Monday, June 03, 2013

Unfriending the Dead

Fort Ross, California
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

It's a holiday
forget computer
and the fax

For today axe the I.R.S.
and unpaid taxes
all ways and means,
try some franks and beans,

Fish for salmon
with a new rod,
play backgammon
enjoy a brew and Cod,

No school
but the sun and swing
find a pool
after lunch for swimming

Enjoy your liberty
like a bird or mallard
why not order poetry,
and a word salad.


pretty girls passing for crazy
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

he is taking a gamble
on tacking down her shadow
looking for skeletons in her one suitcase –
trying to disprove
a silence so deep
he cannot touch it

he is opening closets in walls so thin
he can hear every doubt –
on her hot skin
in her rough hair –
but he only listens to
her treacherous mouth

she is her own punishment


—Cynthia Linville

They’ve disappeared behind the page
where it’s horror-film quiet
or where there’s a low buzz
or a sibilant wind song

and yet they lurk like
ghosts waylaid by desire –
these departed friends
whose families keep posting
          I miss you
          I won’t forget you
          I finally found the perfect gift to give you

as if their essence
could be tacked to the screen with words
as if these smiling photos could still hear us
surreptitiously tapping these keys.

I unfriend the dead.
I don’t want their faces popping up
scaring me half to death
in the middle of the night.

—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville

For decades I’ve been holding this space
between my arms
open for you –
and now
I am an old woman.

Today you will appear –
your breath
warm on my neck
your hands
gentle on my hair.


—Cynthia Linville

Thoughts of you now burn the eyes
like artificial tears
turned black
long expired.

Yet I surrender to memory’s fingers,
surrender to a remembered smile,
surrender for somebody who knew
a good piece of you

somebody who listened to the sky
somebody whose hands reached up
from below the water
to clasp mine.

Such memories now
are loose kitchen tiles,
are once-juicy cherries
rotten by the roadside.

These memories are prone to
crumble off my fingers
like dark chocolate turned dry.
But she always stood by you

always remembered you
pulling flowers out of your sleeve
offering sugar-cookies
boiling tea

even long after you let her go.
I’m not even sure you’d recognize her now
your daughter, fully-grown
still standing by you.


(Contemplating a book that needs to be written
of a story that demands to be left untold.)


Someday on a date far away
I will write a book entitled Release
which will attempt to fill in the blanks

from a major episode of serious
head trauma that left me with no
independent recollection of it

imagine being 18, recent high school
grad, full of life one moment, comatose
the next, ending up with memories

that are no more than reconstructions
of reports from other people about
what they heard had happened

so I can easily describe the event from
rote like reciting my birthdate knowing
full well it is not my own memory

knowing full well that I don’t really
know this fully and I certainly do not
know it very well, but I can say it

with all the self-assurance of someone
telling you where gold was first discovered
in California like they remember it themselves

I daydream of being on the witness stand
and the judge is angered by hearsay so
you must offer an independent recollection

it would be nearly impossible for me to
adequately identify myself with those
limitations, I would be tongue tied


Today's LittleNip:

seems like,
i’m constantly
peeling away
dead skin,
trying to get
to the bottom
of me

—charles mariano, sacramento



Gualala Beach, California
—Photo by Cynthia Linville