The simple trajectory of an arrow,
If only life could be lived
With such a blessed geometry of purpose–
Shot from past
to futures unseen–
Lightening movement with everything left behind–
Even the slight distortion of an arc,
Should it occur.
No ricochet, no intersections.
No confusion of parallelograms.
Or contusion causing angles of a triangle.
Or the endlessness dizzy repetition of a circle,
Continually turning back upon itself.
Just the cleanness of a beginning
And an end.
No one would understand why I’m here, so I’m sure you don’t either—at least you don’t yet. But I promise you will. I’m going to tell you a story and then you’ll understand. There is a method, as they say, to this madness. Oh, and you will have the opportunity to help with the ending to the story I am about to tell you.
Let’s see—our story begins with a child, a child whose favorite Saturday morning were when her mother would sit beside her on the floor and watch cartoons. Her mother would wrap an arm around her then our child would snuggle in real close. It was one of their mother-daughter rituals, played out when the mother didn’t have too much housework to do. What you must understand is that the most delightful part of this ritual was the mother laughing and giggling right…
She dressed in black
Since the age of twenty-three.
She covered all her insides with
The blackest sack cloth.
She made sure to let in no light.
She wanted it dark, pitch black inside.
Outside, people thought she wore jewels
Of many different colors,
Sparking and brilliant they said she was.
They didn’t see the black she always wore.
For many years,
She hid the black cloth well
For the sake of those she loved.
But on her story goes,
Those she loved drained her,
Drained her dry as they say.
That’s when the black cloth began
To creep out her navel and down her thighs,
Lowering itself to cover every inch of her
From waist to ankle.
Everyone thought she wore black slacks,
But she knew better.
She knew it was the black from inside.
Those she loved never bothered
To deposit what they’d withdrawn, So soon, the black…
From the shaking dirge cries of birth
To the desire for ease in the between,
Before the elemental breath rattles at death,
We are lost in cacophonous sighs of daily life,
Choosing to turn away
From moments appearing as iridescent sun rays
As if God's fingers reached
Between the clouds
To touch the earth.
Yes, we turn away,
Pick up kids,
A trip to Wal-Mart,
And to work,
The mundane of every day,
Yes, it must be done,
To hurry toward the waiting,
While living holding sand,
the elemental breath before death.
Here, under a Ruidoso sky,
You remind me:
An extraordinarily warm spring day
Spent in a field somewhere
In Lancaster County, PA.
Where exactly? Well, now,
I could not really say.
I’d never find it again,
Even after taking the memory
Down off the shelf
And dusting the cobwebs away.
I remember the day in snapshots
Before we trampled, stomped, burned
The drive from Baltimore
In your little black sports car.
The top down. The wind
Running its fingers through
Your copper hair.
The glitter of your crystalline eyes
In the morning sunshine.
The softness of 501 jeans washed
A thousand times.
Your artist’s soul looking for the
Perfect spot, rejecting several
Before perfection found,
A sun-drenched meadow amid
Pine trees. No Amish around, you said.
The care you took with blankets
And picnic basket and, of course,
Your ever-present sketchbook.
Cheeses, bread, fruits, and wine
We ate and drank.
Then, I posed for you,
The first time.
No one was around.
No one could see,
You said and so
You shucked me
Of clothing and
And my long black curls.
You sketched me
And said you wished you
Had your paints.
Copper and black hair
And the sun low
In the sky. We
Packed the basket
And folded the blanket.
Some 40, 41 years ago.
Snapshots of that day.
Why remind me now?
We trampled, stomped, burned our
Youth down. Oh, yes. we could tease
"Here come and sit, where never
serpent hisses, And being set,
I'll smother thee with kisses."
We’d do nothing better in the
Here and the now were we to tangle
Silver and white together.
Lies were told, I know.
For once, I wanted to believe.
Your truth telling services,
I do not need…
And the tangling of silver and white now, just--
The braiding of loneliness and longing
Leaves us soulless.
A lazy weekend morning dawns,
As I drink my morning coffee
Wishing for a morning cigarette,
Or more precisely, that I still smoked,
I think of the women I have known.
The beauty, passion, love, heartache of each;
Some leaving a bitter aftertaste,
Some a sweetness lingering in memory,
Some could ignite burning still,
Some inspire an icy chill
In a frostbitten heart.
Though none is as they were
So long ago,
If in a room
All could be collected,
An eclectic collection it would be
Of age and size and color,
Of eye and hair and skin,
Of butch and femme
And somewhere in between.
Each beautiful in her way
And in my eyes.
Each carries a collection of
All my would haves,
And should haves,
And could haves.
Perhaps three or four
Carry all my what if’s
And if only’s.
Two maybe three
Carry all my regrets.
One maybe two
Carry the burden of my sins.
One, just one,
Carried my faith.
But only one–
Yes, only one—
Too amazing for belief,
Carried, for a time, too brief,
My heart and my soul.
This is a blog about my life. It's about much more than living with cancer. It's about reading books, cold water swimming, mothering, eating. All that stuff that people who don't have cancer do. If you're looking for my poems you need to go to fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com