Monday, June 11, 2018

Days of dreaming

I'm a big fan, he said. Will you sign my copy?
I love that they call you 'Hova,' she said. Can I make it out to 'Hova'?
He smiled, nodded.
I'm an atheist, but you're my kinda god, she said.
There is power in your words, your music.
They stepped through a set of open french doors then,
and the whole room was filled with white velvet -
the sofas and ottomans, the carpet, even parts of the walls;
there were peacocks wandering through the room,
and she blinked -
did you do this for me...?
He smiled, offering her his arm.
She took it, still looking up at him.
His eyes were warm, inviting.
She wanted to dive into them and be warm and safe, forever.
He started walking again, disrupting the mesmerization that held her.
She let him lead her along through this wide space,
this dreamy room she was sure she had seen before.
As they walked along,
she thought they were alone,
but then a high-backed chair swiveled around
and perched upon it was a man.
Seeing him made her smile;
he smiled back,
and with this gesture,
she could feel guitars start strumming,
softly from every direction,
like purple rain on a sunny day.
She paused and let it fill her.
I thought that was you, she whispered, or maybe just thought.
Her eyes closed,
and when they opened again,
the room was bathed in purple light.
She spun in every direction, looking for its source.
He was gone.
She turned back to her guide
to ask where the other had gone,
but he only smiled and moved onward.
They were climbing wide, spiralling stairs
for what seemed like both hours and the blink of an eye,
until they reached a plateau that was filled with so much green
she almost thought they'd found the Emerald City.
It was grass and trees, rolling hills and crushes of foliage;
she breathed deeply and ran her hand along the moss covering a boulder beside her.
Oh...
He squeezed her hand in agreement.
Yeah, we're almost to the best part, lil mama...
She half-smiled, a dreamy smirk -
Did you just call me 'mama'? 
That's what you are, aren't ya?
Yeah, I guess so, Z.
They walked through the forest for another millenia,
and then when she was just starting to wonder why she wasn't thirsty yet,
they saw a silvery light in a clearing out ahead.
            How long have we been here? she asked.
Always, he said.
That's what I thought.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

All doped up

Caffeine
and I
are almost as incompatible as
self-restraint and I...
but not quite.
Caffeine is divine,
or makes me feel divine -
immortal, unstoppable -
unsleepable, at least.
Iced tea with lunch,
and at 10pm I feel like slumber is only for the weak.
Sleep is useless, unnecessary and a far away dream.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Timelessness

I gaze into the past,
and Tom Petty is alive, present -
it's a one-sided, almost-time-travel.
I watch Prince give a conspiratorial grin to George Harrison's son,
in a perfect reflection of his spirit - shy, mischievous.
He doesn't know it,
but he's still here,
still giving us greatness.
I want to climb through my computer's screen
and hold onto them until my heart stops racing.
They were gods.
They are immortal in a way the Greek, Roman, or Christian gods
never could be.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Should Monster

I should be working on
The Novel,
not composing little poems and ponderings for no one's benefit.
I should at least be scrubbing a toilet or dusting a light fixture.
I should be doing lots of things...
but it really depends on who you ask.
My mom?
Would tell you I should be more industrious,
and less indulgent;
she would say I should be going to church,
but that is not a place that exists for me anymore.
It is the unhappy ending to a fairytale
told by a monster or a witch -
and not the good kinds,
like you'd love because they were
    misunderstood.
No, this fairytale was written by monsters
who pretend they're the good guys,
and that if you never do anything you want to,
that after you die you'll be rewarded.
Utter nonsense.
Be kind, be good, be honest.
But be kind to yourself, too.
I don't believe in "shoulds," or "mustn'ts,"
and maybe you should
                                    n't either.

Rainy Haze of Spring

Wet and foggy trees lined the winding roads that led
to that happy place where the god-like woman
used her hands to melt my muscles and remold them.
In a purple haze, I drove,
then "Purple Rain" came on and I was stuck in my car,
even though it made me late.
I floated on Prince's notes
and settled on the table.
I kept thinking the phrases,
"So what's new? How've you been?"
but they never successfully crossed the bridge
between my cerebrum and my soft palate/teeth/tongue.
I was wrapped in my fuzzy purple mind,
remembering, reinventing, imagining.
I floated home
(or drove, probably),
and dipped back into the real world for the afternoon,
to dine and go to a movie,
then dissolved into my second favorite chair
and dialed my favorite number
for what turned into four hours of intense therapy
that felt like a dream, with so many giggles.
I am in balance.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Artful Nudes, in Watercolor

Sometimes,
the mood just strikes. Ya know?
Desire is a feathered vine winding through you,
whispering of orgasms to come,
so you take a moment,
and conjure one up.
Sometimes you have to improvise.
Slip into a darkened office,
your own backseat,
a bathroom stall.
Silence is key -
no moans must be emitted,
no panting.

