Barska

Deep inside the crocodile’s dank maw,
we hid our treasure, a currency to happiness–our recompense
A thick-legged serpent with its murder’s row of razor sharp stalacites,
was to keep all predators away
We tossed paper after paper into that steel creature
Spent a lifetime saving gold to travel around the Horn of Africa
Oh, the promises sworn upon our sweating bed
witnessed from above, by a blood red moon
We were to journey by tall sail and broad sea
A pair of golden, umber eyes just below the surface followed our wake
When her reptilian curves broke the wet plain, she leaped on top
The tribal shield slid away from your body
We were to journey by sunfish sail and night sea,
but we drowned in the murky fathoms
While I was dreaming of observing crocodiles in their native habitat,
you turned into a cold-blooded reptile
I am taking what is mine, regardless of your crocodile tears,
as soon as my trembling fingers can punch the Barska keypad code

Croc

toilet paper gown

A toilet paper gown has outlasted this fondant fairytale
Our dark lies gessoed white on white
Look at me leaping into a downpour
I’ve grown so very tired of ikea domesticity and Wayfair lighting–
dressage for mules in horse harness
These tissue sheaths spontaneously combusting, quiver my body
You once did this for me, do you even remember,
flesh-dancing with a blue fire no ocean could smother
I’ve become a zombie waltzing in a deluge
Alone
You and I suffocated in Egyptian cotton well before this pulp symbolism
Now my white paper gown disintegrates, I pray to the black prescient sky
Look up, nimbus clouds hide nothing-they never deceive
Dearest Love,
We doomed ourselves to this Pompeii,
the moment we under-appreciated the dark sky and caressed our monogrammed bath towels

in the blueless

back and forth back and forth back and forth
splattering rain, this redundancy of motion
the last hopeful sky un-recalled
this bleak morning, too early for the sun
a thousand immolating balls can’t bring warmth to this day
God is false hope manufactured by bible companies
angels are myths playing dress-up for lingerie chains
a broken deer on the side of the road
wonder if she knew
from the looks of her cracked torso, I doubt it
some car folded her body like a dollar store blanket
the lifeless trees are no better than emaciated throats and fingers
nothing for them to swallow
nothing to grab onto
nothing for me
nothing for us
they will remain naked
I remember you, inside me
moonlight and indigo lovemaking
tick tock tick tock tick tock
blinker irritating
another road, same lousy scenery
silver lining lately on a bottle of red and designer label
paying a bit more than usual for spirits, cheer costs
this blueless is overwhelming
the radio melodies on
gently at first
she floats into my interior dystopia
Sarah Vaughan’s nuanced soul
and I know, I will believe in angels again
someday

leonada’s earring

 

she gotta be mine

“There’s an Old West saying that if you stole a man’s horse, you had condemned him to death…”

In 1824, I wer hung, hung out wit hemp thick as Nellie’s mane
but twice as deadly ‘n ten times as quick to ther choke
they dun hung me, dried boots ‘n all widout a reckon ‘o my side pockits
my neck it snapped ‘n dat fucker hurt sum, befer the snappin,’ not after
I dun stole a man’s horse, a white gorgiss thin’ wit sharp fetlock ‘n marble eyes
don’t know what made me do thar impulse
wuz her Godful beauty, I’m a certin
ain’t no crime in thar, stealin’ wutz perfict
do ya know wutz ’tis a see’in that Godful beauty ‘n not hold’n it
not bein part ridin’ in that sunset after dem saloon duz kick yer hide inta the sand
they dun hung me out thar, hung me out ta dry ’til I very, very disgustin’ly die, yup dem basters
black crows a diggin’ at my sockets ‘n balz

a beaten white station wagon, the last white stallion in this town
she’s in my rear view mirror, prancing on the hill
just admiring her I am
my eyes flapping faster than wicked-quick saloon doors
the white beauty of a generation long since past
men were men, at least that’s what my dad was and is
my elegant mom, remaining a woman who transcends time
so many white horses chasing down the freeway, miles of galloping herds
so many it’s impossible to believe they will ever disappear
lightning white buffaloes by the thousands
and there she is, the sexy white wagon, long and sure as sugar
Custer’s battle scars, blood-rusting her panels, but she’s still smokin’
revving that big engine, purrin’ like a puma
at times, she breathes smoke to wake the dead
I hear tiny family fannies sliding across her vinyl bench seats
all the way to the Catskills
to the Jersey shore
to Vermont’s Green Mountains where her body plays with light
my SUV is climate-controlled, too controlled
Oh, here she comes, the last unicorn
driving by, I’m a body ensconced in sealed air
stuck behind tempered glass, I can’t caress her hide
she knows nothing of tightness, she has always been free
a drop of air escapes my lungs
a grain of water falls from my eye
I feel the hangman’s noose a callin’
come ‘n git me ya dem basters
I seen dat dar white beauty ‘n she gotta be mine

