The last time she had shopped there she had run into a woman she thought she knew. Only she didn’t. When she politely moved away after realizing her mistake, the woman followed her, asking her so what do you do? She drew a blank. There was a job she had, a husband she lived with, a cat she fed, a mother she should call. I’m in transition, she finally said, picking out a $9 package of teriyaki salmon. She was a terrible shopper. She never came for what she got or got what she came for. Ingredients slipped her mind. Instant gratification took over like swarms of bees. What do YOU do, she asked in return. It was the obvious thing to do. I train trainers. Train trainers. I train people how to train people. Well she supposed someone had to. Train people. At the counter, paying for her groceries, she pictured untrained passengers swaying dangerously from the top of the caboose, admiring the crows as they headed east at sunset.
Me: I bought some lipgloss today.
“You look nice. Your hair is curlier,” says GBF when he sits down at the table.
We meet someplace every Tuesday night for dinner. Tonight was the Ryzome Cafe.
“How can it be curlier, it’s getting longer.” I say.
“I don’t know, it just is. I like it.”
Huh. Sure enough, when I go into the women’s restroom and take a look at my hair, it does look curlier.
“You’re right,” I tell GBF upon my return.
“You must be happy. Happiness makes your hair look good.”
This was a poem dropped from Her Red Book. I still might include it in another book.
dust is beautiful
it floats in the stratosphere
above the cumulonimbus
and diffuses the waves
making the sky blue
azuring the eyes
of the nomadic poet
who learns the names
like pop songs
singing them in her head
with only light
that bounce around the nape of her heart
because in the middle world
there is a such thing
Jump on The Monday Night Poetry Train
The words “middle world” did not appear in the original poem. I borrowed them after hearing this wonderful post on TED. If you have 20 minutes to spare, this will curl your brain:
Richard Dawkins Speaks on our Queer Universe.
I’ve been very absent around here. Life got away from me for a while. Just finished my gig on the Nickelodeon film and our house renovations are down to the details. No more drywall! Woop-woop!
The following poem isn’t really a dropped page as I don’t think I’d even considered it for any of my books. In any case, here it is, written 10 years ago while living in Seattle. It still doesn’t quite work, but I like the sentiment.
girl leaves suburbs, moves to woods, builds log cabin
words connect her to earth plant
her among cousins
just running around she prefers
life lived out
terraced jungles that grow physical
something strong that breaks from classic
nuclear TV dinner says joyful
is someplace arrived
twleve years toiled with the ground
soft resilience behind eyes loves
to learn but heart
vulnerable to anything except stellar grades and
curved words as relatives
family radius reaches
thinly towards self
a holiday, a liberation, a domicile
where she can build
strong ceramic pots
in which to keep them
This is an odd little poem that was dropped from Her Red Book.
(I’m not sure how the title relates… I think I literally signed up for French Lessons that evening.)
~ ~ ~
On the Night She Signed up for French Lessons
The heat getting to her
she was hallucinating
one postcard from Gualala and she’s got
the Pulitzer Prize
Never mind the extra weight since she’s turned to
chocolate cigarettes from Holland
putting back everything she’s ever stolen
a minute or two in the executive chair
with her eyes closed
Funny thing was
every time she stepped out of the kitchen she was startled
by a man sitting at the diningroom table
it was only her raincoat and a potted cactus
She sees familiar names in NY magazines
and thinks I’ve got to get out of here.
It’s going to be a slow accent the kind you build
over time moving steadily north
she’ll practice first by ordering food or asking directions
nobody really notices you anymore
except when you’re pinching fruit
~ ~ ~
Hop on The Poetry Train
Dropped Pages is a series of poems that were originally dropped from my books and chapbooks. I have reclaimed them here.
Dropped from Her Red Book
On the Night of the Flood of Ghosts
He says we’re those kind of friends
one of us will be at the other’s funeral
she pulls the death card scythe and burning vardo
in Texas flooding takes their friend’s home away
and homes in Russia and the streets of Prague
as Nigerian women sit
on the dock at Texaco and threaten
to remove their clothing
she says the further we get
from the heartache the more we
can love the ghost of it
recalling the decree of separation
that left her the Toyota Corolla darkroom
equipment piano and one cat named Quincy
They revisit old loves
who now have new loves they get
lost in the tarot deck seek advice from kettles
and feathers and stones she says
over his breaking heart
We’ll move to the woods
let everything around us grow wild
~ ~ ~
Time to ride The TRAIN
Fire is contagious. She knew that from the way her hands shook when people approached. Fire is what happens when we collect oxygen, fuel, and heat. Anyone can oxidize over time. Anyone can burn slowly. She bears the heat because it is slow. She can, on a daily basis, write down one word of him and it is enough. She can write down arm or leg or thigh or shoulder. Feeding the flame. But sooner or later, she will combust. She is combustible. She reaches the lid on a Thursday just after lunch. She presses in behind him, smelling rain on his hair. The pure moment is what gets to her. He turns around in the elevator. Blinks into her face. Eyelashes, she thinks. Consumed.
When I was your age we didn’t have none of them zoop-trams, we drove ourselves around in automobiles. None of this zipping across town faster than you can think. And no e-mitters coming outta our ears with everything under the sun just as you ask for it, we hadda use e-mail and we listened to iPods that hung around our necks and through headphones attached to our computers. Now you got all this surround-o-experience, it’s just spooky all them images like ghosts dancing around the room. Gives me nightmares. Course I never had bad dreams when I was a kid cuz our dog slept with me every night. Dogs was animals that lived in our homes with us, dogs and cats and fish and birds, pets we called them. Now we gotta sleep in them controlled baric chambers… when I was a kid we could sleep outside if we felt like it, in the real air. And water flowed outta our faucets, like rainstorms, like rivers, like tears.