Back To You

featured in the poetry forum September 14, 2014  :: 0 comments

I’ve had no vodka tonight and yet you’d think
I’d seen pink elephants, or perhaps just
pink roses where there were none. There is
an elephant in the room, to be sure,
and I think he looks a lot like … well, you know
the type – beautiful books, dusty lips. Don’t see him?

It’s because he’s my elephant or, to be precise,
because he’s not. Mine. But then he is, and so,
what to ask him? What is the nature
of elephant skin? Thick? Obtuse?
Turning away arrows? Capable
of crushing intent, with that blind man’s foot,

while searching only for hay and peanuts, not
memories he’d have to not forget. Perhaps
there is only a crackled mirror
in the room, legends around the frame,
and in it only gray-skinned me looking back.

Not being the elephant, I’d like to forget,
leave if I could find
the door, but the trunk
snakes around me, pulls
me back. I would not be done
quite yet. I would run in the river bottoms.
I would unpack my suitcase in a moonlit room.

editors note:

“How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know.” – mh

Why, Yes, I Would

April 19, 2014  :: 0 comments

Hands shape little waves,
twining and untwining, gentle
semaphores, tendrils of smoke.
Elbows and arms express a wider world, shoulders
telling sensual tales – weapons, adventures, strength,
lovely sticks to wave the hands with,
writing invitations, wicking tension,
carrying saints.

Torso, mother lode of movement,
sending messages out to hands and knees,
powering shoulders and thighs,
make all breathe and pulse, starting ripples
like a crowd at a baseball park,
wave moving out until it shoots sparks
off the fingertips.

Finding the niche in the music
Where the butt goes,
Like starting an engine, plugging in
the electric guitar, floor polisher,
toaster and Christmas lights,
all at once.

Legs sent out like cavalry, sheriff’s posse,
jumper, racer, steeplechaser,
or maybe the repressed tango of dressage,
desire in dress blues,
drumming the rhythm, carrying the drums.
claiming space and relinquishing,
feet flattening the earth,
patting it down, friendly patterns
like honeybees, seasonal winds,
the Gulf Stream thawing England
into that Island of green and roses,
every summer without fail.

Dancing with? Well sure, honey.
A mirror for my beat. other half of the castanet,
please god and amen, snap the fingers,
ask me in, ask me out, sit me down, pass you by,
ring it out, ring it out,
shu-shu-shur and gone.

Open All Night

April 19, 2014  :: 0 comments

I used to wish I could sleep fast —
outside, an ocean of life was flowing,
not waiting on the swimmer.
So I joked about condensing a night’s rest into 50 minutes.
Or buying it — three hours of deep slumber, please,
and a carton of light napping.

These days, even normal-speed shuteye escapes me.
Good sleep has checked out of my B&B.
Sends the occasional postcard, though —
makes a flyby, on those rare evenings
when grief does not call.
Blood pools in my heels,
cells switch to low-energy mode.
and I sink into that other sea, that fragrant womb.

More often, worry carpools home with me,
sits on still-packed boxes, barks in my yard,
makes a lousy bed partner.
On those nights, fighting fatigue as petulantly as any toddler,
I crash in my clothes, eyes covered,
until crumbs scratch me awake
and I am taken prisoner again.

I no longer want the fast-food version of rest,
nor that bed of broken glass.
I miss the kind of sleep so luxurious
it is available to the poor
even more than to the rich,
requiring only safety and love.

The closest that two people come to being one:
You breathed, I breathed,
my hand at peace in your sweetest spots
— a hollow in the flank, soft trap of a crevice.
maximum area of skin next to warm beloved skin.

I can’t get that back — the gates of Eden are locked
and I’m out here with the rest of the red-eyed, twitchy world,
searching the bushes and bargain bins
for suitable synthetics,
something faintly sleep-ish
made from dreams, ground fine.

I breathe, I breathe.

Gray Doves

featured in the poetry forum April 19, 2014  :: 0 comments

There is a poem waiting to be written about Time
waiting like the rest of us in checkout lines
and holding pens, holding bellies full of hours
waiting to be born.

Water breaking, slipping through our hands as sparkling rain,
our lives written with sparklers in the air on the Fourth of July,
gone in an instant.
Seen once more, doubled in the window glass.

Doubled, twinned, symbiotes, we nibble at our years,
but Time eats us like watermelon, spits us out like seeds,
gets squashed beneath us in our chairs,
as air squeaks out from cushions.

Like bubbles wrung from laundry, the line
where we hang our pictures and past-due notices,
diplomas and dingy drawers, wet hankies and house keys

to beating time: Swim in the river, let it flow behind you,
clothes stripped before you dive,
shoes, caps, capes,

apron full of days. Flap it and they disappear,
but only as sugar dissolves
when it sweetens the cake,
sand when it fires into glass,
glass into obsidian. Into night.
Into poetry, waiting to be born.

editors note:

Every poet is just a mid-wife for their muse… – mh