A view of the divine

I caught a glimpse today, of the divine

Found it under a drift of papers full of empty words

Out of the corner of my eye brilliant color flashed

And then was gone, out the closed window to the sun

I forgot my petty worries, my figmental pain

Remembered the self I met once as a child.

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Neighbor

There are turtles swimming beneath the trees

She smokes, flame-red hair curled tight to her skull, a cap of chemicals

“Come close,” she breathes, and a rose tattoo bleeds from wrinkled tits

The old ones within wait for death, she waits with them.

“I wanted it where everyone could see it,” she rasps, turns, the tattoo climbs her neck

Wraps its thorns, its leaves, its deathly petals, nothing to see here.

Every morning in the stolid summer she walks near-naked, watching, waiting.

Feigning

Here I am again, not fitting my skin

Up against the stucco wall, saying words about men and jobs and kids

Parrot-like, not knowing what they mean or why I recite them

Other than to stay hidden. The work of it wears me to a nub.

My back is too straight, my hands twisted into girl-scout knots

I think. I never knew a girl scout, but I read the guide. Fire comes easy.

 

They twitter around me like birds, shiny beady eyes suspicious

I move slowly, lest to startle them and incite a mass ascension

Leaving me bare and featherless, shamed and flightless.

Hug, hug, kiss, kiss

Finally in my car I relax, the hard bones brazen

My dirty feet, my snarled hair. The smell of a campfire.

Vacate

And the first glimpse of Caribbean blue, the glassy-walled world of brilliant fishes,

She trailed tiny pink paper umbrellas, spewed grey clouds of exhaust above notice

From careless piña coladas, from carnival-bright aorta-painted smokestacks.

And the music blared over the quizzical sighs of dolphins as they tried to leap high enough

To peer through portholes at strange pink whales beached beside buffets of beef and beer.

In Mo’ Bay the natives glared from windowless shacks and broken porches

White faces pressed against sweaty taxi windows stared back shameless.

The jungle pressed close, the vines twisted up toward opportunity, and

Why-can’t-they-just-get-a-real-job. Why-can’t-they-just-go-away.

Tophet

The air with its heavy fog of dirt

Trees with billowing trash-bag blossoms

They make me sleep, and sleep

No hurry to awake.

Silence, and then more of it.

I wander aimlessly on streets that turn back on themselves

Names like Alameda, and Amador

The As have it, I think. The better to pair with rolling Rs.

The dry river runs in its memories, while the bed cracks

A man fishes from a burning lake, his pole broken and mislaid

Black things twisting beneath the surface, hoping to be caught.

They are the only things with hope.

 

Always the wind, forcing you to eat the sand

Here I am, and you are nothing.

The Howling Wind

Could not find artist for this lovely image

Knock, knock, knock on the windowpane

Insistent fingers, tapping and clawing shhhhhh don’t wake the baby

The oak beside the window creaks, moans and the moon

Peers down haughtily from behind veils of sand

Tendrils of dust below the doorjamb you can’t see me

Voices babbling among the trees, crying, clamorous

Sermonizing in some unknown and angry tongue

Dark is deepening, shadows creeping you’re not alone

Thoughts’ edges fray, scatter night-howling away

Fingers becoming wrathful fists, raining pounding fists

You can’t stop me, you can’t breathe, I’m not leaving.