Worlds Away

what the nomad brought home

Lamento della zingara

“Da due mesi o poco piu…” *

Summer’s green deception now unwinds itself with straw,
The daylight tips and tumbles in reverse,
And fireflies are fading where we fantasized we’d glow.
The grass we never set ablaze just cuts
Into my legs the imprint
Of a scene that never was,
The disconnected lines of names we hardly knew,
The lacerating echoes of our unborn shouts into the night,

And now,
While sterile sunlight spills its gold
Upon your back and turns
Its back
On me…
I wander sticky streets alone,
Instead of melting,
White-hot, liquid moon beneath
Your secret,
Silver tongue.



“Io non mi fidavo; era solo sesso. Ma il sesso e un’attitudine, come l’arte in genere. E forse l’ho capito. E sono qui. E scusa… ma se non urlo, muoio. Non so se sai…”
(“I wasn’t committing; it was only sex. But sex is an expression, a state of mind, like art in general. And maybe I’ve got it figured out. And here I am. And forgive me… but if I don’t shout this, it’ll kill me. I don’t know if you know…”)

Still not ready to return to WordPress, guys. I feel bad about being almost completely inactive, but it’s been a stressful sort of time. This isn’t quite the type of post I’d prefer to be dropping by to leave either (so gloomy!), but I’ve spent the last several days steeped in poetry and wracked by an Italian ballad I only somehow just discovered this week. It’s called “Imbranato” by Tiziano Ferro, and it’s been my soundtrack as I try to articulate some things that have been bugging me.




The title of my post is a tribute to the Italian ballad that gave voice to my unrest. It’s also something of a tribute to my own Italian heritage and my lifelong nickname, “zingarella.” The title evokes the dilemma that lies at the heart of this poem — there are pains attendant to being something of a “zingara.” My family began calling me “zingarella” (diminuitive form of “zingara” or “gypsy”) when I was very young. They had sensed, even then, my passion for the exotic. And the person I’ve become has lived up to her name. But gypsy travelers and free spirits move in transitory circles. And so a thousand laments are born of the way these sorts of people live and learn, love and lose.

So here I am with one of the poems I’ve been working on. It’s not “finished,” but the line from “Imbranato” about the passing months made me feel it was timely to post something now. Aside from tonight’s visit to WordPress, I’m not sure when I’ll be “back.” It’s difficult to stay away for so long, but it’s even more difficult to reconcile my love of writing and of the writing community with the less than poetic demands of my Ph.D. progress. Again, friends, I offer you my apologies and my sincerest hopes that we can be in touch again when I may finally make more of a lasting return. Peace and love to all of you.

July 31, 2010 Posted by | Memories, muse, Nostalgia, Poetry, Sex, Solitude, Time, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Invisible Tattoo

Revealed along the journey of a vernal, crescent moon,
He displays the backwards/forwards evolution
That brought him to the great meridian
Of the bed where we repose.

Like twin suns twisting ’round each other as we blaze
Our trail through the cosmos,
He and I go spinning off the sparks that glow with what we’re made of.
A crimson heat to speak for me, expansive…
My counterpart, a fuzzy, compact ball of fire,
Burning white and blue
And charging East
From here within my arms…
I reignite
For just a fleeting, cosmic moment;

My lover draws the same celestial banner I once twirled like a ribbon
As I spun from star to star.

With a crook of his poet fingers and laughter in his eyes,
He teases out the threads that weave forever
In the space-time fabric that envelops us this night,
And his incandescent flicker whispers on my skin
The tales he carries written on his own.
Shining brighter in his brilliance,
I burst with wonder
At his Red Giant reverie.




When the universe was new,
I too
Got lost like this.





So I beam as I incline my head over my renegade companion,
And here with tongue and fingertips,
I trace my silent prayer upon his back:


May his dreams not burn out red!…










*  Just as a brief explanation, despite the fact that I haven’t been too active on here in about half a year, this poem woke me up at dawn, and I felt compelled to post it here today.  It’s an autobiographical metaphor about, on the most basic level, discovering an unexpected affinity with someone during a casual encounter and remembering forgotten aspects of yourself.

