Who do you think you are?

Who are you?

The one who put your hands on me

Moved like silk

turned my stone into butter?

The one who gave me a thrill

a tiny little spot of happy

when I knew I would see you soon?

 

Who did you think you were to me?

Some giant of the heart

Some Santa Claus?

 

You gave me a spark

Stoked it slowly

then walked away

never looking back.

 

I didn’t deserve that.

 

 

Who are you?

The one who talked with me?

Spoke of ideas

turned my beginnings into worlds?

The one who made me breathless

a miniscule pause

when I knew we would chat all night?

 

Who did you think you were to me?

My tutor of the mind

My Pygmalion?

 

You gave me a flower

Waved it under my nose

then crushed it underfoot

with a smile on your face.

 

I didn’t deserve that.

 

Who are you?

The one who rescued me?

Pulled me from the morass

turned my poverty into middle class?

The one who paid for my life

infusions of money

when I knew there was no bottom?

 

Who did you think you were to me?

A sugar daddy

A Howard Hughes?

 

You gave me a home

Pushed me inside

then trashed every belief I held

while protesting your love.

 

I surely didn’t deserve that.

 

I know who I am, I know what I am worth

Much more than you ever knew

I know I didn’t deserve those slights

But you, all of you, don’t know anything

Because if you knew, you wouldn’t have thought it so grand

and you would have come back for more

 

So here we are; I know my worth yet you don’t know anything

I’ve been slighted

and you’ve disappeared.

 

Stay gone.

“chaiyya chaiyya”

4/16/13

 

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, foot stamp with clear rhythm of the open train they ride

beautiful man and sensual woman twist and turn around each other with smiles that match the pastoral landscape surrounding them

more men dance beneath them, turning, bending, clapping with bright clothing,

swinging dark hair so far as to lose their head-coverings

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

and the train continues through a landscape of breathtaking beauty

beauty matched by the lone woman thrusting her hips

instinctual, not sexual

enticing, not arousing

the man smiles, snapping his neck in time with her torso

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Thump, thump, a solid march that does not climb nor descend, but steadily moves forth

as the train rounds a bend, displaying the dancers almost as parts of a machine

machinations of joy and celebration

the singing not matching the actors but somehow enhanced by the incongruity

finding the video and clicking on it to watch for the first time

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

heartbeat matching the dhol thumping pounding like feet stamping in unison

sweat beading on my face, breath shallow and short in anticipation,

lean forward, not enough screen for my eyes to drink in the event

thoughts cascade

how can they do that? how can so many strangers fit on that platform without falling? dancing waving their turbans, banging their heads, twitching in time,

footsteps pounding still,

Thump thump

words I don’t know, can’t know, but familiar from other songs

man’s voice drops down, conspiratorial whisper, speaking of wearing his love like a charm, a way to keep her heart with him at all times

he kisses his own hands and touches his cheeks in reverence for the love so spiritual for him

head bowed, eyes closed the music seems to pause even as

Thump thump, footsteps marching still

Thump thump

song swells, man bursts with his proclamation of devotion, strange to this American as his climactic moment is singing about friendship, not lust

arms thrust to the sky, train swiftly moving still all around him lift their arms in agreement

A song, a video, a movie, a dance…. all this is playing out before me on Youtube. This piece, clip, part, excerpt plays and the past unfolds…

being pregnant and chair-bound, watching videos for new music,

stunned, elated, tears of joy

Holding onto my chair, trying to dance in my ninth month because the rhythm will not be denied

TURN UP THE VOLUME LOUDER LOUDER LOUDER

suddenly my boys, teenagers all, are with me, writhing and hopping in their gangly gawky way

but elation from me becomes frenetic haste in them

we jump in unison

Thump thump bare feet stamp a beat that threatens our poor carpeted floor

Thump thump

all together, so rare for us, nearly desperate to push the feelings out of our bodies and into our feet

