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

Learning How to Speak

“Le gustaba el español, y aunque lo hablaba poquito, tenía esos ojos bonitos que hablaban muy bien…”

Here she comes.
A subtle gesture and he’s captured her attention.
Have his hands done as she wanted?
Will his tongue leave her impressed?
He needs her to appraise his work and help him
Find the words he wants to say.

Here she is.
A bashful flash of icy blue shoots up to search her face.
Is he mastering this lesson?
Is he learning from her lips?
Shy smile lingers just a fraction of a second
Longer than it should,
Before it dives for cover, flustered,
To the frozen fingers that await her patient lead.

What’s she thinking?
For a minute,
He has her where he wants her,
And he’s never been so anxious,
But he tries
To hide the truth;
He doesn’t realize his stumbling, tongue-tied charm
Puts him a class above the rest.
He gives it his best shot, and she evaluates his efforts.

Good, she’s smiling.
And she forgives what he’s forgotten,
Sees the promise in his errors,
Drops some hints,
Gives him some time to find the answer
— Silence —
Moves along. He manages to steal a sideways glance
Before he’s left to work out what’s unfinished.

There she goes.
And everything is backwards.
Will he get another chance?
Good intentions aren’t enough
If when she’s there,
He just can’t seem to say what’s in his head.
He doesn’t know
That he can melt her mother-tongue into a muted mess.
Instead, he’s stuck there with an English thought:

I blew it.

But he’ll play himself the fool,
Dig up some lingering confusion,
And suggest an
Unarticulated
Question
That he knows will lure her back

Every time he lets her walk away.

Y me daba una sonrisa, ¡y yo me quedaba loquito! Y después en el examen, lo ponía todo al revés.”

My native language is English, but I used to teach Spanish. It was kind of weird, at times, to be on the other side of the desk — I was only 22, but my students were college kids. I have a lot of fun memories from teaching though, and I often miss it. Ironically, I’m comfortable presenting a lesson in front of a group, but, one-on-one, I’m really timid with people I don’t yet know very well. From what I’ve been told, my shyness doesn’t come across when I have an “audience.” But life’s most important interactions usually don’t involve an audience. It’s those moments when all the languages in the world can’t help you, and it doesn’t matter how articulate you are — what matters is finding the courage to say what needs to be said. Hence, my thoughts on “Learning How to Speak.”

In any case, the Spanish lines are from a song called “Carito” by Carlos Vives, about a boy and his language teacher. It’s a fun little song. Hope you enjoy it as much as I always have:

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Poetry, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I see you

That’s it — enough.
I can get a lot more naked than I am right now, so watch me;
Let them raise their brows, but I’m about to go for broke.
No more playing to their pessimistic bets.

So much time just burning,
Sitting quiet, counting other people’s cards.
Well, I apologize.
Didn’t mean to drag this out, but
Who we kidding?
All you do is lose unless you risk enough to win.

So, fuck these poker faces, look me in the eye.
That’s right —
I’m smiling.
And I’m finished asking anybody else
How I should play my cards.
This round,
When it comes back to me,
You’re getting everything that I’ve been holding back;
I think I figured out what’s in your hand.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Poetry | , , , , , | 4 Comments

November

Stagnant light falls sideways,
Expiring in a graveyard of branches stripped
By the fire of dying trees.
Remnants of the life of summer brittle underfoot,
The full moon turns to ice,
And the season’s short-lived blaze burns out precarious
As flames shrink into kindling, drop —
Apologetic embers —
To the earth, whose dreams of ripeness and fruition withered
In the cold and hollow winds that slashed the morning,
Forced their way in through its wounds,
And have replaced the warmth I lost
When autumn stole my sun.

I’ve never liked November.

 

After a long drive today through rural Maryland and Pennsylvania, I couldn’t help but feel that the weight of autumn has finally fallen upon us.  Barely any color left, it’s cold, dry, and dark-too-soon.  When a string of depressed, tiny towns gave way to where I live now, it was already near dusk; a day barely begun was already ending.  As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of the month’s arrival.  I sat down to write this very disorganized, hasty poem.

