No Art

     This was written after I completed a five mile hike and then picked up 
     a volume of Elizabeth Bishop's poetry to enjoy once again on a sunny
     afternoon.  My answer to Bishop's poem, One Art.

 In this thing called losing,
 Bishop said we become masters
 And that losing isn’t a disaster.
  
 No, Not a disaster.
 Losing socks and such stuff.
 I’ve lost earrings, bracelets,
 Expensive ones too, didn’t care
 Beyond maybe a minute or two.
  
 And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
 Did I have upon saying goodbye 
 To three houses and two cities.
  
 And yes, it was no disaster
 To bury my mother, 
 A father who really wasn’t,
 The man who really was,
 First one brother, then the other,
 Then lastly, a wife.
 With each, my body and soul
 Savaged by a hurricane, catastrophic, yes.
 But no, no disaster.
  
 Except perhaps, yes, I’ll admit, 
 A tiny bit of soul eroded 
 From the waves of each hurricane
 Breaking over me as I buried each.
 And nothing, nothing did I master.
  
 Except, maybe this—
 I did not look for them
 Since they were gone,
 Emptied of this earth.
  
 Now, there is you and
 I look for you
 In everything I do--
 Every sunset
 Every sunrise
 Every in between time.
  
 I look for you in strangers,
 In cars I pass along the street.
 I look for you at festivals,
 In films I see.
 I look for you in places,
 In the sky of Ruidoso,
 In bars,
 In restaurants,
 In the eyes of strangers, 
 I look for you.
  
 I look for you in all this.
 And in this thing
 Called losing, 
 In which I am well-schooled,
 As are we all, 
 I have tried to make an art,
 To make an art of all this loss.
  
 Yes, this may be no real disaster,
 But Bishop lied.
 There is no art in losing,
 No art at all,
 That I can find to master.
   

Modern Prometheus becomes The Little Stranger

Originally posted on Braveandrecklessblog.com

 So now we know,
 You told me I wasn’t,
 But I was—
 Your creation.
  
 Said you loved me
 Just the way I was—
 But was it true?
  
 Yes, I was perfect
 Just the way I was—
 You said,
 But you didn’t care for:
 My curly hair,
 My dresses,
 My high heels,
 My red lipstick.
  
 So, I became a cut out,
 Of the rest of my parts
 With the parts you inserted,
 A sewn together woman.
 Then electrified and brought back
 To life by a love you claimed
 Was for the true me.
  
 Now the parts you inserted
 Die away, shriveling at the lack
 Of your electricity.
 I stumble,
 A stiff-legged walk to your door,
 Shuck this graying shit and warm myself
 By the fire I create to burn
 These rigor mortised parts.
 Thus, I become something more akin
 To myself once again—
 That little stranger
 With curly hair,
 Wearing dresses,
 High heels,
 And signature whore red—
 I become
 My little one.
  
    

Red Heart Cedar

This red heart cedar stump,
With its dark crevasses
And holes where bugs had homes,
Was sanded smooth.
A urethane finish added for shine
And protection.
The rings are visible still,
Rings that count the years
Until the tree fell in a storm,
Twisted from the earth
By tornadic winds.

Thus, I found it
In the yard.
Took the chain saw to the tree,
Cut it into chunks,
Along with the others that fell
That day while the dog and I
Sought shelter from the storm.

Now I sand and chisel away.
Routing out some hearts concave,
Bowls to be used for filling
At some future date,
Now standing empty.
Sanding some hearts level,
Tables to be used for holding things,
Yet these are empty too.

All this red heart cedar,
Once stood filled with life,
Now stands empty.

Definitions of Us

Mother, widow,
Writer, teacher, friend
Titles I wear
That others use
To make a definition
Of me.

But I am more
Than any definition
Clown and comedienne
Actress and writer
Sinner and saint
A bit of Medea and Medusa
Shaken and stirred
With a touch
Of Mother Theresa
And Margaret Mead
And an added dash
Of Lucille Ball
For good measure.

My Lady MacBeth stays
Securely Locked Away,
Crying for some Germ-X
For her hands.
Wuornos, her cellmate,
Just doesn’t give a shit
And is it any wonder?

But I’ve no soft purr
With words
Like a Bishop or a Plath
Or a Browning,
But I could bake brownies
That might make you cry.

Yes, full of contradictions and complications
That’s what we women are
A bit of the Madonna
A bit of the Whore
A bit of the Wise One
And more
Too much and too little
To list
And define
Except by what we,
Ourselves, design

 

Trails

Set out years ago
Dropped breadcrumbs
Some no bigger than dust particles
Of the soul
Along the roads and paths
Thought I’d find my way back,
There’d be time
There’d be years
Be months
Weeks
Days
Seconds
Left before the sand
Absconded with the hourglass
To find the trail of dust and crumbs
Sweep and pour them
Back into the soul
Add a few ingredients
Create once more
From the beginning

 

But birds and squirrels
Feasted on the leavings
And I’ve no desire
To return to where I started.

 

 

Creation

child.jpg

I carved you
from the stone of me
chiseled out your edges,
inside and out,
freed you from the depths
of my abyss,
while my ears
felt the sting
of the hammer pounding,
my bones felt the crunch
of the chisel chipping,
my skin felt the ripping slice
of stone shards flying
tearing through all
flesh and bone of me
until
there was you
sculpted better than
the worth of me
cast off from you
I absorb in finality
what it is
in the truth of God
and pray.

History

history image

Spun out from the centrifuge
Twisted in helix meaning
Strands entwined, twisted back
Stretching toward history within heritage
Search through the montage of time
Sift through pounds of truth and lies
For a few ounces of purity
Measured out within the mess
The now was the past
Where to walk
We travel back
On twisted helix roads
To the selves we were
So very long ago
And learn
The future braided
In the past
With the now
And made us whole