IN MY WEDDING DRESS
I wanted to take a picture
of the sun behind the clouds in my wedding dress
all slanted off shoulder with old elastic
and mauve moving into the horizon
See the motion of the moment
so strong that you can almost taste it
like warm pumpkin and real butter
stir like crazy the composition
then let go the batteries
bobbing in their twin beds
with no safety bar
the kids fall out and the light is gone
and this minute will never be the same
A sigh hisses from the slip of sun
and then it’s gone gone
falling into ocean's pacific surrender
there to fish for the sunset
of someone else
in a wedding dress all new and fragile
with a first you-may-kiss-the-bride-now
and a new camera with fresh batteries
and so much time
NOT JUST ANOTHER TUESDAY EVENING SUNSET
In dusty fuchsia the hill held the palm trees
as the ocean ate the sun
yes I could hear it
a distinct slurp as it slipped like a melon
cut into a perfect wedge into a lover’s mouth
It kept on shining, this swallowed sun
on a sliver of a moon
with perfect timing
it was lit like some slow UFO
in the western sky watching me sip chardonnay
It wasn’t until the magic diffused
and turned the moon into a moon that I recognized
the excitement in the waitress’s voice was my own
(she said that for two days now at dusk
this light appeared…her eyes were the color
of some secret)
a slivered light and more
not just another Tuesday evening sunset
(first pub. in Pirene's Fountain)
TELL ME A POEM
Tell me a poem, he said
as they sat on the front porch
watching the sun slowly sink.
She smiled at his sun-warm face.
A poem about what? She said.
about the way the rain smells,
You tell some, then I’ll tell some.
They were tipsy with the sunset and wine
and each other,
And thus this poem:
In a desert
the heart can fly,
from the stars at night.
The nourishment of day
comes from courage of cactus’s
If the heart looks closer,
sand and rock-strewn path
are footprints big and frail,
the waving swirl of snake
and the tiny lizard’s tail.
Even death’s bones
leak their brittle scar
on the path if you look
with your heart.
But, should you lose your heart
on some forgotten road,
give it away to another’s creed
that stopped and left its imprint
on your pathway with some need,
then the desert will be hot
for quenched thirst cannot be bought.
Understand that the other heart
does not belong to you
anymore then the cactus
belongs to dew.
They laughed into each other and the night.
The End but the beginning.
ODE TO THE ARTIST OF THE SUNSET MURAL
The sky is colored with charcoal
tints and shades of your soul
that swirl and fly in a celestial sea
that feathers your grace
The vibrant shade of a peacock feather
merges with the underbelly of a wren
the lavender abandon of the rose
has been swept into the opening begonia
Your blue has so many seasons
and to set into the horizon of your day
is to glimpse a color wheel
that has swirled and fused majestic
and where the fire sits into the sea
the desert sand has called
and been blessed with heated sulfur
until the sky melts
The dark-bound earth has feasted
laying awed and captured
has called in the cicada’s charm
to hold the heat in perfect harmony
rock me in the sand of your landscape
under the cactus lay me down
fill my need with rainbows of your whim
and nurture my dreamy dare with majesty
THE LIBRARY SUNSET
The crackle of a turned page
someone clearing their throat
in and out of sections
skidding across tables
zapping from computer terminals
perfume of knowledge
crisp and clean
with an edge of the dusty history
everything hushed and polished.
From the window gazing
the mountains closed in his vision
like he could walk there
to the place of Manzanita
its red-barked graceful trunk
and yellow Scotch Broom
abandoned down the hillside
falling from boulders painted
red and black with graffiti.
A book was open
on the table he gazed upon
the page again and again
to keep his hands from shaking
and his heart quiet
in a place he had never been
a place of big trees
and meadows of clean air.
The sun was setting
those beloved doors closed
the cement steps
the clock tower
even the sidewalk
and violet windows watched.
The high craggy peaks
of cement and concrete
steel and glass
at this moment captured
the rosy glowing countenance
of the sky.
He saw buildings instead of trees
but there was that same
reverent hush around him
that he had felt in the library
the same upturned rapture.
(from my novella, Sweet William)
THE MAGNITUDE OF HER UNFOLDING
She stayed out late one day in spring
whispering sighs into the fragrant sky
for she was sixteen and dreams danced
down the dusty weed-choked path with her.
It was dinner time
and the air had cooled
but her pounding heart and footsteps
blazed in youthful ardor.
She turned and was bathed in twilight’s glow
floating down a street oh it seemed like floating
of houses stained pink and mauve
against the light of sunset.
She could feel the secrets
that touched her from the window’s glow
of mother’s rocking children’s laughter
and those nesting families touched her soul.
She could feel the undertow
pulling her up into a woman
and she couldn’t say why
she cried into the darkening sky.
A girl is a mighty strong thing
she thought and started running
her bright hair dancing back and forth
and her feet echoing fast go fast.
Her breath felt clean
and her colt legs leaped bursting
bursting was her spirit
on that late night in early spring
the night she glimpsed
the magnitude of her unfolding.
I take this thought all fragile with disquiet
and lay it on the purple hue of sunset
until you can hear the color that I long
like skin it warms until it's soft
then melts like footsteps wet on sidewalk
lost in fragments then just gone
Slow a minute then and wait for me
for I am not as quick as I used to be
and I look around sometimes and feel fear take me
to places where bitter truth is painted dark
by treasured sacred piece of me, my heart
This brittle life can be so surrounded in a light
that in the last small piece of sun
it strikes a chord like just begun
then winks one last look into the pale ascent
lost in crowds all heaven-bent to pay respect
to the monument that ashes build
Give then with tip of head and lowered eyes
a thought to peacefulness inside
perhaps then all with struggles will hit their knees
and listen to the way a chorus sounds in harmony
—Medusa, with thanks to Martie Odell-Ingebretsen for today's poems and pix!