My muse was absent
this LexPoMo June,
out riding a four-wheel cart,
driving a pock-marked
sphere toward a distant hole,
sipping cocktails in the clubhouse.
I’d planned to play at poetry,
but my muse was set on golf.
In memory of my mother 8/9/48 – 3/11/2007
My brush caught the clasp on your strand of pearls
In a frozen moment I imagined them
dropping down the open drain one by one
But the clasp held and I recalled
that pearls are knotted each by each,
carefully slid down the strand by hand
Unless the whole necklace is lost, each pearl is safe.
I thought of you and the pale nape of your neck
your hand pulling up strands
escaping your long and graceful hairline.
I listen carefully to gage what you are covering up
To hear if your words are slurred
Or your outlook too bleak,
Or if you have verged into mania.
I tell myself,
This is the nature of addiction.
I try not to take it personally
as I internalize your depression and misplaced rage.
On your good days I strain towards the normalcy in your voice
Recalling how you once were, and could be again
Imagining all the fun we could have as sisters.
Setting myself up to fall when you crash.
I cover for you to try to spare others the worry.
How many stints in the ICU will it take
“to reach rock bottom?”
I have been encouraged to walk away
but I cannot.
My guilt and my love
and my powerlessness weigh heavy.
This is the nature of addiction.
i want to write a poem that
gives my heart the fiction
it can agree with
i forgot how you smelled
but today you flashed
a hickey at me
a dripping eye
trying to catch my gaze
with a murdering wink
it took a year plus change but
i finally took your advice
so those invisible figures
you surrounded me with
shake their heads
take two steps back
i washed you
out of my sheets today
and i’m still not sure if
i’m sorry or not
virginity stripping embrace
dancing arms circle
door parting sweep
hands folded in laps
chewed lips advancing and retreating over
hunched shoulder hollowing out
a space at the collar bone
for water to collect
you kissed my calf
as i walked up the stairs
and everything was in bloom
i finally know how to feel
and if i could
i’d leave you all over again
The edges of my heart have sloughed
from the immersion in your drama-
this might not have a good endpoint.
I want to stop imagining your eulogy,
to see my sister as I saw her once
I know there was good in her
She was tough and fragile
cruel and kind
I say goodbye to you every day
Are you still here?
It’s me –
Your big Sister –
how I held you
until you fell asleep?
You were so little then
so quick with small kisses.
Now when I visit,
you might show me your games
or turn away from me,
shrugging your small shoulders.
Six-year-olds can be cruel.
Tell me a thousand
knock-knock jokes –
I promise to laugh
at every one,
only don’t look through me.
Pause in washing underwear
in a chipped,
Look down the dim corridor,
your son at the end,
crying to go outside and play.
Remember that you love him,
Soon this will be a memory,
You have beer at home.
It’s the beer and the love
that get you through.
I was going to write a poem, or several, sort of like my usual type, throwing away the pen for a 5 pound sledge, the kind that might have a line in it like
“In a just world she would be a lampshade in a library”
but I decided not to. Nor did I decide to include the insulting one with the aside
Since I’m part of the “community”
I’ll use my sexuality
Any way I damn well please
I was elected spokesman (did you miss the meeting?)
in it. Since it started with “Don’t read this” it’s probably best discarded.
I went back and read my first entry
And I’m certainly still right about me
But I was wrong about poetry
I spent alot of time this month reading all the poems here when I should have been working and I’ve made some progress, even enjoying several poems about cats and a poem with “Fortnight” in the title. I learned pastoral isn’t always boring, and that witchy, hippie, drum circle set style stuff can be entertaining, too.
I learned that, like autism and sexuality, sociopathy is also spectral and that the reason I don’t get a lot of what’s going on here isn’t you, it’s me.
I wrote several poems this month I’m proud of that would never have existed but for this forum, thank you all, but especially Jim, who I consider a new friend – I hope he does, too.
Maybe we’ll meet again here next year
Time for a beer