Music locking thought
wraps isle, mines,
sours like a land
fill, scent discarding
red, like old dye
in book bindings held in
burgundy, stains mine,
deep dug of others land
while scouring an hour springs salt,
My Grandmothers both read poetry to me. One Grandmother loaned me a book that I took to school and, at recess, kept carefully by the parking lot curb, returning to it, to read and see its illustrations. Those poems were exhilarating and illustrated with a savage grace exotic! My other grandmother had many books of poetry, collections of various poets' writings. Having loved one poem, I loved many and read more than I could possibly keep close.
Today, after having watched a YouTube video performance from 1967 or 1976—I should mind those numbers—of Emily Dickinson's life dramatized in The Belle of Amherst, I sobbed so much that I felt hatred and anguish for both of my grandmothers having introduced me to poems and poets and poetry. (I am 45; friends, please do not take me to task for these feelings, thank you.)
After years of collecting heavier feelings and not being able to dislodge most of them, (including a paperback book one grandmother had of the atrocity called Helter Skelter that I read one summer as a young person), and including the many Saturday afternoons fascinated with Shock Theatre and Vincent Price, and including the daytime TV series of The Munsters and The Adams Family, I am whittled through with corrosion. I feel it. And once magnetized to attract horrific humor or true pathos, spiritually drawn, I have a work to do every day, dredging these stains out and finding fresh water to keep me alive and clear.
Pathos is glorious, but not when it keels youth and thought and over-burdens bright gifts.
I do not hate my grandmothers, not at all. I bless them. Both loved me and held me and read to me and laughed and taught me about life in the way they experienced it. However punctuated it came, there was grace in both of my grandmothers. And I am grateful for that first view of poetry, or rather, the SECOND view of it in the book lent me at recess.
And, may I be late to say it, my grandmother with the many volumes lived long enough for me to be in her life and love her in ways that I could. The grandmother who lent her book to me, who played in unexpected ways, and who sewed Barbie doll wardrobes along the lines of Dior Himself or Valentino, I loved her as a child loves—mostly admiration and awe for her beauty and expert hygiene, her smile, her colorful, tailored clothes, her quiet, surprising laughter, her rioting ideas for play contrasted by one flavor of ice cream in her freezer: vanilla, maybe French vanilla, but just that. That was a shocking purity to my young self. My other grandmother sewed home items and simple dresses and wore multiple strands of beads, and smelled always of the fragrance Heaven Scent. She quoted scriptures to me when I was a young mother. She was a southern cook with an old-world Virginia-soft voice that could never go so high as a wail, but just climbed the scales if her temper got rowdy. Her face would redden and she would purse her lips and move quickly to some loving, domestic task, like dumplings or sweet-smelling laundry for the line to dry. Both of my grandmothers gave birth to my parents. I am so thankful to be given life and to be given time as an adult to grow up again and again, clearing walkways that become strewn as the sky and trees lessen their burdens.
too much hope
into here? Hoping There
will appear silver metallic roses
edging storm clouds passing so fast
at night, when you sleep,
do you give a moment's thought
two? Without pity, given, have you
hoped so much thunder would drown
house's melodies into rancor, or bless
us, quiet skies would not be heard for the
songs rising from us? I heard quiet skies, electric
ones, too. The rooms so full of harmony that quiet
did not feel immediately like isolation or solicitous
sleep, sleep away the rancor dragging too short
for the waters fallen after and during thunder
were deeper than we knew. And speaking here
is arrogant thoughts paralleling biblical days
when the earth was destroyed by water, extinct
our earth's dinosaurs, our relatives, fellows turned
so laughing and mocking, like we had a boat. No.
I know there was not a boat during those quiet
storms. I know this. What i do not know is, please,
have you given up by giving in to your more solid
knowledge: accomplishments during many years being
you? I hope you are able to receive
the quiet remaining in your home. I hope
you are able to speak to these forms of life
in us, between and around us, who are not likely to change
Understand me, you are free, too.
Unbound your ways, and love how you
are able. I am clouds and person at
home with sleep and thunder, raising valleys
you. Will devotion
I look at the Lion.
He faces, his hunger
in tracks that are slow
enough to stop. Yet, he will
race his heart to catch that slow
meal. Does he choose to go hungry?
Let the slow one live, another
day gain strength in itself.
The Lion is tired, heat of
day, and night's will.
sound will gather waves
soothing mine and your
withered years two life. If this
were love, songs might
answer mouth's plosive
sighs, embracing weakened footfalls.
If this were a love song
you were I and we are
severed by ourselves, heart-sung hearth
our bellwethers' rung
in softer, Kinder, watering
ways, like waiting, our seeds, we'd planned.
