Outside My Window

Though the shades are closed, vertical blinds obscuring the view,
I well know what lies behind them.
Out there, in my yard, lives
A grand Valencia orange tree 35 years old or more
That branches from the house to wall in a triangular
Patch of dirt amidst the concrete.
And kitty corner is the tangerine tree, frailer than her
Companion citrus tree but her fruit is sweeter.
She’s younger than her cousin.
In the southwestern corner of the yard are the rose bushes
One tall white rosed tree and one red sickly
She may suffer disease or rot, maybe bugs
And in the corner in the deep recess of abutting walls
Reigns the queen ficus, wild, unruly, with bursting roots
Uprooting everything in her way, concrete, cinder, and earth.
She buries bird nests and Edison wires within her bushy hair
Along the wall between the tangerine and lemon tree
Live a tangle of tomato plants, beefsteaks, cherries, and romas
Overrun nearly, by champagne grape vines grown over
And under my window, sentries to the morning, two small trees
That bloom pink peonies, peppering green leaves.
Beneath them, in the cool dirt, lies the Husky pup, Goosey Loose.
Who’ll soon lift herself on sleepy legs to crawl through
The doggie door, pause at the entryway before hopping into bed with me.

Missing You

Every night
I long for you,
Day time too.
Tonight especially
Or is it morning?
The dark deceives
But not you, my love
You are my life
My one true love,
Faithful as the moon
When I’m weary
Or merely bored
In the dawning light
At midnight too
I miss you, dearest
I long for your embrace
In sheets of silken sigh
Pray you come to me
After the last uttered rhyme
When words fail me
Even more than now
Come entomb me
In your deathly delight
No need for dreams
Just take me now
A little while still
Close my eyes with your kiss
Sandy sweet
My darling
Hold me in your arms,
Dearest sleep.

Chocolate Grace

My lovely swan, to whom do you petulantly gaze,
Elegantly craning your milky neck just out of sight?
Or do you pose for the painter, brushes on pallet
Oozing spirited sex and sass in the casual clasp,
The table’s edge between a thumb and forefinger?

Black satin ensconced fingers of a soft left hand
Grasp the falling black sash, ebony on steely night.
Who’s there off sight that your shoulders pull back
Flaunt your perfect posture, taut in practiced ease?
Turned out, not up, your nose points us the way.

Is it your fragrance, some Paris perfume you sniff
To flare the nares so regally as if scent sculpted you
From birth, the way your pretty pout folds into a chin
Equally sharp as the peaked nose round arced brows.
I adore the flashes in auburn lit hair swept into updo.

The sun would have streaked you strawberry blonde
Had you graced it with your presence, though clearly
Pale skin that would appear ghostly on another moon
Reflects embarrassed by its dusty light comparatively.
How I’d rest my chin in the curvature of those chains.

A hand I’d rest at the crease of your gown, just above
The impossibly narrow circumference of your waist,
A circle flowering thick bosom and hips begging me
Take notice: a crafted sexuality seething underneath
Discretely teased, in rich chocolate grace and ease.

 

I hate my life

“Oh my God, I hate my life‼”
“And what the actual fuck?‼”
Teenagers love big emotion words.
What will they do in an emergency
When they truly need to measure
Pain or excitement, despair or joy?

And yet, don’t you ever say,
“I’m going to kill you!”? I do.
What kind of homicidal maniac
Kills in retaliation for taking
The scissors without returning
Them to where they belong?

“I thought I would die,” my
Mother used to say, when she
Could say anything, in regards
To an embarrassment or shame.
Yes, those humiliating moments
Burn but never kill, nor maim.

And even the occasional yell,
”You’re driving me crazy!”
Which my mother and I both
Said to our children or spouse.
Though no one has gone mad
By another’s annoying behavior.

But melodrama is nothing new.
I’ve heard in the movies or
Maybe I read it in a book, the
Lover declares to the beloved,
“My life has no meaning, is not
Worth living without you.” Really?

And don’t get me started on cars.
I’d get more than a second glance
Had you recorded my car litany.
“What the f#$*k is wrong with
You, you jackass, mother f’ing
Moron. Learn how to drive‼!”

Comedian Louis CK jokes,
”Can you imagine if you said
the same to someone who
bumped you in an elevator,
Facing them, “I hope you die‼”

The Tangerine Years

36 years ago, was it that long?
We married the year before and lived the blue.
Apartment, that is.
The long shag carpet, countertops, and walls,
All royal blue.
We were happy there, on our own.

So I potted plants, hung them in the light source,
The one big window facing the courtyard.
I lined them along the window sill
Or hung them from hooks in the ceiling
Where long fronds of spider plants
Would vine the window view.

