More Play - Seven Minute Poems From Last February
Sunshine Knife Blades
Fifteen years old in five year old jeans,
my shepherd pup, my traveling rainbow,
my loyal thumb
bulging with desire. My road
rutted and rutting, my dead ahead
sorrow. My moccasinned feet
rolling in small kisses of bruising,
a cartography of touch
languishing over the tan.
He put his necklace of
anger safe at my throat.
My ivory recorder, a still
white bird in my lap. An avenue
of alcoholic vapor filled the fear.
In those days our pass to pass
was our smile. Innocence
was a gumball treasure
and all our pockets were picked.
Whetted, whelped, well
on our way out -- we hemmed
up the fortune of our flounce
and folded into ourselves,
jack-knifed on the dare -- and glinting.
People Talking In Their Sleep
Who comes out of that dead end
alive, untouched? The surface
of glass, gasping with breath,
the thick gauze touched up
with sighs. Out of the woodwork
of dreaming comes freedom
from the dance of life, comes
the future in a wheel-barrel
filled with the nickels of nightmare.
Come up on the stoop, play
the marbles in your head
through the gritting teeth.
All the truths of summer
slumber there on a dime.
All the wits of winter
wake up to grumble of game.
All the leavings of autumn
cry out through the teeth
of sleep - in the dream
talking to its person.
I didn't need to know what
you used to whet me, what gauge
silk and sinew and slay
to woo me. I didn't need to know
how far to the sill of your strumming
me up to the saddle, stitching
my fluff back to the bridle.
I didn't need to know
how you found them
in an obscure music store
peddling 5-string banjos
exhibiting heart and a lyre
and a cure -- mallets
for what you need to beat out.
Sing out. Sailing. Zing.
Stringing guts and clash,
wallets and ash.
Grassy Hallways Lead Up to the Path of Eyes
and expire, lettering out
the line of living. What is it bound
up in the asking? tolerable
white mags of passion, a
hog's head of luminous fire,
a pathway to the summit,
fineway to a heart in frost.
Take the grassy way through
half - zeniths and sundays
strolling through. Take the lead
up to the path of eyes, the gray
thinking in the dawn.
I will wait for you there,
holding my hemlocks and hair,
riding my tender-footed dreams
in the archway of your mind.
Her Blue Face Soaked In All of the Sun
Four weeks passed. The dog passed
on, the chickens flew or floated,
were eaten or drowned. The kittens
passed on the first day, two days
after the terrible trembling began
and the city started filling
like a tub in cold water. Fanciful
hummers and rafts -- stuck in the attic.
Family far away, the incessant dripping,
the helicopter whirl overhead
telling her -- no. They had not been abandoned,
not deserted, forgotten like these soaked boxes
she sleeps on, leaching life from
the furrows. She hangs on,
treads water, is taken from her
special slumber until someone says:
"Quick, look! Her blue face soaked
in all of the sun!"
Black diamond rust
Fortune spent in a rush
Hard shale of disavowal
Sad lives chipped to death
From the depths of the dead
The leaf mold and sensuous shucked
Worm lives and skin cast down
The hole that doesn't heal
Hope lumps into nuggets of gold fire
Burrows into pouches of dirt money
Black smudged prayers, hands held
For the asking. Digging in, they ask
For more from the company books
I would love you like Walt
Whitman loved his fellow man,
like a volunteer in the Civil War loves his wards.
I would pack up your abscesses,
pile on the cotton 'til what bleeds
ceases and you cease to amaze you.
I would love you like Walt Whitman
loved the turtles, the small places
in a body a soul can hide.
I would love you like skin loves
the taste of salt, like water loves
the high mark. I would love you,
love the ketones of your flesh
hardened into hands, love
the damp epitaphs, the masking, sensuous lines
of your forehead -- no matter the pain.
I would dip my cloth into your opening.
I would leave it there, some new marble
of me grafted to your hide.
I would sacrifice my ice and tears,
my bandage of lip and mouth, my art
of putting back the you that falls apart.
Lorna Dee Cervantes