when he shucks me

For 3 years, we have lived
3,000 miles apart.
 
Every day, California calls me
or I call him,
and the distance shucks off
like the green
that blankets an ear of corn. 

For a couple of years, 
I lived for that shucking, 
lived for the moments
when the miles fell away
and I was no longer
just an East coast girl. 

I was his girl, his princess, 
the lady of his heart.
 
More than that, I was bare 
as one of those ears of corn, 
exposed and vulnerable, 
ready to be eaten 
or devoured. 

Here I am, I felt like saying, 
when what I really said 
was a simple hello. 

Through words and letters, 
we wove our dreams together, 
pretending we wove our lives. 

Twice he flew out to see me, 
and for a few short days
my life was all puffy clouds
and daydreams 
only I wasn't dreaming. 

I'd pinch myself 
after he kissed me, 
leaving little crescents 
from my fingernails 
in the fleshy part of my arm. 

Now it has been two years
since we've made love, 
two years since anyone 
has kissed me
the way he kissed me, 
his hands cupping my face, 
his whole mouth drinking me in. 

I don't dare say 
we're growing apart, 
but when he shucks me now, 
the green no longer
all falls off. 

California, my California, 
you've never seemed
so far away.

halfway to the dairy farm

You are poetry--
your words distilled,
your personality fiery 
with a fierceness
that I both love
and fear. 

Elusive, I find you 
in the briefest moment
between sunset and full dark
when the sky's inky violet. 

Far off down 
my one lane country road,
a pair of headlights
comes careening. 

I step off to the side
step into the rows of corn
and hide until the lights
flash by me, 
standing in the high corn
until my eyes readjust
and I hear the car
backfire as it rides the bend. 

I'm halfway to the dairy farm
a mile down the road.
The sycamores are white as bone. 
Above and between them, 
bats slash the summer air 
with their chaotic flight,
diving and twirling 
dark shadows that dip 
too close about my head. 

It is summer and you, 
you are oil to my water, 
rising--always rising
above.

holding onto my altitude

I'm lost again, 
rambling sideways and down,
always half a step from the edge. 

It would take a stiff wind
or a stiff drink 
to make me fall. 

I'd go down and down
seeing the latter's rungs
flash by me as I fell. 

Reaching out,
my fingertips would tap
tap tap taptaptap
faster on the latter's rungs
as I sped up
on my way toward 
the rocky bottom. 

But I am not falling. 
I'm weaving, 
holding onto my altitude, 
recklessly, stupidly
in love.

Reading Alice Walker’s Poetry Again

The World Will Follow Joy

I picked this book up from my library a couple of weeks ago, and I just opened it today. It’s inspiring in how it lifts the spirit and makes me feel like, simply because I am alive, I am part of something greater than myself. It made me want to pull out my old Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis CDs and let the music soar around me like her voice does in these poems. She writes,

We will turn our madness into flowers […]

and I think to myself that the world needs more of these poems, that the world needs more love, always more love.

In these poems she writes of odd magic and of golden music, of a man who fixed not only the leak in her sink but also the leak in her spirit. It is a magical sort of person who can, without being able to physically touch the spirit, still somehow manage to fix it, as if applying a sort of spiritual salve to someone’s soul.

Right now, I am only halfway through this book, but I am certain that I will finish it today. I want to keep reading these poems that speak of people who’ve been loved, people who’ve been lost, people who, against all odds, form bonds that cross oceans and continents because, deep down, their spirits are cut of the same fabric.

I want to take this away from this book. I want to remember that my full heart and her full heart and their full hearts are all the same, that we all need clean water, air to breathe, love to wrap around us and laughter to lighten the burdens we bear.