Pretty much. I trim the rain as I trim my
hair. My best girlfriend agrees to play games
with her man—me, I stroll wet, laughing
at the ignorance of truck drivers and gas station
attendants: I have my own drives, and when
I travel from my kitchen to my bedroom, the
journey is thousands of miles made pink, curved
as I wish I could more perfectly be. My
mackintosh is, I admit, made of feathers
and those I tease glimpse (although they
are too preoccupied to notice) my inner
flight—I stroll the skyways, moving clouds
here and there, as if composing a Renaissance
painting or stealing his breath. I did
not steal it, I took his breath away
with words Raphael said, Rembrandt
said and my cute uniform made
of stockings and frills and little
else—oh, yes, men’s games are a pastime
of mine, and one day, one will look
over me to a sky and realise I am the
bird beyond all but sincerity, and love.
the missing month / between May and June
the final station of rain to flowers / flowers to pollen and growth
an overnight faunic insurgency / my mother would get up early to cut at the kudzu
suddenly we are ankle deep in it / my mother would rip the ivy from the bricks
it leaves behind little patterns like footprints or braille / a repeated word printed on
the south wall
climb climb climb climb climb climb
it’s a month that has no birthstone / only the smell of gem forming in the peat
pears sweating in the tree / ghosts clustering on the vine
a month for moving out / detritus on the streets / empty bookshelves, wineglasses
my mother hated clutter / the rest of us carrying home broken bicycles, an old
heavy buttons sinking into the mechanism / sticking in the underworld of gear and
we rang up the days until there were none left / everything reverting to the worn
the missing month / its name taken from some old mythology
a strange collision of planet and chemical / but this one forgotten
not preserved week to week / season to season / the god we let down
the unsayable name / some god of mischief and madness
the god whose totem or prayer marks the boundary of dawn and day /
of clear and clouded / the wax and wane of the sun through its humid smock
my mother fought excess because it pained her / her world was hemispheric
presence suggesting a corresponding absence / richness at our table was
someone else’s hunger
she cared for simplicity without elegance and pallor without hue / invisible strength
she taught me climb / my organs still slide loose in my body like seeds floating free
of the stem
when I am on some branch or bridge / the world dancing maps beneath me, a
geography she taught me
she does not visit during this month / during this month she is silent
I wonder what primitive man felt
the first time it rained.
A blue sky turned grey, bruised
and cracked open like a new mind,
a new consciousness of the universe
expressing itself in lush abandon,
with torn shards of cloud, blackened and jagged.
And now this wetness, a spackled blanket of liquid —
how strange, how exhilarating!
There must have been a first rain,
after man became conscious of himself:
for it had kissed his face, he’d felt it —
it was for him, for him!
Perhaps he would recognize it
in a moment of stunning awareness:
the ancient understanding of nature
having the same body as man.
For how could the rumble above be anything
other than the beating of his heart?
How could the rain, a broken-beaded necklace
of delicate drops, driven down from heaven,
be anything else, if not the tears
falling down his face?
down the block has a fire truck for sale.
A fire truck! Talk about disturbing. I find myself
wondering who sells or trades in a fire truck.
I know the economy is slow, and cut backs do come
after the first of the month, but it’s not like this
is a vehicle that can be replaced by a Fiat.
Then comes the question of who
would buy a used fire truck. Maybe an arsonist
with commitment issues, and some extra
cash burning a hole in his wallet.
She’s a wild woman. Leaves in
her hair. Like she just got up from some
crazy roll in the hay. No one sorts
her closets or her kitchen drawers
and you can’t find a damn thing
at her house: silver buckles hanging
from kitchen cupboards, satin shoes in
the potted plants, summer zucchinis
spoiling from the chandeliers. She’s
been out in the studio throwing paint
at the trees in a frenzy of inspiration.
Look at that scarlet one all flecked
with verdigris, those ochre heads
throwing themselves around in the wind
in front of that lapis lazuli sky. She’s
got deadlines and the pressure is beginning
to get to her. So many leaves, so little time.