But my apologies to those who have a fondness for November — I don’t dislike the whole month.  I just don’t like the beginning of it.  But by the end of November, the holidays are approaching, and the warmth and color that have drained from the outdoors have reappeared inside homes and shops and hearts, and there is life again!

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Poetry, Time | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heat

Night air sticky under full-moon haze,
and she’s in heat.
She feels it coming,
writhes and thrashes in her bed —
No need to prowl for meat tonight,
Her victim
          will crawl
                     to her.

Her instincts serve her well;
There’s a stirring just outside
and heavy lids metamorphose into bedroom eyes
when she poises her regal body to investigate.
She opens up enough to see who’s stumbled to her den,
But she’s measured in her movements —
the stumbling are wounded,
and a wounded catch so fresh with fear, is liable to run.

Ahhhh, he’s just a boy
who’s come to her
so blissfully aware that she intends
to tear at his body
       — deep —
to leave him trembling
               — hard —
and watch him gasping
                              — gone.

Well, here’s to an easy hunt.

Teeth bared as faces meet and heads rear back,
Exposing necks as each inhales the other’s scent.
A few seconds of pawing,
Slinking circles one around the other,
Licking, biting
Go for the neck, and you have the kill.

He’s down.

October 17, 2009 Posted by | Poetry, Sex, Woman | , , , , , , , | 2 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

Me acordé

Te encontré
En donde no me lo esperaba,
Hablándome desde los primeros rayos de la alborada,
Susurrando, tu voz disfrazada de la brisa,
Despertándome
Donde antes dormía mi paz vacía,
Y me acordé
De lo mucho que habíamos errado,
Lo que fallamos
Lo que fuimos
Y quienes llegamos a ser.



I found you
Where I didn’t expect it,
Speaking to me from the first rays of dawn,
Whispering, your voice disguised as the breeze itself,
Awakening me
Where I used to sleep my empty peace (*”sleep” as transitive verb) / Where my empty peace had slumbered
And I remembered
How very much we had erred
What we wronged
What we were
And who we are becoming / And who we became / And who we have come here to be.



* I have no idea what this one’s about, though reading it over calls to mind a dream I had when I was little. I typically don’t write in Spanish; I just heard these words, these lines in my head, two months ago, and I felt compelled to write them down. For whatever it’s worth, I decided I would post this, and I’ve translated the original into English. First of all, it wasn’t meant to be read in English, so forgive the awkward expression. Most importantly, however, some of the Spanish lines have multiple, simultaneous meanings. English only permits one at a time, but I’ve included them all. Read it as you wish.

* “Me acordé” = “I Remembered”

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Español, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

This is Treason

 

Sometimes, war is silent.
And he advances in the night to hide his crimes.
His teenage consort — stoic, young, and good
At keeping secrets — is unwilling,
But adrenaline confounds before she can distinguish friend
From foe.
Surprise attacks disarm as he takes
Mountains first, then valley, and insists
Her pounding heart and quickened breath
Bespeak the thrill of conquest.
These are missions that he can’t complete alone.
Against her flesh, an unmistakable contour
Threatens as he orders her to come;
Only cowards walk away, she tells herself,
And tries to prove she’s strong enough
To hold the line unaided.  No one wants to be discovered
So exposed.

But then,
He draws his sword and stares her down.
His weapon at her throat, knees on her chest,
An unexpected standoff,
While screaming eyes beg why? for lips that wouldn’t dare
Pronounce their protest;
If she parted them, she’d gag.
I’m weak, he pleads,
Then binds her arms
And reprimands the prisoner:  you know we have to stop.
He charges south along the fertile warzone of
Her body, slides a hand into the quiver, and she arches
Like a bow about to snap.
Once more, she tries to swing a weak defense —
He grabs her wrist and laughs…
Too dazed to be convinced she ever really fought at all,
She shuts her eyes, demoralized by guilt, and time
Suspends

….for years.