And then the world recedes around me -
I am an iris folding in on myself
expanding and contracting
like the birth of a new universe.
I pause, and think of giant, vibrantly painted flowers.
I step out of my own mind and click "search."
Wait - now I am lost in a blackhole of Georgia O'Keeffe images
(do yourself a favor and click here to see what I saw
and bask in the light of her flowers and her stoically beautiful face).
I am smitten with her beauty
and the beauty she captured with her brushes,
but I'm caught slightly off guard by the nude photographs
of the artist as a younger woman than I usually picture her -
hard to tell, maybe in her 30s or 40s,
but the raw beauty of her in those forever frozen moments...
aaah...it's almost like magic
(or a chemical reaction on film exposed to light).
I see the inner spark in her-
defiance, ferocity, passion,
a dark storm somehow transforming
into a splash of bright flora -
and crave the ability to slip inside her mind,
her body
for just a moment.
I acknowledge that I feel pivoted
to new perspectives of her work
because of this new connection to her physical beauty -
I suddenly see her as a mortal
who had pain and joy and talent and struggle
and was maybe
just a little bit
in love with the pussy.
I mean, jesus.
Not that we can blame her;
it is a wonder to behold.
And for that matter so is the cock.
But I digress....
     where was I?
Ah, yes -
the portraits of the artist -
they stir in me deeper thoughts,
maybe self-loathing.
Maybe I resent the giant leaden anchor I feel
holding me fast against all the ocean's currents,
snaking its way to my hull and keeping me in place -
the anchor that ties me
not to a point of coordinates on a map,
but to a point of relating to the world:
that you don't matter unless you're beautiful.
It's painful to face this indictment.
I've been so sure of this,
but here, in this instance,
I am sure that 
I have it all wrong -
one imbues the other -
Tom Petty's sexiness is derived directly from his music, right?
There is a balance in him, maybe in us all.
And maybe that's why,
in just the right light
at just the right angle
on a good day
I can see echoes of beauty in myself
(but then a slight shift of the protons and neutrons 
and the illusion dissipates).
But I've chosen to pretend I'm beautiful anyway,
which propels me to imagine great things -
or maybe not lofty things,
but dirty, glorious things,
and sweet, strange things -
and to believe that what I have to say matters.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Mighty Buuuk!

Starshine

Come with me, she said.
We can smoke, 
then lie on the grass and look at the stars. 
I bet you know things about stars...
He smiled at first, but then stepped away a little,
not quite letting her hand rest on his shoulder.
I gotta go...he said.
She stepped near again, ready to drop all pretenses and say what she really meant.
She was ready to let him see her.
He...
he let her stand there,
inches from his face.
He let himself feel her breath on his neck as she looked up at him.
She started to speak,
but instead she sighed, chewed her bottom lip as her brows furrowed,
and stepped back.
Some other time, I guess. She shrugged and dropped her eyes.
She was just shifting her weight to one foot so she could step backward,
when his hands were in her hair and he was drawing her mouth to his.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Swallowed

She feels like a dog snarling against a muzzle - 
she can't get the satisfaction of a good chomp, a good howl. 
Maybe that's just a by-product 
of her inability 
to obtain 
the object of her desire. 
She feels like a cat chasing a laser dot:
it's exhilarating for a while, 
but she never gets to sink her teeth into it, 
and this makes her growl with foot-stomping frustration. 
Tantrums...
for her
and 
      her kitty.

And so, instead of growling,
she takes a moment.
She breathes in slowly,
and out again,
creating some distance...

*
     *
   *
        *

Imagine leaning in to tell him
something mischievous,
and lightly cupping his face in one hand 
as you breathe/giggle words close to his ear.
Imagine the sparkle in your eyes
igniting the sparkle in his.
Maybe he would cock an eyebrow
as if to say, you can't be serious?
But
imagine that you were.
Imagine replying with a slight nod,
a mostly-suppressed grin,
before you turn and bound away.
Or, imagine rounding a corner
and nearly walking into him.
Imagine pulling him down the narrow aisle,
between the stacks of boxes and shadows.
Imagine him pressing the full length of his body against you,
and taking your face in his hands 
with the slight shake of his head 
before he covers your mouth with his
(as if he can't believe 
you've created this little pocket of devouring need, 
to be filled whenever and wherever you can).
Back up,
and imagine
in delicate detail
the feel of his mouth on yours.
Imagine his lips pressing, 
his tongue darting;
imagine sinking into the kiss
like a lifeboat.
Imagine stumbling back into the world
with shaky breath and wild eyes (and hair),
blinking your way back to an appearance of normalcy.
I'm not sure that imagining 
        like this
is at all helpful to the pursuit of freedom from desire.
There is a fine line between enjoying the tension it creates,
and being engulfed by it entirely...

You need to rein it in,
you know you do.
But maybe you want to push it a little further first.
Maybe you want to be the one to shove against a wall,
and maybe you want to pull a face to yours,
and maybe you would sink to your knees 
before he'd even figured out how the kiss happened
and maybe you would try to swallow him whole,
because maybe
that would satisfy your need.
Maybe.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Me n Jay-Z

I have far fewer than 99 problems
but one of them
(at this moment)
is the inability
of crunching on carrots
to satisfy my urge
to feel the slow melt
of rich chocolate
on my tongue.
But here I am,
counting problems
and calories
like some basic
bitch.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

