Ground Cherry

Outside, a July sky,
above the weedy meadow,

amid stalks of golden rye,
I bow to you, “Hello,

from what cold, clear bottle
did you pop — from which
mother’s tongue-tie unknot?
Belladonna, bewitch

the moon. Stop daylight
burning. Ashy blonde
beauty, by the night-
shade, you abscond

with my heart. A-
trophy by dumb
fingers at play
pick-pick til numb,

black, soiled nails.
Purple stem.
Paper veil.
River-worn hem.

Felled stitch.
Raw edge.
Mouth itch.
Black dredge.

Pleased
to
eat
you.

slipping off-
shoulder —your dress—
to
the
ground .

pick
echoes
tick tick
daylight burns
ashes ashes
falling
down

the sky is
so blue
against you
yellow-
brown
nearly
sepia

from what vintage
from what
cold clear bottle
did you pop
from cherry cola
from spicy mustard
or from

the mother
not too soon
to forget
belladonna
beneath
the stars
dark green

shoots
arrow
to rib
poison
to vein
atroph
y

by the
nightshade
you are
so good
goodness knows
with love
comes

sacrifice
contentment
with twilight
lying
in wait
for slipping

off
shoulder
your dress
to the ground

This Land is Our Land

How many watches had it been,
when I first caught sight of Paradise?

Seven – or is that the first digit
to come to mind?

Regardless, I would have kept kissing the dry land,
until it soaked in my sins,
had you not been
standing at my bower,
with tape
and parrot flowers.

The ship was splintered,
worse that any storm
or winter could do;
my lips, too.

Yet, I was fixed

on the mountains in the distance,
skirted in Doug Fir forest,
and decked with heavy fruits
(pear, apple, persimmon,
perpetually in season),
suspended in mist.

Never had I encountered a landscape,
as hard as it was soft,
particularly at the edges,
where rocky bluffs
terminate to sand,
and primrose grows
in mats that prick,
rather than provide respite
for the sick.

Yet, I was fixed

of the pain I had long-held,
from believing myself unhomeable
outside of childhood.

Or, perhaps, restored

to original condition:
an only daughter of an only parent,
(for which the treatment is
undivided affection
and absolute understanding).

How many men had it been,
when I first washed up on Paradise?

Seven – or is that the first digit
to come to mind?

Regardless, I would have kept gripping the shore,
until I was born into safety,
and then trained out of it again,
had you not offered more:

Your hand, a surrogate for my father.
Your land, for my Fatherland.

 

Kelsey

For Kelsey Hoffman
DSC01558
meaning
“from the ship’s island,”
which is the one, let’s say,
that draws people in,
like the eyes of a lady,
with their fine lines
and fine-tuned vision,
which some people call
experience; that tames
wanderlust, in women,
especially, by just asking:
“Would you like to moor?”
straightforward and sure,
so unlike their main men
from the mainlaind,
who take perpetual availability
for permission to go
…radio silent…
She is tiller of victory gardens,
where grow autonomy
for her people,
who are all people,
and also vegetables
like: red peppers,
white corn,
blue hubbard squash,
or whatever color,
they ask
to be
drawn in.

Father’s Day

Oh, what a day
to get out
with the sun
no, not up
that too easy
waking is
very normal and very common
an action that requires no will
unlike working
which 66% do at-will
in exchange for small change
and less development of skill
that too hard
treating people like people is
very abnormal and very uncommon

On Sundays,
father gets out
just for fun
no, not church
that too easy
praying is
very close to talking on the phone
with someone who takes efficiency
…very seriously…
like his boss’s boss
or the call out with a sick kid
in exchange for 2 days of rest
counting Sunday
except this one
being a holiday

I get out
despite rain clouds
in spite of depression
because I get it
how my burned daylight
could be conflated
with disrespect
for parents who work
for every father in my lineage
especially Dad
who still puts in overtime
for no pay
but the security
that his job is safe
thereby his house is safe
should there ever come
a sick kid
knocking
to come in.

April Fools

DSC03019
Come in, little lamb.
Let me teach:
“How to Bake a Shepherd’s Pie”
In as many days as it takes
For us to die.
That’s not to say
You’re slow at learning
or Death is coming quick.
Don’t be stupid.

Don’t be the Jack who cries
at tripping the candlestick.
Boy, that’s no wolf or foul,
Just a shadow [of doubt].
Be nimble. Hear me out.
Bend your ear to an idea
of Education by which
Practice makes better
is non sequitur.

How to define better,
When tastes change
With the season;
When butter is subject
To become too rich
For no certain reason?
Don’t.
Define your practice.

Trust that interest
And appreciation
For the Arts
Are a kind of devotion
In themselves,
Of greater value than
Any technical skill
You master,
Enough.

You went out like a lion,
With great fortitude,
In April showers
That still may blow
Our house down.
You went out
For Worcestershire sauce.  

Because the recipe
Called for 1 teaspoon
And we had none;
Because this was to be the meal
That set everything right
That made us better
If not perfect
Forever.

Now, at the front steps
Empty-handed,
You kowtow to me,
As if I don’t understand
That there will be days
When handles fly off,
Because we choose
To carry our baggage
Differently.

Come in, little lamb.
Let me teach:
“How to Make it Work”
In as many days
As you are willing
To show up,
Wet and soiled,
But God-willed
To learn.