Ripping the stems from their moorings. I packed boxes of old paints and watercolor pencils. I packed slippery porcelain paint mixers. I packed old wax 45’s and ancient letters from my grandmother.
I packed up all those old broken dreams.
Snaking through the facets of a cracked mirror, my reflection haunts me. There is a bright fear of having to choose – me in the mirror – pathology. The name escapes. A holding pattern, a wrinkle in time.
Basting a turkey,
the gravy in a molded Ball jar.
Sylvia, my hands smell like Clementines
and gently pull the skin out from under
California labels, “Supersweet” and “EZ Peel.”
I want to frost your lemons with icing sweet spatter. Fruitinize your phobia. Instead I keep slow walking toward home, along brambled beaches and tiered satisfaction – a hole in a tree that cracked off long ago fell into the lake.
Shatter-thawed ice patterns
swirl into river maps.
You stand on a booted heel,
I boost your curved heartshaped butt
up the rough ridged bark.
Cables and wires and antennae. How is it people can’t seem to connect? Frozen splashes of $10 water bottles with ice crystal patterns. The painting, lifted mariposas in the upper left corner. You strummed your guitar, sans makeup.
All down to zero here. Hollow bone.
It was the spectacles that spun out,
that stood out, when I told you her name.
Then we were in Perkins and that song came on, “You Said”
“Hey, isn’t that….” I blurted out, standing still in the green isle after
fried shrimp bacon cheeseburgers & mashed potatoes.
I’m not ashamed to say
I eat my favorite foods,
sometimes in combination.
Wretched memories. Why can’t I let go? The frozen gravy spread eagle on the plastic tarp. I nearly tripped and fell over myself. Fell off the tricycle in the carport and slit my hand. The Brown Creeper.
I had dreams wrapped up in that corduroy shirt. Cracked, broken, gone the way of the Firefly. A measly short life that I love to write about.
Fire of any kind lights the world.
The insects, I’d collect them in jars just like you. I’d exclaim gleefully in that Ya’ll Georgia accent and study the shape of their wings in bed (surprise – squeals of glee sound the same in Minnesota).
In Taos in December there was a fat-bodied spider that loved to climb out of the flowery wash basin when I was brushing my teeth or spiking my hair. I let her be. She wasn’t bothering me. Spiders eat flies. And spin yarny webs of sticky safety.
The moon stood still over the shower stall. I stared up, water droplets navigating peacefully between each hair on my arm. Doing what water drops do. My legs, let’s not talk about them.
I stopped shaving in September.
You wouldn’t believe
Like Kiev’s raven fur.
There was that slice to the finger, a cat’s cradle claw. I yelped in pain like a kicked puppy. Was it the Scooby or Pooh bandaide that saved me? Or the Vitamin E you carefully rubbed along the torn punctured skin.
There is a flap where the slit comes together.
And I wear a healing band –
green yellow orange leopard cloth
over the wound.
A pet in the morning.
It’s glassy on the deck. I can’t stand without grasping the rail. Purple lunch pail in tow. And the Adidas black sling pack. The December dark morning hovering at 35 degrees – feels like late September.
Did you ever look closely at O’Keeffe’s painted blacks? They contain 700 colors of chocolate coffee bean brown. I stood close, next to ribbons of oil. Silent. Watching.
Muggy. And saturating my senses.
The car starts right up. Even though the doors crack with icy rain when I open them. Rubber stuck to metal. Rrrrriiiiippppp.
Splayed out is my anger. I lost it somewhere. I foster compassion. And hold my head high. You left me a million times. And this time for good. That tattoo, the Chinese character? I missed it in the juices. I find Home in a Valley of Gold.
It’s so quiet, my solitude quakes.
I misunderstood. I may not be cut out for making money. I hold myself back, learn to boost myself up. A scarecrow in a golden pond.
Mainstream I am not. Airstream. Chuckle.
You said you wanted a shiny RV. To travel the world, tootle along, you say, and diddle around. I think of
Milton, blind as a bat, shunned by his Universe, shattered, broken, writing his best work ever in the twilight of his life.
Humanity’s fall from grace.
Who knew it was in him?
Political hack they yelled.
He showed them.
I want to say I will never be broken again. But every time I sit, some pain comes up. Rising, I skim off the top. The insecurity of that old ripped shirt. I moved boxes and boxes, frayed edges unraveling, covering my treasures. And I remembered how thin and trim I used to be.
One cold fall day we cut the wing off a Great Gray owl. Roadkill. It’s worth being buried. Then the talons – crunch. Stolen moments in the freezer, years go by. How could I forget her? Broken, headbanged raptor. I’ve felt your pain.
When I moved from Ulysses after 14 years there was only one thing left in the abandoned 5 rooms – a dim gray bag of frozen body parts. Lying in the dark. I wanted to photograph the sifting light through the tertiary bands.
I wanted to set it up
all the world’s a stage
you would have looked beautiful.
But you chose to disappear. Poof, just like that. And leave me fractured, disjointed that last day I closed the door, turned out the light, wept at the happy ending. Closet boxes of memories. And fierce wet talons vanquished into thin air. Vanquished?
The mask of a thousand ages fell upon my wrinkled face.
I wasn’t there to receive it.
I flew off to Taos.
And wondered what I was doing.
Climbing out from under Masonic clouds
or tripping over a raised crack in the sidewalk –
“I hope I’ve made it right,” you said, shaking my hand.
I smiled & shook back.
the floor boards don’t creak anymore
they are bleached blond and hard as a rock
shake a tail feather. break a leg.
What is it?
Where is it?
Why can’t I find it?
Because there’s no where to look
It’s all here. Inside.
the spaces between
the smell of Clementines oozing off of my skin
the soaking rain in December
the hard freeze in October
swimming in the Rio Grande in August
which face am I?
the manic joy of falling in love
the printed word on the muted white page
what did Dogen say?
when you walk in the mist
you get wet
pulpy & alive
it’s not worth
drip with satisfaction
let the good stuff in
build strong bones
mend broken hearts
shatter your dreams
the sky’s big enough to hold
the juicy fractured pieces
Thursday, December 14th, 2006