Saturday, July 15, 2006


More Poetry!
All poems by me.











Words Learned (For Nan)

From you I learned
that most primal of languages,
the voice expanding, increasing
in courage, rising to heaven like a spark
born of a greater flame.

And innocently I mouthed the words,
coaxing my tongue to mark new time
and my lips to let slip new sounds.

You taught me hūa, flower,
your fingers spreading like petals
on the pillow above your head,
opening languorously to the sun;
dizí, your body like a reed flute,
supple and straight,
pouring forth a haunting,
plaintive wail; a groan in the night.
Also nŭ, woman, the all-important,
you and I who managed somehow
to simultaneously birth one another
and ourselves.
I learned ai, love, the sacred syllable
alive on my lips, sounding so much
like the English I that sometimes the difference
is forgotten, and the two words
meet in one flesh.


Debt
She held me to her breast
like I was a plant threatening
to outgrow my pot--like I needed
to be tamped down
on all sides.
I told her
I used to believe
in miracles blooming
like marigolds,
I used to live
for the flash and shimmer
of doves' wings,
for the gashes hammered
into the hands of the penitent,
for the salt tang of blood on my tongue.
I have not outgrown these old desires,
but I no longer expect
them to appear
whole
in my outstretched hands.
I only lust after
the simple act of faith,
the mundane deliverance.
I dream in swaths
like the paths of scythes,
Cutting low everything
that stands between
my own heart and
the ponderous heart of God.

The Anorexic Runs
Thrusting myself through the thickening air
of the seventh mile,
alone and in the rain,
I begin to recite poetry
out of habit,
reeling up words from the well
of my brain
to cut the pain
growing--like some pernicious vine--
up the trunks of my thighs.
Sylvia Plath's pure
wrath and rhythm
propel me on,
help set my pace:
You do not do you do not do
anymore, black shoe
as my soles pound cement,
inching forward,
running from.
My soul's treading this water,
soaked to the skin
with rain, with sin
that cannot be forgiven:
memories that cannot be outrun
or undone.
I would not run
to save my life
if I knew that it was worth saving.
I have run out in rain and back in rain.

(With thanks to Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath).

The end, because right now I have to go do some studying for the MCATs. Cheers. And next time, it's back to our regularly scheduled programming. Please drop me a line if you've enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Aida said...

*drops a line*