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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Goddesses All


(for Maggie)

Am I forsaken—forsaken by myself?
Lists long of what would be gleaned from life
sparkled for so many years—within in reach.
Tasted it…smelled it—but could never quite touch it.
It loomed about the corner of my mind’s eye,
white and towering as a mansion.
Tapestries and pedestals, portraits and perfume—
Gold glinted from every ornament my heart desired.
Is it all erased, that opulent dream?
Did I wash it from my consciousness,
as I sat in the bath listening to God?
‘Can you accept a ripped seam, worn shoe, a bit of tarnish?’
I washed the floor tonight on my knees,
ate dust and breathed the fumes.
‘I am happy.’
Each swipe of the cloth brings purpose.
Such tasks once seemed so heavy, but now I am light.
I am Light.
Knees hurt, back aches—this life is not easy.
There are no silken sheets or velvet chairs.
But there is plenty of water—
and some food, and well wishes, and my floors are clean.

Weeds and Bones

(for Braden)

Touch the light and fan so bright
a beauty that cannot fade.
Like roses in autumn, you bloom anew
never fearing the frost.
How could you? The flame is your keeper—
more passionate than a lover.
Your kiss is indelible,
a mark upon my brow as a blessing from a goddess.
Gentle woman. Kind woman. Real woman.
You dress your house in nature—weeds and bones—
door opened to the unwanted and dying.
From your mouth springs earth—your eyes the rain.
With wattle and daub you weave what’s left of soil and sinew-
magic baskets for catching broken hearts…
wherein you hold them—safely—to let them heal.

Eidolon oh! Eidolon!

(for Kara)

She talks to clovers and whispers as an angel
“grow—grow!” steeped in heady revolution,
listening to a call few seldom hear.
She beats the drum--Boom! Boom! Boom!
Her heartbeat reverberates through the bones.
I felt it at first glance many years past— Even now
the moon, trees, and stars are her playthings—
She owns them naturally—revels in their conversation
of wondrous mirth!
Face to the heavens, she spins upon the night grass
Laughing, ‘Eidolon—oh! Eidolon!”

The Famine War

(with thanks to Jeannine and Christina)

Lara blue eyes walks the street-Tralee—like scarlet.
Do you hate him for not coming home?
Empty paint pots and no canvas, cold hearth
I see the stone floors of that space you-Laid out.
Frost coats them in the morning with
Green smears from wool heated by desperation.
How you hated them all— gold rings, and fine bonnets—
Tear through the Lass. I felt your horror—
Drunk and tumbling, in dirty sheets-
Stale tobacco—whiskey and beer lingers
On their breath-hot anticipation.
Was it you I felt all those nights? The loss, the lonliness—
That black void that will eat up every ounce of substance?
Irish Lass. He called you his ‘Real’ Irish lass.
Tall, dark—he played the violin while you mixed your paints
Ignoring the war—the lack, he only spoke of better times
Of what would be, of what was grand:
Long, dark red hair- Skin like milk
Everything is as it should be- a chailín mo chroí!
I knew an Irishman who said that to me.
I felt so passionately; I thought I would explode.
His first words to me touched my gut—my soul it shimmered.
Was I merely remembering you, Lara? Was it your son I bore?

Everything is as it should be. All will be well.
So he said when he left to fight.
So my Irishman said when he left to live.
Two winters past and the frozen dew returns
Paint the cross—although all hope of God died long ago.
Smooth whispers hot as hands urged your talent
But it was flattery to get ‘neath the skirt.
And there you lay on the dew-slick stones
As hunger gnawed beneath skin grown thin as paper.
Had it all come to this?
I’ve known lack all my life, Lara. I am no longer afraid of it.
It no longer has to be. Abundance is everywhere.
Open—open your blue eyes and see through mine—green.
The whole world is green and alive.
The war was over but he never came home.
Did you wonder that he had abandoned you?
To Dublin? In the arms of another?
It crossed your mind
For in the years apart had taught you much.
Men love conveniently—so casually.
I have never loved with my whole heart.
They say cannot until I see you through.
Let go Lara, blue eyes—let go. Surrender my love to me!
It was easier to believe—better somehow to think
That he might still be alive.
But spring came and the ice melted,
And with it Lara blue eyes frozen by fear ceased.
The great blue yawn—down to sleep forever in frost.
Well, not me, Lara. I’m not going down…
I walk through fear aflame.

Shining Bright

(for Sarah)

She praises the sun,
hands to the sky,
in motion—fluid and strong.
Lips move loud prayers,
and she blinks,
a period when the sounds dies.
End of the sentence.
‘What do you see in the sun?’ you ask.
A laugh thunders scattering the
wonder wavering behind her eyes.
like butterflies taking flight.
‘My reflection,’ she says.
You cannot help but look upward.
‘Don’t look too long,’ she smiles.
‘I shine very bright.’

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Since September...