I hope to get back to WordPress within the next few weeks.  Still very busy with my doctoral program, but I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve been up to, and I promise to answer the questions and respond to the comments you’ve left in my LONG absence.  Miss you all, and hope that everyone is well!

Cheers!
Laura

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Memories, Nostalgia, Poetry, Sex, Travel, Uncategorized, Woman | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Alright Now

I don’t reminisce about your breath on my neck,
Your weight upon my breasts,
Or your hands upon my body.
I don’t miss the nights I gripped you overcome with longing,
Or the way you used to kiss me,
Or how I was rendered helpless in your arms.

But sometimes, in the flicker of a memory,
I glimpse the place where I was branded by your longing,
And the embers re-ignite with a burn that I detest —

And my heart pounds, and my eyes drop, and my spirit fades,
And I’m brokenfailedworthless, and it’s all
Right now, and there’s no way out

From underneath

Save for these five turncoat senses
Which, by process of elimination,
Reassure that you were never there at all.





One late-summer afternoon, while I was listening to music in my room, a song I used to sing often during high school started to play. It brought back vivid memories of a person I had known back then, and I decided to try to pour the emotional reaction into a poem. When I began, I was feeling defiant, but my mood shifted quickly with the lines; first to vulnerable, then to panicked, then to foolish.

Should you be curious, the song that was my lament was “Ice” by Sarah McLachlan.

October 17, 2009 Posted by | Memories, Poetry, Woman | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Origins

Rendida a tus huellas
Despertando entre tus cerros
Amamantada de tus susurros
Caminando con tus fantasmas
Maldiciendo a tus muros
Venerando a tus alturas
Respirando tus nubes
Sudando tus temblores
Y llorando tu sangre

nací.

 

No pretendo escribir poemas en castellano, el cual no es mi idioma nativo.  En castellano, falto el ritmo, la rima, y la fluidez suficientes para ser poeta.  Por eso, no piense en estas líneas como poema.  No más fue mi intento de comemorar esta fecha — que tiene gran significado en mi vida — con un par de versos que expresaran el amor y respeto muy profundos que llevo en mi corazón por una tierra distante.  El lugar que ahora sólo visito en mis sueños.  El lugar donde encontré, donde se clavó, y donde permanece mi alma.

Tal vez, quién sabe, allá la dejé vidas atrás….

January 4, 2009 Posted by | Español, Memories, muse, Nostalgia, Obsession, Travel, Wanderlust | , , , , | 6 Comments

Conquista / “In Tongues”

I find you on the edge of dreams.
Your open arms receive me in the night.
So self-assured
You wrap me in a robe of southern stars,
Pull back the veil,
And vocalize a vow to claim me as the queen
Of this paradise you rule outside of time.
You take my hand and lead me down
Through swirling mists and emerald vales
Into a church whose taste of dripping gold
I find in blood and tears
Upon the wounds you make me lick.

And so I labor on my knees here while you watch,
Until I choke out prayers

In tongues.

 

Alright, so this isn’t a pleasant one.  This was originally the intro for a longer poem (not published here).  It’s tough to deconstruct in any concise manner, but the tags offer a decent explanation.  To get really simplistic though, it has to do with violence, churches built on blood, revelations of various kinds, the allure of the exotic, and a deep sense of pain for people other than yourself.  It’s also about finding your own spirituality at the breaking point, where prayers escape your lips in a language other than your own.

Ooooor…..you could disregard everything I just said, get a little creative, and read this through the perspective of different generations, centuries removed from one another.  😉

(la) Conquista = the Conquest
conquista (common noun) = conquest, or the endeavor of conquering
conquista = (in an interpersonal sense) a female you decide to seduce/overtake (or whom you’ve succeeded in seducing/overtaking)

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Memories, muse, Nostalgia, Poetry, Travel, Uncategorized, Woman | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Manifesto

You can’t tame me.
These running legs have served me well.
Unruly curls in disarray,
Bare toes connecting with the earth,
I laugh too loud, play too hard,
And dance for no reason at all.
I’m not much for pretense or formality;
Every day is a flag to be captured,
And while I can strategize with the best of them,
Uncover every secret hideout —
While never letting on that you’ve been found —
I’d rather blaze my trail straight to the heart.