(Self) Possession

I walk toward him,
and he turns with a smile of greeting.
We talk and walk, 
the world shifting and sighing around us,
seeming to part for our passage,
like it was made to be intact,
and we are causing this rift, this shift, 
this new alignment of stars.
I say the words that are expected,
smile and nod,
but inside 
there are butterflies bouncing around in a pattern I can't follow.
I say the right words,
despite the ones charging through my mind in lurid colors, 
pulsing with lust.
He pauses, holds the door for me,
and we ride an elevator straight up into the sky.
The silence spreads out to fill the small box,
and I try not to see myself in the mirrors that are all around.
He reaches out, 
presses a button,
and our ascent is halted.
A snag in my breathing
as he fluidly moves from reaching for that button
to reaching for
me.
I am pressed against the reflection behind me,
his face so close to mine that his beard brushes my chin.
There is no force behind his words,
they are a summer breeze on my cheek -
Are you ready?
I remember to inhale.
Will you follow my lead, no questions asked?
I nod, wide-eyed.
I feel the gentleness of his question,
but the shiver that runs down my spine
comes from the depth of authority that I feel is rooted in him 
like the beginning of time,
the laws of physics, 
and my loyalty, forever.
Good,
he grins and resumes our ascent,
pulling out his phone to tap out one more email 
as he leans against the far wall.
My heart races the elevator to the ceiling of this tall structure
where I make all the arguments I'd prepared.
We end the meeting with handshakes 
and talk of contracts being drawn up, faxed over, etc.
We are in a full elevator on the way back down.
I can see his eyes reflected in one of the mirrors 
(if I look over the shoulder of the man in the deep blue suit
whose cologne is nearly gagging me),
and I focus on them.
We settle back into the dark, smooth interior 
of the car that delivered us.
He on a phone call, 
me making notes to run by our legal department 
before they review those contracts we just negotiated.
When the car glides to a stop,
I reach for my door handle 
and hear a soft click as he presses the lock button.
Follow,
he reminds, gently,
and I see one corner of his mouth twitch with an almost-smile.
One question,
I smile and lean toward him
(maybe aware that this produces a perfect view of perfect cleavage).
Starting now...?
He nods - part indulgence, part scolding.
Now, no more questions.
A thrill runs through me at the prospect of releasing
all of my personal decisions to his judgement.
I will do everything he says,
nothing more,
nothing less.
He holds the reins
and my heart thrums with the adrenaline rush of possibilities. 
I perch at the edge of my seat,
my nerves as tight as violin strings,
just waiting for him to make the first command 
and pull exquisite notes from deep inside me.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Placid/Flacid

And then
one day,
it all just stopped.
The surging waves 
that had threatened to overtake me 
and sink my whole ship straight to the bottom of the ocean;
the pervasive presence in my thoughts:
poof, gone.
The raging desire melted back into a calm sea,
and I saw clearly again,
blinded no more.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Puff the Magic Mango

Mango
flavored
joy.

I inhale,
and then I smile,
and float like a feather.
I inhale again,
too deeply,
and then I melt into a chair
with all the world's gravity pressing down on me with ferocity.
I can't lift my head,
but when I do,
I nearly puke;
so I don't lift my head again.
How did this happen?
I don't fight it,
but sit as still as I am able,
and just let it take me away.
I had hoped to be buoyed by mangoes to the heighths of inspiration,
but instead I am crushed under their weight.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sympathy from the Devil

The first time I saw him,
I already knew the story of his grief.
The line items on his inventory of pain start and end with:
gasping for air in a world that suddenly holds too few people,
or at least too few of the ones he created,
the ones he rocked and coached and disciplined
(too much, not enough? he would wonder);
the world was tilting from the sudden imbalance
in the ratio of parents to children -
not the way that it had when they had graduated, moved out;
but the way it does when all that is left is ash,
so light - shifting and moving, unable to be held.
This, this I knew before I stepped around the corner
and saw him standing behind his desk,
sternly it seemed at first,
but within one heartbeat
I recognized the true pattern of the shredded edges of his soul -
not too-businesslike, but too-crushed and too-hollow
to remember how or why to smile.

The pain he had suffered was unimaginable,
even for such a relentless imagination as mine.
As I spoke of mundane, purposeful things,
I felt a canyon open up inside my chest.
I wanted to reach out, and pull him to me,
not to fill this newly hollow space,
but to push some of my lightness and joy into him.
I would continue to find reasons for my path to cross his,
and I would be so gentle as we spoke of business,
willing him to breathe out some of his pain so that I could take it in.

One day, when I went to him
we discussed briefly the issue that brought me there,
and then
without asking
I closed his door.
My cheeks flushed as I turned to face him
but his head was down,
so I went around his vast oak desk.
He looked up from the reports he was skimming
just as I reached him.
He pushed his chair back a little to turn to face me,
as I stood beside him,
a quizzical look just appearing at the edges of his eyes.
Solemnly,
I slid onto his lap
and wrapped myself around him.
I couldn't let him hold the pain anymore.
I breathed it in as my lips pressed against his,
inhaling deeply,
and giving back the sweetest parts of me.
He began to sob,
then clutched me so hard he left bruises.
His tears didn't stop
as he stood and placed me on the desk;
his tears didn't stop as we fought with his belt
and shoved up my skirt;
his tears didn't stop as he pulled me to him
entering me with a sigh;
the tears flowed
as we rocked together frantically -
like he was running for his life.
His eyes found mine,
for only a moment,
and I saw the clouds parting.
This momentary escape wouldn't leave him feeling weaker;
it would leave him feeling lighter.
His tears were almost dry
as my legs wrapped around him and held him deep inside,
welcoming his release -
release from heavy burdens of grief,
release from holding in tears so he could be strong for others.
I smiled at him as he blinked like a man waking up in a strange place
with no idea how he got there.
I slid off his desk and stood so close to him
that I could feel his heart beating (fast);
I rested one hand on his cheek for a moment,
then kissed him lightly on the lips and smiled again,
hoping to reassure him that this was good,
that it was a gift.
He let out a long breath,
like he'd been holding it for months.

