Monday, May 11, 2015

.


Kissing It Goodbye

I have illusions that one day my poems
will appear in a book
a slim volume 
colorful front cover
a picture of myself on the back with 
a perky smile and hand on my chin
maybe 
or who knows maybe I'll wear my 
Micky Mouse ears
A poem for all time
that some young or medium 
or even old aged woman
but a girl at heart 
will pick up
read
while laying in bed
or sipping tea 
or  tickling the tummy of a 
favorite cat

I have grand illusions
that I can write poetry sometimes
as I sit and look at the beginning 
of another day 
surrounded in the warmth of a 
toasty kitchen
café con leche in my belly
stomach churning away on a waffle
I just ate

I have all kinds of illusions at the beginning
of the day 
much more energy in my head and heart
than in the aging body parts
that I'll go to the store
and then the park
that I'll do all the laundry and still have 
time to mix ingredients
for a new dish
a planned meal
and all the delicious parts

Yes, I have so many illusions 
in the morning light
that follow the worries 
tossed around my pillows 
in the dark and 
it's good to know 
I can dream it all
and maybe even do a little of it but not all
because my illusions and my dreams do keep 
me going
and for that I am happy 
for I'd hate to start the day
thinking there's nothing
worth living for
when I have so much 
to be thankful for
like a lover who desires me 
and treats me 
and misses me
and a job that is good
and commitments that 
keep me strong 
a program that teaches me 
to own my stuff
when I am wrong

These aren't illusions 
and these aren't dreams
and my ruminating on them
in this poetry of my life is 
like sweet juice at the start of a day
doing what I'll do and pretending
that it's all a big Play
and I am the main actress and I'll speak 
my lines from memory or the words 
will come tumbling out on their own
like jelly beans from a jar
and each word will be just right
and each tasty moment will be light 
and each person will be an actor 
living her own lines
and doing the poetry of his life

I have all these illusions when I sit 
and give myself time to think
and won't let my worries
and my fears take me to the 
brink of an old too familiar depression
an old frayed coat I never 
wish to wear again
an attitude against living 
that is locked in a box
labeled Unnecessary Baggage

I have illusions 
that my words might 
teach someone something 
about what it was like 
to live my life even as we 
all worry about the meaning 
of it all
and daily fight the good fight 
to forget
where all our dreams 
and illusions come from 
and where they come to rest
in the memories we created
and the love that we shared
certainly not the corporations
or committees that I came to chair

It's all dreams and illusions and sometimes 
real concrete and material things 
but as the old president with kind eyes said it
the things that matter really can't be seen
like love 
and forgiveness
and compassion and peace
like justice and wisdom and reaching 
out to someone different who lives on the streets.

The things that matter may start as dreams 
and illusions and will keep you 
going no matter what
They'll keep you cozy at night
in a restful sleep 
coming along as dreams of love 
and the illusions of good connections 

even if all I have to give are my words 
my simple expressions 
and my desire that your own illusions 
are sparked into fire 
full of life and desire  
from reading the words 
of a girl and a woman 
who decided this day
with pen in hand 
To Kiss Fear 
Goodbye. 

The Update About You

I remember your sweet hesitant smile
a holding back of words in your heart 
and mind
You would often just blurt out the truth
of your feelings
I remember that you always always
had a sincerity in your tone that
was so captivating
I don't remember much about 
our few dates. 
I was conflicted. 
I remember the night we first tumbled 
in the extra futon in somebody's apartment
in New York City
after some big fundraising party
and we drank wine 
and talked and talked more 
and then 
it got really late
too late to drive home 
or get on the subway
and there you were so cute and 
I could not stand not 
kissing you
and you kissed back
and we both asked I think
"Is this okay?" 
and yours was more OK
than mine
because I was becoming 
a big mess again
as to my drinking and doing 
those things people do when they're 
drunk
like forgetting to add
"oh by the way..."
when I said it was OK I meant with me
not with my other lover
that I kiss you
tonight and you know
the one I've been making house with
for two years.  
I remember our passionate tussle
and getting stuck trying to pull off
your bra and laughing 
so hard in the night 
not wanting to wake anyone up
and I could not stop touching your 
smooth face and playing 
with the softness of your lips
that were sometimes so capable 
of speaking truth to power 
and sometimes just trembled in anger
at the injustices of a world filled with hate
against the weak 
the poor
the gay
and the frail. 
I have remembered you 
and wish I had had 
a more recent 
"Hey! how have you been doing, what's
going on?" 
before I got the news
that you are now 
forever Gone. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pillowed

I called out to you
in the night
I heard your heartbeat
next to my ear
in my dream
I put my greying curls on your chest
we turned together
towards the light 
of the rainbow clock
but you slept 
ans I dreamed
and it was just 
a thought 
captured between my unruly sheets
as the you that was only me
a pillow
big and fluffy and warm 
like you 
dropped
to the floor 
and woke me up. 