A heavy hand is placed over her mouth to snuff resistance
  —  Shhhh!
Defiant legs are trembling as they strain to hold the distance —
Then muffled cries subside
As she goes numb.
She turns her head.
The war is lost.
And a smile
Surveys the spoils as betrayal burns her face.
He compensates her efforts with a devastating kiss.

We’re accomplices, he whispers.
See what you make me do?
Take our secret to the grave because

She’d kill you, if she knew.



Consider this my contribution for Women’s History Month.  But remember, men are violated every day as well.  The song I chose to accompany this piece, “El duelo” (“The Duel”), is a chilling acoustic duet between Chilean group La Ley (male vocals by Beto Cuevas) and Mexican singer Ely Guerra, about intimate violence, confusion, and pain.  It set the mood for my writing process this time but has actually been a favorite song since high school.

But on to an issue more important than music.  For you, I wish two things — first, that you find this poem completely unrelatable.  Truly, I would love for everyone to be able to read this and think, “I don’t get it.”  But if, instead, you hear yourself saying “Never again,” then I wish, by God, that you may be right.

Absolve yourself.  Peace.



Regrettably, I’m still on a work-induced hiatus from WordPress, but I felt that these were words that needed to be spoken, and spoken now. I look forward to returning in coming weeks and catching up on everyone’s inspiring writing.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Poetry, Sex, Uncategorized, Woman | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Royal Flush

Seconds from the truth
And inches from the prize,
Your eyes
Scan for some indication
That you’re playing this just right.
Well, my guarded pair
Is no match for a cunning hand,
And I’m about to lose my shirt.
Demand
Whatever leaves you satisfied.
I’ll let you hide
Your royal flush.
This rush
Is not a lust for kings or queens or cash.
I only ever aim to raise the stakes,
See what the other player might reveal;
A woman always knows the cards
A man tries to conceal.

Moistened lips and drum of anxious fingers,
Question lingers:
Bluffing?

Nonsense!
Because either way, you win.

You grin,
I fold,
The pot is yours.
All bets are off,
We seal a deal with you on top.

A table’s wasted on a game of cards.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Poetry, Sex, Woman | , , , , , , , | 8 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

Worship — Sex vs. Spirit

At the confluence of souls,
I shed the vestments that encumber.
This rite is the communion of the universal faith.
Time transcended,
Space suspended,
The laying on of reverent hands
Revives the fading forms
That part their lips,
Drink from the cup,
And genuflect in passionate surrender,
Professing their devotion
For this incarnation’s gift.

Mystics,
Leading lives of passion, panting
Fervent, heated prayers,
Would say such worship is misguided,
For these idols, fallen in rapture,
Are energy,
A vital force,
A pulse,
Poured into veins that throb with lust
To assert command
Over lives they’ll never truly own.

Performing paradise, entwined,
We forsake the here and now
And find that immortality
Is never-ending transfiguration,
And ecstasy,
A temporary means to a timeless end.

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Sex | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anima — Sex vs. Spirit

In a fog of fallibility,
Time and space divide,
While sex and spirit somehow form the haze
That happens
To be nothing more
Than life.
But, flawed and finite,
Unenlightened,
Here I stand —
Joyfully divested of my reason,
Relinquished to my humanity —
And I worship at the altar of your bed.

I’ll keep seeking what’s eternal
In a temporary self,
Rejoicing at the forever life-force surge
In your movement through the temple,
Where I fall to my knees in surrender of my spirit
Before the votive
That you light with borrowed breath,
The prayers you beg with lover’s tongue,
And the desperate pilgrimage you endeavor —
Aching, spent, and fallen
With fleeting flesh,
A sacrificial lamb unto your own,
In this transcendental, timeless rite
Of ever-entangling, oft-repeated selves.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Reincarnation, Sex | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Burning Bridges

You light the torch,
And I’ll burn the bridges,
And in a blaze of insanity,
We’ll illuminate all this night running.

