Water Birds

I have had to pull back
from worrying about the world.
The things I can manage
are more intimate and modest:
who am I really, what do I do next.
I am not pretending
the world is not broken.
Water birds sit on the dam
that creates a flood-control lake;
drawing in my remembrances
opens calm where none was.
It’s been 4 years since
she last hurt me.
As I walk by, the birds, startled,
take to the air;
my memories swirl in like patterns ,
too complex to discern,
hinting at wholeness.

Imagination

My mind is your screened porch.
You sit in my imagination
on the daybed, reading.
The outside door inaudibly taps it’s frame.
Wind moves slowly in the trees,
almost overborne by freeway sounds.

My mind is your dining table.
You glance up at me,
unable to hold gaze for long.
The candles flicker, we taste our wine.
I feel heat pouring from you,
your desire, your reticence.

My mind is your bed.
I trace the hollow of your back
fingers brushing your skin.
Time slows, then resumes.
Outside this space, birds
sing, flutter, fly.

My mind is our space together.
Between us lies transient lily pads.
We walk across them, feet submerged,
almost falling into the pond.
Flowers open, close, we continue.
Everything stretches out ahead.

My mind can only barely contain
the thoughts of you, the touches of you,
the ways you open me, willing or not;
the impossible peace
being with you has created,
unexpected, cherished, my being remade.

Memory

My skin remembers yours
the way a puddle remembers the storm,
the way a shaving remembers the chisel,
rememberings that are not thoughts,
your back to my hand, your head to my shoulder.

My hand remembers yours
the way a pecan remembers the husk,
the way a chameleon remembers its color.

My lips remembers yours
the way an apple remembers the branch,
the way a cloud remembers the ocean,
the taste of you, sharp and sweet,
heels pressing my back.

My eyes remember yours
looking up through your hair, silver and purple,
the way an owl remembers the vole,
the way a sumac berry remembers its own tartness.

My heart remembers yours
the way a pinion remembers the wing,
the way this poem remembers, dimly,
iyourinconceivable wholeness.

Borders

1.
Decades spent longing for another life
anything but the one I inhabited
wondering where the border could lie
how I could possibly cross
if and when I discovered it

one day I suddenly stood there, at the line
the signposts were her eyes and hands
at the last, all it took was to walk across

each new crossing comes
just as unexpectedly as the first
a tiny spiderweb between two blades
of grass as we sit talking
the twitching of the bluejay’s tail
perched in a branch overhead
the look in your eyes
when I tell you I love you

I remember how it felt to stand
on the other side, certain
change was impossible
now I make forays back
retrieving parts of me I left

2.
Almost no one, even those I thought close
has followed my out of my old life.

For a while, that made me sad
so I stopped thinking about it

Then the people I missed became dead seedpods
floating away on the wind
when I brushed against the dandelion

I turn and a whole field of flowers
is stretched out
gold and blue

And you come behind me
your arms circling
your head against my shoulderblades

in the old country I had no love
now I have the love of three women
and friends more than that

I am bigger than I can understand;
each time, each time you touch me,
I finally recognize myself

3.
You stand at the sink.

I’ve dropped off fresh bread;
I come up behind, close,
my arms around you,
one hand cupping your pussy
through your shorts;
you take my hands
move them to your nipples
your shirt is thin and soft

we have an afternoon date,
soon

not soon enough

(untitled)

Your head is on my shoulder
you are deep in sleep breath rhythm
hair against my face.
Wind is whipping the branches
of the pecan tree outside my room,
dead pecans showering the patio slab.
My arm might be asleep,
or I might be walking, awake,
into an unknown room,
fear dropping away, your hand resting
on my chest; in my awake dream
the room is paneled in oiled pecan wood,
you sit at a table in the center
eyes shining, the dinner I cooked last night
still in front of you; everything an amalgamation
of what has been, what will be;
I stroke your hair and you murmur
sleep-words of care and freedom.

How I got here from where I was
how I was able to walk free of abuse
how I found you and her and her and him
is a mystery, a blessing, a grace.

I no longer find the Divine in everyday
except in the touch of your hands
the embrace of his arms
the feel of her lips on mine.

Forgetting

My skin has no more space for words;
they come out my eyes instead,
pointy and impolite.
They told me, you’re not done
until we say you are.
My heart has no more tolerance
for carving the pain of children
into the spines of books,
my hands bloody when I put them
back on the shelves.
Their moans pursue me
down library aisles.
Like everyone,  I’ve already forgotten
more than I ever knew.
It’s better to forget some things.

Meme

Someday I will be a meme.
I’ll make you chuckle knowingly
confirming your existing bias;
or, maybe, I’ll piss you off.
If I have to end my days
as less than 30 words
I want to be rainbow sparkly,
and dig a new wound
in the heart you had forgotten you had
reminding you that you’re alive.

