Posts Tagged ‘longing’

One Trick



seeing them on the branch

the bright yellow tanagers

gone until summer

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Parched Heart




all day the gray scent

of distant rain—

ripe apple just out of reach

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Always Arriving,




the train

just around

the long curve,

with its cars full

of velvet-lined songs

and sparkling tomorrows.

I stand at the edge of the rails

my good arm always already raised

and waving, afraid that when the train

finally arrives, the conductor will smile and

wave back as the train trundles merrily

along the track, afraid he’ll mistake

my gesture for a greeting, not

seeing I’m trying to wave

the engine down. I have

songs in my pockets. I

learn the joy of

spending them

on the curve.


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In the Last Flush of Summer

oh but I swear

it smelled so sweet today,

that rose bush

we didn’t plant together

all those years ago

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I’m tired of wishing longing’s hold would soften,
tired, I’m tired of wishing I could steer.
Though what’s the use in steering when so often
after steering wishward, I’m still here,
yes, here again, same face, same empty pocket,
same despair. But not hysterical—
too tired to rail. Exhaustion’s tourniquet
is good for that, at least. No oracle
worth reading here. They never forecast what
I wish to see. No shaman, no, no priest
worth heeding. They just tell me I should cut
my wishing, and that’s never helped the least.
Of course I wish to shelf these wishes, shelf
the shelf. But everywhere I turn, myself.

This sonnet was inspired by an exercise I did yesterday on the plane on the way home … I saw my good friend Karen Glenn had suggested in her weekly poem email that we might want to write a sonnet with 14 line end words that she gave us … so I did!

You might want to do the same thing … just take the last words off each line and write your way into them. She had a poem about aging vampires … and mine turned out in another voice, too … funny to see what happens when certain words are given to you …

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I would like to find you
in the shade of an apricot tree
with rounded white petals
caught in your hair
and the hypnotic humming
of bees in our ears,
and we would lie there
draped in the scent
of warm sage and sweet bloom
and stare up at the blue
through the flowering limbs
and forget who we are
for just long enough, perhaps,
that anything could happen.

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these crazy thoughts
cross the center line, play chicken
with all other thoughts


in the sun glazed pond
not one sandhill crane—
the beauty of wanting


just when the bonfire
is too big to control—
throwing in another stick

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and saying yes to the world as it is,
my body craves what it craves.
Oh this terrible, beautiful bright stitch of longing
sewn into my breath
with red, red thread,
it pulls, tighter and tighter,
then catches on something
deep in my core,
and some voice,
is it mine? insists,
more, more, I want more.

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how many times
I have burned it
that letter
you never

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They are large, the breasts,
more than two handfuls’ worth.

I move the soft cloth over them
slowly, gently, though she is bronze

and does not require tenderness.
I give her tenderness. I touch her

the way I long to be touched,
unhurried, deliberate, leisurely.

Outside the window, the cottonwood trees
are as naked as she is. Last night,

I saw the full moon in their limbs
and my thoughts let fall all their leaves.

I want the full moon to linger on me
the way I linger now on the narrow stretch

of her body, putting a shine on every
inch. She is lovely, God, she is lovely,

with her head flung back and her
arm flung high, staring at the world

with her unchanging eyes.
Through the window, I watch

as no birds fly from tree to tree.
The emptiness between the limbs

is empty. My thoughts grow
faintly green.

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