Monday, June 23, 2014

Walking Into Love

Walking Into Love 
by Marge Piercy

1.
I could not tell
if I climbed up or down.
I could feel
that the ground
was not level
and often I stumbled.
I only knew
that the light was poor,
my hands damp
and sharp fears
sang, sang like crickets
in my throat.

2.
As I climb above the treeline,
my feet are growing numb,
blood knocks in my wrists and forehead.
Voices chitter out of gnarled bushes.
I seem to be carrying
a great many useless objects,
a saw, a globe, a dictionary,
a doll leaking stuffing,
a bouquet of knitting needles,
a basin of dried heads.
Voices sigh from calendar pages
I have lived too long to love you.
Withered and hard as a spider
I crawl among bones:
awful charnel knowledge
of failure, of death, of decay.
I am old as a stone.
Who can make soup of me?
A spider-peddler with pack of self
I scrabble under a sky of shame.
Already my fingers are thin as ice.
I must scuttle under a rock
and hide in webs
of mocking voices.

3. Mediation is my favorite position
Peace, we have arrived.
The touch point 
where words end
and body goes on.
That's all:
finite, all five-sensual
and never repeatable.
Know you and be known,
please you and be pleased
in act:
the antidote to shame
is nakedness together.
Words end,
body goes on
and something
small and wet and real
is exchanged.

4.
The eyes of others
measure and condemn.
The eyes of others are watches ticking no.
My friend hates you.
Between you I turn and turn
holding my arm as if it were broken.
The air is iron shavings polarized.
Faces blink on and off.
Words are heavy, heavy.
I carry them back and forth in my skirt.
They pile up in front of the chairs.
Words are bricks that seal the doors
Words are shutters on the eyes
and lead gloves on the hands.
The air is a solid block.
We cannot move.

5.
Sometimes your face
burns my eyes.
Sometimes your orange chest
scalds me.
I am loud and certain with strangers.
Your hands on the table
make me shy.
Your voice in the hall:
words rattle in my throat.
There is a bird in my chest
with wings too broad
with beak that rips me
wanting to get out.
I have called it
an idiot parrot.
I have called it
a ravening eagle.
But it sings.
Bird of no name
your cries are red and wet
on the iron air.
I open my mouth
to let you out
and your shining
blinds me.

6.
Suddenly I see it:
the gradual ease.
I no longer know how many times.
Afternoons blur into afternoons,
evenings melt into evenings.
Almost everyone guesses --
those who don't never will.
The alarms have stopped
except in my skin.
Tigers in a closet
we learn gentleness.
Our small habits together
are strange
as crows' tears
and easy as sofas.
Sometimes, sometimes
I can ask for what I want:
I have begun to trust you. 
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Mother Told Us Not To Have Children



MY MOTHER TOLD US NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN
by Rebecca Gayle Howell 

She’d say, Never have a child you don’t want.
Then she’d say, Of course, I wanted you

once you were here. She’s not cruel. Just practical.
Like a kitchen knife. Still, the blade. And care.

When she washed my hair, it hurt; her nails
rooting my thick curls, the water rushing hard.

It felt like drowning, her tenderness.
As a girl, she’d been the last

of ten to take a bath, which meant she sat
in dirty water alone; her mother in the yard

bloodletting a chicken; her brothers and sisters
crickets eating the back forty, gone.

Is gentleness a resource of the privileged?

In this respect, my people were poor.
We fought to eat and fought each other because

we were tired from fighting. We had no time
to share. Instead our estate was honesty,

which is not tenderness. In that it is
a kind of drowning. But also a kind of air.