I sing you in my body

I sing you in my body, God said.
The crystal goblets in
my credenza vibrate with your nearness.
Echoes of the Big Bang bounce off
my parlor walls when you laugh.
You show your moon-side, and
all of the parish dogs,
sleeping on sofas, and the midnight coyotes,
snacking on offal,
stand up and howl.

Nothing in me can resist you.
I’m like a tuning fork,
humming
at your approach.
I just
can’t
help
it.

* I’m still not settled on the big bang line. Something seems off about the rhythm or the progression of imagery. Any suggestions?

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God’s dog.

When I walk my elderly dog, I often think of the parallel of my relationship with God. I wonder, does my beloved friend feel forsaken when I’m away at work? Does he blame my faltering omnipotence when my tardiness reduces him to the shame of unloading an unbearably full bladder on the forbidden rug? When his deadened hearing and failing eyesight lose track of my footsteps, does he feel lost even though I am still right beside him, silently grateful for his companionship? In his bursts of joyful energy, if he runs right off an unseen curb and stumbles, does he feel betrayed even though I am scrambling to keep apace with his exuberance for life? Or, when he feels my hand scratching his ears and he melts into slack jawed bliss, does any of that matter? Is it maybe enough that the best I ever could do was cherish him?

How can I tell him that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give so that, when his life light dims and fades, he won’t have to wonder where I have gone, that all the while I will be hugging him with the total force of my being, in a pool of grief, wondering how to bear a world unleavened by his devotional heart?

It’s not that different, really.

I Saw You

Dear life, I saw you today when you thought I wasn’t looking. You were on the corner of 30th and Colorado, waiting for the light to change, when you shook your wild mop of curls to fully greet the wind. You rode, hanging out the window of the SUV, tongue flapping in the breeze, a grand hello to all you passed. Your petals strained toward the evening sun, nearly flopping over in ecstasy like a dog having reached the ultimate, carnal itch. You didn’t know it, but–right there–you made me fall in love with you all over again. Shake your hair that way once more and I’m yours for eternity.

In My Secret Life

Monday came and pushed out the sunshine. Echoes of the weekend’s intimacy faded into weekday anomie, and, by nightfall, I was lonely once more.

It was past the hour for a proper meal. I had queried every flavor in the pantry and none had stood up and danced for me. Resigned to the discontent that travels in the wake of unlimited choice, I pecked at fresh fruit and cheese and flipped on the TV. My dog, seeing no potential for scrumptious handouts, gave up completely and called it an early night. And, after a couple episodes of “Six Feet Under” and a dose of righteous melancholy, I too succumbed to the barometric pressure and headed for bed.

Shucking off my clothes, I shoved my hand into my jeans pockets and found an engraved, silver heart–a memento left there to remind me that I’m loved, even if only by an unseen force. I smiled and rubbed its smooth edges and measured its small heft in my palm, fascinated by how some things can be so real and yet so intangible.

Still, the bed felt too big and the empty spaces too confining, crowding me with insecurities on all sides. And, by the time I woke, my beloved had visited and slipped off again. Teetering on the edge of morning consciousness, between the worlds of the sacred and the profane, I tried to stitch together the opposites of my life and, like so many mornings before, my thoughts unraveled into confusion. Yet, standing later at the kitchen counter, stirring the breakfast bowl, I was struck by an image of myself as a character on a movie screen, frozen in time, listening forever intently, as if for her own wistful soundtrack, hoping that the camera won’t pan away just yet because it is this one pose, this one peculiar mood that links her pigtails and ribbons, her worn-out shoes, her mothballed prom dresses, her passport stamps, her degrees on the wall, her proud, grey hairs, and every well-meaning act of generosity scattered amongst friends and family to the thing that’s about to happen.

In the background, Leonard Cohen sings

I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight.
And we’re still making love
In my secret life.

