Seven Years of Visits to the Garden

image is my own

Each new year brings 
Now this garden grief
Nourished by regret

Each year, this day, here—
Standing, kneeling, sitting—I
Spend tears, words, wishes

All meaningless now,
In the barren garden grief
Flowers never bloom

Seven years gone now--
Nothing roots, though it has tried,
In the garden grief inside

The Woman Who Remembered the Taste of Apricots

Courtesy of brighterblooms.com

First published in Pinecone Review’s Be Proud With Pride edition


The woman lied to herself.
Said life is not had without hope,
Believing hope resided within her chest
Just under the bones,
As she remembered the taste
Of fresh apricots,
The sweetness of their juices
Bursting in her mouth,
The texture of their pulp
Playing against her tongue—
She remembered—
Fresh apricots 
During the weeks of summer
In the year the earth awoke,
Stretching and yawning,
Turning as if 
To bring sunrises closer
And hold sunsets dear—
That summer the girl,
Holding beating hope,
Emerged from the cracks forming 
In the left side
Of the woman’s chest.
Thus, the woman who lied
About holding onto hope,

Crumpled and died,
Shriveled like the over-ripened apricots
On the ground beneath the tree in your yard.
The girl, holding hope, emerged
Laughing with joy at all the smiling
Universe seemed for once to offer up
In the taste of apricot flesh
And the sweet juice that quenched thirst
After years of waiting want.

The earth tilted back, turning once again,
Withdrawing from sunrise and sunset.
Then the apricots were gone.
Picked, fallen to the ground,
Nibbled by birds and squirrels.
The girl, who held hope, 
Shrank down, curling into a fetal position,
Within the dead woman who lied
About having hope and who
Was now revived, resuscitated,
Like a cannibal feeding off a beaten enemy
Of faith, of pain, of living hope,
By the now shrunken head like girl,
Who had held beating hope 
That could beat no longer
As the revived woman remembered
Always—
The taste, the feel of the flesh of fresh apricots.





The Widow Sings

Image courtesy of CanStockPhoto.com
The widow colors the sky

The ground, the trees,
The winds with cold and heat
Of all that cannot be spoken,
Of spirits tethered to stone.

You may never know she is there.
She may wear the red nose.
She may laugh with you.
She may hold out her hands to help.
All so you are not overwhelmed by her presence.

She hides within her weeds.
Sometimes she hides within the willows.
She may smell of pomegranates
Or roses at midnight,
The scents betray her presence.

But you will not see her arms and hands
Covered in thorns and trickling with blood,
The tears of her body, dripping away,
Speaking in tongues no one can understand,
As she stands alone.

She sees history through a broken prism
Of her words never strong enough to bind
Love to prayers weighted with magic enough
To fly straight to God’s ear, to be heard,
To be answered, to raise flowers of miracles.

In the end, the widow is left,
Singing colors of grief.
When all the praise singers have left her
In the muddy soil leavings of wicked tongues,
Gone on to daily lives, the day to day,
The widow stands,
Singing colors of grief,
Covered in thorns.






Dying Magnolia Tree

Image is my own
The magnolia tree is dead or dying
Said the experts at the nursery
Which planted it.
No green leaves hang upon it,
Only these brittle, brown things
Cling to its limbs still.

The experts give me two things,
Free of charge of course,
To try to resuscitate my magnolia.
The experts tell me everything to do
Over the next eight weeks,
But not to worry, if it all doesn’t work,
The tree will be replaced.  It’s guaranteed.

A guarantee I never thought I’d need.
I did everything right:
Watering and fertilizing,
Watering and fertilizing,
Factoring in all the rain—
Yet here it stands dead or dying
In this place you never knew.

Like with you, in the place you knew,
I did everything I knew to do—
Replace the cooking pots and pans with stainless,
Only organic foods, red wine the only alcohol,
Broke all the cigarettes in two,
Quit my job to care for you—
Until—

Until the fourth time it returned,
Spread to the lungs and liver,
You wanted your cigarettes and alcohol back.
How could I argue?  Say no to that?
Yet even then—
I found you cigarettes with no additives, organic tobacco too.

Until January, our magnolia bloomed as you lay dying,
When at midnight a storm blew through,
Minutes later, you died 
And the magnolia shed its blooms.	

So here now, in this new place,
I planted a magnolia in memory
     Of what was, what was not,
     Of what could have been, should have been,
     Of what would have been
If I possessed the magic to shape shift
Into the one you most wanted.

And now, this tree in this new place
Stands dead or dying.

But I will do as the experts say:
     Spray from top to bottom for disease,
     Shock the roots every other week
Until mid- November, hoping to bring it back,
Bring it back from the edge of death.

