In the middle of the sea lies an island (me) My volcano became shy stuttered, and ran dry Overall I've settled in and become less interesting My sisters have eroded or sunk beneath the water An island with no chain is lonely indeed I do still support life In my own way I am green, lush and unspoiled The sky rolls and watches The ocean laps against me Perhaps no man is an island But for women there are different notions
The trees stand in perfect formation Like battleships, tanks and planes In this season they let loose their ammunition and leave us with the debris Grasshoppers lay dead among the leaves they are civilian casualties The bees have gone home in perfect synchronicity much like the foreign armies of the war The skunk, he sleeps in his burrow, so deep it is a bomb shelter that will protect him from the fires And the trees, the trees are abandoned Bereft of leaves, they wait for the next war
The sisters Erato and Euterpe, and that cruel mistress Calliope gathered together one fine day to create a poem, or perhaps a song for their sacred mother, Mnemosyne they worked hard and long Until it emerged from their stained fingers a verse so perfect it still lingers in modern memory. Some say and all agree, with secret smiles there shall never be another of its like I am staring down, down deep into the void And the abyss stares back at me She sees what she wants to see And I can only see the deep nothingness of her eyes I saw a magpie on a tree hopping back and forth one, two, three As if contemplating to go or stay And before I could know whether he would stay or go A laugh drew me away My mother is an accomplished crocheter and Gran sews a magnificent stitch Even my grandfather he, was in business, you see His accomplishments are legendary in certain circles As for me, I want to write and write well But it is nothing because it won't make me a teacher or a nurse (all bow down to the sacred white collar!) I am sinking deep And those eyes are staring Cats must have quiet souls They sleep all day and lay like art upon the sofa I saw a painting in the hall of a woman who lay sprawled luxuriously, on nothing I claimed it changed my life I lied It was the cat One, two, three One, two, three Stay or go or further contemplate One, two, three Calliope with her deep, dark gaze is staring at me While Erato and Euterpe refuse to meet my eyes They will not sympathize For they have composed the master work and in the face of that I am forever lacking (and still I look into the abyss)
In college I knew Ryan I don't know him now Before him there was Shannon who I never knew, and how! It high school it was Sarah and others I forgot In fourth grade I knew Megan, so now I know her not And before here there were many who I never knew, or will In first grade I met Brittany and I know her still Happiness is a place I want to know I never had imaginary friends (and yet we still played) I made some real friends too but they rarely stayed I don't like feeling poorly, and I am no longer grieving, so I forgave their leaving, still They keep on deceiving, and I keep on believing Happiness is a place I want to remember In my head I hear it low The whisper of a song From a time that's now behind And oh, it's been so long I know I should let go To forget would not be wrong I tell myself and still It seems I'm hanging on If happiness is a place, can I go? When we were young the world bloomed she grew in gold and green Now those tales are old and done and told I remember what I've seen This world, she claims I am full grown And doomed with the adults to plan to tryst to walk in mist to love and lose and lull I'm told a world long gone a world gone long It is, it has been, it will be for me And so with this I walk in mist to see what I may see Happiness was in September
The world is full of stone-cold souls lined and bunched and ground They look and frown from their marble bowls They detest that we're around Emily had an angel face a heart of pure spun silk And no comprehension of that place They flowed over her like milk Now in their dark and shallow depths they tremble and they hiss And they wonder why Emily, Emily, Emily Emily is all there is
A year and a half in housekeeping behind and done and gone Having never known such strife or lived through work so long No longer quite so young As a result, a different view between you and me, the things we knew The difference of a sprout and flower Time, it's power has instigated the law of continuous change To show it's range: A tree grows in smog and mud and rain battered by heavy winds it bends, it twists and knots persist it does everything to gain a foothold such strong roots born of will, such pain The point is this As I am enduring it no longer in retrospect, I see I did not get beaten down and emerge stronger I did not slowly wither, to later thrive This truth ought be spoken I was broken and reshaped into what I became to survive
Calliope sits with her tablet on her thighs she cocks her head she hears our cries she smiles slyly and invites us with her eyes to try again We have our paper and our pen Our quill and ink and type We have decided this is when We will gird our loins and try again To write And we will write until we stiffen We will write until we go blind We will write until we are nocturnal We will write until we petrify We will lose our hope and then We will try to write again When we are no longer breathing When we are six feet beneath Our fingers, they will twitch And we will yell our grief Because we love that cold hard bitch And even then We will want a pen And Calliope sits with her tablet on her thighs she cocks her head she hears our cries she smiles slyly and invites us with her eyes to try again
For Sarah, Feb. 2010
Eggs were in my oatmeal this morning when I poured hot water from the kettle out hatched all the dinosaurs. They fumbled and they grumbled awake from age-long rest they climbed great oatmeal mountains Stegasaurus and T-Rex. They were loud and proud and monstrous they gave a bellow and a roar I found I could not eat them and instead led them to my sock drawer. Now they amble and they ramble over hills of cotton cloth they roam the folded landscape the dinosaurs my oatmeal caught!
At fifteen I knew you. But not at sixteen and now we are twenty-two. And now it seems you are a simile of a person I knew. And if now I ran into you I might say, "You remind me of someone I knew." And that person would be you. She would be the you I knew.
Together we we never see the things we should And though not shy we both just lie we'd sooner die before we would Admit to knots of creeping thoughts we never bought those lands And so in bed I hold my head I could instead be reaching for your hands