If this were a love, your
words would not sift like
gilt gold leaf wrinkling acorns' staying
inside, our decorum primate
as seasons will do, so much
for findings fallen from acorns grown out one
season, autumn, yellows to golden
light a sky, wall a forest, weave
an entrance through the woods grown tall
for walking. We'd hum, if this were,
a love song made by years
learning as written, our vows two
gather us One, sung, should this be
love, our song. And if it is war? How could it
not be war when forging sounds from diverse ray,
son's wisdom, walling, no wail escape his lips,
come union brake, though love fell
down, in part. If this were our love,
how could we sing? Where would we see
the line drawn for us so many times "in sand"
"in pretense" "in liberating Scripture's cross?"
Our love song we have, if this were a love
surrounding our devastation and our being
led through halls without an echo of our lives
harmonizing during years, walking sideways,
now balancing crows its calculus down our open
souls, and Christ, the Covenanting Peace, sings "Welcome,
Lovers, your souls, your excessive, late days are
love songs given from Me. Your love is heard in heaven's
hearth, and two are one, you two are one loving, born,
bared, saved, for My Name loves you one, and one,
and knows you each accepted, calling the Love
song doubtless, sung before and through and with your If."
of motion, exit e, vary now
one wit of we, climbing up two saw
our limbs grown out, years bare, bark slim
smoothed skin, electric back sets clam-
dug war, sans cities, homes; foundation depths
once lain as measured plots show height,
breadth, call rooms heir line; Land answers quest-
ions moved—Be herd!—our glacial change
was hard bells, long side given tracks, pealed edge:
Hedges buy! One leans in care, a ballast's
trade? Shrug roses' spare through inkwell's will,
losing love, as Giants' culling earthworms.
in trees our duet
blossoms three overgrown songs
warbling one singer
one warbling singer
three overgrown songs blossoms
our duet in trees
blossoms three in trees
our duet overgrown songs
one singer warbling
one singer in trees
warbling overgrown blossoms
our three songs duet
our three songs trees one
duet in warbling blossoms
Pruning crepe myrtles this morning. Maybe songs, maybe words. Two working.
is illness snow calling birds seeking one another, flapping nearly round from tree to tree, this sort of so is illness. Or is it flyers falling through cold slices of soft forms lighting wings upon, weighted barrier bring flight flung as falling cold, deer in woods, curled in spring and summer, autumns' leap from hunger sat on bark stands, holding stillness, ready with aiming fires back home, cabin kept, barn dressed bled, for this is the way does and bucks go down, run in winter, curled as spring tendrils and summer clover, autumn's range careful, ears are large, and they, still. So this is food, ill wheat, wanton loaves, for fishing is capped with ice skins along stiller depths, slower fish set, their cold beings full Hunger grows, slammed above these winters held inside caverns that rumble in warmer days. We graze in boxes, feet locked between linear feet opening boxes, of this, and cans of that,
so this is
illness, more than hope,
pressing existence through
stables empty with cold, absent-
named curriers who, years past, would
hitch their mouths through metal bits, leather
stapes, shoed, combed, braided, presenting bells,
one or more, when distance was surer than now, doubling
back upon itself, crumpled bay, gutted dairy cats, large enough
grown forest beds, tree limbs' holes down tree's root, beneath does'
house. While in this linear space, in boxes, closets glut themselves drifts,
no one way of bringing, one way of hunger, no one way settling air with moths'
carcasses feeding exits for remaining in-edibles, buttonless lips,
pockets pocked, dis-eased as wire tries and plastic shapes
shoulder too small or wide for natural where.
ore O partial
for communication To
one person aloud into dialogues
that are morgue-less, that are living,
states thoughtful being, among other ones
hearing, listening, maybe speaking other languages
foreign to mine. Two, used to be allowed only one, finds
voice that carries thought, decision, position (morgue-
less) forward, just stated toward, (not two ward),
others. Will is being learned when sleep
stops; when the small one of Two
walks into the only one aloud—
she scribbles; thought de-
scrambles, (the Two),
had split balance,
put down its other foot
text: the duple stranded line
[I don't know what this means, yet.
Will look to know after work.]
in paragraphs on pages
listed for envisioning ways
we have come, and through these
paragraphs revealed theories for behavior
tracked or tagged or simply observed, for
error arises in practice, as does trust, should we
see a theory refine itself en masse. Idealist relegates
challenges, deaths even, whether calm or not, to greater
sight, further vision, preamble to organic juices mingling still
inside their original placements, wandering decibels wide while
we change so far away from them, their vision groaning like songs
begin; and should we keep our elements as ours, forgetting what we are—
given moments of God's opportunity to shine through—when found, following
the ancient justice teaching our hearts to mind themselves, surrender
their urge to bellow from the heights, their horns, hooves stamping, stampeding
terrain familiar and un- for they are given range to grow trampling drives
across miles of life. Still, in recesses black with held grandeur, life resides
between old and new, our day, a day we dine verge less, complete.