I won’t be locked in that cage—
no matter the number of pretty-in-pink bouquets
delivered by post and sent under your name,
won’t be strangled by a string of pearls,
won’t bleed out under bright lights on a stage
of your distracted expectations,
won’t be caught in your butterfly nets
running around the garden, scents
of roses, lavender and lilacs drowning out the
sense that says beware the careless
lover, the wolf in tweed and yellow jackets,
all the thorns that will need extracting.
and down, down, down—
far down into the abyss we go.
Down the inkwell,
down the rabbit hole.
Together one minute, and
ripped apart the next…
like tearing the buttons off a dress.
Some days it’s just too hard
to reconcile the joyful reunion of our souls
with the dread absence of our separation,
too fast they come, both climbing
up from the brink as one.
A Dangerous Floral Arrangement
Spiny thorns of exotic tulips,
hidden in the two lips
that open to receive my
wild affections, petals wide
and wavering in a wind,
a light breeze that whispers should we?
Conscience buried in the weeds around me
that flourish up in the mud beneath.
Friends & Relations
I do prefer living things
that grow and bloom
or hover and sip
the fruit of this violet phlox and forget-me-not cup
cannot be undrunk—
but among friends and relations
we will not judge
or ever distrust
the sweet joy in spontaneous
and serendipitous grins
in the flutter and flit
of a passing minute.
Links, chains and hemlock stumps
iron posts, railway ties,
water, under a bridge and 30 degrees
to the right, cardinal directions
tilted, paced out at metes and bounds
minutes and seconds to spare
point of beginning….somewhere.
Wrap It Up
Here. Hold this.
Take these scissors.
Cut these ribbons into
My only advice, dear,
is this: watch out for
the cages—the boxes
that they try to put you in,
that slam shut and
masquerade as pretty
bow-tied presents and
Rosary Beads (I)
"Papa nou ki nan sièl la,
ké non ou va sanktifié.”
Louisiana heat and swatting off little black flies,
I say Jesus ain’t coming to tea this mornin’, cher
but I’ll set the table just in case.
All these jokers and jailbirds
the pretty yellow canary kinds
that sing, sing until their lungs give out—
well, it’s not the grace notes
that will wear the world out.
I want to sail away, of course—
but who doesn’t?
I’ve set my sights on a cosmic explosion
to gather up violet glitter and
white feathers from the broom closet,
brown mud from the footbridge
and green algae from the pond below—
crushed up and smeared on a map
that reads east to west as an afterthought,
now to then and ready to go.
So Smooth Things Over
The world breathes in deep and
turns over in its sleep
and three successive dreams
leap up and shout watch me!
First, blackbirds & pies,
maids and kings and serendipitous things—
the clutter of nursery rhymes; then
the burning of Persephone,
the random tragedy slips into atrophy;
followed oh so closely by a post-modern beach scene,
sudsy-storm waters that throw around toy boats
ocean tankers and wash up a heap of junk,
a slippery, silvery mountain top on which two old women sit,
one trying to pry open the pink heart of a gleaming pearl
and one polishing the ragged shell of an tin-colored oyster
both with no luck, with no chance,
forever and ever, amen.