blue stretch limo black-windowed,
curve of antennae a fixed boomerang,
an extra fly around a pile of dung,
slow-footed cow will moo sincerely when
screamed at by the man,
balding willow a ghost of summer grace,
shadows lightly the white double-wide trailer,
flesh not surprised by rapid fire at the screen door,
black bird-stars spooked together, away,
boomerang receded, wiped clean to a polish,
passionate houseflies feast with inquisitive
probing tongues the stillness of a smile.
arcs of light
like lightning in slow
slower than honeybee spirals
an arm raised in question
in greeting in a field
and children laughing down
the road as if they were
tickling each other
swelling like days of hope
thank you for your smile
your laugh a chameleon
in the window, peering over
the rims of your eyes
with a reptile grin.
wooden beads perfect-smooth
etched face death-black-stone
heavy neck of man-gleam, on fire
rhythm-feet move African mountains
gold the solid sun.
beneath you, for AZ
the threads can you feel the threads can you weave me a
death mask can you save me the threads of your life that
long can you pull them and stretch them and knot them and
tie up all the loose ends to weave me one intricate
fathomless black illusion
for me to fall again into I'm so sure of your
power I am so sure you can set me up in your pattern
criss-cross my fingers with the threads of you and knots the
systematic knots my God you tie me up so well and your
death mask for me it is exquisite how it
softly falls into my skin and sticking in there
where where where
can I free me from
being beneath you as I witness the helpless the
moonbloat of water wash through me but not
away the second face you've made for me
thank you I thank you for a death I could never repay for
it it it
seems endless the image of you over me dare I
question you dare you
can you save
the threads of your life as long as me?
can you make me forever and ever the
blackest dying swan?
you the spider spider metallic and God
cajoled into flailings in your web
a net never harvested of me
sticking to me somewhere
a sky that will not heal of you
but swallow always
swallow my eyes there
the trap to slowly lure me
lure me lure me blind into you
little hypnotic spider you little
weaver of lies your fantasy of extremes with
always always always
you on top of me
I've watched you I've watched the words
each held and fastened down with utmost ease
to the insides of my dreams there to wait there to
wait until a perfect wing touch perfect trap string
and run quick to tie me
the poison fang of your words in my ear
to still the form to faint, sleep, die without
when I wake up ...
can you save the threads of your life as long as me?
breath-halted girl walks for the noise to repeat itself
its foreign self it is the sound
it is the sound, sound of a bird she does not know
by name but dream, releasing her hold
on memory-time not so distant
from her dream-hearing
like a yesterday-mouth
close and cringing, near
called or sang or spoke in foreign note to her it did
in a blue-spangled monastery-circus long-faced stranger dream
from the tip, from on top of his bleeding-crowned fallen head
it cried: music-triumph! (and piercing
truth with orange
and saw her, with one bead-ball-god-moon-eye
and one eye sapphire blue
sweet smiling at her
she to remember wonder?
which eye reflected her with face upturned
and which eye saw her?
spoke her name at once in silence? one drop of
blood-sound, called her?
and in the dream she follows
a tiny gaping mouth
full of air, the center un-
beyond itself a creamy star
nail the heads up on the wall.
soft glass eyes which blend with the neck
slicked and stuck to a stained piece of wood
severed from some tree
i know you put them up there to look at
while you watch t.v.
dreams drop into now
like well-sliced pieces
of infinite pie.
fluid reality filling, slipping and
field and pond
fresh egg embryo sun
a pale yellow morning chases
squirrels chasing each other
around the scratchy pines
tiny drops clear heavens bloom
showing dome spectrums
every wildflower small and pink
yellow and tall plume waving
golden tips wild grasses fill a field
blue bachelor's buttons cool stars
horseflies not yet risen above them
tick ticking birds ring the field from their trees
and the mourning dove infrequent and shy
the spider leaving, weaving silver fine threads
the path through to the pond
walking through webs in the woods
green stained glass leaves
the dock we all sat on
talked late at night
swam to cut the heat, floated
fish nibbling our legs and toes
concentric light rain circles
water bugs skating
crickets sustaining time
I am a violet flower,
to the rhythmic joy
of the Sun
opening buds and
glossy green leaves
the Sun shines through
the dew on them
little rainbow sparkles
the rain pounds me
gently and fulfills the
thirst around my nervous
A child, laughing, picks me
for her mother to look at
while she washes dishes,
me, smiling at my use.
