Friday, March 10, 2017

The Fading Town


You’ll get used to me,
mile upon mile,
you’ll get used to my crown,
glittering beneath the ground.

I died a long time ago,
an elderly persecuted ego,
with a city built up within me,
and a fading town on the outside.

The trampled outskirts
were far into the marshlands,
and the herons waved their weeping wings,
and swallows croaked—
the frogs would sing.
The victuals of seed
and steel-red berry, beyond
the unutterable wounding
of latent hunger.

You’ll get used to the mighty Stave,
thundering into the open hands
of the powerless,
of the long winding roads
in the damp country,
and the agricultural bushel.

The horses sniff the wind—
they are travellers too,
galloping into the lower field
at night, like we are powerful,
of intellectual orbits
like the long line
of poplars striking the sky.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Cupboard


The doors of my cupboard
are an insect’s wings,
small, illusive,
and things of flight—
catching light and darkness, swinging
open so everyone can see
what I keep hidden—
the neat Ikea bowls and plates
in orange and blue.

I thought they were relatively ordinary,
as a dragonfly over a lake,
nothing to mention,
but others, with nostalgia, finger them,
running their fingers over porcelain,
and put the bowls on their heads
like Jewish prayer caps—
then parade around,
boasting of plates in bright colours.

Frosted with emotion,
there is nothing in my mind.
It has all been emptied
and pilfered bare by scavengers
who saw a hole in the cupboard door
and helped themselves.

They even tried to put
their own things in my cupboard,
while I practiced meditation
as a skillful cover-up.

Now they fly like insects
on insect’s wings—
tiny, whining, and growing smaller
in the distance.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Weep Salt


I am a foreigner in my own country—
my starch gives me
a pleasant consistency,
and I am stirred again and again
over the portable stove.

There are oats in my bones,
my character insists.
Some women weep salt
while they cook;
they could scarcely
hope for dark bread
and now make fibrous porridge.

The liquefied starch
is sweet as water,
and our minds
were hoping they would be
unaffected by its absence.

I am a foreigner in my own country—
without my rough bowl of gruel.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Caveat Emptor



I was a woman
of no ambition,
few dreams,
and even fewer dollars.

Let me check my gage and
see if I could even drive
to the next gas station.

It was a fault
that could never stick
to my collar or my uniform
(but this is not a fashion show),
speaking in signs

to the see-through
iridescent ones,
downloading elegant
robes online,
runes delineating
my spiritual rights
instead of rumours—

oils dripping, salmon flipping,
and ancient medicine
echoing the osteoblasts
of my bone.

Sinew to sinew,
we were glossy horses
among the six hundred
that belonged to a prince.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dragons in the Swamp


I thought skunk cabbage
was as white inside
as a sepulchre,
with a stench of the dead,
and rigid, upright
with nowhere to lay its lead.

The dragon of the swampy
black mud depths
is not depravity kind—
yet shall sin unwind
in her arsenic boots.
She had a cadmium modem,
so she told me,
that made her connected
to every other living thing.

They all dashed and bashed
her head,
’till it was bent
and yellow—still breathing,
but putrescent,
still living, but unwilling,
unyielding.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Off Stage Right


The year had trickled by like a blue cord,
Jasmine’s dark hair having grown
another four inches,
thick and shiny,
it was bound up in a bun with ribbons
and bobby pins every afternoon.

In the cold day, the ballet
seeped like liquid violet
across the nutcracker floor:
slowly, the studio—
one mirror after another—
caught the fading reflection…
one, two, three, pirouette—
in miniscule the refraction
plays an aging suite—
the classroom an echo,
in black and white—the note
a second tilt to toe bent—
one right arm after another,
one ribbon black, the other pink—
in the light, one carbon copy per minuet—
alone and still, the movement
just a tiny gold adept step
into the soul of arabesque.

I would die for the Red Shoes,
Jasmine thought—and only
the ignorant don’t know
that art is worth more than one body,
and blissfully they turn away.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Acknowledgement


I don’t cry here
anymore,
the tears have turned
to salt on an old woman’s
wrinkled face,
she became a pillar
of beeswax,
she has an unclaimed wit,
her wick has never been burned,
her lilies in the garden grow wild.

Nobody said,
“I do,” and ate the potatoes with gravy,
no one stretched out their hand
with a band
of limitless gold.
(Binding the unexpected.)

She is an archangel now,
fluttering about the house—
her white hair flecked
and distressed
as a vintage memoir.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Monarch in the Subway

If I was reading,
I could be pouring over
any number of the two million
items put out that day:
as factual news article,
a joke, a myth,
a flinty poem,
a journal by someone
more innocent than I,
a novel about partners
I don’t have.

If I was dancing,
nothing would sway me
(like a sway back)
deterring me from the barre,
closing my eyes
to the ballet in leotard.

If I had a camera,
in black and white, my dextrous fingers
would uncoil, strand by strand—
and, a passenger
in the subway,
I would lift my eyes
to notice a monarch butterfly
with cloudy wings,
parched,
dying on the sidewalk. 

How can I capture you;
I can only
offend you with a lens,
and phone the metropolitan
to offer them your beauty's sleep.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Heart of Swans


When I saw two swans
in loving embrace,
I realized where
the heart shape came from.

The distance of my heart
from yours
is no further than
a swan’s neck.

A swan has no more salty beauty
than is mirrored
in the waters below
or the sky above.

Water and sky
are both icy blue
as the cold
when I don’t love you.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I Heard the Owl Call My Name



The owl that you hear
two-hoots
so loud,
calling me,
that it echoes through
the whole town
of Stratford-upon–Avon—he flies
when all are asleep.

While he flies,
no one ever gets sick,
no one is tired
or sorry they were born,
has a face in a frown,
or walks upstairs and down,
all alone and forlorn,
when all are asleep.

The owl flies outside society,
his breath you will not see;
he is hidden deep
inside the bracken inside me,
saving his charges from leers,
brushing the grasses as spears,
eloping with the night wind’s sound
when all are asleep.