Friday, July 31, 2009

Erasing the Rainbow

The morning light is dim,
a veil of mist and pewter sky
where cool leaves, crisp and perfect,
lay still in wait for wind of fate,
await some crunch from out the door
that doesn’t hear what was before.

Changed Changed

Penetrate the mist of time
and walk into the silent morning,
hushed somehow where are the birds?
A footfall’s like a spoken word.
Looking for the sweet release
of knowing this covered canopy
only awaits the afternoon.

Now Now

Would the gate be closed to me
between this minute and the next,
how bide the glorious delay?

Stay Stay

Wipe the friendly imperfect glass,
erase the rainbow that is fake,
take what is real.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun Sun Sky Try

I am lifting the white from sky

Sifting it into a powder dry

To swirl with my silver spoon

To drink this mist off bloom of blue

Who dare inhibit the sky not I

I just want to blow some haze away

And dust the corners of the trees

Where spider web has caught the leaves

I’ll play in all this spring green thought

In dappled light be caught with naked face

And a bit of sunshine’s grace just out of reach

Of times great sweeping hand I can

Disturb the way that things must flow

A rhythm slow I’ll take to fast then dance this dream

With blues the beat and barefoot tapping dirt touched feet

To keep this drain from seeping out the pool’s cool rule

For I would make the water warm and sky to storm

Without a doubt I’d cry the rain all over me

And live as if mother nature be in tree

And with a whim lift up my chin with smile's beguile

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This Slivered Moon

I could see the slivered moon
in the western sky resplendent
and in the shadow thus displayed,
reverence spoke as purple iris
knelt together petals folded.
Behind them in the bower silent,
sunflowers bowed like dolls with yellow hair
tired from sunlight’s hold on watching.

And then the magic evening breezes
touched the sage and released such magic,
frog voices spilled from off the mountains
across the canyon’s echoed chamber;
stillness folded in my vision
and brought me too complete delighting,
quenched the hunger of my spirit
with the moonlight's face beguiling.

Oh, slivered moon with shadowed light,
dream me perfect in your drenching,
breathe this spirit with a loving
sigh from magic moving heaven,
touch my skin to soft with lighting,
gorge my sleep with delicious dream,
keep me in your quiet watch
as day succumbs to nighttime peace.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

The delta breeze chimes
in the pallid air,
almost making music from the willing sunflowers.
Almost slipping
beneath the double pane glass
of my inconsiderate mood.
It moves the tall grass
beside a warm pond where fish
ignore ripples
with their lethargic large mouths closed.
In this room of bones and chairs
an airplane and refrigerator
hum along as the dog snores
in her old comforting warmth,
as a trickle of thought
from the corrugated roof of my mind,

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The path turns fallow beneath my feet
bare and brown so much youth beat within
a sin it seems to shod the truth
and casually walk around
as if time wasn't a circle you woke to

God is the question still
and though I see the warming light
it is my own with wings and flight
and the guts of glory that came from drowning
and the question who is dead

I have loved the lace in time
such pretty weaving catches me
planting well the seed that wonders
always asking slow or fast
detesting the blood of the righteous
to save the sisters and daughters
from the strangle of skin

The petals mold and droop into goodbye
even from the rigid frozen winter
and to see them stir the air
takes purity and I despair my lack

Though I have taken songless wind
and with my ear created harmony
unglued the glass and rubbed the wood
until my fingers ached
and still questioned why
I worked the love into the finish
to feel it there smooth
and unafraid of weather
while my soft skin ached from the strum
yet still with joy succumbed

Albino Lashed

From the corner of my eye
in whitest white came in the door
albino lashed a thought to me
for free it fluttered just to left
I did my best to still my breath
afraid in skirt of small spaced flight
I’d turn and rupture such delight

Behind me now I felt the smallest wind
touch the fold behind my ear with whim
like song in key of wonder it beguiled my neck
with thought of lovely trust in tangle
with my hair a riot of wings and lust

