We/ A poem.


(This has nothing to do with July 4th, or 1st for that matter. My mind is elsewhere this year. But happy celebrating to you who are running around with sparklers.)

We/

We come
As
We bring
We/
    Well-  Here is a story
shaped in sky
Song of one tree
angling around the clouds
in its own particular bend
That
curve
one blackened branch/
I thought I was better alone
until I was alone
and all my songs
were quiet

The book won't fit on the shelf/
The mynahs copy the sounds of saws sometimes
metal on metal

You shrug it off but you have
that bend now
And it isn't grief
It isn't the trap you have
been avoiding

It isn't the zipped suitcase,
smoke disappearing into the air
Water takes the form of its container
and the color of its companions
But water is always water
filling up
pouring out
running down

It wasn't the heavy stone I thought it was
one tree in the forest bending
a story of roots and sky
I told you when we were driving
I told you in the car
I remembered him as my brother
but I knew I was his mother
I was no longer completely my own
but I didn't belong to anyone else either

And
We all
He was
We couldn't say
It was the blood in him that died first
Oh- The perfect donor

I’m trying to
I can't
Maybe/
what they say is unhealthy
the waiting for breath-
we are caught but they walk away glowing/
we redefine health
they walk grooves into the floor
they finally look into our eyes
know they are beloved
maybe/
our way in the world is different
maybe/
water will find a way to run clear

It wasn't the stone I thought it would be
song of one tree
sharp branch against the sky
It looked lonely
but it was surrounded by trees
We came
We couldn't say
You have to want to be changed
you have to ask
We bring
as
water is always water

We
come
we couldn't say
We/

A Poem for Mothers Everywhere

I couldn't find a poem that said what I wanted to say for Mother's Day. So I wrote one. Here it is, this is what I want to say. This is for my own mother, and for all the mothers, especially the ones I know and love. But it's also for you.

Mother

She was caught
smiling
in a net of sleep
cushioned in the softness, down and down,
diving under, lost in it, turning
stretching, weightless, anxiety free
unconscious of desire or
loss, unfettered.

until
the cry. 
It came from the darkness, razor-like, cutting
through the ribbons that suspended her from
her life and
she crashed back down
opened her eyes, rubbed them, remembered.
hauling herself to her feet,
she remembered love,
again and again she remembers
she falls out of sleep and into 

love, 
the hopeful eyes
the waiting mouth, the full breast
she holds and soothes and gives the perfect answer
I am here, 
I am exhausted, I am irritated, I am barely awake
but I am here.
She will always be here
in the night, in the early morning
In the dog-tired noon of the hottest days,
for small, soft, little ones
for the big ones, the sun-warmed long limbs and anxious tics
for gulping and burping and the most annoying questions
to untangle the knots of the arguing siblings
to lose it, and apologize, and sit quietly
to play, sometimes, hopefully

she remembers upon every waking,
that love— its ribbons can never be cut—
And like a lion she says it again: I am here. 

The Gift: A New Poem

Yesterday, the sky was a worn old thing
piece of paper, crumpled and dusty
cast off. Uninvited.
Terrified of the smoke,
cringing away from the world
The trees punctured it with sharp ends
It cried for color

Today: Cup of coffee, scratching in the dark
Birds attempt to lift the heavy dawn
Morning doesn’t want to come
I sit on the floor and tape things together
Bits of bright yellow, a line that hasn’t been torn
a ray of nothing, an angle
Looking in my pockets, searching for whole things
A pebble, a hug, a pure strand of blue
A bird with bright feathers.
Tie them together with string
dab some glue in the corners
A sheet, a picture put together
from the little I have
Lift it up in this dark predawn.
“Here, sky, here.”

 

PS: Chinua is in Hungary and I'm struggling to find time to write, but poems come in the dark of morning, and the second installment of World Whisperer is up on Wattpad. Enjoy!  And if you don't love reading things in serial format, not to worry, the book launch is on April 15.

