July 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Nothing but sky
and rolling hills
inviting us
in lyric tongues and gentle curves

to gun our engines up the slopes
and let up on the pedal as we
glide back down
to shady dells, skirting
creeks with tiny bridges,

to find out
what’s around the next bend, and the next,
to chase the setting sun
down the curve of the earth.

We are the first.
We put up cairns.
We tear them down.
Perhaps we’ll be the last.

Let’s stretch our arms out the windows,
let the motor steer itself;
While we rarefy the fuel,
it will keep on seeking heat
and lay a path.

morguefile-clarita

Transplanting

July 3, 2016 § 2 Comments

transplanting

In the context of
the vigorous expansion
of a woody stem,
its core mechanics
white and wet and pulpy,

In the context of
the artless spring
inherent in the infant leaves
unfurling like vaginas
and deep-space nebulae,

The branching of its arms
which are not arms
but more akin
to skin or skeleton or lungs,

The branching of its feet,
akin to feet
but also tongues that lick
and swallow earth,

The care of potted plants
involves their constant recontainment,
always
outgrowing home,
eventually
outgrowing my ability to lift them.

Thoughtfully arranged around
my living room in genteel tubs
of black, electric dirt,
a thousand crisp, white hairs
dispatch a supple and insistent inclination,

Unmapped until my fingers wrap around the humid ball
in vague, but gradually evolving awe
for this, so unsuppressible and
ethereal, yet at the same time
such a filthy mess.

“This time,” I think,
“I’ll be my gentlest yet.
The new soil flush
encircling
the crumbly cluster
sweetly more,
loving more
than ever, ever, ever
before.”