Was like the fingers of a cloud
I followed it out the door to the blackberry
blossomed and looking so like the flying thing
the flower and the creature be a mated pair
one so still and touched by air
the other twirled in and out her thorns with care
and I a voyeur to their thrill
delight the pale and capture with eyes filled

Friday, July 10, 2009

Past the Time of Goodbye

It was only last year
When the crease formed
Only one day an hour perhaps
Where it started slipping away

No time so much time
The other side cannot be contained
Floundering on the ridge
Slip soft cool remain

So how am I to mark the way
When all I want is for you to stay
Stay past the time of goodbye

Some days there is time
Like the slow opening of a sunflower
And others when the sun sets as it rises
When all is slipping
I listen to the groan of dirt
The sweet lifting in fast forward
Of something living wanting sun

I can hear it from the canvas I packed
Like a water balloon it wrestles with my shoulder
Or curls with liquid words at my feet
While I keep watch vigilant and a hero
I don’t sleep

Wanting empty space and time
To throw the arrow of my words
(pierce something with perfect insight)
Attach it to a tree that knows I am only me
And just realize that I can in the end
Fly you see?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fall Up Leaf

A walk of hands and holding belt loops
the river the river calling
and sky like blowing bits of time
until the color hovers on the line of trees
and fells the warp of shadows with a breeze

Feel the catching of the tune for soon
this green hill covered with rolling children
will be gone like the words of song
and the trees fragile leaf still trying to appease
the trust that cleans the clutter from enough

See the bench lolling in the incline
it is catching minutes
with weathered letters and heart shaped declaration

See spring teeter on the hill clasping hands
with winter still
and naked summer girls a lay
waiting for a bit of colored skin to trap
with line of suit imagination's pursuit
and from the ivy halls of smart some heart

See the couple lolling on the bench
they are holding back the time of goodbye
watching for a sign that tells them
love will not leave the place it keeps
so weeps the minute
until in certain time backwards
a leaf from ground twirls softly back to air
it falls up yes up
as if with this trick to say
just watch I am like love
then catches branch of tree and stays

Full Moon Beguile

A sunset colored with crape myrtle
pressed like silk on blue at first
stayed while I sat down to watch
it drain behind the palm tree’s burst

I thought no beauty could surpass it
and turned to you to speak my view
but you looked passed with eyes celestial
and dreamy with the moonlight’s hew.

I watched it scale a square of building
dissected by a telephone pole
then climb the open angel’s stairway
to rule the sky and light my soul.

I knew you thought of how your Gaga
loved to lay with you out back
when you were just a little fella
and explain its dark and glorious trek.

For when the moon is at the full
I see her climb into your face
almost hear her voice like music
and feel the warmth of her embrace.

The moon at full has all the glory
of the smile that touched the child
and changed forever all the meaning
of the night’s full moon beguile. ________

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take Me Down to Clay

Within the bright white day
the sky is milking clouds on neglect
I can see the spent wisps
as the drain opens and empties
its curious mix around and about a tree

Across the parched pavement
the sirens are calling the dogs
to be sentinels of sound
to howl ears pricked
catching each other’s echos

The valley hop-scotches
and the heat waves are chalked
to catch the first drop

I await the cement's moan and the drum beat
the slowly moving drift of it
cracks skin like parchment
and rustles with the scratch
of an empty ink tray
waiting for the touch of moist fingers
to take me down to clay

Like Birds

Like birds
these poems are wild

going somewhere
anywhere in air
floating on the current
in the waves of battling poles
latched to a tree they are stinging me
feathers supplicating
fettered by a turbulence of thought
caught in the frightful claws
of hunger and draught

these poems are wild
their whistle is darned to destiny
and is chained that way
across the fabric of time
living on vibration and fighting gravity

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thief of Happenstance

So swift the movement
of grace in dance of air was caught
within the gentle hold of web
laced to the corner of the house

It called me from a quick glance
that stopped half-way to the mailbox
a thief of happenstance
and a seed to rescue

Frangible ovule of flight I blew
again to drift on current with breeze
not reckoned more than breath
from lips to kiss the flight of fairy
across the lawn away

History Lesson

The terrible rain
clattering on the tin roof
awakens the barn door
holding in its museum of air

Thunder trembles
opening a slant of light
onto the forgotten hoof beats
that long ago galloped
across the meadows
of the stolen tortured countryside

In the rafters
time hides in an abandoned thread of lace
laconic and agreeable in the serene dust
almost indeed noble


Within the holy tome of breath
open to the sky's watch,
the dropping-down stars
consort with the bubblegum
and comic books of my old belief.

