We Witness (for the Poetry Patroness)


Insurmountable: to palm someone’s blinding grief in your hands 

to show her–the griever– 

the terrifying, sublimity in bottomless agony. 

You can’t help her picture that pure, petrified stance on the bridge 

mid-way between his suffering and her own, textured so distinctly, 

galaxies apart in their partnered struggle,

his fraught with the tortured, focused fight against pain, and hers, 

witness, empath, limb, mother, wife, married to his suffering. 

Her body pours static breath into his mad-gnashing vortex.

 
Where does one end and the other begin? 

At the point of internal harrowing, razing cells that scream 

in hysterical, frenzied death and reproduction, 

death and reproduction, 

with no end in sight, for these crazed, cracked-out enucleate disks don’t quit, 

bear no mind but to destroy in their very giving–as if human.

 
I’ll show you the petals of the wide-blooming, morning rose, 

heady as your bejeweled wedding day,

the dewy, pale, opalescent-translucence of redolent, velvety dalliance, 

stained rust-dry at the edges–

a picture of blossoming, ordered DNA

perfectly-formed, fragile as your first-born’s, infant fingernail– 

carrying its own prescient death at the borders.

 
She’s beautiful, 

not as a symbol, not as obedient structure, 

but as herself, fragrant joy bleeding. 

I’ll cup her in my gardening hands to grow a path between us–

sorely aggrieved and floundering shadow, 

clumsily consoling your fear and mine, 

both corraling an other’s-brother’s-father’s-husband’s-son’s fluxing end. 

Could you crawl outside a minute to see?

Cut

I cut myself last night, a slice not deep but well-placed

like a knotted finger string, center tip of the left index

or pointer, that guiding gun dog of the hand.

It happened as I chopped and spoke, diced and

listened, as she teasingly warned, “Careful. Don’t cut yourself.”

And then, not five minutes after smug riposte, “I don’t cut myself

any more. I’ve been chopping longer than you’re alive,” the eye first,

followed a hair-pin later by stinging prick alarm, ending with

stifled exhale and reflex footing to clear water.

Quick pouring like a scalp wound, I swiftly improvised a napkin

tourniquet, then resumed my chop in plump, papered digit,

slow labor, but serviceable, hidden, blunted, wrapped

crimson seeping like shame, pride and irreverence tucked

under the skin resting on disbelieving bones.

I slipped so quickly to the sink and back, returning

to my task unfazed and fluid, so they wouldn’t see, she

who pronounced my fate and the other who witnessed.

Brushing off the slight speed bump in the banter, I turned

the absorbing wrap growing redder toward me, out of sight.

And soon they left me for work and parties, wounded, hindered

and aching to know, the pain signal, what attention needed

paying, which moment or opportunity squandered.

Today, I press it, that slit in consciousness, right thumb to

left index, cataloguing input–sensory, intuitive and cognitive–

carefully20160807_202150.jpg caressing the seconds at my fingertips.

 

 

 

 

Edvard Munch’s ‘Separation’

  
Painting: “Separation” by Edvard Munch 1898, oil on canvas.
 

A smoldering heart weakens,

hunkers him down gut deep

inside separation’s burn.

When distance collects between

a lover’s love and loving hand,

the road span widened, dear doves,

a brooding beat blackens fear,

rends aortic drums split sideways,

burst blood pooled and anchoring.

Longing’s weight drowns victims,

pins their boots to muddy bog,

only sludge and sink might free

the ache, loosed from bony cages

as echo moans sorrow’s sympathy.

Severance maims this lover’s heart, 

rendering touch crumpled amputee:

grip-shattered, shivering despair. 
 

Kneel Down

  
“FuckFuckFuck!! No, not my knee!! Not again!”

I’ve done it this time.

Goddamm beginner throwing me off, 

catching an edge, and bam! down–

landed on my knee.

Now the thing is huge and blue,

achy and done with me.

Stressed beyond elasticity,

abused beyond belief,

the joint’s gone bad for good.

They begged me,

left and right,

pleaded for reason

for years.

