Friday, April 29, 2016

Napowrimo 28

This is in response to the backwards story. Whenever I'm at a loss for words, I write about Eve. She never fails to inspire me. Here's her story, backwards. It might be interesting to play with this further.

Returning to Eden

She never looked back.
She regretted nothing,
knew it had to end this way
as her bare feet stepped from carpet grass
to brambles. She felt pleasure blossom
in her heart as it fluttered.
Her lips stained with mauve,
She licked them clean.
Juice dribbled from mouth to chin,
Down her chest, marking her beautiful
To herself. She brought the fruit
To her lips, a plum, a pomegranate,
An apple, a pear, the details
Depend on who’s doing the telling,
But always it was juicy, always
It was sweet, always it was red
Red, the color of fire and flame,
Desire. She plucked it from the tree
In a single tug. It fit perfectly
In her palm, designed for her.
The color red flashed against the green,
So much green, so little of anything else.
She could smell the ripened flesh,
About to fester underneath
All that perfect sunshine.
She felt a slithering across her feet,
A whisper in her ear, a hiss
In her heart. She didn’t know
Her own face from his, her own name
From his, her own body from his.
She was the darkness to his light,
The silence to his noise,
The night to his day.
She was made to be small,
To obey, to nod her head,
Her lips made to be sealed
Like an envelope, addressed
To him. She was born into a world,
Forged from a rib of someone else,
Determined to define herself
In terms of her own body,
Her own flesh, her own mind.

At first, she was an afterthought. 

Napowrimo 27

Will I get caught up?! Maybe! My weekend looks pretty free :)

Today's prompt was to write a poem about something you remember.
I remember as a kid my dad always had cut fruit ready for snacking on the kitchen counters. Always. Without fail. I'm a fruitaholic, though I'm also a very lazy person. This typically results in me wanting fruit but not wanting to go through the work of washing, slicing, and storing. I know, how ridiculous, right? So I thought of that this afternoon while prepping a melon.

Slicing a Melon One Spring Afternoon

I remember eating melon as a child,
How miraculous the slices appeared
On the kitchen table, the color of sunset,
The color of meadow, the color of blush.

Always fruit on the table. How did it get there?
My father, standing at the kitchen counter,
Always chopping. How blissful to live
In this land of plenty. I remember this today,

As I stand at my kitchen counter,
Halving the world of a musk melon
Along its meridian.

There is a part of me that longs
For that simplicity, the savoring of sweetness
By itself, no separating flesh from rind,
No sharp edges, no blades, no counter top
To wipe clean, no chunks to pack away.
A part of me that wants to return
Back into the garden of plenty
Where everything was provided,
To cling back to the vine.

As I split the melon open, the seeds
Glisten in a slant of sunshine
Streaming in through my kitchen window
That could really use a wash.
I spoon them out with the membrane,
Gobs of ginger flesh, soft like the feathers
Of a baby bird about to leap into sky.

I wriggle the seeds free;
a few resist the loosening
as I spoon out the membrane,
cube the flesh into chunks
that will fit snugly inside

my watering mouth. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Napowrimo 25 and an update

Life. It's got me again.

I've had some health issues again this week that have got me sidetracked, more mentally than anything else.

On Sunday evening, I had the strangest experience. For about fifteen minutes, I lost my ability to speak in full sentences, my ability to see out of one eye, and then the feeling on the same side of my face and arm. It was incredibly scary. The feeling passed and I was ok (I'm still ok) but it scared the crap out of me.

If you know me, you know I hate going to the doctor, so I went home and hoped I'd feel normal in the morning. And I did, only, I was really worried and scared, and I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong with me. I put off going to the doctor until Tuesday morning and went to my family doctor, who scared the bejeezus out of me by telling me I'd had a stroke. A mini-stroke. He didn't want to alarm me, he said, but it is very serious. He said if anything, anything like that ever happens again, it's immediate ER. That's not something you go home and go to sleep with, apparently (who knew?? ok I did...).

I got set up with a neurologist appointment, and MRI, and some blood work. Today, I had my neurologist appointment, and she actually was quite reassuring to me and took my freak-out mode from 9 to about a 2. She thinks it wasn't a mini-stroke and cleared me to return to normal activity. Her best guess is severe migraine headaches (my super power is a tolerance for pain, so this makes sense that I'd have ignored that), but I'm scheduled in for a bunch more tests and scans to check out my brain to rule out the TIA stroke and brain aneurysms, which run in my family. Fun. Guess what I'll be doing this summer?!?!

So, because of this brush with mortality, the idea of being vulnerable comes to my mind again. Today as I was at work, I thought to myself, what if I died? Would I be happy with how my life's played out? Would I have any regrets? What would I be most proud of? Most ashamed of? Time is precious, and this is a reminder to make time for what really matters. To write poetry that matters. To teach like it matters because damn it, it does.

I think Hell for me would be a life without words. I can't imagine that life. Words are how I find meaning, they're my resonant source of power, my strength. What if I didn't have that anymore? What a gift it is to have them, still, today.

I'm thinking about a lot of different things today, trying to make sense of this experience and put it into words. Words.


As a child, I feared him –
The heavy clanking of his walker,
His heavy breathing, his heaving,
The way he carried himself across the living room,
A globe filled with frailty on his back,
The way his eyes narrowed on me,
Hinted that he saw me, really saw me,
his mouth, an open lacuna,
that only silence and spittle stumbled from,
no words, no, never any words.

This was my uncle, a man who once
Ran marathons, delivered babies
Into this great wide world, laughed
A vivacious laugh, played guitar, sang
With my father around a campfire,
Could make the most delicious s’mores
Before he’d had a stroke.

