Sunday, August 31, 2014

The New and The Eternal (Alix)

On wild fire leaves, I find myself. 
Blazing across soil tilled by words,
paragraphs planted there to grow into conviction
and one day, maybe, blossom into action. 
The leaves have drifted from a tree that none can not-remember, and I,
smooth and young as I may be,
lay atop it's epithelial blanket. 
I find myself, in Us, here. 
The Us that has and always will be
growing and flowering and fading to grow again
reborn with the carousel seasons,
kaleidoscope years painting pictures in our lives. 
The paragraphs you planted there
that grew into an Us
and fell with winter's first embraces
into You and Me again. 

You from Me (Alix)

Here there are no midnight calls-
floor meets flesh and bones divorce, 
voices flying through the pitch
writhing with adrenaline shakes. 
I sleep soundly, here. 

There is no sadness thick on my chest. 
Your face is stranger to me, now
no sadness is expected,
and I can wear my joy with pride. 

Here, I'm pulled after my heart. 
My mind is often left behind
pleasantly unhampered by
the love and fear I felt for you. 

Your screams have turned to whispers, slowly
as distance and learned deafness grow:
oceans carefully fostered
to drown them out. 

And there?
Your world isn't colder?
Your cries are just as loud, and answered?
Now there is no crying back. 
Heart meets mind and mind prevails. 
Sadness doesn't soak you through 
to mend the bones you broke for me. 

I'll never miss the heart-attack nights,
the pleas for help piercing my dreams,
but I'm not needed like I was
to rescue you from yourself. 
Now I've rescued you from me. 

And me?
Who will rescue me?

Gesture (Meghan)


I know the strand of darker hair
that falls in front of my ear,
the one you noticed when I
leaned into your willing chest.
Your gentle fingers slowly tucked
and smoothed, then raked a row from
temple to nape.  I couldn’t see your eyes,
but I felt them seeing golden, flax, and sand
in trinity and bending to your will.
I felt you seeing fingers and hair
but maybe also a woman and the colors
of her soul as they look to you now,
the meta-cognition that they’re changing
every instant, the momentary question
what does she feel about my fingers in her hair
or the words I haven’t said but may have thought?
I felt you seeing the painted husk of me, but tender all the same.
My sigh might have been a gasp,
an unbelieving wish
to remember.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blueprints (Davina)

I've got seeds in my pocket,
a tape measure in my hands,
and plans rolled up tight on tracing paper
in my backpackall these for when 
I end up where I'm headed, and it comes 
the time to build.

In the land that will be mine,
I'll first find where the little creek flows, and
plant the maple with the crooked branch 
that leans over the water, for fishing.
Then, the old oak with its plastic red swing
and the big mango tree, for climbing,
and tall hemlocks next to wide-limbed spruces,
for the children to hide beneath and play. 

I'm bringing my sister's quiet street
to settle around the house, a long loop
wide enough for four to walk side-by-side,
barefoot on greying asphalt still leaking 
the sun's warmth in late afternoon.
I'll make a garden, too, filled up with 
vegetables and flowers alike, and
bordered by my mother's old butterfly bushes.
She and I will sit out there in summer,
reading the books she never 
found the time to read, and with new eyes
she'll laugh at fine print with me.

Inside the house there will be a special closet, 
for memories that only need remembering 
once in a while. 
My father's father will keep 
his wheelchair in this closet, while he plays 
Chinese shuttlecock out in the courtyard,
and my friends will leave
their hospital gowns—faded, worn,
smelling faintly of death—
folded neatly on the shadowed shelves. 