Sure, I stop and smell the flowers,
And I’ll gladly detour for a tumble in the brush,
But I don’t waste time on maps,
And the dangerous curves of this country I inhabit
Are surely beyond your control.

I only realized I was a woman
When they saw me for what I never was before,
And a thousand kisses,
Caresses,
And whispers in the darkest of the dark
Rained over me and washed clean all the
Grass stains of my youth.
But this refining
Only skimmed the satin surface;
I may dress the part now,
And you’d never find a single scar,
But I’d win every neighborhood game!
Because, now, I can run without running
And look without lifting my eyes.

Inside, those flames they fanned
Cannot be doused.
I’m a slow burn,
Alight with a deeper life
Than many women are willing to live,
And you’ll see it set ablaze
Through the window of these laughing eyes
When you grip these defiant hips,
Sink into these wild waves of hair,
And breathe over this now-unbroken skin.

In your hands, I am no tomboy;
This is the secret, feminine force incarnate. 
Nor am I a damsel in distress
Waiting to be rescued by the sword;
I can vanquish villains and
Escape from dungeons by myself,
But I’ll still join you
For this grand, uncharted adventure.

What I am is a child
Inviting you to play in the mud again,
Dance in the rain,
Stop watching the clock!
Dig through the sands of time,
And yell at the top of your lungs
For the sheer joy of living without limits.
I’m also a sage who already knows your answer.

You can’t tame me.
But why would you try?
I’m an animal out of the cage
Whose spirit has been distilled,
Drop by simmering drop,
Into the purest, primal essence of humanity.

 

Now, tell me…
What are you?

 

So, this is 20yearsfromnow!  I forgot that I’d written a self-portrait back in July, but I stumbled upon it again tonight and thought I’d share it here; it seemed fitting to segue into my tomboy manifesto from the childhood memories recently set out in “Woodworking.”  In fact….this, I suppose, is the result of the “adventure” (referenced therein) that I would go on to have years after waking up from that crazy dream.  🙂

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Memories, Nostalgia, Poetry, Sex, Travel, Woman | , , , , | Leave a comment

Woodworking

Hunched over your work,
And low to the ground,
Meticulously, you chip away
At the scepter
That will one day make you king.
You’re carving an unwitnessed masterpiece —
Starting outside at the roughness,
Moving dutifully in.

I stumble startled over you,
Confounded,
When I pull open a familiar door
And find it was a portal
Where a stranger sits in wait.

Patient, pensive, out-of-place,
You hang your head,
Impervious to the siren breeze of summer
That calls to me
And dances on the air
Just yards from where you sit.
Yet still you stop to lift your gaze
In recognition of the child
Pondering your presence.

We need no introduction,
Yet we don’t know any names.
Does either of us know why you are there?

And so we meet in knowing silence at the threshold,
Somewhere in between
Dark and light,
Work and play,
Indoors, outdoors,
Maturity and youth,
Confines and boundlessness,
Artifice and truth.

You smile a greeting through the stillness
Before returning to your curious craft,
And I drink this vision in.
And though I skip away to carry out my childhood,
Turning back to the silent stranger
I have always never known,
I realize some accident of fate
Has crossed the years,
The miles,
The laws,
The lives
That disconnect
Again when I wake up.

But I’ll grow up remembering
That I forgot you between lifetimes,
Always wondering
Which you it was I saw,
And understanding
That I’ll stumble into you again
When I
Come back from my adventures,
And you
Have finally finished freeing
The all-consuming masterwork
That brought you to that stoop.

 

This poem tells the story of a dream I had as a child.  Consequently, it’s somewhat strange and probably makes little sense.  But I’m sure some of you can relate to the experience of waking up from a dream and feeling, “….Something important just happened.”  Or having encountered a stranger or received some bit of information in a dream which you’ve never been able to forget.  Well, that was my experience way back when, and that’s what this is about.

