Sister Moon

Mother, mother,
what have you done with my sister,
the other burnt charcoal white moon
from the same pear-shaped room
where I flew out like a bald bird
singing O love love be all mine.

Her life would have been mine;
her first cry would have woken the mother
in an iceberg, let alone you; her songbird
twittering of notes calling me sister sister
would have echoed through my bedroom;
if only the night queen loved her baby moon.

But mother, your night never needed a moon.
It was lit up by bottles and cries that weren’t mine.
I went into the wood, into the witch’s hutch-room
of black air, blacker than all of your hair, mother!
There I lay awake holding the soft form of a sister
who had gone to sleep like a sweet milk bird

nested inside all this love, my tiny bluebird
of a sister, my otherwise happiness, a full moon
melting into sixteen candles, pink-rose face of my sister
blooming into yours, and I denied everything to be mine –
all your trembling bells and stubborn curls, dear mother.
You laughed and said I was the blueprint of the room

where you’d lie down to die someday, a coffin room
from which you couldn’t escape. A caged bird
forever singing blues and lullabies, O mother,
you were the canoe that sunk under a waxing moon.
But the crescent of your face fell into place with mine;
your freckles tacked to my nose like love, like my sister

never leaving the nook in your shoulder. My ghost of a sister,
a longing with elbows and knees, tiptoed from my room
to yours every starless night. This game of mine
couldn’t save me from sadness, just like a bird
couldn’t take off from your canoe under the moon
without wings; without the bells of a mother.

My happiness, your absence, my sad white paper bird
gone into a world stained by the light of an eclipsed moon.
We’ve both been so alone in our blue rooms, haven’t we, mother?

 

Originally published on December 28th, 2015 on my old blog. 

The Centerpiece

They have come to watch me unfold,
sweaty dinner guests with gold lorgnettes.
I, a tigress imprisoned by a glass cage,
devour their lambs and spit red poetry.

Over the soup course they eye me closely in smokes,
horny widowers with stubby little cigarettes,
I, a dahlia rising out of the giant vase,
pluck their hairs and assemble sad history.

After wine they gossip through my earlobes,
bored mothers with their stuffed marionettes.
I, a blue moon squatting in a loveless cave,
kill the bats and begin a new story.

 

Originally published on December 21st, 2015 on my old blog. 

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is the girl
who perches her five-year-old chin
on the windowsill
like a small bird in the sycamore tree.
She doesn’t speak
nor would she run across the street.
But she could blow a bubblegum bubble
as round as a dream and as loud as herself.

At tea parties where the floral girls
sit and giggle knee to knee
Mary Jane pours air into cups of brown leaves,
and when everybody goes to sleep
she draws portraits under her swan sheets
one of Lily who is pretty;
one of Anna who tells secrets;
one of Bernice who is as alone as herself.

Mary Jane is the girl
who puts her favorite bow on the bald moon
and lets a lost ladybug hide in her sleeves.
She doesn’t cry
nor would she go to the ball without her red shoes.
And she dances behind the summer reeds
until her sundress spreads out like wings,
and she believes the butterfly in the pond to be herself.

When the floral girls put on aprons
and shop for meat sauces instead of ribbons,
they wonder what has become of Mary Jane,
that small milk feather of a girl
who hopscotches barefoot on the lawn after the rain;
who never finds another bird in the sycamore tree;
who could blow a bubblegum bubble
as round as a dream and as loud as herself.

 

Originally published on December 16th, 2015 on my old blog. 

A Thousand Nightfalls

The the first ray of darkness cuts a nightly swath
through our metropolis, the sun bleeding its warmth.
What have we done to deserve such wrath.
A pale star scurries across the purple twilight.
A single mother rushes home through traffic to her wailing child.

What have we done to these saddened spots
here and there underneath the graffiti walls,
which upon inspection turns out to be
misplaced youths and mushrooms that grow
quietly under the bone-white moonlight. What have we done

to the man sitting alone in the bar, disappearing
bit by bit, untouched gin, loneliest thing. He lives
quietly without attachments, like a blown dandelion seed,
listening each night to the drips of espresso, pretending
it’s rain, it’s rain in the green terrain! What have we done

to these driftwoods floating into our harbor – candlesticks
for our glittering candelabrum. There are no elms or songbirds,
only jagged steel pegs and a postal code. Stars plummet
to our bedsteads like death. What have we done
to deserve these bursts of bright lights

falling like blessings, falling
like a thousand radiantly gilded mornings.

Old Man and An Apple

Old man, the bite has taken away so much.
Your deformity makes me laugh.
Out on the ledge I left you –
I left you without a hole to hide in, red face shriveling
under the sun’s glare, browning slowly in despair.

It’s not easy to explain the things in your world.
If you couldn’t be swallowed whole like a fawning cherry,
then you shall suffer to be sliced into appropriate sizes.
I’m no god of yours. But I could be a mouth,
a stem, a colossus, or the orchard from which you come forth.

Old man, the blood you bleed is sweet.
Your anemic face stares up at nothing.
Of my own body you remind me –
You remind me of my own worm-eaten flesh, tossed
into the cruel October air, browning slowly in despair.

It’s not easy to explain the things in my world.
When your core grows bitter you will understand me,
until then we are two apples hanging onto the same tree.
Who is this god of ours. Is he a mouth,
a stem, a colossus, or the orchard from which we come forth.

 

Originally published on November 17th, 2015 on my old blog. 

Eighth Piece

The rain came ever so softly,
like the cat’s paw, or the wind-chime’s song
sung by a pair of sparrows on telephone pole.

I stayed up at night mending the lint-balled hem
of my heart that barely kept you warm last winter.
Time never stopped passing through the moth holes.

Out on the rain-soaked lawn, an old pair
of faded memories died tragically on the hangers.
I wrung them out while you, love and a raindrop fell.

Love

Through loving near, you have loved afar.

A stray dog stuck his head
into a garbage can, eating candy wrappers,
searching for white bones and a mother,
hiding bruises behind his ears,
wanting a home, maybe a long year
of bread and silence, having seen
too much of this world…
You ran home and hugged your pup
who was born tiny as a lily bud,
raised in your palm, an innocent nook
in your summer bed, not knowing
what home is when his whole world is a home,
and through loving him you have loved all lost souls.

A waitress bent over ketchup and spilled beer,
a lonely swan in greasy apron, shedding five drops of tears,
her girlhood, and a button, for overdue rent,
a center stage dream, and endless arabesques,
nicotine-stained face, someone calling her name,
table number eight, two men and a milkshake,
and she pirouetted, pirouetted to her fame…
You ran home and hugged your baby sister
who turned sixteen in a new dress, an autumn-eyed belle
with a nightingale voice, in love with a boy
with piano fingers, who wrote her long poems about seashells
and eagles, and all the pretty rhymes belonged to her,
and through loving her you have loved all fleeting youths.

An old lady went to the market
with a four-wheel-walker, hair whiter
than the cloud, each wheel in place of a child
gone into the world and could not come home
for supper; an empty nest, clean floral tablecloth,
two canned soups, a loaf of bread, three bells
tolling for her day, and slowly she went, slowly she went…
You ran home and hugged your mother,
kissing her hair and lines into surrender, like all mothers
she told you not to worry; not about her nor the others
entering this season, smaller than winter leaves,
trembling in life’s wind. You gripped her brittle bones to sleep,
and through loving her you have loved all greying mothers.

 

Originally published on December 3rd, 2015 on my old blog.