Soft Landings and Quick Bites
Said and Done
I fear my capacity to guide
Mistake toward fulfillment
At times, I blame:
The flurry of misprint,
of crisis to unscramble;
The renewed promise
of classic self-improvement;
The flat-water buoyancy
of fresh peace.
Other times, I blame:
to words and their construction –
How they unsay as they say –
How they commit to purpose as thought –
How they slay aim through speech –
How they make me prove and reprove this power –
The greatest thing about not loving you
Is not giving time
Leaving the view alone
The thought almost well
It was a moment of smallness
It can be described
Bikram Love Triangle
Five minutes late to class and we got spots,
spots apart. But, a mirrored column in front,
so we could check
each other out.
I watched you get hot in Ardha-Chandrasana,
as you poured your head
upstretched arms. Then cut a sweat
with the six hip Utkatasana
dips, but by then,
you were primed.
is your most improved:
right toes wrapped
around left calf,
as you pulled both shoulders
down and back.
Because of a displaced disk, Dandayamana-Janushirasana
cannot be, but your Dandayamana–Dhanurasana
could be the figurine
on the hood of the first Rolls Royce.
is Sanskrit for Balancing Stick. With this,
your face confirmed last night
we had too much to drink.
When I took my Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana
bow, I bowed deep for your face
and the knowing of how it thinks.
A lycra girl spread into my view
in the Trikanasana
but you reemerged, bold,
for our Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana
In frontal Tadasana
I surveyed your chest with the remembering look
reserved for carved stone
and snowy boulder crests.
Once more, in Savasana,
I thought to tell you that Pavanamuktasana
is called Wind-Removing Pose,
so you can laugh and say
I should do it every day.
The belly-flat series of Bhujangasana, Salabhasana and Dhanurasana
made me want to be your rubber mat
and come between the fake rock floor
and your beech wood back.
Even in Supta-Vajrasana –
be the royal blue under you,
cup each knee and persuade your leather quads.
I delayed my Ardha-Kurmasana
to watch your nose
grasp the ground. You trimmed your thinning hair
but look younger,
even as you hover.
Finally, at Ustrasana,
your eyes and my eyes
and almost there. After Ustrasana,
my eyes. Your eyes, I thought, not
quite there. In Sasangasana,
nothing in your face
asking to be read, my chin between my knees,
all that blood to the head.
So I gave meditating face
in the Janushirasana, Paschimotthanasana, Pada-Hasthasana
flow, a mature woman devoted
to her personal growth. But when I caught you will,
but not reach, the Ardha-Matsyendrasana
twist, again, I let you get big.
upturned palms upon my lap.
Lips pursed, exhaled hard.
A seated disciple with third eye bright
and practiced breath
that yields its fire.
You are a great round thing in my arms
I unwrap you to make you cold
And warm you myself
Eat child drink only the good
While you still can
Unknowing small pale and perfect
As you take from me the only self
I have to give
Tragedy at Sushi Siam
Today I read about poetic time and poetic space,
about how allegories are imagined and metrics not.
I read about real efforts to compose,
allusions, footnotes, tool sheds as help.
I read all this believing in it,
not knowing that tonight you would be where I was,
and I would need to come home to think about you
in recent time, in recent space.
When I don’t go out to talk lunch talk
I stay home and we eat lunch
We don’t talk but we make delicious food noise
I let you play with foods that stain
Touch my whites with your berry chin
You drop the silver and I pick it up
To watch your face hear it crash
A wet bill, a torn book, a cracked phone
Proof in my hands that your new body leaves a mark
Again I offer you the tiny shoe you love to chew
Together we prepare
For a time when things might not be good
How Others Do It
Two idiots like us
Who planned love like a new car
Who bought the floorboards old
So with each step our new home moaned
Who mapped the lock
And learned to speak fraternal talk
Who toiled to resist slog
A balloon on our wrist in permanent bob
Who got drunk with the guests
Painted like rage the right walls red
Who saw the new oven installed
Where designer heat is focused and trapped
To roast the meat for today’s avid son
Last night, I heard Paco de Lucía play the guitar
in a theater cut out of a dry rock in the South of Spain.
My father could not go because he fell
and hit his head
and has been in bed for fifteen days
and it could be longer.
My brothers are not here and do not know.
So I went with my mother
to see men with faces that look like the first face,
the face of the Gypsy and the Jew,
the Arab sage and the hanging Christ.
Hair around the eyes,
a focusing view of enemy foot
through rising desert sand.
El Farru, the great flamenco dancer, danced in the middle
of the music men and lost a dancing heel
in the middle of the song.
The dead heel lay dumb
like a bitten fig
while El Farru beat his sounding heel down.
Then he bowed
and held up his mute heel to make our hands applaud.
De Lucía. His nephew-apprentice to the left.
The singers with no voice, dry rock slicing their throats.
The bass that seized a place and played a role.
The flamenco hair whipping Farru’s face
like a despot rider his despot horse.
I filmed it all to show my father.
But the clip will deepen
the slip of the heel and the dry rock
against the head.
So I keep it for my mother
for when she’ll need
her music men.
The Clothes Maker
My clothes come from places that are not immediately obvious:
A forty-day South American Christmas, an attempt at youth in College, a place of blessing turned hard.
Embroidering is slow, so I mix patience with excess and comfort. Embroidering can be silent or loud, and it is inside and out; but it remains the single piece of cloth I choose.
At unexpected sounds, my thread sheers a right breast pocket to gently cinch the waist. A set of green grapes spilled from the cup of an already full Caravaggio.
I once thought I could know anything
The death knowledge of the Buddha
The clarifying call of Gabriel
Former lives and abetting suns
That enthrall worlds more able than mine
I too never doubted my time supply
To be the daughter of the dying father
Who buries without the blow of love regret
But my father is dying an excessive death
With a wounded body that aligns
Rare moments of life
To the faint efforts of his mind
And I do
I offer my happy baby’s dance
Ask about our mayor and the bad president
We can wave our related heads with a laugh
I bring home the foods he likes to eat
A bag of sweet yellow tomatoes
That falls when his good hand forgets to grab
And when he insists on phoning my mother
Makes a promise that he won’t speak drink
I do I dance
Far from the Buddha knowledge of the giving death
Deaf to the recurring chant of Gabriel
Books by my bed and worlds of grace
That I grasp
But lack the good hand with which to grab
Overdue Love Letter
Minus the saliva on paper
The hesitant comma
Signed and dated
I offer every swerve
Soft wrist and stiff neck
This is my wet black ink
Born of the first stone, I am witch:
Spellbound by small elements,
snails in the throat, birds on the lip.
There is a hiding behind the trunk
of a dead tree, a memory
of morning, a reckoning.
There are no men, no children.
No women with soft worries.
No confidences or shared will.
But when I blow the lonesome wind,
the wooded land breathes in.
Together we become the ancient word,
a god released.
A Notion of Marriage
Because I am a poet,
I read about things like the center of skin.
About warm bodies coming together in the dark,
and how it’s the meaning of life
when someone gets it right.
And I know I should write about things
like a moving chest and a naked back.
About the coming together of life in the dark,
about our common desire
and the verbs that it took.
And it should be universal,
My moving chest, your naked back.
The notion of marriage,
of children, of daily love.
beneath the surface of
different meaning words.
But I don’t see the dark jaw
in the night,
or the soft center of touch spring alive.
There is effort and a plan.
There is marriage,
a shrinking room,
and a baby that eats time.
We do not say flesh when we mean sex.
We say it’s about right.
And, it would be nice.
We confirm how long it’s been
before we ask the other
to get up and make the bedroom
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