Clutching Laura Ingalls

Fearless isn’t thoughtless
wild and precious
it’s a chaotic calculation
keep going
step through the river, so clear
and cold, so inviting but
deadly, who is below at
your toes, your ankles?
life’s piranhas lingering there
wanting for you to drown,
to sleep in that one piece,
blue, folded legs like a smooth
labia, yes I said it mother,
I see you watching me, thinking
I’m untamed and sit on rounded

heels and and you’d be right will you
throw me in the
lake again, this time harder,
with more force, your shoulders
barely buckling, oh mother, you
gave me wings, but kept me
clipped, scaled, a good swimmer
and the lizard in me wanted
to stay below deck, clutching
a wet Laura Ingalls, begging
you to leave me be; sweep the
angels, kill the angel, let the
angel leave, rocks in pockets
below the float buoyed by hope,
always buoyed by hope

The apology

“one thing I don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they don’t open doors
or bring the sun back
they don’t make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didn’t nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry.”
― Ntozake Shange, For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Response

I apologize to the hounds every day
without saying a word
cuz even the devil thinks the sunny days are sad
I can make tails of it
when it greets me at the door
or morphs, or shapeshifts
but I don’t know what it thinks
or what it wants
I just know it has its own agenda
and it’s making people mad
and not in that good way when people are smokin’ reefer
and Monterey Pop is on
but in that way a child cowers in a corner
then lashes out like a lion

Fade

not like my dream, where I’m standing in flowers.

instead, my field was peppered with peppers, little legs, bloody red, crawling
up mine as I watched
daisies from afar, against a little house,

you outside, red-head, can’t hold too tight to that.

red is fading now
back to bed
fade to pepper
fade to flowers

fade

Like Neruda

I can write the loneliest verses today.

Say, for example, “Alone is soft.”

Are we alone?

It doesn’t matter anymore, what’s below my feet.
The Scottish Play says “quiet.”

I didn’t have the heart to wake you.
It’s only a blanket.

Soft around the oils.
Breath falling.

Eyes close in blue ridges. Dreams come.
Never again. Sometimes.

Vines like a river

Breeze through the glories
Vines like a river, like a wave
Painted gold, leaves shimmering

When my eyes told you I love you,
you tried to touch me with your tendrils.
Your dress, worn softly and falling apart,
revealed a mouse’s treasure beneath your blooms.
And purple trumpets, emerging from your shoulders,
announced the morning rain.

Seeing

I see color.
~Me

Though I have no illusions that the world revolves around me, I do think that I am spoken to. The words are always there. Sometimes they whisper, sometimes they are loud, but they are always speaking.

I’m in the same boat as everyone else, but thankfully not a large boat off the shore of some unfortunate harbor. I’m not going to name it, though, it’s already been named. It’s some version of the Scottish Play, and let’s just leave it at that. And we’re all staring out, unfortunate actors, waiting for a cue, waiting for the next act.

I had a laugh when this play began, as it was right before I was supposed to embark on some sort of personal journey for three months. Like space was going to be made for me and I would work out all the shit in my life. Oddly, space was made for me, but not in the way that I wanted. Instead, the streets and my neighborhood around me said “have a listen” and “have a look-see.”

And what I heard were birds, and fewer of them. I saw and heard Western Bluebirds, my lonely wrens and sparrows in the bushes, and an eerie calm. And I saw color in my yard – yellow, pink, lavender, and white. White is prettiest as a blooming azalea at dusk, the sky filled with dark clouds.

And so, I thought, this is the space. The world is quieting down to where I can think.

Noise

Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow…”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

The cars are a river that wake with me
Silver and silent, going nowhere

The planes are up at 6 am, but their song isn’t pretty
Instead they sear the sky and hit the birds,
blood and feathers in the wings

The lights come on
but they aren’t the sun or the bright moon
They are green and harsh

Sometimes they are red
and pavlovian

The friend

She is erased, but I still watch her
The drunk, there
Looks like no other
glassy, unseeing
peering out from the pain

ethanol sits there between us
waving like the summer heat
so there’s no embrace
only breath perception

you can’t, you aren’t
I am not
I am

the tears don’t come, and I’m more sad than angry
but I don’t miss her anymore

Why do we gaze at stars?

For Lisa

Why do we gaze at stars?
Birds used to swim, before they could fly.
The longer we swim, the more likely we will grow wings.

The sailors, then, is that why they watch you?
Yes, otherwise they’ll never be free.

So, sailors are like fish caterpillars, waiting to emerge?
Yes, like an unborn star.

How are stars born?
Light, balance, and force.

Just those things?
Maybe some fairy dust.

What happens when you fall?
A million wishes are made.

Who do you fall for?
The purest of hearts.

Do their wishes come true?
Look for yourself.

Fire

Fire
I dreamt last night I was a volcano,
but afraid of my own power
I erupted bitterness instead of fire

The neglected dog two doors down
is a different heat
and it burns my belly to imagine him there
under the hot light of a back porch

Night winds cool the winds of the day
that are harsher in their own way
the sun swept around in the branches
is mad there is no shadows
and basks the leaves in a blinding light