Friday, May 24, 2013

midnight (these rituals of recreation)

midnight (these rituals of recreation)


i walk into the bedroom just before midnight
watching the digital clock shift from 11:59 to 12:00

after a hard bicycle ride into fading daylight
followed by dinner and beer among those friends

and then i notice the familiar shape of you in my bed
although we haven’t seen each other in over a year

although you belong now completely to someone else
you stir awake and smile at me through a stretch-yawn

don’t shower you purr still yawning slide in with me
it’s been so long since we’ve held each other you know

ii. dreaming

[as i dream i begin to wonder if i am dreaming]

i lie on the couch alone
watching my DVD of David Lynch’s Lost Highways

i am also re-reading Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase
this time it is the hardback first edition i bought for you

between the film and the novel
coursing through dreaming and contemplating if this is a dream

i think about the possibility of worm holes
and children sliding through giant tubes at the playground

iii. morning

i wake to the smell of coffee brewing
but no one has started the coffee maker

and then i am standing outside in cool spring sunshine
the dew-covered grass almost too green to bear

you were no longer in the bed beside me (of course)
i cannot be sure if we were really intertwined last night

although your voice rests in the hollow of my ears
and then i suddenly drop into an imagined scene

i return to the bedroom for your clothes in the hamper
i wash and then dry them before separating each piece

i smooth your t-shirts carefully straightening the hems
before stacking them over the back of the recliner

thinking of your cat bringing mice to your doormat
gestures of love and devotion offered on padded feet

creature of habit in these rituals of recreation
i start the coffee and inhale the you of entered rooms

the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2)

the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2)

it simply happened one day
when the teachers decided
enough was enough

all the boys with OCD
spent the day playing drums
or riding their bicycles

and the introverts sat quietly
smiling periodically in the corners
while the extroverts laughed and laughed

and soon the pleasures became many
as varied as the children themselves
until one day a child stood to proclaim

after reading Hamlet all on her own
“I say, we will have no more tests”
to which there was thunderous cheering

yes it seemed simple and obvious enough
the founding of the kindness school
with open doors and children singing

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the archeology of white people

the archeology of white people

I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park
“Pink Rabbits,” The National

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds.
“It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”
Daisy, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

we gather into schools all our children
red brown yellow black and white
leaving them all blue

we continue to serve them the food
of Fitzgerald and Hemingway
the archeology of white people

a Lost Generation fabricated to fool
cigarettes chandeliers and swimming pools
such glorious decadent people

we pull the wool over this rainbow of eyes
all lined up in rows of pastel shirts
like Jordan almonds or Easter eggs

“In his blue gardens men and girls
came and went like moths
among the whispering
and the champagne and the stars.”

Ignore the body in the road
we whisper in their tiny innocent ears
Isn’t that golden car spectacular?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

which came first (or does it matter): out of nothing

which came first (or does it matter): out of nothing

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

i know i am prone to feeling the stranger
i admit i am not much like other people
i confess that i have almost never felt a part
and i tend to slip into analysis and distancing

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

i suspect it doesn’t matter in the end
because what is done is done and after the fact
and i fear worlds cannot be reconstructed
once one planet becomes two other worlds

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

turning this end of us into a chicken-and-egg debate
this is not my best side or even lovable
and i know i am picking this argument over us
although i am beyond debates and winning wars

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

asteroids are lifeless remnants but so are most planets
but that is not what two people in love should become
although again i am not arguing about us or even forever
as i gather the dust and rubble to keep up appearances

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

and that may be my final act of love and peace
conceding to you appearances and silence about this
ghost walking now we two together and always apart
because people can pass through each other when not looking

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

i’ve manufactured this dilemma out of nothing i suppose
like forcing you to choose between a tornado and a hurricane
guaranteeing only the possibility of some natural disaster
the inevitable rearranging and disintegration of us

which came first
my feeling as if i don’t exist in our world
or you behaving as if i don’t exist in our world
or does it matter

i take thirteen steps and the floor falls out from under me
i am untethered but somehow not set free in this orbit
although i have lost my heart entirely to someone else
who has also chosen not to choose me and my disasters

Saturday, May 18, 2013

she drew herself

she drew herself *

she drew herself
not into a ball
not into her lungs

but on a canvas
soft pencil curves
sketched into her

Friday, May 17, 2013

recognition (the proximity of imagined cars)

recognition (the proximity of imagined cars)

