18 April 2011

Greenheart Hand

Her hand dances down

traveling sideways

and also the other sideways.

It cradles and crafts
the air in front of

her green growing heart

as it goes.

Like one bearing a candle
through a night wind
through fields of stubble
into a cave.

Like one bent a little - sideways - at the waist
to open her door
to look at the world
to hold her arm up high
arcing full of happenstance grace.
Feeling for rain.

Her hand like a leaf remembering its own green time:

golden with the changes that have come
and so reluctant to give up its twig-end place in the sun


Freely making the journey,

but in its

11 April 2011

I think you should

I think you should.

I think you should lift your hand and
show the things that are up,
such as the sky,
the dish of your palm.

Let me fill it with my wish.
I’ll dive in for a swim
through the space
of your holding.

I could lift my lids and you would be there.
I would let my eyes walk the cliff of your shoulder,
and scramble, cautious, not sure-footed,
down your precipitous arm
to the nest
inside your elbow.

There I can see
your life stand out,
a humble footbridge
over the warm river
of  your blood.

My wish must cross wisely
on its way to the safe shore
of your intelligent fingerprints -
garden mazes on a hushed afternoon.
May I never emerge.

Given a chance,
my eyes would release my wish
and it would well up in that pulse where your arm bends.
And it would flow

Wish sap moving mildly
in its resin sharpness.

Rolling thick
and clear
to your wrist
with its tiny tangle of blue branches
just under the cloud of skin.

Taking so long to crest the hill of your hand:
a creeping wish-tide
seeking quietly to fill your cup.

10 April 2011

Staying Dance

stay with it
stay with it
stay with it

forgot to stay with it

stay with it
stay with it
oh don’t go
stay with it

want to run
stay with it

whoa falling into it
stay with it

falling backwards fast with no sight
stay with it

god it’s deep
stay with it

and stay with it
stay with it

what is it
what is it
what is it

don’t know but
it’s going to eat my head

what is it what is it
really want to know

what is it what is it
really really don’t want to know

what is it what is it what is it

does it matter
probably not

it’s the staying
not the it

7 April 2011

Red Dance

Turn me on the fire
so I may spit
and sizzle.






Sparks will fly
and I will die -

I always do.


Flame falls hard
like rain.
Through bone and heart,
races down.

And yet I wear flames with an appetite
that gives all signs
of being endless.

I wrap my throat in fire.

Like the sun I burn, I set the sky to burning with myself.


I want that never-ending source of heat to dance under my breastbone.
I want that drum to speak in crazy scarlet thumpings.
And also time-measuring steadiness.

And the womb where life would always move
move through me
it of course is the reddest part of me.


Wrap me in a red cloth when I die.
Make sure there are mirrors all about,
in the folds and through my hair.

Carry me to the red tent.
The one my friends built for me out of their rivers of heart:
so red and true
no-one could even think
of asking a single question about it.


Scratch me now
and you will see
what colour I am.

All the way through.


Red words leave my lips.

Lips that wish they were really really red.
Therefore they send
their vermillion sounds out over ivory gates and fences.

Where perhaps they will be heard,
and perhaps not.


Once I could not yell in red.

and for a long, long age

my red voice was hidden under many thick folds and choices.

My dreams were no-voiced.
My emergencies silent.

And then
of course
life gave me a reason to scream

bloody murder.

And so I learned to raise my voice in a red way.

And yes

I learned to scream.
I spit coals.  I roar.

And yes

my scream

will make

your eyes





Pinky Swear

Today I have pinky sworn
to do much better.

With a velveteen hand that has seen six summers,
I crossed fingers.

What greater fate can there be
than to be called
to truer self
by a gaze that rises only
to the height of your solar plexus?

Hit in the bread basket,

By eyes and voice that sing and spin, shining, like an old carousel.

Odd, ringing, honey harmonies twinkling,
stirring up a devastation of longing.

Creamy whipped curly carousel enamel
that any child would love to eat
in an ice cream bowl.

And gold and turning fast enough to defy gravity somewhat -
and blue of warm sky above.

And kind intelligent horses riding cleverly into a safe wildness -
spirals out and up and down and in.

And promise of I hear you I believe you you are right.
And promise of keeper to kept.

And small palms opened into a small nest, ready to receive protection.
Against every odd and each insult the grown world can throw in there.

These eyes and this voice
like a 6-summer hand resting,
trusting and light and sensing,
on a dog’s silken head
or a cat’s dusty back.

These eyes and this voice
saying the hardest things
without the world-knowledge that they are the hardest.
Convincing me that innocence is another word for courage.

These eyes and this voice call me
snap me
with a truth-telling no adult
could touch.

And it feels like a relative
a cousin
of humbling down,
but to a mathematical power of something big.

And to this
there is no answer
but here I am.

4 April 2011

For Sister Sappho, Who Deserves Two Thousand Five Hundred Love Poems

Excerpt from Prayer to Afroditi

...cunning daughter of Zeus,
I beg you, do not crush my heart
         with pain, O lady,

but come here if ever before
you heard my voice from far away,
and yielding left your father's house
       of gold and came,

yoking birds to your chariot.  Beautiful
quick sparrows whirring on beating wings
took you from heaven down to mid sky
      over the black earth...

Come to me now and loosen me
from blunt agony.  Labor
and fill my heart with fire.  Stand by me
      and be my ally.

- Psapfo of Lesbos

Sappho, where’s she gone? 
Your wayward big sister:

I think she seemed awfully distant to you. 
Older sisters can be that way, I guess.
I can tell by those notes you left her,
cryptic and crumbled and half-burnt to ashes as they are.

(All those people, over all those years,
out to eat your words for you. 

Unable to deal with their own appetites,
determined to starve themselves
by gorging on your share.)

I know sister Aphrodite sat high above your mind,
in her robes of hyacinth or rose,
only answering her phone
just often enough
to keep you trying her number.

From this distance, though,
I want you to know,
you two look a lot alike. 
Siblings grow more alike as time passes.

I always wanted a big sister.  A big anything, really,
but a big sister would have been the best.

Did you two get together at her place when you got tired of chasing the beauties?

The face to faces
the nose to noses
the sighs from deep down the well
the hair spread on pillows,
salted sea air creeping in the windows?
The dancing tread of arched feet,
coaxing breath from the ground?

Or did you tire at all?

Did the shine ever dull, or were you merely held back,
after a certain point,
from what you always, always wanted?

I hope you didn’t flag.
I hope you were merely robbed.

I like to picture your roaring bonfire,
with its spark-throwing and its sky-climbing,
packed, in the end, into a tiny, searing blue flame -
invisible in daylight, and therefore
more dangerous
and more surprising.

Tell me, did sister ever get more talkative? 
I don’t ask because I want her advice.
Her skills don’t draw me.
I ask because I’m trying to understand if you’d ever talk to me.

You’re the one I want. 
Your arm crooked through mine on a long walk.
Your index finger pointing at me as you make something clearer.
Your teeth scraping the sky to a bluer blue,
as you laugh at something I will say to you,
something clever enough -
adequately renegade -

and raw enough

so naive

that you are helpless for just a moment
or two.