You fancy me mad?
H e a v y
Popping open one pale eye
into trashed bed sheets
Gray, ghastly eye
with film over it
wine stains and plastic bottles soiling the carpet
the muffled pulse of my own Tell-Tale Heart
ushering me into that
hideous dropping off of the veil
utter depression of soul
bitter lapse into everyday life
Why will you still say that I am mad? Listen!
I said: NEVERMORE!
Edgar Allan Poe
Orphaned at three
Dead at forty
A mad drunk
Posthumous praise for his verse
I close his book on my chest
popping open one heroic eye
as open fire in broad daylight
Snapping and Popping
the crackling pulse of my own Tell-Tale Heart
ushering me into that
soft slipping off of the veil
utter domination of soul!
Raucous birth pangs into everyday life
*Lines and inspiration from Poe’s: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher.
There she is.
I wondered how she’d look tonight
when earlier today
I swept free the cobwebs from the legs of a patio chair.
Irritable and stately,
half a cloud sliding from one nude shoulder.
Radiant and hungry,
searching for the approval she knows she deserves.
Wide eyed and watchful
99.7 percent full
encountering the events of the world
just as it is today:
November on the coat of a cat.
Crickets at precisely 7:58 PM.
and my mother,
sliding in a pan of cupcakes for my birthday.
If I accomplished nothing else today
I planted nepeta cataria
inside the broad mouth of a flower pot
leftover from my grandfather’s passing.
I held a pony tail of her sticky locks
and considered long the origin of her species,
the ancient quality of dirt unearthed
with five extra heaves of a shovel,
and of Annie Dillard for no good reason at all,
ruffling the tips of winter-killed grass
with the flat of her palm.
Loving her not for those words
but for how they make me know her.
I whispered nepeta cataria
for the animal of that root bundle
to rouse with startled delight
inside the dark.
I can hold my daughter’s compassion in firelight
one tiny log at a time
make it last
her ashes falling into my cup
I can hold the weight of the moon in my breath
one porcelain eye on my chest
make me see
her ashes falling into my cup
I can hold my soul in the sinew of both hands
one sacred goddess rising
make her return
as ashes falling into my cup
How much can you swallow before it swallows you back
When the empty is heavier than the sky that he held over his head for losing
to Gods who have no business being Gods
I thought about that today
going back up the stairs to my office after a particularly shitty phone call
Miserable, heavy, hopeless
Holding up the sky on my shoulders, still trying to remember the name of that Titan
and suddenly grinning like a Sufi
Remembering none of that
when a fat squirrel, one I’ve seen many times, paused just long enough outside the glass
Reminding me of my Grandpa who died when I was twelve
and solitary balloons still make me believe he is reaching out
that stupid squirrel made me drop the sky
and fall to my knees and laugh
Dead poets line four walls
Fixed eyes, thin skin choking on dust
Quit looking for me here, they say
The best part of living is what you learn alone in the dark when the rest of the world sleeps
All the losing and winning
Brimming and seeping
from pottery shards unearthed in our lost worlds
No man can taste your power like my ancient tongue
The absence of Love is more passionate than the having
Drape my soul over your hip bones
Trail a finger from your hairline to the tip of your nose
Court us both with that storm punishing your window
Lust like a starving god after the you that has no body
Call out your own name
Whimper: Open your eyes beautiful
Grin at the blond strand of hair you lift from my spine in the morning
But just know that was only the beginning…
The TV could be on in the other room
You’d be on your laptop half interested in everything, nothing
Anything but me
Our daughter would be somewhere here; absently, greedily eating illusions
And I’d be dying quietly,
no differently than I am now…
Except that now I get to walk the catacomb like a priestess
with Jack Gilbert in my hands
And think maybe I’ll start a little fire in the backyard tonight with the new moon
I am an ocean
full of dark things that never see light
My body covers the earth
and when the sun bears his touch
I remember how vast I really am
I could spend hours rolling my head side to side
trying to see all of myself
And that’s when you see me and remember yourself too
I am a Queen
Reaching for my people
Retreating softly with the night
An abundant solitude
spread upon the dining table of the moon
I love the way she cries
Only does it when she needs to
She beats the sunrise to her totem overlooking the meadow
I try and catch her through binoculars, but what could be better than my naked eye
Then it occurs to me in this moment why I love her so much
She is what my soul wants to be right now
Thought clouds, one by one, passing by
But she is pure concentration
The weight of nothing but hunger on her shoulders
Not food, but sustenance
I might live my whole life trying to grasp the distinction
If I live to be a hundred,
I will be just as beautiful as I am now.
My sun heart will still rise before I do.
My moon mind will still gawk about the midnight of my bed quarters.
My star-fire blood will still warm the bow of infinity that is my flesh.
And my earth belly will still roar into the pregnant silence of all our wanting.
-photo credit, my beautiful sister, Stephanie Donovan-