Strawberry Moon

A Strawberry Moon,
reddish, pinkish,
hued with secrets,
the whispers of native soles
pounding on berry covered Earth,
green, seeded, fruit painting the soil
and hungry teeth craving a sweet bite after snow, rain, and freeze,
the first sight of green needles
prickling the skin between the toes,
alerting friends and foes
that the time is upon us
when mothers gather
with their mothers and daughters,
leave the men to the slaughter,
venture deep into the woods,
over the river,
over the ridge
patched with colors sewn from Grandmother Nature’s needle and thread,
stitching together the time of lore
when the wolf howled at the pink orb
and dozens of red droplets poured down
and glittered the Earth with the tastiest treat
on this side of the solstice
longing to stain little fingers and dresses,
faces, golden-bronze tresses
tangled in burrs from rolling down the hill
harvested by the tumble of laughter,
filled with crimson morsels
illuminated by the spotlight of the rays
of the recently sleeping brother of the lady of the night,
a guiding light pointing out the dangers and joys
of a dewy summer’s eve,
companion to Father Adam and this his day,
when we celebrate and mourn what he has given us,
a prickly, thorny, leaf of three,
flowering in deceiving yellow,
beckoning to give us life
while poisoning us with a toxicity pulsing through veins,
wrapping and reaching,
rash inducing,
swollen,
spotted,
with a reddish, pinkish hue
just like you Mother Moon,
yet nothing like You.

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Nature’s Blessing: A Curse

Mother Nature expands, contracts
A crimson storm
Shedding new life
Sweeping away another
Flashing, wincing pain
The solitary black cat remains
Leaping through grass
Pouncing on puddles
Pools of light
A blessing
Cursing us another day

Stay Humble

Leaves of grass,
beads of sweat
I’d prefer it in a mug
than plastered to my chest.
I’d prefer it steeped at 173
than itching, irritating,
clinging to me.
I’d prefer it my salad,
an avocados mate,
than scraping it’s debris
from a stranger’s plate.
I’d prefer it arranged
in a crystal vase,
than shredding projectiles at my face.
I’d prefer it soft between my toes,
nature’s protection from jagged foes.
I’d prefer it dancing, wild, and free
cared for, groomed by destiny.
But Duty calls for Nature’s pause.
Humility has a higher cause.
And dripping in clippings am I today
so the sound of the motor can gently say:
“Stay humble.”

Vive La Notre Dame

We’ve prayed here.

Cried here.

Loved here.

Mourned here.

A cornerstone so ancient even the dust collected is a historical landmark of so many things unseen, stories untold, witnessed by specks of dust turned to ash extinguishing years, extinguished by tears, flooding, growing flames burning in the hearts of centuries of congregants so strong in their belief, their faith, unmovable, fixé on Un Dieu who lives in stained glass, a kaleidoscope of holy stories, breathing through pipes of an organ pumping the blood of Christ transubstantianted through dark, medieval, renaissance, industrial, plagued, revolutionary, modern, and contemporary times kept by the gong of bells preserved, pristine by a misshapen soul who found sanctuary as much as the most noble gentleman wiping their tears on the shroud where Jesus wiped his fears, tucked into a virgin’s breast, protected by generations of women veiled in white to say “I do,” or lacy black to say “Adieu,” lighting a blaze of unity for better or sending a up a prayer for worse into the vaults of stony, hallowed halls whose walls hold secrets of seductresses, gypsies, kings, priests, sinners all alike, all the same to the God of the Coeur de Paris, surrounded by holy waters not quite sacred enough to keep out destruction, the natural order of a man-made, nature inspired force that can’t even be put out by the tears of thousands of Frenchman, shed over hundreds of years, enough to fill the Seine, to fill the baptismal fonts, and bless us all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost whose oil burns on, burns brighter, stronger, engulfing, emblazoned, ravaging the memories, the moments, the echoes snuffed out by a spark, reduced to a layer of ash.

From dust we come and to dust we shall return.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Vive La Notre Dame.

Stagnation

I don’t have words to say but my pen yearns to write.

I don’t have notes to sing but my voice yearns to make music.

I crave shapes.

I see lines,
but my body creaks and cracks in fatigue,
a static whispering,
deafening in the silent space between my legs and the couch,
padded screams from inside,
muffled under a pillow,
smothering the life out of a voice that needs,
a body that bleeds only to be fulfilled
by something just barely on the other side of nonsense,
with a glimmer enough of truth to keep sanity at an arm’s length,
way closer than a tray of food or liquor-lined strainer,
draining every toxic drop from each finger,
heavy enough to pry these lids open for one more hour,
just one more day and I’m out of this place…
followed by another and yet another more,
stacked higher than Empire herself,
dreamily floating above the clouds,
which from below seems ideal,
but from above,
the stars and the ground both seem unattainable,
one too high to conceive,
the other so far below
that it doesn’t seem possible to reach it
without smacking into it head first,
once more numbing yourself enough
to forget how painful the bottom was
the last time
and the 10,000 times before
when the patterns of dust on the floor
were more recognizable than your own reflection staring back at you,
your lined face spelling out a road map
of where you’re supposed to be
and what you’re supposed to do
in hieroglyphs of your own creation
that only you have the key to,
if only you didn’t swallow it,
wash it down with another shot of salty tears,
eroding the jagged metal into the only kind of liquid you can stomach,
which is the cold hard truth that

You are your own jailor.

