Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heat upon Heat

If there's anything I regret, it's my perpetual absence. I've usurped a full life with a gregarious demeanor. Who are these personae?

The Cold-Hearted Hero
So composed, so in control, so sure and scared. She is desperate to fulfill her promise, a child. Her voice is uncaring and impenetrable. She cannot be harmed, for her apathy is absolute. Her passion lives only in duty, her compassion died with the child that was harmed. The child in her care, whom she did not save, could not save.

She is emphatic, but only to persuade. She is poised, but only to strike at any that thwart her. He is afraid of letting her near a child, but he doesn't understand. She will never be a mother. She is merely the procurer of lost dreams. The kinsman redeemer of a childhood raped by a scorned trust in humanity. Her sadness keeps her erect. She made a promise, but she wants out of her cement chair.

To be fluid, submerged and loose. She is the epidermal armor that entraps the form that would be she. Oh to be a shawl, a draped accessory that moves with the wind, with the spirit.

The Secret Garden

Nothing can surpass the innocent cackle of a little girl. She succumbs with abandon to the jest of the moment; her hold body sways and trembles with laughter. I want her to laugh again, to play and never look over her shoulder for the looming man in the white porcelain mask and the trenchcoat that shrouds evil in daylight.

She doesn't live out of her mind, but trusts her instinct implicitly. Is the seer? Cybol, is that you? I cannot even find her and must describe her to draw near. All I hear is the Hero, promising, I will give you a child... I will give you your childhood back.

When she is with other children, she sheds any remnant of a broken past. She enters to a playworld so real, that imagination takes visceral form. Their language is simple and profound. She can play. But, without them, without even a prospect for caretaking, other than her own mending, can I still call her out?

The Ephemeral Healer

I've carried you for so long, Papa. Where you abandoned her, I held fast to the pretense of your love. I am the babelfish in her ear, when your words fall short. I am the arms that hold with selfless constancy, when your grip loses its sincerity. I am the father who provided, fought for, and knew her.

You will no longer have me to mop your vomit off the face of my beloved. You are only what you are, the father she never had. Abandoned and without provision, that is her story you prick. How dare you presume that it is not too late for you. Her child is gone and can only be tended in the secret reaches of her heart, by her own hands. Your balancing act was not sufficient to nurture this gifted creature.

Your jealousy, your selfish insistence upon a vicarious life through her bloody rags has lost you the only duaghter you will ever have. What remains is a woman who has made a life without you. If you care to know her, it requires that you acknowledge not only your failures, but your very soul. For I will no longer translate the language of mummified feeling to this glorious creature pulsing with life. I will not hover the graveyard for you. I am a ghost no longer, but an sprite of healing balm that will sooth the wounds you failed to mend.

The Illuminator

Impartial and calm, she dwells in a minaret with no stairwell; only a window from which her light alone is visible. Through it, she can focus and zoom on any crevice, splay any shadow, and foresee any harm.

It is not put to her to make decisions, she simply informs. She is compassionate in that she is wise and pessimistic, but her realism intimidates any soul that would leap without seeing, even her own. She fears nothing, because she has nothing to loose. She is the mouth-piece of the light. The voice of gods. She cannot bleed, but she can be diminished.

A Silo of Safety

One for you, one for you, another for you and of course, one for me. Each safe in her own space, this charismatic molder of the hearts of men can make all your dreams come true. A chameleon, a networking savant, she has the answer and knows what you need before you do. She can break bones with honey and you will thank her for it. Who needs an arm anyway? Especially, if that arm had the potential to be raised in fury against her.

She reads your potential, surmises the fact of your life, labels your soul and then forgets all about you until you pose another threat. Everyone can be happy at their own expense, for making herself safe is paramount. Perhaps the most controlling and manipulative, she is sly, trained and ready for anything.

I am sure there are many more to explore: the knower, the lover, the secret-keeper, the rebel. But, for now, these have pressed through and I will call them by name.

Monday, June 29, 2009

a blip

i have my mother's hands. they're aging. dryer, darker, sunken with harder more severe lines. what is the function of writing? do we write to face our battles? if so, i have long since faced them and perpetually lost. they become more self-effacing when transcribed. at least in my journal. history chronicles the fool. not because she's grown so in the decade between entries and therefore can't believe she used to speak that way, use those words, praise that god. no. it is because she has changed so little and now merely has a record of it.

