Sunday on the porch
instead of a pew—i pray
i could be anyone
do rocks feel—
check their rock-wrist pulse?
Picture the rock-doctor, cocking her head sideways—
staring off into the wise, rock-doctor distance—
it could be the icepack wrapped around torso
masking new thoughts, along with the pain.
it could be that it’s Good Friday and while there’s no rain yet, i’m waiting—watching for the wind in the japanese maple to make its move outside the bedroom window—twist and pick up, or hush—a baby’s red-faced silence before the scream.
it could be the days of narcotics swimming—surgery no. 2 and tougher to shake.
or, the kids at school, learning theories and math—
learning formulas of numbers and letters—
absolutes—I wasn’t thinking I’d start thinking
about answers today.
it could be the candle nearing it’s last few hours of rose.
the church, doors closed, no stations of the cross at noon—
or the friend who says yes, yes, it’s all possible.
why you gotta test the Jesus in me
it happens in unlikely places / like costco, they’re blocking the carrots / not caring / not the cancer—that has a binder, a video / push play and i’ll tell the doctor you’re almost ready / not the lover—drowning ourselves in pink drink—those are the fences we can shag away on a sunday / it’s the hooks to the face when you’ve taken out my lungs / dear brother / why you gotta test the Jesus in me? / i’m coming for you bloodied and empty / handed over by a God who introduced us / bonanza / dear brother—why you gotta test the Jesus in me? / tell your demons but it’s her she’s safe / then today when the hounds are breathing / panting at our door / i will stand up / square off / look them in the eyes and send them to cower.
the daughter who is your mother
wears a face younger than yours. she wrecks your idea of everything you thought mystical and spellbound, like the holy. I see the homeless man on Hawthorne, dragging his dirt, radiant in another life. she’s an old soul her teachers say. rumi said, there is no proof of the soul.
you crawl into bed, beleaguered by another average day, like she did at three, still needing you. your thoughts turn to slits, turn to long arms, not holding you, gently.
LOVE IS TELEPATHIC.
is a superpower
the small house is solid after a long rain.
the bunk beds nest the children—
stack them up at night—
like a chimney of butterflies—
rising into midsummer night dreams
between living room
the sounds of parents,
the headboard like a drum—
finding its short, breathless rhythm.
my sad south
we are not you
but we too
wake with empty
and fill ourselves
with each other
for no one
and will not
will not wilt
for no man for no woman for no child
compassion my sweet home south
cannot be killed
sign of spring
hutzpah unburied its head
the man behind the newspaper shifted when her skirt lifted—the black bear in blueberries not bees—the pocket watch that ticked for a few clean minutes—your terrific postcard—that bloke, swinging her round—and the harmonica, no longer dusty, that swindled us—the boy in green rain boots caught the leaf—my masala and sugar steeped—mini episodes of falling into place.
my friend says people are stupid. i know what he means. i know what he means without my friend naming names. but i remind him we are part paraclete. florescenting, hunting for each other’s doorbells. we are doorways to meaning. the bones of beauty. we know how to be continued. we crowd magic when it’s happening. we turn in our sleep toward fractions. we know sometimes, bare feet. we want the tastelessness of water. the something you can’t touch. the feeling-around-part is mad genius. parents know elation, but most of the time, don’t say it. pushing love doesn’t work. Christ. He was no pusher. No abolisher of law or prophets. Note the feast of the sky and that we should’ve all died by now. and that we have not, and naming names is not necessary. i know what he means.
i need me some man. come home come home
there’s always something.
maybe it’s the human face that’s the sacrament.
