Friday’s Poem: Just Let It Dance

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Everything seemed to arrive and hunch in

cold shadows; their words cut away kindness

as if it crowded the need for survival.

The world’s demons set them awry,

every day a forgetting of the rich marrow of life,

and night offering a hunger for solace that

was left empty promises. They sprawled

inside gaps and creases of sleeplessness,

dreamed of finer love or loss of it.

But as day broke open and music flew

under the clouds, they gave up and danced;

the mad din muted, then fell away.

Their movement stirred wild breath of sky,

and warmth glistening on throats and brows,

light scouring vision so a long view was seen.

Careful at first, a slip here then a turn,

hands to waist or back, chest to chest,

bodies tender and strong:

they stood in concert again.

It was a beckoning to joy that drew them,

each step a reclamation of freedom:

a low dip–glimmer of good intention,

a twirl and sidestep–preludes to all

most valued being reclaimed.

They found a way back in a re-fashioned waltz,

as sudden dancing must not be denied

if the hound of chaos will not quit.

An embracing–rooftop or kitchen, cafe or park–

is meant as reprieve. A rescue.

A witness to goodness, a window to hope.

It may mean other dangers are skirted but

love is bestowed like this, hand to palm,

feet a quartet of action, hearts tapping

with easy precision, spirits like kites victorious:

they would, each to the other, belong again.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Paths of Talk Between Walkers


It isn't always this or that,
a righteous yes or condemning no,
the good or rotten of many parts
or gluttonous whole of the ego--
it isn't a win or a lose, 
not this outing--it is not even a game.
This is an exchange of words,
a practice for mastery, of
certain endings, beginnings.
This can be a clarifying glass shared.
See the sunlight gilding the aged trees, 
the shadows of us made into giants--
these tell truths.
But this talk-- an ordinary parlance
a way to get through the thickets.

These uprooted words carried from valley to mountain:
they walk with us, hearty staffs to aid or trip us.
If I see two paths, you see one 
and whoever came this way
made another altogether
across a leaf-buried hillock.
Who can say which way, what word?
The walking makes more sense than 
the language cluttering its beauty.
 
What we think we know
might seem a lie tomorrow.
More fables to pass on.
Or talking is a flurry of 
spontaneous sound sculptures,
carved of arcane meanings, 
then captured in fired clay. 
Or it crumbles in the hands
and comes together for another
go, embedding a worry or
floating a need in a deep bowl. 
You tell me what words can become.

Conversation aplenty:
we are lately conduits of noise.
Talk can be so small, tinier than a briar.
It can neglect the honesty at heart
for the sake of a jab or more trickery;
it can displace the true path,
just like that--
the one that leads home.

What language can design,
then uphold a construct of love?
Speaking it does not make it so.
Mapping it out or insisting on it
does not make it clearer or stronger.
We must cast it, grow it, 
hold it, breathe it, give and
wholly risk it
either way the journey continues.



Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Eileen with Wild Petunias

We have moved through much a long time,

in weather sour or promising,

with heads in our hands or raised high

and often shoulder to shoulder

making a tent to protect us from this or that storm.

We once may have lived parallel lives,

capricious yet generous, cabaret-infused,

fine literature with potatoes for supper,

and working our way toward freedom.

But a laugh or a howl often passed as

one and the same, floating up from

magic wells of elixirs that soon took us down.

Still, we were big women in deeds, few apologies,

and outliving ourselves, appetites infused

with strong hints of the sacred,

but oh– the loves that followed

as we fancied ourselves enchantresses.

If we were or were not, we imagined or made it so.

Perhaps we did gather up ancient myths

and madness as we went– until it bedecked us

all bright and bountiful, confounding

as changelings or shooting stars arcing over

purpled nights, perilous dawns.

We found bits of peace amid puzzles of need,

then followed thrills on trains to somewhere.

One might that say we beat the bitter odds.

And how we came to value that. Oh, yes. And each other.