electric light glowing white
vibrate over this wall
your name written there
printed neat like a magazine
yours in dark forest green
like the mountains
my eyes, your expedition
left your mark like any other
off me yet
crescent moon claw
brooch in thinning black velvet sky
grandmother's pearl sits glowing
soft inside a drawer
streetbulb eclipses all but a highway
winding wingless asphalt flat
cold and blunt-edged hand
without thinking fingers
without the clutch
at night on a road where lights are few
the radio off
silence in motion
the breath of speed
space, give it
back, cautious as a sage
paintbrush an essence free and loose of us
and back and forth the pulling
acceleration into the curve
do you don't take
curves of chance and change too
break you into bits and
billions where you are not, came
streetlight string the fates
shining green in the white paper towel,
the light of August sweats brilliant beads,
book's images overwhelm, now
suspended, flat, on the bedside table,
it's Georgia's hot wind blowing under the trees and through
a window faintly, stirring the curtains like a skirt,
a truck muffler passes
in the smooth pale yellow bedcovers, I
white-peach-colored eat the cool pear ...
first toothy sink into and through the speckled skin to
smooth to upper hot lip,
pull, thwack, soft, away with a Saturday evening hand,
own flesh glistening there, and chunk and
chunk of the grainy pleasure-pear
slick it slides to throat,
cluck the middle-rolling bites,
swallow the sweet,
nibble and gnaw to seed-thread,
wrap the tattered-ended remains
respectful in the white again
lay back, open to
I am a fragment.
I only look as if I'm whole.
The sand buries my edges.
You only know I'm just a piece if you bend
down to look to reach some sunburnt
fingers and pull me out.
If you happen to be fond of pieces
you could carry me along awhile as you
kick the sea away from your feet ...
you might fling me away, back into the blue,
disgusted with yourself for thinking a
fragment was a whole, and
hope no one was looking.
Either way I am the same imperfect.
Only I remember the hermit crab.
there are these little
mushroom things that used to grow
in the front yard
my sister taught me how to
mush them, dusty brown silver
I haven't seen one growing in years.
they are popping inside me though
when you ask me
a series of random explosions as you
get to the bottom of it
stumbling as I do myself
popping, spreading unripe seeds,
wasted until they find
a day place to grow.
a warm kind of night arm over us arms
over ever forever
all over all
through arms enfolding a warm
because the heart says do this
dayfuls of inner sunstars
peacework lightsource level
through us the honey-nectar-blood-heat
we are silent spoons
into warmest nights, arms
the books open themselves for you
a glass of wine at your bedside
as is your nighttime habit
the cat kneading your stomach muscles
it needs you
you push it away eventually
in your way
the poem is by Edna St. Vincent
what face do you give your past?
what label are you pinning to my brow?
a number on my pillow
an empty glass?
edge, cliff of silence
and I with my minutes, my hours, my months
the earth, poised
what is this woman?
what is this scream, this terrible smile?
accepting softness, breasts
invisible rhythm that bonds?
what is this man
of dark unclouded brow
money and possession
love and cigarettes
how can he help but be
soft on the inside, a
lead balloon full of wine
over the cliff my eyes fall
but not me
there is a balance of powers here
innate, river and earth or some other
in time worn down, the boundaries clear
with the wind
the breath of change.
