Saturday, February 25, 2017

Serenade



You’re in a boat on the ocean, your head on the lap of you lover.
Your hands skim the surface. No wait. You’re in your black Volvo
delivering mail. The sun is coming up and there’s a deer

strolling across the highway with nowhere to go, but you
could be eating oysters with red sauce on the city square.
Reggae in an adjacent café. Cars parked at angles.

The radio is but static. Your mouth is moving to the tune
you’ve long imagined. In the sky, a painter’s neglected guitar.
In your lover’s arms, an ocean of musical notes and his

damp seiner’s sleeves. The sun comes up slowly.
The moon never so round.  Your drink tastes picante.
There’s a melodic clatter of shells on the floor of your car.

The doe in the road knows you. Her eyes resemble
your lover’s. You are strumming his arm. Water laps
at the hull.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Luggage















In this travel, a hint of light
wisteria crawling to the second floor.
Our daughter’s aqua baby book
tied and retied with mended bands.  Then
in a broad crimped pocket nearly hidden,
the looking back. Her unborn siblings.
And laid out on top, first memory of the man,
her father, who walked into the bookstore
with blue eyes and his wounded silence
questioning everything. I wanted him. To forgive
all the other men, their letters folded between
the pages. Exercises in cursive pen and epistle
pencils of regret. Must not forget my
black suede wedding shoes and burgundy
headband of antique pearls.

For the larger valise, all of my brothers
and sisters, even the stubborn ones. Pressing down
to fit young whimsy speed of driving cross country
to dry places where we once lived, in anticipation
of desert rain.  I will pack my mother and my father,
even as they carry their own remorse, but I will
loose them from these sorrows before inserting them.
Hoarded friendships like heirloom seed packets and one
single tarnished spoon from my grandmother’s
collection, a tiny diorama of Niagara Falls or
Dutch windmill with tiny revolving wings.


In this final carry-on, whisper as answer
to my grown girl’s questions. Mourning
dove song for both our childhoods. Cinematic
croon, and a splash of China Musk to guide her,
forever maternal ghost and passport.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Necessary Harvest


The distraction of disbelief is large. Broad as the sea from a single woman’s perch, staring out and across at only blue. The possible dissolve is not easy to strip down or shake off. Hole in the sturdy back of baby planet. Right before the eyes of all who have nurtured the communal body to carry her the distance. Shivering now in the delayed projections of freeze ahead. Or of heat.

What can I possibly pen to my father today who taught me about protest? About acceptance and tolerance. It’s challenging enough to form encouraging words for my daughter, repeating what I have learned about how to treat others according to the Golden Rule. Fortunately, she understands and took to the streets last night to march with others in outrage and 
dissidence.

Marking the poster board of her disbelief with halting words, crawling on the front hood of a stranger’s car for witness. And so the volcano wind of the unexpected blows across the sea. Onto the ocean where my father lives. A sea I cannot see from my high desert but I sense him there in his chair with the news. Moving to the back lanai calling in the birds he can feed.

Transcendental is the hold of forgiveness even as the future seems to be shredding. Worship the way of the heroes he carried to me in encyclopedias of alphabet given breath and flesh. Nonviolent protest the truest chestnut of my father’s eyes, honing the wise route to put us, finally, on the moon of tomorrow producing alternative water, fresh air.

Exotic is the menu of nature in rebirth. Spicy burn on the tongue, resisting profanity. Explosive gelato spooned up for granddaughters whose souls are only temporarily muted. Paternal 
lullaby. He lifts and replaces the needle on circling vinyl when the scratched groove threatens. Interruption. Volume. Antidote. Caution is necessary but optimism


is the remedy. Bible of generations that precedes us both. I pull the bookmark from safe hiding between hieroglyphic rock, and return to the morals of fairy tales. Promise whispered to my child. Bread crumbs will attract the ravens. The ravens will come cawing. Grandmothers will translate. Crocodiles and whales will carry us across, outfoxing the crazy. Smoke signal sails

will grow visible from healing mainland to ready palms of island, to emerging continents of collective memory. I will not allow the Little Match Girl to perish in my version of the current grim tale. I will find her first. Fathers, many who are brothers, will bank a fire reflecting back on the water. We will warm her back to life. We will respect one another as the disbelief melts and we take dire lessons from nature. Fallow land followed by necessary harvest.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Memorial to Blue


There, a memorial on the corner to three teens
killed as their coach drove them home from a tournament.
The other anxious driver, reckless, failing to halt. Timeless 
photographs on filigree crosses at the intersection.

And here, a tattered man with a sign in his hands
in the grocery parking lot. Cardboard indicating that
any kind of work would do. There’s a certain stretch

of road coming home from Vegas where one brother
nearly died. His broken neck mended with halo
and surgical screws. There, where another did succumb.
Motorcycle forgetting to curve at Cimarron.


Internal compass cracked, or perhaps,
ignored. Alcohol poured onto the fire of what he
finally could not forgive.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Palace of the Governors, City of Holy Faith



O noble capitol   house that Peralta built   you are long
inhabited     fortress and palace promenade

If trees could talk    they would whisper handfuls 
multi-tongued through thick adobe walls   

Spanish   Tiwa   Tewa   bugle
of Confederates and curators talking

of lattice and lace   wide dining
table for history    you whisper us into a prince’s room

Old is the adjective    First born on the square
Fringed by burros carting firewood to winter casas

Occupation is your middle name   Po’ Pay’s revenge
for all the icons taken       Wallace’s respite muse

crucifixion written in secret light
Fiestas in the front yard     Wagons in the courtyard

Yellow leaves still falling as legislators eased
horses into stables lined      anxious washboards

Your inhabitants changed like stunning sunsets
and chilly dawns  

Today a concho belt of natives own your long stoop   
years inlaid with abalone and coral   All eyes shaded

by ancient portal    One old trail of men ending here
Ghosts of women in broomstick skirts    and children

hidden      religions revived    mariachi guitars

bringing lightning