Wednesday, December 31, 2008
open door at sunset
cool in the coffeehouse
white lemon tea
April (b, untitled)
Trader Joe's parking lot -
which flowering tree
did I park beneath?
April (a, untitled)
Yes, I’m sitting outside in the dark.
I need an oracle.
I’m waiting for the moon.
A misty moon is moist
and pretty, fruitful,
good for lovers.
A greeting card with a bunny on it.
A ring of bone, a haggard eye,
spreads grey cards
upon a world in ruins.
Can't you tell?
That same cold dusty stone
has looked so long, so very long, on us.
Monotonous shallow seas.
continents of grass.
All the things that swam and crawled about.
Too small, at such a distance, to be seen
but still, moon feels them
being pulled, perhaps.
I look up.
The coin of light has fallen in the sky.
My face reflects what moon reflects to me.
Neither yes nor no but . . . . . . . . . .
kind . . . . .perhaps. . . . . .
While humans war and torture one another
moon looks on
and maybe always will
though not, perhaps, on us
but on a small wild hare
nibbling a hazel leaf.
The Creek Flows Fast Among Thick Trees
The creek flows fast among thick trees.
Branches lean over and down
the water rushes.
Two legs dangle from the leaves.
A sparkling object flies out -
lights on the water-
and is drawn back along a silver line.
Trees with legs appear
to cast the line
so delicately falling.
Somebody is hidden in the leaves.
He casts the line and reels it in
and golden ripples follow.
I can't see him; his torso, head,
and history are hidden.
On still eyes his casts recur -
circles drawn in light,
I can't see him, so
trees with legs appear
to cast the line
now delicately falling,
as if no one,
the very forest branches,
patiently constructed something silver
out of many links of light and falling.
As youth leaves us and the naked trees
bestrung with jewels of water do not stir,
so still, so gray the January dawn,
"forget," "remember," drift into the twigs,
the dripping mist, the waiting atmosphere.
Your face, my face,
the water in the rivulet by the road,
the myriad faces flowing through the hours,
dissolve and rush away among the stems.
Gradually the gray sun half-concealed
suggests that dissolution may be warm,
that I may not regret this gentle magic,
although the moment of your coming broke
like startled herons from the misty creek.
* Janus: Roman god of portals and beginnings, portrayed as having two faces, one looking forward, one back, for whom the month of January is named.
March (c, untitled)
This square sake cup
so how is it in the middle there--
the round moon?
“The air alive with willow down”
the cat interested only at first
steady breeze shapes young trees
distant mower’s idling purr constant
a sea of white scarred by blue
mud under my feet in boots
the bamboo stand thinned drastically
to some it is the search for peace
the old banana saw selects the best
March (a, untitled)
Gazing at a swirling galaxy.
Countless spinning worlds in space.
Vast gaseous nebulas.
Supernovas blazing and passing away.
And not a bit of it outside
This miso soup.
When I Stopped Dreaming This Morning
When I stopped dreaming this morning
black trees upon a white mist
quietly sought my eyes
their untakeable offer.
As the white sun ascending
cleared the clouds,
I became convinced
I had a home
in a shred of mist
clinging to a redwood branch.
Later, when the day
broke off a fragment of blue
to share with the children playing
in the black and orange garden,
I wondered how
I had ever failed to love
the leaf-strewn bench
too cold to sit on.
When the moon rose,
we agreed to resolve our differences.
Then, I began to dream.
[or, Bard in the Yard]
If Billy Collins came to my house,
The first thing he would not see
would be the neglected landscaping.
The gall of blackberries gone wild,
Now binding patio furniture to the deck,
[Really] a keen advantage in the high March winds.
The aged cracks in the walk, pure guile.
The torn awning, picturesque, flapping above small skates,
Bent Hula hoops and rusted rakes;
Still life in motion.
At the door the cocky duck sculpture
Would make him smile, assured.
He would feel at home before I even
Answered his knock.
