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To all of you who are mothers and all of you who have mothers, here are three poems to celebrate the most rewarding, incredible, challenging and primary relationship of our lives. I am super lucky to have an amazing mom, and Mom, I am continually in awe of you. The older my kids get, the more I wonder how you managed to parent with so much grace and joy and confidence.

These poems were previously published in Telluride Inside and Out a few years ago … I missed the deadline to send new poems this year! Thanks Sus, for finding some to print!

 

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Here are two poems published today in Telluride Inside & Out.

Thanksgiving Poems

Wishing you grace all day, friends,

 

Rosemerry

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Dear Mrs. Jones

Dear Mrs. Jones,

Please accept my resignation.
I know you have come
to expect me beside you.
What a long time we have
been at this together.
Husbands and houses
and graduate degrees,
children and book deals
and dress sizes.
It would be easy to blame
my torn hamstring.
It’s just gotten so hard
to keep up. Painful, even.
But that isn’t it.
Sometimes I notice
that I forget you, your
perfect complexion, your
six-figure advances, your
obedient children, your yacht,
and life is a whole lot more lovely then.
Mrs. Jones, I get seasick.
I do not want the yacht.

Sincerely,

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standing in the snow
dreaming of standing
in the snow

*

my daggers
letting them gather dust
regardless who walks in

*

starting a fire
remembering even good logs
need space to burn

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Two at Night

staring at stars
with these eyes made of
old stars

*

what is your address?
I ask my girl, hoping she’ll say
earth

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your hand
even when you’re not here
it holds me

*

pearls inside her
luster
turns to flesh

*

this algal strand
same blueprint with a twist
this milky way

*

climbing the rungs
of myself, oh silly woman
still reaching

*

bliss
not the new green bud itself
but the noticing

*

laughing at me
all those angels
I never believed in

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with Rumi’s quotes from Undressing, trans. Coleman Barks.

I have just pulled out
my best armor and scrubbed
it with Kroger oven cleaner,

the only thing strong enough
in my cupboard to pull out
the metal’s intrinsic shine.

It glitters as I step
into the tall, silver legs,
the breast plate shimmers

in the afternoon sun,
and Rumi walks into the room
and pushes me with his hand.

I fall like a pin, like a tree, like a woman,
and clatter and clang echo
all around the room.

“Learn the alchemy true human beings know,”
Rumi says. “The moment you accept
what troubles you’ve been given,

the door will open.”
I struggle to stand and he tickles me
under the arms where the armor

exposes my skin.
“Joke with torment brought by the friend,”
he says. I stick out my tongue at him.

I clatter and clank and fail to stand.
This time he sits on the wooden floor beside me
and motions for me to be still.

The armor is uncomfortable,
and his fingers so soft as he cradles my face.
“Sorrows are the rags of old clothes

that serve to cover,” he says. “Take them off.”
“But I’m scared,” I tell him.
“I’m under attack.”

He looks at the empty room.
I want to tell him about
the woman who stabbed

at my back today, stabbed
from a hundred miles away. And
the man who would eat me alive.

But the space grows bigger all around us,
inside us, and the armor, it disappears.
It’s as if it the armor were never here.

Nothing left. Not a clang,
not a clunk, not a screw.
I am naked in the open room

with the sunlight reaching through.
And Rumi, he is gone.
No one here but quietude.

And the long, long sword.
And the butcher knife. And a note
in Persian script:

“Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade,”
Rumi has written, “And PS: That undressing
and the naked body underneath,

that is the sweetness that comes
after grief.” Goosebumps
rise on my naked arms, my belly, my chest.

A breeze goes over my cheek.
I do not reach for the robe
nearby, do not shrink

from the weaponry. I sit.
And doors I never knew were there
swing wide, wide open.

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