If I can’t, the nursery will replace it
With another magnolia tree.

Yet I must think on that.
In this place, in this soil, perhaps
A magnolia is not meant to be.

I may ask them to replace it
With a different tree.
For it could be,
That here and now,
Magnolias are no longer meant for me.


Bouquets of the Ramshackle

https://amanpan.com/category/eugis-prompts/

With ramshackle shards
Of heart, soul, self
Falling away like the browned petals
Of a long-wilted bouquet,
We create a riotous noise
In ramshackle attempts
To find some connection.

Lumbering, awkward attempts
At reaching out to touch once again,
To replace, to freshen 
The brown wilted and missing parts
With new bouquets of spring
Whose stems sit in eternally
Fresh, clean waters.

We dream of a life lived
No longer ramshackle,
With no long-wilted bouquets
Of a past to haunt with falling petals,
But a life returning whole,
To move without noise
Through the world once again.

Dream No More

Image is my own

https://godoggocafe.com/2021/08/31/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-august-31-2021/

Todays prompt: “waterfall wishes”

She will never fall to earth again
After soaring among the stars,
The planets a blur. No.

No.  She will never swim 
In the deepest oceans,
Cavorting with dolphins and whales.  No.

No.  Never will her soul fly,
Brushing shoulders with angels,
Their wings touching upon her face.  No.

No.  Never these things.
Never these dangerous things again.
Never allowing illusions to gain sway.  No.

No.  She will plant her feet firmly in the ground.
Her heart cemented in her chest.  Yes.

Yes. That once mighty waterfall
Has slowed to a trickle
As there no longer exist
Any waterfall wishes.

Gems of Dawn and Sunset

Image is my own

 

If I could gather a handful of dawn and a handful of sunset,

I’d cut and polish each handful into gems

                       For you to keep,

To take out and wear as you would wish,

For there are no stones of value containing beauty enough

To give you but these that are not true stone—

 

Yes, a handful of sunset,

A handful of dawn—

Their beauty ever constant,

Yet ever changing—

Daily renewed—

The only things containing beauty enough

For you.

 

No Art (Revised)

.image courtesy of istock.com



I first wrote this a few years ago after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s work once again.  Well, after revisiting Mary Oliver and gaining familiarity with Pablo Neruda this summer, I once again returned to Bishop’s work and then had to re-watch Reaching for the Moon.  So I decided to dig this one out and tweak it and revise.  

In this thing called losing,
Bishop said we become masters
And that losing isn’t a disaster.

No, not a disaster.
Losing socks and such stuff.
I’ve lost earrings, bracelets,
Expensive ones too, didn’t care
Beyond maybe a minute or two,
And never was it a disaster.

And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
Did I have upon saying goodbye 
To three houses and two cities,
And never did I feel it a disaster.

And yes, it was no disaster
To bury my mother, 
A father who really wasn’t,
The man who really was,
First one brother, then the other,
Then lastly, a wife.
With each, my body and soul
Savaged by a catastrophic hurricane, yes.
But no, no disaster.

No disaster is it, I’ll admit, 
For a tiny bit of soul to erode
As I buried each.
But nothing, nothing did I ever master.

Except, maybe this—
I did not look for them-
Looking to forget them
Since they were gone,
Emptied of this earth.

No, I did not look to forget
While driving home
In darkness under a full moon
Lighted with regret
Of a new unfamiliar scent.
Yet the swirling of this sad scent
Is no, no real disaster.

No real disaster is it—
That I look to forget
A lost return now.
A return to life
Captured, fleeting, lost--
Filled with a scent 
Of hope or a fool’s thought—
Matters not but now lost.
And in this thing
Called losing, 
In which I am well-schooled,
As are we all, 
I have tried to make an art,
To make an art of all this loss.

Yes, this may be no real disaster,
But Bishop lied.
There is no art in losing,
No art at all,
That I can find to master.


Burn Away

Courtesy of free photo library
Is this what you, indeed, wish?


The feel of some bold mystic chaos
Contained within the fire of kisses
Traveling along the boundaries
Where lived an identity
You lost long ago—
To feel that chaotic fire
Burn away the identity
You wear today—
Feel passionate softness
Twist within and around
Leaving bruises unseen
And you undone
In twisting mystic
Chaos of fire.


Freedom of Wings

Image is my own





Haunting seen
In darkening clouds
Of chrysalis dreams
Where wanting,
Where desiring,
Haunt seen
Cease existing--
In this capturing
No ring 
pierced through
Butterfly wings
Dripping still
From newly emerging
Dreams not tended.