My lucky fill-in-the-blank.
How does an object earn
our devotion, and how come
certain items yield favorable
outcomes. The heavy clusters
of green plastic grapes dangling
from my earlobes, chosen in
fourth grade to help me pass
my math tests, which,
apparently, conjured three
separate and unexpected fire
alarms in school. You don’t
know a belonging is lucky until
something good happens while
you’re holding it. The blue
guitar pick on the floor of
the post office, waiting for me.
When I drink from the coffee mug
with my name painted in black
script across it, the day will be
good, or will improve. The trick
is to recognize the good luck charm
amidst the junk surrounding you,
the gold lamp with its belly full
of a genie in a headlock versus
the gold lamp full of nothing.
Talismans and Treasures
Civil War soldiers sewed envelopes
in their uniforms, a way to find
loved ones even in death.
Refugees of the twentieth century stitched
jewels into seams,
mobility of wealth.
In this century, we will save
seeds in our shoes
as we flee the rising seas.
Each century hopes that we’ve tucked
the right talismans into our margins,
that we’ll sow a new life.
We yearn for a future time
when we’ll be reunited
with all that we treasure.
We all hope for a Paradise
of integration, lost limbs, lost
loved ones, all our treasures returned.
that you were waiting, wrong bay
or in your car or late and that
is another number i am calling
accidentally, with your voice message or
the way you pass on the blind has run
its luck. so back to the hotel where
once i fled from a bear with miscolored
flesh colors and turquoise key in pocket
and you said looking like rotten fruit.
house on the hill and the hours that passed
between empty plates, i forget
about a path is a path
is that and this happened too.
i was ground floor next to the office
as though i thought you might come for me.
it was almost christmas and the feeling
old city new night how it mixed
trance and mariachi cobblestones
honeycomb and crooked teeth, why would i
go to a beach wedding with you then leave
next day, or next week, waiting for you
to tell me when you will leave; you cannot
buy lemons here i say, try, limes
marseille, nice, saint-tropez; going to
mérida, cancún, paris – the french canadian
and the other says thailand, myanmar
c’est bon but each time a lion goes to thailand
they have a coup; c’est bon, thailand…
circus days are long behind me but still
i wish i carried some chalk for my hands, my feet
so i could trapeze or high wire
or fire for swallowing torches; lion taming
marseille, nice, saint-tropez c’est bon
to admit the places you will never
go the things you will never do or be.
marveling at my flesh, and finally, nerve
my suitcase caught on the door lip
skirted, skittering a chair but
got out fast to where there were eyes.
and yet i could never say you, never.
Praying the Breviary at 30,000 Feet
We fly back toward tomorrow.
We catch a glimpse of the curve
of time tucked into the hips
of the horizon.
We watch the continent shift:
prairies buckle into mountains,
greens give way to rust.
Across the cloudscape,
we see silver tubes
of fellow travelers headed
back to yesterday.
Despite the distractions,
I pray the Psalms.
My best friend, the biologist, demands
proof in quantifiable units verified
by at least one of the five senses.
I remember those men once fooled
into believing the flatness
of the earth. Our senses fool
us every day. Our perceptions point
us to a garden of lies.
I pray the ancient patterns,
perceptions shifting like the view.
I let the language form
my mind into a calmer landscape.
The Indigo Tribe
The Indigo Tribe is one of the seven Corps of the emotional spectrum within the DC Universe; …each Corps has a corresponding color of the rainbow and an emotional theme. This group uses indigo-light-powered rings and staffs, and its emotional theme is compassion.
—Wikipedia, “Indigo Tribe”
Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable,
and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.
—The Indigo Girls, “Closer to Fine”
I’ve driven a thousand miles, singing. I was
loud-voiced, alone and parted from my tribe,
the road a gray ribbon, unspooling, the cassette
a gray ribbon, unspooling, each mile looking vaguely
like the others and vaguely new, each syllable new
every time, the songs sharpened with every playing;
my whetstone body kept the blade silver and keen.
I am no Hal Jordan, utterly honest and born
without fear. I’ve lied just to stay in practice,
and everything scares me, or I should say every-
one, those who would glibly flip your heart,
like an apple you toss from palm to palm.
But then I read about the Indigo Tribe,
a corps of the emotional spectrum, and
I know that I am in it, I was found. I come
with a softer answer to the questions that lie
in your path: The words roll out, the heads
turning, turning in the tape player, I bring you
strange fire, like the tribe, their purple rings,
their glowing staffs. It is will that powers
the Green Lantern, but the power of indigo
is compassion. It makes you rise and leave,
abandon what you have, chuck anything
that won’t fit in your VW and chase it,
that love, that understanding, two voices
harmonizing, yours layered over theirs,
a sob in it, everything you’ve left or lost
or loved there with you in your car.
In the pictures, they are half-clothed,
painted with runes, as if pulled from
some cosmic Lilith Fair, and their love
makes them rage, makes the rough staff glow.
If I have a care in the world, I have a gift
to bring, Emily sings, and I do, though I’ve tried
to outrun it, there is a care, and it glows purple,
and I cup that orb in my hand, raise it high.
If the world is night, shine my life like a light.