Rewind — looking back at poetry to a younger woman now that we’re both older…

Meditation on a Dress

Between two points, a line,

Between two friends, a love

(A line of love? A love of lyin’?);

Love bends in compensation,

The line becomes a curve

And the curve becomes a dress,

A soft, not subtle, red —

Like a drunkard’s nose

Or a fragrant rose —

“Cotton knit piqué,” you say,

In your suave, cosmopolitan voice.

Aggressive, or should I say assertive,

Attitudes that greet your dates and boyfriends

Do not sway your friends

For we know your throwing back your hair,

Winking in confidence and coming back with snappy answers

Are but your daily masks and

Have nothing to do with us.

-19 June 1992

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Fredirique Quo Vadis,

You have always been polite enough

to put up with my creative output,

despite the puerile nature of the stuff I do.

I appreciate your Southern manners —

a compliment to your parents, no doubt.

That I am here at all is strange, for I never

asked to be, but being, so the thinking, I do.

You never lack for friends and that, too, is

Your nature, natural, nearly nocturnal, normal

path to nidification. I’ve enjoyed spinning through

your gravitational pull of which is broom-straw bright,

shimmering light yet not moth-killing blindness —

your sunlike qualities have spun me past other satellites

named Kate and Adam — or are we comets, instead,

spinning past each other? Who knows. What is

on second base. Abbott and Costello are dead

but this joke called life still goes on and tonight

we’re going to party like it’s 1999. Can I say that or

must I give homage to the artist formerly known as?

Of these questions, I do not have nor want the answers

for the painful reminder of life is enough for today.

Tonight, I go to bed committed to contemplating —

inaction is a better word than laziness. Enough said.

Ars longa, vita brevis, Hic Jacet Lee.

– 20 November 1997

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Sanctum, Sanatorium

If we are our friends then are you eclectic?

No. Instead, you take after Saint Brendan —

The Irish monk from county Kerry —

Who through his travels saw

That small towns in which you are born

Bear little resemblance to who you are.

The struggle to free ourselves from forced labor,

And face the pile of words we have become,

Has driven me to wonder how you’ll read

When your last breath drops petals on the floor.

For now, you sit in Charles’ saintly town,

And peer through family-tinted, bridal eyes;

You wonder when you’ll venture off the porch

And wander into your verbal sentence.

Apostles, martyrs, matrons, widows, all,

Have widened paths for nothing more than

Wanting peace for ever more. Your path —

Peat moss, bluets, partridge berry, and

Soothing streams of sun’s delight —

Rolls out before the one and only,

The only one who’s never lonely.

When we are old (we’ll never say),

Will we look back and ask ourselves,

“On which page did I look my best?”

Will we recall angelic faces

From the sanctuary of paragraphs

Written in the city of brotherly love?

Heaven only knows.

– 5 December 1997

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The Bee (For Brenda)

The bee, the meek from which we get our strength,

The bee, whose energy from nectar is drawn,

The bee, in pollen sneezes not but gets its protein;

Some say you buzz, I say you freely fly,

Some say you sting, I say you defend naturally.

Your beauty depends not on human eyes,

If beauty were a concern to you at all;

You’d rather rub your legs on flowers,

Whose seeds will feed your offspring,

Than worry about your sisters’ looks.

How do bees meditate?

Is there a desire to drop the flesh

And become a seat of knowledge pure?

I see not why.

Your pureness is, it need not think “I am.”

If thoughts you had, would you see

The thought of an eternity?

Would then you’d find a way to sit and cross your legs

To climb the ladder of knowledge?

“Okay class, repeat after me,

Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama,

Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.”

Or are you, instead, absent of self-thought

And congenitally devoted to the All?

You need not say —

Your inner illumination burns a silver image in my mind

Of a bee from Dellrose who wants it all.

She is, she be, this she-bee.

– 8 January 1998

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