The ways you look at me

There’s a way that you look at me
when you sit at my dining table,
right before you start eating,
when I’ve cooked something you like,
that tears my heart open.
There’s a way you look at me
sitting up in my bed, reading
when I come in the room
the light in your eyes
says, I’m yours always
There’s a way you look at me
tilting your head up
hair on my shoulder, soft and thick
your hand across my chest
when you say, I love you, Daddy
There’s a way you look at me
when we are skin to skin
your eyes getting wider
your voice a little hoarse
and you call me Daddy then, too

 

There are ways you look at me
and every time, no matter where
or when or why or how much
it tears my heart open, and afterward
it’s just a little bit bigger

Meal Prep

You’ve been on the road 5 1/2 hours
driving back from a board meeting
at your family ranch.
I can see you are road-weary
so I lead you in, sit you in a chair,
make a rye old-fashioned, not sweet,
and sit with you as you debrief.
I remind you it is our third anniversary tomorrow.
Your eyes, over the rim of your glass,
are full of desire and exhaustion.
I stand and lift you by the hand
and take you to my bed, as most times,
it’s about focus, intensity,
a very slow pace, often barely touching
whispering in your ear and feeling
your body relax into my described scene
your energy moving
connecting body, heart, throat, mind energies.
After, you doze, and I
begin our anniversary meal
and suddenly, standing there,
knowing you are in my bed naked,
knowing our relationship stretches out
ahead of us infinitely, deepening
and intensifying with each time we meet, I expand momentarily
beyond the room, beyond the house;
looking back, I see myself standing, knife in hand
in front of a cutting board, the simple
pleasures of chopping tomatoes,
onions, feeling them cool and liquid
under my fingers as you were
warm and liquid to my fingers earlier,
I am still expanding, all time is now,
for one moment I am back
to the Unity I had 40 years ago
connected to everything by love
and then I am back in my body
brought back by onions and garlic,
making a meal for you, love
made visible; later, you sit in your robe
wine in engraved crystal, my elegant plates,
sterling, my tiny table barely able
to hold everything, my heart
barely able to hold everything.
You tell me that it is delicious,
Unity now just hanging close, over
my right shoulder, the energy
from your heart to mine, your eyes to mine
an unbreakable strand.

Defiance 4/20/20

I’m lying in bed, texting with my Princess,
I tell her I am so in love with her;
as of yesterday, 39 people here have died;
it’s been a month since her head
rested on my shoulder, hair in my face;
the epidemiologists say, take confirmed cases
and multiply by 100, so, 101500 cases here
in reality; not quite 10% of the population,
I probably know someone who is sick,
maybe without symptoms; reality is where I want to live
and reality sucks, missing her is aching
in my chest, worried that those I love
will fall ill, so many large and local talents
have already left us, and its not like
that doesn’t happen every day usually;
I measure my desire against the length
of time I can expect to have left;
another lover’s young cousin is recovering,
he says take the regular flu and make it
ten times worse, and that’s what this was;
in my back yard, a patch
of bright pink evening primroses, planted, no doubt
by birds, not by me, sprang up two months ago
I mow around them so they can reseed;
I see photos of workers loading bodies
into refrigerated trucks, they get paid
the first day in case they are too sick to come back;
mass graves being dug in other states;
I am digging holes for my plants and vegetables,
killing weed roots, enriching the soil;
gardening is hoping in the face of doubt,
waiting for something miraculous,
the first green shoots breaking the dirt,
at first weed and flower indistinguishable;
allergy attacks and coronavirus at first
often indistinguishable, death mimics pollen;
in my daily life, texting with a new person
suddenly realizing they are a new bloom,
so many weeds pop up from dating apps
that a real connection is as unexpected
as volunteer wildflowers, or the mint that resprouted;
every day now is unique, the gift of reappraised mortality;
I sit on the piano bench during our worship recording,
church done by 4 people with an empty sanctuary,
feeling in my body the absence of the assembly,
realizing that the Sunday after Easter this year
is the 10th anniversary of my last time
presiding at the table for communion,
being ordained a deacon took away
being able to do sacraments in the Methodist church
that I was able to do when merely licensed, a weird system,
getting kicked out of the ordained club was only one loss;
driving home, 5 or more colors of wildflowers
are blooming in the highway median;
life continues, with mine on a deep pause;
I am learning small things matter most,
longing to stand at my stove cooking for her
while she sits up in my bed studying;
I am able to see one of my lovers, and that connection
deepens and morphs, skin and heart and vision;
today I will plant the antique roses that were shipped
from a farm in east Texas, an act of defiance
against the real possibility that I will get sick,
against everything that is fucked up in our world;
an act of raising my middle finger to our liar-in-chief;
an act of planning for the near-time, maybe in weeks
when one of these will bloom, amazing fragrance,
one bud, cut, filling a room with rose scent,
and putting it next to her side of the bed
when she will once again be there,
her head on my shoulder.

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