At dawn you are loving.
Your breath, honeysuckle and baked clay, warm as skin, winding through the window to play with my hair.
Slipping up my bare leg in soft rivulets to blanket my sleep with the smell of earth and the inevitability of green.
At midday you are ferocious.
Sunrise caresses turn into light like shattered glass on velvet. Liquid fire kiss sends skin desperate for darkness down into the trees and creek beds. Sharing cool stones uneasily with breeding Copperheads. Trying to bury myself in the mud and the moss to escape you.
At dusk you are a relief.
Soft gray hands alive with the songs of grateful insects salve the burns, untie nectar and pollen from your bag of tricks. The air is once again silky with botanical sex as you tell bedtime stories to the ones you’ve tried to break.
Making amends, you ease the night in with the shush of raindrops washing down the dust off the pecan trees, as if to say, “There, there”.
Light falls as fire, fierce under the canopy.
The wood older than the gods of the new land, or their usurpers.
Old as the sea that fell back to let the black skin of the earth taste sun and burst into incandescent fecundity.
Moss against oak and stone and forest rot, bright and sudden as Amazonian plumage, in the caught breath of the dying season.
The Greenmen of other lands, stowaways in the beating heart of myth, raise their antlered heads to listen for the echoes of a Wild Hunt no longer theirs, remembered with the taste of blood and salt and the smell of winter.
You breathe it.
The smell of rum and cigars, laughter and screaming.
The rattlechatter of carelessly thrown beads against your window.
All the spook and juju of that terrible contradiction emerging from the bayou like a fallen queen.
Today I’ll be in that moment.
Gasping through that moment with ten thousand other supplicants. Hearts all seeking the same absolution.
The floats snake down the arteries of the city, glittering with false starlight.
The wet kiss of the river delta winds about my shoulders like a python.
My sister’s hand clenched hot in my own, our faces upturned and shining. Rapturous full moons.
When the drums start rolling, and the brass screams out the name of the day that holiness and debauchery unite, we pour libations to a deity we don’t understand, but sacrifice to instinctively.
With blood and liquor. Light and sound. Death and such stunning grace.
Kali ma. Mother Mary.
I know what it means.
Today, I definitely know what it means.
You set the vibrating, terrified girl on your mountainous knee.
Running your dark chocolate voice down the whorls of her tiny ears, you murmured the songs the stars sang when your children were born and brushed her fear away like burrs from a horse’s mane. One by one.
Story by story.
The ship you saw the shores of Madagascar from. The mother you never knew, shaped like a rose over your heart. Your best friend anchored to your bicep forever, though he left his flesh in Vietnam, his memory lives in yours. Needle and ink and love and pain making a story of your skin. A book for you to read to a lost girl, waiting to be found.
Fading into the white noise of the midway when she is, smiling a secret smile at her as you go. Knowing the seeds of the stories have found new ground to flourish in.
Well, since I’m broken, I have way more time on my hands. Even with the occasional day job taking up my days this week. There are still long, lonely nights I must while away, thinking of the ass I’m not kicking.
Fortunately, there is wine. However, I still need something to do.
So I’ll get back on the word horse.
I’m putting the poetry stuff on WordPress. The posts will all have titles of places (I’d call this one “Arizona” if I’d done it this time. Dig?), so anyone not interested in poetry can know to skip those. See how I try to make things easy for you? You’re welcome.
The day’s relentless burn has yielded sudden as falling.
Night exhales, all frost and endless starlight.
Night burns cold as day burns.
Contrasts cracking stone and bone like crumbling old paper.
I can hear them singing. Long ululations running up the mountains arpeggios and back again.
Singing to each other. Singing to their prey. Singing to the empty soughing of the wind through the palo verde.
All the nights since the beginning held in a high wail of praise echoing across the stillness.
Brazen eyes, fearless, staring at me from across the road as I huddle in the icy 2 am, watching to see what she does. She waits. Waits for me to leave her home. I am an invader. She can wait forever. She always has.