Friday, February 25, 2005

for Anita Barnes
Anger raises its own shield so thick
nothing can penetrate it
cry no shout no hand

when invisible shields are up
phasers ready to strike
no getting through

a thousand cobras
in outer space
for too long cold

even for them.
Snakes come home
from whatever ouroboros,

why I wouldn't fly
the first seven years we were married
I heard hissing.

Why was I so angry
a young girl
who had everything

living in the Bronx
commuting to high-school
two hours away

at a posh
hospital address?

I never wanted to go to kindergarten.
A teacher with a hair-net
who locked me inside closets.

She wanted me
to line up by size,
her mind so boring.

In third grade, my mother
rolled out dough
to make me

into something
she could understand,
my father

with his eyes
of brown leather
bathed in acetone

so soft
enough to see me

When they both died,
the pie was opened,
I was alone with my anger.

Then there was you,
my husband of 20 years,
with a curtain of anger

you raised
above your daily performance,
Red Velvet Gone Bad,

is what I called it,
with demon authors
who drank you under the table.

At first,
I couldn't get enough,
I was fascinated

watching your aura borealis
spread out in lights
until I became

a character in the play.
You saved a part for me.
I was the villain.

Then the two of us
could get angry.
Every day blades

went up in a salute.
After awhile,
I tip-toed around,

threw words
back at you.
But you were too agile, loud,

had spent years in improv.
What could I do to save myself?

You said you loved me.
I can still smell the nicotine between my fingers
from when we used to sit down with each other

at the table and talk
about life and love
and what we were going to eat for dinner,

a tin of smoked oysters,
together with
a glass of red wine.

Why couldn't you see what was happening?
For years we occupied separate bedrooms,
started our day together

in mid-afternoon.
Now you've left me
with our two children

and the sound of my own anger,
which is like water
hissing from a punctured hose

someone's forgotten in the front-yard
after she's been out-of-town
longer than expected.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Brit Shalom: Convenant of Peace
Long ago I looked
at sky and saw
it was all morning glories,

blue flowers
stretching from
the top of my head

and climbing along
an invisible thread
the way Jack's

grazed the window
of a giant's palace.

Now, I'm no longer
a young girl
who can turn

into flowers
during my morning watch,

but, even so,
I practice
beneath a dome

by winter rain
in curves of light.

I believe once
you know how to hope,
you never forget.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Psyche Talks to Cupid on a Wood Bench
Along Leona Canyon Trail,
miner’s lettuce just beginning
to surface above the leaf mulch,

I wonder, Cupid, where you've flown to
with your strong white wings,
leaving me to watch television?

Maybe you’d planned to ditch me
all along, never getting close,
appearing only as a shadow.

Why else would you never eat breakfast,
go for a walk, dig in the garden,
do things married people do together?

Maybe it was your way of protecting me
so I wouldn’t have memories
to draw inside my blanket.

It worked too well.
I still want
what I can't have.

Maybe you and my parents,
who stormed off so many years ago,
were in cahoots.

So I ask,
what would you have me do?
I hear the burble of an approaching spring.