17 January 2011

5 Weeks

I’m hiding from blood;
Clenching my thighs in protest.
How can I trust my intuition,
If it’s polluted by my dread?
Beading hope with alarm,
Bliss with worry,
Longing with surrender.
I am a doll of fate,
Gnashed about in the grip of the unknowable.
I measure my confidence in weeks.
If life is paradox,
Then must my greatest joy always,
And in equal measure,
Accompany my most ardent fear?
To celebrate is to mourn.
Yet, this duality proffers no comfort.
Shall I linger in uncertainty
Expectant of peace?
To even utter the word,
Is to give it power.
But, to trap it in a cloud of unknowing
Is, perhaps, to let it root and grow
Alongside the life
That fights to transform and persist.
Let it be concedes
To let it die.
If it is meant to be
Sits bitter and metallic on my tongue.
And so, there is but one
Meek and sincere imperative
Crying out from my stretching uterus
That vibrates every tendon, capillary, tissue
As it makes its way
To my cracked and trembling lips,

20 November 2010

A Train at Night

I like the train best at night.
I hide my face under the curtain
To foil the glare
From scattered reading lights
In an otherwise dark cabin, and
Press my cheek to the cold window.
All the world is in shadow;
The evergreen silhouettes
School the night in darkness.
I spy a planet, orange and unwavering
In the charcoal sky.
On a cloudy night, like this one,
The lighted blotches on the lid
Hint at cities nestled
In some hidden valley.
Wisps of red light fly by
At the crossings,
But there is no sign of life,
Other than the muffled snores
And creaks of a train at night.
I am a quiet voyeur
Sailing slowly by a slumbering wilderness;
Searching for searching eyes
That glimmer yellow in the moonlight.
Then, as the train pulls west around a bend,
I see it, a sparkling snake
Penetrating an abysmal horizon.
I am a wild thing
On a train at night.

11 August 2010

Longing for the Deep

He found her crouching in the ice plants on the cliffs of the sea
Her skin irredescent as the sand as it slips through your fingers
Hair, whipping wildly with the wind as it rushes up the shore
The color of the sun as it drinks the vast blue lifeblood of their small island
She did not shutter as he approaoched, though his presence was formidable.
She simply reached for the water with the longing of a drunk after wine
She pulled herself along the ground, dragging her body into submission
She sent rocks cascading down the interminable precipice before he caught her
She fought at first, but then lost her will quickly
With energy enough only to reach again for the deep
He carried her down the mule path his people had forged long ago
He clasped her white flesh with his dark, thick arms pressing her tightly to him
He inhaled her salty breath as her head fell heavy on his bare, broad shoulders
He wore only the sarong of hsi tribe and the royal band of leather and bone
He reached the warm sand, marching forward toward the breaking waves
The water seemed a fuel to her near lifeless form
Her body squirmed and writhed free of his grasp
Like a fish wriggling loose from the fatal skewer of a spear
Fighting for one last chance at freedom, though in vain
Her arms swung wildly at her side as she fought for each heavy step
Deeper and deeper she strode, with purpose and desperation
He waited on the shore, letting the water hit his knees without notice
He watched her as a terror and a longing gripped his chest
He blinked the sun back in his eyes, raising his hand to his forehead
He searched the water, but she was gone.
He leapt with fury, diving into the shallow water and propelled with earnest
Somehow his life was now bound to hers and he felt his spirit dying
She hovered just below the surface of the water, swaying with the sea's rhythm
She did not respond has he hoisted her above water, throwing her over his shoulder
She began to cough as they reached the shore and as her consciousness returned
She kicked madly, screaming in magnificent torment
She clawed, bit and scratched his tanned back, hollering for her death
As though he were her punisher and not her savior.
Then, in an instant, she was asleep, limp in his arms again.
It was like moving in a dream, gathering wood, food and shelter
This was his home, and yet it seemed so foreign to him.
How he had longed for something other, something spectacular
They all thought him foolish, but he knew it would come, she would come.
She stirred in her weary sleep, like a woman plagued by demons
She calmed as he rubbed coconut oil on her chapped lips and aloe on her pink skin
She was a mystery and yet he knew her so clearly, and himself through her.
She would need him and he would forfeit his life to save her, provide for her, love her.
She was dangerous, but he would give his heart to no one else.
Just as the sweetest oysters come from the perilous underbelly of treacherous rocks
He knew that she housed a great treasure that would whisper new promise
He would tell his people he had seen a sign from the god of the sun.
He was caught in its mirage, perhaps, but he would not faulter from his purpose
He will bestow upon her every treasure in his posession and if she will have him
He will make her his bride.

07 June 2010

young hands

why are your hands so soft?
they're old.
she pulls at her loose skin quizzically,
pondering the blotched olive crests
like toasted meringue
that fall slowly, but never completely.
then, just as slowly, her eyes fall to my hands
pink and iridescent, freckled and slender
angled and extended near hers.
now, those are young hands.
then back to her own,
funny how that happens.
i wait for something eloquent or profound
to say, or even something funny.
but, nothing could be simpler.
her hands are old.
my hands are not,
well, not to her.
funny, i thought.
my hands look so old.

28 February 2010

the entirity of your life

have you ever cocooned so deeply
that you no longer notice the weight of the laptop
or that the room has gone dark all around you?

have you ever postponed going to bathroom
until you are hungry or need to plug in your phone
so as not to waste the effort of the cold walk to the next room?

has pain and discomfort slowed time to the point
that you regret each day you have to bear, each meal you're forced to
feed the body that is perpetually betraying you?

have you ever thought you were depressed only to discover
that your life is simply depressing right now and the only peace
you find is in giving up, surrendering to the dark inevitable?

have you ever surmised the entirity of your life
by looking at the wrappers, bloody gauze, drooping flowers, unfinished books, half empty ginger ale bottles, tea cups loaded with a used yogurt spoon and tissues, pill bottles and the water glass you keep refilling
that comprise your complete lack of activity in the past week?

11 February 2010

hot tea

i always burn my lips on boiling hot tea
it's my ritual
i know it's not steeped properly
i know it's too hot
but it's worth it

the fleeting moment of perfect tea haunts me
it's the wet chase
i need to taste that blissful sip
i sacrifice
but it's worth it

any fool can negligently gulp down cold tea
mindlessly partaking
likewise, any fool could write this poem
and yet, i needed to talk about tea today
today, however, i'm drinking coffee

09 February 2010

This Year's Valentine

by Philip Appleman

They could
pump frenzy into air ducts
and rage into reservoirs,
dynamite dams
and drown cities,
cry fire in theaters
as the victims are burning,
I will find my way through blackened streets
and kneel down at your side.

They could
jump the median, head-on,
and obliterate the future,
fit .45's to the hands of kids
and skate them off to school,
flip live butts into tinderbox forests
and hellfire half the heavens,
in the rubble of smoking cottages
I will hold you in my arms.

They could
send kidnappers to kindergartens
and pedophiles to playgrounds,
wrap themselves in Old Glory
and gut the Bill of Rights,
pound the door with holy screed
and put an end to reason,
I will cut through their curtains of cunning
and find you somewhere in the moonlight.

Whatever they do with their anthrax or chainsaws,
however they strip-search or brainwash or blackmail,
they cannot prevent me from sending you robins,
all of them singing: I'll be there.