To My Sister as I Leave (Alix)

To My Sister as I Leave

"I can't believe my baby sister's growing up!"
I grew up years ago
seeing you surrender to the world. 
Who will you miss?
The wide-eyed child of yesterday
with untied shoes and smudged cheeks
whose cherub smile was swallowed up
by life's disappointment?
Or this inwardly collapsing girl
who never sings anymore,
but cautiously observes the world
as you dance, oblivious, without a song?
This baby girls is grown. 
The borrowed love that built our home
wore down with worry, years ago. 
Anxious termites desperate
to scatter us without a hope. 
Baby sister left us then
I missed her, too, my childhood self
the warmth and shine of innocence 
a heart as light as laughter.
But I can't mourn tenderness loss
now that I know what I know,
undone as I have been by borrowed fear.
Who is there to miss?
Oh, I believe it's better now
there is no baby sister left. 

Sleeper (Meghan)


On Christmas day, I fell asleep
on the rug I can’t remember.
It was pneumonia, I was small, and
no one knew how to play the piano yet,
to wake me with carols
I’d suffer to sing.

In our shared bed, she begged for stories.
Schools of fish in multicolor  mixing across
human prejudice.  Reenactments of
movie musicals boiled and
thickened into memory.

Moving cars were cradles:
An engine’s hum beneath my short legs,
head unhinged bouncing between
cold glass and the near-noose of seatbelt nylon.
At the exit, I stirred but pretended sleep,
hoping Dad might carry me inside.
It was tenderness, not ease.
I wonder why I never simply asked.

The floors were hardwood, so
I did crunches on the soft bed,
listened to the old slats fall
and gazed at the ceiling fan.
We didn’t call them boom boxes anymore,
but it was busy drowning out
the story in my head, the one about
a teenager named Natalie who wanted to be
beautiful and smart at the same time.

Her room was ten steps away, but
there were nights when we’d rather not sleep
alone.  She couldn’t tell me who I was.
The stranger she’d kissed on the dance floor
couldn’t give her health insurance.
My long body and hers compact running on,
two un-indented paragraphs sidling close
hunching toward meaning.

We slammed the futon into the center of the studio,
collapsed in Indian Summer.
I wished the windows had screens.
He was drunk when he told me he loved me.
I got high on believing him,
on the way my hair looked wild in the morning
after turning over, a rabbit on a spit,
in the suffocating heat of my city cell, under
the weight of Grendel’s arm across my waist.

He admired the blue-gray of my bedroom,
imagined the tension in my arms as they pressed
pigment into what must have been Builders’ beige,
completing the work alone because it hurts to think
another slept where he sometimes sleeps.

When the parasites invaded,
I slept with the lights and all my clothes on.
Insects aren’t that smart, but the ears, eyes, and nose
are pathways to the brain.
When they were dead, I asked
the God I don’t believe in
How long before I rest?

You slept; I didn’t.
So I noticed when your leg seized mine at 2am
and wondered what magazines would say
about the way couples sleep.
Pirate leg means possession?
We’d laugh and call it luck.
In the semi-conscious space of the snooze button,
you reached for my body, which introduced my brain,
and we rested there for nine minutes.

I think that we are more than bodies and brains,
but not just now.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Placeholding (Meghan)


I cried on the white hotel sheets,
thinking of strangers’ blood and bleach
while you slept loud and hot, unbothered,
and woke to walk the sand in silence.
When you took my hand, I wondered why
furniture matters like the objects we collect
in curios and drawer compartments,
the art we hang on our painted walls.
We drove back with the windows open
so we didn’t have to talk too much.
My hair lashed my tan cheeks,
got stuck between my eyelashes, but
still I could see the tension lining your frown
with premature years.  I smiled again,
what I’d learned to do when you can’t,
but I was thinking of the souls of varnished floorboards,
the tyranny of carpets changed with the tenantry.
I can make the locks turn, but does that make them mine?
In the final miles, you brightened, remembering
my new place was just across town,
that soon we’d be drinking red wine on the balcony
like we did when we still admired every word.
You’re almost home, you said.
I’m homeless, I replied.
Perhaps if I could live in the bookshelf
Grandpa made and drink from the pewter cup
etched with the date of my birth.
Perhaps if you loved me,
and you tried and so did I,
but this space is a museum, and I?
a curator for now.