Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Questions for a Girlfriend

Sweetie I don't have to know what you see,
When he turns his baseball hat ghetto-sideways.
I don't need to know
how you met, or the
circumstances of seduction that, anyway, become
Like a math equation to someone not there.
I won't ask you, lovely, what he said the first time,
That made your stomach flutter...
Because that is a language that does not
translate to anyone else.

Candied heart friend of mine, I don't need to know
about date one or two or three, or whichever one
Tipped you both into the pool of forever, after that long
Friendship the two of you shared.

Instead, would you mind, angel light, whispering to me
The secret of the comforted glow you carry?
I'd like to borrow a bottle or two of your joy and also
One of your kindness, which isn't yours solely,
But a table tennis match between you.

Chocolate dipped heart of mine, when I watch you rage
sweetly over the daily frustrations, I am not seeing
Funnel clouds or hurricane sweeps .
I am seeing the hard-work-nest you and your love
Have built together, the cozy where you three settle in together
In times alone and perfect,
where the noise of life is
Breath and giggle and bare feet
on the wood floor.

And then I want to ask:
may I borrow your blueprint?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where Paradise Begins

Paradise Grill
She walked slowly, putting a heel in front of a
Toe, and when she arrived to the corner
She asked the man who was waiting there--
The one who wore too much aftershave-- if he knew
Where to find Paradise Grill, and she
Described the place before he had a chance
To answer. "The vinyl booths are red,
But not just red... the stars shine from the
Seats and above the counter, there's a
Small train that travels from here to there,
Stopping only to pick up, deliver your
Frosty beverage. And each table is its own
Jukebox island, with "Love Me Tender" spinning
Here and Jailhouse Rock over there, where
The couple is eating and listening, and not
Speaking, but not because they don't love each
Other anymore." And she smiled,
Because it was the place in the question to
Do so, and he shook his head, because it was
The answer apropos, and she nodded, "Thank you
Anyway" and crossed into the road, without looking.
The light was in her favor.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I am Stealing You

This grey morning away
Listening to the pounding pumped-in patterns
Of so-called rock and roll,
In the so-called French cafe
On a grey day,
I am stealing you away,
I am stealing you from your dreams, locking them
A quiet closet, dark and settled,
I am closing the door and asking you
"Gently, now and hush,"
So I can have time away
So I can steal the time
Steal myself
The time away, a trapped hour
Inside a long morning.

Yes, I hear you singing, inside
The quiet closet
Singing to yourself and I see
What you are seeing, in the dark--
Coat tails dangling, reaching for the limp
Shoelaces that spoon the dust bunnies to sleep.
And a vacuum, waiting in the corner, eyes
Closed, waiting to work.

You are singing now and I can hear your notes
Sliver through the keyhole, slip under the door,
But not the words.
Not the words.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jealousy is a Broken Spirit

Proud of you--
Italy awaits--cold mornings frozen breath
In the Alpine air.
The sharp fear of incomplete pages and the
Running days that look like failure.

There are monuments cast in papier-mache
Postcards, stamped with my name
Hidden in closets here--
I'll never send them either
Am still waiting

For my own Croatian family
To call me, my own ancestors to
Acknowledge my shadow. Even though
We both know they died, too, pining
For recognition. Silent and sad.

So sorry, sister. Chicken little is
Hiding over here and scribbling
Fiercely in a soundproof canyon--
So no one can hear the scream of torment,
When you win, I lose.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Repeating Voices

I've got to learn a song, so I've got to play
Over and over, to catch the melody
To carve the lyrics into the hardest
Bone of my skull.

Like generations of Buendias, the "carousel of
Time" keeps spinning in my head,
Even through the fog of sleep
Now a tinkling music box, Open open open
At the same lyric and note.

Not repeating, but exacting the meaning
From words said the same way
At a different cut in time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Low Hanging Fruit

This is supposed to be a poem, But a poem won't fit into my
irregular shape, the shards and heavy sighs that I am assembling under the nearest
Ugly, lame fluorescent
Streetlight. And I know you know what I mean, because I know that
You've woken up from an accidental afternoon nap, too, feeling
Sort of
Refreshed, but not sure why you slept because
You weren't tired
And you
Had a few things still on your To Do list left
To Do. But
Something happened while you were
Sleeping, not dreaming,
That solid hard afternoon sleep--
Something awoke in you,
Punching through the hard winter soil, unwelcome, the early tulip on
A prematurely warm February Day.

And now the light of the Sunday is gone,
And the rest of the evening is waiting for you to figure out what the fuck
If anything you intend
To Do and
You are pretty sure you can get the rest of these Things
. But,
All you care about is the sound of that flock of geese, honking madly across
The full rising moon
And where the hell are they going, southbound, in February?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Broken Friends

I would have gone canoeing
In the Boundary Waters and
Gathered dry wood to make
A fire for all of us to sit around.

I'm a hard worker-- you'd have never
Been sorry if you'd have invited me
To camp with The Girls
And lay on backs, on damp grass
To watch the Northern lights.

I'd have volunteered to stand
At the Guestbook of your sweet
Wedding, handing the pen to guests,
Saying hello. No need to even
Apologize-- there are no small jobs,
Only small people.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shiny Happy Me

This is the answer: believe.
Sleep when you are tired.
Eat when you are hungry.
Answer questions.
Be kind. Be firm.
Look forward in pink,
Look backward with reason.
Keep moving, keep dancing.

This is the answer: be broken
When the pieces
Are laid out before you anyway.
Be shattered, when exhaustion
Promises to swallow you anyway.
Be imperfect when flaws
Gain the highest ground anyway.
Be lost, when the destination is

This is the answer: be happy
When you realize you are already there,
When you taste the metallic joy
Of breaking dawn,
After the long sleep.
The answer:
Fresh like morning--
Unbridled like night.