But you, being you, peeled a tangerine,
Sat down at the blue couch under the window,
And ate that piece of fruit while reading the paper.
Only too lazy to dispose of the seeds in the trash,
You reached your arm behind your head,
And threw the seeds in one of the plants.

Mystified at the new shoots one day,
I saw the rich green forming jagged leaves,
Among the pale green rounded ones.
I watched it til it outgrew the little pot.
So, I gave it its own, and then another,
And then you confessed what you’d done.

When we moved to the house, the standing pot
Rested under the second landing window,
A long vertical rectangle to the roof.
Clearly, it was a tangerine tree—sans fruit.
Eventually, we knew we’d stay, even if
We had to pay the mortgage with roommates.

We were 23 when we planted her in terra firma,
Against the block wall we shared with the Germans.
There she grew, filling the wall and beyond,
Keeping the drunken parties and naked jacuzziers
Stripped from view as she rounded out her branches.
She stood tall, encircled by cement along cinder block.

Barren for 15 years, then one day they appeared
The forest green balls grew tipped with delicate buds,
Tiny white petals framing deep green mini golf balls
That turned orange in the late fall, the first in October.
The harvest was small but so sweet and juicy, pit free.
And her roiling roots under the cement rebelled.

They rose up, buckled the cement, cracked open.
We’d been married for 27 years by then,
And though our marriage was rocky, the tree stood,
Ready to weigh in, bend the cinder block wall,
Uproot the cement yard square foot at a time.
We had no choice, back then, but to accede.

We put down the boxing gloves, took up the rototiller
And tore up the cement, repaired the cinder block buckle
So the tangerine tree could grow up and meet them,
The daughters we’d birth and nurture strong and tall,
For picking tangerines, and oranges, and tomatoes
Takes many arms and long, long, long patience.

 

It’s What You Want

Never enough of it because the throngs crash into me
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.

Table for Two

She sets your table, plops dinner down, and you eat.
No lust for the chore, no love for it any more, she washes dishes.
She serves you, like a debt, a duty, or a dog—for exchange.

Me, I’m dessert. I undress your mind, place desire on your table,
Luxuriate in your spine, the cup of your back, and your lips.
I serve you like a wife, a partner, and a chum—for love.

We laugh, talk, fuck, sleep, spoon, and wait, drinking in the hours
Until next we meet, a pair of arms entwined in exhausted heat.
For all that, she’s the one on the reservation, table for two.

Naked

Lawyer
Soccer coach
Girl Scout leader
Umpire,
Art teacher
PTA auditor
Arts Advocate
Non-profit CEO
Board director
Referee
Volunteer
Room mom
Academic Senator
Secretary, committee
Adjunct
English professor
TA
Lecturer
Law school Dean
Partner
Owner
Time keeper
Team Rep
Manager

One step
Trip
Fall
Arrest
Jailed

Naked.

Daughter
Sister
Aunt
Mother
Wife
Child
Lover
Friend
yogini
Poet

Human.

Come, Beowulf!

Singing, trouncing, pounding tables,

goblets splash mead on caked mud.

 

Who are these creature who swear

God’s face they deign is theirs?

 

How could they be so bold when I,

and all I sired, eat men like sows?

 

I chomp their bones to hear them cry,

Call me ogre, call me son of Cain.

 

Too late your words, feeble weapons,

are no match for my teeth.

 

Come charge me, you sons of Hrothgar,

who will protect you?

 

My life’s a charm you can’t defeat,

so bleed, be quick my mother’s feast.

 

Hear me, Geat, come take a stab,

I’ll give you a running start.

 

By darkest skies, you’ll see the light,

Take my claw, I’ll help you up.

Prayer for Persephone

Come sit in the misty glen, Kore, and recount the time
Demeter held her torch, Hecate by her side, and cried,
Searching for you mightily to find Hades had done it,
Abducted you, my sweet, and fed you pomegranate.

Married you he did, while your mother held back spring
And rainbow’d fields and gardens’ golden Dahlia dying
Unlike the queen of the dead, who swallows down earth
Each time you retreat from sun, a grave mother’s dearth.

For Father Zeus could strike no bargain on your behalf,
In seeds, succulent and raw, lies like the Golden Calf
Blood chained you to desire, an ever fading blossom
Half in hell, half in heaven, a grain goddess’ seasons.

But bury the bones now in bottom sight flesh as risen,
Unshutter their mortal blinds through care and wisdom
To them you owe humanity in a silver sceptered palm.
Give them true insightful eyes as to the poor give alms.

For only the darkest night can steer their walks in light
Their sins burned smoked the day he raped your mind
Your body long ago lost to wild lavender and plumeria
For you, fragrant as frangipani, we two sing hallelujah

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