What’s At Stake

The practical mathematics we explore

look suspiciously like witchcraft.

Silver-locked grandmothers dancing

around the family tree

measuring with diametric

precision while praising

the infinite always get a

bad rap from the likes of Big

Pharma.  Unmedicated, noncompliant

so he can learn the burning

love triangle, child and parents,

the long chains of ancestors

as visible as smoke

I teach him to see.

We both devour these moments

fully present in the is-ness

emerging

to be seen and celebrated

in the fullness we give each

other in these flames.

Inspired by:  Chain, Diametric, Infinite and Devour.

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The Tree of Life

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling) ~ E.E. Cummings

My grandmother’s clutch

on her deathbed commands my face

too close for comfort.  I haven’t yet

realized the foundation of love

she’s constructed.

Nobody knows these words are her

last.  The day before, she was lost

in this grim institution,

howbeit I built bridges to reach her.

Grandma, do you remember

my finest hours, playing in her

four o’clocks, harvesting and planting,

delighted by the unexpected sprouts

she received as my heart-

gifts.  Spinning her collection of antique

marbles when the weather

prevented my intrepid

exploration of peach

and apple trees, magnolias and

sugar maples, the grape arbor

heavy and sweet, buzzing with bees.

Infinite patience as she taught me

botany and canning, tasting jams

and jellies as her true ghost

stories raised goosebumps.

The terrified nights of a sensitive

young child, mapping familiar

territory.  So I’m not the only one.

You remember for me, she said,

so today I am back, I’ve composed

a poem and I read it to her.

We sit in silence until her fingers

like talons bring my ear close.

I’m afraid.

I croon, oh, my darling,

this threshold you have crossed

before.  Listen to the call of love

beyond this heartbeat where

I hold you, always.  She slips

away, silent as the others finally

gather, watching her last breath.

 

 

 

 

Inspired by: Clutch, Howbeit, Intrepid and Sprout and my grandmother’s birthday tomorrow, 21 February 1907.

Connecting Threads

My grandson discovers the bin

of color, my mother’s stash

of baby quilts, ready to wrap

at the drop of an announcement.

He leads her by the hand to say,

please!  In three generations, never

has such a request been made.

Protective and anxious, still

she can’t deny his quest

to explore her treasury, to snuggle

enswathe and pretend to sleep.

He studies each square with such

focus that she demands to know

the exact location of his own gifted

blanket.  Alas, it’s stored out of reach,

too precious for the likes of sticky

toddlers and destructive dogs.

And so his great grandmother begins

sewing — as madly as an 84-year-old

can, accompanied by a soft song

of moans and groans, and breaks

to solve cozy mysteries — mainly murders.

At each visit, he inspects the blocks,

placed in strips just so, no two alike.

She’s had a hard time

choosing the binding.

The backing is a strange collage

of eyes,

perhaps spectacles

black and white on blue.

He seems relieved when she adds

thick batting to make it squeezable.

And now, he spies it folded

neatly, and seizes the finished product

with a glad cry, Bibi, hide!

He is running to cover us

and create a new dark

quiet world.  We look wide-eyed

into each other’s faces, whisper.

An audience is optional; we create

scary dragons out of the smallest

settling of the house, safe here

in the well-meaning stitches

placed in this brand new heirloom.

Inspired by Quest, Squeezable, Optional and Color.

Cross Purposes

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu

Even though our hearts are

petrified by fear

calcified in resistance,

I hold hope for our reunion.

I start by issuing my apologies

like passing out leaflets

on the street.  Intent to replace

every stone

I’ve carelessly carried

from its own destiny

for a second’s pleasure.

Seeing now how I’ve moved

through the world, unaware

of the damage of my passage,

the blind disruption

of my collector’s

pretentious sentiment,

incognizant

even a rock’s right

to be where it is.

Still now

I halt here.

Breathe.

The first step

of my new journey

bends my curiosity

to your inner world, the one

I’ve ignored for so long,

absorbed in my own pain.

Dropping the story, finally

present for your agony

on these parallel paths

you’ve sworn will never cross.

Inspired by: Hope, Sentiment, Leaflet and Petrified.

The He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club

No girls aloud. ~ Sign on my brothers’ tree fort.

While I had to act like a lady,

forbidden from exploring the right

side, my childhood was a clusterfuck

of males, too many brothers,

each with his own gang.

I didn’t envy their penises,

as they mocked my pique

at losing all the perks.

That’s just how it is, so

I lost myself in the enchantment

of blood, tracing my lineage

to uncover the mysterious

females that his

story had hidden.

It’s been a long, slow

awakening, and though my

friends expect a silver-haired

sage this morning, I will bring

them dreams of baby boys,

the gift of my request

for revelation before I slept.

Boys in peril, like a maze

and every corner yet another

teetering on a ledge

alone but for addicted parents

in a daze, lost.  When I saved

one of them, his laugh

exposed a perfect

triangle of white teeth.

And I have been seeking

balance, walking to the rhythm

of the catcalls, looking into the

background beyond the shock

of the present event.

Just now, a male cardinal

flies into the window, bang —

startling me out of my own

contemplation.  Warning off 

the beautiful reflection he views

as competition.  His head must hurt

like mine, as I sit here

slowly sipping coffee.

Inspired by:  Pique, Enchantment, Blood and Sage.

Men Kicking Footballs

No game card

adding up each point

for countless nights nursing

or gagging diaper changes

for the mother of sons.

That tricky gift of DNA ensures

a playoff of lineage trauma

and I watch my offspring

struggle to seize the win

while slammed by

unexpected foes

predicted in fairytales.

I read them to you, remember?

And it’s admirable

that we all keep

our eye on the ball in this

vicious game on the gridiron.

With my gentle ways,

I don’t get no respect and

I can’t watch

this game.  I call across

the divide but my voice

is swallowed by the crowd.

You huddle

in the patriarchy

strategizing your moves before

the whistle signals

the end of play.

Gridiron, Vicious, Tricky and Admirable.

Spin A Good Yarn

There really is an old white

guy in the sky

watching, judging your upload

of data in your devout

twittering, posturing,

measuring the difference 10 years

carves on your features.  He asks

you to acquiesce to the pursuit

of a two-dimensional ideal

photoshopped version of you.

Always searching, just missing

the mark, where all hopes

are pinned.  Far away from

unbearable trauma

dogging you like a loyal pet.

I can do better.

I can learn new tricks.

Your ancestors have woven

a neat trap where you hang

helplessly in your want.

All the hidden power forgotten

like female names, the women in whose

wombs life surges.

As a last resort, you sit,

too weary to fight.

You notice these skeins

of connection glinting,

pointing a different direction,

the way of aches and wrinkles,

dissatisfaction all here

deeper into the pain —

No need, take these pills.

His voice droning like a sermon

you’ve been avoiding,

running towards some version

of how things would be if

you could only change.

And the women in your heart

lead you in this darkness

to the divine core.

You release the dream

to include

and allow yourself

to be here.

Inspired by a treasured 1912 photo of five generations of my ancestral lineage (and the awesome yarn art filter!) and Devout, Acquiesce, Resort and Note.