Last Day of OctPoWriMo

Sometimes the end can be the most delicious:

the salty rubble of potato chips;
hearty gold heel of good French bread;
syrup-soaked bottom pancake;
caramel apple dip finished off with a spoon.

Sometimes the end just sharpens disappointment:

flavorless ice dregs of Frappuccinos;
lukewarm slime that was a bubble bath;
waking too early to an urgent bladder;
damp coffee grounds invading the last sip.

Which end is this? Poetic ambiguity.

The Day Before

After tomorrow’s over, I’ll look back
and wonder how on earth I failed to see it:
the way clouds gathered thick, then seemed to crack
apart — a sky egg — over the city street;

the mangy cat that stared me in the eye;
the milk that spoiled a week before its date;
the toothpaste that began to calcify
inside the tube. I’ll fully recreate

today as a day of omens, prophecies
that ride the wind or hang in the windless air.
I’ll understand this tingle of unease
when it’s too late for suicide or prayer.

Past Loves: Day 29

For all the loves you’ve loved before
you’re still half listening at night,
half watching for the broken light
of footsteps paused outside the door.

But when you fall asleep at last,
alone and with no one to see,
you feel a cool relief to be
spared a reunion with the past.

Day 28: Hunger

I’ve seen the photographs of hungry children;
hundreds of them always flood my mail
because I ordered something, years ago,
out of a catalog of rosaries,
Moroccan leather Bibles, porcelain angels,
and silver crosses set with someone’s birth stone.
I don’t know what I ordered anymore —
books for a godson, jewelry for a niece.
Whatever it was, that gift has kept on giving:
a quarterly installment of gaunt cheeks,
thin leather hands, enormous dark eyes edged
with porcelain whites. They stare from under bills,
coupons, and ads. I know about as much
of hunger as they know about a sale
on curtain-rods at Target. When I toss
the junk mail out, I pause and save one piece.
Maybe I do need extra curtain-rods.

Day 27: Sleep

My dreams are full
of kittycats with lobster tails,
unraveling apartment walls,
and elevators underground
stuffed with chicken-wire skulls.

The dark is not afraid of me:
it’s always been too blind to see
the earwax-cave reality
that drips, like butter on sweet corn,
from sleep’s gelatinous tranquility.

The Silver Man


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the glimpse of a silver man
hanging motionless in the air
causes our steps to hesitate
as we pass through the zocalo

we have become accustomed
to the veil between reality
and dream slipping in this city
but we were unprepared for him

a tin bucket sits on the ground
gathering up my courage
I throw in five pesos
hold my breath waiting

the silver man stares straight ahead
without seeing me, he lifts
his hand and reaches out to me
in silence I take the slip of paper

he has handed me a gift
a message from the liminal space
in a language I barely comprehend
imparting his strange providence

I carry this revelation with me now
a memento of the magic that awaits
when we see with closed eyes
and listen with softly beating hearts

(Day 24: Reality)



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(Another golden shovel poem, using a line from “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath. Her words are revealed by reading the last word of each line below.)

What a curious photograph. In it, I
do not resemble myself. I am
golden, youthful, blonde. My silver
hair is undisclosed, and
it is difficult to discern the exact
lines around my eyes and mouth. I
postpone my decline in this image. I have
hidden my face in the sunlight. No
honest mirror shatters my preconceptions.

(Day 23: Next Chapter)

Horace Ode 1.11


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Today we were challenged to record ourselves reading poetry. Here is the link to my recording, where I read the Latin text in meter. A translation of the Latin follows.

Horace Ode 1.11

Do not ask—to know is a crime—what end for me, what end for you
the gods have given, Leuconoë, and do not test the Babylonian
numbers. How much better it is to endure whatever will be,
whether more winters, or whether Jupiter has alloted the final one,
which now weakens the Tyrrhenian sea on the opposing pumice rocks.
May you be wise, may you strain the wine, and may you cut back
long hope, with time being short. While we speak, jealous time
will have fled. Seize the day, trusting in the future as little as possible.

Bubbles Up Utterly


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Bottle of wine
Bottle of bubbles
Bubbles up
Bubbles of thought
Thought about it
Thought about you
You have no idea
You need to listen
Listen to music
Listen to the rain
Rain down on me
Rain on the windows
Windows roll down
Windows to the soul
Soul train
Train on the tracks
Train at my house
House of horrors
House of glass
Glass shattered
Glass heart
Heart in my throat
Heart in your hands
Hands at your neck
Hands me a letter
Letter of the law
Letter of intent
Intent to deceive
Intent to kill
Kill ’em with kindness
Kill me softly
Softly speak
Softly touch
Touch nine for guest services
Touch my heart deeply
Deeply diving
Deeply troubled
Troubled child
Troubled waters
Waters rushing
Waters the garden
Garden of Eden
Garden of Earthly Delights
Delights the senses
Delights utterly
Utterly in love
Utterly hopeless
In love


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