Into the Still Dark Morning
I donât want to budge, but
night is preparing to welcome day,
and I donât want to miss the play.
It will not happen soon again.
I want to be part of it.
To feel the wind on my face,
to hear the trees singing with bird chatter.
I must go now; the curtain is rising.
There will be transformations.
A different person will return,
and that is why I go out
Into the darkness.
April Comes to the Valley
I see egrets
fold unfold fold
upriver and down
white flecks tossed
against fresh green
The last of winter
makes a run to the top
drops a tight frost
but spring invites us
to a baby egret kind of day
A truck tinkles happy poetry
through tidy neighborhoods
baby egrets ask for ice cream
papa egret snacks on lizards
snapped from garden walls
The mother flaps anxious
warns of coyotes
about boys with smiles
that slide to the backseat
of their â57 Chevy
She says nothing
about spring in Montana
about a young girl
a handsome boy
until I find her poem
The reference to âBlue Flowersâ is a nod to her mother, Eleanor Weaver, which McLaughlin said she ânever understood.â
Workaday ...what did I know
of loveâs austere and lonely offices?
âRobert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays
Not yet allowed to cross the street
I waited patiently at the corner,
peering down the block, until he appeared
walking home from the F train.
I, who have
traveled the world,
seen many wonders,
believe that no
no safari thrill,
has ever compared
to the moment I would spot him,
my five-year-old heart racing,
small frame bouncing up and down,
waving, screaming Daddy, Daddy,
and he would laugh,
drop his briefcase,
lift me high above the world,
challenge me to guess
which sweaty palm held
a piece of bubblegum
or penny candy.
Oblivious to his
long and burdensome day,
I long assumed that my joy,
my earthshaking happiness,
was all that consumed us both.
They call her Paris
She is every romance
Her body wraps around me like sheâs known me all her life
And when she moves
Itâs like a tender trap I cannot escape
She guides me
Then I donât know where
She breathes me
And I no longer care
When she takes me
I know another kind of place
And back we go
Ethereal kinds of space
AhhhhhâŠ.ParisâŠ.elegant and bold
âRenee Di Palma
The war for peace The war for land
The war for resources
The war for empire
Dividing lines mark the earth
but sever the bodies
Walls build themselves
before the concrete is spun
The war for power
The war for revenge
The war for racial purity
Death elevated now
like a rising stock
its wand of chemicals
more valuable than
its slice by
bullet blade bomb
a death contest sponsored by Rules of War
nerves jangled into silence
The war for gods
The war for minds
The war for liberty
Too many wounds
from benign neglect
Who recovers with
All was if and maybe and meanwhile. The chorus
sang full of weed, a reflection on the acoustics
in the church, andâwhen does it ever seem all rightâ
When will that be again? The empirical
wish of a stupid requirement for happiness. Was that
what it was? And, they lived happily ever after is the phrase
perhaps you were looking for, a timid cool minute inside
your head when you used to believe otherwise, back in the slow
when time when it was not the new normal and, man,
it is not just us; it is global and inflated and then you know
it is terrifying. Did they take a census this year? 2020.
America, I seem to remember ten years ago
the government wanted to know our household income,
and what we did for a living.
This year? The form was all about age and race
and you could fill in whatever âotherâ you wanted.
Like a weakness, a mere description of how it was not
supposed to be.
Originally appeared in PANK
Love, all day I peer
out the window at the glass
canyons of the city, an abyss
stretching toward the mountains;
or maybe itâs my own life
reflected in the anonymity
of people and traffic.
I donât know.
I hate this city, landlocked,
insular, and suffocating
with its people who glare
at me. âAre you Spanish?â
Not even the memory of your smile
illuminates a better way for me to go,
an escape plan.
Lights flicker across the city,
spilling their gold. Light
has such a brief existence,
old as it is, dimming into a petalâs fall,
into shadows. Footsteps
and voices fade, dusk beckons.
Days, months, years pass
as I languish in this place.
When I am with you
Your words and smile are one.
Your arms go around me
and I am warm.
But when you go
your words darken into a maze,
with too many false exits
and entrances, and my life,
like Colfax Avenue
uncoils from the byways
and stretches into a snake
30 miles long
without glottis or tongue.
A YEAR LATER
Am Sleeping Beauty waking with
the kiss of Vaccination.
The seven dwarves who kept watch,
Loneliness, Deprivation, Fear, Unhappiness,
Despair, Sleepy and Dopey, off duty.
My eyes, awake now,
See new colors
Greens of spring
The white of my dogâs fur
After thirteen months of grey.
My friends are always in the next room,
I can hear their voices and their laughter,
Bright with sparkle like the ripples in a valley pool, late afternoon,
on someoneâs birthday.
My friends are always in 1975, or 86, or 2001,
drinking wine spo-dee-o-dee, seeing The Stones in San Francisco,
chasing Hollywood fame, living in a caboose, running afoul of the law,
strutting on stages, slinging hash, praying, working for Vidal Sassoon,
falling in love and waiting for the end of the world.
My friends sit forever around a campfire,
under California coastal shooting stars,
ribald voices raised beneath the moon until silenced by the park ranger,
for singing âPuff the Magic Dragonâ too loud.
My friends are always just up ahead,
walking a Santa Barbara hillside trail, one darkest, moonless night,
there I dropped behind, daring to feel embraced by blackness,
got scared and ran to catch up with them.
My friends are always at the bar of the Rosarito Beach Hotel,
or Vasquez Rocks, The Hollywood Bowl, lost for eternity in a corn maze,
at the Dodger game, coloring Easter Eggs, doing Vegas,
or standing at the edge of the sea.
My friends are right over there, in Lorraineâs backyard,
standing in a circle, children too, singing a Christmas carol,
all lit up with comradery, ever alive in the glow of that holy night.
And there I keep them very well.
In This House
in this house
where a dining table would be
is an open floor
and this morning
a slow dance
till inside eyes see
forested sun dappled
wildfire forged beauty
till salty tears fall and
honeysuckled vines rise
round ankles and wise hips
dragonflies alight fingertips
till you feel the feast
you could keep laying
rolling swinging swaying
resolving into staying
revving in stillness
till glistening you
sense the sweetness
we all crave
is held here
in our own heart
ripe to hold us
no matter how long
weâve been hungry
hours years lifetimes
we are home
I was a small Dandelion growing in the ground
Then my heart began to grow when you first came around
I was a weed, so young and weak
My heart just fell beneath your feet
I saw your face and could barely speak.
My heart is yours until the end
When Iâm old and grey and canât even bend
Your strength still carries me away
You made me who I am today
What good would life be if I didnât have you
Your Wisdom, Laughter and all you do.
The Dandelion is now a Rose
With many thorns sometimes exposed
My heart has never changed you see
Since the day you proposed to me.