Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Although honestly I don’t actually feel like crying. I did that yesterday when I woke up to what certainly felt like the end of the world as I knew it. The dawn of a new world helmed by a misogynistic, bigoted, fascist, racist, hate-spewing, violence-inciting, completely unhinged orange despot-elect.

But then I got mad. I got together with my tribe of strong and powerful and brave women, with my men of quality who do not fear equality, and I made a commitment to raise hell. To say No More. To stand up for a better world, a kinder world, a more open and connected and curious and inclusive world. A world that embraces Love and rejects fear. This is what I will fight for what I will work for, what I will pray for–for the next four years and the next four decades and however long I have breath.

katniss

Change is coming. This election, this crisis, this unbelievable unfolding of events has awakened the Katniss in me–and in thousands and millions like me. We are not sitting this one out, crying and scared in a corner. We are standing up. We are marching forward. We are linking arms and  raising voices and moving mountains. Hope trumps fear. Love trumps hate. Even now. Especially now.

I worked on this poem for 4 months, earlier this year and finished it about 4 weeks ago. It feels more true and more powerful now than it did when I put down my pen.

2016 has been an almighty shitstorm of a year. And maybe we’ve just barely seen the worst of it. They say things get worse before they get better, don’t they? But here today, on my birthday, I–the natural-born pessimist–am saying that I BELIEVE it will get better. Because we will make it better. We will.

 


 

SWEET CHILD OF MINE

I want to give you the world
but not this one.

Not the one where a boy
with dirty fingers
can stuff you with leaves
behind a dumpster
and get off easy
because he can swim 200 meters
in a hot fucking minute.

Not the one where a man
with a grudge and a gun
turns a dance floor
into an abattoir
where rainbow lights pulse
on the tortured limbs of dying men
who came out for the music.

And those bullets, oh child,
you have to dodge them everywhere,
take care, take cover
at the office
at school
at concert halls and cafes.
Even first graders here
know how to cower in a closet
while their teacher lays down
her body as a barrier.

Not for you, a world
ruled by moneyblind megalomaniacs with
big fears and small minds
and small hands
and small opinions of women
of poor people
of gay people
of brown people
of people in general.

There is no equality here
so don’t expect understanding
if the gender gifted you at birth
makes your very skin crawl
and you require stitches and knives
to make it right.
Don’t expect impartiality
if you share a bed
a live
a love
and genitalia, too.
That rainbow flag waves
in defiance here
more often than joy.

I want for you no limits
not the size of your curves
or the shape of your smile
or the purity of your unsullied sheets.
I want for you the assurance
that your sex does not determine your worth
or your health or your wealth or your freedom
of choice.
of voice.
Because this world does not want to listen, child,
this world will not give you ground and I

want to give you the sky but not this one
where dispassionate bombs
fall from the blue
obliterating schools
and hospitals
and hope.
Death delivered by remote control.

And people flee that death
and horror, that loss and
ruin unleashed by all the powers that be.
People run and they crawl and they swim
and even as their children sink beneath waves,
we won’t let them in. There is no room in this world
for the war torn
for the foreign born.
No vacancy for the burqa bearing.
No clemency for the keffiyeh wearing.
One whiff of otherness and
the door slams in your face.

I want to give you a window
to crawl through. I want to give you
wide open space. I want to give you
the ocean-deep depths. But the water
is choked with plastic and the prairies
are plundered for oil and
this place, child, this place
is headlined by blood by bullets by bastards
Every.
Gods.
Damned.
Day.

I do not want for you a world
where a cop fires his gun into a car
regardless of the
Baby on Board
because
the man behind the wheel was black
and then he was dead
and he was unarmed
and then he was dead
and his hands were up
and then he was dead.
And white men kill black men kill white men kill people
kill sons kill fathers kill sisters kill mothers kill brothers kill daughters kill people
kill kill kill.

And still
tonight
another man in blue will strap on boots
and his badge and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
while across town a black man slips on shoes
and his wallet and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
because this world, sweet child,
this world is ruled by fear.

I cannot give you this world, child.
Not the world that makes me
want to lie down and die
day after day after
24-hour news cycle.

But for you, for you
I will get up and go on
for one more day
and then another.

For you I will stand
and fight
for you I will kneel
and pray
for you I am woke
I will speak
I will vote
I will write
I will see
I will love
I will hear
I will hope.

