Category Archives: Poetry

Mary has left us – we will miss you

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver

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Hawaiian Sunrise

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6:30 AM in Hawaii.
Birds in a giant tree to the left of the villa sing to greet the rising light …. another one – larger, louder- pipes up just to the east; I think he’s on the jetti below my lanai

but he is invisible to me except for his clear, determined voice.  I wonder if he will do this tomorrow.  If he did this yesterday.

Watching the cool morning light stretching up toward the last star shimmering in a periwinkle sky,

now sinking into a dusty pink, then to a sunrise-to-the-east yellow, like cream on clouds that rest on the horizon …

is healing, full of grace.

In the dark below, a small fishing boat pulls away from its dock, gliding silently along a jetti.

Sipping coffee, I watch as it moves toward the sea.

Jetti locataires- palm trees and flowering bushes – are watching, too.

We watch together.  The little boat reaches the ocean and shrinks away.

Inevitably the light pushes up, drowning the star and it’s periwinkle sky.  Boats appear in lit slips, now visible, and the sun appears, looking more majestic than I remember it.

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I must be in paradise.

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the sky tonight

sunset

Bare, naked trees propose to each other against a sky on fire with color and winter wind

Alight and blazing orange at the horizon, dark trunks stretch up through a delicate soft pink into the sky

one can imagine chapped skin, an exposed breast or tender arm in  the rounded crests and limbs

swaying and moving together higher in the sky, awash in a bed of vivid, deepening purple

They seem to not notice their leafless state as they bend together, creaking and whispering, no trace of shyness

or self consciousness.

Silhouettes in love against the darkening sky.

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First Love

I once saw a blue-eyed mystery

pass by in a crowded high school hallway

smiling easily amidst a clamor of teenage boys passing in a  wave

like a piece of sea glass that washes past and disappears in the tide.

The revealing was

the sound of a voice on the telephone, his skilled hand on

a standard transmission

the close up curve of his lip when he wasn’t smiling

and the sense of distance and loss he felt for a father remarried and moved away.

Just before …  he lowered firm, full lips to mine,

breath held in an endless moment that melted into hours

and weeks, then months.  Until adulthood and independence swept it away.

It was a fast slow confused tingling first glimpse of love.

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The Sweet Taste of Wine

The nights were short when we made love

a stream of beautiful thrusts and desperate parries, long deep kisses that left urgent burns on my lips  and so hungry

always wanting more of those endless moments when your skin was all there was

I could have taken you into me forever, never the urge for anything else.  Not the end of my master’s degree, not my friends, not anything else you were so filling …

like a perfect sky of shape-shifting clouds.   Like steak.   Like the smoothest red wine washing my lips, staining my tongue, sliding down my throat.

Like every beautiful thing, we passed like cut flowers, and I thought about hating you

like some people hate tequila

For whole weekends of lovemaking,  heady orgasms on the floor of your boat, nights filled with the smell of sex and aching muscles.

What else could I ever want?  And why take it away from me?

When you were gone a universe of people crowded around and I saw and felt them –

Others in love but never the freedom, never the cool, free bliss of making love under the trees for hours

never the same salty blow jobs, never the same frenzy of devouring you and endless earth shaking release

never the same claiming of each other.  no, not like that.

I thought about hating you for making it impossible

to marry for money, for prestige, for anything other than something real.  Something real …

But reality is so elusive.

Wine feels so good on your tongue, so full in your throat and then it’s gone and you’re hung over.

Is there anything you can do for me?

Is there any wine left or did we drink it all?

Probably we drank it all- I hope we did.

It’s hard to imagine I left anything in my glass.

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Jim

Jim
Your stay was brief, intended for pleasure;
And time for dalliances is always short.
But you made it your business – made it an art,
While it lasted it was Your expression of soul.

It would have done to give your name to a holy book
Reviled as you were, prophet-son
Chastised for worshipping nature and beauty,
Your song was blasphemy in the ears of the deaf.

Your fire strained against the inside of your skin,
Full to splitting.
Eventually it broke as these things do
and loosed you to the sky, where you belong, really.

Pleasure never lasts and truth is eclipsed by fear
So you took your leave
As guests do when they no longer feel welcome
Come again, Jim.

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Sublime

This morning the snow started to come in light flakes.
One.
Two.
and then the rest, swirling and hovering

I opened the door, expected it would be gray, forbidding;

It’s usual austere self frowning down and daring me to rebuke it.

But when I looked up to face it, the sky was glowing.

Sun lit the cloud that stretched cold above and around me, smiling down through the soaring ice

It’s halo soft, white …  surely there, behind the falling  snow.

Flakes fell

Went about their business unmoved by the sight.  Unaware of the miracle taking place around them

With an approving gaze on me, I drove to the school,  reassured by the sight of god.  Or an angel.

I’ll never be sure which.

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