Now that I have a window
it seems I am aging faster.
I resemble a family member who has
I see the sun set and it drops into
the dirt faster every day.
I imagine that is me. I am the sun,
scorching orange fingernails
scratching at the dusky sky
trying to remain relevant.
And what if this time,
there is no morning?
after the dark night there are
blushing hints of sun. I may be my great aunt reborn.
I am the promise that
the universe crackles at its tips
into yet another big bang.
Look at the man walking, cold breath rising.
Look at the trees bare to their necks.
It is winter…
but only for now.
Born at the Wrong Time
One summer, I saw a Texas-style Paul McCartney
in a dark mahogany leather coat
slurring to Bob Dylan’s “rainy day woman”
outside the full moon at a wrangler bonfire in
Last night, I saw a gray haired woman, four feet tall,
in full length tattered gown
swirling in her mess of beads
and her hands in the air like she was
I saw myself tripping on the old Baltimore cobblestones.
I saw myself drunk with Janis and having a grand old time.
If I was the woman
in the gas station convenience store
sweeping up the dead leaves,
cigarette butts, dirt
and bugs that accumulate over the week,
what shade of lipstick would I wear?
Deep red to surprise
those drifting passerbys
who assume by my oversized dressings that I’ve grown too tired for
movie star dreams;
Or a softly generic pink
to match the slight flush in my cheeks
from the new cold breezes and the faded wall shades
and the dullness of simple chores;
Or just a gloss,
barely discernible to all but me…
Yes, with the gloss I imagine that
every time my tongue reached out in habit,
I would taste a faint stickiness of strawberry flavoring
And smile inside.
Saturday Night Turned Sunday
In that ether
of day to night to day, you twisted into
my bones with a quiet embrace
while candles burned out
their existence in the corner, flickering
their shadowy tongues on the ceiling.
we were mouths pressed to Jamaican cigars.
Our voices drifting towards a lone street light
while our lips smacked with red wine.
Later, there was the
reaching out; the touching that sent shivers
through my thoughts and made loud promises like a
bright neon skyline, or a half smile.
The next day, though,
found resigned whispers from the ceiling fan,
soft morning light through the blinds,
impressions of lips on empty water glasses,
and a hand slipping hopelessly away.
Skyline Relief in a Passing Train
I see the New York City skyline
Drenched in early morning orange,
Etched like a relief
In the side of a passing train,
Roaring beside my own.
The light washes over buildings and smoke stacks
And that in-between land of tall weeds from city
to reflection in train.
We just left and already it seems so far, already
My memory of a fat hazy moon
On 12th west side, is a dream.
Is this possible?
The full moon brings possibilities – he seemed
(In my dreamy stroll)
To smile down on me between those buildings
With a blessing.
E. B. White speaks of New York City so compellingly—
I’m willing, when I read it,
To run for the solitude and ferment
And now and now, opportunities
Bursting at the seams, yet tempered with
Weighty sadness of leaving
Which ancestors will aid in my decision?
Is this my will or
Is it my great aunt Alice who swore she was too afraid to try?
Or my great grandmother Alice who was (from her poems)
a wife and mother first?
Or my father, who stayed in Baltimore? Although in this instance,
I need only ask, “Daddy, what should I do?”
Crossing in click-clack, the trains pass each other by,
The crossroads clearly defined.
One more for now, while I have the time and energy…. This one was written two years ago, when I was so very afraid that I wouldn’t be home in time to say goodbye to my grandmother. [and I know some of these starting poems are a little bleak, but I promise there are happier ones on the way…]
Rows of No Smoking Lights
The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign
so it is only the rows of no smoking lights
that run above my head off into the distance.
I am sitting upright, tray table secured, waiting
for my tears to dry. Waiting for this plane to land.
My Mexican sunburn is making me
chilled and my Mexican hangover is making me
My sister sleeps one seat over against the window,
I look past her and into the darkness, just one light
on the wing to create the illusion that we are actually
moving. At this point, I think it’s
possible that we’re underwater, in a dark wet world.
The pressure in my ears creates a solid weight
in the darkness. Above, the lights run on. If I stare at
them for too long, they seem to blur into one long line.
It reminds me of a long hallway.
I too will walk it someday.
easing myself into this whole “sharing with the world” thing. Starting with the more comfortable pieces (are politics more comfortable?) and planning to move forward from there….one from just before the Iraq war (George W. not George senior). In the style of T.S. Eliot…
Song of March (2003)
It snowed for no reason tonight,
just seemed the thing to do.
And quiet crowds cowered in their houses
with bread and water and
plastic and duct tape awaiting the inevitable;
the prom king and queen,
cried innocent and shivered while the enemy sweated
and lurked in every dark alleyway,
sweating in turbans and yards of cloth,
plotting and deceiving.
He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.
The few great left another generation alone to contemplate:
Crowds cowered in their fallen houses across the sea.
Covered women who come and go
weary from watching Michelangelo.
They’re told he’s an infidel, that he’s the one
because of his painted ceiling in Rome.
Yet it makes no sense again.
We grow so old; we
chant what we do not understand;
we lose the audience with haphazard metaphors that
tick like bombs, but make no sound— no questions,
no time left to consider.
He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.
The thing to do, seems the only thing to do.
In March we go,
in step we go,
before the sky can open up
beneath the weight of escalating egos,
of bipeds with opposable thumbs bent on the thing to do,
hitchhiking back to the beginning of it all—
the middle east,
the middle earth,
the point of the big bang that still reverberates now.
Short and Sweet
This day speaks of Norwegian Wood-
The voices, the guitar; I think of all the things I can remember
about my life. “and when I awoke I was alone.”
The smell of wood burning, it happens so fast. A light, a
smoke that drifts towards the heavens. All that’s left is
ash and soot.
It happens in 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Then it’s over.