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Month: April, 2014

A Month of Poetry: Seven

Faith

 

When I was a child,

I wanted so desperately to

feel the faith

that I saw on TV.

I wanted to sit

around the abundance

link hands

and give thanks

for the overflowing table of food.

Fill up my growing empty.

I wanted my daddy-

any one of my daddies-

to kneel beside my bed with me

and pray for the Lord

to keep me safe at night.

Instead, after Saturday sleep-overs,

I would wait for my friends and their families

on Catholic or Lutheran

church steps, weeping.

Creeping close to the door cracks

trying to absorb Faith.

But the door was closed to me

and the magic never seemed to reach outside.

Later, my mother signed us up

for afterschool bible study

a daycare of sorts.

We prayed, sung, and had snacks,

we inhaled the apple slices

prayed for the worries of children:

food, clothes, shelter, sober parents

but the songs got stuck in my throat

My God is an awesome God, he reigns

was so hard to swallow

as I watched Mrs. Janet

tell the stories of all the felt men.

Abraham sacrificing his son.

Trapped in the Arc with Noah.

Even little David, up against the power,

would soon grow into a man.

A son, a father,

this all powerful male ghost.

The only woman I saw was Mary,

a girl a little older than me.

And her Father must have come

to her in the night too–

they said she didn’t choose sex

but no one could hide her swollen belly

inside the belly, her faith

growing into another

bearded man.

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A Month of Poetry: Six

This love is perfect. I often think

it is the kind that inspires movies, songs and

poetry. When I contemplate this out loud

you often reply, from the space between your grinning dimples,

in your signature cliché: “Only better, because it is real.”

Somehow even repetition looks better on you

to me. The image of the late afternoons we spend

tangled in each other- unsure where one begins and

ignoring any possible ends- while the sun paints

dancing rainbows on our bedroom walls

and the cats beg readmittance from behind

the closed door- constantly plays in my head.

 

But this too is just an illusion. The image we want

to cling to as reality unveils. It tastes like the kiss

we manufacture before parting: expectation, ordinary, routine.

The bad taste of a shrink-wrapped brownie from the vending machine

that we accept as a substitute because we aren’t willing

to create more. Or willing, we don’t know how.

Who has energy to truly satisfy this craving?

Instead we settle for bitter replications of

pairings, sold many times before.

A Month of Poetry: Five

I was going to write

a poem today

but the empty

refrigerator and cupboards,

the keeping away of my son’s stomach growl,

followed me to my desk.

 

I knead.

On the fifteenth,

the state will deposit more

food money.

Until then, cool tap water

and brown powder flour

crust and crumble but

hold, hold mystery

ingredients and every leftover

crumb. His laughter.

 

My worry

for him, play.

An experiment in food.

A full belly to dream on. 

A Month of Poetry: Four

For Her

 

I noticed one dead bird

and then another.

These are the current signs

of spring.

 

Later, a robin landed on the fence.

 

I remembered walking

from second grade. It was just

after Easter. I found a small blue egg

by the trunk of a tree and put it

in my empty mouth. I spit it into my hand and tried

to birth it from the warmth of discarded rags.

 

This robin grew from an egg

before it perched on this fence.

 

It was probably birthed from

a proper nest.

 

This is not my robin.

This is not my fence.

 

Consider this: All travel is time travel.

 

Here, the egg did not hatch.

But waiting for her, I collected from the burn pile

of secrets and created wings.  

Strung the cardboard of flattened beer cases

and cigarette cartons on an extra pair

of boot strings someone else didn’t need.

 

Tied to the costume of trash

I role-played free.  

 

Here again:

I noticed one more dead bird

and then another.

This time together,

a pair.

 

 

I am still wearing crafted wings.

And I am still waiting for her. 

A Month of Poetry: Three

Haikus: Lacking Vitamin D

 

one:

 April first, us fools

heated global semantics

over frozen spring

 

two:

 our open windows

cracked: expose apathy

hidden all winter

 

three:

 resurrection time

only nature returns, son

and father absent

 

four:

 the raindrops fall up

to a sky that is waiting

to be painted blue

A Month of Poetry: Two

Gay Bar Villanelle 

 

“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.”

This is what I say,

but we have met here before. 

 

At first, I don’t recognize your disguise- 

you are unfamiliar, new today:

Hello, it’s nice to meet you.

 

Outside we hide behind shameful lies,

terrified of the label gay-

but we have met here before.

 

I know you. I see it in your eyes,

in the way your hips sway-

Hello, it’s nice to meet you.

 

Still on the dance floor my hands move to your thighs-

a stranger is watching, so you push me away-

but we have met here before.

 

Outside it is over, I sigh.

The rearview mirror reflects my dismay.

Hello, it’s nice to meet you,

but we, too, have met here before.

A Month of Poetry: One

One Body Cast

 

one

Is it a burden

or a privilege?

Either way we pay.  

 

two

The smell of perspiration

misted with toilet water,

bottled and sold.  

 

three

An opportunity for new perspectives,

the mind pretends to understand

what life is like trapped in a wheel chair.

But you, too,

will just walk away.  

 

four

Hands and private parts 

are exposed.  

Hands and private parts and a five year-old’s curiosity

are exposed. 

 

five

A breathing canvas of boredom,

graffiti replaces clothes.

 

six

Synthetic skin,

cold and hard.

An unnatural barrier,

separating the bond

between mother and child,

skin and air.   

 

seven

White Duct tape and tan mole skin

mending the yellowing mender 

that leaves scratches and bruises

and tortures you until you scream at night.  

 

eight

My arms around the body-

holding close what will soon heal.

 

nine

An image of you slipping in the bathroom,

your first experience with the splits,

but you do not get up,

is framed and displayed.

It begs interpretation,

demands explanation-  

 

ten

An ordinary fall.