Today’s Star

Who were we to each other
once upon a time,
long before we sat in this circle
on the grass talking of
sunshine and wine?
Perhaps we looked
upward to a star
named Trappist
and settled upon our drums,
striking the snares with precision
to tell the skies
we’d been here before
and would be here again,
in this place
and those to come.
Hold onto your memory,
you whose smile is strained,
eyes haunted,
for I see what you do.
This storied day
is the one that
always repeats.

Hearts and Skulls

Move over.
I’m bones that must Exit here
to be at my desk by 8:58 A.M.
Get out of my way.
I no longer have a pulse,
but I do have a memory one,
faded as it is,
like a pair of watercolor jeans.
I’m pushing you.
Don’t you feel my hand?
You look through me, as if I don’t exist.
Is any of this real?
Oh my God.
I’m but a skeleton sucking air,
answering to the whim of my masters –
Money,
and Metrocards.
This is my stop.

Her Half-Life


She’s a nice person.
She has a common face.
Her lips are painted magnolia, cheeks rouged pink.
Her hair is pulled back, dyed straw blonde and blown straight.
A smile is affixed to her face, quaking as if drawn by a child’s finger.
She looks towards the door of the subway car, her mask tight.
She’s resentful because she’s had no voice.
She was whistled at when she was young and ignored now that she’s old.
She’s been yelled at by men for driving too aggressively and honked at for going too slow.
Her boss eats the lunch his wife packed and interrupts her to say she should use fewer words.
Her friends make recriminations over the mommy at soccer practice who brought cupcakes instead of healthy snacks.
Her own kids don’t know who she really is.
Her husband treats her like furniture.
And she can’t stand it.
But what is she to do?
She doesn’t want to be a Bitch or Slut.
She’s a Mother.
She’s a nice person.
She clutches her black purse and jacket,
staring into space,
her lips a slash of purple skin.

Dissonance and Palms


In the City of Palmettos,
I am drinking my coffee and looking at the remnants of a waffle, alone.
Mottled shadows fall across the wooden table dripping of varnish that dried in haste.
A cacophony fills the open air.
There are too many people here,
as there are in Manhattan.
Finding peace seems elusive,
for there is always a voice asking something of me,
demanding that I speak politely or insinuating that I do not.
My silence is my stubbornness.
It reminds me of the night before, a stark contrast.
We walked along the deadened street where
I reveled in the quarter moon, and how close to you I felt with your hand in mine.
We stumbled upon a restaurant curling with European charm, then onto an ancient church, gated, with an overgrown path that led into darkness.
But this morning is the same as all the others.
Too much noise.
Too much humanity.
Dissonance and palms.

Los Suenos

Lady Tico,
my winged Queen,
what is it that you carry in your cherry red plane?
I imagine it to be nothing more than dust of the country you last visited; the one with an incendiary sun and birds of prey which eat lizards, their guts spilling onto hot stones.
You are a dark angel of smoke monsters and clacking engines.
I had feared your coming.
Yet your plane swoops innocently above the mountain tops and through fog rings.
It buzzes across the Great Lake, connecting two continents on a slip of earth.
Then it descends, landing on a grassy airstrip greeted by white horses and steer with creamy throats.
The lizards dance, their heads bobbing, and the birds of prey perch in a nearby tree, watching as they clean their feathers with hooked beaks.
Then you, my Queen, step out of your plane in your blue satin heels and linen dress made of golden thread.
The sunlight holds your hand and cloaks your shoulders like a cape.
Your hair is a color wheel of complements.
A train of wild flowers blooms with each step that you take, the dust from your heels its watering can.
How foolish I was to think that you would bring ruin to my patch of heaven.
I realize now there is no such thing as entropy in the lands that you’ve touched.
You shock us all into immortality.

