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cheers to having a notebook around all the time.

August 31, 2007

BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO SCHOOL! Which means that my life consists of having pen and paper in my holster nearly 100% of my waking hours. So, some inspiration struck between classes yesterday). So, here are the unvarnished results. I know that I always preface these with DRAFT! DRAFT! NOT THE FINAL PRODUCT! But truly, the crafting of poems takes time, energy, countless revisiting…but the energy, what I want to record, is in this first AHA!

Adrienne Rich says it beautifully:
“poetry can occur as a fierce, precarious charge in the imagination,
or an almost physical wave of desire[…]as something written down,
that remains, so regardless of circumstance
you can turn back to that fierce charge, that desire.”

“White Whiskers”

I lift your rumpled, cast off
skin from the bamboo-inspired
rug, to put it on– V-neck
with a hanging hem, hot-sauce stain
and fading smell of smoke and soap.

You’re asleep already, so I feed
the cat and watch her lick
her pink-and-black nose, stroke paws,
and rub the tufts behind her ears.

We crack open a book of poems
I need to have read tomorrow,
and she curls, sighs
against the place where an ovary
hides inside my abdomen.

I can’t fault you for sleeping.
It’s not insensitive, or avoidant;
it’s just the tremendous pause between breath,
the kind of quiet when you listen too close,
that maddens me, until I see
your rising chest, a beacon.

I think of him, knowing it tears
at you. Even in sleep, you turn
and grunt, stirring the pages
of a book, your bedfellow.

I see in white whiskers
sighing on your t-shirt sleeve,
white hair on the operating table.


Is it me, or this place
that has lost a bit of sanctity,
of joy? Crushed underfoot
in the teeming streets of faces
unfamiliar and younger than mine:
whatever it is that the sapling holds
in the moment of breaking forth,
can continue even on this uprooted tree.

The message has not found its way
to the top.

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