Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Meme: 5 Things

I discovered the other day that Jean of this too tagged me last week when I wasn't looking. I enjoyed reading her post and some other lists of "5 things you might not know about me." I was taken with Marja-Leena's story about her childhood artist's garret. It reminds me of the cozy cedar closet I had when I was five. My mother hung a little lamp inside and, in its pool of yellow light, I sat in a chair sized just for me, reading for hours at a time.

Five childhood memories:

1. Lying in bed in Paris, feverishly ill for two weeks, green wine bottles filled with hot water lining the bed underneath the sheets for warmth.

2. Two of us making elf dinners out of lichen and moss pollen, served on acorn caps, among the Vermont boulders not far from the bubbling, foamy creek.

3. Swallowing a friend's red Barbie doll shoe. I was just rolling it around on my tongue and next thing I knew it was gone. Vanessa wanted it back. She didn't get it back.

4. The priest — the imposing, huge one who drove a motorcycle with black cassock billowing out behind him — who got me interested in learning Hebrew.

5. Eating an open-faced peanut butter sandwich topped with jam and a bee. Ow.

If you'd like to be tagged for this meme, consider it done. Just let us know in the comments that you'll be responding.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shuffling back to the light

I have spent a very long and uncomfortable week in bed, in the company of an especially vicious flu virus. It will be a bit before I regain enough strength to get going here again, but I am on the mend.

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Still here

all the breath and all the wind
I have gathered
has not cleared me
of your touch

which reached under my skin
into my blood and bone
where I hold

you, still
close to my heart
curled deep inside me

like a sleeping

Click on the photo for a larger version. It's better bigger.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Carnival dreams

Tip your nose to the scent of sugar,
your eye to the ferris wheel!
High above a tiny toy town
feel the pulse of the vertigo reel —
don't you dare look down!

The noise of the crowd will keep you afloat —
breathe in the sparkling glitter,
plastic and paint, balloons and lights,
the sweat and sweets and shouts,
crane your neck, don't miss a thing,
bump your little car down the long, dark tunnel
of this fantastic night!


"Gonna want a gun when that
one's sixteen," he says
with a nod and a leer.
Your arms about her, you hold her close
and for a moment cannot breathe
in the cigarette-smoke wreath
that wraps you three,
you two and the skinny carny.


"Step right up, see the beautiful girl,
the most beautiful girl in the world!
Come close, come close!
She's about to perform
the world's most dangerous stunt!
Look real close, folks, and you will see,
she has no restraint at all!"

You watch her spangled body arch
and turn and tumble and flash,
plummeting fearlessly through the night
into water, or a maybe it's a net,
or the dark pit of your stomach.

This is a manipulation of a stock photo.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Under ash

trails grey
into the rosy-grey

with a
flock of paler

rising in
a swirling fan

chimney tops
and bare branches

ash and
charcoal, burns fire

Click on the photo for a larger version. Much better bigger.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The way her arms happened to
cradle them, they looked
like rounded fruit, past
the firmest stage, but

still sweet. Her daughters
and sons may remember
their tenderness as they
lean in for a hug. But
who maps the contours

of her orchards now?
Who knows that
crocuses will still
spring up under
her step after winter?

This is a manipulation of a stock photo.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The land is sleeping

the land is sleeping mud and ice
patches of snow in stiff, dry brush
broad shoulders and hips of hills
still and mute in thin sunlight

the land is dreaming
of something melting
of being swollen and wet
ready to green

one day the moon will rise
over that big shoulder and hear
a new wind whispering a warm song
into the ear of aspens by the seep

and the tongue of the creek
will tumble warbling downhill until
small birds arrive with
bits of sunlight in their beaks

Click on photos to see larger version. It's worth it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

With all tender honesty

cracked china cup
gilt edged
exquisitely hand painted
sitting off kilter on the saucer

still warm
tannin stains
about your ankles

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New day

the light falls just so
gold on black ice

time does not stop
neither does love

Click on the photo to see a larger version. Much more interesting in detail.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


this is what it was
a grave, a quiet spot
away from the madding crush
a place to breathe

your face emerging from the soil
eyelids closed to sun and stars
nose clear and breath slowed
lips sealed and unmoving

I look at you as if for the first time
and with my small hand
wipe a bit of soil
from your cheek

your eyes still want to close
silence covers you
just as you covered yourself
in the earth

what complacency
what complicity
led you here
to lie hidden in the grass

no pinprick of starlight
to pierce a pupil
no soft caress of cloud
to inflame your cheek

season after season
stiff against the wind
even your ears buried
so as to hear nothing

but the song of the dark earth
and now my breath
as I croon a lullaby of
awakening and with my fingers —

this must be done slowly and
with the solidity of courage —

brush the soil from your temples
from the crevices of your eyelids
run my fingers across your cold lips
touching silence, touching fear

Click on the photo to see a larger version.