If Billy Collins came to talk to me,
We both would prefer coffee over tea,
With fresh blackberry ice cream, and later –
We would say who we liked and who we didn’t;
Just like that,
And not always agree.
“This is such a surprise,” I would say,
Feeling suddenly shy.
“Why have you come?”
“I saw your calico cat caught
between heaven and hell,
Armies of armored tendrils holding her back
from mounting her attack on a fly.
Did you know your massive blackberry
Patch can be seen from the sky?”
Inspired by: I.K., B. H. and of course, B.C.
Written as an apology for my husband, Phil
February 22, 2008
WHEN I WAS IN LOVE
Lust and the room grew
small as zero.
So, I escaped everyday
to my silly restaurant job
in the kitchen peeling shrimp,
extracting blue veins from flesh,
with the kind of grace
There’s no salvation
of “what ifs” driving me
back to the ocean
to search the seaweed
Clawless crab, gull bones, syringe.
Man of War, deflated and blue
like balloons the morning after a party.
I carry them home
set them on the bathroom sink next to the soap dish.
You don’t want to touch them.
Michael, the dancer
It is a full moon on your death,
And all I can think about is your life;
How you turned my kitchen upside down
For the sake of the gravy last Thanksgiving;
How you made my children laugh with your
Funny faces and fart noises at the table;
How your body flexes and bends to your
Demands, leaps and curls, writhes to the poetry
And song of the dance, to the snap of it all.
I watch you now, your life dance an India rubber ball;
Bouncing out of bounds, retrieved with a big slobbery pant,
Now large, now small, crouched in a quiet corner of the universe.
The spotlight that follows you casts a long shadow,
Missing its mark.
We try to fill it with meaning and are not
Successful because no one ever is doing that.
It is empty, this shadow dance.
We try to fill it with love
And the dance begins.
The dance will be because of you;
Because of you we will move in ways
We would not otherwise know.
-Jane Rogan March 2005
Full Moon Shell Game
You can't write full moon poetry
When there is no full moon
You can't save those peppy witticisms
Prognosticate what you might say
Foresee what you will feel
and then say you wrote them on the full moon
That's just not honest
That's not the full moon
You can't protect yourself from
When the full moon does not inspire
When it is shrouded in clouds
When the eclipse cannot be seen
Even though you know it is there
Somebody told you so
You see so many people writing full moon poetry
Make something up
Just to fit in
That's not full moon poetry
The day of that moon
Listen to what she is singing
Even if it is wet and dripping
and you cannot see that moon
she is saying
do your taxes
Now that is full moon poetry
Monday, September 29, 2008
Clouds curdle along the ridge
Oak limbs scrub the mottled sky
Below, tan willows but whisper
their gossip to the crows
I Told You So
for Brian Howlett
There is art and there is art
I do both
motor starts stops starts
the sun is a dying star
act like there’s no tomorrow
everything must be done now
mow lawn trim hedge whack weeds
blow leaves not a moment idle
driven by predestination’s curse
let no moment go unoccupied
while I slice the olives
washing machine agitating
speaks of the past
and the future
Afrique Afrique Afrique
it says to me in French
the thumb all along
destined for greater things
beyond its mere grasping ambitions
“I have written a truly marvelous poem
which this page is too narrow to contain”
signed Son of Fermat
clothed by circumstance
I can be the center of the universe
or an imaginary particle
to go quietly mad or madly quiet
neck deep in river
ducks float up like guests at a cocktail party
my head on a platter of sun splotched liquid
no one needs to know what I know
Everything is still
in the silvery net of moonlight
trees are finally themselves
after a full day of just standing there
That beautiful unmade bed of Li Po
how I would like to join him there
the moonlight breaking up my soft body
and silence caressing the world
maybe a bird call of love for me and Li Po
and the whole world alone
Moon: Take 1
Fog and rain
pressing into the corners of my window,
as I flatten my cheek against the glass,
and bring the fog inside,
with my breath.
A dark sky, nothing.
Flashing television ads
from the third-floor window across the street
will be the moon tonight.