For you, I will.

06.09.16/09.21.16/10.02.16/11.08.16

voters

-Lo, who found her voice.

Tempest

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

 

It’s been a long time.

A long, long, long time since there was a new cinépoem in the house. Two whole years, in fact.

So I’m beyond ecstatic to announce a new cinépoem featuring the lovely Lucette de Luna (for the second time) and introducing the gorgeous and frighteningly talented Caroline Augusta (a formidable artist in her own right.)

 

The new vid isn’t on this site, however… technology issues and the need for a whole new website redo, my webmaster tells me. But you can find it at the usual You Tube channel for all my cinépoems, and it will probably show up on vimeo before too long, as well.

 

Go take a gander, and if you want to read along, here’s the poem itself…

 

TEMPEST

There is nothing civilized
about love.

Not the way she does it…
a living thing
of hoof and horn
of dervish whirl
and lunar howl.

She abides in the eye of a season of storms
where there can be no allowance
for abnegation–ask her to deny herself
and you ask the moon to abandon the sky
and orbit instead around your shoelace.

Her love is unfit
for polite company.
prone to violence.
subject to squalls.
she goes in for a kiss
and takes out your eyes.

Society will not stand
for such barbarity, will demand
a dress code and Corinthians
which is, of course, a language
she has not learned to speak.

But then again, she will never
lie or vamp or hide
behind starched and lacquered protocol.

What you see is what she feels.
unrefined. unrestrained. undiluted.

She stomps feet, she seizes hearts
in sticky-fisted strangleholds,
then guards her stash like a dragon’s hoard
roaring MINE and MORE.

The best strategy for survival is to Get To Her First.
hunt hard and fast, chase her down softly
like a wild winged thing.
(Do not try to tame her.)

Gather the Tempest in your arms
and hold her close while she rages,
for in her wake follows
the most dazzling sunlight,
the likes of which exist
only in dreamscapes
and photoshop.

In all your days you will never again see
a love so true.

-Lo, who knows from experience.

Stereotactic

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These machines would be softer
had their creators been women.

There would be less smashing,
for starters. Less smashing
and gentler needles.

In the waiting room you fidget
through piles of last year’s  glossy models
and wonder if this blonde ever dangled a breast
through a glory hole in an elevated table
like a Toyota awaiting tire rotation.

Yesterday on the phone, your doctor
avoided all words beginning with C
and instructed you, belatedly,
not to worry.

But the second that fuzzy-lipped nurse
pinned you in place with a well-practiced
look of pity, the moment she plied you
with poorly-written brochures
about procedures and tissue samples,
you bypassed worry and shortcut
straight to funeral planning.

The nurse’s voice, tuned to a level
statistically proven to be soothing,
turned to static before she even
got to the part about how calcifications
are “usually” benign.

In your head, you’re already malignant.
You’re already bisected and breastless.
You’re already ash.

It’s like that pre-dawn phone call
months ago warning of tsunami.
And though they swiftly chased it
with platitudes about low probabilities,
and the tide could barely be bothered
to rise half a foot, you had already seen how the wave
would hulk down on all those complacent roofs,
turning your haven into so much flotsam
polluting the slipstream.

Panicked and pajama-clad, you stuffed
the trunk with non-essential photo albums
and the long white box in which your
long white wedding dress lay entombed.
You scooped up your favorite boots and
tossed in a notebook of poems and drove
up the hill to the safe zone while your neighbors slept on
and woke calmly to their coffee mugs,
immune to overreaction.

Now you sit bared to the waist
in a sickly pink room and memorize
the letters you must write to your tiny daughter
about how she shouldn’t try to be popular
in high school, because it’s the nerds
who always turn out better in the end.

When they open the door smiling
with gauze and hollow needles
you begin to understand just how far
your body will go to betray you.

 

-Lo, who got the negative result today. And I mean “negative” in the most positively benign way possible. Happy ending and all that.

Famine

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

It’s easy to take for granted the way
the phosphorescence of solitude
ignites a thousand poems.

Not all of them good, of course.

In truth and hindsight,
most were un-notably awful
and overly enamored of lank-haired boys
who didn’t rate a reciprocal glance
much less a rhyming couplet.

And yet.
The unremorseful exuberance
of so much twentyish angst is
impressive.

Would now I could
dredge one bullion ounce
of such lyrical fervor.

-Lo, attempting a comeback.