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

words are mouthed with the notes even though we know nothing of the language

English, for my boys, is no less mysterious, syllables to trip over in attempts to reach out to other humans

music sounds beckon like a crooking finger in front of a revolving door

THUMP THUMP heart slamming along until there is no discernment of time, of bodies, of separation

together all four of us jerk, twist, nod and shake out all the connection we cannot put to words in our quiet moments of mundane life

THUMP THUMP is the chant of our feet as video plays forgotten

nothing but the music, the unknown syllables turned to one more instrument to flick our attention to

man and woman, voices tease each other, nearly touching in their words and tune, wrapping around each other like caduceus – separate but climbing upwards, ever upwards

break in the song twinkles with promise, the beat sits behind different movements

unevenly other sounds move forward, retreat,

man’s voice breaks in like peeking through curtains

surprise again as woman’s voice answers the man once, only once and together they continue their spiral towards climax

But we can’t stop now, our bodies are not done,

I click “repeat” before anyone can move

and  the keening of the start soothes our firey nerves, stopped too soon

introduction done, we resume our consensual march

Thump thump, family soldiers we are, building an intimacy so elusive there is no name for it now

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

Then time resets in my mind and I fall into another memory

sitting in my armchair, nursing my newborn,

exhausted confused from the sadness which threatens happiness and is answered only with silence

finding the song and playing it again, and again, private, headphones, only for me

so that I might not see my husband grind his teeth once the music begins

moments of stolen release, leaning back with my babe sleeping soundly on my breast,

lost in the voices and beat that create a space familiar and sweet

I crawl into that dark corner and let the waves flow over me, imagining the dance I’ve seen so many times

careful not to move, wake the babe and no song in the universe will bring back that gentle moment

yet still my muscle strain, begging to be given permission to fulfil the promise of the song

Thump thump, swaying so slightly, still in heartbeat time like so many playings before

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

yet another time, baby gone, no one around today, given an afternoon to be free in my house

with almost guilt the video beckons me

new speakers cry for their true purpose

click “repeat” and wheel the knob all the way up

THUMP THUMP feet, MY feet this time, cannot slam the wood floor hard enough now,

head jerks hard enough to cause pain for later but now,

now

“jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya, jala chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya”

“Walk in the shadow of love, the shadow of love”

THUMP THUMP body takes life from the song and tosses it back from every limb a piece at a time

with no one to see, no one to know, the dance is mine all mine

the energy coursing through

so powerful it surprises, almost frightens

but no time, no time to think

move, move, MOVE, THUMP THUMP, throw every part away, snap every part back, jump jump, thump thump, flick eyes, whip hair, snap arms, crack knees

there cannot be enough force to let the song come out

until finally

four plays later

the body concedes defeat

and exhausted I sit again in the chair

the same chair I first watched the video

the same chair I used to support myself while pregnant and wanting to move in time

the same chair I sat in to nurse my new baby

the same chair I sat in to watch my boys perform chores when I could not walk

it holds me again, connected to that song, that video, that dance

silly really

So now, so much farther along

click “replay”

feel the same push, the same forceful jerk, the same desperate need to throw the music out of my body

but I have the wrong chair

and there are no gawky lanky boys frantically dancing beside me

no newborn at my breast while I sway ever so slightly

Thump thump

it sounds almost hollow

and tears no longer of joy

but loss

this song is no longer ours

the song is just a memory

always,  I can hold it,  shine it, smile at it, with tears so fresh yet so old

Someday, this song will play for me when I am ready for my last dance

Thump thump,

Thump

The Moon (2002)

 
The Moon is a woman and so am I
Different faces to different viewers
Sometimes shining, glowing, turning
Other times cloudy, scarred and scary

We move through the emptiness that is void and fearful
Without once looking, planning or choosing decisively
The path seems familiar, set and sturdy
but every night it flexes, bends and gives

I am a woman and so is the moon
A process unfolding for all to see
At times dissolving, always evolving
Proving that every change has two doors

We share stardust in our atoms
Something that gives hope and despair to know
All my trials are not new
For that globe, that rock, that cold lifeless stone
Has so much greater history

The woman in me is the moon
Fullness within and mystery without
Like the phase I move through,
Murky and moody until it envelopes my world

What I carry in me is only potential
That reflects what the moon cannot give

Did she give it up somewhere in the shaping of this world?
Are there enough romantic notions to tell that story?

