Category Archives: Poetry

Unfinished Business

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On the day we met, we were damaged.

Bruised fruit, I heard someone say,

and yet I could see how delicious

we could be, if we focused

on our sweet parts. And, for a time, we did.

Each morning after coffee and canned peaches, we

paced the perimeter,

with each step I learned more about

the nature of your heart. So broken,

both of us, there, in captivity,

love-notes, plopped clumsily

into my hands, your lap,

the perfect place for a head to rest,

if only we could have tabled together, found a patch of green

under that hot Arizona sun.

 

At least we had popcorn and iced tea,

that one full moon,

when our bellies pressed

against each other, gleaming

side by side. That night, I imagined

eating chocolate animal crackers

on Wednesdays

the sifting sun

through your windows

an old denim couch

in an endless summer, the two of us

cool and cuddled for hours

back rubs on bad days

when you would kiss

the freckles on my shoulders.

 

Now look at us.

Me, a shadow in your life:

A lonely girl on a lonely journey

In a land peopled by strangers.

I could be holding your dusty hand

Laughing and loving so greatly

But you asked me to let you go

And not wanting to violate

your boundaries, I did.

Still, I can’t help hoping

That someday I’ll convince you

It’s better to enjoy one bruised piece of fruit,

Than no sweetness at all.

Did you ever have an unrequited romance? Do you still think of that person? That moment? How long has it been? And how do you let it go?

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Just When I Think I’m Most Alone

photo via Amancay Maahs via Fotopedia

tall walls closing in around me, my

cardboard world sogging around my ears

my eyes, seeing only basements

and dirty floors and floors and floors

rising towards me and never any doors (and no

windows to climb out of) my skin and bones

boxing me in to a tiny beige package

of uncertainty where nothing is solid

except, perhaps, the darkness closing in

too fast, too fast (and

i’m praying it won’t last)

so i walk above ground, bumping against walls

insignificant against the day’s skyscrapers

where smoke drifts upward

chokes the sky, where dreams hover and die

and just when i am most alone, you

are with me, the friend

with whom i am certain to grow old

smiling secrets and i’m wondering

what could He see in me

all spotted and tough

and the walls recede:

His love is enough.

Who or what has helped pull you out of your darkest hours?

{This week, I thank Vickijo Campanaro for her ongoing, gentle support as I learn how to live courageously, and Debby Chornobil for her healing hands & encouraging heart.}

the old man carried piglets

It’s the last day of National Poetry Month, and I find looking at a photograph can inspire. Here’s my last one for a while. Probably.

pigs

The old man carried piglets in his arms

under his armpits, actually

like two plump packages filled with

good things, they

squealed obediently, smelling

of earth and excrement, they

squealed curling and uncurling their

pink pig-tails, knowing

that the old farmer loved them

that a field of purple flowers was

waiting, patiently like a lover

the man walked many miles, or

what felt like many miles

(for what does a pig know

of distance

more than from sty to trough)

so he walked many miles, this man

setting one foot after the other, squish squash

squish squashing into the moistness

below his feet, and the pigs

snorted happily, short gruff grunts

as if they had just eaten a plate

full of scraps, short gruff grunts

confident that there would be lilacs

at the end of their journey, so sure

of his love, so sure of his love

he clutched them tightly around their middles

and they felt warm and safe

beneath the dark wool that made up his sweater

home, and they squealed

as he entered with them still

under his arms, still

not struggling, still believing

ever faithful

as he sliced off their heads

one, two

for his sweet sausage stew.

Have you ever experienced betrayal? Felt like someone was cutting your head off for their delight?

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Adolescence: Another Taste

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m committing poetry.

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Click HERE to see other work by Paulina Wierzgacz.

While other girls, afraid

of their own soft hands hid

behind masks, under rocks, dreamed

of  boys in tight Levi’s

we met under a rotting pavilion

after roller-skating:  Neither of us knew how

to start so he stretched out, nervously

into my lap, settled

into thighs, exposed earlier

only to the hands of the sun.

His chest was jasmine

and we pressed together

silent, holding

our breath, in my hands

a slender purple flower.

Later, the girls squealed, begged

to hear about a single snake

pressing against the temple door

but I had learned to hold hands

with the night, listen

to the lunatic song of crossing winds,

to admire purple flowers

without words.

What do you remember about your first time? Or how do you wish it went?

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Learning To See

April is National Poetry Month, so I’m sharing words in a different way. 

Click on the photo to see more work by Sean McMenemy. Photograph, used with permission of the artist.

There was only one crayon

I liked in the whole box,

a cracked black Crayola,

and I settled beside a coloring book —

gray outlines on white pages, scribbling

until I noticed Grandma pulling on

walking shoes, heavy

with stiff laces, brown like snakes.

Down the shaded walk I followed

until the lawn stopped

and weeds grew wild, sloppy and carefree.

Gardening gloves parted prickly shoots

to step inside, swallowed

I followed, tripped on rocks

and roots, got stuck

on sticky burrs while Grandma cooed

soft water words

wintergreen

witch hazel

windflowers

 words which sounded like colors

from my crayon box, words

which until then I thought strange and

separate from me.

Later, I took my crayons outside, filled

my lap with colors

drew giant spotted, all-color polka dotted

butterflies, purple and red winged smears

dipping and soaring, winding, rising transparent

as April air, until one little one

found its way above gnarled branches

and swirled

                                                            right off the page.

