Code black

I don’t imagine I knew you I

Thought I did thought so highly thought you were who I imagined you to be

That’s the problem with human beings they are so often not who we think they are

we all act

some of us

Oscar worthy the one

who is

happy all the time but

when no one sees her father beats her mother behind closed doors and what about them over there the happily married couple

who poses so lovingly for professional family photos but he slept with his mistress before meeting his wife at the studio

then there’s that nice Christian lawyer with the Golden Retriever who is a single father whose teenaged daughter adores him who he’s been molesting since she was twelve

her screams invisible even to her now

Daylight hides the darkness of the human heart

I did not know you the sun blinded me like

Icarus flying too close

To the sun

You

fell

I

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4th of July 2018

Heavy treads descend. I hear the matched marching heavy booted clump clump clump jackbooted night drawing

upon us all

Freedom duels with itself and flags fly perpetually at

at half mast

dissent arrested shots ring out sad and slow and true scything down the flower of our youth who

die in vain for their country.

what is right is now twisted into former versions of itself and injustice uncloaked no more pretending to be something benevolent something

sinister

I hear the cries of children who are the lambs in this slow slaughter of liberty while

a soft slow voice tells me let the dead bury their dead

let the sleepers sleep

I run to gather up the discarded heart of she who has dropped her torch and sits weeping soulessly eating innocence

her castaway heart is too heavy to bear

and God has fled

an impostor shadow stands laughing mockingly

I am I am I am

there will be no fireworks only the screams of the damned behind barbed wire starving

work will set us free

souls will climb heavenward the sleepers unaware of

the hell they have unleashed

death creeps slowly forward in the eyes of the jackbooted suited fiends delighting in the chaos and

fear and

pain and burning black smoke goes up the chimneys

look here

is the abyss with an echo of the past

a child’s voice

My country ”tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty

let freedom ring

the whisper

dies

freedom no

more just a word we used

to fight for

a white dove

plummets

to the earth

Clump clump clump clump

Poem of the day: Anne Sexton, “45 Mercy Street”

In my dream,

drilling into the marrow

of my entire bone,

my real dream,

I’m walking up and down Beacon Hill

searching for a street sign –

namely MERCY STREET.

Not there.

I try the Back Bay.

Not there.

Not there.

And yet I know the number.

45 Mercy Street.

I know the stained-glass window

of the foyer,

the three flights of the house

with its parquet floors.

I know the furniture and

mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,

the servants.

I know the cupboard of Spode

the boat of ice, solid silver,

where the butter sits in neat squares

like strange giant’s teeth

on the big mahogany table.

I know it well.

Not there.

Where did you go?

45 Mercy Street,

with great-grandmother

kneeling in her whale-bone corset

and praying gently but fiercely

to the wash basin,

at five A.M.

at noon

dozing in her wiggy rocker,

grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,

grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,

and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower

on her forehead to cover the curl

of when she was good and when she was…

And where she was begat

and in a generation

the third she will beget,

me,

with the stranger’s seed blooming

into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress

and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,

enough pills, my wallet, my keys,

and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?

I walk. I walk.

I hold matches at street signs

for it is dark,

as dark as the leathery dead

and I have lost my green Ford,

my house in the suburbs,

two little kids

sucked up like pollen by the bee in me

and a husband

who has wiped off his eyes

in order not to see my inside out

and I am walking and looking

and this is no dream

just my oily life

where the people are alibis

and the street is unfindable for an

entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down –

I don’t care!

Bolt the door, mercy,

erase the number,

rip down the street sign,

what can it matter,

what can it matter to this cheapskate

who wants to own the past

that went out on a dead ship

and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,

as women do,

and fish swim back and forth

between the dollars and the lipstick.

I pick them out,

one by one

and throw them at the street signs,

and shoot my pocketbook

into the Charles River.

Next I pull the dream off

and slam into the cement wall

of the clumsy calendar

I live in,

my life,

and its hauled up

notebooks.

Love

It was a bridge across the forevers of time and whatever space we souls live in when we are not

here.

we recognize one another even when we are strangers.

You know the feeling, don’t you when you feel like you’ve known someone forever when you’ve only just met and most often we

were two ships passing in the night

we touched briefly and knew what forever was encased in long looks and conversations where each word we chewed and tasted and savored time

flew like sparrows dispersing upwards life the hourglass running out without

our knowledge until one day you were not

I just wander really. I’ve been lost since the ether swallowed you and wings drooping I’ve forgotten what flying was compass broken brokenness defined me