Aurora, Agnes Scott College
the back of my head is wet hair is
waving full of the sea empty, empty
tide as i sleep my days
facing the sea on my side
washes over my face the wave blue
a shell lodged in sand
I sleep with the sea, smooth
washes me back to me
it takes all day for my Mother to make soup--
parboils a chicken, skims the fat off the top, chills the
stock, pulls the skin off the bones-- throws the bones
away, wishbone and all-- gives the skin to the cat--
makes a little chicken salad for lunch--
takes the cold fat off the stock with a
wooden spoon, pours it over the chicken in a
big stainless steel pot--
with black stains on the bottom
where she burned the chili one winter--
adds water to the broth, a little salt, a little pepper--
cuts up what she feels like putting in--
in the summer it's fresh okra, tomatoes, green beans, celery--
in the winter it's canned English peas, canned tomatoes, carrots
from the grocery store, celery--
and lets it all cook slowly all afternoon--
puts the rice or the noodles in last--
puts in on high for about
15 minutes, stirring it every now and then, turns it
down to medium--
which is 6 or 7 on the new stove--
tastes the soup, seasons it if it needs it,
but usually it's perfect--
although Daddy puts a lot of salt on his (he
doesn't really like soup)
I put a little if I think it needs it--
Mother doesn't put any salt on hers--
she loves a good bowl of soup
©1987 Writer's Festival
Agnes Scott College
strings and things
anything like dreams ...
Maybe it was because it had been so long. So long now it had been
it repeating itself, she had been repeating it to herself in sequence and
pattern like strings like webbing, like silkworms in her factory mind, weaving
with her fingers so long, here, that she hadn't quite noticed
she was capable of weaving anything at all. So
easy somewhere to whisk
whish away the clutter
banning it to a corner while she wove with flying fingers flying strings
turning and dancing a weaver's ancient rhythm until she was living cloth
life to lace, now with her back to the corner, now rummaging for one lost
thing, now talking to herself
talking to the spiders about technique,
with her back to it, making lace and memories
curses, charms, out of nothing out of
string out of herself
Maybe it was because it begged her to lace her long witch fingers in the
threads, dye them, pull them into pastel exotic
black and mescaline brights
weave them into friendship bracelets
lover's necklace, family ties.
Maybe it was because it had been so
long, the thread of something always falling into her hands, snaking,
spiralling out of the ceiling, the walls, the floor from the earth beneath
and beyonds, a plural of infinities,
Maybe it was because it had been so long
since it had been anything like dreams ...
there's a purple line at the edge of the gray
placid sky. like then. you used to say that it was the
color of a woman you'd never seen, but would like to
know. would like to be. would like to have been.
you are that color memory to me now when i see
it's really not purple. not burgundy. wine. it is
you, even though your color was charcoal. ash.
sometimes i would think you threw that color up there
on purpose, to defy my words, my
metaphors. you do a lot of things like that.
did. still do. will forever.
ash. no, not wine.
the color is past, insipid as the gray, like a life.
arms folded under your soft head, your hard
head in the gas oven.
you knelt there, took a dry laugh,
slept with the fumes on
but not lit, your soul floating,
regretting the ceiling.
the streetlights flick on schedule, inept, but
they find you dead and blue, of all things, a
dead blue poet,
disguising the rift between your life, mine.
night, it is coming, with charcoal
eating the horizon.
maybe like crickets you dance
well not exactly like crickets
but in summertime's hot nights
one was always calling out for a mate
in the hall, between the walls
rubs its legs together
howls like a dog after a siren
except the pain wasn't in its senses
or the sound
but a methodical loneliness
it drove me crazy and I turned the
light on in the black hallway
rub my eyes
stomp the old yellow carpet
with angry sleepy feet
gone gone he was
maybe like crickets
and there goes my peripheral
vision of you
touches bed the morning (a fantasy)
across chest, the hair, long
glowing lightly golden-brown
flowing to its tips
just short of a rib
breathing young woman
near, so near, asleep.
between his fingertips
twirling strands of hair.
the arm, gentle,
the hand over rib
holding breath and beat
breathing woman asleep,
between his fingers
short, light-brown hair
of her head, fingertips
tracing scalp, slowly
so not to wake her
from her dreams
The wine hurts deep.
I feel your slumbered memory, there.
I touch the warmth, the taste of blood in my mouth,
the rippling pain of your faces,
the unforgiving eyes.
I do not recoil. I laugh; bubbles slowly
gurgle to my breath without joy.
The wine cures deep.
I forgive myself and you. There is
joy seeping through.