Monday, February 23, 2009

For Lack of Better Words

Two poems from my poetry exchange with Terrell that reflect my life a bit:


At the corner of short and long: Walking on the Mass Pike Bridge

It was dusk and was tonight, and so there was a knot
along the ribbon of two roads:
I stopped to stand while walking on them.

Bruise-blue was one road, the urban rooftops rose
like blotches near the skin:
kitchen table, board game box, sighs to heave, short hair, drab kettle.
One breath out for when you come and two breaths out for when you want to go.
A pulsing, gritty, fullness, the underside of a hive:
here all small money can be yours
here your glory is liquid, hot and black and light:
two eyes, a face, some hands, a glass stem in the dark.
Electrifying things.
This is now, This is Now, this is you, you right, and right for just
right now. Short hair is best.
And this is where I live, why I am walking down it.

The other road, down low, two lanes, is tailored taut:
an exacting, smoothed-out overcoat.
With eyes on cars that split through lit-up dusk, to long homes on long streets
and roads I used to sift between my fingers:
Swingset slide and watermelon, fabric pressed, four hearts arranged to keep.
Just staying.
This low one is the road I'd take to get to there -- one road, and three turns -- and now I watch the others
take and take and take ...
But would they like to take me with them? Would they watch me grow my hair out, quiet in their garden?
Would they watch me chew their vegetables, wash myself in dirt to feed their children, go on and
add my heart to what they need to see?
I don't know that I would go.
I know that I am tired in this city dark and want to turn the lights out on the night
so I can breathe.

Bruise-blue is where I live, and why I am walking down it, but
these days, I will tell you:
I have to do everything.
I even cut my own hair with my own bright orange scissors:
sun shears hacking at their wheat, just too much overgrown.
Can you feel it not-there at my back?
My back I feel is empty like my hands;
and can be open to the knot of life, my life:
cat nudge, warm bed, friend rope, and even bright blue question cries.

At my time I should be much past dusk and crossroads.
I don't know why I think that, but I do.
But now the hair I have is in my hands, and looking out is when I see
the starts of all the days and nights and shorts and longs:
here on this uncut ribbon full of roads and roads and roads.
This is what I can tell you: from here is where I have to
-- just have to --
do everything.



I want to know you already;
from the way your soft flanneled leg
curls around the warm arm of our couch,
to the covetous way that I think you'd react to the air
that I give you to breathe.

To know you, I want this already: to comb
with my nail through the nape
of your neck; to pull and pull and pull until
our bodies snap shut, snap shut.
Then my God! The peeking of a head; that muddy, pinkish orb:
a slice of home, red ribbons, blue dances and whoosh!
orange goodbye.
Our dinners go grey, clipped, salient and frozen, frozen over in time.

I want you already: Your face wrecked on through
with the deep-seat of scream. Balding orphan, terror-wrecked with
hard news that rips you through and out out, and out out, and out.
I want to be the one to keep your grimace safe here in my hands
as you put on the shoes to hoist high up the body and then
to step right back onto the train.

Oh, to go on and see these pictures, as if stepping down a hall,
but from our first sight I smell that this is not This, today.
Your face is a cracked bust of life stopped before now,
and you cannot see what I see or could see.

I wanted to know you already:
the time before we met rings as blue
as a violet, held close to my face.
Your hands are two matches with no heads to light
your eyes tiny lamps switched off to travelers at night.
I wanted to know you all ready; all right;
Now I hope (how I hope!)
you forget me.