Thursday, May 22, 2014

The island of slow-burn treadmill worry - ghazal

I have these awful habits to unlearn (not yet)
You send solicitations that I spurn: not yet!

I am on the island of slow-burn treadmill worry
I will return I will return I will return not yet

The kind rowboats circle, shouting Strawberries!
Books! Dance parties! They peddle and churn. Not yet.

Backache, deadlines. Checklists shop-lists do-lists
Self self self. Can't you hear my stern "not yet"?

I am the island, we are locked we are closed.
Rowboats go away! Bridges, bridges, burn! // Not yet!

The sweet rebellion has not freed these shores.
When will I clasp and not just yearn? Not yet.


"and no one is much,
and everyone should know that we share that."
from “Hanging Out with Girls” by Hannah Gamble
no one is much and the heat of the night presses in after the winter
no one is much and I welcome the interruption, seven billion
no one is much and the numbers keep climbing
seven with one blow, buzzing buzzing I want the light off no matter what
no one is much, you will find me far up a tree in spite of my fear
shorts under my dress of course, Mommy said so when climbing
small small small. no one is much. but no one can talk up a storm
the noise in the quiethouse buzzing, buzzing I want the light off.
no one is much. the world in a tight hot clutch, surrounding
no one is much. the feathery touch compounding
no one is much. the voices drone on, flute and warble, pound bang
oh the voices, the beautiful -
no one is much.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spin down empty, ghazal

The things we fling up giddy spin down empty
Our rainbow feast tastes flat, brown, empty

No matter how I take my words apart
My lips say verb, hollow, noun, empty

Your living room is echoing and gloss
The walks I take ring small town empty

I smooch wide air, climb ladders into space
The tiny closet hugs its robe, gown, empty

My head: removed and promenaded off
Behold the loving cardboard crown: empty

The deer are at the door, tame, brazen
The bathtub growls. I won't drown empty

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Want One - ghazal

I Want One 

I don't have an exit strategy yet but I want one
I don't have a plan but I know in my gut I want one

I don't know how to answer my own bloodcurdling questions
I don't have a manifesto to strut—I want one!

I don't have a three-wheeled self-pedaled car
Or a treadmill to power us out of this rut. I want one.

I don't have a novel I've written to make you forget
Or a kiss-it-best balm for your old stinging cut. I want one.

I don't have that silvery soaring soprano that threw me
In love with myself. That outlet is shut. I want one.

There isn't a lot that I need, but I know, if I want
A bleak, bitter longing, there is a glut. I want one. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Emilie Spencer Deer

Emilie Spencer Deer

Been chasing a ghost, diamondthroated invalid shade
Shade sheltering our tree-slung swing, grandma dead

Dead all my life, living story to story in Daddy's nights
Nights splitting their sides, grandma the jokester

Jokester rising to moments with song, pun, rhyme spun
Spun see-through silver imaginary grandma, never buried
Buried in Daddy's joy every offbeat scribe I have been.


Been naming, renaming the old and the yet to be.
Yet to be outshone, forgotten, you pinch-o'this-that whiz

Whiz bang grandma, golden the floating blanket
Blanket nine granddaughters, two little grandboys, grown without you

You yourself motherless, tiniest, now become ancestral lore
Lore that we spin and gather, launching our own houses
Houses to crouch in, papered in grandma-lore, all we have been. 



The red of the hammock will bleed and fade in time
The cracks on the porchstones expand, degrade in time

The tempo I swing at will not change much, I think
Though I've brittled, and shrunk, and slowed, and grayed in time

On the patio tables the permanent frozen shadow
Of the boards and the cards of the games that we played in time

All the things that you said would break and snap and die
All those words: an unexploded grenade in time

You will rotate from chair to chair, balding and reading
Soothsaying and waiting, slumping and splayed in time

I will lie back and swing while the clouds and the trees turn colors
The deer in the yard watch me: remade, unmade, in time