I would sometimes make appointments,
but more often, I would just show up.
I would enter without speaking,
and close the door behind me.
I wore long skirts
and I can still feel his sadness flowing into me
as the fabric rustled around us;
I can feel him pulling me to him,
almost always roughly,
with the great wildness of his pain surging through us both.
I can see his face right before I kissed him,
right after,
and I can see the change in the light in his eyes.
I remember the cedar and linen smell of his neck,
and the way his hands found places I didn't even know
existed, and christened them with pleasure.
I remember him as all roughness,
from the stubble on his face
to the callouses on his palms,
to the way he held onto me as I took him inside,
as deep as his pain.
As the summer passed into fall,
his stern look began to fade,
and then slowly morphed into serenity.
Instead of pain,
I felt his gratitude with every breath,
and the only tears were mine.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Crockett's Beach

She drove through the night,
arriving at the edge of the sea at dawn.
She opened the car door
and stepped out onto the smooth stones.
She stretched,
letting her joints loosen up again
after the long drive,
and turned her gaze fully on the scene before her.
The sun was just growing visible at the edge of the horizon,
the rich purples and deep pinks melting from the sky to the water
or maybe the other way around,
she wasn't sure.
The only sounds in the stillness
were the ticking of her cooling engine
and the soft liquid rumble of waves lapping against rounded stones,
jostling against each other like marbles in a bag.
She grabbed her backpack and moved away from the car,
wanting nothing to interfere with the sound of the ocean's rhythm.
She wandered down the beach,
the sun and the water on her left,
the rocks leading up to a fringe of jagged pines on her right.
She walked until she couldn't see that house
at the end of the causeway behind her,
or the lighthouse
or her car.
The sun crept higher,
muting the vibrant colors,
but wasn't all the way up yet.
She sat down on the stones,
wiggling a little to settle into them,
and unzipped the backpack.
She smiled as she imagined someone saying,
It's a bit early for a drink, isn't it?
A bit late, as far as she was concerned.
She uncorked the bottle and took a long swig.
The waves were relentlessly pressing inland by the tidal forces,
for a few more hours at least,
and then they would slide back out,
each wave shrinking a little further back than the last,
until the bare sand was revealed between the rocks and the water line.
She let the bourbon burn down her throat
and looked at the islands smudged across the water at random intervals
from one horizon to another.
She wondered which was the one.
Which island was where she would need to go to finish this journey.
She knew the closest one was Ash,
and that past the scope of the naked eye,
straight south of here was Metinic.
But in between, somehwere out in that endless sea,
was her destination.
She took another drink and let out a long sigh.
She would have to head back into town and find someone to ferry her out there.
12 hours of driving,
and she still hadn't figured out whether or not it would play to her advantage
to mention her brother's name.
He was such a trouble maker, and now he was in so much trouble.
But he also had that smile that seemed to magically make everyone forgive him;
that laugh,
and the thrilling ability to make everyone around him laugh
and to sometimes even feel like they had helped come up with the joke.
She smiled that crooked smile they almost shared,
shook her head a little,
and took another long drink.
Fuck.
This was going to be an even longer day than the last.

Art Thief

I may be guilty 
of copyright infringement -
I've used your likeness 
for my own 
                               gratification
without your consent.

Rainy Day Woman #43

Sometimes,
even when the sun is shining,
I am a rainy day woman.
I drown in my own thoughts,
thinking too hard
or too far down one rabbit hole or another.
Today I had storm clouds churning inside me,
unbidden.
I thought I had moved past this particular plot point,
this little knot of pain just beneath my sternum.
But I hadn't, as it turns out.
Something brought it back to the surface,
and I felt the depth of the
(possibly imagined) loss,
and it was fresh again.
This searing nausea.
I guess I shouldn't wallow so long in my own imagination,
if I want to avoid such things.
I should just live in the moment,
and enjoy it all.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Blackbird singing in the dead of night...

I walked today at lunch,
so fast,
so far.
The sun was blinding,
and I needed something to guide me,
so I reached deep into my phone
and found
(right there on top, where I left it)
Fleetwood Mac's Rumors.
It worked,
propelling me through the overly bright day.
Later,
I faced the pond as
I paced the back parking lot of my little office
while on hold with the insurance company.
There was New Orleans Jazz
miraculously
(hauntingly)
coming from the tinny speaker of my phone.
I glanced up, and there was a blue jay
so close,
perched in the tree with the big pink blossoms
(like the ones on the front lawn in Maine)
and I saw you in his handsome face, somehow.
I stepped closer
(slowly and softly)
leaning toward you in my mind,
but he spread his gorgeous wings and flew away.
I thought of you,
all those years ago,
and how close we were,
despite the vast distance.
I thought of your laugh,
and how much I loved teasing it out of you with my words.
I thought of your words,
and how perfectly in tune they were with my own
like two birds
singing in harmony.
I knew you inside and out;
you knew every thought in my head,
every beat of my heart;
you knew every inch of my body that a camera could capture.
And when it was time,
somehow,
you let me fly away
with the grace and and love of a true friend.
You were the one who tended the garden of me,
tenderly and constantly,
and then
walked me down the aisle
and handed me over to my groom.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Picasso's Damsels & My Lack of Distress