A New Poem

Morning comes in on bare feet,
lifts the sheet and peeks at me, smiles.
Says, don’t you want to get up?
The window is open
and I’ve heard the birds singing the dreams they had last night.
Pick up your head, she says. 
Don’t you want to step out from under the heavy night?
Today the sky might be bluer than ever before,
and breezes are already teasing.
And now it is still quiet
the floor is not too cold
and that is a kind of grace, like the pink tinge
on the edges of a new sky the color of cream,
like early breath
and new things,
like the birds in all the trees, 
singing their dreams. 

Many Years

Aahhh, I have so many things I want to write to you, thoughts and happenings and dreams. 

For now, here is a poem in progress. I read it at our town's spoken word evening and I'm still working on it, but here it is right now. 

Many Years

It has taken many years, my love,
Inhalation of spring, exhalation of bright
Leaves that scatter over mountains and dust along
Streets.
Or, a different sort of year:
One that starts with cold,
Then blankets the hills with smoke and heat and yellowing leaves
Fire necklaces on the mountains
Dragons winding their way up to find the hidden stars again,
And then rain
Water streaming from the sky, plunging, falling, washing, crying
over death until life comes again and everything is new
And steam rises from rice fields and we walk through wet air
Wiping it from our foreheads and chins, wading through a wet sky.

Anyway, you know what a year is, I don’t have to tell you.
At the time of this reading we have seen fourteen of them together,
All different sorts of them, leaping, falling, limping, tumbling.
The kind where cars break down and you can’t pay for it so you
sit on the side of the road for hours with your head in your hands
Or people yell. Or children go to the hospital, or the kind of year when there is
fire in the grasses, angry hedgehogs, furious cattle with bruises and scrapes.
And there are the beautiful years where the days fly so fast that you barely touch them
Before they’ve slipped away.

Years. It has taken many years, my love,
For me to know that love is not for perfection, 
Human perfection, anyway,
Because perfection is tight, smooth, too slippery to hold,
Too airy to caress, too overwhelming to approach. 
Love cannot permeate perfection’s marble surfaces.

No, love is for waiting, and dying, and crumbling.
Love is for reaching and breathing, and being out of breath.
Love is for genteel poverty, or true poverty, for picnics on train station floors.
For stumbling and running to catch up. Love is for clothes with holes,
For birthday presents that aren’t quite right.
Love is for bitten nails.
For forgotten anniversaries, pods of orcas, and the tiniest of geckos running along the ceiling

Love reveals, and love protects,
Love grows bigger and bigger, filling all the holes, 
Reaching the unlovable places, and expanding them,
Possessing them,
Lifting them.
Love is for old broken days in the hospital, 
And mornings when the sky is so blue you could tap it and it would ring like a bell

Love is for your eyes
And your hands.
And your mouth kissing mine.
For when you play the piano and the world is filled with golden light
For when the kids are getting along. 
Marriage is a greenhouse for love.
I remember a year that was so bad I wasn’t sure that I would get through it
And even then, with the world on fire,
And houses that bent and broke, loss, and the birds all quiet in their trees,

I knew that I would follow you anywhere.

Because our love is for
Your sleepless nights, my early mornings
The egg shape of my round belly, 
The five births you walked me through, the pools of milk,
The day we lost the tiniest of souls
It was for our youth and it is for gray hair, and it will be for our old and fragile bones,
When we will sail anywhere we want and live in our boat.
It is for asthma and high blood pressure
and that one time I got a dog when you were away and then you
Never let me forget it and pretended that you hated her when you
Actually secretly love her.
We swell with our love, each year we rise a little higher
Like lanterns in a river of light

And we might float away completely
If it wasn’t for sliding back to earth together to
find rivers and creek beds where the love can soak in.
And we find each other here, stunningly imperfect,
Sun-warm, arms and legs and faces touching,
Our greenhouse holding us, nurturing us, and stretching the greenest,
Lightest of limbs,
Into a sky so blue, you could tap it and it would ring like a bell.