Wednesday, May 21, 2008

making up for lost time

race into the car. strap the babies in. slide in behind the wheel. did i really strap the little one in? out the door and check. yep. internal dialogue turned up to ten. drive to my destination - but don't remember how i got there. did i really stop at that red light? must have, there's no dents in the car. race around supermarket, bright lights flickering, bad muzak and old ladies deliberating over their tea. english breakfast or irish? get to the checkout and discover an odd arrangement. some extra biscuits with neon icing - definitely didn't want those. a small matchbox car. nope, not that either. must have been my little boy. hide them on the adjacent shelf. back out to the car, i'm always in a hurry, i can't wait to hit the brakes.
c h a l k talk

parting with thee reluctantly: emily dickinson


Parting with Thee reluctantly,

That we have never met,

A Heart sometimes a Foreigner,

Remembers it forgot—

the happy prince: janet frame

In the children’s record of the Happy Prince,
before each gold flake is peeled from the Prince’s body,
the voice orders, Turn the Page, Turn the Page,
supposing that children do not know when to turn,
and may live at one line for many years,
sliding and bouncing boisterously along the words,
breaking the closed letters for a warm place to sleep.
Turn the Page, Turn the Page.
By the time the Happy Prince has lost his eyes,
and his melted heart is given to the poor,
and his body taken from the market-place and burned,
there is no need to order, Turn the Page,
for the children have grown up, and know when to turn,
and knowing when, will never again know where.


if you wish our clock would stop, tell us. if you wish time stopped for no man, tell us that too.


looking out the back of car windows, dirty from distant travels. blurs of semi-trailers in the distants, lights bleeding into the night rain. up in the front, there's some bad tune twirling out of the radio, ruining it all. all the while, i'm hoping i'll fall asleep, and when i wake - we'll just be there.

Friday, May 9, 2008

silver stripes

striped skivvies. striped pencils. striped scarves. striped towels. stripey plates. stripey boxes. bikes with racing stripes. yes. yes these are all good things featuring stripes. zebra crossings. zebras. double white lines. lollypop ladies. black and white stripes. red and white stripes. bulls-eyes. i have a little hankering for striped boiled lollies - the type that are kept in glass jars. nostalgia is kick-starting my taste buds. mmm. mattress ticking. speeding stripes. not one single spot in sight.
c h a l k talk
a hank of her hair: anne french

When he found it
it was the blaze that shocked him
its red flare in the darkness,
its weight, like a body part
an amputation
a ripe fruit.
He sniffed it, expecting
a feral stink
the scent of her
some kind of perfume
or perhaps all three.
Its mustiness recalled all the cupboards
of all the houses they have ever lived in
in several countries
and it inside them all along,
wrapped and waiting
for this moment.

garbageman: the man with the orderly mind: gwendolyn brooks

What do you think of us in fuzzy endeavor, you whose directions are

sterling, whose lunge is straight?
Can you make a reason, how can you pardon us who memorize the rules and never score?
Who memorize the rules from your own text but never quite transfer them to the game,
Who never quite receive the whistling ball, who gawk, begin to absorb the crowd's own roar.
Is earnest enough, may earnest attract or lead to light;
Is light enough, if hands in clumsy frenzy, flimsy whimsically, enlist;
Is light enough when this bewilderment crying against the dark shuts down the shades?
Dilute confusion. Find and explode our mist.
if you wish our stripe stopped, tell us. if you wish our pinstripes kept racing, tell us that too.
the constant rhythm of waves crashing, sand underfoot, in the bottom of your bed. mosquitoes still linger, as though to suck out the very last of the sunshine via your veins. extra-early birds whistle in the morning light, i bunker down hiding under my doona, hoping it's darker for just a little longer. just fifteen more minutes. hit the snooze, well i would if i had one, but instead, my alarm comes in the shape of a three year old wanting to snuggle up close and bury his limbs under my body.

Friday, May 2, 2008

ghost city

the sun is making a special guest appearance, but there's no one else around to share it. quiet town. desserted town. almost ghost town, except for the old silent man sweeping leaves out of the gutter. here i am sitting out the front, hoping for a glimmer of a soul. but nothing. it's ghost city.
c h a l k talk

live model: marie ponsot

Who wouldn't rather paint than pose—
Modeling, you're an itch the artist
Doesn't want to scratch, at least
Not directly, and not yet.
You think, "At last, a man who knows
How bodies are metaphors!" (You're wrong.)

First time I posed for him he made
A gilded throne to sit me on
Crowned open-armed in a blue halfgown.
I sat his way, which was not one of mine
But stiff & breakable as glass,
Pale still, as if
With a rosetree up my spine.
We had to be speechless too,
Gut tight in a sacring thermal
Hush of love & art;
Even songs & poems
Were too mundane for me to quote
To ease our grand feelings
So I sat mute, as if
With a rosetree down my throat.

Now I breathe deep, I sit slack,
I've thrown the glass out, spit,
Evacuated bushels of roses.
I’ve got my old quick walk
& my big dirty voice back.
Why do I still sometimes sit
On what is unmistakably like a throne?
Why not. Bodies are metaphors
And this one's my own.
consider me: langston hughes

Consider me,
A colored boy,
Once sixteen,
Once five, once three,
Once nobody,
Now me. Before me
Papa, mama,Grandpa, grandma,
So on back
To original
(A capital letter there,
Being Mystery.)

Consider me,
Colored boy,
Downtown at eight,
Sometimes working late,
Overtime pay
To sport away,
Or save,
Or give my Sugar
For the things
She needs.

My Sugar,
Consider her
Who works, too—
Has to.
One don't make enough
For all the stuff
It takes to live.
Forgive me
What I lack,
Caught in a crack
That splits the world in two
From China
By way of Arkansas
To Lenox Avenue.

Consider me,
On Friday the eagle flies.
Saturday laughter, a bar, a bed.
Sunday prayers syncopate glory.
Monday comes,
To work at eight,

Consider me,
Descended also
From the Mystery.
if you wish we stayed in ghost city, tell us. if you'd like to join us and make ghost city disappear, tell us that too.
iceberg roses, folds of petals - tutus around rose hips. bees slowed by the cold, i hear them while i read. i holler at the dogs that bark, and ruin the perfect quiet. they hush, rush back, sit at my feet panting as though it's the hottest day, then run off and bark again.