***********

I slept in until 8 am
My eye is really swollen
Today I will go the country
I will order cider slush
for her
for me
and I will send us a picture 
I miss her

I awoke feeling so alone 
in the bed
I wanted to reach for you
and got a pillow
so cold
instead
Yearning for the snuggle
of your warm belly 
against my lower back
better than a heating pad

I reach for a hug
and all I get is mild
scent of you left in the 
unwashed sheet
my mind travels to a 
few days ago
and back again to now
where I keep reaching
for you, for the pillow
pushing away the waking 
moments 
without you.

Batavia 2013  

Midnight Heat

12:23 in the new morning 
of the last full month
of summer
two dogs snore
near my bed
as a busy highway
throbs through the open window
without rest
faster than the blur 
of the whirling ceiling fan
sending in a welcome breeze
for the 90 plus degree heat 
of the night
my shoulders unwind
just a little 
the frizz on the poodle
has smudges of
river mud
signs of a first time gallop 
with his new adoptive brother
down the dusty path
to a slow moving stream
they call a lake in central Austin

we all take in the deepness
of the bond
we are the den dwellers
and beings of light 
walking in flesh, fur, hair
and muscled strength
for the stretch of our short lives
these are the melting undulating thoughts
of a quiet simmering
August night
as I hope 
once more for sleep 
fluffing the pillows for
the fifth time 
and again turn out the light.  

Austin 2005

Simmering Heat

Simmering Heat

The day promises a scorching heat
grackles call out
the bird feeder is empty!
squirrelly squirrel squats on the gutter
peers down
on the lookout for three menacing dogs
who love the chase

a tipped lantern recalls last night's 
gathering of friends around a fire pit
roasting marshmallows
melting chocolate on graham crackers 

silent flowering cacti
embrace a mean sun
and the new season that will anchor them
to the rocky Texan soil

My neighbor 
right there downstairs 
her heart is in the shadows of loss 
and grief
she lost her job
she cannot smell
for the allergies are killing her she says
but not as much as the cancer

she sleeps 
so late in the day
she is a night owl
whose desperation for life follows her
like a hungry panther
ready to pounce on the hint of 
a hopeful thought

we her upstairs neighbors sit below 
the massive cedar elms 
and pecan branches towering over the roof

we do nothing for a half hour

or balance 

as the guru would instruct
listening to the flutter of wings
chirps
a mockingbird's song

and a slow ticking of the clock
pushes the summer day 
through the backyard gate 
letting in yet another wave 
of moist untouchable heat
settling in for a long day 
in one of those 
empty patio seats. 

June 2005  Austin, Texas

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sincerely Yours




I am almost 47
not too tall
not too small
dark eyes like my mother
strong brown hands like my grandmother
a mixture of Creole and Indian bloods
ancestors from a land below rocky mountains
in steamy western jungles,
volcanoes and blackened rocks
from which there now grow corn, brush and maguey

even further back, alleged
bastards of wayward royalty
hardy Iberians who lived by the sea,
fought for their independence
and have preserved a language
if not their dignity

My roots are as wild
as they are stable and strong
My father’s weaknesses were buried
neath bottle and song
Memories of home can evoke tears and deep pain
thought joy is my hope when I venture
the terrain
of discovering an orphan’s search
for a life and the source of wounds
inflicted upon a child
whose only armor was a faint whisper
and her lonely cry

I am cactus and wildflower
cool waters and dreams
of a woman whose visions speak
of learning
loving
and spirituality

I am heartiness in food
work and laughter
passionate fire
a fish out of water
deeply fulfilled
by the merging of emotions, trust and desire

I am the traveller of two cultures
and my journey though long
in the field of true living
has barely begun

I can blend life’s experiences
in a moment’s thought
I can feel my spirit soar
when I remember there is a God