Under this cloth of pink air,
who listens as I dream,
beating my thoughts into words,
while not even birds awake?

Time takes me forward
as I come screeching back,
my talons whipping clouds into rain
and my innocent eyes alive.

Fragile, like a leaf the paper tears,
darned to the fabric of time
with ancient, wizened, invisible hands
that gather pages I will write, new.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Words are fat and bold...
they are not afraid.
I release them
from my small temper,
and let them ignite the page.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Self Editing

Wild now with the growth from spring rain
the back of the garden catches me
with tendrils of this and that
and abundant flying things do buzz and reply
to the fragrant jasmine and fruit trees nearby

I go through the door of air to a chair
with open book seated and unread
I shed my color and loosen the draft of air
and see myself with kind eyes

Blooming and tall like the roses
in need of nip tuck and direction
no hedge I keep for I am this wild way beguiled
for the path I take is like a child in pony's trot

Within the room of me
I open all the doors and windows
and there unlocked my song set free
that has found its way by light into me

Past the monsters hiding in the copse it strums
into the opening glen
to find each minute just begun

I am Hand

A song made from deep look tremble
with tone of one finger drawn on skin
across the scrape of twilight
grace is caught naked in my expression

I pull a ruffled demure
and sweep back hair
as if its sail would stop the breeze

I marry with warm
absorb the knowing of holding something
and somatically learn what was left unsaid

I speak heart tongue fragile strong give tender
capable culpable paired to task
into the wielding of weight and fragile

My roots are blue twigs
that flow with heart's river
and from that place where pulse is born
I am the magic ripple

Nell, and the Bible Salesman

A chapter from my novel, Sweet William

A flowered dress and canvas shoes
live with the whisper of time, always moving,
so don't wait till you're dead to live,
time is now for the using.

A week after William left the hospital, Martha gave him her car. "I don't want to wait till I'm dead," she said.

They were sitting on chairs on the front porch of Nell's house drinking iced tea. Nasturtiums had taken over the front yard. William loved their wild exuberance. When he touched them they gave off an odor that reminded him of being a child, but he couldn't think why.

The car was parked in the street and was very dusty. Someone had printed "wash me" on the back window. When William asked Martha who had done that her eyes twinkled.

"I did," she said.

Martha was dressed in a long flowered dress and canvas shoes. She was wearing a purple sweater and a purple hat.

"I'll wash the car for you," William told her.

"You better. That's why I brought it over. It's yours." Martha laughed at the look on William's face.

"You give me five dollars for it so we can make it legal." She held out her hand.

Nell watched through the kitchen window as she remembered another window of her childhood's story.
"Sunny!" Nell's mother called into the summer evening. There was no reply. She whistled this time. It was a whistle she was proud of, loud and shrill, like a man who had practiced all his life.
She heard an answering trill from down the street. Nell came galloping up the street with her pony tail swinging. She had been growing her hair since she was five. She was ten now and it was long and thick. She was barefoot and flushed and had the sweet smell of girl sweat on her skin. Rosy took a breath of the moment as Nell put her arms around her and squeezed.

"Hi, my Precious Mommy," she said.

Nell always lavished affection on others. Even as a baby she had curled herself into her mother's bosom and would have been content to snuggle there forever if her mother would let her.

"Dinner's ready." Rosy disengaged her daughter's arms and pretended a frown. "I thought you were going to help me fix it."

"I'm sorry," Nell replied. "Beverly and I were building a girl house."

