Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I have three more poems. Somehow they are not quite as good as the ones I worked on last month. I think I am trying to hard to force the issue, force the words. They don't ring true? Maybe. Anyway.

Like a candle

I have this quiet inside me that nests in between

my muscles and metastasizes – finding every corner,

ligament, merry go round joint and blows it out

like a candle

I collapse, flutter like a broken bird on the ground

I cannot see your tiny hands that can hold my life

still – better than a bookmark. The days tiptoe past

me not looking

pulling their hoodies tighter, averting their eyes – maybe

they are afraid to become involved. Maybe it will

violate the rules of time. I flutter on the ground

trying to re-imagine

you after birth. Before I only had sparks from your mother

Now I must sew eyes and mouth and hair into a postcard

that I can carry with me when the quiet moves to the lowest

levels of cells

This is the gift of cancer: A shy lover who comes into your house

whose memories become shared. Who, after years of living

together, has the ability to watch you on the ground with an

eye of disinterest.

Parent Night

Clouds on the principal’s head, scrub brush on the teacher’s.

The parents come in with their parent masks on and begin

the Halloween ball: empty sockets and fruit punch my dad

wearing a three piece suit and my mom not wearing a sari,

thank god. Some of the parents pass around instamatic pictures

of divorce, I imagine my mom flirting with the principal

and wonder how life would be different. My dad moves to the

back, uncomfortable and bowing to everyone with a smile.

The other parents play memory and fondle stale cookies

and Maurice the classroom turtle moves in real time across

the floor. My teacher, Mrs. Dietrich, eyes my parents like

spice on a rack. Mentally she commands a notebook and pen.

She lists, alphabetically, impressions: awkward silence,

broken English, words hanging in the air like mobiles:

dyed hair, incense stick smell, k mart shoes, and They didn’t

respond to the story of my friend who went to India last summer.

The Hairdesser

She asked me things I didn’t expect:
I need an orange right now or I’ll die
Can I touch your face when I want to?

When I first met her I asked for a haircut

she cut my ear instead

Later I asked for her hand in marriage

she gave me a child instead

I love her like the water loves the moon

In the evenings I sneak into the hair salon

smelling the process of water and chemical

I see her erect behind a chair


The client:

eyes agape,

lost hair on the floor

Our child:

seduced as if by flame

wanting the introduction of blades

and the comfort of her hand on his head.


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