Now–these conditions of leave-taking,

me swamped in glories of geraniums

with perfumed leaves that

you cannot pack to go the distance.

You piling one thing after another

in boxes that will not hold all the years

or the more persistent secrets.

This move will accommodate you with newness,

sleek desert moons above swimming pools,

glittery sands folded into naked breadth of sky.

You will dive in, carry on with laps in mirroring water

that keep arms strong, heart calm, face a-glisten.

There will be shocking blossoms amid thorns

and heat that rules, and a horizon open to anything.

Your Maizie: cat nose sniffing at edges of desert;

you: squinting into brazen sun, holding her close.

Nights will welcome the days; your family

has already set a place at the table.

You know that is love in the first degree.

Here will be the rain dances on ferns;

wind to carve the gorge and deep dark as I dream.

It will green from one day to next, trees trembling assent.

I will be awash in stories, mugs of tea, flamenco and ballet,

smiles of grandchildren with rainboots gleaming.

My hair will streak whiter as your red softens.

I already gossip with your shamrock plant,

and will bathe it with east light.

Your berry and pine afghan will

swaddle these feet and arms. Winter’s silence.

Still, we can call for advice, reveal our events,

anticipate truths, and excavate meanings

to hold up to these heartbreaking times.

We are two aging warrior women so battle savvy,

still pilgrims but no longer abandoned, and

counting the good fortunes–and

such men, plans and angers turned loose.

Each discovery of beauty is, we know,

an excellent find amid the rubble

meant to be shared and thereby increased.

It is a trade we like, good giving and receiving.

The distance will recede, our psychic shores

a stone’s toss, gathered words like weathered nets

bursting with gifts, rich nourishment.

And before long we will find our way back

my Irish sister and fine prattling cohort,

my brave, my lustrous friend,

Eileen of the wild petunias.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Smoke and Sails (for MWR)

Find your way back, take the long route that

sidles by the lake, blinding your troubles.

Every kind of wave flashes like stars

lining a long night of memories.

You had it then, a certainty of laughter

as you all circled at evening’s fire.

Spinning tunes or tales, one more, another,

tongues of smoke lassoing you. Such headiness.

And morning kissed your eyelids as

the bay curled around front porches

and boats rocked, impatient,

white sails slack as summered thinking,

until they came alive under your hands.

Nothing could be better,

you thought. And much after that

was not such an benign adventure.

You speak of that life as if it was

a kind of holiness in childhood and youth.

Go, find your way back,

take the long route that carries you

back to bright rustlings, sailing

into the wind, bronzed and lionhearted;

reawaken that appetite for joy and its mercy

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Memory Amid a Garden

Such summer spun sweetness has a meaning

I cannot quite name in late day as

ruffled petals warm in sun, sturdy in my fingers,

a luxury with their beauty. But a waft of

memory languishes, a visit from the land of youth.

Happiness teases. Yes, you. Me. How we knew

so much had to come true, for to imagine it

was to conjure from the startle of our present

unto tomorrow’s certainty of victory.

It’s voluptuous denouement, soul, heart, body.

But back then: one arm lain upon another,

a cheek pressed like this, petal against petal;

our words fragrant, rising and falling

in a waterfall of flowers, then quietness like

a veil lifted to show us truth of everything.

Our shining foreheads bowed

to each other, hands fingertip to fingertip.

To revere such love was easy then,

second nature, a daily theater in which

we improvised gaily yet restraint

overcame us, closing eyes of shyness.

There, now I catch the drift of your voice.

That sound that made language radiant.

It filled ears with generosity every time.

And these pinkest roses scent my thoughts with you.

They whisper of aqua satin, white lace,

deep eyes brimming over like wells of dreams,

and hidden, too, pangs of other hungers

and yet that world we fashioned stood

for all eternity, a fortress, pinnacle of art…

before saying over and over

an embroidered

then unraveling,

misgiving and

final farewell.

These roses, I see: meant for you.