Saturday, January 30, 2016

hiraeth


i loved you in the worst way.

the way that wrote your elegy
as i looked across a table
and saw,
at once,
why everybody wanted you
and
the size of the space
you'd leave.

because of course you'd leave.

your beautiful bodies
so sanguine
your belltower laughs, clanging, unignorable
the din of your belief;
the sometimes-slurring sermon of the fucking faithful.
i bit my nails for you.

god, i wanted you to stay.

your faces perch on my shoulder,
one after another.
i can feel your smiles.
and your party looks bigger than my party
from here,
howling like happy wolves
and pushing each other into the Styx.

but i am not there.

so i scan this pumping purgatory
for a secret wave-goodbye

and try to place my cheek against that chest
before the earth does.



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Huis

Your Dutch came out of the kitchen so much sweeter
Rolled in purrs and dusted in crisp consonants
Spicier
With French flourishes.

It leaves honey on your tongue.
I can taste it.


Your fathers' names still line the streets
Cast in brass beneath a stone face that looks so much like you

And still your blood runs rooibos
And still you give "now" its magic names
And still you thrill to this beast-tramped veldt
Like the fathers of their fathers
Who first burned under this proud sun
And made it yours.

Monday, September 07, 2015

4:45 and Geek*


I learned young that you never know a place
You only know a place within a time
So I've decided to lock my bike
To the corner of 6:00 and a nursery rhyme

I learned young that you never know a friend
You only know a person in his now
So I'm meeting you at 5:00 today
And we'll see where it goes from there, and how

I talk like your closed eyes
Are a tent I think you're sleeping in
I had fun last night,
I whisperish.
I'm sorry I disappeared.
And I toy with the zipper a little bit
to see if you hear.

The Fraud Police are everywhere today
They stop me every time I turn around
To check my papers and make me walk a line
Just to let me off with a warning and a frown.

I trace tomorrow in the dust
Outside my castle walls.
I watch the fire throw snowball stars.
I watch them cool and fall.

I talk like your closed eyes
Are a tent I think you're sleeping in
I had fun last night,
I whisperish.
I'm sorry I disappeared.
And I toy with the zipper a little bit
to see if you hear.



* This wants to be a song. Anybody wanna write the music?


Thursday, June 25, 2015

swandive



it couldn't have gone any differently.
i still believe that.
i was already taking off my shoes
when i reached the bank.

i had never seen anything like it, before.
that blue.
as if it had pulled in
pieces of the sun
and smothered them before they knew they had gone under,
still pouring a surprised light.

it's deep,
they told me.
it is so deep
that nobody knows where the bottom is.

people have gone in, of course,
because it's hard not to.
their bodies have never been found.

so i looked at it again.

it's just a river, i said.

i've been in so many rivers before.
i love rivers.
i love how they surge around you;
how they take you on their course;
how they curl around every part of you
and fill you so full
and you laugh and you sputter
and you bruise on a couple of boulders, maybe,
on your way out,
but in all fairness --
you dove in for the ride, and you like it rough.
and then there's the shore.
and you dry off,
because that's enough for now.
and soon you forget that river's flash and turn.

anyway --
if i really needed to, i said,
i could get out.
it's not so wide.

so i jumped in.

and now
i don't remember what it felt like
not to drown.
there must be others down here with me,
but they have not found me,
and it's so much darker than it looked from up there.

up there.

where i can see her face, now,
so lovely and so curious,
watching the way the water moves.

stand back, beautiful girl, stand back --
but i can't make sound.
my lungs are so full of this river.

and she smiles
because i am pouring a surprised light
as beguiling as wormwood and night breeze and fireflies.
and she's thinking, as she pulls off her shoes,

it's just a river.


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

If Losing You


If losing you were a falling tree
I'd write to you, "Wish you were here --
I've always loved the sound of leaves"
As you howl "timber" in my ear.

If losing you were a trolley car
I'd miss your metal-rubber roar
Laugh at the screaming lookers-on
And wonder what they're screaming for.

If losing you were a grizzly bear
I'd match his wide-armed bonhomie,
Smile as his bellow stirs my hair
And wait for him to snuggle me.

If losing you were a part of this,
My heart would drown your parting tears
In wedding bells at the final kiss
And wait for you a thousand years.


Friday, February 06, 2015

The Ballad of Angrboða

Your woods were quiet
when you saw him:

A fire god, slightly singed.

(Let's not put this out yet.
Let's nurse it a little longer.
Come here and help me.)

You could have bolted.
He would have let you.
But he stood smiling
and you came shyly to his
outstretched hand.

Loki knows something you don't know, Angrboða.

Look at those eyes.
Only ancient eyes can laugh like that.

He will laugh at you, Hag of the Iron Wood,
for the thousand ways you are laughable,
even as he fills you.

He will laugh with his bright wolf voice
He will laugh with his eyes like the sharp full moon through still water
that is not as shallow as you think it is
He will laugh with his hands on you,
so sweet you could cry
He will laugh like he sings
And you will stand among the redwood sounds
and feel the comfort of their bower.

He laughs because he sees you.

He's not as you expected him
But you were born Angrboða,
darling,
and the story was already written.

He will burn your body to ash,
then gather you back into his arms
and burn you again
and again
and again
and the oceans he melts from you
will carry you to new lands.

You will bear ideas together --
beautiful
terrible
powerful
ideas.
and you will raise them as your own.

And though he will find his Sigyn
(for that is written, too)
that day is many pages hence.

Now,
spread yourself beneath him
like a meadow of fragrant flowers
like a book waiting for a pen

like the goodbad witch he loves to love

and show him your softest places
and invite him to your deepest depths.

And when they say
"I don't know about that Loki --
I've heard he's a trickster
and so he must be wicked."

You will laugh

because you have seen him.


Sunday, November 09, 2014

saudade



i wonder, love, if you remember me
when you have washed me out of every sheet;
when there is empty space where I should be.

(your laughing face, suspended in the sky)
(your mouth's sharp corners slipping into sly)
i wonder, love, if you remember me

(the life restoked by every little death)
(floodwater in my lungs but, somehow, breath)
when there is empty space where I should be

(your way of catching words like falling eggs)
(the perfect knitwork of our tangled legs)
i wonder, love, if you remember me

(the way you stand invitingly alone)
(your fire, your air, your water and your stone)
when there is empty space where I should be

(your sudden laughter in another room)
our warps and wefts invent an absent loom.
i wonder, love, if you remember me
when there is empty space where I should be.