Love, Agape

Love

There’s this bridge that held you back.

One you didn’t know was there

until panicked, you called upon it,

a painful and ecstatic break.

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Words by Sylvia Plath

Words

 

Axes

After whose stroke the wood rings

And the echoes!

Echoes traveling

Off from the center like horses.

 

The sap

Wells like tears, like the

Water striving

To re-establish its mirror

Over the rock

 

That drops and turns,

A white skull

Eaten by weedy greens.

Years later I

Encounter them on the road–

 

Words dry and riderless,

The indefatigable hoof-taps,

While

From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars

Govern a life.

~Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems

Street

Street

I.

The children are scruffy here.

They play out past their bedtimes.

Their parents are working double shifts.

 

Here it is childless high-rises

and low-cost housing. I try to keep the yard up.

I make fun of the trailer park  up the street

when I am broke and the final notice

for the heating bill has come.

I put Post-it notes on the cars

that park in my driveway:

Please inconvenience yourself.

 

II.

My Russian neighbor borrows heavily:

sugar, eggs, flour.

She walks in, uninvited,

when she needs me. Susan!

Come! I give her rides because her teenage son will not,

and roll my eyes to throw her off,

to make her smile.  She brings me Russian wine

and food-bank treats

she will not eat.

 

She lets me pick tomatoes from her garden

even though I cursed the stench

of fertilizer the summer before.

When I am weary of helping her

she gives me a look that cuts me down to size.

 

III.

I silently accuse my Vietnamese neighbor

of pocketing the money

that fell out of a dress, from the dryer we share.

And hated the smells

that drifted into my apartment

from hers, the cacophony of her voice.

But when I asked to borrow the barbecue

that sat unused in her yard

she said yes.

 

IV.

There, they were all

kinder that I, loved

my hard heart gently,

softly, unknowingly

to new pink.

~SR, 2012

 

Ornithology Lesson by Jan Wallace

Ornithology Lesson by Jan Wallace

It’s an act of desperation,
the rare mating ritual
of the bald eagle pair.

They come together mid-air between
mountains, you can barely make
them out, you with your Audubon

binoculars, you in your birding
hat. The two of them bound beak
and feather, claw and wing,

having taken leave of every other
instinct; like survival, like hunger,
when they caught that scent floating

in thin air. Mostly what they
have forgotten is how to breathe, how
to fly. They drop their wings,

admit to the full weight of themselves
washed clean of the serendipitous
magic of everyday bald eagle flight

by the thick true wash of lust–
which brings every creature right down
out of the wild kingdom into the one

common, humble denominator. Aren’t you glad,
Bird watchers, you’re not a part
of that? Those eagles risk it all

for the free fall down the long swallow
of sex, speeding down the chimney of air
plummeting blindly toward earth, unaware

entranced, careening toward your keen
eyes riveted on the speeding bundle,
and just when you know this must

be a suicide pact, no birdheart promise,
but the real thing among a sacred breed,
just before they hit the earth and scatter

like burst pillows–they disengage slow
motion in a stunning, artful gesture.
And there you are, binoculars around

your ankles, as the eagles pick up
the next breeze, feathering, feathering and soar.

~Jan Wallace

 

 

Making a home for my own poetry.

Lately I’ve been stewing about whether or not to sift through a  2 x 2 box of old writing: 12 journals filled with thoughts, ideas, poems, and crying  – some pages just have “fuck” written from top to bottom – to find a certain line of poetry I need for a current short story project.

I’d also like to get rid of a tub of  loose printer paper, match-books, napkins, old phone bills, whatever was within reach to write on at the time.  I’m tired of looking at it.  I want the floor-space.  I hate clutter.

So I’ve finally found the balls to make a home on my site for old work.  Whatever finished poems I like will go up.  What I don’t will go in the recycle.

And by the way: punctuation matters to me. I can happily spend 15 minutes putting in and taking out a comma (and change my mind about it the next day). Or ponder whether I like that  “s” in there or not. I like that shit. No, I fucking love that shit.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rowing Endeth By Anne Sexton

THE ROWING ENDETH                               by Anne Sexton
I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s okay.” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed –
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.

“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play – can it be true –
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces,
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As he plunks down His five aces
and I am still grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
and laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.

Dearest dealer,
I with my royal straight flush,
love you so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.

~ Anne Sexton

Note: And this.

TED Talk re the Creative Process E Gilbert Nails it

After watching this talk I could not not post the link to it here.  Her talk describes my own process, and maybe yours as well, of writing. Specifically, writing poetry. She touches on how the Divine is a part of that process.

I have always known this to be true; that writing comes through me, not necessarily from me. That I’m (often) only a scribe.

I’ve always thought of it as being touched by the hand of You Know. Or maybe better, touching that hand. That’s a pretty big assertion but it’s true, and the best way I can describe the experience.  And, the experience is beyond and beyond bliss.  It’s what gives me the courage to keep coming back to the often-for-me-terrifyingly-blank page.

 

Questions For My Nominees

Here is my list of questions for my Liebster nominees:

  1. In grade school who broke your heart?
  2. What three things could you not live without on a deserted island?
  3. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
  4. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, which one would you like to learn?
  5. What was your most embarrassing childhood experience?
  6. What’s your go-to comfort food?
  7. What’s on your nightstand that you’re reading now?
  8. When did you realize that writing made you happy?
  9. If you could have lunch with any person not living, who would that person be? And why?
  10. Who is your favorite poet, or poem?