Let It Be Me

 

September comes and the days go tight.  Tentacles grasp, snatch, twist themselves, vines rooted deep crawl through my toes, wrap around my ankles, up my legs.  I watch the greens and pinks slip away to browns.  Slow hurries into quick, rushes about, reaches for dreams, planted from the year before.

Time runs click tock.

All those things folded and tucked away for another day.  All those things that have to be pulled out from underneath the brush, all those things in rooted under beds rotting in corners of bed rooms and offices and kitchens.  All those things to be dug out from the back of junk drawers, unearthed in kitchens to be tilled and spread, seeded and separated.  Thank you’s, happy birthday’s, congratulation’s, good job’s, rsvp’s, broken promises to be studied, analyzed, organized, donated, tossed, remembered, burned, ritualized, scrubbed clean. Stapled, paper clipped, rubber banded, shredded. Candle burning sticks and stones may break my bones and what about the Elmer’s Glue from years and years and years and those years so long ago?

Time is winding down.

Leaves change and let go they fall fire red decompose yellow. Die transparent.  Crackle crisp under the boots of plaid skirted pony-tailed schoolgirls that carry pink and purple backpacks and text on their smart phones.  We wrote notes on lined loose leaf that we  folded into triangles and passed back and forth at recess.

In September my skin catches fire.leaves fire

It reminds me
I have been attached to grief.

Rattled. Shingled. Raw.

I remember.  I feel back into the pins and needles and numb of twenty-five Septembers ago.  I remember winding my 280 ZX through Laurel and Mulholland and Cold Water.  I remember swerving and skidding and the squealing breaks, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me… slicing through thick canyon on heavy Autumn days.  I remember careening into Beverly Hills. Let it be me.   I remember white piles, powder dumped from brown glass onto dirty mirrors sniffed from pinkies and thumbs and tiny spoons and keys, the razor clicks divvy out lines to be snorted and sucked up and smoked and the rolled dollar bills, used and smelling acrid sweet. Absolute bloodied white light late night Marlboro Lights rock line shots and Hendrix till sun light .  Let it be me.

Hot fire harvest moon shines.
I remember
that dream.

Time brands.
I itch.
I scratch.
I pick
I irritate my scars.

Meanwhile, September speeds up, plows through October into November and burrows under the white winter blankets of drift for hibernation.

I am awake
I remember a dream.

Let it be me.

winter dreams

 

Sometimes I like starting over.  Getting a do over! Like when we were kids.  That didn’t count, do OVER!   I mean I start over ever day, don’t I? Isn’t that what life is about? I wake up, open my eyes, look at the light and start over.  I begin again. A new day has dawned and I start.  Even if I’m continuing I’m starting.

It reminds me of a song. Something I can’t quite place, but I hear the melody, the base, in the distant parts of my brain.  It’s back there, deep in the dark corners.  Maybe it’s under a box with yellowed folded love letters and old Polaroid’s.  I know it’s there because I can feel the song, seeping into my body, my limbs, but I can’t remember the song.  You know what I mean? I can feel it, just can’t quite remember it.  It’s like a memory, a flash of light, a sliver of color, a wedge of a dance, or a hint of a kiss.

 

like the moon that night
hanging low
shining  full
blue silver
the snow turning to ice
reflecting alice blue
under his steel blue gaze
he smiles with his round eyes
that mona lisa smile
i am nine
maybe ten
standing in fresh flurry

it’s new year’s eve
my parents are out
at a party
in the city
with their friends
kissing
my father’s arms pulling
my mother into him
celebrating thirteen years
and magic

josie, keeps us warm and happy at home

she lived down a long gravel road
in a red ranch house
my mother would drive
we’d sit in the back
waiting for josie to come out of her red house
so she could come to our house
to cook us rice  pudding
and read tom kitten’s mittens
she stuttered a little
when she said kitten and mitten
we all laughed
and ate our warm pudding

at midnight josie opens the front door
of our house
and we spill into the glimmering
into the night
this is our secret
she says

my footprints are first
my sister’s follow
we make our mark
then run to the neighbors
jumping diving leaving trails
on their pristine winter white lawns
“i’m the first one to step here!”
i sing into the sky
“i’m the first one to jump here!”
my sister laughs
“i’m the first one…”
we are two
glowing snow suited phantoms

our friends parents are strict
guarding their doors
at home
they are not at a party
in the city
kissing

we crunch back to our front lawn
fall back
kick our feet out
flap our arms up and down
careful to get up
without marring our perfect
powder blue angels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a little ditty

I’m walking around Wilson Park
I’m on my 3rd lap
I’m on mile three
My mind is moving faster than my feet

The election
The biting words
Cutting sharp blood letting
Lies
The planet
The hurricane and global warming
Ignore-ance
The ducks in the pond
I wish I had bread to feed them now that they’re back
How did they know
The pond was filled in again with clean water for them
Email?
Flyer?
Carrier Pigeon?