I spent years mending the tear in my soul until one day

I saw

love is the bridge connecting souls yours to mine never alone the deer show me you walk this earth still

love the

silver cord you on one side I on the other touching invisibly feeling the wind and the waves of that dreamscape where you

live now

death a middle passage from life to life

the birds know this as do the deer

severed

There will be no new memories. That is how it is when a life ends the seasons push inexorably on train tracks stretching to the horizon

somehow we go on despite the emptiness that defines our new condition

the hole never fills

There is this place you crossed over that looks like home only moreso and there I saw you looking like yourself only happier

through a glass darkly images

brighten then

fade

somehow we wake up in this

world and the next

half in half out

half here

half gone

half darkness

half

light

Poem of the day: ee cummings all nearness pauses …

all nearness pauses, while a star can grow
all distance breathes a final dream of bells;
perfectly outlined against afterglow
are all amazing and the peaceful hills
(not where not here but neither’s blue most both)
and history immeasurably is
wealthier by a single sweet day’s death:
as not imagined secrecies comprise
goldenly huge whole the upfloating moon.
Times a strange fellow;
more he gives than takes
(and he takes all)nor any marvel finds
quite disappearance but some keener makes
losing, gaining
—love! if a world ends
more than all worlds begin to(see?) begin

E.E Cummings (USA, 1894-1962)


(Image brainpickings.com)

Poem of the Day: Self portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid by Diane Seuss

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For those of you who want to know more about Plath’s hair kept at Indiana University go here.

Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid

Diane Seuss
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became obsessed with chopping it off,
and I did, clear up to my ears. If hair is beauty
then I am no longer beautiful.
Sylvia was beautiful, wasn’t she?
And like all of us, didn’t she wield her beauty
like a weapon? And then she married,
and laid it down, and when she was betrayed
and took it up again it was a word-weapon,
a poem-sword. In the dream I fasten
her braid to my own hair, at my nape.
I walk outside with it, through the world
of men, swinging it behind me like a tail.
Copyright © 2015 by Diane Seuss. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 25, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
Diane Seuss was born in Michigan City, Indiana, in 1956 and raised in Edwardsburg and Niles, Michigan. She studied at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, where she received a master’s degree in social work. Seuss is the author of three books of poetry: Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015); Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010), recipient of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow (New Issues Press, 1998)

taken from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/self-portrait-sylvia-plath’s-braid

 

 

Homeward bound

Twenty five years ago

I couldn’t wait to leave

it that

place I’d grown up in

purple with taconite dust clinging to everything

The walls had memory too. The fights, the screaming and cold silences that told me there were far worse things than hatred

like being together the

loneliest

when love has long fled

My bright spots the cerulean blue lake stretching endlessly to the eastern horizon blue line beckoning

Canal Park

Wisconsin Point

Aurora borealis

4th of July nights with fireworks bay reflected

I stand on the other side. I know what lies on the far side of that blue western horizon line and

it has called me for twenty five years a

plaintative song pleading me to come home

Come home.

I fled ever onwards in the opposite direction

Pacific bound then Atlantic

foreign lands all

I saw so much water

so many gulls crying overseas all of it foreign and rough always comparing to my wide expanse of inland sea blue my sea, my cradle, my comfort

the wildness of her spirit alive in me always

Now it is time. I follow the siren song compass point north

due north as the geese fly in spring trailing experience and longing with me

I am weary of strangeness and crave rest for my soul

Seasons will pass now with me watching sailboats in summer then Autumn colors exploding over the hill then winters onslaught

Frozen bay ice breakers pushing relentlessly through steadily

Ship horns bridge horn opening

I know them all. It is there waiting for me. It cannot be the same yet it is familiar

Home did not slip away from me in the night so long

It is mine to make now, home

Home

Home

Poem of the day: Jane Hirshfield, Dog Tag, 1953

At last understanding
that everything my friend had been saying
for the thirty-three months since he knew
were words of the dog tag, words of, whatever else,
the milled and stamped-into metal of what stays behind.
Blackcap Mountain. Blue scorpion venom. Persimmon pudding.
He spoke them.
He could not say love enough times.
It clinked against itself, it clinked against its little chain.

regret

sometimes on sunny days when the river sparkles and birds hover in cross breezes over the waters

it is easy to dream

easy to live in what could have been or what could be if the wind reversed direction if life rewound

if old paths once so promising reopened

I peek behind one door and I see you and how the sun opened onto your face in that easy smile or how conversation opened to easily in our talk of books and poetry

it was easy to love you then and flickers long buried resurface like the flash of silver fish jumping in midair and disappearing in the current

I have carried you gently, like a bird

quietly

in the silent places in my mind music of you with me over the years in a little pocket in my carry on bag in that place where I could be me and you could be you and we loved Shakespeare and Gibran and spoke of books as our friends while our path intersected and there were wildflowers and promise

I stand at the intersection of memory and how things happened and if I’d been in a different place or you perhaps

perhaps…if my world had not come tumbling down in the unexpectedness of things that happen if I had not been silent if any of it mattered till the day came when all I could do is set you free my silence held in the rightness of letting you fly

(I could never have kept you caged you see not you that was never me)

memory is black and white an old reel playing out then the end of the tape flapping as the reel spins round and round

So we live in our own stories now

perhaps

all is as it should be and it is not for me to say what should have been or what should be

I only wonder at the mystery of whether love is really love if it falls in the woods and nobody hears it I am all too acquainted with words unspoken with holding back with futility

for now I stand here on the shore listening to the sound of the river flowing past watching the birds fly above me

there is only the present

I hold time the sun your smile close to me in the silence of my solitude

The river flows onwards as it has done for a thousand years and will

For a thousand years to come

I am but a moment

you

I envy flight