What else is it that draws us together?
The shine, the coldness, the potential
Could create fear, longing, love
and that is the connection I feel
That beginning, that grand split that shows the essence of creation

Because I can give life, nuture life, and dream of the future so easily
While the moon can only remind me
of all that was sacrificed to create everything I see
when I look up

“longing” (2005)

Ache

feel a vacuum inside
not know what to use to fill it
try something different

ache
think of it as pain
think of it as lack
think of it as sadness
think of it as anger

wish hope dream
find things distracting
hate distraction
love distraction
find it all too petty

roam around
touch inside
find a place, a part, a feeling
something good, something comforting

watch it go away
hurt, ragged edges bleeding from a scar not ready made from before
watch yourself tear it up
look away again
the tickle of it sliding away from the source
you should wipe it up, clean it up, close it up
hide it away
until there’s no reason to ache anymore

no comfort
no healing
no end it seems like

talk to yourself
convince yourself
make plans, close doors, wrap yourself up tight
constrict yourself against the future

you know better than that
constriction becomes death

aching is still living
confusion is still thinking
anger is still feeling
something is better than nothing

stop
swim
float
be carried along with the void
let it bring you somewhere different
let it remind you of what you want

what you want is part of who you are
how many reminders do you need?
they all point towards you again
even though the world does not revolve around you
the world IS you
live through it
grasp something on your way out
stick it on your mirror
so everytime you look at your memory of the pain, the anger, the confusion,
the ache
you’re looking at yourself
and you know that the existance of it
proves you’re still you

yeah yeah more poetry

ninety minutes

ninety minutes of the roller coaster

ninety minutes of exquisite torture

ninety minutes of all our emotions

ninety minutes of familiar hell

up we go

declarations of love, eyes wide, pupils dilated, hands clasped in earnest begging

face cast heavenward, pleading, beseeching, cadence of hope, rhymes of connection.

All the words you think I want to hear, flame brightly too fast, then wisp away

falling into my lap like ashes from your heart

I watch them scatter then blow them away, down they go, floating past the shards of old dreams

sinking into the dustbin of our life together

down we go

voice keening, winding into pain, grimaced mouth, twisting into anguish, fingers spread and reaching out for warmth

tears streaming from puffed bloodshot eyes, accusing, rhythm of fear, metered in control.

Pouring forth words you think will hurt, stab sharply too neat, then slide away

pounding on my chest like blows from a hammer

I feel them sink inside then fade away, inside they go, adding to the scars of the past

blending into the chaos of our love before

up we go

tempo blazes, notes of reason, slit eyes, move with fervor, teeth set in resolution and grinding from impatience

hairs raised on goose-bumped skin, alien, movements of threat, held in check by implication.

Barking out words you think will convince, sing sweetly too sure, then crumble away

dropping in my mind like coins in a piggy bank

I feel them line up then roll away, weighted they grow, creating new dread

and  an alarm I can’t ignore

down we go

up we go

down we go

up we go

ninety minutes more

my life I chart just  as before

ninety minutes gone

our connection all wrong

ninety minutes again

I’m done. This is the end.

Ninety minutes I say

I will not live this way.

yeah yeah poetry

All the things I stopped wanting,

All the things I stopped believing,

Now they return to prick me, pick at me, pluck me,

Out of my complaisance,

Into my current conscience.

Beyond all recognition of this perdition,

I make decisions and revisions , to enact this division,

And still I am numb.

All the things I stopped saying,

All the things I stopped doing,

Now they haunt me, taunt me, vaunt me,

Out of my past silence,

Into mental violence.

Beyond repetition of this edition,

I see roads unwalked and leaks uncaulked, memories undocked,

And still I move forth.

All the things we stopped,

All the things we lacked,

Now they repose and we suppose,

Out of our lament,

Into empty moments.

Beyond clarification of this creation,

We bring words unspoken, and actions untaken, lives entwined and yet so broken,

And still we stand alone.