In Case of an Emergency

This is not a test of the emergency alert system.
I repeat.
Not a test.
So listen closely.
Our universe is a slice of bread moving through a void faster than you
care to know.
After all, how to make the perfect summer cocktail, watching the new rom-com trailer or cute animals in sweaters is definitely more pertinent to daily existence.
However, while you were distracted,
other slices of bread, which could be similar or totally different from ours, have been careening along side of our universe, weaving in and out of traffic.
Some are texting, others are drinking a forty or just stoned out of their minds.
One ran a stop sign a few light years back.
It’s actually a miracle that we’ve gotten this far on the great cosmic highway without an accident.
But buckle up folks, because you’re about to face a major collision occurring exactly NOW, or when space-time says so.
Best case scenario, the Milky Way escapes with a jolt bigger than any earthquake you could imagine, complete with hell fire, followed by a brief free fall, then temperatures hovering around absolute zero.
Worst case, it’s the end of the world.
On the bright side, its also possibly the beginning of a new one, not that you will be around to tickle its tummy.
The exact outcome is very hard to say with all these
mathematical approximations.
We tried our best.
This is not a test.
I repeat, not a test.
Brace. Brace. Brace.

Fractals

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO RECORDING

A dandelion is torn from my hand by a wind that cloaks the prairie.
Storm clouds nock like archers, sky bruised and yellow.
My tabby cat’s fur is worried,
his eyes are flecks of gold shaken over a green river.
There is a cut on his belly,
fat and orange,
the blood well-licked.
He cries in the flowering tree in my front yard where
sheets of rain pain the branches.
Our horses lay down in the pasture,
bodies heaving like frightened angels.
Chickens hide in holes where they once took dirt baths.
I huddle in the basement with my mother and sister,
waiting for the storm to pass.

The projector carousel stalls.
Someone in the room coughs.
I can’t turn my head.
The images click forward once more.

I’m on a boat of tall sails on a glinting ocean.
My hand clasps a glass of golden wine.
The liquid shimmers and dances in the afternoon sunlight.
The boat see-saws gently like a rocking horse.
A gull swirls in the cornflower sky, free of clouds and storms.
A woman with blonde hair and calico sunglasses holds her hand at her brow.
“I told you the weather would turn,” she says.

The projector stalls.
Someone coughs.
“That was wrong,” says a smudge.
“Correct it. Hurry. Turn the slides backwards,” says another.

I am present.
My hands are on my knees.
My breath still,
joints stiff from the folding chair.

Others are in the room with me, watching slides of their own.
And I wonder:
Are any of these images really mine?
Or just memories that someone wanted me to see?

I stand to leave.

“You can’t go!” says the smudge.
“It’s too late,” says the other. “She’s awake.”

The Wrong Kind of Magic


I happened upon the wrong kind of magic.

The key was lost in the movements;
a sequence designed to be impossible to master
unless you sacrifice all to become asetic, turn your dreaded hair into knots and paint your face gold.

Even then, the magic may not work.

You need many – thousands even – moving at the same time with equal bodily freedoms: twisting and folding, rising like Lazarus from backbends, walking as if crabs and pounding the ground like snakes turned to staffs.

All together. All at the same time.

Therein lie the trap, the false promise that was bestowed upon me by many teachers, a spoonful at a time, and all these years later I am still a baby in a bib eating mashed peas.

But what of this magic?

It was whispered in a dream that it opens the door to a larger question, which gives rise to a spectrum of other worlds, where chasing the answer to who I am, and why am I here has no end, only more doors.

And dare I open these doors?

I fear what is behind them, for I know the terror of the unknown, of ancient subway systems turned underground highways filled with small men in flying capsules and black eyes, where I am a stranger with my yellow hair and milk fed bones.

Neanderthals cannot navigate such a place.

Not alone.

Not with the wrong kind of magic.

To a Friend: The Button and the Cliff

When losing a button
becomes the end of the world,
and you think this is as far as you can go,
you’ve reached your edge,
the limit of what a human can endure.

You think of the struggle:
waiting in traffic at the tunnel,
the man who flips you off,
on a street cleaning day
that leaves your car blocked in
so that you can’t get home
so you write a note
saying how pissed you are
that goes unanswered.

Is this worth it?
Does any of it matter?
Is anyone listening?

You close your lids
and stare into the emptiness
where you watch your breath
move in and out
and label your thoughts
past, present and future,
and soon you see a splotch of purple
that turns into a palisade with a
darkened sky and dancing trees,
but it has nothing to say to you.

Another dead end,
which makes you think that this too
means nothing.

So you return your attention to the present,
which is in the room where you are sitting,
and you can hear the voices around you,
and the music playing softly;
you can feel the breath and the sweat,
and the warmth of lights on your skin
and the floors touching your thighs.

These are just atoms, you think,
made of nothing until they are labeled,
but they do matter,
to you.

So you get up,
and do it all over again.