That creep Winter is on the road
with his fancy suit and critic’s eye,
getting ready to pan her work
with his icy wit and slick finality,
always got to have the last word.
your toothbrush next to mine
encased in red plastic
lest I mistake it for my own
our sweaters hanging
like old friends
on the same peg
our jeans and socks
commingled on the floor
our limbs enlacedlike branches molded by the wind
A bed of rocks farewells the tide, drowsily
journeying beneath an autumn sky.
And high up on the cliff, at the forest’s edge
a beacon light, half concealed by vapour
clouds, hugs the ocean with ambient arms.
Handfuls of river stone, black as taipan eyes,
chant ancient murmurings to the forest-shadows,
a covalent bond with the estuary and earth and sky.
Much later, when the moon arises from the water,
eerie, her frock a Nostradamus file, she sings of other
landscapes, of young brides and desert storms
For, from where she comes and where she goes
darkness conceals its rhythm in irresistible
whispers upon desert shores, and from dust to rock
absorbs a purpose as definitive and naked as light.
Too hot to sleep too restless to sit too tired
to read, I head for the door and collie dog
springs to life. Sliver moon waning perches
on a Ponderosa across Deer Creek
and the low-down stars in milky wash do
their summer thing. The air goosebumps my skin
and I’m happy, grateful to be here, grateful
for nightsky and sweetsmelling breeze.
Neighbors’ windows are open, sounds drifting out,
Law & Order percussing, TV preacher
exhorting—The devil’s among us,
send money. Now music rides out on the scent
of a spice bush, violin—arpeggios, trills. Three
quiet dark houses, then a powerful snore
and a woman’s voice—Hey, coffee’s ready.
I almost call out—Make mine iced decaf…please.
We sit on the curb that holds yesterday’s heat
and listen and listen and breathe, watch free-falling
Perseids and hunters and sisters and the moon
inching from pine to cedar. Red light
on the mountain. Sprinklers hum on, dog woofs
and I laugh. Time-challenged rooster
cock-a-doodles. This night’s not made
for sleeping. We stroll past a house that’s lit up
like Christmas, on the lawn bears and flamingos.
Silhouette He behind windowshade asks—
Why did he leave her and where did he go?
Silhouette She asks—
Where’s the remote? Tabby cat wades
through the grass, collie dog follows tail swinging.
I sigh and say—Let’s go round once more,
hear what’s on TV now. Besides, I want answers—
Why did he leave her
and where did he go?
The light must be just right to capture it
This picture that I see.
The way its sunlit essence stirs fires
in my green-blue irises.
sucked and scalloped by the nakedness of the sun.
This smell of the linseed oil,
that stumbles through the cobalt blues and cadmium yellows.
The feel between my fingers,
in which the broken colour lies.
The sound of lead-ridden paper,
sullied by the traces of earlier thought and feeling.
Remembering back to when the traces of limbs, stems and muscle
seeped out from the tips of my fingers,
Tones of grey to crimson reds,
the merging of discordant hues and the
gradation of a rich sky.
Charcoal and burnt sienna stains these fingers,
as each element, like strawberry runners
spawns an offspring of colour,
blushing on hessian-like canvas.
To capture this subtle light,
which shines and scatters
through shuttered frames,
the golden mean must be attained.
The depth and luminosity of the grinding pigments,
clashing with the beeswax varnish and distilled turpentine,
unearth the sap greens against the raw umber;
the rich olives against the ebony blacks.
In this spectrum of glazing brush strokes
which create flames of yellow ochre and scarlet.
Tucked away unobtrusively,
all merge to form a spindle of beauty
that winds its pastels
to capture a single breaking moment.
A rough blanket of blah
droops over a do-nothing
Saturday. But that kid,
she’s shining like a bright-blue
mood ring, plunked in her
beanbag chair, grinning.
Eyes closed, toes furrowed
in the plum shag carpet,
she chomps on Bubble Yum,
Elton John crocodile-rockin’
in her ear. Is she loopy from
the pre-emptive zit-strike?
No, this smooth groove
is adolescent alchemy:
she’s turned her peach-fuzz
legs to nectarines.