Memory

Footsteps on the hot sidewalk echo;
Past fades into present.
Music~his Ozzy, my Randy~
Reverberates through flesh and bone
And my body gives up an image I can rarely conjure…
His whole face, smiling.

Another July,
When freedom rang because we took it in our hands,
Wresting it from the moment and running
Over the Mountain
And on to the Greyhound bus
With twenty dollars and two packs of Marlboros.

Camping in Albany by the railroad tracks,
Passing a pint of Comfort,
We made plans for California
And drank each other’s presence
As though we knew
We were lilacs.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

January 1984

All my writing in the garbage can,
Deodorant sent from someone else’s mother,
Christmas gifts from strangers.

Packing to leave the psych ward
For a mental hospital in Westchester
Where, they’ll say, an old woman,
Heir to Gilded Age money,
Spends her last days.

I imagine she has a whole floor to herself,
Muffled and dark with thick carpets,
While below her,
Removed from the current of life,
We try to convince them
That we are fine
And the world is wrong.

mossnleavesnsnow

Emerald and snow

rocksnmoss

The way in.

Mote and Beam II

It doesn’t matter what others think of you–it matters what you think of others.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you–it matters what you think of yourself.

This is the crux of the admonition: “Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Fine-Feathered Friend

Poetry by Eubie Blake. I drew this for my nature- and bird-loving friend Eileen, who is every bit as beautiful and fiesty as a blue jay.

Haven’t Been Making Any Shoes Lately

I’ve been distracted trying to stay out of the undertow while the waves keep coming. Still, I am in Hawaii so I shouldn’t complain. (Speaking metaphorically, of course.) Actually I am in the northeastern United States in October and the leaves are peaking. The heat finally came on, and all is well. I thought of this dream today, from the mid 1990s. It is a piece of the Rapunzel puzzle that I believe has been part of my life since Kindergarten, but didn’t show up consciously until I was 19 and painting a tree that turned into a fully executed Rapunzel tower while I observed my mother and I walking hand in hand up the steps of a Mayan pyramid.

Dream—

Dusty path to the West,
exercise in futility.
Carload of Asians…
I turn to the East.

The lamb lies down on the path to the East.

A kitten comes to me—
She hangs around a lot but doesn’t live with us.
I think, I should feed her, she isn’t growing;
I think, she would not be happy inside, declawed.

Safe but not happy.

First Sketch, with R.W.Emerson Quotes

First Sketch, with R.W.Emerson Quotes

Goodwill Hunting

Warm weather has me searching for clothes~
Loose, cool, natural fiber,
Cotton is best.
I walk in slow meditation,
Hand outstretched,
Gently playing duck, duck,
duck, duck, duck
Through the whites
Yellows
Oranges
Reds
Blues.
I smile at azure, cerulean, indigo,
Eyes drinking in the shades.

Green Tags 50% Off Today.
I have in my hand a find:
A blouse,
Gauzy cotton,
Made in India.
Tiny green butterflies hover among tinier leaves,
And I can feel their breath on my skin.
Fifty percent off for perfection.

I can’t stay here too long;
I am sensitive to the atmosphere.
It is the last stop before oblivion,
Harbor of the unwanted.
Sorrow sings through my veins~
The resonance of recognition.

I can’t stay long,
But I return every few weeks
With my faith in redemption intact.

Vessel

What does the bear carry on her back?
Me.  She  carries  me.

We are looking for my soul.
We     are     gathering     bones
And watering them with blood and tears.

Grandmother carries me on her back,
Out my front door and to the stars,
Into the cold northeastern night

Where four brothers dance
And the world is remade.

A Poetry Reading in Honor of the Right to Protest As a Patriotic and Historical Tradition

Manchester, VT
February 17, 2003

The people here are weathered and beautiful. There is a man in a maroon wool cap, big bushy eyebrows, gray beard, well-worn corduroy slacks. He carries a book of Emily Dickinson’s poems. People’s faces are open and excited. A feeling of community pervades the atmosphere; we are smiling at one another, listening to the conversations around us, feeling free to comment on what someone in the pew behind you says. The church is crowded–we got here an hour and a half before they were going to open the doors but it is so cold outside they took pity on the early birds and let us into the community room downstairs, where we gathered in increasing numbers, beginning to press against one another, breathing the same air.

The poets are reading for peace. Ruth Stone, from Binghamton University. Jamaica Kincaid. Galway Kinnell–I remember Fergus Falling, writing for Arthur Clements’ class. The poets are reading for peace and we are here to let them know down in Washington we don’t support this war. We don’t want to kill people over oil over what? Political and economic concerns. We are all human we are all equal all precious none of us more so than another.

La Llorona

Deep in the black velvet ooze
At the bottom of the saltwater cavern,
I found her weeping for her children.

Her weeping makes her monstrous.

Mothers warn their young ones away
And secretly worry
about where choices have led them–
About the salt in their blood.

I see her

Raw fingers raking the sludge,
so long from giving love.
My hands ache and sweat;
I taste my death but cannot look away.

Her hollow eyes focus on me and the time is fulfilled.

I kneel in front of her,
Take her hands to my breast,
And kiss her wide mouth long and full.