Don’t ask me what’s on the other side–
That riverbank is not the destination.
And if I arrive, you’ve failed your mission.
You need to torch the weary planks beneath your feet
From which you watch the river rushing past.
What’s so special about that vantage point anyway?
Sometimes, eyes closed, we see much more.

Go ahead.
I’ve cleared the way.
There’s no one in pursuit,
And I’m jumping.
That initial spark
Of the night-wanderer’s torch
That set the living waves alight
Was an accident,
But its natural hunger
Erupted into a bonfire,
Destroying dead boards over stagnant currents
And devouring the tangled scrub
That kept the life force water channel at bay.

Look
With your third eye
At what’s right before you;
That liquid moonlight is timeless,
And the dancing, night-black waves
Are actually transparent.
The Styx
Is all too happy to yield
The secrets of countless incarnations
If you dare reveal your own.

 

Yes, there is another one on here with the same title.  Sometimes, I start writing, and two poems are born instead of one.  I also thought this was particularly appropriate for the time of year; we’re currently in Scorpio, and it has a very Scorpio feel — death, destruction, re-birth, secrets, night, water, purification, mystery, the invisible, the edge of reason, the ancient…

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | Leave a comment

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

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

Oral Fixation

Your name caramelizes
Like sugar on my tongue,
And air ignites with the
Sweet fire of cinnamon
As I hear you pray the syllables of my own.
Tongue collecting secret salt,
Mouth parts to steal a bit of milk,
Smile stretches to expose the teasing teeth
That bite into sinewy flesh
As muscles stretch and bone holds firm.
Your careful hand extends
To claim a prize
Of dripping fruit
Inside a cavern of exquisite thrills
While just before me lies
Allure of choicest loin to satiate
The deepest reaches
Of humid hunger.
But vanilla fingers slide past instead
To skim a handful of savory nuts —
Then sigh escapes as
Hazelnut eyes beg,
And untamed waves of honey hair
That cover coconut delights
Spill over chest
And abdomen
And thighs
As cherry lips descend
To savor juice
Of melting meat.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Sex | , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Marco Polo

This is the classic game that no one ever wins —
When we go swimming in your pain,
Shooting echoes out of time,
And each is desperately hoping to throw out a lucky hand
To touch what we can’t see.

Over and over,
I call out,
And you sink beneath the waves,
Thrashing to elude my reach,
And I choke on the turbulence that surprises my lungs,
Left to spin circles around myself,
Lunge and grab at air,
Wade through all the sluggishness.
But, lo and behold, by some miracle, I reach you,
And it becomes my turn to submerge.

The ripples close in on me,
And I duck under to escape your cold fingers.
I watch from below as you sail past
Like some blinded Odysseus.
You’re the merchant king of some empty world
Where visions sting,
Movement distorts,
And cries are always muffled.

Filtering through a once-impossible distance
To the aquatic trenches where I buried myself
In hopes of somehow obtaining a victory,
There is a blinding shimmer,
And I remember
That there is sunlight,
That I would rather walk than wade,
Emerge than hide,
Feel warm than cold —
So I steal to the surface
And quietly go.

That’s when you open your eyes
And finally find
Yourself,
And while I drip off what’s left
Of this interminable hide and seek,
I observe as the scorching summer sun
Burns wet footprints off of concrete,
And I wonder
Just who walked away.

July 16, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Deserter

I don’t know when you killed me.
All I know is that it didn’t hurt
And I probably didn’t cry.
I didn’t exist by then anyway;
I was a ghost
Invisible and mute–
Or maybe just a rotting piece of flesh.
But now I’ve come back to life
And I watch the blood drip,
Flowing again
As I clutch shattered dreams in the palms of my hands,
And I don’t know what to do with the fragments
Or how to patch the wounds they leave.