The image of this stranger and his serious, dignified dedication to his carving work, juxtaposed with my carefree childhood spirit, was so powerful to me that I decided to attempt to honor it by writing these lines over a decade later.  So, for what it’s worth, this piece isn’t too refined, but I believe it’s time to put this out there.  Here’s to the woodworker I stumbled over years ago.

“And through a fractal on a breaking wall, I see you my friend, and touch your face again.  Miracles will happen as we dream.”  Seal — “Crazy”

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Memories, muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Time, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Soul Memory

It’s like a memory
That you have in childhood
And never recall again,
That awareness
Of what once was
That fades into the present
Once the blank canvas of new existence
Starts to fill with visions of a life in progress.

Thus is the calling–
The song that carried me through ages,
Accompanied me over ancient seas,
Followed me to sacred summits,
And lulled me into sleep through a hundred eternal springs,
Until it led me
Obediently stumbling to your door
Where origin masquerades as destination,
Fate takes the guise of intention,
And guest entwines with host.

So I knocked
And waited breathless on the step,
Remembering why I came,
And who we were,
And what lay there within,
Only to begin forgetting
And find myself abandoned to the unknown,
The moment you opened the door.

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Memories, muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Time | , , | 3 Comments

Sugar

I collapsed

On fragrant afternoons of papaya and maduro,

Bathed in the light of a gentle sun

That danced off my weary, shimmering form—

A semi-conscious vision of golden rizos and bronze curvas,

Totally defenseless,

Wrapped in the scent of coco and piña

While my desperate panting sought the ever-thinner air,

Swimming in the oscuridad of my own sugary sea,

Wondering when I would surface

And if I would ever find the shore once I did.

Eventually, my caramelos would bring me back,

Melting justo a tiempo over a foreign lengua,

As music whispered its way back into my consciousness

And light trickled back in over my cama.

And with this newfound strength I left my rooftop refuge

To descend through the silver nubes

And explore the tantalizingly beautiful paraíso below,

Where no longer was I a prisoner of azúcar

But, alas, became a postre all myself

As I struggled to ford rivers of cerveza

Spilling off of sidewalks salty with the smell of chancho.

January 12, 2008 Posted by | Español, Memories, Poetry, Travel, Woman | | 2 Comments

The Virgins

I made a pilgrimage

To the land of eternal spring

Where the ancient mountains are burning

And the verdant fields are bleeding

And the youthful streets are screaming –

Cries of the ghosts of virgins

Whose daughters

Are harvested every day.

I walked in wonder

Through the pristine savagery of eternal spring

Averting my eyes from the wolves

Closing my ears to the snakes

And opening my soul to the carnage

That first claimed the virgins

Whose daughters

Are ravaged every day.

I stopped the advances

Of the conquistadores of eternal spring,

Appropriating boulevards for myself,

Walking, exposed on all sides,

To protect my body from their gunshots

While my spirit was penetrated

Like the virgins

Whose daughters

Are born every day.

“Everything’s resolved in bed later,”

Some laugh on balmy afternoons in eternal spring,

When, exhausted from running

And dreading the blows,

The helpless desperately seek refuge

And are cast aside by the sons of a virgin

Whose daughters

Are flogged every day.

“Why won’t you drink!” he screamed

Of the poison of eternal spring

As I told him, instead, to imbibe it,

Wrestled myself from his grip,

And became

Another refugee of the virgin

Whose daughters

Are sedated every day.

Deep in the lion’s den

Higher than the clouds,

The beasts were salivating at my side,

And I could truly see the tragic glory of eternal spring

While, smaller than ever,

I stood at the feet of a virgin

Whose daughters

Are falling to their knees every day.

Stealing into the heavens one night,

I passed into a new season —

More alive than ever before, and crying with relief,

Unscathed but not untouched,

And forever remembering the virgin

Whose daughters

Are saved every day.

  

*I’m not here to make any claims about religious affiliation or devotion, so it is with the utmost of respect that I am requesting you not focus on however it may be that I experience my own spirituality.  I will say, however, that I firmly believe that life is experienced in a deeply cultural context, which, by its very nature, can vary drastically from scenario to scenario.  I hope to inspire reflection on this latter aspect of the human experience.  Travel memories come in all varieties, and sometimes your souvenirs choose you rather than the other way around.  Thank you sincerely for reading, and I wish you kindness, love, and peace.*

December 28, 2007 Posted by | Memories, Poetry, Travel, Woman, Writing | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Escape!

