From The

 

Green Closet

 

1993-1994

 

My hands grew cold touching the cold faces of dead kings and queens.

–Charles Simic

 

 

 

history

 

what comes out of me

is the cream of the crop

green sheep, tender shrimp

the fattest meal

I am red-faced, sex-free

standing in white panties

in front of the world

brown eyes burned blue

in the shock of sky

nicotine stains, battle scars,

a heart murmur, bad veins

envy, longing, heat

desire to ramble

in a broken-down car

near a field where you are

I would come from behind

the yellow ears of corn

tiny in the giant field

kneel by your shoe

black in the sun

kissed by your dog

short saint!

who has covered his tracks

who has burnt his belongings

who has stashed his damn heart

who has spoken to the trees

take me!

and when lightening strikes

we will go fist first

into its dark mouth

 

 

after most of the life

 

into a straight couch

I must ease myself

brown hair crazy

the black eyes of a great bird

blurting out truth

I am tired!

I am tired

you figure that the path

will end at a hut

yellow walls, the stove smoking

red tomatoes pushing from the garden

and a thin fence

skating around the property

where will we burn the papers?

where will we begin the search?

she has ended

in a seaside town

where thousands of beach birds

line up

waiting

 

 

brief return of the mother

 

my mother came into my room

still dead from all those years

an odor of dirt and amber

breaking from her

she pointed with slender finger

to all my big ideas

where would you be

without me?

blond strands of her hair

touched gigantic shoulders

my mother a statue!

I bowed under the shadow

of her hard gown

O mom!

pray to the gods for me

those gods you surely touch

and tell them

for me

I have wandered

I have wandered!

 

 

dream mother

 

you walk the plank

of this pirate ship

night after night

the pirates jet black

hair shining

they force your feet

to move past their knives

your body is tiny

an ant on this boat

that is moving

so quick in the sea

the captain smiles

in the light of the moon

his sword pointed straight

towards the bottom

and you fall

white into black

small into big

flesh into water

goodbye!

 

 

afternoon plans for a dead mother

 

after I feed you cake

we walk like real people

in the park

me pointing out the sights

with a trim wrist

and fancy fingers

I stab out

the whole town

moving my sharp paw

at every colorful sight

this is the living city

where you no longer sleep!

you want to visit the zoo

to see the new arrival

of baby lions

we go and stare

our grey faces haunting the cage

where the newborn cats purr

you push your arm through the bars

to feed the mother your own flesh

the animal eats you

licking her lips

your arm torn from its hole

I shake you

to wake you up

but the smile on your face

tells me it’s already way too late

 

 

dream man

 

he is floating over the city

black mouth open

a fever of words

hurting in his head

bless me he says

to the city

we take him

into our bed

the nurse unfolds his arms

onto the white sheets

his heart beating through his eyes

we are blessed

he says

from what we think

is sleep

 

 

I was a small girl

 

I was a small girl

biggest brown eyes

yellow teeth

legs that spread out like a spider

so thin you could weep

Christians ate wafers around me

and I walked through their world

dark and lonely

dogs were at my side

Christmas trees I sat under

green and golden with gifts

I had a brother whose maimed hand

stroked my hip

and then the mother and father

named for one another

dead love

dead love

we lived in many places

fruit on our lips

I sang to our neighbors

forgive us! forgive us!

and they sang back

0 you poor girl

beaten by the brute of being

your mother is calling!

 

 

little teaser

 

god put her in the world

to sass the angels

she sees them coming

with merry wings

and bright lips

that sing the hymns

they come from mountains

to shock us into

climbing

but from her lips

come tarnished words

you’ll fall you’ll fall

she warns them

 

 

Ninth street memory

 

the only thing that matters

is you and your hat

sitting there near the piano

I carve an apple

red and fat

your long hands pound music

into our afternoon

the city is murmuring

words you will tell me

later in our bed

 

 

my hero

 

it was your hand

that turned on the light

to show me in that mess of night

a bird hopping on our fence

his blue hat pushed

down over one winking eye

our bed floated into the white

perfect morning

 

 

anecdotal poem

 

my neighbor is a tiny man

who howls every morning

his wife sits in their dirty kitchen

holding the baby

with just enough love

to get through breakfast

the baby cries

the man curses

the wife pleads

and I lie in bed

writing this poem

if I had a giant hand

I would pick up the howling man

by his neck

and shake out all his tools

from his overall pockets

they would clatter on their linoleum floor

axes, hammers, measuring tape

the man would weep

the wife would chatter

and the baby smile

in silly pleasure

and then with my huge mouth

I would whisper

deep into his filthy ear

deliver yourself onto them

these beasts who you wake

with your unfriendly howls

make the coffee!

put on toast!

spread sweet jam on your baby’s bread

and kiss your wife good morning!

 

and the man would crawl

into his house

and hold his baby

on his hot breast

and moaning beg his wife

all her forgiveness

and I would fall asleep again

hot cheek on my pillow

 

 

if you drew me

 

if you drew me

the line would fatten

in the middle

below the mouth

and above the groin

a white drum to beat

would curve out from the edge

of your perfect paper

 

 

myth

 

he made us

from intense ingredients

liquids that bubbled

in those first mad moments

a man and a woman

coming from that crazy cry

that unbearable storm

that glued us

sex to sex

he inked us out

from the stuff of private tears

and nights without notions

or wind

or hearts

or poets screaming at the world

that is how we came

from one tense time

before god was father

and still stood firm as stone

a youth who sang about his creation!

and this is the system

we have all figured out

that dust equals religion

our hearts come from the reddest flames

we like to say

and our heads pulled out with

long black tongs

from his deep green soul

his deep green soul!

 

 

time off

 

when God takes his vacation

he goes to the wildest cliff

hat hard on head

and on that bare stone

lets the wind throw him

long and far and flying

then the trees break

their bark into bones

and men start smiling

 

 

 

 

                                        
                                  
                                     

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