As I watched Antonio Banderas on the big screen,
playing a late-middle-aged Pablo Picasso,
I was drawn into the current of his passions.
His love of painting was a big focus,
but it was hard to miss the other great passion of his life:
women.
He was replete with wives and mistresses,
and it seemed somehow right that he would live by his own rules.
It seemed completely natural that a man with such talent 
would not see the world the way the rest of us are expected to.
When you are filled by
and hungry for
art,
you cannot color yourself inside the lines.
Rules are illusions –
straw barriers masquerading as concrete,
easy to brush away and pass through.
Rules are for people without the ability 
to imagine their own reality and fill a canvas with it.
Rules are absorbed subconsciously,
and silently provide structure while the artist fills in around them
with color and light,
pulled from the visions in his mind...
So, if Picasso was inspired by Dora's photography,
and settled by Francoise's steadiness,
and drawn repeatedly to Marie-Therese for her ability to please him,
despite being married to Olga,
then why shouldn't he connect with each of them,
taking into his heart, his bed, or his brush, 
the gifts they had for him?
Each love he claimed allowed him to 
expand.
I can see him with each of them,
focused on the moment,
and on the light in their eyes;
so far removed from cultural and societal norms
that he wasn't affected by the expectations of the outside world;
he would love Dora how and when he was moved to,
and he would spend peaceful days with Francoise and their daughter, Maya, 
when he was moved to do that.
He would then love another, and another,
the same as he had always done before.
He operated within his own plane of existence -
it may have looked like he lived in our world, 
but his genius built the dimension in which he resided.
He was a man living within his own rhythm;
each of the women merely joined him there for a brief time.

I don't know why I am so at ease with his unorthodox ways
(would I be so cavalier if he loved me?)
but maybe it's because I wish I had the balls to live like that -
utterly on my own terms,
and with the power 
to forge my way against the tides of society,
an Amazon Warrior birthed by Aphrodite and Shakespeare.
Reality is what we can accept, and what we decide it should be,
so in a sense, we all make our own rules, don't we?
It's just that most of us aren't as bold or creative
as the Picassos of the world,
and make only small tweaks and minor adjustments
to the template of society's rules,
rather than rewriting the whole Magna Carta in technicolor.

 Image result for Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907



Coming Up Empty, but Feeling Full

All I wanted, all weekend,
was to jack into the matrix and upload my thoughts,
but here I am, and they're all playing hide-and-seek with me...
I was inspired by the film we saw Friday night,
and by the people we engaged with all over the west side,
from Harlem to Tribeca.
But, on this spring day of gentle perfection,
with Led Zepellin filling the air around me,
my bare (and tired) feet up -
fingers to keyboard -
I wait for something to trickle out, onto this page.
Instead of poetry,
I find blocky, blunt narrative:
we did this, and then that; it was good.
I tap-tap-tap, then delete.
I pause and look inside -
cool white sands from horizon to horizon.
Flat, empty.
Even this cannot remove the smile that rests on my face.
It was such a good weekend.
Perfect, cool weather for hustling around the city,
lovely conversation with an old family friend,
excellent food at every turn,
moments of quiet and moments of connecting with strangers.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Moody Skies

I loved the sky tonight on the drive home -
it was stormy and beautiful.
Kind of reminded me of a soul, in just the right light...
or on just the wrong kind of day.
The clouds were dark and quilted,
like thoughts churning across the wide plain of a mind.

I always want to stop and take pictures,
but these god
damned
roads
have no shoulder,
barely even room for two cars at the same time.
Sigh.
Just...imagine an angry gray duvet spread across the sky, and you'll be close, I guess.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fleeting Obsession

I don't know what happened,
the how or why of  it,
but I have become infatuated with Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album,
and it will 
not
leave me alone.
I listen to it over and over and over and
over.
I half-remember ordering it on vinyl last night as I settled into bed.
I play it in the car,
and in the kitchen;
As soon as I get to my desk,
I fumble for my earbuds and
sigh with relief when I've crammed them in,
reuniting me with the current soundtrack of my life.
I don't know why I bother,
since it's always in my head -
I know there's nothing to say
Someone has taken my place
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won't you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff

(and the answer, of course, is yes -
I would lay you down in the tall grass and let you do
whatever stuff you have in mind. Obvs.)
Listening doesn't make me want to hear other Fleetwood Mac;
it doesn't make me crave "Landslide" or "Edge of Seventeen;"
it doesn't make me think about the lives of the band members,
and their deeply intertwined love lives -
well, ok, maybe a little...
I mean, Lindsey Buckingham was quite the stallion in 1977,
and Stevie Nicks was a goddess 
(according to reputable sources), 
so it's worth a little thought.
Like, did they love each other, 
or was there just too much coke flying around 
to keep track of who you were supposed to be sleeping with?
I don't know if they even did drugs,
but I can picture them all in someone's artsy loft:
Lindsey picking mindlessly at a guitar 
on a bean bag near a large window,
Stevie barefoot in gauzy skirts and jangly bracelets;
I can see her standing with a bottle of beer in one hand,
the other resting lightly on her hip.
She is mesmerized.
Lindsey's fingers dance across the strings,
and Stevie starts to sway, 
hums a little 
as her feet pick up the beat and her hips follow.
Mick or somebody intercepts her,
hand on her back,
pressing her into an improvised waltz,
spinning and dipping her with insistent gallantry.
Her eyes linger on Lindsey, over Mick's shoulder;
she lets him steer her moves, 
and when he sings along with Lindsey's melody,
Stevie harmonizes with him and ducks under his arm, 
kneeling on the pillows beside Lindsey,
holding his eyes with hers.
He was the one she really wanted.
So what happened to them?
I guess I should read a biography or something....

Well did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home.


I can't seem to shake it,
and I don't think I even want to anymore.
I don't know know why it's gripping me so,
but now I'm gripping back.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Desire Triptych, Part 1: Stripped

She spun on the stage
wearing only glitter
and absurdly high-heeled shoes.
Each curve exaggerated,
her features accentuated with unnatural colors -
almost beautiful,
almost garish,
too real,
but imaginary.
She smiled at you,
then twirled around the pole,
and leaned toward your outstretched dollar bills.
I half-smiled,
squeezed your thigh.
I couldn't take my eyes off her, either.

Desire Triptych, Part 2: Fire

The carnal need to be desired
can lie purring and dormant for long stretches.
But then.
Something
someone
will slip through a crack
into the place inside
where desire used to scorch the walls of you -
a dragon in its lair, sleeping beneath piles of gold
in the shape of contentment,
affection,
satisfaction,
commitment...
and you'll feel a spark, 
taste smoke at the back of your throat.
You'll suddenly want
(with a sharpness that surprises you),
and you'll lean into it,
willing the object of your desire
to desire you.
You’ll revel in the fire of it,
The way it burns through you,
But then,
you'll let go,
forgetting again what it is like
to have every cell filled
with anticipation and preoccupation;
to be saturated with lust 
and blind, panting need.
You'll turn away from the dragon,
relieved to settle back into the wholesome wholeness of your life.
But then...
you'll catch yourself daydreaming about touching, tasting...
and in a panic, you'll shift your focus to something else,
evading Desire, for now.
You'll find your inner calm,
your zen,
your drive.
You'll channel all that unspent energy into self-mastery.
You'll think you've outgrown the grasp of desire,
as you smoothly move along the track of your life,
until the next time the embers begin to glow under your skin.

Desire Triptych, Part 3: Dreams

You.
You seem to be just a man,
but out of the corner of my eye,
I see the hint of glitter that is visible
around the edges of your casual confidence,
or swirling just behind the gentle authority you exude.
You quietly speak magic spells
that draw out desire in those around you.
With the deft hand of a conductor, you create need,
pulling heat to the surface like a slow-building string section.
I look around, wondering if I'm the only one
with a symphony of lust
pounding across the stage of my mind.
This thought unsettles me,
and I drift away,
but I always drift back,
settling into the familiar current,
floating along, wanting -
wanting with a pervasive intensity
that fills my imagination with scenes of first kisses,
and pulling your face to mine –
I'll imagine you pressing me against a wall,
or I can slip one arm around you,
and press my face to your chest, then undo your belt.
In my daydreams,
I can kneel before you,
worshipping you with my mouth.
I can lie in tangled sheets and look down
to see your eyes peering up over the perfect curve of my breast.
I can kiss your neck, letting my teeth graze you as I withdraw...
I can moan your name and insist that you shift positions
because I need you inside me, now.
These scenes
(created in vivid sensory detail and playing on a loop)
do not quell my desire,
they feed it like dry wood on a pyre.

This.
This is desire,
this is dangerous and all-consuming.

Desire - Epilogue

One more thing about desire, though...
All this pondering has led to a new insight.
I have long operated under the assumption
that attaining the object of my desire was the ultimate goal.
That only when the item has been purchased,
food has been eaten, or boy has been fucked--
only then is satisfaction achieved.
On an evolutionary level,
the whole point of desire is to propel,
to motivate,
but once satisfied, there will just be another object to pursue.
It's a slippery cycle,
and can rule your life for you if you let it.

Desire burns within, not a fire that needs quenching,
but a fire that needs careful maintenance -
a fire to warm a house, not turn it to ashes.
I've been missing the point all along...
struggling to tame this beast,
but only because I thought society
(and the constraints I've subjected myself to)
required it,
not because I understood.
I don't know if I'll be able to remember this,
and maintain a balanced fire,
or if it even makes sense yet in print
but I'm glad it has clicked for now.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Virginity, Vermont & Stevie Nicks

