by the keys they are moments
the world is an updosie place
with people calling it “new normal”
but far from normal is any of it
a system built on broken backs
an unseen virus collecting souls
of those who can’t play well with others
and collateral angels fallen
for the hubris of others
days lost to the gains of time
doors allowed to slowly open
barged down and barred again
as the new new life preys
upon our lives
we will adapt and overcome
or we will hold on to the past
and decay in the arms of change
Last night a roach scampered
At the edge of my bed
I smashed it with a shoe
I need to wash my sheets
Flowers in a desert are not seen for years-
their exaggerated colors a faded memory.
In the wake of a raging storm-
flowers burst forth to fill a void
forgotten until it was full again.
words sit in my mouth-
too many pieces of gum chewed til the flavor is nearly gone.
I can’t swallow the spit or blow a bubble- there has become too much to say.
the gum just sits.
words choking me- demanding to be set free.
in my mouth I feel I can not take anything back in, but will puke the emotion.
a geyser of bile that will no longer and never more be contained.
so so so many years that I could not speak my mind for every reason that was not mine but to keep another happy.
what would people think?
who would I make mad?
what if my words led to me losing my job?
don’t embarrass your child with so much emotion.
don’t make me look bad by telling your story.
and so the words and the stories and the song lust of my survival stayed in my brain-
my heart became heavy with confusion-
why would I no longer release its song?
but now, now the words are allowed to be free and the song bird’s cage is not just opened, but redefined as a home with windows swung wide and doors freed of their hinges.
walking through a bookstore in new york city-
a little apartment- most of a room in new york city
walking through a bookstore-
— I just need to be there
she’ll come when she wants to —
i sleep in a big chair- surrounded by books and travel knickknacks and the window opens to the brooklyn bridge if you stand on tiptoe and crane just so to the right.
i am on a desert that becomes a pier. it’s the middle-east … so many people and children trading what seems to be sand blocks for wares. one boy only accepts food for his wares.
“You are smart,” I say and he smiles.
i walk on the pier that had been the desert.
i see a girl that looks like my daughter- she wears a dress with cherries and walks with wolves. she is younger than today, we lock eyes and I wonder how she’s changed.
tarpon jump in slow motion over the head of a man that stands at the end of the pier. he hooks the tail of the tarpon and they both go into the water- I hope the tarpon pulls free and the man drowns.
an old lady holds an orange house cat. it has had surgery and wears a monocle to protect its healing eye. you can see its brain and the universe through the lens.
the school receptionist, her neck deeply tan and wrinkled, sits on a bench on the pier holding a baby.
— I couldn’t believe it happened, so I’m starting again —
yesterday was easter
I have confetti in my hair
we visited my family cemetery
against the swift breeze
mother put laundry out to air
stories of sisters arguing over land
they may one day reside inside
two uncles laid at my feet
I poured beer on the blanket
of their decomposed toes
why did you pour out your beer,
my child asked
It’s easter and they are thirsty
front porch sitting with coffee and an unnecessary hoodie.
doves coo hellos and instructions to their brood.
jasmine encases the porch columns- early buds seeping the slightest fragrance as a wasp builds its first comb on the front door.
his work will be destroyed in the afternoon.
two days later, jasmine flowers burst open and windows fly open so the scent perfumes the rooms.
and the wasp will find a new place to build.
and a squirrel will frighten her at dawn as she is awoken with a start for someone knocking at the door, but he’s just pulling back a loose piece of wood-
thump- thud- thud-
in desperate search of a new hiding spot for early spring stores.
and the jasmine grows thick til the door cannot be seen. it wraps through the handle and encases the home- days begin to link together in a chain of dawns and dusks that have no system but the rhythm of their hearts start and end the days with imperceptible division.
invisible to the world they eat banana bread made from frozen stores and flour claimed from stolen pecans gathered from the backyard tree. and they drink tea. there is a ration of rice and beans and frozen peas with bits of canned fish. and spring becomes summer- the loquat tree in the alley provides and the crepe myrtle blooms to entertain as they open swollen, low hanging buds into teeny, turning parasols- the higher ones will weep gentle shy tears for the end of the hottest days.
and fall comes and the jasmine falls back … the door cracks open and waifs emerge- stronger for they’ve become free of the world.
Fall leaves drop from grand trees-
Composting at the base of barreled trunks
mixed amongst the snarled roots-
Always to be part of the tree from which they fell
What it was, contributing to what it will become-
Spring’s new growth-
new friends come to fill the tree-
some will be branches that stay-
living in the shared sun and shadows-
always part of the tree’s system
Some will stay with the tree as leaves or small branches
playing a part in the life of the tree-
For a time, seeming indispensable-
One day shedding off-
Adding to the history-
Always part of the tree-
Not always as part of the tree.
Untangling from the person whose body created you-
the person who projects
how they could’ve done better-
how they wanted to be treated-
Telling them, that’s not what I am thinking / feeling / doing.
Even when working to see your child-
stepping back to hear them and give them space-
even when fully accepting them-
still you see how you would’ve or could’ve done differently.
stepping back is so very difficult.
stumbling, apologizing and learning to keep your damn mouth
learning to let them be them.
watch them become bigger.
to be loved and to love,
simply as you are.
for the inherent validity
of your humanity.
to be desired,
supported and safe.
to dare a bigger life.
to share a love
modeled on God’s
love for us,
is all that should be asked,
it is really quite simple.