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

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

Queens

This is who we are.
Our secret selves at bay,
Animal instincts tamed,
We walk as wolves sprung from the underbrush
Who bow their regal heads
Under spells never spoken.
The beast within us longs to lunge
To bite
To feast,
But instead, our eyes,
In fleeting glances on the street,
Avert to hide the savage self,
And so a thousand encounters never come to be.

In this festival of near-forgotten freedoms,
The darkness alight with neon life,
My pulse pounds with the memory of what never was.
And every breath I stole before this moment
Returns me to our animal intentions
As we play at human roles.

The words you long to say,
The miles you have challenged,
The locks that I have broken,
And the silent codes that save me
In the doorways,
By the train tracks,
On the corners,
Under streetlights,
Where I find myself reborn–
Dissolve here in the instant
That our bodies
Move apart.

And though we toe the fading line
Between the fairytale of civilization
And the enchanted forest of our own destructive drives,
I know where you come from
And you sense where I’ve been,
And one expectant look reveals that
Neither of us truly lives
In this world that falls away
Behind the shadows.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aqlla

So you sing to me again
That hollow, interminable lament
Which tears me from my sleep
To shackle me with dreams.
You always find new tricks to bring me home —
This stubbornly devoted concubine
Who finds privilege in the humble shadow
Of your fiercely glacial air,
And lingers with surrendered reverence
Around your volatile, smoldering depths.
Yes, I recognize your invocation;
It’s a breath,
A regal salutation,
And a kiss.

But tell me, love —
Do you remember our game?
Do you remember
How I once melted in your embrace?
How completely I surrendered to the searing pain?
How obediently I waited
As the flames of passion threatened to destroy me?
How I believed that I would suffocate
Before you let me go?

Do you remember
How I branded myself,
Playing with fire
To cauterize your wounds?

I will return
With a torch
To clear the shadows of your long, tormented night.

Just, please —
Don’t burn me now.

 

*A mentor told me years ago that she thought I was an aqlla in another life.  Kind of a random thing to say, but I resurrect the idea here.  This title, from Quechua, is a play on numerous levels of meaning.  I’ll break some of them down, should you be curious:

Aqllana/Aqllay = to select/choose — This poem was inspired by an opportunity and the need to make a decison.

Aqlla = (lit.) chosen one

Aqlla = (historically) a bride of the sun.  The aqllacuna (pl.) were taken from their homes, having been singled out (hence “aqlla”) for a life of political and spiritual service to the Inca Empire.  This decision, externally imposed, was based on physical appearance, and one could not refuse to be an aqlla.  Furthermore, as the state appropriated an aqlla’s sexuality, she lived under perpetual surveillance.  Owned by the empire, she could be given as a concubine — or sacrificed — for the greater glory of the state and the higher interests of the people.  Stakes were high; an aqlla was not free, and “transgressions” of the flesh, as well as any sign of disrespect toward the men she was ordered to serve (service), were punishable by death.

In this poem, I refer to fire not only for its simultaneously destructive and purifying effects, but also because tending to a hallowed fire was one of an aqlla’s sacred responsibilities.

A little pre-Columbian trivia for you  😉

October 7, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Time, Travel, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

Haunting

You said, “Who’s at the door?”
     I said, “Your slave.”
You said, 
 
“What do you want?”
     “To see you and bow.”
“How long will you wait?”
     “Until you call….”
Why
did you come?”
     “The musk of your wine was in the air….”
(“Talking Through the Door” — Rumi)

I discovered the above poem two weeks after having written what follows and thought I’d include it because it seems to possess a similar theme.  On that note, my own musings follow….

           I hear your voice,
           Turn my face toward the whisper
           That for a second was my name
           And with eyes closed, I inhale a vision
           So unmistakably yours
           That I realize I don’t know who you are.

           Unaware of your restless soul’s digression,
           You visit me as would a teenage lover
           Whose gleeful anticipation eclipses conscious thought
           And we meet in an embrace on this spot we chose
           Lifetimes before.

           You enter through my breath–
           So predictably exotic!–
           And descending upon this flesh,
           You roll over my tongue
           In every language I have ever known
           Only to slip off my fingertips
           And leave me empty-handed,
           Never having seen the thief
           Who robs my reason
           Leaves not but a footprint
           Sows poetry in his wake
           And doesn’t even know that he was there.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Traveler

The eyes may be the window to the soul
But the voice is the ticket for its journey,
Drawing, only if we’re lucky, the most intrepid of travelers
Like an irresistible siren song
To explore those depths within us,
Devouring the landscape with their eyes,
Illuminating the ancient corridors of spirit with golden fingerprints,
And tearing through the wildest jungles with flashes of insight,
But never trying to tame, no, relishing
The primal beast they find so submlimely seated
Somewhere in the being–
Enthroned on instinct,
Enrobed in the sumptuous trappings of human feeling,
Crowned with the dazzling jewels of articulation,
And wielding the precious sceptre of literacy.

