Category Archives: poetry

The Lark Tells Her So

 

An edifice more terrifying,

than diving deep in the sea

where creatures glow and beam

It holds, composes, creates, affirms

life and darkness, the beautiful and grotesque

 

She opens her eyes

59,999 miles of human vessels rejoicing,

like the lark awakening the earth

“Arise” the vessels say, “this is your temple.”

 

She closes her eyes

Feel the skin and know its ancient perception

The embryo spoke first through touch,

most rousing through touch

Take in the contours of your body

Let them speak of a voluptuous, holy

God

 

She looks up

And breathes in abundance,

exhales what seeks to flatten and dull

This glorious edifice—

Breathe in enjoyment,

exhale what spoils and ruins

This glorious edifice who

longs to bless and confirm,

Self, God and Creation

 

This glorious edifice

whom shall be called

Body

Oh sweet,

brave,

languaged

Body

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(a friend showed this to me whilst on a trip to hopefully see whales)

Humpbacks

There is, all around us,
this country
of original fire.
You know what I mean.
The sky, after all, stops at nothing, so something
has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away.

Off Stellwagen
off the Cape,
the humpbacks rise. Carrying their tonnage
of barnacles and joy
they leap through the water, they nuzzle back under it
like children
at play.


They sing, too.
And not for any reason
you can’t imagine.

Three of them
rise to the surface near the bow of the boat,
then dive
deeply, their huge scarred flukes
tipped to the air.
We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash through the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky–
like nothing you’ve ever imagined–
like the myth of the fifth morning galloping
out of darkness, pouring
heavenward, spinning; then

they crash back under those black silks
and we all fall back
together into that wet fire, you
know what I mean.

I know a captain who has seen them
playing with seaweed, swimming
through the green islands, tossing
the slippery branches into the air.
I know a whale that will come to the boat whenever
she can, and nudge it gently along the bow
with her long flipper.
I know several lives worth living.

 

Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.

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I told him,
I feel my boy
moving,
making himself
Known.
I try,
to listen
to sense,
to understand his breadth
You,
though,
were not
noticed,
heard,
sought for
when it mattered
Most.
Hot,
droplets tumbled
over
as I imagined
not seeing
Him
even if he
pushed,
looked away
or said foolish words.
Hot,
droplets tumbled over
as I imagined you
lacking language,
other than
your speaking eyes,
in emptiness
Alone.

Will you accept,
my tears?
Will he?
You leave,
with the wrinkles,
still wrinkled.
Eyes trying,
to not listen,
to not sense,
to not understand your breadth
And,
this becomes my crucible:
to noisily seek and capture,
forcing you to touch my tears
Or
to trust the love I was given
to give and gave,
and wait.

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First Birth, by Sharon Olds

I had thought so little, really, of her,
inside me, all that time, not breathing–
intelligent, maybe curious,
her eyes closed. when the vagina opened,
slowly, from within, from the top, my eyes
rounded in shock and awe, it was like being
entered for the first time, but entered
from the inside, the child coming in
from the other world. Enormous, stately,
she was pressed through the channel, she turned, and rose,
they held her up by a very small ankle,
she dangled indigo and scarlet, and spread
her arms out in this world. Each thing
I did, then, I did for the first
time, touched the flesh of our flesh,
brought the tiny mouth to my breast,
she drew the avalanche of milk
down off the mountain, I felt as if
I was nothing, no one, I was everything to her, I was hers.

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Stiched Hearts, my first performance art piece with child

I heard my heartbeat,

determined and paced

Deep in its contractions,

confident in its expansion

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

The fibers,

fighting against my separation,

fighting against my pain.

 

I listen to your heartbeat,

elusive and fast

Fledgling in rhythm,

nestled in gestation

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

The fibers,

rebelling against my yielding,

rebelling against my hope.

 

The fibers,

plead for continuity

and n’er a rupture!

They say, ‘keep them together’

the one behind my breast

with the other beneath my ribs.

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

Ripping the fibers,

declaring the gift is without tether

Just as I carry in surrender,

I birth in surrender

 

Ecstasy is knowing,

our hearts held by one body,

our hearts fastened as one

so with needle and thread I mark those sounds

With needle and thread I wound those fingers,

and the healing comes

as I whisper,

 

‘I’ll hold you close and carry you far,

I’ll mark your heart and follow its sounds,

but I know you’re not mine,

my fingers bleed with this truth,

so be free child and resound all the way through.’

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95 Theses

I’m only hearing

muffles of

weeping or bleeding,

The ducts and lining,

uncertain,

unaware

There is an undulation,

a gust of voices,

a screeching of birds

hiding in my midsection

Come up and out of my face or,

push out and through my genitals

But please, please

commence your travels,

for I am your subject

At the mercy of your whims

Or dare I say,

your incomprehensible intelligences

My wits only identify

the tinging of

electricity and water

The gurgling at the center

provides no clear channels,

no clear pathways,

no thesis

Nothing

Dare I give over

and trust this

unknowable, dark sea?

I must,

otherwise I’ll

take pain meds

and never learn to

sink and then swim

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Differentiation

Where the night sky meets the water,

delicate and assumed

Unfailing in touch,

a good marriage

Even in the shadows

 

Where the water meets the sand,

eager and shy

Obedient to the moon,

a lover of Mother’s course

Despite the uncalculated undulations

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