Monthly Archives: February 2011

After You Left, I Wrote: How Should I Pray. Love is Simple.

You teach me how to live a life in the moment. Simplicity, you say. And I imagine you on your own, in a field, with horses or men bailing hay.

 

I wish I could have been there with you in childhood, and perhaps in a way I was.

 

The run of the hooves or the sound of the sleeping giant in a stall against the scraping of wire.

 

I remember the times where the world stood still–to a child, all colors speak a language of joy, grass is an excuse to run free.

 

But there were crossroads in the imaginary connection between us. Somehow, you kept on a path of moments and simplicity and I was swept up in a dirt storm or a wall-cloud of confusion and learning-how-to-run—not for joy in the country grass, but survival.

 

I learned to read people’s faces. I learned to listen to what they didn’t say.  I could get a clue and stick it in my pocket in case I needed it later. Or maybe bits of words they said–evidence when I sat alone in a room, examining who and why and how I was hurt. I’d press on my knees and watch them lift,  follow the imaginary lines across the bruise shaped as Indiana.

 

I’d work with words. I’d write them down. And I took this path away from you because I had to. I left you, the lone-child, to create forts without me and there you learned every flavor and name of the plants.

 

*

That’s Persimmon, you said, walking through the park with me. And I, beginning to know you for the first time in adulthood, looked over and smiled. I wanted to say, I studied botany for a while.  But I didn’t know that was Persimmon. And for the first time,  I didn’t feel I needed to prove myself. I wanted you to share. I wanted you to teach me. I wanted to be humbled.

 

*

 

What I wanted, more than anything, was a way to stillness. I tried to find it on my horse as a child, but even then I was moving. And through words, of course, I was running–running into, and out of, things, lives, scripts created to save me from pain or fear.

 

I stood on top of a mountain once. I felt inside me an oak tree that grew and somehow touched the sun. It didn’t burn, it just left its hand on her back and the sun, in return, formed a fire in her that shot down into the earth and out into the universe. So the oak tree, a string, connected something to something else–I imagined my heart might connect to the greater heart that matched its edge, smoothed it, stilled it, calmed it like a pool under the last remaining midnight sky.

 

*

 

When you first looked toward me, nervous, an adult, so tired you must have felt drunk and silly and out of your body, hours spent on the road, I could have turned away from the tug, the string, bringing me closer to a stillness than I hadn’t felt before, but I didn’t. I looked for your eyes, and in them, the pool under the last remaining midnight sky, or so I imagined the child-me would say, or write. I didn’t turn and run with the power to leave you spinning. I accepted. I was silenced. I was humbled and scared.

 

*

 

I’m scared, I said. I may be a fool. But the simplicity of watching a man fix his truck in the rain settled into me as you spoke of not knowing how to deal with the girl who writes everything out, who thinks her way into tunnels, then shouts.

 

*

 

This could be another bruise. But I watch you build and listen. I knew you as a child before I learned how to defend my heart from fear and darkness but also the light.

 

I learned the reactions of others so quickly. I learned to abandon the growth around me. The plants. The horse I rode from joy to fear. I forgot to pray.

 

*

 

Let’s say grace, you said. Simply. Thank you. And then, to me, Thank you.

 

*

 

After you left, I wrote:

 

How should I pray? Not how I think, in silence, without words, with a grateful heart and a strong door to keep out the negative voice. I should pray how I see you lying next to me–I don’t speak–if I feared you’d be gone when I woke, I’d not enjoy the moment of you being-there. In silence, I let the garden grow around me, take note, love without fear, and give thanks for you.

 

*

 

The boy takes a turn toward the woods with forts. The girl runs into the wall-cloud and dust storm.

 

Somewhere they might meet under a bridge or in a room with a lamp and signs around them saying, Love is Simple. Be Each Others Moment.

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Francine Feeds Figs to Seals in the Sea of Mercy

Francine hurts herself and tastes figs. I believe in consequences, she writes, in the blossoms of my body. Francine wakes chewing her arm. I have an understandable desire to eat sunshine. Imagine a landslide of seals in the Sea of Mercy, she writes, St. Gabriel is a door. I opened my body to his responses. Francine hurts herself. There are consequences.

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Francine Forms Words from Figs

Francine knows the soul of figs from tasting. Wanders bodies of the lasting, then leaves. This morning, she writes, birds pretended to be swallowed. As often swallows do. I’ll leave cake for them on the landing, she writes, then watch the myself disappear. Francine knows St Gabriel’s prayers by heart. She keeps him written on her body. I liked the way he tipped his hat, then left dirt on my pillow. Imagine the earth was someone else, she writes, and not who we’ve come to know. Francine knows. She listens to swallows.  I don’t call him on the phone, she writes, but we speak regardless. Francine opens figs for the taste of his sentences. And she believes him.

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1.12.11

If a form of prayer can be bodily peace, as though a ruffled field, that’s what I’d pray and be right now.

As though God takes a breathe and I’m receiving it, gladly and with celebration.

I can’t write a poem about it, but I can feel it.

Like a wave that breaks its teeth on a sea rock and never whistles again but becomes another body, into the rock that destroyed her.

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Francine Finds Fields in the Sea of Mercy

Francine learns to breathe herself into flying. Though it only lasts a minute, she writes, I can imagine the dead feel something. Francine denies the length of her arms and fence posts. Though the wheat is not a wave, I can see the Sea of Mercy. Francine learns to plow fields in her dreams. Though my body eats dirt, she writes, I’m not a body. Or his. Francine learns the length of her arms in segments. Like a sunset, she writes, or the mountain of Saint Gabriel. I live in an attic. I breathe without thinking. But when I do, she writes, I’m with him. Francine learns to believe anything but dying.

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Whale Sound!

I love the website Whale Sound! It is a collection of web-active poets who have their work read by the lovely Nic Sebastian. I am so honored and excited to have a section of Book of Gaigemon up! Please take a listen, HERE

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More Rilke Series

49.

You many unassaulted cities:

Bodies, bones, broke. Strangers,

 

Alone. You, city-twists, keepers

Of loneliness. Listen—

 

Today the mountain grew

Into the belly of the Mare. I split

 

Her sides. And the Eye, O

Hermano, what have I—

 

Nothing. Still—Done. The tongue-

Want sleeps in need. In me—

 

A siege. A man. Guapa,

Break! Open Him. God,

 

Come back, I—Listen,

Love.

 

50.

I come home from the soaring—

Mountain in my mouth, still,

And bring it to You, like hay

As if a Mare inside cave or belly or

all the streets twisted in our city

So that we could pray—let us be

Inside the bullet-heart subway Let it

Snow on the ridges of our teeth. Let us

Keep the world split open. Our Eye,

Open. Nothing. O, I come home

And You tell me I’ve soared

Into your tongue. Santiago, He sings

In pine-gospel speak. Come,

Listen—crawl inside, like this love.

 

51

 

Only in your doing can we grasp you

So it snows until prayers freeze to bird-beaks.

 

Will the Mare make it to the mountain or

Do I have to keep walking toward blue

bells and bottles on tongues. My body hears

 

The way you dance—speak has become long,

 

Santiago. Pull a stone

across the ridge. I’ve become weak

From city-things, And a man.

 

Don’t forget, Guapa, Nothing leans,

circles. I know.

 

But I’ve grown into trees. I keep

A chant for my belly. Don’t

Destroy me.

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