Game 

zero-sum

Your move. Now mine.

Yours, mine, yours,

we play politics, soccer and love.

Games of words and alignments under-girded by

luck, skill, wiles, wit and speed, overlaid intention,

drawing a letter, or a trip and cheat,

fallen, kicked and stalled, all tactics:

dive, grimace and grovel.

End goal?

Save, fail, score, win, promote, chest-bang, leave, shout,

cry out your props, boost your stature, grow tall and shiny or

make other plans; just so you know

might makes right

might makes right

might makes right.

You’re damned right.

No one ever won quietly fostering

connections and alliances, powerful

listening before empathetic action.

Subtlety, often like soccer games, ends

scoreless, some zero game.

 

Image: zero sum portent

The Art of Lovers’ Lessons Learned


A lover once taught me shapes of fair, fragile snowflakes,

Their pockets of space designing mass and configuration

As much as frozen rain mists, cloud-fallen and drifting.
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Another one telescoped me the distance and size of stars,

Colored me planetary pictures of rings and ovals, spheres

In spotty galaxies smudged by gaseous gems on sky maps.
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One modeled his lessons to me in structured time slots,

Configured inside meetings and lunch, clocking out hour

And over-time pay shifts, allowances for home absence.
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And yet another, this one, schooled me in the art of love,

A rare calligraphy of swirling letters adorning words in

Poems and stories that beat true passion into thick skin.
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All of these and more have lent a lesson to have and hold

By imagery water-colored on silk screen partitions placed

Between my heart and ribs, thighs and brain, sculpting me.

Funeral Song for a Friend


Skinned raw, bleeding, humanity’s keep limps illogically along,

Leaking the source first in torrents, later in eviscerated rivulets.

No tourniquet wide, twisted nor absorbent enough to suck it all.

No One can gather it up, mop it up from the dance floor, untie it 

From the back alley fences or unstain it from the consciences of 

Ignorant name-shamer, tunnel-visioned politician or us cowards.

No formulas, statistics, truths or lies will rescue the dead-harmed

When ends and means are meaningless as exhorted truth-slayers,

When ebony bones shine word shadows projected upon the screen 

Of the inner war we wage, brushing aside ivory clarity like clouds 

dispersed in sneery derision, campaign slogans and catchphrases,  

One mind and only one will change the hearts of all, only one-kind.

When will dress rehearsals end and the real revolution begin–again? 

In Love…


“In love there are two things–bodies and words.” Joyce Carol Oates

And her rejoinder to me: “Our two bodies are our words–hello and good bye.”

Never Saw You Coming (Yes I did)

image
NEVER, no

I never expected you, never saw you coming, not at all,

but there you were, wearing all the wrong clothing:

horizontal striped collared button down shirt, like

colored bands ringing a thick, redwood tree trunk.

Middle aged folk fallen prey to time and gravity

don’t wear bold-colorful advertisements to widening

perimeters, especially for one with no boundaries,

sexually speaking, of course, not morally or politically.

And logo’d button down polos reek conservative bean 

counter, occupation-ally bound to count kisses, time and

orgasms, sans deductions for the unholy of holies among the

fiscally, vaginally vigilant.

And there I was, a raven, coated and shiny like wet ink newly

splotched on your parchment paper computer screen, dark

and waiting to be lit, turned and transformed beyond the

shadowy picture created in your imagination, confessions

and slick-wicked liquid words sliding thick viscous

through your keyboard fingers, just like we wrote, painted

pictures in sentences spelling out, enumerating, if you

will, voracious mimicry, want and want some more, only not

wanting all that just can’t have, not then, not now, but

something else arose, grew from our impossibility, your

straight laces strung tightly, fronting the devilry in your

daydreams, drooly lasciviousness set free, not freely given.

Yeah, we really did it for each other, whatever it was that

needed doing, and still do to both no one’s and yet everyone’s

surprise, including us who love so much so little of the

time, no time all the time, we who live separate lives

lived in broad daylight secrecy, while we storybook

pieces and patches of once upon a time we were other

people than we are and were then who could be us now.

You often ask, “Who knew you’d still be around?” And

“How could I have known? I didn’t see you coming.”