And today I fear him still
Even though he’s miles away,
Tucked safe in some nursing home.
He’s what I fear more than anything
Else in this great wide world.

I sit in the doctor’s office,
Cold and looking for something
To do with my fumbling hands
As the doctor’s worried eyes
Settle on my face, as he delivers
The news – a mini-stroke,
A warning stroke. Does it run
In your family? My body goes limp,
A heavy stone, the weight of mortality
Heavy on my back. I’m not even thirty
Fucking years old.  I run marathons.
I’m a vegetarian.  I laugh. I sing,
recite poems, create worlds
with words, but now I imagine them,
Piles and piles of words,
every one I’ve ever written or spoken,
One by one, dripping like honey
back into my mouth, an open lacuna 
swallowing everything past my lips, 
over my limp tongue, down my throat 
and into the fire of my belly in silence.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Napowrimo 24

I'm still a few days behind on the prompt thing, but I responded to the earth day one today and wrote about the prickly pear. 

Self Portrait as a Prickly Pear

Admire my beauty from afar –
Each spring, I’ll dawn the finest pastel hues,

Canary, blush and alabaster
Drape them from my body like accessories

And wear them proud against the Texas sky.
These bright colors are my favorite –

They compliment my avocado eyes,
The smoothness of my skin.

It’s the season, after all, when the sweaters
Come off, the arms go bare, the feet

Go naked. I’m not exception,
sitting pretty on the monte’s edge.

I like the way the hummingbirds take notice,
Whet their tongues visit for a spell.

I spritz myself with pollen,
Wear the scent of spring,

Of sweet seduction. I like the power
This beauty brings, the opening

Of petals at my will. I raise my pads
To the sky, an offering of myself,

Bask in the glory of my own beauty,
Digging my toes deep into the soil –

Yes, it’s miraculous I look this good
Even in drought, even in rain,

I’m that kind of tough, rugged.
But don’t misunderstand,

These blooms weren’t made for you,
To catch your eye, to tempt your fingers.

Come in for an agave kiss
With your tender hands,

Wrap your arms around me in embrace

And I’ll prove to you love hurts.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Napowrimo 23

Prompt: Write a sonnet!

Lady Sisyphus

What did I do to earn this nasty fate?
I’m working at the bookstore on the weekend,
Organizing magazines that hate
To stay put on the shelves. I’ll have to spend
The evening setting chaos into order,
Laboring like Sisyphus in vain –
There’s always one more porno in the corner
The boulder’s rolling down the hill again.

This is my punishment for asking questions
When my lot in life is just to nod
My head, absorb another of life’s lessons,
Accept my place beneath the boss, my god
For these eight hours of my life. As long

as I am poor I’ll have to play along.

Napowrimo 22

Witness Report

We were only picking flowers,
Honest, near the schoolyard’s edge,
By the wall where the sunflowers
Grow tallest, where we could get lost
Together in the labyrinth of them,
Giggling, running, holding hands
Like we always did, like two best friends.

The flowers so tall no one could see us
By that chain link fence that separates
The schoolyard from the outside world.
She stood there, clutching the metal
With both hands, staring off into the abyss
Of a laurel tree’s perse blossoms.

Wouldn’t those look nice braided in your hair?
She asked, you’d be a princess,
Don’t you want to be a princess?
I’ve always wanted to be a princess of something,
Of some kingdom far far away.

And she leapt the fence with a single bound,
I swear I tried to stop her, called her name,
As she pulled the lowest limb down,
Her ponytail bouncing with her movements.
She grabbed fistful after fistful of blossoms
Giggling delirious at the sudden freedom,
And I watched from a safe distance,
Held the chain links in my hand and swallowed hard,
Half wishing I was as brave as her,
Half glad I wasn’t going to receive
The inevitable punishment for leaving school grounds.

Scaredy cat, scaredy cat, scaredy cat,
Well, you know how she is.

A car pulled up like a chariot, all black,
Roared, honked the horn, called out her name,
Persephone. She looked back at me and grinned.
The passenger door opened. She stood there
On the threshold. Don’t go! I called,
But part of me was curious, too,
Wanted to join her in that place of mystery.

And then she disappeared into the portal
Of the open car door, the tinted windows
Veiling her face, her wide blue eyes, her smile.

That’s all I know, I swear, I swear, I swear. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Napowrimo 21

I'm behind again -_- why do these days have to be so busy??

Today's task was to write a kenning poem. I kinda sorta did it and also broke the rules.

You are

You are
Large, the heat-creator,
My day swirls around your needs
Like planets swirl around the sun.
You always want more,
Need more,
Morning, noon, and night,
Swallowing pancakes like worlds,
Sandwiches like stars,
Salads like atoms,

Fusing them together,

You are my catch-basin of all,
Of desire, where everything
Ends up, life-nourisher,
A pillow for the head.

You are the life-cradler,
Underneath this skin,
a tiny place where cells
join and leap into being.

You are a truth-knower –
Rising in hope
And sinking in despair,
A gut-wrencher,
A pain-holder,
An everything-swallower,
Spit, food, hopes, sadness
Into your darkness
Into your light.

You are
Always expanding
With my breath,
Always contracting
With my breath.
I suck you in
Hold you in,
You jean-filler,
You button-buster,
You cheek-flusher,
Hide you from the world,
You skin-stretcher,
From the times I fed you,
Denied you everything
Because your wailing
Brought me comfort.

You are
The tickle-receiver
The giggle-generator,
Meadow of peach fuzz
And the softest of my skin --
The panza,
The road, the trodden trail,
Portal to another world

Before the world began.