Year One

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

baby-love

365

For the record, I didn’t really believe everything would change.
I imagined less time, of course, less sleep, less general air of sans souci
but not the entirety of life all upside down, and least of all me.

It seems after 52 weeks of daily miracles
I have become someone completely new.
I am milk maid and diaper genie and an utter fool for you.

Little Light of September Moon, all my selves were made to love you.

-Lo, whose entire world changed for good one year ago today.

Shiver Me Timbers

Monday, May 9th, 2011

king-philip

The Wreck of King Philip

When we arrive at the beach,
sun-soaked and salty,
the sight of her sand-mired stern
is anti-climactic.

Sleep deprivation has that affect:
there is either too much climax
or none at all.

Bereft of anchor, she ran aground here in 1878,
abandoned by all her men,
left to splinter and keen
on the January shore.

I circle her half-submerged shell
clicking pictures and searching
for some kind of feeling,
for the smallest quiver
of shivery timbers,

but get only sand
in the eye.

-Lo, all sandy-eyed.

What Gets Left Unsaid

Monday, January 31st, 2011

plane

Departure

Conversation stammers to a halt
the second the suitcases
get tucked into the trunk.

On the sidewalk we are astonishingly awkward
shuffling feet, stuffing hands into any available pocket.

Accidental eyelock would unleash emotions
too delicate for this public curbside. Instead
we lunge into an embrace like two bull moose
locking antlers in battle.

Inevitably one of us hangs on too long
stunned stupid by the sudden realization
of just how much has been left unsaid.

But as the taxi engine revs, goodbye
is the only word left, and its absolute lack
hangs in the air like exhaust.

-Lo, who, for the first time in a year, has written a poem that is not about a baby or a dog.

Separation Anxiety

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

superbaby

You are smiling when I leave you
and smiling still when I return
but how many smiles do I miss in between?

Locked down in endless afternoon meetings
I doodle your face in the margins of creative briefs.
The countdown to five is slower than ever.

On the way home I gamble on freedom, SuperLotto style.

-Lo, dreaming of being jobless and solvent.

Post Partum

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

mood: quiet | drinking: water

pumpkin2

With the exception of one poem called “Good Dog,” written shortly after LeeLoo’s death, all the poems I’ve written in the last nine months have been all about this change, this life, brewing inside of me.

That includes a series of 13 poems titled after fruits and vegetables, starting with “Kidney Bean” and ending with “Pumpkin”… the idea being that the size of the titular piece of produce corresponded with the size of the little one in my womb.

Someday I’ll publish all 13, but I thought now was a good time to post the final poem in the series. So here you are…

Pumpkin

early
I bare my toes to the ocean
and wait for the waves,
salty and cool against my skin
steady and measured inside my womb.

active
There are women
who proudly tell stories
of profanity in the labor room,
of squeezing fingers to pulp, of
screaming fault lines
at the nearest person
possessed of a penis,
of blood, chaos and drama.

But in Room 203 I am falling in love,
knowing we have never been together
quite like we are on this night.

push
They tell me to push just one more time
and I find his eyes and bear down
quivering with effort.

“That’s great, now do it again,”
they say, and I do and I do and I do
and I think “This will never end.”

But it does, in a rush, and you slide
purple and wailing from that world
to this.

He sees you before I do, and turns to me,
eyes welling with the wonder
of having finally met
the person you made
and finding her utterly perfect.

post partum
I am halfway to the drugstore
when I remember
you are no longer with me.

After 10 months of cohabitation
the shock of your absence
is devastating.

A song comes on the radio
that has nothing to do with us

but I weep nonetheless
for the sorrow of solitude
and the joy of delivery.

***

(written September 1st and 2nd, technically weeks 40 & 41)

-Lo, with a little less writing time on my hands.

Any Day Now

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

mood: waiting | drinking: Bruce is

hot-sauce

Mini Watermelon

Any day now
could be The Day,

and then for years
we will mark it
with candles and confections.

The only immediate trouble is
knowing which day
will be The One.

I have always loved September,
so if you want to wait
a few more days
to make your entrance,
I won’t mind. But then,

I am already accompanied
every hour
by your elbows
and kneecaps.

Your father, however,
enjoys no such comfort
and has grown so anxious
to see your face,

he has begun to lace
my BLT sandwiches
with hot sauce.

-Lo, from week 39.