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.

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.

Good As New

They picked me out of a hodgepodge toy box
and placed me in a white bed of angels, white-smocked
boys and girls stood over me with pencils and erasers
as if I was a tough one to crack, as if something
was multiplying exponentially inside of me.
The nurse put me in a swollen dress someone’s aunt died in
and said tomorrow I should be good as new, oh good as new,
I wondered whom else she said it to, did she say it to
the girl on the other side of the wall who searched
for her left breast with her right hand, who searched
for her left breast with her right hand all night.

By the time they put me in a tumbrel bound for the guillotine,
I already saw the anaesthetist’s red-rimmed eyes,
the surgeon’s red-bladed scythe. Their salted breath
fell on my neck, as Marie Antoinette’s high-wigged head
sagged over the red elms. It was then that I sensed
the place the scalpel was headed, the incision cold and precise.
If I wasn’t afraid, then nothing will ever make me afraid.
The moment I awoke, a distant voice spoke, the words came
undone one stitch at a time, my beautiful rhymes broken,
my lovely years gone, oh my beautiful rhymes broken,
my lovely years gone, gone, gone.

Whatever they took from me turned, turned its color
under the sun, and I was forbidden to go under the sun.
Still, I ran out of the sterile ward at five o’clock and found nothing more
alive than myself, wearing this gauzy dress someone’s aunt died in,
standing between the mossy stones and a lost bee.
I tiptoed around this sudden hole in my belly, catching earthly
elements released from my mother’s womb, and her mother’s,
and her mother’s, and her mother’s, houses of heirlooms. If only I knew
how to return to the warmth of her womb. If only I knew
how to have her bear me again at full moon, a perfect little doll,
seamlessly patched-up, and almost, almost, almost, good as new.

 

Originally published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, issue 9.