painting dun painted when I be a kid, ta small fer dem dar saloons

a garden of peace, child

A garden of peace, child
Bowed lips, each a cherry blossom petal
Cheeks, satin and pink-rosed pinched by heaven
Your small hands–the hands of an angel, clasping their hidden treasures of bees balm and forever dreams
Diamond clusters of baby’s breath adorn your wrist, delicate dewdrops on wind and wing
How your dark chestnut hair swirls with endless copper beech highlights–so warm and inviting, the soft yellow ducks have come to slumber beside you
Blankets of hyacinth and lavendar protect your perfect skin, white as daffodils
You, a beautiful, sweet Lily, to forever bloom in the loving heart of your adoring mother and all those who cherished and nurtured your blessed life
for my cousin, Marie and her sweet, Lily

we are fighters, Jill

Jill,
you and me
explode through our mothers’ thighs
the same year
It is 1963, Jill
you and me
surrounding ourselves with winged creatures
clutching word and song
wisdom and farce
eyries we construct, yes Jill
you and me
where they belong
up high so our children can observe the world
before they depart for earth
It is 2017, Jill
you and me
we are fighters
protecting all those shadowed beneath our extending wings
we spar, laugh, punch, caress, comfort
we are educators
you assist students
I create teaching tools
It is 7 am, March 27, 2017, Jill
“fought a long hard battle…carried husband and family with great courage…love of her husband’s and children’s life”
It is 7:05 am, March 27, 2017, Jill
you and me
we have just met
I promise you, my dear friend
to keep loving and supporting and cherishing and fighting
to live up to your amazing life
God bless you, Jill
the dearest person, I never knew

Forgive me, dear women who were fifty

Please accept my apologies
dear women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women nurturing children in the world
when I so casually whirl my polished hair
crop top hiking up my iron-flat abdomen
Forgive me sweet ladies
you women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women rising, thin-lidded and lined
as I saunter by your commuter wheels
nearly naked, fresh breasted and easy
Will you vindicate me
kind women who were fifty
when I was twenty
for the times I fluttered my wicked lashes and smiled coyly
at anyone, maybe your lover,
perhaps your husband
I pray you absolve me
good women who were fifty
when I was twenty
you women warriors scarred by life’s weaponry
if my flipping fingers and cheeky laughter
interrupt your seasoned reflection
your focus on work, on family, on meaning
on all I will not know
and can not know
until my car is stopped at a red light
and I watch myself saunter by
regretting how I never once thought of you

joy august ripsaw

If I should be

If I should be a smoker
I should be a rail
thin and hard
evenly spaced
biting air with my crocodile teeth
resilient to the storm
when you hold tight to me

but I am not a smoker

If I should be a drinker
I should be a laundry basket
oblong and woven
uneven and crosshatched
with soft rhythms
conducting washer and dryer
yet deep enough to hold our secrets

but I am not a drinker

If I should be an addict
I should be a window curtain
billowed and looped
iridescent colors against atmosphere
floating in the updraft
into the west winds
where our bodies might mingle together

but I am not an addict

If I should be a cutter
I should be a jewelry box
sectioned, parceled and organized
velvet lined and sweet
compartmentally selfless
storing each pained memory
in gilded lockets clutching tarnished chains

but I am not a cutter

If I should be a writer
I should be an ash urn
cylindered smooth
bottom cupped
shell polished and etched
holding safe all that we were
scattering soon our cremated remnants

but I am not a writer

mint eyes

 

bitter lioness

Shuffling on the dry balls of your padded paws.
Impermanence, your affliction.
Hard exacting breaths from decades of sauntering.
Protesting each movement to fling earth’s weight from your mind.
The weight must land elsewhere.
No more burning up the open plains.
Alive with dullness.
You, a bitter lioness.
Working bones unasked for fractional effort.
Heart wanting recompense from both moon and sun.
Roaring from miles away at injustices served.
Laying waste to shared land.
Sour notes break into others’ dreams.
The bitter lioness will disappear.
Upon the shrinking sands, an old lion slaughters its cubs.
And all other reminders of its imminent death.

Lioness after Lunch/Prisma

 

for Lily

what is motherhood if not by your side
watching you my love
what is pure in my life holding by a wisp within your deconstructing body
sweet child how I need to scream inside the ocean
smack the gods
embrace the spirits
where you won’t hear my pain
these arms and legs of mine so powerful
if I could give them and live to hold you still,
carry you as I have done across these years
never with regret
all that I am
wrapped around your life
such beauty in your speaking eyes, your soul-plumped mouth
how you’ve grown these past seasons
metal-bar suns and rubber-tube moons following along your flesh
yet
you and I have traveled so much longer than they believed possible
now
you grow a bit tired
your little body weary from the outside
fatigue settling some on the inside where my care holds you together
but still fierce in your heart
in your eyes of earth
you are my rock
you are my joy
not in any time
in any space
of any moment
will I ever grow tired
of your heart living inside mine

Gallean with ragdoll

to my cousin, Marie for her beautiful daughter, Lily xo