Sacred Contract

did you know for months I called you
with music , repetition, from far off fields
blue at night… tell me o muse of travelers
far and wide… calling me home
to knock on a door that has been closed
for so long… by a fist to the face.
in years long past…spirit
hid inside something cold--
I cried when I called you
not imagining you’d hear… Forgetting
the soul knows no boundaries—like art
Timing inspired—
Divine. Passionate. God
wrote your name across my heart
at the beginning of all things when
we agreed to help each other--
You are of Me—Soul group—
we have a contract to fulfill
La mia famiglia! My family!
That voice…your face… I know it
too has met the fist…
Built the walls…
Knocked upon the door…
I answered you too.

king james

king james came riding in ona white horse
no wait
he afraid of hights
it was on a wave fast as light
kinda underneath-like.
watch-u want, boy?
slidin’ under my bedroom door
knock. knock. knock. knock.

slippery as a shadow
smelling like church
king james whispered in tones dulcet
and ancient—i paused
yeah baby, i heard that sermon before
heard it better
knock. knock. knock. knock.

don’t you know i got religion, boy?
hell yeah. oh he know.
but down here we ain’t got no
crosses, boy
ain’t interested in crucifixion
just bars and churches, bars and churches
hmm… maybe a magnolia or two
Wanna see?
knock. knock. knock. knock.

i want, says king james
soundin’ like a song
from the old, old days
gimme those hills and valleys
gotta kneel before the mother
put flame in her heart
lawd! how i remember that tune
you a right good gospel singer, honey!
knock. knock. knock. knock.

i love me some of that old religion
ginger and milk
leave it out on the step for the boo-hag, boy
neath the porch swing. she’ll be round to get it
in a minute
and ride you all across this land—up and down
up and down—shit yeah,
‘till you can’t see no more
even when the sun rises
knock. knock. knock. knock.

the horse’s hooves, hear em?
da hag ride at night
and she got a mean streak, that one
don’t listen to no king; ain’t got one, she says
no country, neither—just a room
where she keep the wrecked souls
They cryin’.
hear it?
knock. knock. knock. knock.


do I go there?
don’t know if I dare
down the halls of that old school.
smells like dust and vomit
no matter how hard you scrub
it ain’t comin’ clean.

just keeps spewing out
the mouths of children
like apples
stuffed full of ugliness.
there was no warning—

They can’t stand the light.
but it don’t stop comin’
Neither the light nor the
poisoned darts
through the glass--
the lookin’ glass.
it’s all i see now.

hear that mama?
skirts are flimsy shelter.
he’s been deaf since birth.
new baby’s cryin’,
hafta figure it out my ownself.
jus’ hide for now--
don’t let no shine through.
stay quiet.
Don’t breath!
cover your head and
black out the sky.
If you can’t see them,
they can’t see you--
or the starlight.

it’s dark under here.
no good air, either.
But jus’ sit awhile and listen
‘till they gone.

Dancing In the Spirit

The drums beat, and the color’s so bright,
you can’t understand the heat of this place
until you’ve slept under canopies of Spanish moss
in trees older than stone.

The gound’s alive—songs all night long—every night.
No pause—never—not even for January.
Ringing out through the limbs of a hundred Cathedrals are
whispers of Wappoo, Wando—the Kiawah.

They’re rattling the bones—chanting for the moon,
calling back to the Africans—“Angola! N’gullah!” and
breaking chains against the cobblestones in time to
a fiddler who sailed from the Barbados to
taste Carolina Gold.

Grains made the white man’s fortune.
Its rattling echoes down sleepy streets
raising the dead to stroll among the living.
There’s a rhythm, a dance of centuries… many souls
woven together like sweet grass—gold, black and brown.

We are still carrying the weight
in shared baskets—blending together,
as we walk through the stream—
pirates, ghosts and courtiers—all
still Dancing in the Spirit.

A New Country

There in naught in me
Nothing more to give.
Nothing to take.
No belief.
The still small voice urges me to go…
to release, detach—move across this groundless
place where Fear and Hope wear the masks of Theater.
They put on such a show; it’s hard to train the eyes away.
So I sit—watching.
Hope whispers promises; Fear screams threats.
But the lines never change.
It is a play with no beginning, no end—no meaning.
No point of reference.
I study in vain for familiar terrain, but there is only black sky
meeting endless desert lit with a million flaming trees—
each one a star-blazing eidolon.
The burning grounds—the heat of loneliness?
Hope and Fear dance—whispering—screaming, as I shoot
across the place of ‘sky in the land.’
I am nowhere, and there is nowhere more beautiful.
Faces in the light—so many have come and gone before.
Angels and Demons, drunk on illusion, dance about the boughs,
unaware of the line between black and white.
From nowhere the break is visible… the horizon between sky and desert.
The two meet perpetually, always in change—this never changes,
and I may alight there, and ignite…
a new tree, aflame in a New Country.