Empty Suitcase (a poem)

Empty Suitcase

Some people carry it all.

different journeys, different places

sunny voices, stormy faces

arms that hold and hands that hurt

every silken tattered shirt

backs droop, shoulders sag

death grip on the heavy bag

burdened weight of moments gone

and the train rolls on, the train rolls on.

She learned to travel light.

skim the stories, brief cold look

take it in, then close the book

voices blur, words grayed

people drift and memories fade

blend the gray and golden days

empty suitcase, nothing stays

mouth smiles, heart withdrawn

as the train rolls on and on and on.

lonely woman suitcase wandering

Don’t Play That Tune (Two Poems)

listening for God

The Voice of God

So I thought God spoke

with a still, soft whisper

like the way the wind breathes life

into the trees and makes

the flowers dance

in the sunlight.

And I thought God moved

through gentle hands

that touch, that build

up the people when they’re down

and connected one heart to the next

like some kind of

love super highway.

So I thought.

But then came this group and that

With blanks faces and empty eyes

That look past the rest of us

‘Cause they’re wise

and we’re nothing.

They lift their hands in worship

to the signs they hold

and let their voices ring

like alarm bells

telling us the end is near

we’d better fear

we’d better wipe our faces clean

cause the world is mean

and the only God who saves

has the loudest voice and a face

like the President.

(Well you can keep your President).

But if I sit here in my dirty world

and hold someone’s hand

and let the sun shine

warm on my face

and feel the breeze lift my hair

I can almost hear the still small voice of

God – are you there?

the piano keys

Don’t Play That Tune

Shh…

Your hand lingers inches from stroking

the piano keys.

Don’t play that tune,

the one that sings the scales of

my inner room

the one that knows the rhythm

of my shattered heart

the song that speaks of words

and love, and God, and everything

that wants to shake my spirit inside out, and

everything that wants to shock

the sleeper back to life.

Shh…

It is a dangerous tune.

I place a finger on your trembling lips

that you cannot breathe a note

and make me taste

the salty sea.

Just like this, I must stay still

Until

Until

Shh…

Green (A Poem)

Green

In those days, the water ran clear.

The warm air carried the sweet perfume

of summer fruit

and the green was soft and mossy underfoot

and the green was cool and shady overhead

and the green was a melody that surrounded her.

But the world shook  green in her pocket

and changed its mind

turning the water to mud

plucking the fruit from the barren branches

scorching with rays that sucked dry the bones

of the earth.

And she wandered, bare feet sliced by the

sharp stones along her path,

a desperate thirst burning her throat and stealing

her voice.

Her sanity was a pocket

In which she held a treasure as precious as

the life of a child,

as essential as laughter

as salt, as rain.

It was a patch of green – only a remnant

but it breathed, and it cooled, and it quenched.

One small oasis for the journey

One small reprieve

as she trudged through the wasteland

living for her memories

knowing that the days of green

could never return

but holding them still

and dancing to the whispers

of the melody that

used to play.

Watching Starlings

other women are starlings

Watching Starlings

Often, other women appear to me

like a flock of starlings

moving together in a natural dance

twittering in unison

their songs

without a gasp, without a sigh

fluttering wings together to catch the air

and paint the sky

 

I am but a fish

who has lost her school

and swims near the surface so as to see

the flight of the starlings

and wonder

and wish

to know the lyrics that they sing

to feel the wind and know the air

and join their sky with wings

 

lone fish

Mirando los estorninos

A menudo, las otras mujeres me parecen
como una bandada de estorninos
moviéndose juntos en una danza natural
gorjeando al unísono
sus canciones
sin tomar aliento, sin un suspiro
aleteando las alas juntos para agarrar el aire
y pintar el cielo.

No soy más que una pez
que ha perdido su escuela
y nada cerca de la superficie para ver
el vuelo de los estorninos
y preguntarse
y desear
conocer las letras que cantan
sentir el viento y conocer el aire
y unirse a su cielo con alas

Hands

The health of my grandmother, the nonagenarian, is beginning to fade. Today I visited her in the hospital. We talked about family and laughed together, although she did not remember at all who I was. But I happily kissed her warm, soft cheek and gently held her fragile hands as we shared a few moments together in love.
image

HANDS

I see her
across a small pool
every flutter, every line
soft folds of pale skin
beneath sterile lights
dark eyes that look back
in wonder and confusion
and her hands
so like mine
once strong and smooth
two small doves
at rest

She sees me
across a wide ocean
a shadow on a distant beach
who smiles
with the mouth of her daughter
and reminds her of
a forgotten home
in some distant time
when her hands
were like mine
and full, and never
at rest

MANOS

La veo
a través de un charco
cada aleteo, cada arruga
pliegues suaves de piel pálida
bajo las luces estériles
ojos oscuros que miran hacia mi
con asombro y confusión
y sus manos
tan como las mia
una vez fuertes y lisas
dos palomitas
en reposo

Ella me ve
a través de un vasto océano
una sombra en una playa lejana
quien sonríe
con la boca de su hija
y la recuerda a
una casa olvidada
un tiempo distante
cuando sus manos
fueron como las mia
y llenas, y nunca
en reposo

The Clocks (A Poem of Auld Lang Syne)

NewYearsEveI miss the old clocks

which used to tick, tick, tick

away the moments

then send them away on waves

of forgetting.

