Chorio

I came so close to Death
I could see the color of her unblinking eyes
They were indigo
The same dark blue as those of my husband
The same as the eyes of my newborn daughter
a few weeks later with or without me.
Death stared me down to an ache
taunting
just long enough to make me taste the loss of that blue, that all-mine ocean
And then
She let me pass

last samurai (upon reading Helen DeWitt)

Grammars and vocabularies

Kanji, Alphabets,

A single page of translated and footnoted Greek

say, from the Iliad

Which could serve, a thousand years hence, as a key to the scriptures and literatures of human civilization in the 21st Century

The mind must somehow

outlive and live outside of the body

and until this planet casts us off

Words will drape and swim around her

Mind will stand stubborn in the warp and the woof

of her garment

 

it’s like this

At three forty something a.m
I lay beneath the horsehair blanket
of your frustration.
You trilled and sobbed kicked and grabbed your feet.
You rolled and yelled
between your fathers feigned sleep and mine.
Finally he put a hand
on your chest and said “shhh. It’s too early. Close your eyes.”
You glanced at him,
Turned your head away, bucked and wailed.
I imagined getting up, getting dressed,
and leaving the house.
I would walk, alone,
to Happy Donuts.
I would drink  caffeinated coffee and eat a sugar donut
while looking out the window at the dark empty parking lot.
Then, I would walk down to the Berkeley Amtrak station.
I’d arrive just as a train pulled in, and I’d get on board.
I would ride and sleep and ride
until some place looked nice through the window,
Then I’d get off and get a job and a room to live in and start seriously working
on my great American novel.
I snapped out of it.
Who am I kidding?
It would take them three days to find me and drag me back.
Then,
You rolled towards me. Little fat hands clasped under your chin as if in prayer.
You breathed in once, deeply, beside my breast and then,
quiet.
A miracle.

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painting by G.F Marlier

Before

I was once a flowering branch

And tonguekissed

The pride of Amarillo

Leaning across a sticky table in a smoky petite jazz spot in the val de grace

Yes i once clowned at a large mirror in a dim vestibule with the moonglow oracle of bangladesh

I once sat atop a mountain of winter rubble at abandoned coney island and i once dove naked into cheat lake just as the first thunder broke and rolled down the valley like gods bowling ball and the rain came down in sheets so cold it was shelter we sought in the warmer lake water

And i threw back my head and laughed

And all this before i was

Your mother

Jean

My husband’s grandmother has lost many of her teeth
but she put on blue eyeliner for my visit.
She says, “the next time you see me, I’ll look very different”,
and lets out a resilient noise that I’m reluctant to name
knowing I lack the aptitude to name it well and fairly.
She is more beautiful at 90 than she was when I first met her at 88
having foregone hair dye, her hair now white, and long, not messy but uncoiffed
and not wearing an “outfit” complete with flashy cheap handbag,
There is nothing between us to distract or to dull the effect of her eyes.
Her eyes are a pale electric greenish-blue
become striking as they’ve receded into the shadows
beneath her sharper brow-bones.
Jean says, “let me tell you something about music”.
As a child, she loved a piece called Falling Waters
because, she says,
“I imagined how you would choreograph a dance to it”
so she taught herself to play it, by ear.
after two lessons, the piano teacher told the Scottish sisters who had adopted her
out of foster care, and who wanted to encourage her ability,
“I will not teach Jean.
She hears the music
she will always hear it
you will never get her
to read it off a page”.

soft tectonics

A body is a wave                                                                                                                                    a seeming-sudden lift of matter                                                                                                    and it’s immeasurably gradual dispersal

This is a soft tectonics                                                                                                                            I will not mention millions of years, no, a few decades if we’re lucky

and how boldly foolish to say “luck”.                                                                                        What is this “luck” ?

We are the only species, the only life-form to have invented                                                     such a word, such a concept.

Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say:

Sometimes the indifferent heft of Chance lands upon you and sometimes                                 it drops its weight on someone else                                                                                                  or in the wilderness, unwitnessed?

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  • painting by g.f marlier