Published on The Mindful Word today is my review of Stephanie Harper’s Sermon Series.
Once again, I’m so privileged to be included in this gorgeous anthology of crazy poets who challenged themselves to a frenzied mad dash marathon of poetry, a poem an hour for 24 hours. My poem is on the very last page.
Buy it here. You’ll make someone happy for the holidays when you give them the gift of poetry while supporting poets and poetry (what the world needs now more than ever).
When all I want to do is get to the other side of the street.
And the rare time I sit down to watch a movie or t.v.,
There’s the dog’s head or tail blocking the screen.
So I call her over to me, and in 90 degree heat, she,
Whose heredity traces back to Alaska, lies against me.
Relationships, the worst for the coveted thing since
no matter how hard you try, you can’t get him off,
To let go and do something on his own, without me.
I have a friend who’s a close talker, another who pokes,
And yet another who slaps me every time she laughs.
My mother was a hugger but even she could sense.
What is this prized possession we never have,
Well, not enough of, but we all need and want?
What’s her name? You thought she was beauty,
And you were wrong. Not money, nor fame, either.
Yes, family, marriage, children, some of us crave that,
But others could care less. No the thing is Ah, yes.
My gut gurgles, “true.”
Storms a’ brewin’,
a slanted wind tossing Bazooka bubble gum wrappers and wooden popsicle sticks across
the stoop of my youth.
Windward blows the dead awake; shredded zombies moan skyward cries. Stand ready.
Leeward gusts settle upon soot-trodden lace and rusted pipe,
like predictable night crowning the inexplicable horizon.
There’s no way to tell, so breathe through the crackling wires’ electric veins.
Tear it down, board it up, and blame the weather.
Poised on the cliff, each steps cautiously, blind-seeking gripped edges, rocky shards of granite rubble,
a death slide or eternal flight.
A cat agilely climbs the dresser stairs with jaws in machine gun chomp, aching past windowed perils.
She studies her predator’s patio glance back.
Coyote snouts flick-sniff, scuttling to flashed fear beneath orange trees and wicker tables.
Storm’s a brewin’.
Pleistocene gassy beams once pocked the scarred heavens, now snuffed shut,
too, the wind tilts mountains pebble by pebble.
Lighthouse rays pierce the retinal fog, a grainy lightning chop of insight.
We’re all just kicking up some dust before we bite.
Sparrow beaks tweet ticket-ee tee tee tee
Yer mate tweets back, “Impeach the dude”
And all the kerfluffle of sham and shatter
Nattering a morning’s cuppa jo unsweetened
Enough to make you hate your neighbor or
Honk your horn at a red light to waken her,
Lap-staring, brown-haired comatose waif.
But I read somewhere that choice cuts the
Day in two, yours and mine, theirs often 2
Late 2 make 2 more light seconds matter.
By the next exhale’s end, paused like ice
As you draw the next breath inward ho and
So it goes, so it goes and so it go, go goes.
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.
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?
one she calls “my pet,” and the other “peeved.”
Why peeved? What injustice writhes in the willows today–
a bird-pecked worm, a spider-spun gnat, or perhaps, a rattler
gargling rat blood? Yes, you bemoan those victimized but what
of the black widow’s guillotine or the Venus’ trap door teeth, do you,
oh peeved? Does she, my pet?
We recognize her, the way her head tilts to catch the sun’s
catered rays to the swan of her neck, the hint of heather on
her breath, chamomile in her hair.
Dawn loves her perfect poise and light; there she’s her
element. Why argue with nature, my pet peeved? She’s
who we are. Be sweet now, love and comfort smile us happy.
My eyeballs swell to beefsteak tomatoes, plumped tight
Pressuring the sockets to give way or tear up and split.
I’ve tapped as many keys as there are doors in this planet.
Day is done. Pace myself. Leave some pages for tomorrow.
Time to puff a two, loosen my belt and lose the jeans, bra
And throw on a tee-shirt. I’ll keep the panties but not these;
They strangle the creases to dead circulation in my thighs.
I’ve gained weight, and they’ve shrunk. They’re sentimental.
She gave them to me with a gleeful glint, when we were a
Thing. A present. I think it was my birthday or may be just
Because. She loved me then, and maybe she still does.
We’re a distant fragrance of passing perfume in a coat;
It’s winter and the cinnamon leaves crackled and died off.
An edge borders time on which thrush plagues a fallen wren,
Small fright fringed in imperceptive tremulous fever.
No one intuits the thin cry.
Where’s the door?
She coughs up her last lap.
They’ll come now. Now that it’s almost done.
Funny, you can outsource love but not death.
No more false starts.
This one’s true.
She said she doesn’t understand me.
Not my words, not my plans, not me.
She doesn’t understand me.
She said that, “I don’t understand you.”
She also said:
“You don’t use enough poetic words.”
“No one understands what you mean.”
“You say too much.”
“You leave nothing for the imagination.”
“There’re prettier ways to write that.”
“Your sentences are too long, too short,
Too convoluted, too simple, too complex,
Too awkward, too abstract, too concrete…”
And so much more she said.
She gassed on about my description, my
Commas, periods, semi colons, dashes,
Especially the Oxford commas and italics.
She hates enjambment.
She said it, “I hate enjambment.
I prefer clean breaks.
People need to write plainly.
Say what they mean.”
She likes rhymes or landscapes,
Not a lot of nihilism and death.
She prefers old verse to new,
Stanzas to trees,
And blank verse to free.
Words flow too freely too often.
She repeats that.
Each time I see her, she repeats,
“Loose lips, and sticks and stones,
And penny for your thoughts.”
She likes the old ways, the olden days.
She doesn’t like my way.
My way is too dull, too lurid, too boring.
She said she honestly doesn’t know
Why I bother.
She doesn’t get it.
Not me, not anything about me.
She doesn’t understand anything.
She doesn’t understand me.
I said that: “You don’t even know.” (Me)