Monthly Archives: January 2018

A Small Bed in a Small Room

A small bed in a small room, the bright and harsh August sun

spilling in through the thick cream curtains over the window.

It hot, sweltering in this room, but we clutch each other close,

still under a thin blanket, our prayers made in our silence, dreams.

A pocket universe, a hiding place with a ring of salt around it,

keeping our demons out for the moment of our still embrace,

an angel taking mercy on us puts down his flaming sword

and we rest in the quiet and the honey shadowed afternoon.

I kiss your head, and you turn to kiss my lips, brush my cheek

and then we make love, in the heat and the shadows, and are one

flesh and one spirit and one dream, and are like angels, or Adam and Eve,

when God was everywhere before their eyes, and no demons could corrupt.

And as night falls, we dress in loose, large shirts and pajama bottoms

and make a simple meal to share, and then sit on the front porch,

the plain so wide open and nothing hiding the Milky Way, God’s eye,

from us as the night falls, and the most sacred procession begins.

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Wasps

I push her on the swing, tied to the tall branch of the giant tree in her front yard.

It’s not like when we were kids, but it’s still sweet on a warm late April afternoon.

We are quiet, lettingĀ  the wind whisper and the leaves rustle, the sun warm us.

She’s back in town for Spring Break, and I’m having one of my calm spells, all is well.

Her slim shoulder blades are warm under my palms, as I softly push her up and up again.

The tree is the Tower of Babel before it was struck down, when we could both speak.

Another year has passed. She sends funny cards for my birthday, and a book store gift card.

I write her poems that I email her college account, wresting beautiful words out of my unquiet.

My uncle joked when we were kids that we’d get married one day, but her angels were stronger.

Her angels were stronger and she is still a child of the sun, and I fight to climb back to daylight.

Demons, like wasps in caterpillars, plant their fetid seeds in your dreams, eat them from the inside.

She looks up through the leaves to the blue sky, and there’s still one of her angels holding my hand.

She asks if I want to go with her to Roland’s for supper tonight, says it will be her treat.

I say yes, and I almost feel normal, like a real live human, having friends, going out with them.

She hugs me, and she seems so small in my arms, so much gossamer swallowed by my weight.

She gives me an extra squeeze and she walks to the porch, waves back at me before going inside.

I wave back, and then walk down the streets that seem so mocking, so dark in their amiable light.

Tonight I will see her, and we’ll have a good time, and I’ll keep that ember to fight the hungry wasp.

To Hell

Long golden hair, pale from the sun and a minor vanity, tied up by a brown leather strip.

Dull grey tank top and khaki fatigues, old, worn and so faithful boots, holding on for her.

Deep and earthy brown eyes, that radiated sweetness, but had the marks of bitter loss.

We sat side by side on the edge of the wilds, deep in Texas, in the harshness of summer.

Helicopters chopped the air above us, like the devil beating his wife, loud barks of aggression.

Soon one would lift off with both of us inside, to Houston, where it’d all gone to hell this time.

She’d take picture, and I’d write words, to show the world what had happened in hell this time.

But the world always rolled on, like every assignment before, until hell finally claimed the world.

The city in the distance, Houston, where held had shown up a few days ago, was red and raw

out there on the horizon, a wound that hadn’t healed and was filled with infection, a broken flesh howl,

as the fires burned and everything seemed to slip farther and farther away from us saving ourselves.

She still wears the Joan of Arc medal I gave here when we were confirmed, a faith found in the corner of our eyes.

It’s time for us to go, we collect our bags of gear and walk onto the tarmac, to fly into the fire.

National Guard soldiers and first responders, other journalists here, trying to repair, trying to record.

We board our chopper and lift off into a sky blue and smoky and churning and heavy with threatened rain.

Her eyes are closed, her head slightly bowed, praying perhaps for strength, deliverance, and a chance at hope.

Slash of the Moon

Daisie sat on the edge of the river, cold beer in her hand,

just brought up from the cold water where it was sat to cool.

Her friend was asleep in the tent, but she was wakeful, restless,

and sat in the darkness beneath starlight and slash of moonlight.

She felt almost weightless, as if she was straining to break free

from the earth, from gravity and the world, back up to those stars,

from which she’d been seeded, either by supernovas or malevolent beings,

to nothingness of light, the dream that was without wakefulness.

Out in the water, she heard splashing and an animal cry, hissing, angry.

Her eyes had adjusted to the dim luminescence from the stars above,

and in the white shadows, she saw a mermaid, with black, black hair

and glints on aquamarine skin, and eyes that shined, fish in it’s mouth.

The mermaid, bared it’s teeth around it’sĀ  kill, angry at being seen.

Daisie’s breath caught, cold fists clutching her lungs, her heart racing.

Eye shine in the bone pale moonlight, they gazed one at the other.

Then the mermaid, with a flick of her tail and a big splash, went under.

Daisie sat there in the starlight, the cold and gripping fists slowly letting go,

and looked out dumbly were the wild and hungry eyes of the mermaid had

gazed out upon her, one of the last wild things, and comforting in it’s harshness.

Even here, only an hour away from Gatlinburg, untamed beasts still lived.

Daisie sipped from her beer, and thought of her friend, sleeping, without a care.

The alcohol, and the cold, the weightless untethering, the flicker of the mad world,

all unmoored her from her flesh, her spirit walking in the stars, on the true moon,

that was Artemis’s skull after the waking of her last daughter’s eyes, so long ago.

Angel In The Sky

You’re all in white, long flowing dress,

and black leather boots.