You finally learned what it means to be alive,
And you flew a white flag
And sent peace offerings across the ravaged fields,
But I’m too exhausted from the rescue mission
To claim the spoils.
And so I die in battle one last time
By finally winning
When I’m too weak to join the celebration.

Leave me to pick that shrapnel from my palms,
Pull the scattershot from my chest,
Patch my armor,
And stagger my way back through the fields
To a place where I can make my home.
Go on, call me a deserter!
But I was the only martyr for the cause.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burning Bridges

All my coins in the fountain–
Not a penny in my hand.
I stare into ripples
That move time and space
But see only myself
With a question.

June 7, 2008 Posted by | Poetry | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vagabondage

I wasn’t so innocent when,
Sleeplessly rapt in the throes of
A virgin
Wanderlust,
I cried out to you
On instinct
From worlds away.

A shameless amateur
In the art of survival,
I confessed my desperate hunger
For the instant when you,
Laid bare of your own volition,
Would thrust me
Past the point of no return so that,
Indelibly marked by your tempestuous
Yesterday,
I could secure tomorrow’s consummate
Salvation.

Recklessly announcing my
Coming,
I pleaded that you impress upon
Your wide-eyed initiate
What only the chosen learn
And that you reveal that
Naked, primal self
I longed to know
With an abandon bordering on the
Predestined.

I came to you in the night,
A pilgrim unwittingly sacrificing
The flesh
To obtain transfiguration through
Your touch,
And you,
Wasting not a minute–
Though I fell damned by their abundance–
Anointed me with unbridled
Authenticity
As there in the fervor of my devotion,
You forced yourself
Ravenously into my
Soul.

Taken down by a spear you shot
Through centuries,
I was pinned
Like all the others who pray
In your bed
That with morning will
Come
Mercy.
Your brazen lust
Drove me to the edge
Of reason when,
Over and over,
You threw me
Breathless
To my knees
In a violent embrace that
My iron will
Refused to unbind.

My God,
You literally shook the ground
Beneath me!
And you rose to meet me at every
Unforgettable peak
Where you taught me
How hard
I could take it,
Satisfied
No less than I had asked for,
And provoked
Far more than I had ever expected.

My love, in truth,
It was not a novitiate but a mystic
Who designed the wager
Against her own self-preservation
That allowed you to
Find me inside,
Crush down upon me ever
Harder,
And press deeper

….Deeper!

Deeper….
Into my memory.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Sex, Travel, Uncategorized, Wanderlust, Woman | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aventura

Quick!
The future is upon us,
But we can still escape
If we’re already leaving.
Hey, there’s no time to pack!
What do you need anyway?
Just throw on your favorite daydreams,
Cash in your finest scars,
Dig out that old map you left buried
In the back of your soul,
Grab all your lessons,
And sneak through the crack you still see at the window,
Or, hell, it’s all the same–
Just open the door, and swagger on out in triumph.
There’s more than this,
Wake up!

This isn’t child’s play;
The fairytale was that we needed a plan–
Preposterous.
And every itinerary we’ve designed? —
An option,
Not a sentence.
The exotic calls
To what was always there within,
And I’m making my break for the gate.

Don’t drag your feet.
Right here, right now
Is the chance to check your baggage.
Turn in who you’ve become.
Claim who you always were.
Come morning, the alarm clock will sound its victory call,
And again, you’ll only think the battle lost.
Stand your ground.
Surrender yourself.
And run with me.
Novelty is made of forever.
And it starts tonight.

I was inspired to write this immediately after a conversation with a dear friend who just returned from a year in Argentina, no less racked by wanderlust now than before she set out.  As we talked, scheming up all manner of ways to appease our inner nomads, my friend chuckled as she noted, “We’re such romantics!”  Well, I write this in honor of that sentiment, that dream, and that reality.
Aventura (Spanish) serves as multiple conjugations of the verb aventurar — “to venture,” but its cognate, “adventure,” is perhaps the most obvious translation, and it can carry connotations of amorous ventures as well.

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Poetry, Travel, Wanderlust | , , , | 2 Comments