Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Back to the Meadow


Watch me juggle.
Am I not handsome in my costume?
Ask three questions.
Would truth amaze you?

Am I not handsome in my costume?
I surpass my talents.
Would truth amaze you?
Go back to the meadow for innocence.

I surpass my talents.
I have a lifetime contract.
Go back to the meadow for innocence.
Truth is worth all risk.

I have a lifetime contract.
My ink is made of blood.
Truth is worth all risk.
Death is standing beside you.

My ink is made of blood.
Come cut me with your knife.
Such a pretty murderess.
Death is standing beside you.

Come cut me with your knife.
Smile so I will know you love me.
Death is standing beside you.
I have fallen from a great height.

I don’t think I can mend myself.
Smile so I will know you fear me.
In the beginning I was as faithful as innocence.
I don’t think I can mend myself.

Smile so I will know you fear me.
Ask three questions.
I don’t think I can mend myself.
Watch me juggle.



It was the depth of light in the water—
deep as eyes could follow—
and the hand, testing, learning the deception:

how one thing is another;
how touch breaks stillness—needing to be
broken; how shimmers of light

made such a brief pattern;
how the hand was cold
and withdrew

while the eyes
created something more:
a need to fathom through limitation—

something was past repair:
a globe of such dimension that even sound
would distort and lose itself; then silence—

flattening out—like a ripple
that finally finds shore—what the
mind sought: the question, then the answer.



Who is going to love you now,
you old fool, out there in the
rain, pulling off your clothes
and cursing at yourself for
all your failures?

Who is going to drag you in
and hold you to a weather-beaten heart,
be strong as an old tree full of dry music
to make you warm again,
and never blame you for your pain?

Who is going to love you
when you grow quiet as a stone
and no longer exclaim
that there is nothing left
of you now to save—

that you are in a floating room
inside yourself
where you complain
that after all the rain and weeping
there is only drought?


Askance on the wall, the long mirror faces me, but without my face, though still holding the lamp, the tilted ceiling, the edge of the bedpost—a bit of my shoulder. I can see, but not be seen. If I turn a little to the left, then I am there, in the mirror, looking curious: a face across the room, in glass dimension, amused, playing peek-a-boo with myself. I shift and cut my face in half at the gold frame. The lamp stares, casting its own shadow up and down. I wave to myself—a foolish woman looking for her humor. The lamp flaunts its brassy base and plays its own amusement game of glint and shimmer—tilts its shade a bit to its satisfaction. The mirror takes the action for its own.



Love on the verge of failure,
risking themselves on one
another—how can we
bear to watch them,

happy as fools—
following the light in
each other’s eyes, holding
hands on the dark pathways.



Do not look
too breathlessly
where color sharpens
under rain . . .

it is the best
of storm,
the pain of beauty under grim,
texture of clean.
So do not make
a foolish pantomime
of dancing
in the green and brown
delirious park.
the weeping watchers
will declare you
will stare you awkward
and depart,
the magic stilled . . .

and you return
to your dry room
without the poetry
of sudden joy


Today's LittleNip:


“Can unhappiness kill you?”
     “Yes, oh yes.

“Will I die, then?”
     “Yes, oh yes.”

“Will you cry for me?”
     “Oh yes.”


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix, finishing up our Seed of the Week: Self-Deceptions. This week's Seed is Indiscreet, a word which actually has a very nebulous meaning. What are indiscretions? The dictionary says "lacking prudence, good judgment, or circumspection". Well, hey—that's about as broad as you can get, especially for poets, yes? (I think Joyce's "In Defense of Propriety" gives us a good start.) Send your poetic and/or artistic musings to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOWs.

We are all saddened to learn that Patricia Hickerson passed away from cancer Sunday night. It was my pleasure to publish a chapbook and a broadside by the sassy Pat, who was a joy to work with (see rattlesnakepress.com) Fellow Davisite Allegra Silberstein writes: When I went to the Care home this morning Pat was not there. I went home and called her Grandson, Aaron. He told me she had passed on about 2 o'clock this morning. I was sorry I had not gone last night but Aaron told me that even family stayed only a few minutes...Pat was in great pain and just wanted to be left alone. Now her suffering is over and it is we who loved her who know the pain of her loss...if there are pearly gates she'll be kicking up her heels there and giving St. Pete some sass...but wherever, whatever, I think our dying is a kind of birth to something else. In case you want to send a message of sympathy, her grandson's address is Aaron Hickerson, 110 Second Street, Winters, CA 95694. Her daughter-in-law's is Debbie Shaw Hickerson, 805 Suffolk Place, Winters CA 95694.

Allegra sends us the following poem of hers that she thinks Pat would agree with:

When the last sentence of my life comes…
                    And death i think is no parenthesis…e.e.cummings

I want you to know
that this body that loved to move,
that lingered on an outstretched arm
that arced back or was still in arabesque,
this body gone
you might recall as if real
in the movement of an evening breeze.

When the last sentence comes,
the last period, when my mortality is bound
in ash and smoke
all that was space and water will be birthed,
into the I know not where…
perhaps a green blade of grass,
the scarlet leaf of a sumac,
a purple grape dried to a raisin on the vine,
a speck of dust in sunrise or sunset,

only these earth-words for
the I know not where
for what comes of all the space
released from solid matter
in ash and smoke…

but I want you to know my love stays
with you like a letter written in the long
grass bending in the wind.
And I want you to know
I do not fear that beyond—
beyond all our explaining clauses.

—Allegra Silberstein



—Photo by Joyce Odam