You’re up on the stage, angel in the sky,

shaking this devil to his roots.

Songs of sorrow, songs of joy,

and your tender voice calling.

I am raptured, penitent, dreaming,

as if into light I am falling.

Dancing and whirling dervish, fey child

on that stage, wild and free.

I feel your magic inside my heart,

as offered golden apples from Asgard’s tree.

Such hard years behind me, but you give

with your songs and tender voice ringing

a call that awakens my dormant angels,

and rouses them again to innocent singing.

Can I go back to the better place you take me?

Can I be a sweet child, without this bitter weight?

You up on the stage, angel in the sky,

you don’t see me, but I see you at the gate.

A Thorn in Her Flesh

Rebekah stood before the black wire fence,

looking out onto a sky, a whole entire world,

a deep and cold blue in the late evening.

The wind was cool on her bare arms,

standing there in thin t-shirt and jeans,

not anticipating the cool of the night in the desert.

The fence was behind the hotel, to keep out

the coyotes and predators, those also on two feet.

She watched the horizon, expecting something, fearing it.

She and her friend, a trusted male friend, very rare,

sat in a loud sports bar. She nursed a weak and pale beer.

He watched her over his burger. Wanting to say something.

She smiled for him, took a sip of beer, tried to watch a game.

The noise and lights and motion and thumping music was

making her jittery, only worsening her anxiety and dread.

They were headed to Mt Shasta. To Northern California.

Was it foolish to go there? To test these dreams and fears?

She wanted out of this loud bar. The fearful quiet was better.

She lay on her bed, the hotel room had two, and though sleepless

was still and in a dreaded, alien peace, without her phone and it’s

music and videos and baubles, that soothed the thorn in her flesh.

The outline of the streetlight outside made shapes of husks and demons,

and she feared that she was mad and she feared the demons were real,

and she feared that nothing would ever let her escape these things.

Her friend slept easy. Maybe as a man he was much better and choking

and stamping down all these black and corrosive feelings, pretending

it was all alright. The shadows shifted. The outline reached for her.

Nothing would ever set her free.

Precarious Angel

Daisie stands beside me, in the old school in the forest.

Overgrown and dusty, still some desks and scattered books,

and arcane and forgotten messages of cracked chalkboards.

The scent was of musky decay, and all faded things.

She takes pictures, and poses me in a desk beside a window.

Pensive, I look out into the afternoon, the sun through

the dirty glass blowing out the darkness to give me a halo.

I am a precarious angel. My adoration of her all that makes me human.

She walks down the hallway, looking in the rooms, quiet.

All will pass away. Someday the world will be as this place.

Me and Daisie will be in our graves, and will pass onto dust.

Will the grace of our friendship, of our strength together, remain?

Will the love for another, return to heaven, be eternal light in another age?

Calling The Name of the Stars

Daisie is asleep upstairs on the couch,
wrapped in the pale blue, flowery comforter,
hopefully dreaming of beautiful things
beyond this broken world.
I try to put into to words, tools so
obtuse and transitory, the feelings
I have for her, my closest friend,
and the solace we’ve carved out here.
Head stills swims from the wine we shared
as we sat on the roof, calling the names of
the stars, and talking about all that was
going to come to be, hoping we’ve escaped pain.
Morning comes, and I give her that soft
and swallowing comforter, the biggest, fluffiest
pillow, and tell her to sleep well, to dream well,
as the sun came up, and we had no where to be.
In the downstairs room, my little office for writing
and her treasure and knick knacks to come today
for her bedroom on the third floor, with the window
that welcomes the sun every morning.
Been through hell, been swallowed by the beast,
but we’ve put miles and distance between those days,
and time, and we’ve found a solace in this house,
on a quiet street, and in each other, true and sacred friends.
May our world begin again. May we be wild children again.

A Sigh Of Shrouds

Cara and I were camping in the forest;

by a clear and roaring stream we set up camp.

The dark night and cold, grey morning misty,

the leaves and grass, the air, our faces, damp.

She bathed naked in the stream, the sun away,

hiding it’s face, like God would, behind grey clouds.

The waters were cold, but they carried away her sins,

and she was naked in spirit, clean, not a sigh of shrouds.

At night, through the mesh of the uncovered tent roof,

she lay her head on my shoulder, and we watches stars crawl

across the night sky, clear and whole, with the cities far away.

Even in the sky, angels hide their breaths behind an illuminated shawl.

But after she is asleep, curled into a ball, muttering as she dreams,

filled with wonders I’d not yet found or accepted in grace,

I sat by the campfire. Like Mercury, only my face has light and warmth.

This strange season a whisper, heard only in such a quiet, lonely place.

Ariadne

Ariadne, golden thread,

when I was left in the labyrinth

to be devoured by The Minotaur,

led me, through the endless halls

and lightless days and awful cold

and the terror of the beast

back up to the light, back up to

the sun, and the warmth of summer,

away from The Minotaur’s devouring.

Golden thread, alight and golden,

shown in that bottomless pit,

through the catacombs

as I shivered in that bitter bleak,

as the fear of the beast hunting me,

the fear of endless dark in it’s belly,

to hold onto, thread through shaking

hands, and follow back to the sun,

to warmth of daylight and life in bloom.

Ariadne, standing there, as I came out

of the pit, that bottomless pit, holding

the end of the golden thread in her hands

hands that let it go as I emerged, and stroked

my face and wiped away my tears, and raised me up

and showed me the sun was still there shining,

and that the beast had not won, The Minotaur

had not taken my soul as a feast, that I was out

of the darkness, and it all could be wonderful again.