And then there was the time Stevie Nicks took my virginity.
Well.
Not directly, not personally.
But I was home for the first summer of college,
and I'd had my first broken heart,
and I was hell bent on making someone pay.
I wanted that sweet boy who'd loved me for two years,
and then married someone else without bothering to break up with me,
to return from his Presidential Support duties with the Marine Corps
for long enough
for me to punch him
so hard
that my heart would unbreak,
to the rhythm of his cracking mandible...
but he didn't.
He stayed thousands of miles away
and he stayed married to someone else,
(someone I would later find out he loved with a pale immitation of what he'd felt for me,
someone he would spend years feeling stuck with);
maybe if I'd known those things sooner,
I wouldn't have felt the need to punish him vicariously.
He stayed a villain in my mind,
and a haunting memory of sweetness in my heart.
And when I arrived home for the summer,
heart in shreds,
I was just trying to survive.
So when my new crush introduced me to his less attractive
(and also less gay, as it would turn out) friend,
I let myself date him, passively hoping it would help me to heal.
I pushed and pushed him
to tell me how many times he'd been in love,
how many girls he'd slept with.
I was sure I was the only one who'd loved so deeply, and lost;
I was sure that I was the Last American Virgin.
And I was sure I would always regret not having
my one and only First Time be with my first love.
Instead, I had his unworthy successor,
his understudy, the imposter who'd shown up
to try to fit into the Charly-shaped hole in my heart.
When he told me that he'd loved three times;
had sex with three girls,
I saw the symmetry
and the intense desire to be loved again overtook me;
I believed that if I could get him to have sex with me
that would mean that he was in love with me,
and I would have avenged that spineless Marine of mine.
To throw a little more fuel on the fire,
my best friends were describing
in glorious detail
their various sexual pursuits from our year apart,
at colleges spread across the country like a handful of rice thrown.
They made it sound so much better than
eternal salvation
or whatever the fuck it was
that my Bishop insisted would be mine
if I didn't let a boy put his hand above my knee
or under my shirt or
whatever other dirty little images
that (adulterous) asshole painted for us.
Their giggled details outshone his stern threats
by a whole spectrum of light.
Their instructions on how to give head sounded like the map
that would lead me to a place where my poor little heart would finally mend.
Their eyes sparkled and I couldn't stand to not know for myself.
So.
I spent time with the Replacement Boyfriend all summer,
mildly disgusted by his tobacco chewing,
not terribly comfortable with his thrash metal,
slightly scared of his older sister,
but unwilling to be deterred.
I can still see the cloud of smoke hanging lazily above the small kitchen,
as I learned to play Hearts with his parents and him that summer
(which is kind of ironic because I was definitely playing with his heart).
I didn't set out to hurt him,
I just needed to be needed,
and he felt lucky to have such a sweet girl,
so I told myself it was fair.
But really, we were from different worlds -
we had so little in common,
and we just didn't belong together.

Despite his preference for music that scarred my ears,
he admitted to a secret Stevie Nicks fetish.
She happened to be touring that summer,
but the closest venue was a 6-hour drive,
Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center
in upstate New York.
I wanted to give him a birthday present
before we both headed back to college,
so, the second choice and I headed inland,
and west, west, west -
over Maine's mountainous border with New Hampshire,
across its forests
(which should not have been distiguishable from Maine's,
but somehow were)
and made our way to the far side of Vermont.
We were welcomed by his college roommate,
whose hand-crafted log cabin nestled deep in the forest
(but, really, isn't every house in Vermont nestled deep in a forest?).
Sometime the next morning,
we got a call from the amphitheater:
there would be thunderstorms all day and into the night,
so Stevie Nicks would not be performing.
He was
disappointed?
annoyed?
(angry)
something like that...
He went to bed early
and I sat up talking to his friend
over a firepit and wine coolers.
When I went upstairs
I undressed and slid into bed next to him.
(My bed was untouched, across the hall.)
He stirred and I kissed him until he kissed back.
It was so dark, a starless night behind the crowd of trees outside the window.
Mr. Penultimate knew I was angling to give him my virginity,
and I knew he wouldn't take it until he loved me,
so when I started to pull his boxers away from his body
he paused, asked if I was sure -
and I wanted to ask him the same thing,
but I didn't.
He didn't taste like Charly,
he didn't feel like Charly,
with his scratchy beard and stocky build...
I kissed him and kissed him
trying to conjure up the lean, wiry boy I'd loved with all my heart
(and most of my body).
I almost growled, or maybe did,
because his voice was threatening my illusion -
I pressed onward,
and he reluctantly followed.
The poor guy knew I wasn't really ready,
and he knew I was breaking a rule I felt strongly about -
he knew I felt I was committing a huge sin.
But, he was only human...
so he kept pace with me
as the ferocity of my kisses grew to envelope us both.
My body responded, even if my heart didn't.
I remember how it felt to think of his body as a foreign place,
something I could negotiate, but not know.
I didn't crave him, I didn't memorize him;
I allowed him.
I focused on the rhythm, and on blocking out the smell of his skin
(it was all wrong)
I focused on the black, black ceiling -
not looking at him, not touching him anywhere that wasn't strictly necessary.
His rhythm slowed as he pressed into me,
my breath catching at the discomfort, the fullness.
He tried to talk again, some gruff pronouncement of adoration probably,
but I didn't hear him, lost in the echoes of my own mind.
Tears slipped down my cheeks and took with them my hopes -
   hope to hurt Charly with this,
   hope to ever be worthy of my religion's blessings again,
   hope to be worthy of real love again.
The thunder clapped and rain poured down on the thin roof.
He got up to find a towel, and to close the window.
I felt hollow and restless.
I curled up in a ball, overshelmed with the desire to go home,
but I think what I really wanted was to go back in time.
I wanted to be a child again and start over;
I wanted to have never loved, so that I would not feel the pain of loss.
I wanted stupid Frank to disappear in a puff of smoke,
and be erased from my memory forever.
I lay in the dark, feeling triumphant and defeated all at once.
I didn't want to move, but when he curled up beside me,
and said, "I love you, babe," I wanted to throw up,
or throw something
at him,
so I just squeezed his arm and said, "I gotta pee,"
and I went across the hall instead.
I slipped into the cool sheets
and felt the stillness of the sleeping house,
the closeness of these wildly unfamiliar trees.
If this was one of my fantasies,
here's where I would wait for him to fall asleep,
then slip into his friend's room,
and look again for the missing piece of my puzzle,
but it's not a fantasy, it's just the sad truth.
I did continue looking, though, after we broke up,
with greater and greater success.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Roots are for Trees

