five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

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dream

brown eyes,

gold skin,

black cross-hatching,

blue rivers of veins

running through;

i see you. i see you.

your fingers find mine,

carry their own heat;

i feel you. i feel you.

your open mouth holds

what we don’t need to say.

you unfold your acre arms; and

i fall straight through

to the other side.

meet hope

my heart is full.

 

coming back on a high note,

a wave, something that’s still moving.

 

“change is good for me, mom,”

she says.

 

i know what she means. it isn’t

easy; but it’s good.

 

we take the green for granted,

all around us, all the time.

 

it reminds us to keep growing.

 

we are going to keep going.

we are not backing, breaking down.

 

we put our feet in the rushing tide, in the sand.

she runs around like a little girl—under the night sky,

 

on the edge of the world.

 

there is no moon, but we keep looking for it—expecting it

to pop up right at our feet.

 

it’s that kind of night.

 

we go out to the place where we can feel,

and meet hope.

 

miami

you’re in a relation-

ship with the world:

 

put your lipstick on.

 

up a ladder,

up a banyan,

through a canyon,

 

into the arms of love.

 

i should always be

this care free;

 

leave the camera on—

let them see, let them see:

 

lit, full of engine energy;

who i wanna be:

 

blood-letting—

just me, just me.

 

 

going to seed

the world is full of levers

waiting to be pulled,

things waiting to be moved.

 

the levers can be hard to find.

since they’re invisible, you have to

bump into one to know it’s there.

 

they are long arms, reaching out

like the low boughs of a wise old tree.

many are on the edge of steep hills.

 

to get there, you have to breathe hard.

you have to feel as if you might die.

you pass many wry flowers along the way.

 

they nod as you pass; they are going to seed.

they ask nothing of you but to look

and take note and see your future.

 

you take step after step up the incline;

you wish you were a fish, even going upstream.

you wish you had gills, a long muscle for a body.

 

you are losing air; you are wheezing.

you feel the butterfly in your throat swelling.

it is not easy dwelling on land.

 

you pass many remnants:

broken houses, rusted fences, crippled farm equipment.

a fish out of water, indeed.

 

dreams of mother, father, child, lover follow you up the hill.

they trail behind you like a long ribbon of frames.

all your arms together reach out for the lever—and pull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

get up and sing

she tells me to get up and sing.

but that seems to go against everything.

 

singing is for things with wings.

 

i used to have wings.

i used to suck the marrow out of them.

 

but this passage of time . . .

this long, harrowing voyage—

with all its mysterious baggage—

 

has left me standing alone on a

platform in the middle of the sea.

 

i want to jump off the seawall.

 

why can’t the devil be saved?

 

if love is that big,

that all-encompassing,

then why does he remain lost?

 

neither height, nor depth,

nor principalities, nor powers,

nor things present, nor things to come

shall separate us from the love of god…

 

is it because he is

one of the principalities?

one of the dark divides?

 

did he choose that?

can he choose not to be?

 

is he a he? an it? a piece of all of us?

 

is it that he/it/we will just never admit

to needing to be saved?

 

how long can wrath take the wheel

before it submits?

 

are we that self-destructive,

that self-loathing, that we would

rather die for an eternity than

admit we are broken?

 

i don’t know.

 

maybe this is why we get up and sing:

 

because everything else is just too hard,

and i’m tired of teetering

on the edge of nothing.

the queen of afterthoughts

i’m the only one

the puppy won’t love.

 

maybe it would have been me,

eventually, who cheated.

 

inside, i think i am safe;

but i just feel tiny.

 

i twist and turn, a mini-cube

trying to solve all my problems.

 

you started dying in utah.

 

the three of us were outsiders;

together, deep in thought.

 

now you are both gone.

 

she’s always there, now,

when i dream of you.

 

this means something.

 

meanwhile, my girl holds up the

walls; blocks the door, the windows.

 

her arms are exhausted.

 

and she is wading into the

deep water of adulthood.