Sunday, November 24, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 187: i am a nymph

i am a nymph

i am a nymph from the cave of Diana.
i saw Apollo overhead and did not warn my queen,
blew kisses to Collins
(because he smiled at where i stood).

i am a dryad in a woodless forest.
no one else saw Armstrong take his step.
the plain was bare (except for me)
when Aldrin locked the door to go.

i am a virgin in love with mortal men.
when Irwin came, i touched the small of his back
and did not turn him into a stag.
as Scott walked by, i stole an envelope from his pants pocket,
opened it later, and cried to find it empty.

i was the only bikini on the beach
when Young and Duke drove by.
how i longed for a ride in their buggy!
i would have taken them to the sargasso sea
and taught them how to float
but they did not whistle at me,
did not stop.  those boys.

i am the loneliest girl in the world.
(i pretended not to notice
when Apollo spurned my mistress.)
i would have sold my immortality for a kiss
but no one asked my name.

i sat near the old chariot, waiting,
when the mistress of the hunt awoke,
Artemis with her shield of blue,
lance of darkest night.  she lifted
one eyelid the size of my whole self,
moved her white, anorthosite lips
and asked why i had left her side.

i told her of the mortal men
and their flimsy, clever armor,
their hands like children's mittens,
their bodies like balloons.
i confessed my love and hope
though i feared the goddess's rage.

she did not curse me.
she did not raise her spear to smite the ground
but laughed, instead, and swore to me
they would never return.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 186: Cause for Celebration

Cause for Celebration

Like, sorry for drinking
the last bottle of champagne.
My memory is fuzzy but
I remember I couldn't taste it.

And sorry for fighting
with your friend
who's name I don't recall.
How did that start, anyway?
I have rug burns on my elbows
and a bruise on my forehead.

It's embarrassing that I was sick
although I managed to confine it
to your bathroom, my shirt, and one shoe.
I think I used up
all your paper towels.

Oh, and thanks for the shirt.
I don't remember you giving it to me
but you must have.  That was nice.

I'm happy you're engaged, now.
That green sweater you gave her looked
as good as the ring, which was pretty.
I hope you enjoyed your party
and I hope I did, too.
I'll give you the shirt back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 185: Autumn of Life

Autumn of Life

Take the scythe, it's morning
and the lost, September clouds hang low.
We'll gather corn for breakfast
as the sun burns through the fog.
Crows cry unseen from the mist;
a bob-white answers from the field of uncut grass.

Crack open an ear of corn
and all of nature hears it.
Sparrows hush.  The crows return to perch.
There are golden threads in my hands
and golden strands on the edge of heaven.
The cloud is lifting. 
A gust of cold air blows over.
Here the angels come
to their own harvest.

- Originally published as "Scythe" in Frederick Arts

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 184: That's Okay

That's Okay

When I drink cheap beer and
shiver at the bitterness,
I think of you.
When I wonder about my best of friends,
my late-night talker,
my hand to hold,
it's you.

When I remember bodies together,
not sweaty or sexy,
just cool and naked,
lying on the sheets,
When I recall a head on my arm,
drool on my shoulder,
smell of morning air,
a silky head,
it's you, you.
It's you I think of
when I get lonely.  It's you I think of
when I'm in bed with others.
It was you when a woman rolled close
and asked me,
"What are you thinking?"
I had to leave her,
that woman.

When I go running late at night,
dog panting at my heels,
I feel light because of you.
When I overeat with relatives,
pressed upon with yams and gravy,
I say No more! because of you.
All these years I've remembered you,
so keen and sharp in waking hours and dreams,
and when we met again, your freckles and your beauty and
you're a full-grown woman now and
something in me just fell apart,
so happy and so sad all at once,
and the morning sun behind you,
shining from your bedroom glass,
from all the windows of your house,
blazing and sharp and cutting me;
let it cut, I thought,
and the light from blue-gray eyes,
a scratch, however deep, let it cut.

In your eyes I could see
I had lost you, never had you, except of course
as the friend you forever are,
full of joy and hug and glowing heart,
flowing up through the blue and gray.
It was a little awkward
and when you held my hand I trembled.
I was ill with joy and sorrow that day.
When we turned to leave,
when you closed your car door, I knew
it had been you,
it had never been you.

When my friends asked why I scowled,
when they got drunk with me,
swam with me,
took me on a roller coaster,
upside down through the sky,
it was you I saw.
When they took me to the ocean
and I jumped off the wharf,
they asked me if I felt fear
but no, I felt you.

Across the hundred miles I feel you
and worry you're embarrassed by
my awkwardness that day.
Don't be shy of all my shyness
or pained by all my pain.
Just give me time and all your friendship
and everything will be okay.
I had to write to tell you
everything will be okay
because everything will be, it will.