Then right went wrong: gave out, gave up

and I gave in to the knife.

A quick stitchery and I was back.

But for far too long, so many years,

I ran too far too fast–getting nowhere, 

jumped one too many bumps–slowing me down, 

slammed to the ground–rising up again,

drop-down kneeled in defeat–blowing them out,

cross-checked, side-swiped, full-on collision

knee to knee, knee to shin, knee to head,

pressing their limits to hold me

carry me on, onward and beyond,

only to let me down.

And now, after avowed respect

caution, and a pact:

you be kind to me and 

I’ll return in kind, 

I reneged on our deal.

I beat us up once again.

And landed there,

in the cold icy wind–felled,

torn, beaten and crushed

in the frozen crusted hill,

crying, “No more!”

Pounding the frozen earth,

“Not one more fucking minute!!”

The last run to the bottom

yielded only pain 

where pleasure used to be.

Going down was always the easiest.

Not any more, not this time.

“Not my knee, please God not my knee.

Who’ll stand up for me now?”

Published in elephant journal: ¬†what happens when we surrender to yoga

  

Credit: Leslie Alejandro

Even the Supreme Court surrenders to something larger than itself. We all must give in, be a part of the fabric of an order, principle, and/or belief not only for the sake of facilitating justice to those around us but for ourselves–to be the justice. 

Labels define merely to confine. Lately, yoga has been taking a hit in the news. One Congress person dismissed it as religion that he did not want to see endorsed or foisted upon him in our nation’s participation in the celebration of International Yoga Day last week. 

Schools resist implementing yoga classes for a similar anticipated outcry despite the fact that teaching children to listen to their bodies and minds early cannot but be beneficial for adulthood when life speeds up and they, like so many, will lose touch with themselves, feel alienated, ill and angry at “others.”
Yoga is more and less than religion. The responsibility the practice teaches benefits everyone. Please enjoy my essay published in elephant journal on a singular definition of yoga, not exclusively mine, but culled through my experience.

Peace, 

the Gaze

Pinched Green

IMG_0155-1.JPG

Where is my kelly green, my fern? You have moved back to the pines, and I cannot feel your colors visibly, not distinctly, only slippery shades melding one into the other, making my mind yearn for the malachite forest scene of your coming.

Lately, I hunger green, artichoke, asparagus and avocado, even the one that makes you shudder, olive. I walk hunter, drip sap, and smooth moss, the living greens. I ooze.

Last time, when I stuffed you in a box, you danced me among the seething slits and asses, the indecipherable bodies of flickering light, smoke and sweat, and yours in my mouth, on my tongue, salty and sweet scent of yellow-green sea, the hungering hiss of breath on my lips. We shone, our sheen emerald and gyrated hips of jade.

Those were extraordinary days, that caged time down south, when I watched you walk down the city street beside me, clasping the crook of my arm, or scraping your toes against the heat of the ocean smooth sand and then coming to me in your easeful stride and thin-lipped tolerance. The glint in your eye, teasing out desire, was utterly teal and mint tea.

We have traveled deep in the green of your grass, your trees, you in mine.

In moments like today, when either of us lulls and listens, when your mind is dark smoked with bedeviling thoughts of the other who sometimes sits in that bar stool beside me, the burning that bricks up your walls, dug in deep, show me Harlequin, rifle and army green. I hear silent Screamin’ green. Gut green.

There are places that curve around our minds and make your palms moisten in remembrance of lines drawn with your fingers pressed deep past muscle to bone, firing synapses of wince and grin. Back then, in a commercial cocoon waiting, you cradled the pulsing organ that once belonged to me but now rests full, bleeding warm vital viscous tears of soothing dreams and sighs, painfully powerful pounding love in your hands, your hands that I watched unfold my flesh, uncover the beating mass before my eyes. I crushed down in you, myrtle mine, ensavored, enslaved and succumbed, pinched green.

Mantis, Castleton, India, Persia, Russia and Pakistan, paint the air green, tinting the lens in my favorite hue, you. Courage me green to laurel the winter time til spring, the color of you.