Take Two: “A Song For Our Fathers”

Special thanks to you: PB, Sarah, Forest, Torie, Bel, Allison, Naropa/ JKS, and my family. Love to you!

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Grateful

I think the best thing to do sometimes is Laugh

crack up

at repetition, habitual patterns, set backs and above all:

if you forget a word when asking a question such as: Where did you come from?  whoops! embarrassingly inappropriate… laugh.

I decided to let 26 die.

 

Be grateful

for rainbow blues

that haunt the walls

the stacks of knowledge

sufi poetry

that line the shelves

because of your leave of absense

I reach out to your ghosts

they are silent

they only point to the thousands of pages

that loom over

asking to be read

there is the answer

the word I’m longing for

the pages paper cut the heart

so that it’s sharp

so that the chest heaves

when I breathe

Grateful to begin again

“we’re all just following the light of long dead stars”

find my voice

cup the rainbow lavender

gather lyrical magic

bleed from my pen

Image

The Mother-In-Law

There is a storm

Washing graffiti sidewalks

translucent black water

flows down drains

She is searching for the Mother-in-Law’s house

 

It’s dark

She has no umbrella

her shoes and clothes soaked, cling to her

She has stones in her pocket

her hand reaches for the jagged one

She grips it

She’s shivering

She walks faster

feels the blisters rub against the back of

thin flapping canvas and rubber

 

She’s never been to this house before

She feels the water fall into skinholes

She watches the drops slide down her nose

drip from her split ends

her hair is water

 

She pretends she is walking bravely

through summer-time sprinklers

She used to love to stand over the sprinkler head

and conduct the water show

covering the tiny holes with her toes

on cue shower glisten light crescendo                   

releasing water symphony

 

Once in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

She met him in the rain

they ran and embraced

like Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

She remembered to dog ear the memory

There was a heart statue over her shoulder

his gaze pierced through too soon

the shattered mosaic

It’s raining sleet sheets

It rained everyday they were in London

they walked to the Tate

She obsessed over Viennese Actionists

They walked miles&miles

to pour

their divorce honeymoon

down the drain

She threw tantrums

She was cold

He was cold

 

She often went to the beach

Mad River

right after the storm

She’d watch the grey clouds

float to the edge of the world

She wore rainboots and                                                    let the tide take her                                                                out to sea

 

*

 

She reaches the house

This is it,

No, it’s not

She turns the door knob

without knocking

She walks in

a puddle forms at her feet

She takes a few steps down the hall

Water follows her footsteps

She takes a deep breath

She recognizes the smell

 

She had forgotten this smell

She is home.

 

She walks straight into a room with speakers

this must be the talking room

the ghosts begin to clear their throats

She hears some say, hushhhhh shhshh

Others gigigigigigiggle

 

She walks through

Stops at the memorial hallway

On one side

there are photos of tombstones

the names mean nothing to her

until she sees the last name:

a whisper:

Moritz

 

On the other side

there are photos of earth-toned women

They are pudgy, stocky, they have bone black hair

They must be the Mother-in-Law’s family

The Mother-in-Law knows she knows:

Her heart is breaking

the house begins to heave

it cannot breathe, there is too much                                salt

hysterical sobs

the floor boards creek, moan

ancestral drumming rocks

the walls                                                                                crack

Water flows down the fault lines

the house is water

 

She begins to swim

a pool of tears

She dives underwater

her stinging eyes

see a tangled black web

stretching from photographs

 

There is no way

of knowing…

 

She sees Grandmother’s-

Mother’s headstone

in the middle of the underwater garden

the coral and golden rainbow fish shine

in this heaven

the stones

She sinks to the grave

She retrieves the jagged blood stained stone

She leaves her peace

Her eyes well, the throat is tight

 

Figures emerge from shadows

She sees them:

Grandfather

Grandmother

She watches him

push her pregnant belly

down

crimson

dripdrips

She swims in her blood

 

She cannot scream

She cannot run

the blood too thick

 

The garden turns to ash

there is fog

No, it’s smoke

Cigarette smoke

She is inside the lung

His lung

She hears his cough

She can never forget:

dried blood

tiny black flies

She hears: the swarm

She drops the stones

She runs: to forget

before she hears them skip, plop, splash

the heart has stopped

the Mother-in-Law knows she knows:

the Mother Tongue                                                                                                             She screams:         Me voy a pegar!¹

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¹Me voy a pagar: (Voice of memory of broken Mexican-Spanish) I’m going to hit you (Spanish translation)