It’s summertime, and I’m feeling that familiar wanderlust. I put a list here about travel memories.  Feel free to add your own ideas!  I’m thinking of….

emerald mountains
train rides
stepping out your door into the Renaissance
houses of every color
vibrant gardens defiantly bursting out of their wrought-iron confines
sipping drinks with friends at a mellow cafe in Quito’s nightlife district
the simple pleasure of buying chocho salad
the Tuscan countryside
watching newborn llamas get introduced to their neighbors for the first time
cobblestone streets navigated by horse-drawn carriages
the future whispering through scattered coca leaves
knowing exactly where to go when you want steak, eggs, and rice at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning
watching from your post atop a bell tower as the dawn breaks over a stately, old city
ice-covered volcanoes on the horizon
being serenaded on Lake Titicaca under a sapphire sky
Christmas displays at St. Peter’s
waterfalls
waterfalls that are frozen
being able to browse through a shopping mall and people-watch while listening to the waves crash below you and feeling the ocean’s breeze warm your face
the sweet taste of the forbidden herbal mate, and its calming, medicinal smell
the sound of a language you don’t know
realizing that you could go anywhere in the country for $10
Florentine markets at night time
the crisp breeze blowing in from a historic harbor
the sound of panpipes driven by the beat of animal-skin drums
the excitement of finding yourself right next to a set of enormous chimes as they herald the birth of a new hour — on the arm of someone you love
cappucino and cannoli
a fresh, warm little yuca bun
knowing that you can find anything that you possibly could need right there on the street
the quaint sophistication of European cafes
the beautiful sight of the glowing Milky Way as it stretches itself over the glassy waters of an enormous, inland sea
ice cream in another country (It’s never the same!)
the exhilarating pain when you submerge yourself in a frigid mountain stream, immediately after a dip in a volcanic hot spring
sitting on a bench somewhere and contemplating all the history that has taken place around you
the fragrance of roses on the air
enjoying fried pork and beer in a cozy shop, while the flies tirelessly pursue one another in circles around the center of the room
and, most amazing of all, being able to share any of those things with someone special.

…..I suppose you’ve figured out by now that I’m feeling the urge to travel. Feel free to add your own haven to the list!

July 26, 2007 Posted by | Memories, Nostalgia, Travel, Wanderlust | 6 Comments

To the rooftops!…

Time.
Every sinking sun heralds another day that I will never know
And yet that I’ve already lived.
Like a farcical princess in a real dungeon—
A refugee
Of the all-consuming, merciless beast terrorizing the sacred hillsides below—
I watch from my window
As the bleeding sky before my eyes
Fades somewhere else into a festive night
Of friends, of music, of spontaneity, of life.
And while the spirits of ignorance dance, and whirl and meld,
And crescendo into the colorful laughter of abandon,
My own voice, my own form are absent,
While I watch and ponder the fate
Of the beaten, the violated, the penniless –
Because, tonight, their dusk, their chill is mine.
And we are all together.
And we are all alone.
And we are all forgotten.
And I learn all too late that the height of a cloudless summer
Is a time I would infinitely rather spend in the damp cover of the glistening snow,
And that yet another night delivered on the icy tails of the autumn wind,
Leads at this very moment into a joyous spring that I will never regain
And binds me, helpless, to the certainty that these
Are hours I will never recover.
So now that I—
My dreams, my soul, my hopes, my passions—
Have become, for myself, simply too much,
The fear twists deep within me that I’m still so very far from enough
And that perhaps it’s too late to prove
That I ever might be.

 

 “Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide — voices trapped in yearning, memories trapped in time.  The night is my companion and solitude, my guide.  Would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?”  — Sarah McLachlan (Opening lyrics of “Possession”)

July 26, 2007 Posted by | Memories, Poetry, Solitude, Time, Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment