vessel

don’t believe

the mirrors—

 

except in cars;

and even then,

 

in moderation.

i’m headed out

 

into the 3d world:

where i’m visible

 

in full—not just from

the front and torso up.

 

i need to feel real

pages in my hands,

 

real road under

my wheels. i’m

 

listening to tori,

trying to feel some-

 

thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with

 

words anymore. there

are too many words in

 

the world. this is probably

how some people feel about

 

poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,

 

here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad

 

are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:

 

beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,

 

we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the

 

dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am

 

being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still

 

attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my

 

body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole

 

length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,

 

in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be

 

stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve

 

triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just

 

smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:

 

moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of

 

being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.

 

as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—

 

but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has

 

learned to expect,

and love, solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the opposite of time

there are no synonyms for

you; you are one of a

 

kind. in my dreams, it is

so clear: what i want.

 

it is the meeting of

body and mind.

 

my mind does not

leave my body; she

 

takes her along,

loves her the whole

 

stay. being asleep

is the real awake:

 

the opposite of time.

 

while not asleep,

i’m in my own way.

 

i hold my blueberry coffee;

i stand in the hospital corridor

 

with my throat shut. the

sickness perseverates

 

in the mouth, jaw,

throat, chest, gut;

 

the non-words

in duress.

 

truth

is terror—

 

a forever

pain.

 

but in dreams,

it is made into

 

beauty: alchemy

as it should be.

 

i go to sleep under

a November tree,

 

between the

bright carpet

 

and brighter

hangings, and

 

meet you there.

we will have words

there’s no room in my life

for new men; because the old

 

ones keep creeping in.

at night, they get the lay

 

of the land. still, after all

this time—they inhabit the

 

dreams of both body and

mind. every now and then

 

a new man will arrive on

the scene: in real life.

 

a good man. a man who

makes me feel alive.

 

we will have words;

so help me god.

 

we will have a new life,

a new touch, a clean rain.

 

and i will be reminded:

you are not your pain.

i think i missed you

we wake

to create;

 

we carry some-

thing from the

 

night: thick

on us, in us—

 

a thousand stories deep

as the crow flies.

 

we were meant

to meet there,

 

you and i—

but

 

i think i

missed you.

 

i think we are

living the before.

 

—or—

 

this is my body,

broken for you,

 

like in the

hereafter.

 

we are here

to make some-

 

thing new:

but we know

 

it has all been done

under the heavy static

 

of sun. we traverse the

taverns, ear to the ground

 

for a philistine,

a dervish,

 

something royal

to stir us up.

 

we become the swine

digging in the pearls;

 

it is our

communion.

 

we sit on the dock

and wait; we believe

 

something is on its

way—a ship, a revolution,

 

a stay; a drunken glacier

swaying toward us with glee:

 

to allay our fears, our need,

our repeat existence.

some nights the moon is a train

it takes me a while

to love things.

 

but then i am

loyally locked in.

 

the colonial blue

house holds the

 

key, but no door.

in the back-ground,

 

the long bow of the

cello sings up from

 

the depths. one floor up,

children grow in their

 

beds. dad used to tease

about putting us in a vice

 

overnight. i took his words

to heart: the dreams that

 

shortened me still follow—

strong shadows of

 

nails and hair; of things

that once lived, fighting

 

to weave them-selves

back in, back to life.

 

some nights the moon

is a train. i am boarding

 

her, i am carrying

alstroemerias, i am

 

smiling as the tiny

gear of a whisper

 

turns. the shrieking,

pulsing, turning to

 

blood is all in my

head; out-side, the

 

view is silent: a giant

wheel of compliance.

 

 

 

you are the poem

sit silently with your self;

listen to your breath, to last

night’s dreams, to the hammer

heart-beats which carried you

 

through. listen again. do you

hear your treble, the shaking

space between your stanzas,

the tremble of your verse?

 

you are the poem.

 

stop letting in all the noise. make

your own noise—just for you. if you

don’t want to rhyme, don’t. let your

capitals go. be un-titled. let the

 

line

breaks

surprise

even

 

you. swim in the imagery, steep in

the buzz of beginning over that of

belonging. watch a being give

birth. you are the poem. it will

 

all be over soon. taste each syl-

la-ble in your mouth, feel the tug

of adrenaline in the pit of your

stomach: the closest to the center

 

of child hood you will ever get

again. take cream in your coffee.

romance your selves and those

clinging to them with satin

 

static. if you take a title, own

it; sing it out with each pulse.

hug the children, love the world,

speak the beauty, love the poem.

 

you are the poem.

 

 

 

 

snap shot 4

“I’m in trouble.”

She woke with these words in her mind, almost on her tongue. She wasn’t sure if the words were spawned by her feeling of despair upon facing another day with the chronic aches and pains (some inhabiting her body, and others visiting from an unknown place) and still no answers—or if they had been triggered by the random patchwork of dreams from the night: her wedding to an old love, her pregnancy by an ex-husband, her strange reunion with an old friend.

At least she was human in these dreams. And, lately, sometimes Kevin Arnold. She smirked at this, at the knowledge of the television world seeping into her reality—of her growing dependence on nostalgic shows to help escape from what felt like a dying garden. There was still beauty—all around—and some soil, and some water, and a little cold sun, and a few people wandering about; but there was also the nagging feeling of death, of things being slowly starved and shriveled, of other things sprouting oddities and twisting off in the wrong direction.

Lee often tried to be optimistic. Not quite cheerful (that emotion typically surfaced only when buzzed or caught up in a love balloon), but grounded in a larger picture of herself and this life—stabilized by an ever-present, irritating really, knowledge that things would somehow work out, would somehow be okay. She had felt this stoicism from her father, this cautious confidence. But lately she could feel herself slipping, her knowledge fading, her hope becoming heavy under the weight of loneliness, age, teenage cynicism, doubt, and now—injury.

Leonard Cohen knew. And he knew that everyone else knew, too. This life was unbearable, harsh, cruel even. And yet, startling in its beauty and unpredictable kindness. Navigating between these two extremes was a heroic, gymnastic effort which exhausted the trifecta of mind, body, and soul. No wonder she could barely get out of bed some days.

Some of her friends were tired of hearing about it. She didn’t have as many friends because of it, and usually she was relieved by this. It meant less expectation, less energy, less investment. But the reverse was also true: fewer people were invested in her. Less energy was being tossed her way. She knew her readers would also become impatient eventually—especially if she didn’t throw in a love scene soon. At least some suggestive dialogue. She laughed out loud as she struggled to stand.

“Love waits for no man.”

She thought of all the love that was happening all around her—and of her own small doses being exchanged within this house, and without. Within this world, and without. There were so many different types of love, and she would be damned if she was going to let herself get caught up in one or two tiny definitions. And anyway, was it love that waits for no man? Or time? Were they one in the same? She pictured a wild time-love horse charging away into the tide without its rider.

After all this thinking, Lee became tired. Coffee was up next, with a side of berry yogurt to cushion the belly against the delicious acid. What came after that was a new hope in the form of a phone call. There was a treatment for her broken foot, and she had been approved for it. A new path—beginning next week. She would throw everything she had into this hope.

She thought about her fear of surgery, and wondered if it was related to her other fears. She would not name them just yet. She would not give them credence. Instead, she would spend days, weeks—months even—trying on yet another opinion about how her life could be improved.