"hope, strange beast, what have you for me?" September 1, 2002

i'm immobilized. paralyzed by... exactly. if i knew that perhaps the battle would at last commence. instead of the undying picture of rusted soldiers still standing in a lonely valley with cobwebs clouding their guns. i can see them so clearly, because i have been standing amid them for countless years. the grey scene under a blistering sun. men at the ready, yet frozen solid like the tinman without oil. row after row of corpse after corpse. positioned at attention with comatic constancy. not a fly buzzes. nor a branch sways. clouds hover in eerie expectation. it is as commonplace as a suburban culdesac. there is not great threat, for all are certain that no battle shall ensue. for none ever has. it is the same nameless, faceless beast.

imagine a bride waiting behind the doors of the church, full of pink anticipation and flowery wonder. now imagine she has been standing there for twenty years. it's not that the anticipation has lessened, it has just been stretched thin, "like butter spread over too much bread" (LOTR, Bilbo). but, does it follow that knowing the cause of a thing can eliminate a thing. no more question marks. that querie doesn't deserve to be asked even once more.

rest surfaces toxins. they never tell you that. sleep, you'll feel better. retreat and clarity will come. purging is an ugly business. a rash on my face, my very pores bubbling with rejected bile. my urine smells like a plaque filled mouth in the morning. before health can be restored, these fleeting pestules of disease ridden reveries surface from their hiding places. i didn't recognize myself in the mirror today. all i can see is unhealth.

these words are my vile erruption of stored death. i am supposed to tell you not to fear the vulgar smear of my present insanity, for they will certainly lead to path of well-being. the way to wellness is paved in vomit. which is why we sugar coat it with positive affirmation: to alleviate the smell. fear not reader. all will be well soon enough.

i think i'll make some more tea. "tea is a good drink. it keeps you going" (The Shipping News, Dame Judy Dench).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

trains are stupid

it occurred to me that my words come more fluidly when inspired by the raw encounter of another human being, which brought to mind a writing project i thought of ages ago: "Portraits of a Stranger." writing novellas describing people that i observe and extrapolating what i think their life must be like.

so, i had this great (uber-romaticized and inevitably naive) idea of hopping on a train to nowhere for 3 days, sleeping in a modest car, with my wine and my laptop, eying strangers unabashedly in the dining car. after surveying a mediocre website, i phoned customer service only to encounter a rudely perplexed woman who insisted that i have a destination in mind.

when she finally conceded to serving my unruly wiles, she quoted me a price for a round trip, sleeper car fare from seattle to portland. before i could tell her that portland would be utterly insufficient as it is only a 3 hour drive and hardly meets my trip parameters of a 3 day journey, she let fly that the cost of said ticket was $400. $400? four hundred dollars! to portland! a flight can be had for a meager $80 on a bad day. since when has the slow, gruelling monotony of railroad travel become iconic to the point of justifying exorbitant fares?

then, it occurred to me that i was just the brand of sucker they are hoping to hook with these hopped up prices. alas, this writing project will require a flat-footed trek to local thoroughfares, complete with all the uninspiring familiarity i'm trying to avoid. after all, it's one thing to ogle a stranger on a train whilst tickering away mysteriously on my computer. it's another to have to face off the everyday schleps i might see again.

however, if i refuse to succumb to this greatly altered prospect, this creative pursuit will most likely fall into the gutter of an undisciplined writer, which is now threatening to flood.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

To my daughter, Cypress Correia

Hi Baby Girl,

We have not conceived you yet, but I have dreamt of your furious love, disarming smile, and adventurous curiosity. I can feel your tender weight pressed against my heart. I can hear your deep, dreaming breaths as your little fingers clench and relax on my shoulder.

I have wept deeply and often in my longing for you. I weep even now. The only solace I can muster is in writing this letter to you. A letter, which I am confident you will someday read. You are my treasure. My true ambition. You are my words, my song, my dance.

My soul contracts with the desire to gaze into your precious face. The thought of your gaze meeting mine in our first embrace feels likely to consume me. How often my thoughts wander to you. I would weave every hope and passion into your hair, if only to see you fly.

I want to be the one you run to when you're scared. I want to be the one you hide behind when you're feigning shyness. I want to watch you spin in your new sundress. I want to carry you up to bed with your head nestled on my shoulder, your arms hung limp, your heart keeping time with mine. I want to stay up all night by your crib, so I don't miss one breath.

It will be such a blessing, such a privilege to share 9 months of our lives as one. You father has told me that he would carry you if he could. He will watch over us as we grow together. I was born to be your mother. I choose to give you life and in so doing offer you my own. Nothing you could do could ever separate you from my love.

I'm trying to be patient, but I am so eager to meet you. Know that my heart has already conceived you.

With all the love that I possess,

Your Mom

Saturday, June 6, 2009

You broke my arrow

You broke my arrow.
I crouched over the cedar stem,
Whittling it between my palms.
We sat under its craggy cover till dusk,
Until the mosquitoes drove us home.
I can still thumb the callouses on their plump crest.

You took my hand.
I ran with you to the porch,
Clutching your fingers with enthusiastic distress.
We kissed briefly under the cool moon,
Until your mother called you away.
I can still taste the honeysuckle salt on your lips.

You found my feather.
I slit the cedar with your army knife,
Latching the abandoned goose down with my shoelaces.
We scoured the woods for an arrowhead,
Until you scavenged through the sacred Hopi graves.
I can still tremble in reverie of that trespass.

