Category Archives: Link

What Surprised Me Most

What Surprised Me Most

beneath surgery-bright restaurant lights

was the unspoken collusion of employees and patrons

to ignore the bone-defined man as he tapped thin-paned glass to beg for food.

He shoved skeletal hands toward his gaping mouth as if to fill the gnawing

we could not imagine while digesting pasta and merlot rather than

our muscles to survive as this man’s body had, his hollowed face

pleading as he mimed across the chasm of language, culture, class.

After the waiter returned our leftovers, snug in styrofoam,

I took them across the restaurant, my legs heavy beneath reproach’s

hypnotic weight from those unwilling to squander rules of etiquette

that weave the fabric that insures our warmth as others freeze.

Once outside I saw him, through my breath, accept a dollar from

two spike-heeled women as they scuttled from a restaurant across the street,

yet money’s a tool for future trade, no immediate relief for the churning gut.

Drunk with hunger, he wavered in the crosswalk till a horn startled him

back to the curb. Waving, I caught his eye, offered the bright box. Our eyes

locked yet he wouldn’t move, suspended in a code more compelling than

hunger’s desperation, a code older than the south and dangerous as asphyxiation.

Cloaked in privilege, I left our paltry leftovers on the metal bus stop bench

and returned to the restaurant’s glare, each of us visible through glass walls.

He sprinted across the street, gulped what would have been tomorrow’s lunch,

threw away the box, and returned to the window beside us.

He smiled, waved, tried to thank me, but I saw him only peripherally,

embarrassed to accept gratitude for so little before he walked away.

Thank you to the editors of decomP magazinE who first published this poem.

decomP

The Expectations We Bring

The Expectations We Bring

You will cradle the small of my back, draw

my tongue, my flesh, to your mouth, bring

me to the edge of death, of life, each night.

Laughing, we’ll prepare roasted peppers,

transparent layers for spanakopita,

swordfish coated green with pesto,

and talk while our children play.

I will massage your long-muscled

back, read you to sleep, soothe you

when nightmares or fevers come.

You will always love me; we will say

each other’s name as prayer

and the answer to prayer;

I will listen to your every word,

even those unspoken.

But what of nights when my skin grows

cold, your muscles plaited, our names

catching in clenched throats?

Thank you to the editors of MPC Anthology VI for first publishing this poem.

MPC

The Possibility of Hands

Possibility of Hands

I hold your hand

palm up, lace your

fingers with mine,

stretch the palm wide

so my thumbs can press

tight muscles into pools

of softened warmth;

open, your hand could

slap a child’s face,

brush away crumbs,

press the sternum for

resuscitation,

shape the sides of

a porcelain bowl

while fingers curved could

pull a trigger—crosshair

parting the bridge between

eyes, press rounded keys to

blow jazz through

brass, suture severed

flesh with catgut and needle—

within this skin

no purpose but life.

Thank you to the editors of Poets for Peace and http://lit.carayanpress.com for publishing this poem.

Inception

Inception

She asks,

wants him

to be the first.

As if the other

were a ripened peach,

easily bruised,

they time their movements

to the ancient

pulse of

hearts

then

seas.

Sharp tears through

hidden flesh

steal her breath.

They stop,

begin again;

relentless clock counts towards curfew.

Soothed by his hot sweet breath,

she rests in his embrace—

linear time shifts to the relative distance

between innocence and experience;

she arches,

accepts whispers

fingers

lips

as he eases her through

surmountable pain.

Her chrysalis rips,

new life emerges:

the harsh sun

scent of clary sage

wings drying in a warm breeze.

Thank you to the editors of Hot Flashes: sexy little stories and poems for first publishing this poem.

Hot Flashes

Obrigada

thank you iris

Obrigada

What if the first word we learned

in another language

was not toilet, how much,

or even where, but instead

thank you;

would we see past lines of experience,

the stumbling of innocence,

broken teeth, exquisite eyes,

to each person’s essence,

the miracle of existence,

and be grateful for a form

that could say gracias, dhanyavaad,

tak, xìe xìe, spasibo, danke, shokran?

Thank you to the editors of Marin Poetry Center Anthology VI for publishing “Obrigada.”

MPC

Hounds

houndsjpgHounds

When first approached, their

tails gently thump thump thump

yet I have watched these hounds

shred deer to bone licked

clean by ferocious tongues.

Sleeping, they seem no more

than lanky pups, glittering

canines concealed, but virile musk

urges them awake, famished,

no longer kenneled in dreams.

Thank you to the editors of California Quarterly for first publishing “Hounds.”

CA Quaterly

Touching Death

I’ve touched death twice and come back. I feel like a cat, though I’m not counting on nine. I was told as a child that I would not live even thirty years due to severe asthma…. http://www.cezannescarrot.org/vol4iss1/thisedgeofsea.html

Thank you to the editors of Cezanne’s Carrot for publishing “This Edge of Sea.”

edge of sea image

Satsuma

satsuma


Satsuma

Crescents of tangerine cool nipples

that purse like lips as

O of navel grips its slice &

taut shiny glans raises its

section to the sun, hot through

blue-green leaves of eucalyptus;

tongue slides between citrus & skin,

belly arcs smooth,

teeth release juice bursting

through this moist cavern,

tongue, lapping in slow pulses,

swallows wet open flames.

Thanks to the editors of HOT FLASHES: sexy little stories and poems for including this poem.

Hot Flashes

Left Coast Writers

January 17, 1991: this endless war

91

January 17, 1991

The day after war begins I
reach to hold, be held
beneath the crescent sliver of waxing snow moon
I feel your chest press   retreat   as we embrace
silken hair weaves through finger-
tips. Men and women die
in a city no longer theirs   no longer
home. Your arms wrap me
as water holds wreathes
and Iraq retaliates,
missiles strike Jerusalem,
ten year old girl cries within the brown
mantis face of her gas mask.
Pressed peach of our cheeks
parts my lips near the tenderness of your neck—
I want to feel
your breath on my tongue
your tongue as I breathe.
And what of those in Baghdad
no warning?

Thank you to the editors of We Speak for Peace and Literary Well/Pozo Literario for first and then reprinting this poem, respectively.

http://lit.carayanpress.com/eweaver.html

Dark in Light

Dk in Lt

Dark in Light

Wanted to show you the moon
but cruised off the wrong ramp
and wound up in a war zone
where there is no curfew:
men standing solo in the middle of the street
or huddled, talking beneath burned-out lamps;

wanted to show you the soccer moon
but drove down darkened roads with bars
enclosing windows and doors,
barbed wire spiraling a hardware
store and nursery—planks and daisies
out of reach;

wanted you to count the seas
across that haloed orb
but drove alone
through neighborhoods as treeless
as that dog-song moon;
beat-up cars driven
beyond unmarked borders
pulled over by uniforms
with clubs and guns,
jagged tension cutting concrete air;

I want to know who
declared this war of Americans
against Americans:
children peer from sheeted windows,
women hide behind hollow doors,
a man looks up from an empty street,
each of us equal
distance from the sun’s reflective sphere.

Thank you to the editors of Something Like Homesickness and Literary Well/Pozo Literario for, respectively, printing and then reprinting this poem.

http://lit.carayanpress.com/eweaver.html