I have been comfort and pain
mystery and fear
a seeker of truth
always grateful for new direction

I am an old woman’s pilgrimage
I have always yearned to secure
guided in my lone journey by her image
and my heart

I am old
and I am young
reborn everyday
I can be showers of affection
or obsessed with perfection
a sunny day
a comfortable shoe
a roaring lion
or a bear’s cub

I am probably more
and somewhat less
whether, sister, dreamer
companera or lover,
I am
nonetheless
sincerely yours.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seeds




Sitting there
in a small dish
are two little seeds
from a mulberry
or some other kind
of bush
they are now dried
as is the love with
the person I picked
them with on a road
trip to New Braunfels
a love that never
fully sprouted
a long distance love
that couldn't survive
on occasional phone calls
monthly visits
and workaholic
schedules
two little seeds
meant for a different
soil and much
more tender
waiting for the
blossoming
of Trust

The Tired Professor




I’m so tired
of playing some Big Mama
listening to the whines
of privileged
self-centered
lazy law students
with their
"I really want to know"
(But I hate you for
giving me a C+)
"I really do care"
(but I'm getting back at you
and giving you a fat zero
on this evaluation)
"I'm working hard"
(but I absolutely
need to go home
and plan my wedding)
"I just need one more
clarification about how
you're going to grade"
(and I'll blame you for
not getting a summer job)
"I really DO respect you"
(but I'm not going to raise
my hand in class no matter what)
"I'm just scared"
(but this
thought I'll never reveal
to them or even to myself)
"I can't help that I'm
a whining blood sucking brat"
(Yeah, that'll be the day I
hear them admitting that!)

Disturbed Love




I looked at you
and often saw myself
I cried ourselves to sleep

My heart yearned
for a moment
of calm
without the strange
mysterious fears
of your loving me
without the raging
tears that have sent
me looking for dark
rooms where I can
lust and drink
all alone

I crave
an ocean
of understanding
more than I think
any one person can give
more
than I'm able
to give
to my self

While I nurture
this faith
and learn to forgive
the errors that make
me human
I do need a friend
I need you
I love you

Marbles



I like them
especially
the ones
that look like planets
spinning on my
coffee table
and taking me away
to fantasy worlds
where I can be
a friendly alien
who will tell
the Uranians
or the Martians
or the Venutians
or the Saturnians
that I am a Pisces
and my species
that is
the human race
is sometimes
strange and confused
and obsessed with
militarism
and control
but that if
they will have a
little patience
with us
we could be
invited over for coffee
or tea
and then they
should send us home


Running Shoes and the Walk of Faith



Running
From myself
Taking walks in the woods
And the caves
Of my restless mind
Breaking waves
On the oceans of my despair
The thinking thinking thinking
Of rotating worries

First over time
As if no one but no one like me has ever
Been afflicted with that feeling of
36 hours of stuff to do
for a 24 hour day
Next over money
As if I'd never before
Gotten through times with
Thinner pockets and smaller
Piles of coins to count
Then over lack of rest
As if I didn't have control
Over putting now and then
My head on a pillowy nest

And when I stop to think
About how much time I spend this way
With the endless worrying and the  gnawing
At my jaw, my teeth, the food I use to stuff the
So-sorry-for-me- feelings
I've got to tell myself –
This it it
It is time to fucking
Take another walk
Back
To that door I passed marked
Patience
And the rooms I've avoided
Labelled Faith and Surrender
And Serenity
And I'm going to sit
In that waiting room
For the Big Kahuna
And enjoy the hell
Out of finding out what
By Golly  she has in store
For the rest of this unfolding chapter
Of my middle-aged life
And I'll try to laugh now
And then
And take the time to take
Those small coins and buy
Some pie and whipped cream
And eat it with a smile on my face
And then take the time to
Cry
Real hard
And often
And I sure hope
I remember to keep around the
Boxes and boxes of tissue
I'm going to need
For all the snots I'm going to blow

Just because
Guess what
I'm human
And I forget
That my feelings
Are Real
They're not Reality

And that I'll feel a
Whole hell of lot better
If I take the time everyday
To say thank you
Krishna, or Shiva or
Kahuna or Yahweh
Or Virgen de Guadalupe
Or whoever the hell you are

