I Like How You Spend Your Time

I like how you spend your time
breathing—
into your pelvic fire,
to help signal a feeling of release,
balancing contentment with desire,
because it is necessary for holiness.

I like how you spend your time
eating—
what makes you pucker:
green tea, Montmorency cherries;
steeling yourself for loose hunger,
and for whomever says: Yes, please.

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Sonnet after Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors”

This house of fine fruit, melon,
the yeasty tendrils

I’ve eaten
a two train riddle 

boarded new-minted apples
in a loaf’s bag
with O syllables: 
off, on. No big —

getting fat, in calf-cow stage
I’m a rising nine, 
strolling in red timbers — 
I’m fine 

means
still green.

Juliet Balcony

The best human solution to the problem of grief

over a lost sense of being outdoors,
combined with fear of being found out
is the Juliet balcony, a slight protrusion towards
Step 1: Admit powerlessness.

Forecasters say heavy rains, pushing east-southeast,
could knock it out on Monday morning,
and what’s worse, lift my seedlings from their pots,
and plant them into the alley.

I want to get back into circulation, free-flowing
words that pop out of nowhere,
like the bright pink head of that purple finch there,
with forward-facing toes gripped around
a wild knot of power.

I admit I lack the same command of iambic feet,
but my deeply sincere tone, and good humor alone
could help others get through the day;
namely, the zinnias, otherwise to be washed
beyond the reach of roots by May.

So, I switch the latch lock off, and rise to join them
at the balustrade, where I recite a mantra:
…to accept the things I cannot change…
and there’s something slightly
Shakespearean about it now.

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.

 

Signs

When the pencil skirt fits,
but doesn’t sit
at the hips,
as does the cyclist,
who would rather
be caught dead
than with a bulge,
even if it’s just
an extra bunch
of fabric;
and so she walks,
in measured steps,
passing where
the sidewalk ends,
and then, drops off
into dirt,
until the final block,
where precision goes
to posture,
and so go the toes
– over the lip –
and then,
the heals,
and then,
one palm,
one knee,
and the
stack of crepes
planned to be
for everyone.

When the rice is simmering,
and asks for stirring,
just occasionally,
and so she drops
the wooden spoon,
takes up the sword,
and decides,
right then,
and there,
to prepare
kimchi
for winter,
which is yet
months away,
unlike the hand
on the timer,
which begets
a ten-second
countdown,
“Oh shit,”
and the other
on the blade,
“Oh shit,”
there is
salt
in a wound,
and it is time to move
back to the pot,
with rice searing
to its bottom.

When the appetite,
stirs the night,
she slips
to the cupboard,
looks in,
up, top,
middle,
bottom,
but sees nothing
with nearsighted eyes,
which is why,
her past self
put out
the one-half
cocoa-carob
energy bar,
on the counter,
where apparently
it is heir apparent
for ants play,
because something
tastes like
plus two grams
of protein,
and feels like
soda,
“Fizz,
boom,
pop!”
on her tongue.

When she arrives, at last,
not merely late
but also hungry,
and asking
for further
accommodation,
like a band aid,
a courtesy call,
a chance to sit,
it might be
a sign of immaturity,
or being irresponsible,
or at the end
of a misguided hike,
but more likely,
of the universal struggle,
of learning to live
outside the bubble,
where there
are new types
of pressure,
on the air,
to focus
on marks
in the floor,
to tune out
the sink of dirty dishes,
empty the mind,
and then,
get back to work.