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.


The Gargoyle

Foggy Night and Moon Light over The Gargoyles of Notre Dame in Paris (Courtesy of istock.com)







When the prowess of early morn

And the touch of dawn’s fingertips

Overwhelm my heart and soul,

I am reminded of some story

I heard somewhere as a child—

From a book or cartoon

Or some sitter’s wild

Imagination of bedtime tales,

The story of the gargoyle

Who was beckoned

To a place in heaven

By an angel fair.

 

And there the gargoyle stayed

For a day or three or more

Or maybe a week or three.

For a moment,

The gargoyle knew sweetness and joy,

Thinking, perhaps, for once, just this once,

The universe had smiled down

Upon one of the gargoyle race,

And felt the cracking of stone begin.

 

But the gargoyle, being a gargoyle,

A somewhat silent, stony creature,

Soon bored the angel who withdrew,

Having angel business to attend too.

 

The gargoyle knew. Knew from the start too,

But had hoped it was not to be held true–

That angel and gargoyle were not a pairing to be made.

Such creatures being out of each other’s realm

Cannot last but a season or two.

So, the gargoyle fell to earth again

To crouch forever upon a building,

 Keeping watch upon the city and the sky. 

 

The gargoyle knew this was the nature of things

And thought itself blessed for ever having known

The sweetness of an angel.

For what angel had ever doted upon a gargoyle?

The gargoyle asked.

 

For years, the gargoyle crouched,

Watching the city and the sky,

Remembering, reliving the sweetness

Known of an angel.

Yet wishing such sweetness had never been tasted,

Never been touched,

Forever was too long to remember

The memories encased in stone

Where wind and rain would never touch,

Would never wear them away.

 

Thus, the gargoyle paid the price

For allowing stone to crack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Need and Desire

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent
https://scvincent.com/2020/08/06/thursday-photo-prompt-fantasy-writephoto/

So very willingly,

I placed my head into danger’s toothy mouth

When I climbed the Pilgrim’s stairs–

Until dizzy from the height,  

And the steepness of the effort–

All done to look upon

A pure crystalline blue sky

Caressing a sapphire sea—

A fantasy of need.

Charms

Image from BBC Culture- The Strange Power of the Evil Eye

Serrated edges of your secrets

Sliced open my chest long ago.

Yet, I carried those secrets

Across the borders of decades.

I guarded those secrets like gemstones.

I wore them as talismans,

Good luck charms, rubbing each

Like burnished bronze of ages old.

Why have I kept them so?

I do not know.

 

Lessons

Dia de los muertos..makeup by June courtesy of Pintrest.com

This is the lesson of you,

Oh, the things you do teach–

Wearing your blue mantle

Lined in blackness

With your crooked fingers

Tipped in painted red do you reach

Ripping out hearts

Adding to a collection

You keep in a box.

 

Until the day of the dead,

When you light your fake fires

And scented candles,

Spread your blanket

For the time to admire

All hearts in the box of your collection,

Chant your incantations and prayers

To La Muerte for protection

From the evil you spread

And La Llorona for aid

Searching for the newest victim

From whom your red tipped claws long to rip a heart.

 

Wired

Image from Wisegeek

In this day and age
We ought to be able to be wired
Wired for anything, everything–
For hope—
–dreams
–love
–desire
Wired for it all and more
Wired for an add on room
In the heart when we’ve run out–
For expansion of sound inside
When we’ve come to love the buzz of silence.
For blood that doesn’t run dry,
Doesn’t clot to clog the works up.
Wired so we always have just one more try
Inside souls always filled
With the romantic dreams of youth.
Wired so there are stairs always to climb.
Wired so no wounds ever cut so deep
Blood runs out, runs dry.
Wired so we can learn
Yet pain be erased.
Wired, just wired,
Plugged in with a soul of shiny copper wire.

The Garden

I gave you all my roses,
The many colors I had.
Cut them all from the bushes.
I knew there would be no more,
And I cut them for you.

The last few dozen blooms
I cut them down for you.
The bushes are dead now.

They will bud no more.
I double, triple checked.
The limbs snap crisply in dryness,
Easily between my weakened hands.
No supple green within.
A single snap finishes each limb.
And so finishes each bush.

I am done, a gardener
With nothing left to tend.