No, we didn’t see each other coming but we sure do now.

Love is not a plenum

image

I have the most difficult time imagining let alone explaining the Big Bang. There is this thing to which there is no outside but contains everything–all space, time, motion, light, life, stars, planets, galaxies, moons, atmosphere, gravity and imagination. I can only envision a balloon expanding that captures a portion of its essence, its configuration. But balloons are plenums of sorts.

ple·num
ˈplenəm,ˈplēnəm/
noun
1.
an assembly of all the members of a group or committee.
2.
PHYSICS
a space completely filled with matter, or the whole of space so regarded.

I refer to the second definition when I think of the universe’s (or multiverse’s) origins. But no one knows whether the universe is a plenum. Our minds can only understand to the reaches of our imaginations.

One day, over 17 years ago, I lay with my then 2 and 1/2 year old first born curled in fetal sleep. To this day, I can recall so crisply the angst I felt with another life brewing inside me. “How could I possibly love another child when my heart is so full with this one here?” I thought in a painfully probably hormone-induced teary-eyed moment.

Though quite illogical, the angst grew during my second pregnancy. Today, as that second born turns 17, I reflect on the framework of her arrival–as a storied gift to her sister and an ill-conceived mathematical challenge to my miscalculated quantity of allotted love.

Like the Big Bang theory, the mystery of beginnings, dimensions and edges to inside and outside belong to love–which is definitely not a plenum.

Happy birthday to my brown-eyed wonder.

A Mistress Song

Marked by forever embrace

arms to mind

nose to heart,

I will never recover

a touching scent like you;

no other lover 

rapes pelvic thoughts

musks up a spell

pushes my deep

and levels a deadly wrench kiss

like hammers

to pulpy plum; 

in your leave

I hollow gourds of song

await the pine needle drop

and hum Jesus and rum.

In the Afternoon

central park

The way we make heads spin, yours and mine,

gyro-scopic, demonically bone-mind entwined,

two dizzy dabblers in the kind and physical arts,

like the moon-lit chase one night in central park,

sleeved knife steel shiver your pace emboldening,

as I dodged trees and cats, tree’d cat spit-hissing

like mongrel mad dogs, mad-dashing as we were

half naked, stumbling drunk, gamboling jig curs;

where that night ended and this afternoon began,

I cannot unwind the tale, follow the threads’ end,

twist-tied in silent slept breath now we’ve become,

once more, one more lie, one last undoing, un-done.

 

 

 

 

When a father…

We never carry them the way they carry us, but we carry, we do.

I may never lift my father in my arms and cradle him to sleep–

but I would if that were the only thing to do, if he withered away,

the blood in his urine signaling cancer gone cure-less, and all

of his 6’3″body shrunk to size befitting my strength’s capacity.

His burden was not the same as mine now, yet just as heavy.

I make his doctor appointments, petition his insurance carrier

for returns and permissions, for money owed and paid, due

promises others should keep, I track them and bite my nails

when he drives, counting the days til the inevitable unknown.

I am his memory and his nattering nit-picking conscience.

Parenting him is not like his parenting me–not like it at all.

He left parenting to his wife, my mother, who stares skeletal now.

My parenting is ironic, the young to the old, whereas his or hers

was right side up. Picking up my body in his arms to rush me,

bleeding, to the doctor downstairs when I cut my finger off in the

city apartment steel shut booming door I teased with my 3 year old

fingers til it bit my left forefinger, my pointer, right off my hand,

he carried me, but not like I carry him, in his arms, not in my arms,

but in my constant vigilance and resentment and worry and fear.

I watch him and struggle to be patient, to be nice, to be a daughter

not a mother or a wife or stranger disinterested in the outcome,

though that may be how it appears on the outside, estrangement.

But it’s never-without-burning back of the mind bearing weight,

loaded on a mind’s shoulders, sagged under heavy-careful love.

He held me in lightness and faith, worry, worship and wonder.

I speak him in my dreams, awakening to his anger and my own.

Shaking off our bodies to the dust is always on our minds, we two–

a father to a daughter-mother-mortal-stranger til the end, ours.

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