Why she never went to medical school
she daydreams about the insides of linen-closets folded to perfection, men whisking by in scrubs. she likes the phrase ‘rounding.’ she thinks pressed, white linen coats are not worn often enough. she scans for skookum bedside manner. she watches her blood fill viles. nursing shoes are sexy—there’s so much rubber. she doesn’t have cankles. she says ‘advanced medicinal organic chemistry,’ referring to her father. she is clean. she says ‘hygiene’ when possible. washes her hands 10 times a day. she fixates on the gynochologist’s hands—trimmed cuticles—he snaps off the gloves. she longs to ride a 10-speed down an urban thoroughfare at rush hour, switch into a coat with her last name on the breast pocket—like meg ryan in that angel movie. she can handle dead bodies. sometimes lies down with them—to sense life escaping. she admires RNs. she’s logged 500 hours beside hospital beds, 43 as a patient. the smell of ICU turns her on. she memorizes okay. latinate words fit her mouth. she scored higher in math on college entrance exams. her signature is illegible.
then we all found an art
egress for ourselves instead
of the air quote
american dream close
still, on any map
will be the jewel of being listened to, the little red
exchange of an idea, the quirky girl
dance in the dim corner—each radicalized
by the blank space around it.
under pluck, beneath dawn, seeking ye first, oceaning, Telemachusing, mending, brothers in killing, how is it still, we are more alike than not alike.
you obstructionists, you champions of light—the mettle filings of the migratory—you astronauts of prayer, doling out strength like the first bite of a beignet—you, serene stranger, cornered smart lap dancer, droopy eyed mutts, you queen of 125th street—the moses of exquisite hairdos—all you messengers of solid doubt, floundering faith and wtf, be nourished—be seen—be abandon—for those of us that say we know.
the liquor of holiday love—each of us starring in our own circus—like the blue blur the child sees crossing the columbus ave. parade—darling, you say as the minister of parental unknowing,
hold my hand
hmm, amount of peroxide to make 80 pound dog vomit—
this, the entree of morning—adaptability—
the snow song, the ferguson, the teeth of it all.
there are people who talk over other people
for fear they’ll miss their train—their watch set for 5 billion years from now—
when the sun will explode with all admired yellow vases in camouflage.
we implore the gardens, my life is fleeting
do not disappear. a man says, my wife is crazy,
or is it that, she simply can’t hear? the blooms, the
superlative man and the interrupters (i’m sure i’m one)—all socks,
hanging neatly on the line.
picture the nigerian priest.
picture his vestments, red—his long fingers, like branches of a sycamore
telling his story. now picture his father he said,
the hunter. deep in the wood,
feet in dilapidated boots
crushing dry brush—
just missing the hidden nest. picture
the hunter—a human scaffold—
run-walking the eggs
to his hens’ coop—
picture 21 days later—hearing the peal
of the beaks cracking shell—the fledgling
chicks sipping their first taste of unforgiving air.
picture 15 days later—the Nigerian
hunter taking matters
in his rough-hewn hands.
the priest son on his altar, shows us—
his father, scooping up the one bird,
hoisting it high before the daybreak sun.
picture the bird unconfusing itself—
crying its hawk cry—clawing
at the same unforgiving air
for its first flight—
for its sibling chickens left behind.
into the winter
there is the ice.
the solitude of white shapes. there’s your snore—aboriginal, from the other room. there’s the remaining relevant—the cooper hawk youth stalking the hens’ coop. there’s the before the storm, zenic in the after—the warmth of conversation with yourself—and there the grand minutia, the small font print you read to spry the mind. there’s that straight pin stabbing the half sewn sleeve, and closer, on the head of the pin,
the into the winter—
the slow birth peeling away old worlds—so that all that meditates, all that hums and is fertile and trustworthy and undeniably beautiful is in your hand, cupped now, like the caught winter moth, ragged in the winter howl—marking its arcs of the human halo.
This period > . <
Is a pillow
a not raging comment thread
a small sky
a cannon yawn
in the way that she’s funny,
not because of what she says.
some people are funny this way.
lapadists, we must impress in this world or our brand will bomb. hooey. let’s all be very impressive then. like a red lipstick at lunch, like the gasp in a wild vista, the russian man’s moustache, or the nun’s bad breath. does it matter what people think? a great dancer once magnetized these words to his fridge: popularity and purpose.
the sacred, the secular, the kitchen table magic, the old flames. poof! the adopted are gathered at my table. their mothers have come to convey information.
have we become allergic to stillness
a free-standing event
makes (arresting) rural Appalachia, of the early 20th century, music. she was born in new york city and raised in LA. and her parents wrote for the carol burnett show. our perception of authenticity is challenged everyday. talent can do that.