So, traveler, perhaps our eyes have not yet met–
This time, at least,
But let me take you on this accidental journey
To the depths of my soul
Where we both might be surprised to find
That the lines of self begin to blur
In the blinding brilliance of my naked sincerity
And the earthy essence of your raw crusade for truth
Where you go seeking something palpable
On the timeless, winding river of words.

It’s hard to define what inspired this poem about the art of expression; I was watching “Laura non c’e” (Nek’s duet with Cerena).  Maybe it was the timelessness of the setting in the video, Nek and his absent muse, the tortured artists running frantically through some underground labyrinth, the beautiful illumination of the dark corridors they explore, I’m not sure….This poem is about even more than I am sure how to express in prose, so check out the video if you’re curious; maybe the imagery will convey what I cannot.

  

January 21, 2008 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Reincarnation, Wanderlust, Writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Because writing is sexy!

Pull back the cover

I invite you

To take your pen

To this book

Those ink-stained hands

Should spread

The pages

Your pen

Can leave its strokes within.

I give you a question mark

With all its mystery

Its curves

Rounding downward to

That singularly provocative point

Where you can write your answer

With graceful plunges below the lines,

Playful dashes,

Teasing ellipses,

Decisive dots,

Languid loops,

And all the artful

Punctuation of your choosing.

What will you write for me?

Your pen is

Welcome to play

I will be your muse and

This book

Can be…

An adventure!

Of swashbuckling vagabonds and secret hideouts,

Buried treasure unearthed after some perilous voyage—

Or a poem

Of timeless verse and soul-born cadence,

So exquisite in its candor and instinctive to express—

Maybe an epic

Whose ancient threads and exotic places are

Woven together with the touch of your words to this page—

Or even, perhaps, a comedy

Of clumsy, carefree heroes who meet under some…

Ridiculous circumstance!  And smile at their flaws.

Now bring your pen

To the satin canvas I am ceding

Here between the covers.

Your barrel may empty

When the pages are full.

 

I dedicate this to the inventors of writing, whose names are forever lost to history but whose gift makes them immortal, and to each and every writer since — all of whom, of course, are sexy! Writing is a passionate act of creation that strips you bare every time. (And the reader too!)

If you found yourself inspired by this poem, please go out and buy a book — support the art! And if you found yourself inspired in the, ahem, *other* way, just be safe. 😉

December 30, 2007 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Sex, Woman, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

She Is

Las voces vivas del recuerdo se disfrazan de intuición.”  Bacilos — “Caraluna”

She is
A breath,
A whisper, if you will….
The scent of summer,
That intangible cue
That, unknowing, drifts parallel to a capricious wanderer,
Alights on a singular breeze,
Reveals its presence to the senses
And just as quickly vanishes.
Yet something about it has lightened your step,
Made you aware of a new season,
And announced itself in ways so subtle and accidental —
And undeniable —
That it almost seems like magic.

She is
A melody
So ancient
That your desires always carried her song
And the pulsing in your veins, her rhythm,
And you are surprised to find yourself aching for more of this familiar aria
Which your ears have never perceived.
But you tell no one — because there is nothing to tell.

She is that shadow
That indisputable stray reflection
That you catch in a careless glance
And never actually saw,
Yet you seek–
So stupid, foolish, crazy! —
Hoping to touch its ethereal fibre
By locking it in the casual gaze of coincidence.

She is the muse
That follows the inspiration,
Not a crazy, fevered obsession,
But a perfectly logical burning
That makes you doubt reason itself.

She is the rain
That lands only one unassuming drop at a time,
Yet of course, almost immediately, you find yourself drenched
In confused exhilaration,
And dripping, shining
With the most absurd of drunken certainty.

She is
That subconscious river flowing through your thoughts,
Which slowly, imperceptibly, but without fail,
Carves the most immutable of mountains into new landscapes;
Transforms the hardest of rocks into a powder fine enough to float on the wind,
And, with a fire to burn her, will seem to vanish from before your eyes,
While you breathe her in without knowing that you’re doing it
Because it is instinctive.

She is the dream you carelessly paint every night,
Half sleeping and barely alive,
In clumsy, frantic strokes
Tinged by the pathetic fury of free will
And the merciful finesse of fate,
And you know she’s real —
Because you never actually envisioned her.

She is
The exotic, so familiar!
A timeless truth
And a fleeting brush with myth.

She —
Elusive and stationary,
Fantastic and mundane,
Invisible and obvious,
Sublime….

She is
Your echo
Carrying words you haven’t uttered.
Your breath
Reaching lands you haven’t explored.
Your memories
Of adventures you haven’t had.
Your scars
From battles you haven’t waged.
Your pulse
In a body you haven’t touched.
And your footsteps
On a path you haven’t tread.
She is yesterday
And never before.
She is now —
But only in delusions.
She is the essence, the aura, of always.

December 19, 2007 Posted by | muse, Poetry, Uncategorized, Woman, Writing | , , | Leave a comment