I do not want these memories

of warm, golden rooms

filled with children playing and feasts

of laughter,

the clink of bubbling glasses and

midnight cheers

into the new morning.

Now the calendar is done, only

empty pages

thrown away without a send-off

and a clock that only stares back, unblinking

as my heavy heart recalls

our auld lang syne

Just Another Christmas

20121212-163416.jpg

Just Another Christmas

So this woman sees me standing there

in line

at the store full of plastic and junk and

tiny lights that blink

and cash registers chiming

like canned holiday tunes.

And she smiles all wide

and spreads out her hands

like she wants to say,

“It’s Christmas. You should be happy

and merry and shit.”

So I flash her the quick-fake smile

that you have to give

to strangers

and look away

because who is she?

And why should I care that it’s

just another Christmas

full of rich people who aren’t me

wasting their rent money on shiny paper

and battery toys and clothes

that ain’t gonna fit anyway?

She don’t know that the smell of pine

makes my eyes water and my heart twist up

like an old rag

from those memories

of music and love

when Christmas smelled like a perfect

peppermint candy cane hanging on a tree,

not just another day of

empty stomachs and

empty pockets except for

$2.75

to stand in this line

to buy me one loaf of bread.

Then the cash register chimes

in front of me

and that lady has the nerve to

reach over me

and give the guy some money.

Then she walks away with nothing

and I walk out of that store with

a loaf of bread

$2.75

and one perfect striped

peppermint candy cane

that smelled like

Christmas.

20121212-163446.jpg

The Wind is a Lover (Poems about the Elements)

The Sad and the Lonely

Why is it said that the rain is a sad thing

and the gray sky a darkened face

of furrowed brows

and tears?

Sadness is a small, dark place

of thick, slow earth

stagnant and cold

where spirits crawl and hide from light.

Why do we hear in the wind

a lonely howl

a cry for help

from a desperate soul?

Loneliness cannot howl nor cry

For the lonely are those

prisoners of themselves

whose voices are never heard.

El Viento es un amante que busca la tierra

The Wind is a Lover

The wind is a lover

who searches the earth

until he finds her.

His invisible fingers caress her skin

and stroke her hair.

He serenades his lover

with tender ballads

and calls out with

cries of passion

so that all can hear

that he is in love.

El Viento es un amante

El Viento es un amante

El viento es un amante
que busca por todo el mundo
hasta que la encuentra.
Sus dedos invisibles tocan suavemente su piel
y acariciarla el pelo.
Él da serenatas a su amante
con baladas tiernas
y grita con
gritos de pasión
para que todos puedan oír
que él está enamorado.

Hero

Not with might, nor weapons of war

Without arrows or sword

No grand arrival by sky

nor sleek car

nor flash of color and sound

There are no parades of honor

for the shadow that slips past shade

to face Apollo

and knit the clouds together

to bring the rain.

You Are the Garden / Eres el jardín

You Are the Garden

 

Don’t you see

that you are the garden?

It is you who lies in wait

patiently beneath the cool autumn sun

bearing the winter’s cold darkness

absorbing the rains of spring

waiting

until the pale green shoots emerge

from within your depths

growing and curling around you

with leaves unfurled like wings

and the fragrant sigh

of delicate blossoms.

Her beauty springs forth

from the life within you

and because of her

the garden has beauty.

for you the flowers bloom

Eres el jardín

 

¿No ves

que tú eres el jardín?

Eres tú que esperas

pacientemente bajo el sol fresco del otoño

aguantando el frío oscuro del invierno

absorbiendo las lluvias de la primavera

esperando

hasta que los brotes de verde pálido emergen

desde tus profundidades

creciendo y enroscandose alrededor de ti

con hojas desplegadas como alas

y el suspiro fragante

de flores delicadas.

Su belleza brota

de la vida en tu interior

y debido a ella

el jardín tiene belleza.

Let’s Be Young Forever / Por Siempre Joven

Let’s Be Young Forever

 

Your hand clasped in mine

as we tiptoe in bare feet

across the cool, damp grass to the edge of night

and leap

together beyond the veil of time

to when the sunshine warmed our skin

and the mysteries of life were only

things to be pondered

while naming the clouds above our heads

and the only sounds were laughter and music and

love was like breathing.

Take my hand, and we will

run, run, run

across the flowered fields

and fly into the rising sun

forever young

forever young

forever young with you at my side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Por siempre joven

 

Me agarras de la mano

Cuando caminamos de puntillas, descalzo

través de la hierba fresca y húmeda

hacia el borde de la noche

y saltar juntos

más allá del velo del tiempo

a cuando el sol calentaba nuestra piel

y los misterios de la vida eran solamente

cosas que se consideraban

mientras que nombrando las nubes encima de nuestras cabezas

y los únicos sonidos eran de risa y música, y

el amor era como respirar.

Toma mi mano, y vamos a

Correr, correr, correr

Traves de los campos de flores

y volar hacia el sol naciente

por siempre joven

por siempre joven