The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — July 2008


I’m smaller, older,
Less agile–but free of your
Crippling righteousness.

July 31, 2008   Comments Off on 74


reflections.jpgWaiting for a gap
In the facade of the mind
So I can slip through.

July 30, 2008   Comments Off on 73


Yellow butterfly
Fluttering among bee balm
With white male in tow.

July 29, 2008   Comments Off on 72


Old man with fake teeth
Holding a bunch of flowers:
Is this my husband?

July 27, 2008   Comments Off on 71


Riding in the rain:
The tattoo artist’s needle
Pricking holes in skin.

July 25, 2008   Comments Off on 70


Landing in their spots
At sunset along the Platte,
The cranes go quiet.

July 24, 2008   Comments Off on 69

Dear John

Yeah, it bites.
Love hurts.

Remaining attractive to a mate
Who stays handsome and reliably manages
The burdens of financial insecurity
Is harder than you think.
Show me a man who doesn’t worship his image
More than the true and fair miracle of his real self.
We all become shadows looking for substance to inhabit
Shapeshifting into the phantoms you describe.

The past years are everywhere, haunting.
Nothing staves off the stinging pain of them.

Yellow teeth and white hair
Will advance an honest mind more than a fair face.
The sweet warmth of warts known and love shared
And the simple satisfaction of joint tasks accomplished
Well enough before nightfall.

Your poem is lovely, John,
But you only half-guess the reality of women.

July 24, 2008   Comments Off on Dear John


Hunched, black-eyed raccoon
Scaring the good citizens,
Who demanded death.

July 22, 2008   Comments Off on 68

In Canaan

“Let us go to Sidon in Canaan,” she said,
“and we will break the small trunculi,
extracting the purple pigment that is so rare.
There the grapes hang on the vines,
exuding a fragrance of sweet, burnished skins,
hives drip with honey,
fields laden with grain wave in the wind,
the geese are fat,
and wasps with gossamer wings
float in the sky like drumble-drones.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“I have been there many times,” she said.
So, of course, I agreed.
But when we got to Sidon,
the artisans had fled,
the city had been sacked,
and only the flies remained,
crawling over the bodies of the dead.
Not to be dissuaded from her purpose, she said,
“Then let us go to Tyre,
the birthplace of Europa and Elissa,
where an even finer dye
is produced from the murex shellfish.
I feel some fondness for Tyre, where at eighteen,
the men looked at me
as if I were Ganymede come back to earth,
where in empty cemeteries on moonless nights I slept,
offending only the dead.”
“All right,” I said. “Let’s go.”
But at Tyre,
the seawalls had collapsed and water covered the city.
Openly, she wept, like a child who had lost her way.
Finally, she said, “We shall go to Jerusalem,
and stand upon the two hills,
and honor the name of God.
There the breeze cuts the skin
and the mighty are fallen and the humble are raised.
No one can stand before the Holy City
and not be changed.”
But the winds of war found us even there and,
unsheathing her knife and in despair,
she stabbed herself,
and disappeared like mist into the earth.
“Who is this woman?” I cried.
The breeze pierced my skin and answered,
“Her name is Antigone;
she is a shapeshifter,
and no man can possess her.”

July 18, 2008   Comments Off on In Canaan

At Christmastime or Easter

At Christmastime or Easter
or for someone’s birthday,
a close relative’s or friend’s,
I leave the wrapping of the presents to you
the covering up, the enclosing,
the taping, the tying of ribbons and bows,
because I do not have the patience for it,
nor do you really, not any longer,
and you hate me for leaving it,
and feel like telling me so,
but choose to say nothing,
knowing your silence is a dagger in my heart.
And when I do the wrapping,
I’m not very good at it,
the ends don’t meet,
the corners are badly formed,
and the tape barely holds,
exposing the bare surface of the gift beneath.
And you tell me I am always like this,
a child who can’t do things properly,
a boy who never grew up,
a man who will always be waiting,
waiting for his will.
I know you are right
but say to myself, “One day, one day,”
while you shrug and toss the package
into the pile with the others.

July 17, 2008   Comments Off on At Christmastime or Easter