Gracias,
Mil gracias and thank you
For teaching me
How to live a little more frugally
How to stay a little more in the present

Thank you for the time I had
To enjoy my woman's big hugs this morning
Before her first ever examination of
A witness before a federal jury

Thank you for her love
And her incredible optimism
And confidence in me when I seem to shove mine
To the furthest corner of a closet shelf
Thank you for the sweet tickles from
My doggies and my kitties
Amidst the beautiful roses growing
In the garden I dedicated to Mami and Abuelita

Thank you for the incredibly
Beautiful music that's playing as I write
These words
Thank you for the million ways in which
I know I am filled with so much
Abundance and so much prosperity

Thank you for reminding me
That the journey begins in the morning
And may end at night or who knows
What time of the day
But it's just one day
And I can get through it
And I will be so much more at Peace
if I just remember to
Say thank you
Again, and again and again.

Austin, Texas  Nov. 17, 2000

Maquila Zoned Out


Maquila  Zoned Out


Crushing
Barely begins to capture
The weight of the grief
That sits
Mountain sized
Upon my soul
As a departing visitor to
El Paso/Ciudad Juarez
A land of divides
Rich and poor
Brown and white
Citizen and not
Identities crafted
By powerful attitudes in
Custom and law

Citizens also
Who are ignorant and not
Of the ironic embrace
Of the dizzying pace
of the twin plants’
patterned
economic growth
In one more city seduced
By the dream of
The “package deal” of boom trade
Maquila zones of prosperity
That have forged in this part of the world
Paths that die in the desert
Surrounded by silently
Weeping mountains
El paso a la muerte
Danger

Danger

Danger

To Women 
Young and old
Victims both
One kind to the violence
By men who stalk them
For inhabiting the young female body
Their mothers and fathers equal victims of the
Tragedy and horror of losing a daughter sister wife to
sexual terrorism
Assaulted by haunting images of
A loved one’s last few
Hours and minutes of
A stolen life
And of a youthful beauty
Tortured
Maimed
Raped
And brutally burned
And killed

Meanwhile my own
Image of silent screaming
And wanton abduction
Occurring in the day or night
Is permanently etched in my  tired
And frightened mind

I find myself suspiciously staring
At presumed terrorists
Inhabiting male bodies
And directing my silent
Raging stares
At clean bodies
And suited men in elegant ties

The other terrorists
I charge
Those capable of crippling
Governments and countries
With an offer to sign here
On the dotted line
And welcome to free trade
Licentious trade
The wonders of working
Your poorest citizens into legal slavery
And sending their children
Into early graves

Yes
The indifferent terrorist
Selling his country’s and
His company’s wares
His cheap wages
To a cheapened and
Once loved culture
Of safety and simplicity
We once knew in Old Mexico
The Mexico he only sees through
The lenses of ancient class divisions
And bigotry

The Mexico one President
Must salvage from international shame
While the other curries favor
To the immigrant labor he must
At once welcome in his own country and blame

Yes these are the terrorists
Fighting global wars
Pressuring nations with
Candy bars and iron sticks
Never stopping to think
Oh not at all
Of the part they play
Big or small
In this nightmare of a time
To be a woman and to be living and working
On the border
In the horror chambered
Export processing zone

Elegant terrorists who with their complacency have violated spaces of privacy
Corners of safety
Valleys of desire, need and despair
The terrorist in a blue suit checking into fancy hotels
Holding business meetings aimed at neighborly mutual profit as they ignore the symbols of poverty knocking at the door
Never to be made part of the conversation
Other than to ask for
Another clean towel
On which to wipe the
Dainty sweat of working
Hard to ignore
The chant and plaintive cry of the young dead women’s families
Who ask but Why?
Who demand that all that could  be done
Will be done

When a woman welcomed
To be their workers
Might be honored
And reclaimed in spirit and name
If not in her rotting remains
By the man in that thousand dollar suit
Who helped to recruit
Her innocence and her labor
Her lethal trust and confidence
For a cheap little wage that to her
Was a small liberation from
Poverty and despair
When in fact iit sent her
Daily walking to a factory to and fro until one day
Approaching it
Or headed home  
She was met
By bloodthirsty
Depravity who drove
Her to a desert
And the Palace of Crime
Erected in the devil’s playground

In Ciudad Juarez’

Exploit and murder
processing zone.


El Paso, TX 4/27/02