I have spent my adult life
dragging my Self
and my stuff
from one corner of the country to another
and back again
and then plopping down in the middle,
a pouting child –
but then one more jagged run toward the northeastern coast,
flopping down a bit too far inland,
stubbornly finished with all the upheaval.
Each time, I left a chunk of Me behind.
Each time, the landscape of my dreams was altered in irreversible ways.
I can’t find my desire for Maine’s crushed-rock fingers of land
or the choppy gray-blue ocean they press into;
I can’t find my certainty
my roots
my belonging –
or even my longing.
I float, adrift on this giant land mass,
remembering the rumble of my father’s lobster boat
and the swell and surge of the unending waves beneath us;
I have lost my sea legs,
instead stumbling and swaying here on the firm ground,
willing it to be a blustery, frigid day in early spring
on a white-capped expanse of deeper colder water
than most people I’ve lived near could even imagine -
water that they would only want to skim over the surface of,
or, better, look at from the fog-shrouded wharf 
as they await the return of the catch-laden boat.
I sit
(like an empty lobster trap
hung with sea moss, 
drying in the cold gray light)
smelling of salt, 
tears for the home I’ve lost my way back to.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hunger

It fills me
and gnaws its way out through my laughing face.
My joy pulls you to me,
luring you close enough for me to
bite.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring/Sprang/Sprung

Winter didn't seem to want to start this year
then it didn't seem to want to end.
It kept fading away under the warmth of the sun,
then charging back in to blanket us with white.

Today the sun was brighter than expected,
the tinted glass weakly shielding my eyes against it;
the wind was colder than expected,
my light fleece jacket failing to intercept it
before contact with my pale, hidden skin.
The sky was bluer than expected,
no clouds to mar its completeness.

My walk along the busy road was muffled –
music came between the whoosh of passing cars
the rumble of halting trucks 
and my ears;
the world was blurred around the edges,
since I'd left my glasses on my desk.
I was cocooned in my own thoughts,
bobbing along the shoulder;
you were there.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saturdaze

The afternoon spread out before them:
a gift.
They lolled in soft chairs, 
delighting in the lack of structure.
They had no where to go,
nothing to do,
just the luxury of time to squander.
Then she got some startling news
and he leapt into action
while she scrambled to gain purchase -
somehow she needed to fully comprehend it,
digest it,
before she could overcome inertia
but he
he was sheer velocity,
hurtling through the seconds, minutes, 
minutes stacking up as he lifted, carried, wrapped, moved
things -
his temper rising with the tempo of his movements
as she stammered and stalled and tried to hold time at a distance -
wait!
just let me!
hold on!
But she couldn't find her footing.
They volleyed in a stilted fever pitch -
each trying to make their case -
out of sync, and overlapping,
his fear like a wind at his back,
hers an anchor dragging her under the ocean's choppy surface.

Later,
the threat contained, neutralized for now,
they would retreat upstairs,
naked,
since their clothes now baked in an angry dryer.
We might as well...
he smiled with a mixture of suggestiveness and a shrug, 
as if to say, I mean...we're here, so why not?
They giggled, and dove for the crisp white-with-blue-paisley sheets,
sweeping the puffy white duvet  to the far side of the vast bed.

After,
she snaked a hand out from under the pile of bedding and satisfaction,
finding the top drawer pull by touch,
and slipped the small choclate bar out of its secret spot.
She let the medically infused confection disolve on her tongue,
the flavor of the plant a wicked reminder 
that she would soon be floating on its currents.

The afternoon had crept into evening
while they were distracted,
and they tumbled into pants-shirts-shoes
and out into the dimming world.
Dinner tasted better than usual,
the Nutella shake might have been the manna from a christian legend...
it felt like heaven on her tongue, 
and she was connected to its Italian provenance,
and to all the other devotees.
A new religion.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What Life Hands You

She drove with the beach at her back 
and the sun in her eyes,
heading for the desert --
heading for Leo and his lemons.
She looked forward to collecting the sunny, rough-skinned fruit,
and to seeing her fella.
She was too old to have a boyfriend,
(but she hadn't planned on being a divorcee again at 75).
The citrus trees dotted the perimeter of his parched land,
keeping out unwanted gazes,
but doing nothing to deter the rattlers
which in turn kept her from ever feeling quite at home there.
She peeked around every bush she passed,
carefully stepping across the porch
and taking the last few steps quickly, in case a coiled beast lay in wait.
She hated snakes,
but it was worth it
for Leo
and those lemons.

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