"You mean a club house?" Rosy asked

"No, a girl-house... just for girls, Mom, no boys allowed."

Nell and Rosy sat eating hot dogs and beans and salad at the small yellow Formica table in the kitchen. The sun had turned the sky to pink as it settled into the horizon. Nell could see it through the window framed by red curtains.

"Look mom," she said and pointed at the colors. They lived in a small rental house. There was just one bedroom, a living room and a kitchen. Nell slept in the bedroom now. When she was nine, her mother moved her own things into the living room, and told Nell it was not because she didn't love her, like Nell had thought, but because a young girl needs her privacy.

There had always been just the two of them. Rosy was a single parent. She worked hard to make a life for them that resembled the lives of the girls at Nell's school. She knew how important it was to feel like you fit in.

"How was your day?" Nell asked.

Rosy was a clerk at a department store. She didn't make a lot of money but she liked her job. She liked people. What she told Nell was, "I'm comfortable... so comfortable that a customer today stood for twenty minutes telling me about her life."

"You are comfortable," Nell agreed, nodding her head and taking another bite of salad. "So comfortable," she repeated, as she laid her head on top of her mother's arm that were resting on the table and started making snoring noises.

Rosy and Nell both laughed into the evening of that day... an evening like so many others in that red and yellow kitchen.
As Nell watched William and Martha, she thought about that window from her childhood. It was where she had first seen Patrick and she was not a little girl anymore. It was a summer day, so hot and humid that all the windows in the house were open and the fans were going. She had been standing in front of the window fan, looking out and letting the air blow against her face. She had an ice cube in her hand that she was rubbing up and down her arms and around her neck. She closed her eyes and remembered just what she was thinking about.

She was thinking how much she wanted a man to run his finger up her arm like this ice cube, making goose bumps, when there was a knock on the door, and she jumped, feeling somehow guilty for her thoughts. She could see the front porch from where she stood. A man stood there. He was tall, with short sandy-colored hair and lots of freckles. He was looking at her and grinning. She went to the door and opened it. He was selling Bibles. She hadn't really paid much attention to what he was saying, she just watched his face, the way his lips moved, the straight line of his teeth, the crease that appeared by his eyes when he smiled. She wondered if this was fate. She had been wishing for a man and this one had appeared.

He told her he was going to college and was selling Bibles door to door, to support himself and to help his family. He told her about his three younger sisters and one brother and how his mom was sick and his dad was having trouble making ends meet. She bought a Bible of course, although, she didn't have much money herself. She was trying to get through beauty school and help her mom by working part time at the local department store. She bought a Bible, even though she already had one. How could she not buy a Bible from this man? It would be almost sacrilegious. The truth was, she would have bought anything from him.

She had never been tongue tied. Usually, words flowed from her like music from an early morning song bird. She tried to think of something to make him stay longer. As she went to get her money she thought she could offer to cut his hair, then realized how stupid that would be. Then she looked down at her hand where the ice cube had almost disappeared. Ice tea, she thought.

"Would you like a cold glass of ice tea?" she asked. "You must be awfully hot."

He had stayed drinking ice tea with her on the porch for more then two hours as shadows fell on the day and the afternoon breeze curled the pages of the Bible that lay on the table between them.

That had been the beginning of togetherness for Nell and Patrick, until he was drafted. They had been walking hand in hand through the park when he told her. She hadn't thought that there could be a force that could take the enchantment from her heart and turn it to dread.
She had tried to pretend that everything would be fine, that he would be fine and would return to marry her as he had promised.

They exchanged long and passionate love letters. He told her of his suffering. Killing was not in him, and he was sick inside constantly from the fear of it. He told how he had seen his friend walk into a land mine and disappear, and how after that he kept to himself, afraid that friendship would breed more pain.

Then one week she hadn't heard from him as usual. At first she tried to believe that the mail had been delayed. When she knew the truth, her world collapsed. First, she screamed and sobbed, and then she spent days in bed in a kind of protective lethargy. She lost weight and couldn't eat without throwing up. She couldn't talk. Words seemed so pointless and she was so angry at the kindness Rose showed her. She tore up the notes and cards that friends sent.