You are penning your own critique
whether you think you have the words or not.
They flow from the pen,
seeping through your sweat,
stinging freshly scratched scars etched on your face,
clawing to be freed,
begging you to put down the scissors
and let the ink fly on unclipped wings
before the muscle’s only memory is
Stagnation.

May the 4th Be With You

New moon.
New beginnings.
The beginning of the end.
The race is run.
The horse has crossed the line of flashes and rose petals, scented with mint and dust mingled, sheltered under straw hats atop the perfectly coiffed hair of millionaires, asking for a few more dollars to place on a square, a bet, as the kids say, they do say the darndest things and they are captured on camera at the perfect time to make us all laugh just enough to make yet another dollar and another dollar to fill your pockets and the pockets of the men with the white collars, starched, stiff and straight, like the olive filled martini they carry in a rocks glass minus the rocks for the sake of not looking like the lady holding the julep, or pink drink, dreaming of pink things, and bling things, glittered, studded, pinky rings, lifted and clanking a toast from pinky to glass, from guest to host, the MC, the keeper of keys, holding the ceremony for you and me even though we don’t even know the ingredients. We don’t know the make up of this complex day, a concoction, a cocktail of space, horses, and new leaves springing out of the hoof-beaten ground from dirt to galaxy, jockey to jedi, sashes to sabers, lighting up the land far, far away in the midst of this monthly darkest day. But from dark comes light, from death stars, life, galloping through supernovas and black holes across the black circular terrain, paving a path, opening a door for us to restore, renew, balance, keep steady on top of this muscular, wild, creature carrying us whether we like it or not, setting our intentions by letting go of setting and just being, breathing, star-gazing, trailblazing through the darkest night lit on fire by each of our individual powers, by manifestation strong enough to shatter thousands of flashbulbs, breaking, blinding, hoping that your nose, your least favorite feature, will in fact be the deciding factor in your victory, that your obstacle will secure your crown over beasts, men, star lords, and villains, Doubt, the evilest one.
The darkest night is only the beginning of the brightest day.
Shine on dark moon.
May the 4th be with you.

B&W

A photograph
a snapshot, frozen in time,
black and white, high contrast,
a stark difference between each tone,
harsh lines divide and define
what we consider to be above the poverty line.
But the line is so thin,
the margin so close,
close as the chicken wire fence,
the tetanus infested dividing post,
a tattered tin roof, the throne of the cat.
Who dat over dere
sitting where my ancestors sat?
We have occupied this place for some hundreds of years
that we took out of fear
that our kind was being cleared,
extinguished, put out,
put up, swept away,
down the gangway,
walk the plank,
and raise a flag with your claim
to this new world, this new land.
But a hand covered in this soil is just as brown as their hands
and your feet that walk the very same path,
mud between our toes,
sulphur in our nose,
family in our hearts.
So close and yet so far apart.
But if you peel back a layer
dim the lights, close your eyes,
you breathe in the same salt air depicted in their photographs,
It’s the same backdrop, yours and mine.
But it seems we’re stuck, frozen in time,
in the humidity and muck,
of this blood drenched earth, sucked in and sticky
from the trespasses you made against me,
my grandfather made against yours
and my people made a thousand times before.
But if we stop to look around and zoom out
the world is spinning so fast ahead
leaving us in this cloud,
a time capsule of hate
buzzing with transgressions we can’t seem to erase
or swat away like the mosquitos who don’t discriminate
between black, white, or grey,
yellow, brown, red alike
our blood is sucked and mingled in the belly of a pest,
a mite whose tolerance for other is more evolved,
though it’s brain may be small it sucks freely from all
despite the shade of the wrapping of this precious gift sustained and spilt
time and time again until one of us loses
but what if we both win?
Crown a victor of us all,
crown high on our heads,
let it dance and glimmer, sparkle and spread
throughout this land
where sunbeams shoot down through Spanish moss,
the old oak branches, dressed in beads tossed
then Flash! bulb broken, broken glass,
watch your step or you’ll have the same gash as your neighbor,
your friend,
your equal.
One race.
One class.
So once more let’s gather around
to the humming twang of banjo sounds,
frogs singing, rejoicing, lifting one voice.
We’re painting a new picture in indigos, blue-green,
oil, acrylic, matte, shiny, sheen,
a permanent depiction,
mixed watercolors too,
swirling together, a masterpiece, a Krewe.