… little ditty about Jack and Diane
John Mellencamp sings in my ear

I’m sitting on the carpet in the corner of my bedroom in my on-campus apartment at Muir College at UCSD
I’m leaning against the cement wall
Natalie is leaning up against the window ledge
We’re just back from summer break
Natalie lost 20 pounds
All she eats now is wheat thins, tomatoes, cream cheese and canned green beans
Del Monte French cut green beans
There’s an open can on the floor next to the ashtray
A fork piercing the beans, standing straight up in its center

Our cigarette smoke curls toward the open window
Two open pink cans of Tab rest on the stack of books on the floor
at our feet
We’re talking about the Teds
Big Ted and Little Ted
Little Ted is my boyfriend
Big Ted is the boy we both have a crush on
Big Ted with his round dark eyes
Floppy brown auburn hair
Soft smile
White teeth
Full lips
Big Ted  more than just
Strong beautiful hands and good looks
Big Ted has conviction

  The sun shimmers in-between the leaves of the eucalyptus trees
we’re looking out toward the ocean
we know it’s there
through the trees on the other side of North Torrey Pines
we smell it
feel it
breathe it in
underneath deep inhales of our Marlboro Lights
 and thoughts of what it might be like to kiss Big Ted

 …oh yeah life goes on..

 it does go on
and on
and on
and on

I stop walking
green
green grass
green feathers on the male ducks

The olive green shag carpet in my dorm room
Natalie me and the ocean
the green can of green beans
the green plastic handle of the fork sticking straight out of the can
piercing the flesh of the beans
green
eucalyptus
apple
asparagus green
India
Islamic
pine lime sea green
fern forest and olive drab green
and the sun
Slipping in and out of all that green
Keeping us warm
On a cool afternoon

…long after the thrill of living is gone…

smoking
being by the ocean
listening to music
away from home
giggling
girlfriends
and the Teds

simple thrills

and all that dorm room green

 

The Making Of A History

 

Vacation Culebra

I can remember a warm hand
pressing on my belly
fingers like predictions
reaching
winding their way
forming into my future

I was still un-written
a white page
waiting for its epic poem
to adorn
with rainbow watercolor skies
swelling blue oil seas
fertile green forests
plump with fruit
pixie dust and dreams
of lips being kissed ruby red
sealed with white satin promises

Different authors penned my narrative
each hand bore its distinctive cursive blue and black liquid letters
an inked history
filled my book
some pages tore
shred
I let them fly into the wind

Others I folded
tucked away
an account
a tapestry of tangled kisses
broken hearts
miscarriages of desire
lost souls
ripening on the vine
falling to the earth
passion love hate anger joy sadness loss
chapters in my book

My life
reveals itself
in the warm curve
of my hip
the soft give of my tummy
the arch of my lower back
against my lover’s hand
as he presses into
my core

Our Vacation in Culebra

 

 

The Artist’s Wake

I wrote a poem
about a mermaid
framed in wood
her tail shimmering
arcing her forward in
swirls and swishes
of oiled water
in a liquid world

I look at her
hanging on my office wall
while I type an email
answer the phone
cancel a check
pay a bill
I wonder about her creator
I wonder where she swims
I wonder who she breast strokes, butterflies and crawls away from
I wonder what waits
floating
buoyant beacon
lighting her course

What wish
bobs on the surface
to be transformed
from a dream

For what requiem
has she scattered
ashes and rose petals
what pieces of herself
dust the canvas

The memory of a lover’s touch
in the shadow of a milky breast
the soft kiss of a first born daughter
in the auburn curl of fairy hair
the salty betrayal of a husband’s indifference
in the siren’s enchanted ethereal train

What soul
sits watching on the shore
as dreams liquefy
in the wake
and the Mermaid swims

 

 

 

August 16, 2012

Scattering Seeds

I unearthed an image.  I was digging through a dream of two high school freshman girls excited, bright, hopeful, best friends, flowers opening to spring showers and sun kisses.

We were standing under the Elm Tree on the corner of Gregory and Peck on an Indian summer Friday, on our way home from school.  Stacey, brown saucer eyes, long arms hanging, distended breastbone, had plans for popularity and I needed to understand.  “I can’t be your friend anymore, I need to be popular” her voice like the hot autumn day, dry, quiet, still.

A gardener, she had scattered seeds. Budding girls dressed in white organza tied in pink and blue ribbons with bows, powder blue suited boyfriend heads peaking in over shoulders, anticipation, round cheeks. Stacey smiling proud, brown saucers, convex breastbone protruding from the bodice of her ruffled dress.

They grew into hearty vines extending beyond her reach even when she was uprooted.

Plucked up by her mother and husband number six, adrift in the gamble of a better life far from their decaying one bathroom apartment on the outskirts of Beverly Hills.

Her garden grew untended. Vines crept along, up the manicured lawns to the high school’s entrance, they gripped the halls, zigzagged in and out of lockers, around metal legs of plastic chairs in classrooms decorated with periodic tables, chalk boards and art projects.  They tangled legs and arms, braided into the hair of girls and boys laughing in yearbook pictures.  They knotted beyond high school, into my summer and winter college breaks, when I would walk to the corner store,

“Hey, aren’t you at UCSD?” a shaggy haired voice calls out, eyes glinting green, pushing closer with a laugh.  “I hear people kill themselves down there”.  Hadn’t we once kissed?  Stealing a moment after school, in eighth grade, behind the double doors of the multi-purpose room. Stacey’s vines had taken root in this boy.

Like an abandoned garden on the side of a deserted farmhouse overrun with sprouted grass and weeds, becomes part of the landscape, unnoticed, the vines kept growing.

Memories fade, decompose, transform, become mulch for a healthy garden.  Till, dig deep, cultivate the earth, offer worms, cut spent blossoms, thin out dead, diseased and damaged stems, pull weeds, fertilize and deep water.  I did all this, on my knees, hot sun beating down, sweat pooling, dripping, fingers earth-digging, clearing, planting new seeds.  We all have gardens to tend.

That ginger moment, under the elm with my best friend, the one I captured and buried, looks different now.  I hadn’t noticed it then; the ripening emerald undergrowth Stacey’s mother had used to swaddle her.

August 1, 2012