She couldn't stop the pictures in her mind. She dreamed Patrick's last moments in Technicolor. She would be there in the trenches with him. watching in the quiet of the morning. She could even hear a bird close by. She heard Patrick's loud breathing and his frantic heart beat next to her. She tried to tell him to be still, that they would be able to hear him, then he was running towards the top of a hill and she knew that was where death was. She tried to call to him but had no voice; tried to run after him but had no legs; then the hill exploded and fell around her like red rain.

So many days, then months, and finally years passed, before she could leave Patrick behind in the jungles of Vietnam. It had taken her a long time to laugh without feeling guilty or to take pleasure in the beauty around her. Even her own breathing seemed a betrayal.

Samantha Elizabeth had been one of Nell's first clients after she left Georgia, and its memories, for California. She had enough saved, that with Rose's help she was able to buy a beauty shop of her own. She told Samantha this that first day. Usually Nell was the listener, but something about Samantha gave her permission to talk about her own life. Samantha was beautiful, tall and slender with long thick hair. She had even given that little fidgety Tim his first hair cut when he was three.

Nell liked to talk, but she was a good listener, too. She listened to the women that sat in her chair looking for a new, beautiful self in the mirror in front of them. They told her about how bad or how good their kids were and about how bad or good their husbands were. Nell felt like she was the keeper of many secrets for she believed that gossip was evil. She told Samantha how her life was lived in this vicarious way, through the lives of others. She told her that she didn't have a car and that she lived close enough to walk to work and to the market. She told her that she felt safe in her little world where everyone loved her. She didn't tell her how on some nights, when the window was open, and owls hoot-hooting to each other across backyards from neighboring trees, that loneliness hit her hard and she wished for a family of her own.

Samantha had shared much of her life with Nell, also. She was happy when Tim was little and William worked for his dad. Nell would see them out walking in the evening... Tim would be between them holding their hands, picking up his feet until they pulled him into the air. She would hear him through the open window of the shop as she cleaned up, "make me fly," he'd say.

It wasn't until William's father died that Nell saw a change in Samantha.

"We never spend time together anymore, at least not doing anything fun and family. It's always work, work, work, and then, too tired," she told Nell one day as she sat in the chair as Nell attached silver foil to strands of blond.

Nell knew how stripped of pretension her clients were. It was as if they could be their true selves here. It didn't matter if they looked like witches, because when they did, they were vulnerable in every other way also, especially emotionally.

"Tim cried himself to sleep last night because he thinks William doesn't love him any more," Samantha continued. It seems like we never have time to talk, much less do what married couples are supposed to be able to do at night in bed."

Samantha's voice was angry and tears had started rolling down her cheeks.

"Why do I have to cry every time I try to tell him how I feel? I wish I was a man, then I could be a man about it." She laughed and wiped her eyes at the same time.

Nell patted a strip of foil in place and started stirring the color preparation. "Honey," she said, "That's the way married people act, especially when they have kids. You know I've never been married, but I've heard the story again and again. Makes me kind of glad I'm a lonely old maid."

Samantha laughed despite herself. "Nell, you're not even thirty yet and I know you can't be lonely. You have more friends then anyone else I know. You are so pretty too. I know you could find a good man if you wanted to."

"I don't want any man, honey, from what I hear from you girls, they just complicate life."

"Life used to be so fun when we were dating", Samantha sighed. "I remember how we would go out in that '56 Chevy of his and park. He sure wasn't too tired in those days." Nell smiled and started applying the color to Samantha's hair.

"Truth is, he's started drinking too much. He says he needs a beer to relax him, but after four, he conks out. I'm too young to sleep alone while he sleeps it off on the couch."

"You got to talk to him, honey, tell him how you feel, before the first beer."
Nell thought about that '56 Chevy and the passion that she imagined happening on its front seat so many years ago. Now, there was one just like it parked in her driveway.