Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four Mothers and Me

(The crop below comes from this piece, here in its entirety.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Forgiveness / Unforgiveness


“I beg my bones to be good but / they keep clicking music and / I spin in the center of myself / a foolish frightful woman / moving my skin against the wind and / tap dancing for my life.” --Lucille Clifton, “the poet”

I wish I’d given you lessons.
instead, I praised the chromatic scale
you were no good at,
the steps ascending
b flat to c sharp you missed,
the off-key low tones folded
into long, knuckled sentences.

the brass of me attracted you,
and when I wore my silver suit,
and you pulled your 4C mouthpiece
from your coat pocket, I knew you’d
blow that hot, moist air through
me for practice, wearing down
my reveille.

it was jazz: Dizzy and Miles appeared
in my face and in the rhythm
of my keys clicking quickly like your poem
pages flipping.

perhaps if I had paid more attention to your
embouchure, I would have seen it was crooked,
the mouthpiece always pressed
to the left side of your lips, your staccato
slow and inarticulate, would have noticed
your notes illusive and contorted
the way a face appears in a bell of brass.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Leaving the Nest


An inchworm nestled in the glimmering head
of the romaine, his lime, segmented body
soft like fetal hair, his mouth aimed
for the center, the heart, where the leaves
are yellow, bitter. When I carried him outside
to the pear tree, I couldn’t help but think
of his life inside the lettuce, how safe
and secure he lived between the soft folds
of the leaves, and how soon I had to leave
the security too and enter a life outside
the protective leaves of books.
I set the little one directly on a fresh, ripe pear
as I would wish to be placed in a new environment—
where there is abundance and sweetness and
the juicy hint of possibility.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Striving for Truth

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Angel

...with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

--from "Thanks," W.S. Merwin (1988)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wheel of Fortune

And where it stops, nobody knows...

In Memoriam

Freya the Dog
1994 -2006

I was lucky to become quite close to Freya during the last few months of her life. I gave her Reiki treatments twice a month to soothe the symptoms of her bone cancer. She was a delight, always welcoming my touch, and she retained much of her puppy energy even in her old age. I very much miss her deep brown eyes and her strong spirit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thin Skin Disease

I pictured her wearing padded clothes, even on hot days. Her bedroom furniture covered with batting, pillows duct-taped to sharp edges. Her name was Jenny, a friend of my best friend, but to me Jenny was the story of a glass girl, a girl easily shattered. Once, dropping six inches from the monkey bars, Jenny broke both ankles. She had fractured many bones in her body—fingers, arms, feet, hips. How do you move knowing the weight of your own body may split you into pieces? How do you play with a glass girl?

It’s called osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease. At times I wanted to be Jenny so my encounters with the world would have physical consequences: a crack in my collar bone for the girl with the brain tumor; a fracture of my shin bone for the death of my dog; a break in my hip for boys who taunted my brother for being gay; a million hairline cracks in my fingers for everything else. If I crumbled, if I just crumbled into a heap of chipped bones, my sensitivity would be named, and in naming, legitimized. If it were only genetic, physical, medical. Osteogenesis imperfecta. What do you call thin skin disease? How do you name a glass girl?

--from my work-in-progress, "Bones"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Filling the Cup

Something opens our wings.
Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us:
We taste only sacredness.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Speak to the Owls

You Have to Be Careful

You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go in and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners used
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.

You look a long time till you find the right ears.
Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing possibility
that when you find such ears,
they already know.

--Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under The Words