shattered on the floor my favorite coffee mug nothing big, not much of a thing, just my favorite coffee mug-- sunshine yellow, with coffee beans, and a coffee spoon printed inside at the top along with a line from my favorite poem, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” yes, trite, you might say, emblazoned upon a coffee mug but still, yes, I loved the mug, love the poem. and there it was— shattered upon the floor there she stood, apologizing—ad nauseam— saying she’d buy another to replace it. But it was not to be found. Of course, the store didn’t have them anymore. The mug was the first broken thing. The first of a few, if it wasn’t liked, didn’t fit into the ideal of what could be forged of me if pinched in the grip of tongs and held in the fire long enough to be broken down to a molten, malleable state, pounded upon the anvil, shaped, dipped in water to sizzle cool enough to start the process over again— for easy fracture. Many things ended up broken, shelved, stored in closets— pictureless frames and frameless pictures, parts of me hidden away, never to be seen sitting on shelves in black closets— until I emerged chipped but no worse for wear unbroken into the light.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A woman like you,
When considering a pre-loved model,
Will want to think about the year,
The model, the make, how it fits
With your social set after all.
No, not that one.
You need a more recent model,
One more high end,
Less mileage, fewer scratches, dents,
And no door dings!
Here, look at this one.
Much more recent, higher end.
Fewer miles, scratches. No dents or dings.
Climb this ladder
Away from here
To some place
Real, no abstraction, real
What is it that you wish to know? How someone could live with The edges of a life chipped away, Breath not taken, suffocated, Heart stilled, Walking dead Through the days of life, Just so onlookers believe The pretense they wish to see? While I, struggling for air, For the beating rhythms of life, Having lived too long inside a shrinking skin, Become petrified wood, stone, Armored in minerals. Only so close. Only so close. For I have lived years and years Of rings and more rings, All mineralized, Surrounding the core Of me. Nothing Could truly touch, Know the center. Nothing ever did Perhaps, ever will. It is easy to live As stone.