12 More Poems - What Came Out of Workshop - July 28-29
Let me know if you're interested in an intensive workshop. I haven't scheduled any for August as I'm not yet sure where I'll be living. Thanks to all the participants, those mujeres fuertes. You make it happen. The following, except for one, are "7-Minute Poems" with given titles.
He said, sleeping with her
was like living next to a toxic
dump site. Her loud color streaked
off the pillows and out of his heart.
He was sensitive to the smell.
His skin would peel off in sheets
of paper, bleed through his shorts.
She was wanting to hold him there,
willing to sit through the slurry
and rolling. Her hair would be a net
that would save. Her bouncing curls
calling attention from her face, the tired
age, the living waste.
Fear of Death
Marta had a fear of death, she wouldn't
sleep for the child still caught in her throat,
the insomniac who counted stars and crumbs
of cake. She couldn't let go. It followed
her to school. It drank from her glass
of milk in the morning. It soiled her
shoes. Marta had a fear of falling
asleep and never waking up, of discovering
that the migra of the waking world had just asked
for her papers and that she'd be hauled into
the cell of the earth for processing. Marta
had a fear of certain things: the sharp end
of the knife, the hissing gas. But mostly
of sleep and pain, that final composition
of the heart: "I I I will will will not not
not fear fear fear my my my life."
There are some who braid and some
who unravel. There are some who shave
and some who blossom into moss and
string. There are some who are brave
and some who run across tomorrow.
There are some who lie awake listening
and some who waken with a bell.
There are some who pry apart billfolds
and some who reel in the fish. There are
some who rely on the few doors of the seasons
and some who live by colored calendars and pens.
There are some for whom starlight
is a beacon for travel, and others
who want to lock it away. Summer chose
the old ones. Today we, we could save
a way of life and pay -- dollars for difference.
A Hard Drive
Esa chica was hard to drive, Reyes spoke,
mumbling into his mug. She wouldn't lay
4 on the floor, wouldn't squeal on a dime
or do donuts in the parking lot. "Maybe it's time
to trade her in," he repeated. "Get at least
something for my money." Yes, this little
chica's always been the one to walk -- late
at night between the 7-11 and the stars,
she'd come to, some somnabulist gymnist
in the night when the shift came off in his
hand, and there she was -- all chrome
and shine and oiled. Pero esa chica was
hard to drive. She wouldn't do it all.
She balked on the turn and wouldn't
speed up on the entry way. One free
way over nine, a sunny equation on her
face. You could do with her as you
will, but her will was filled up, and was
making her go.
Hips Hitting the Floor
She was a mariposa and the sweet
vines of men on the sidewalk were her
bounty. She wore the shackles of mascara
under a thick veil of a Chanel knock-off. She let her
hands talk, the rhythm of her walk, a serenata
to nada and a way of letting go. "Come
with me," she would call out to the boys.
And one by one the constitution of
America would fall. All of them, amendments
vetoed in the spring, were kicked off
the table as it was, hips hitting the floor;
flung glasses of rage between the sudden kiss
Social Responsibility (Community)
Before this light, the shadow in the hair.
Before this circle, a stick in the dirt.
Before this breath, a hundred wings, unfurling.
Before this flag, a hundred thousand hands,
and they are hurting. All the world, an emblem,
entire strands of genes in the soup and
spelling our names. Another shot in the
dark corner. Another word stuck in the slot.
After this shadow, another strand of night.
After this crevice, another clod coming unstuck.
After this feather, a thousand lungs giving up.
After this responsibility, an entire community
getting lost. All the world is final
in your loving way. All the words
come to and gather at the river. All
the nests become this bird, this hand,
7/28/07 (after workshop)
Many worlds are possible
but we're stuck in just this
one. Everywhere I am you are
too, a click behind you, a page
away. Away from you I'm a bent
cable, a loose wire, a chunk
of solder -- wrong place, wrong time, wrong
word. Exceptional lenses into a future
advertise in the socket of their square,
the few and the many lives written there,
a blaring, a jangle for spare change:
the storefront Santa, the baked clay
in Hayward, the mispelling Jones in his
covey of coterie, me in my unused
lingerie. The slip is just there for the rub,
my infatuation and an ink that wears off
in the handling. Your slips of tongue
in the swearing-in, the swearing. Those eyes
I am wearing to bed (by all accounts
on account of you)
while all around -- an explosion
of worth, of asking. My hand in mine.
