This cup runneth over
Tell us your troubles, your
suffered regrets and tea house confessions
to no avail.
In a speck of dust, you
will find your purpose. The weight
of your soul is light on the scales.
Now brow-beaten, bent down—
stitched together with mud and plaster,
with blood and caster oil
he said, I’ve seen enough, it doesn’t matter,
the sky’s the limit
the rest is chatter.
I’ll pin you down like a butterfly—
and I know, I’ve seen
that this is a land of men and monsters.
I bake bread on Saturdays,
not out of any sense of feminine domesticity,
wife to the madman, maid on the stairs—
but passing the time more like
while weeding the gardens,
those overgrown with bull thistle and thorn apples,
that rise up and flourish in my mind.
Sub-merciful, in the green waters
count them one, two, three
it’s a better play in technicolor so
you’ll need a tulip in your lapel,
a dozen blueberry muffins
and a mourning bouquet—
oh I hate the sad endings,
how I hate the sad endings…
crave sugar cubes in my tea,
the merry breakfast
after a lonely midnight!
cries his heart with tears and fissures—
no more loneliness for thee.
As We Are
The kestrel fights off songbirds
before eating them, so that’s struggle,
I guess—that’s divine, habit-forming
intervention, with invitations from
the queen herself, I dressed in plum and
my sister wore red scarlet,
our nod to varying shades of blood, as we are
descended from middle-class farmers
and proper French ladies—
unfit for much more than
stage and effect.
Batten down the hatches
and the shutters—
flutter on the camera
with a misty, maudlin landscape backdrop
of oh spacious skies
and amber waves,
drip, drip, dripping down
and running (huffing and puffing) off
a watercolor spout
to wash the sunshine on the palette out.
Riddled With Imperfections
Just try to get sunshine in a box,
tricky bastard just won’t fit—
neither I, having seen something
of the other side, find the days of the week
(the uneven hours and minutes they contain)
hang off my upturned wrists
like gaudy, drugstore jewelry.
They saddle you with misery
before you take your first step—
Disney films are the great deception,
epiphanies are for the novel hero,
literary giants can squash you flat,
make you suffer over things that never happened
and he’s always at your doorstep
smoking cigarettes (the cure for cancer is inevitably
death) but just step over him and
carry on, as you were,
don’t mind us, don’t worry your pretty head!
I’ll make him sweep the ashes.
Up and Down the Stairs
Gliding high in the white rafters
with the winged creatures,
dragons and griffons,
osprey and purple finches,
my mother said,
come down now, before you drift
far beyond the outer atmosphere and lift
the rings from Saturn’s fingers
as if you deserved them—
and you know you’ll pawn them
when you return to solid ground,
reducing the mystique of a millenia
to a single consumer transaction.
Come two at a time
and death climbs in
three by three, right through
the kitchen window
crushing sun-ripe tomatoes
into a sticky paste, and breaking a
jar of dead wildflowers (shrinking violets)
that, let’s be honest, should have
been thrown out anyway.
I like my love stories nearly tragic—
hold the saccharine but pour on the melodramatic.
Rip open those wounds and salt them fresh—
a clean cut is best. Hollow pain and testaments unfinished.
Survival, they say, favors the fittest.
Witness this, Laurentia, and mourn your missed chance tenderly.
Rage in stride, Cassandra—
and claim an afterlife reckoning.