I have only two emotions
Careful fear and dead devotion
I can't get the balance right

i do not recognize friends from 35 years ago
even when they are sitting next to me at a bar

until they speak and then the ones i knew return to me
masked behind new faces those years have sculpted

just as i do not recognize me in the mirrors of my day
inverted and creased at the corners of my eyes now

i have come to recognize that i cannot wish into reality
i cannot render real by waving a magic wand of words

no this is not a David Lynch movie
i have to remind myself along with breathing deeply

i’ll not be willing myself out of this prison and into your world
where you stand nude illuminated by headlights in a desert night

but i would recognize you anywhere
any time

you pass me in a car that i have never seen
you are wearing a silver thumb ring
and your hair is dyed auburn

i do not see your tattoo
or meet my eyes with yours
but i would recognize you anywhere

i do recognize the rush of recognition and proximity

the sudden heavy hollowness of my chest
everything else of this world falling away
the terrible calm of putting you back together again

i watch the car i have never seen before
disappear ahead of me and i hold onto you

freshly pressed into my mind weighted
by a silver thumb ring and auburn hair

do you think of me as i do you
do you think of me still

do you
do you
do you

i pass by you unnoticed
a sudden gust of sand
forcing you to shut your eyes
and turn your head suddenly

although you seem to recognize
a faint sing-song incantation

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

wonderland (Yen To Dollar pt. 2)

wonderland (Yen To Dollar pt. 2)

"There's a science to walking through windows"
“Graceless,” The National

Yen To Dollar found herself by the ocean
a young woman now completely of the island

there were days when she was alone, very alone
the morning cool in the bright rising sun of spring

she could not recall what had brought her to the shore
could not fathom how the dominoes had fallen

tracing the path that led her to a life filled with wonder
a view of ceaseless water reaching to the horizon arc

but she could and often did imagine a man, Tarame
(she had never known and had never even seen him)

who sat near the ocean carving matchstick sculptures
who had everything swept out to sea in a hurricane

who never had a daughter and tasted bitter solitude
she went beyond imagining to feeling as if this were she

often sitting by herself
unable to reform her past

Yen To Dollar would ask aloud
Tarame, what are you telling me?”

and then she was flooded with longing
knowing the wordless messages

only imagined and never lived like faeries
that ride on ocean breezes and tides

she believed in the possibility
that with a scalpel
she would be able to separate

dream memory imagination
and come to understand
this moment when she was a child

in a hotel room at the beach with her parents
she walked into a shut sliding glass door
drawn to the balcony by seagulls and ocean

once as she sat watching a small child cry
standing in the sand as her family walked away
Yen To Dollar recognized herself transfixed

not Japanese not American
only this child rightfully named Anomaly
no one loved the curve of her ear

no one longed for the sound of her voice
no one waited for her in the bed she slept in
none of these gifts in her bones

and all this shook her
like a glass door she could not see
but felt as she stepped through it

Monday, May 13, 2013

lamb of my heart, you (on being sheepless)

lamb of my heart, you (on being sheepless)

“One morning I awoke and the sheep was gone. It was then I understood what it meant to be ‘sheepless.’ Sheer hell. The sheep goes away leaving only an idea.” The Sheep Professor, A Wild Sheep ChaseHaruki Murakami

lamb of my heart, you
you wrapped in laurel
you secreted behind barn doors

this lingering always, you
you whispering in my dreams
you laid healing hands on me

lamb of my heart, you
you i buy a hardback book
you in absence i build this library

my wild sheep chase, you
you only you on the mountain
you a star like a birthmark in the sky

lamb of my heart, you
you entered me long ago
you gone remain in me always


lamb of my heart, you

Sunday, May 12, 2013

michael has a beautiful voice

michael has a beautiful voice

michael has a beautiful voice
all wordless
& sound

michael has a beautiful voice
all lost
& found

just a microphone & him
just lyrics & aloud

all lightness & dim
all cavern & cloud

mystery of sympathy & never ending lore
ambiguity of personality & ceaseless shore

what are you singing, michael
what can't you say

what are you mouthing, michael
what do you pray

michael has a beautiful voice
like tinsel
& snow

michael has a beautiful voice
like catching fire
& throw

place these words on your face
kiss them off with a sigh

dust us all with feathers
falling from the sky

michael has a beautiful voice
piercing silence

michael has a beautiful voice
turn your cheek

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yen To Dollar (notes on a gifted child as an adult)

Yen To Dollar (notes on a gifted child as an adult)

Each time I peeled another ten-thousand-yen note from the wad of bills in my pocket.
The wad showed no sign of going down no matter how many bills I used.
A Wild Sheep ChaseHaruki Murakami

this is the thing her parents had given her
a name: Yen To Dollar

they even capitalized the “To”
which they always highlighted when telling the story

her mother Japanese, her father American
Yen To Dollar was raised in America

she heard the explanation of her name thousands of times
until she would appreciate it only when they could no longer tell it

people spoke of her parents with labels you’d expect




labels tossed at her like small stones and sometimes bricks
and rarely like a bolder rolled down a mountain and over her

although she never dreamed of dragons or mythological sheep
she often found sprites in her photographs of streams

so in her great and constant solitude even when with other people
Yen To Dollar was overwhelmed and always overwhelming

like the amount of yen needed to buy something very expensive
something truly unnecessary and frivolous in an American store