Who Would’ve Thought (revisited 1/2015)

Who would’ve thought a celeb like Sherwood would be felled by a bit of toothpick or that I would find Winesburg, Ohio bookmarked with a napkin embossed with white bells and May 7, 1966, the date Al said “I do” to me, marking the place I left off? Or that I would stumble across a quote from Heart of Darkness by Joe Conrad: “We live, as we dream, alone.”

Slick paperbacks pass through my hands. Cloth bounds and leather bounds. Brushed-velveteen covers pass through my hands to the shelf, back again, to the table next to my bed, to my lap, the shelf, the chair arm. I roll on my side in the night and wake in the morning with an indented line running like half an X, temple to chin, from the hard edge of a book.

Who would’ve thought I would dream as I live? C.S. Lewis would’ve. Would’ve said to me, if he knew me and could, “We read to know we are not alone.” I would’ve read less, loved more. I would’ve, if I had known.

[After reading an article on The Poetess in America by Annie Finch]

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Lesson #60 : a.k.a. Mexico Time, October

Mexico is not in keeping with California’s clock,
timepieces here already fallen one hour back
of the border’s other side.

This makes for a zone of hands, one set lurching
forward without me in its minutes, day’s rewards
unborn, a knee I might scrape safely bent, not much
different between sheets as inside her womb.

Mick Jagger’s been elusive, a scarecrow taunt
of ticking beats: you-can’t-always-get-what
get-what get-what get-what

you want from a dream observed in an hour
yet to come, sleep stuck in a groove of pursuit;

or am I the one running the creases of time,
plumping the seconds inside my pillow, rearranging
sharp feather ends away from a cheek where the hands
spin.  Stage lights come up.  No, it’s the sun
rained through slats, wind stuttering them to thwack,
the rod where they attach, a watch stem.

~

[After “Bar Time” by Billy Collins, from Sailing Alone Around the Room]

September Scorpions

They are the color of golden french fries.
Drought brings them inside for water.
Already I have killed six
where they froze sensing movement.
If the orange bulb of venom did not dance with hurt
like a bauble hung to catch light,
I would scoop each onto a page of white
and carry them out to the field.
But fear races this heart.
The orange bulb pulses and I toss a tome
flattening these small lives.
Rain would save us this grief
like a widely arced flag of surrender.
A truce would ensue between creatures
and these books, these tomb markers
would rise and regain alignments on shelves.
These weighted words, these poisons –
these sabers rattled against what’s not understood.
I am the color of killing,
more orange than the bauble of tails.

Dia de los Muertos: Conversations

There are the marigolds bunched to earth with flounces of amarillo, castanets on their sepals, dust narnaja on the garden fingers where little bones baille on headstones and sugar teeth are azul.  There are the sombreros negra laced with silver, pumpkin seed pearls bleached blanca, cinnamon and manzanas rojas.  There are the little bones turned of dust, noon or sunset, la noche y la mañana, little bones turned of dust.  They become the trickle that feeds stones and sheep with song.  When they laugh, the wind sighs and silences, sighs and silences like bells hung on a new moon when la bruja’s skirts flash past.
        The Lady of the Dead is dust and whispers to dust, telling them who sits with marigolds blossoming from their chests.  She loves the sighs and silences between fists and bowls of grain, how the grain plays armónica, y el perro thumps la pandereta, and all the little bones dance. 
        When did marigolds learn flamenco?  When did they don castanets?  When did I hear the little bones singing on their way to dust?  The child girl with ears as long as a truck has climbed up the ribs of the woman to hear what she heard at one.  And a smaller child, who nests inside, has climbed up the ladder of neck to hear the bells toll on.   
        I will hear them talking, one speck of bone to the next, and the next, and then they will turn to me, me with my azul teeth, me with my marigold skirts y camisas rojas, me with blossoms amarillos floating over this cabeza del azúcar where loco thoughts once curled, and we will dance, the way little bones dance, until we are singing water, dew on the bells of the moon.

Who Would’ve Thought (revisited)

Who would’ve thought a celeb like Sherwood would be felled by a bit of toothpick or that I would find Winesburg, Ohio bookmarked with a napkin embossed with white bells and May 7, 1966, the date Al said “I do” to me, marking the place I left off? Or that I would stumble across a quote from Heart of Darkness by Joe Conrad: “We live, as we dream, alone.”

Slick paperbacks pass through my hands. Cloth bounds and leather bounds. Brushed-velveteen covers pass through my hands to the shelf, back again, to the table next to my bed, to my lap, the shelf, the chair arm. I roll on my side in the night and wake in the morning with an indented line running like half an X, temple to chin, from the hard edge of a book.

Who would’ve thought I would dream as I live? C.S. Lewis would’ve. Would’ve said to me, if he knew me and could, “We read to know we are not alone.” I would’ve read less, loved more. I would’ve, if I had known.

[After reading an article on The Poetess in America by Annie Finch]