You made my bow.
I stole the fishing line from Father's tackle,
Hoping you had remembered to temper the bamboo.
We returned to our cedar but I missed the target,
Until you guided my arm assuring stillness in my ear.
I can still feel the gentle heat of your breath.

You mocked my aim.
I kept snapping my finger in the line,
Veering the arrow off course into the brush.
We played for hours in the brazen midday sun,
Until my arrow finally landed in the tree of my youth.
I can still see your blood on my little hands.

Monday, March 2, 2009

ruined for not but you

where can i go to hide from you
where can i go that you won't find me

where can i go that you won't seek me steadfastly

where can i go

where can i go

you've ruined me

i see in you in every vine
the sun betrays my shade
my fingers move for you
your face moves for me

like a little girl who still believes

that all boys want is to kiss me tenderly
the dark room he woos me to
can surely hold no danger
my heart would not betray me
this giddy assurance of my desirability

what good is awakening

when all i feel is naive again

the passionate innocence of propositions i cannot abide
like a virgin promising the world with her eyes

only to be discovered as a tease

unable to follow through on the posture of her mind
i want to be held again
clutched by the securities of a fundamental truth

i'm a runaway who can't pay her bills
what will i resort to when you have truly left me

what do i desire
if not to be smothered by your countenance

you've ruined me

i can resent you no longer

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

En Memoriam

Mortality is a disheveled hospital blanket.

Groaning beneath a thin film of unconsciousness, a fitful life battles tirelessly and without peace. For what peace is to be had from IV needles, catheterized genitals, prodding aids with cold fingers and sterile voices? And, that thick smell of packaged gauze, spilt urine covered in ammonia.

The soul is made tangible in the vision of a dying man neglected in a hospital bed. Wounded and defeated, he shrinks from touch, both foreign and familiar. He responds almost imperceptibly to the call of his name, issuing only a shift in position or a more booming and staccato grunt.

With the body's diseased surrender, the soul regains the helm, and, like a masterful puppeteer, rattles the flesh in wordless repose until each jerk, each moan, each writhing gesture mirrors its true state. No more can the masks of reason, fear and pride deny the internal ache. The loss of dignity is the birth of an unimpeded soulful existence.

Fresh air is an expectorant of the soul. A taunting vision of a vast horizon peppered with evergreens and silver clouds lures the final breath from its organic entrapments. Sunlight finds his face as though offering direction. The soul's compass reorients its axis. North becomes skyward. South retreats to the bowels of the earth. East and West are left to the mortals still fit and able to roam on land.

Mortality is an Ethiopian woman wiping feces from your testicles.

If life is fragile, death is a wafer thin teacup balanced precariously in the mouth of a lit canon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

La Fleur et La Poesie

Thus humble let me live and die
Nor long for Midas' golden touch;
If Heaven more generous gifts deny, I shall not miss them much, Too grateful for the blessing lent Of simple tastes and mind content!

Oliver Wendell Holmes,


The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines-too subtly twisted to unroll -
Out to a perfect thread. I hence appeal
To the dear Christian Church-that we may do
Our Father's business in these temples mirk,
Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong;
While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue
Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work
The better for the sweetness of our song.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Work and Contemplation

White Chrysanthemum
seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

e.e. cummings,
seeker of truth
If heaven were to do again,
And on the pasture bars,
I leaned to line the
figures in
Between the d otted starts,

I should be tempted to forget,
I fear, the Crown of Rule,
The Scales of Trade, the Cross of Faith,
As hardly worth renewal.

For these have governed in our lives,
And see how men have warred.
The Cross, the Crown, the Scales may all
As well have been the Sword.
Robert Frost, The Peaceful Shepherd

Whose love is given over-well
Shall look on Helen's face in hell,
Whilst those who love is thin and wise
May view John Knox in paradise.

Dorothy Parker,
Partial Comfort

Laugh and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough on its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
the echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing car.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox,

Wind shakes the big poplar,
The whole tree in a single sweep.
What bright scale fell and left this needle quivering?
What loaded balances have come to grief?

Seamus Heaney,
The Spirit Level


My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.

I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.

John Clare, First Love

Orange Blossom
Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I have long called you,
You who are more than mother unto me,
And filled my heart of hearts, where death installed you,
In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother -- my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are the mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
But that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul that its soul-life.

Edgar Allan Poe,
To My Mother

Passion Flower
SOME have won a wild delight,
By daring wi
lder sorrow;
Could I gain thy love to-night,
I'd hazard death to-morr

Welcome nights of broken sleep,
And days of carnage cold,
Could I deem that thou wouldst weep
To hear my perils told.

Passion's strength should nerve my arm,
Its ardour stir my life,
Till human force to that dread charm
Should yield and sink in wild alarm,
Like trees to tempest-strife.

Charlotte Bronte, Passion

Star of Bethlehem
"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

And sweetest -- in the G ale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Emily Dickinson

When to the session of sweet silent thought
I summon up rem
embrance of things past,
I sigh the lack
of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precio
us friends hid in death¹s dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish¹d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on
thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
William Shakespeare