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

Conjuring

traced path

Conjuring

Pursuing the brilliance of scarlet macaws, the insides of blood oranges, a blue so deep wind scrapes spray off the crests of waves, I remember the shock of blue against black in the face of our Siamese cat who had asthma like me. The runt of the litter, he would play till he collapsed, a hump of fur, sides heaving, mouth open, eyes closed, thin high wheezes accompanying each impossible breath. I’d massage him when he wheezed and couldn’t understand why he was put to sleep. In the following weeks I hid in my room when I had asthma, scared the next time it would be me. Or that I’d be sent away like my older sister who rarely called and was only spoken of when I asked, though I knew better. She juggled oranges, made dimes disappear before pulling them from my ears, and tickled me till laughter and her fingers were all that existed, masking even that keen longing for my father’s return.

I’d watch for him on commercials with tall smiling men holding their daughters and in the families saved by Casper and Mighty Mouse. I craved him as other kids told how their dads were lawyers like Perry Mason, doctors like Kildare, or were so strong they built houses and carried their kids around piggyback. I knew if I were good enough he wouldn’t be dead anymore. He’d come back if I did what I was told, was nice, always smiled. I felt him in the large arms of men and reached for him as I placed my feet on top of another man’s huge shoes, my arms stretching up, our hands holding as he walked, my feet and body shadowing his beneath uncontrolled laughter. My father became my guardian angel after I stepped alone onto the red ant nest hidden in rattlesnake grass. I screamed as their teeth tore flesh till large arms swept me up and carried me to cold water to dampen the hot sting.

Stinging like the night I packed my suitcase and ran away. Three blocks later I stashed my pink case, heavy and awkward in my six-year-old arms, behind Melissa’s neatly trimmed hedge. I didn’t know her well enough to ring the doorbell. I was unexpected, uninvited, yet she was the only girl whose house I recognized as it got dark. Peering through the opening between ivory drapes, I saw their dining room table set for dinner, her brothers playing beyond, and was startled by her father when he turned the corner of the outside of their house and asked what I was doing. Scared to say I’d run away, I asked if Melissa could play. As he pulled the long metal rod off the chain link fence, inserted it onto the sprinkler unit, and turned the water on full, he told me it was late, I should be home, out of the dark. I nodded, walked toward my house till he went inside, and then returned. Hugging the shadows, I watched them talk and laugh as her father cut thick slices of roast beef. I stared through that narrow lens of window and strained to hear words, learn their language.

When it got too cold, I went home. My mom, draped in diamonds and a low-cut red-sequined dress, was about to leave for cocktails. She said she knew I’d be back, that I had nowhere to go. I went to my room, pulled toy soldiers out of my closet, set up the lines of defense, before she called me back, told me to fix the lower hinge, loose and squeaky, on her bedroom door. I tightened and oiled the hinge just as I would later tighten and oil the wheels and handlebars on my bike to ride the fire trails behind our house. Rubber scraped from my soles as I skidded round curves and clutched my handlebars as firmly as I had gripped the barrel of the rifle when I was seven. Aiming for cans, I pulled the trigger, my shoulder mottled blue, yellow, green, from the rifle slamming against my too thin body. But I kept pulling, conjuring my father in the activities of men.

And myself in the motion of animals. I would leap over objects with the fierce gallop of horses, move with the stealth of the great horned owl that rose like an apparition across a too huge autumn moon, or run with the cunning of the mouse beneath my red plastic wheelbarrow. Our best mouser couldn’t squeeze her tiger-striped face under the barrow so she placed her front paws on top of it, perhaps to jump, but it tilted and moved forward. The mouse paced itself to remain underneath so our cat stopped periodically to sweep her clawed paw between the wheels unsuccessfully before returning to her hind legs to push farther. Near the cabbage plants the mouse darted into shadowed green. Tracing my finger through air, I tracked the means of escape.

Thank you to the editors of Kalliope for first publishing “Conjuring.”

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

whimsy-table

Nature is relationships in space.
Geometry defines relationships in space.
Art creates relationships in space.

~M. Boles and R. Newman


table

I’ve fallen for painting furniture. The shape of this old black table compelled me to paint it with acryllics.

A close up of the top:

u table

The unending sentence says:

“love is here,” he said. “I will stay,” she said, thus opening a window in the sky for birds and stars to pour forth which is how we learned everything is Love is here, he said. I will stay, she said, thus…

Poems, Prose, Photos & the Art of Being Human