poem #7 I was late for motherhood

I was late for motherhood
the appointment was in a neighbourhood
I didn’t know      hidden behind billboards
and bare-limbed trees
for years I drove the highways
but the map given me at childhood
was missing pieces
like a puzzle where someone stole
all the blue edges

I had to ask directions
the doctor made me pass a test
I flunked the first time
later he would help me study
prescribe me vitamins
tell me not to worry things would work
I tried to follow his car to where
I thought I should be

you weren’t certain you wanted to live
there in that toy-strewn house
where the large windows first beckoned
at night I would dream of infants
and their tiny whispernames
in the darkness just before light broke
I would drive myself to where
the babies might be
that rendezvous I always meant to keep

it would be years later
when two boys became men
that I would remember
how it felt to be unfinished
missing those blue pieces
and realize
it was never about motherhood

final poem!! (poem #12) ~

I come from suitcases
from generations (three) of packing tape
lately book boxes from UTotem
filled with the detritus of a dissertation
Each move a chance to clean house
begin a new life unencumbered
a nautilus w/out her chambered shell
I am throwing away my childhood
the early years of love & marriage
stitched into linens from Hong Kong
teapots from Korea
and bronzeware from another life
Flipping to another page within a book
I haven’t written yet
the story of a woman and a man
and someone else’s baby
I tell myself:
It’s only one more time
One more house to make a home
One more map to learn
And one more utter dislocation
You’d think I would adapt
but something there is that doesn’t love
this kind of change
the suitcases the boxes the move
the goodbyes and the distances
that feel a bit like deaths
and send me in to mourning

poem #11

even the opening chords were wrong
those plaintive just awakened half diminished
scales     flat in all the wrong places

the day grew only more dischordant
as if the better players in the orchestra
deserted me left only a tuba and a violin

there once had been a melody
a kind of score written on old paper
the quarter notes black the half notes hollow

but today the hours stumbled like beginning
dancers trying to keep time their minute feet
unskilled and all the music off-key

so that the approaching darkness of night
comes welcome even with the fear
of its attendant nightmares

the atonal scale descends and the chords
break into arpeggios with spaces in togetherness
there will be music once again

poem #10 in the beginning

In the very beginning there weren’t words.
There was the swirl of constellations without names.
There was fire and ice and the elemental signatures of metals.
There was no one to notice or care.

Somewhere time comes into it, although no one can explain it.
When does time start? Is it back w/ the very beginning? Before the words?
Is it after the clash of gases?
When does what never was become what is?

And time passes, because now we have time.
We have a thread w/ the pearls of moments hung upon it
and we call that pastpresentfuture.
And there is still no one to notice or to care.

But later (as time goes, much later) the people
w/ their troublesome words and names come.
And that may be when it all begins, really. With people.
Troublesome words and names. And time.

poem #9 attachment & desire

we need more bombs
more incendiary devices of the verbal kind
we need the righteous anger
of my well-spent youth
cranking handbills on handpresses

we need the fervent furor of the zealot
who will fight the good fight
no one seems to care about
in Baltimore in Ferguson in McKinney
we need more passion more rage

we need this for the righteous
for the broken-hearted idealists
whose hells are paved
with others good intentions
we need for them to rally

Buddhists say to let these attachments go
to leave behind desire for what is not
and yet     engaged Buddhism
we need engaged Buddhists
we need compassionate anger

we need more bombs

poem #8

What I will remember

The fisted curl of an infant’s transparent fingers
How rosebuds involute as tightly
Waves cresting breaking falling cresting again
A carpet of snow clouds beneath a plane’s wings
Sunlight shafting through the silver of rain
My mother   silent in the pale silk of her coffin

poem #6 the weeks conspire

I hate it when the month is mad at me
Furious February, Antagonistic April
Months when days spiral into darkness
even before dusk
when the pileup of wreckage serves
only to hide the carnage of failure
of every time I tried & tried again
and fell over the cliff
into desperation
It might be August
heat shimmering
and I flinch from the icy barb
of knowing I’m inadequate
to anything & everything
this month will bring
Its four weeks huddle
lay plans to tangle me in snarls
of barbed wire that once were words
my beloved offered me in anger
They draw maps of the places in my own
dark centre that are vulnerable
to light places that need secrecy
to survive
The 30 days of June conspire
whisper to the ruins of my May
that now will be no better
And I have done nothing
nothing to ignite this retribution
nothing to deserve this streak
of anger
I have done nothing at all

poem #5 underwater

what the shell said

when the water claimed me
took my salt & copper body
deep into its bluegreen throat
and swallowed me whole
I thought of my mother
how her tears would taste
of this same saltwater
how she would wail
like the rushing sound
of tidal surge around me

warmed by the sun
I could not see beneath
the ocean’s surface
water the colour of the sky
lifted me high
still wrapped in water
slammed me into ocean floor
and in my ears my mother
a whisper in a shell
calling me home

some visceral fear
tore from me
ripped by the tide
sank into the sand
and I spread my arms like wings
soaring underwater
into rescue

2015 poetry marathon poem #3 spawning season

It’s spawning season
You baited your hook carefully
They come into the shallows to spawn
What about the mommy fishes?
I worried
You won’t be catching mommy fishes
will you?
No mommy fishes, you reassured me

Even as you cut
into the glistening bellies
scraping the crystalline beads
of life into the water below
Even as you laughed at me

Even then, only weeks
into what would become love
marriage separation love again
two sons and a life together

you protected me
filtered my reality
through the lens
of your affection
Traded reality
for what might comfort

2015 poetry marathon poem #2 American wheat

in the granary, the single grains of wheat
float like motes of gold
sift through hot spiraling air
beneath the slant shafts of light
a sea of harvest laps
against the smooth boards
of the old silo

chaff softens the outline
of rusty machinery
parked where exhausted men
turned keys and tumbled
to wheat carpeted ground
somewhere in Arizona
a child tears a single piece of bread