There is a line of light running
through the sun. Have you contemplated
the bend in your knees
We are in the
afterautumn, which has
coyote eyes & a frostbitten crinoline
mouth. The cat
scrambles up wooden fences/
clawclatter & thickened fur
& graylined eyes.
recoup the taste of honey
in the back of my mouth/ in the depths
of tea, unstirred
& you mix & mix
with your tongue
for where the sweet
I hold the doorframes/
I can't articulate
why it feels like earthquakes.
For heaven's door//
resting your head against it// has it
closed another time// how does one
recoup the taste of honey
in these ugly shaded days// I thought
just behind your lips, but you
in the quietest crescendo
we have seen yet// I weep
in many colors// vermillion
has forgotten its particular shade//
a hip curves
in sorrow//everything feels too cold
Karaoke with the Mystics
What you might not know about psychics is that they go out to bars, and they get drunk.
They get drunk on the fringes of the room, gather words from edges of surrounding conversations, and then: from within them there comes a rattling.
It is the rattling of unspoken messages, notes, premonitions, ideas, and foresight. It is strong, it is fearsome. Kindness, an intent to help save mankind, smears its mascara into something a touch more desperate and ventures out with an intent voice that speaks with an aim for the souls of strangers.
(This trait of rattling turns many a psychic into recluses, but even those must venture out from time to time)
If you get too close, their shoulders may begin to tremble, like a box with something(vastly alive and curious)waiting within. If you strike up conversation, you have invited an eye from the universe to come look you up and down.
Personally, I enjoy these encounters.
Or I think I do.
The woman is seventy-nine years old, roaring into her eightieth. Her wrinkles make her youthful like a child, as do her dancing hands, as do her missing teeth. She has short hair that hugs her face and curls like a smile.
She takes the role of demanding stranger--what do you do, where do you live, where are you from, when were you born? The shapelessness beneath her lips is set & strong. She says she is Jesus' daughter. She says she saw him at the crucifixion. She asks us what our astrological signs are.
And then she says, "What are you here for?"
And I don't know, or I don't want to say, or the alcohol hasn't kicked in enough. And here is her calling for the night.
She tells me.
Then she staggers off into the cigarette-streaked night air. She pulls a beer bottle from her purse and fills her empty glass with it.
I sit with my new knowledge while the karaoke hosts, who have bowed knees and hunched backs and sterling silver hair, sing Johnny & June together.
The not-so-secret rattling is, I've been a stranger my whole life. People who are drunk in large groups see this fact best.
It was a cathedral// then//
it was a ruin
all the angels & their cracked wings//
you ever seen girl lose
columns of her spine?
dust-knuckled, scraped, slow-bleeding/
curled like a bird in final rest/ bleeding
the kind of red-black that means
eventually it'll stop.
when the passion used to call itself crimson
except under a shade of lace
& afternoon yellowing.
But in the morning the clock strikes
& the day ribbon-grommets herself into
& we must rise,
her & I,
always ever her & I.
lost your righteous hips
still warring with
ghosts of an old devil's teeth:
that's as ugly as it ever gets.
& the dust settles,
& the dust settles,
your knuckles are so pink.
black and white photographs, shot with your phone
was what our eyes did every night/ caught
in the dark & the shadows that play
it is beatle season & they creep in under the doors,
out of the damp/
I find the blur of my face again/
hued tones of youth's restless rage
back when I did not struggle wrapping my teeth around
we mute ourselves for the world,
& it is not the world's fault
but who have we become
in those silent spaces of light.
August does not know the word for easy
she blazes hot, feverish/
gets under your skin until you cannot stand it
where to go
The monsoons sweep in,
we dance in the rain.
Getting older, you have to choke upon yourself
a little bit. The rain comes & the creek floods & suddenly you--
a river. Raging. Here, the beds where once your hands
were so gentle. Here, the evacuation order
to the residents. Here, the ones that sit on their porches
and watch, wait
anyways. Crack open beers and pour white wine
over ice cubes.
The rain comes & so does the lightning & in the midst of summer--
brushfires. Ash the landscape like a cigarette. Smoke the whole valley.
You pray for your home harder in a fire than in any other
we think. Smoke plumes turn the sunset pink
in the most sinister way. Two years ago they turned
the sun red on summer solstice. Divinity is always in the clouds.
Divinity is in natural disaster. It's the closest you stand to god,
(not always, please
can just be ugly.)
trying to recapture the
wet mark/ the
that still loves,
wrapped around the bedside
in a complicated
the metallic temperature of
against the black sky
the lit window
dragging its pavement square
like a clenched fist
a taste of blood / a piece of paper
results in dirty,
think bright rain
in the desert. i brew their
dried sisters in a cup
& taste a fragment
of slumbered sunlight
as the morning mist
departs. we're all moment-catchers,
in our way. sometimes lost
between the earth
& the sky
& our minds. what fresh dream
can we create
today. what spirit
waits on the back porch
to sit beside us,
curved spine & gravel toes
& eyes deeper
for every year that passes.
what will you call upon
to pass these winter months?
Subterranean self/ cigarette rust & precious stones/ seraphim
come in/ carrying
The moon's halo gets
brighter/ I want to honor every
I own. Dirty-glasses/ silvered
The art comes when you don't think/
you just feel. & scarlet
how to become.
Here is your oracle:
within. Let's build a home
out of earth.
are everywhere you've
jumped in puddles
& the water remembered falling from the sky/ learned
to paint like rain.
in order to nourish