What are you looking forward to this Spring?

The First Taste

We started with childhood innocence and then we moved to adolescent shame. Now we are getting a little more mature. Since everyone is getting all Halloweenishy, I figured I would, too. So picture two young lovers in the dark one October night. This is what happens the day after at school.

Click here to see more from Eddy Pula @ flickr.com

wanting them to see

wanting everyone to see

bright purple hickies on my neck

wanting everyone to see

that someone could want me that much

that someone would leave proof, undisputed

right there

on my neck.

i wasn’t embarrassed

and refused high collars,

wanting everyone to see

those purple circles

where lips met skin

and tasted blood.

Tell me one of your (real or fictional) acts of adolescent rebellion. Or just tell me about how you feel about hickies. 🙂

Have you entered my contest to create a real header for my blog? No? You have until November 1 at midnight. Click HERE for details.

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Adolescence: Learning Shame

One of the many life-like sculptures created by John De Andrea

I hadn’t wanted to go.

Parents pulled me

from ants and pebbles, the solidity

of bark, leaf and wall

to hear breathing statues,

the silence of paintings, and

Perhaps.

To three sculpted boys, nude

and playing soccer. They looked

so real, their knees

eternally bent, mid-kick.

My green eyes wandered

around the dark curves of body,

thin fingers reached

towards the smooth skin

the color of wet clay, and

I remembered sarsparilla

gingersnaps, fresh licorice

chocolate cakes.

Short fingers seeking

shapes and shadow-colors

caught in mid-air

in father’s hand trap,

No no, he said,

Don’t touch.

NOTE: I wish I had the actual image of the “Three Boys Playing Soccer” by John De Andrea. Seeing his sculpture is my earliest and most vivid memory of going to a museum. And while I searched everywhere to find a photo of it, I cold find none. It is spectacular and I urge people to see this lifelike work at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York.

What is your first memory of visiting a museum? How old were you? Who were you with? Were you inspired? Bored? Something else? What is the best museum you have ever visited?

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An Unconventional List of My Transgressions

Once I shared my fears with you and you supported me. As I move toward Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, I thought I would share a list of my transgressions. I know many of you think of me as the sparkly girl, and I am that. But I am other things, too. I am not proud of all of my parts. I am working on being a better me. Each year, a little better. Maybe.

photo by Nils Geylen via flickr.com

i am inappropriately dressed in beat-up cowboy boots.

i am a weeping willow with dandelion roots.

i am a scarlet candle burning at both ends.

i am a wound that never heals

i’m a will that never bends.

i am a fancy cage

a terrible shopper

a binder clip

a pillow proper.

i am lowercase and broken, i am

scared and missing pieces.

i am rumpled

i am crumpled

i am wrinkled in the creases.

i’m a Scorpio in a garden of misery.

i’m a cockroach, a ladybug, and a bumblebee.

i’m an elbow.

i’m a knee.

a taker of things, i am squalor.

i am a spike at your collar.

i am a dying tree.

i am hyperbole.

i am indignant and misguided,

i am useless, undecided.

i am bossy.

i am needy.

i am cruel.

i am eternal summer.

too lush and hot and wild.

i am not a good enough mother.

and i am an ungrateful child.

i am an eye and a hand, recording what i see.

i am too many plates, stacked precariously.

i am a closed library.

i am relentless.

i am wordy.

i am repentant.

please forgive me.

What is one thing that you don’t like about yourself? What part of you would you like to slough off or change?

This week we were challenged to integrate 3 words into our pieces: “candlestick,” scarlet” and “library” —  in 250 words.

It kind of worked for me.

Childhood: Learning The Game

Photo from colodio’s photostream via Flickr

Sitting circle,

waiting for his hand

to duck-duck-goose-me

knowing that he might

but there are

soooo many heads between us

soooo many heads to tap

soooo many heads to

tap lightly with fingertips

and he rounds the circle

DUCK                        DUCK

and he rounds the circle

DUCK                        DUCK

and I see rainbows in his hair

and water in his eyes

flexing my calves

with anticipation

DUCK

ready to jump

DUCK

ready to jump

DUCK

read to jump

because his palm is on my hair

warm and lingering

l     i     n     g      e       r       i            n          g

and it is almost off

and I am almost disappointed

gOoSe!

all elbows and knees, i stumble to start

but he is sure-footed and fast

our friends are a noisy blur, shouting

RUN                        RUN

and I want to run

my arms are open

like my smile

like my eyes are open

so I see when he looks back

slightly slowing, waiting

wanting me to catch him

wanting me

to catch him

and i want to keep panting

want to keep panting

want to

ruffle his sweet soft feathers.

What are your earliest memories of young love?

Gentle Awakening

Photo by RASJacobson, 2012

• • •

The first time I died

was in the hands

of a good friend.

 

I’d been bragging

about my new car, slick

and black as blood

 

while she stood tall

as redwood, a queen

in an apron, preparing

 

tea. Setting down the silver

kettle, she took my hand

to her cheek, soft as peaches

 

and like a school-girl cried,

My dear child,

Don’t you know

every toy

breaks

in the end.

• • •

Ever have someone tell you something simple that positively rocked your world? What was it?

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