Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blue Checks and Bad Bourbon

Morning Glory


Maybe it was a flag.
Maybe it was a Spanish flag.
Maybe I was too far away.
Maybe I didn’t see it.

Maybe it was a heart.
It looked like a heart.
Maybe I was too far away.
Maybe I didn’t see it.

Maybe it was something unsaid.
I didn’t recall anything being said.
Maybe I was too far away and if it
Were said, maybe I didn’t hear it.

Maybe there were things I didn’t understand.
Maybe I don’t understand very much at all.
Maybe something like this had never happened before.
Maybe it had and I just did not understand it.

Maybe it was a dream.
It looked like a dream.
It felt like a dream feels.
Maybe I never woke up.

Maybe it was a train or a someone singing
Or a vision with angels or beings without bodies,
Or just cars driving down the streets at night
Without their lights on, or maybe it was someone
Praying and I never heard anything like that prayer
So I didn’t know it was a prayer or maybe it was someone
Telling me that they loved me and I could barely hear it.

Maybe I was too far away.
Maybe I didn’t hear it.
Maybe I did.  Maybe it was a flag.


                          —Lizette Woodworth Reese

And I will have no part of it.
I think of Borge’s milk-clouded eyes
That clawed at his destiny
And were ignored by memory.

For there was no oblivion that caught
At his sleeve, but a lasting image,
A weather made with white
That understood the rooms
Where memories might end.

We stand looking in the cool windows
At what was once a voice but has
Fallen from its horse, yet still
Can be seen trying to mount
Some other, newer steed
Which it cannot. 

It is a shadowed
Voice that called us here in the first
Place, a flurry of words coursing
Just before sleep would have us.
A game of days and nights once more.
The windows fog.  The world goes white



I can hear people.  I think
They wish to touch me but I
Am snow right now.  They will
Not find me.
“We think we can see you,” they say.
I know they cannot.  I am snow.

I can touch you and I do.
They sleep with my body
On their own and do not know
It is me.  I will roll over their
Bodies, touch their sacred places,
Open my mouth when I reach the top
Of the hill.  I can see you upon
The sea.  The long shadows penetrate
Your sex, pretending they are the moon.

The leaves escape the trees.
No one comes near any longer.
I am upon the Winter as the Winter
Is upon you.

When you look into my eyes
You will see I am old, very old.
I watch the ships at night.
They come into the harbor like
My blood through your body.  

The Other Rose


She was looking at the eggs.  They had a glaze over them that
reminded her of the Florida panhandle, same shape, same yellow
just below the surface.  She reached for the salt.

“You going up the store later?’ he said.  He was wearing that
same blue check shirt again.  He had had it on for the past three
days.  Last night when he came into the bedroom, he smelled
like blue checks, blue checks and bad bourbon. She wondered
where he had found the money for whiskey, but then he began
to handle her and, despite the heat, she was glad he made it
home at all.  She remembered falling asleep before it was over.
“He won’t remember,” she had told herself, and she had been

His hands had oil stains on the back of them that reached up to
where he had folded the cuffs back. “Yes, I am,” she said.
“Well get some chicken and get me some cigarettes.”  He wasn’t
ordering.  He was just being as slow as the heat.  She could feel
the heat.  Usually she liked it.  Today her dress kept sticking to
her legs and for some reason she kept noticing that there were
those metallic-colored flies, slow flying across the kitchen, out
into the living room and back again.  They seemed louder than
the radio.  “I’m going now.” she said.  She didn’t want to be
there for the next couple of hours.  The car would be cool and
she wouldn’t have to listen to his half-singing and small talk
about how much work he thought he would get next week.
She didn’t want to talk about cars and that’s what he wanted to
talk about most of the time.

“Hey," he said.  “Say something pretty to me.  Something I’d
like,” he said.  His voice has a citrus sweetness about it.  She
was opening the screen door and turned back to look at him.
Her voice softened.  "Gravel,” she said.  “A whole load of gravel
just spread out near the end of the drive  You’d like the sound it
would make when you drove over it,” she answered.  Before he
could say anything else, the door was behind her.  She could
hear him begin whistling.



She pulled the shoji screen closed
Behind her and looked to the center
Of the room.  The light was perfect.
Shadows owned the room and moved
On the lacquer bowls, dancing.

She dropped to her knees, pushing
Her kimono off her left shoulder.
It was a palest white, almost whiter
Than her face.  She sighed and lit
The incense.  Tonight she would
Quote Basho and play shamisen.
The words were birds in her throat.
They fluttered in the room, more shadows.

It occurred to her that she was made of glass.
That her client was a shakuhachi and she wanted
To place her mouth upon the flute and coax
The soul of the wood into the room.  She
Was glass.  Her hands were magic as she made
Tea, explained she did not know what she felt,
Touched the dumplings with one finger,
Unwrapped them and tided her hair.



When the wind decides, it is where
To that hails its most intimate
Secrets and lays claim to a chance
To make them places.

Here I will sell you this wind
On a knotted string.  These are my
Angels who die as soon as they
Are born.  And we will be borne
While waiting atop a quiet post
In the middle of a field that long
Ago ran with black-faced sheep;
Their hooves leaving an indelible
Writing on the sides of hills that can
Be read one hundred years from when
They were steps ahead of the dark,
A list of primal fears as night
Twisted around them.

And yet here we are just before sleep,
Raising our silk high above our heads,
Heedless of whether we will go.  Awaiting
The wind and the wind only as it rigs
Our yearning and we do its will.


Today's LittleNip:


There will be a door here.
It will be raining outside.
I will open the door
And watch the rain.

It will be unlike any other
Rain I have ever seen.
It will have a voice.
It will produce sounds
That will seem like a language
Bit it will not be such.

Somewhere in the middle
Of that rain there will be a heart.
I will hear it beating.


—Medusa, with thanks to D. R. Wagner for today's poems and pix!

 Wind Sprite