July 29, 2007:
[to be continued]
[see previous blog entry for first 6 poems from workshop] (these are all "7-Minute poems" - spontaneous unedited poems with given titles. Enjoy!)
July 29, 2007:
Crystal Clear Or Gibberish
After I said, "I love you,"
you could have hammered me over
the head with the silence. The flacid
heart, the only music in our sphere.
I held you there, suspended in suspense
before rolling off and curling into a sticky
snail. It was all the blossoms falling
off the cherry tree in the hail. It was
all the kittens in the litter dying at once.
It was more than our favorite restaurant
locked up on a sunday and we were really
really hungry. It was walking up and down
your street looking for you for the first time
on a too hot day. It was the stone in my shoe
I can't take out. After I said I was going
to "multiply the conditions of possibility"
and you said, "Okay. Good," I knew
it was the wrong answer to the wrong
question. And afterwards, every
hummingbird was you. A murder
of crows on the elm tree became
you finally calling my number, a slumber
of vultures circling my apartment,
a single red fox in my neighborhood,
beat up, but there; a left-over
garden in a place someone is leaving:
hard red pots left over in the move.
Hunger heals the hardened heart
in an ideal world. The hunger of mares
filling up the field. The hunger of rare
fish kissing every bit they see, the wild
hunger of those who fly and dive, a hunger
of the hole and the whole world giving
up. The hunger of a racing mouth, the hunger
of parchment for the pen. A hunger of
music to the violin, hunger redeems
her book of blank food stamps, holds
the hot pot to the breath. Hunger stamps
around and displays in the kitchen. Whomever
marries hunger growls into traffic
at the forced stop, lunges at hunger
as the knives play out. Sing to hunger
in order to appease her. Or, hunger
heals the wound it opens. hunger quenches
the thirst of whales. Hunger opens her
eyes in the kiss, her hair falling down
masking your eyes. Hunger flies
out fast and all alone, back to the
reunion. Hunger, who's fast on her feet,
hunger who can't stand still for the fast.
Honoring Past, Present, Future
I woke to a dream of wild horses
but they were there, just woken up
on the plain. Their burr-ridden manes,
brushless and matted, the sensitive muzzles
nuzzling their loves. The bolt-upright colts
charging the wire of the fence that separates
the class and phyla, the elegant four-leggeds
from the two-footed beasts. The unshod shone
there, the black stallions and the paints, long
past their Indian riders or the metallic helmets
and spurs, long past the whip and the spit
of the bit, ridden past the memory of horses
going into the gate, the hobbled run, the unsteady
gait no longer a reason to die. I could have tied
one to this train, or lassoed a mare
or snapped a picture of that remembered
friskiness in the autumn. I could have
drawn them, the sensitive eyes. I could
have honored them, there, the wealth
of a nation stamping over gopher holes.
I could have given them my apple,
my free reins, my heart. My past,
present and future, just a bare-backed
dream of passing, the hidden saddle,
the forgotten lure of history.
Blue Beard never did get his meat.
Another hurricane hit and he had to get
off the island or sink. But he never did
lose the savor or the scent. Scraping over
the New World and back, he searched for
the scorch and the rack. He smelled his way
into other continents of exact coordinates and
tracts. He teethed on the dream gristle
in his sleep. Every time some wench turned
down the bed his mouth exploded into the savory
memory of meat. He went about the hunt
and kill. He called off his quest
for gold and an Ionic empire of feat.
He lost his soul in the underbrush,
smelling of scat and skunk. He sunk his
fortune deep in the sand and wished
for a sentiment of salt and chew,
the still-living flesh of legend. Blue Beard's
phantom gristle would sing through his teeth,
and the blue bride expired, her long
continent of hair on the platter: the birth of
Grandma told a story of want and can't.
There was never such a word, she insisted,
so when I pointed to her twisted spine
and the coin on the floor, she slapped me.
"Where there's a will there's a way," I say
to remind me. And think of you, asleep
in your heart, that house of cards.
The silence of worms fasting and fusing,
the crime of their slime, brilliant
and fulfilling. The order of their days,
their ambiguous mating - all seems
a syntax of sense and decision. In the final
episode of you, you're a bad cliche
I can't resist. You're the other shoe
falling, the last note of Taps. You're
the bugle to the fox, and I am exhausting.
You're the story I never found the end
to write. You're the last act and all the under-
studies, sick. I think of you when I want to close
my purse, the parched lips, the fast
hands. Grandma held us in a tale of want
and I can't let go. I can't let him
become you, or the shatter -- the will
that just can't find its way.
Lorna Dee Cervantes