Spring

It was a weekend for lovers and my secret paramour (life itself) stole into town under the cover of grey skies. After a drink Friday night and long discussions of old friends, Jung, and the nature of the soul, we fell exhausted into each others’ arms, our hearts full and our eyes drooping with jewels of possibility. Saturday morning, we lingered in bed, sipping poetry and snacking on sunlight. And on a long walk through town, we held hands and remarked on the novelties of the season. At the end of the path, where the mountains allow only the lonely to pass, the Universe gently touched my shoulder and said, “Look there,” motioning towards the heavens. The sky was so blue that I felt I could fall forever upwards into it. As if just by tilting my head back and uncurling my toes, I would tumble, weightless,  elbows over ears over shoelaces into the blue beyond the blue, all of my defenses spooling out behind me like pink petals from a wind-blown crab apple tree. That night, again sweet surprises–the Universe offered to make dinner but he overcooked the vegetables and I spilled the beer–faults quickly forgotten when he began singing melancholy tunes of tragedy and triumph and I became soft and sentimental, despite myself. Secretly, I vowed to stop being so coy and thank him for all of the ways he opens my heart but, that night, I fell asleep before I reached the end of the list. Sunday morning, no words were spoken. None were needed. We gazed out the window, occasionally glancing contentedly into each other’s eyes, wanting neither to break the spell nor to get ahead of ourselves. As I shrugged into a new shirt of delicate design (bought just to please him), I felt suddenly younger and prettier, as if the color blue were made just for me and kisses invented simply for my amusement. After noon, we parted ways for a time–him to make some phone calls, me to take out the recycling and give the dog a bath. Alone but with a full heart, I worked to massage warm water, shampoo, and every bit of love I have been given into my aging dog’s body, hoping that he could know like I do that, in the end, everything will be all right .

Much love to you my friends. I hope spring brings you many wonderful things.

Chinoooks

I’m not much of a poet. But weather like last night’s makes me want to at least try.

The Chinook winds marched into town last night,
Banging pots and pans and shouting 
Slogans of change. 

They rattled the windows of the courthouse and
Swung from the trees in Central Park, while the neighbors
Huddled inside, waiting for the 
Revolution to begin.

Around 5 A.M., the weary watchers slept. And,
When they awoke, the streets had been 
Swept clean, the dirty snow
Hauled away. And the grey sun said, 
"Now, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat."

I’m definitely going to need a nap today.

Forgive the Dream

Thesis. Day 1.

So, here it is. I’m ready. I think. I better be. It feels like I have a row of carrots all lined up, dangling in front of me, trying to get me to finish my thesis. And the irony and perfect symmetry and timing of my situation has not escaped my notice. Here I am, finally putting into print my big letter of heartache to the world that I’ve been trying to compose for almost 37 years. Me, whose loneliness often seemed so complete that I just eventually came to assume that it was who I was, it was a natural part of my destiny–I’ve evened ached for the option to just join a monastery or something like it so that I could get inevitability over with. And now I’ve just met someone that I so far feel so evenly matched and complimented by, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually, that I have to wonder if I’m standing here holding an empty bag of amusing ideas.

Jeeez, I really hesitate to put that last sentence out there. Shit. I don’t want to tempt fate to prove me hopelessly, embarrassingly delusion. But, then again, I am nothing if–and this thesis will be a waste of words if–I am not willing to make myself vulnerable and make my humanity accessible. Starting right now. So, let me take off the hat I walked in with, the one that is tall and square and hides in it a full toolbox of authoritative, condescending explicatives. Let me hang it on the hook by the door. Instead, if I don anything on my bare head for the next 4 weeks, let it be a scarf that I can use in moments of soft, undefended humility and reverance.

Let me have hopes, however fanstastic. Let me undress myself of structure, objectivity, and sound predictions, and instead roll naked through poetry. And, here’s the hardest one of all … let me expect your patience, generous leeway, and forgiveness.

Forgive the Dream … by Hafiz

World AIDS Day

‘K, folks. Today is World AIDS Day. If you think you don’t know anybody whose life has been touched by AIDS, and if you know me, then think again. Today, Bristol-Meyers Squibb is donating $1 to AIDS research for every virtual candle lit at this website: http://www.lighttounite.com/. If you haven’t seen these sorts of on-line fundraisers before and it looks too good to be true, then you are in for a really pleasant surprise. Please please please let your fingers do the clicking.

If you have a story to share about AIDS in your life, you can share it there, and I’d love if you posted it here too.

Here’s mine