loosening her stays

keeping time.  in keeping with time.  a kept woman.
shackled by circumstance.  the evidence?  circumstantial.
as was her birth? No. her birth was planned. but the planners
based their plan on circumstances beyond their control.  but that 
was then.  when she was on a leash. and now, she is kept.  
shackled.  customary?  yes. the links of the binding 
chains: usual and customary.  she roams in her mind, less shackled. 
still not free.  think you she misses the taut flesh of her youth;
those masques?  her roles in them. shackled then to lush form.  
as it always has been; so it continues to be. nymph shackled to tree; 
mermaid to sea.  unrestrained women, bound.  yet sub rosa 
unruly free. 

lush beneath the corset stays   plush beneath
the lacings. rogue and tongue-in-cheek unchecked;
behind the rouge a loosened widow piqued.
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threescore and ten

when I was a kid
 like most kids
 I thought I’d live forever
  (though I also knew
    this was my last time ‘round)
and I certainly thought
70 was nigh near ancient

and yet here I am
as of two days ago
70
!

and gleeful to report
almost all the things 
I gathered,
was told,
or learned indirectly 
  from listening
  to old folks speak about themselves
are absent from my life

no stiffening of my limbs
 nor any other of  the common
 debilitations of ageing
 physical or mental

and those of my ideas
which are “set”
 have been so
 since I was that kid
are about the importance of love
and the Connectedness of all things

and those things 
most important to me  then
reading
writing
the Outback
cats
other Beloveds of all stripes
the work of hands
words
unruliness
speaking my mind

remain my passions
as intensely today
as they were all those years ago

I could not wish for more
personally
and for the world
I continue to wish for
what has eluded we,
the species:
peace
plenty
and that blend of
reason and emotion
that invigorates the spirit
and which would make us 
truly sane

osculations

there are kisses and kisses
here   I mean the ones
shattering perspectives
 of loneliness
and I am overcome
by fleeting visions
of lips  speaking the body language
of the ur-tongue

here is the autumnal morning
mist   hiding the frosted kiss
upon the leaf fall
the good night  sleep tight kiss
of growing season’s end
grace note to beckon winter sleep

here is the kiss
lips and tongue forming
words  silently offered up
in sing-song praise of the gem
before your eyes
its many facets reflecting
all the true you’s
brought together in 
burning focus
of brilliantine mineral kisses

here are star kisses 
traveling for eons
to cool kiss your night body
into fire  after a day of 
bright solar kisses
and clouded rain kisses

here are my kisses
traveling the length of your person
word kisses wandering into your ear
whispering lip kisses into the shallow
at your throat, into the nock
  of your elbow
into the navel sump left after your fall
 into the grace of life

here is the intimate kiss
 of acceptance
your body projecting
 into mine
to be rapt and wrapt
in the wellspring  well sprung
 kiss of slick interior walls

here are the kisses
you have bestowed on me
over all this distance
from the back side of the moon
from lover’s tombs
from the spoken words echoing out
 of the ink long dried on the page
from the tales you told
peeking in at the kitchen window
under the willow
from under the mushroom’s gills
from out the hazelnut’s shell
from the taste of salmon
 on my thumb

kiss me again,  
my loves,
as I lay my lips on you

oratorio

fingers talk
  the voices in my head
thought stalking fingers
 voices captured  linger
in the eye  let  entrance
into    other heads

and there is singing
wood metal string
sing along
smack the drum  
tenderly tap tap pat it
song of the skin
skin drives the mindsong  
out of brain
out of skull
throat opens  sings
its song

retrograde

directions at random
 feet tempted to take a flying leap
found    one fly agaric
a temptation of visions
half mad truths
mundane in some elsewhere

here the local talents
 assemble their wares:
the silkworm spins a tapestry  in languid dream  
 of  bat flickers  across the backyard sky
 guided by his inaudible song

 cloven prints by the creek
 all that remains of a satyr  passing through

this woman seated   among mayapple parasols
 needles her canvas with silken threads
 stories the tracks
and trackbacks 
of all that passes

hibrrrrrnation

evergreen

currently I sit
in the midst of a Nor’easter
though I’d prefer 
more snow than is forecast
the wind roars
and at the head of my bed
the window has a missing piece
about the size of a quarter
the storm window does not keep
the wind out
baby gusts swirl around
my head
as the roar lifts and falls

it’s almost too exciting
to sleep through

I revert   or 
progress
depending upon your perspective
to the sleep pattern of the cats:
sleep whenever you’re sleepy;
otherwise  be awake

through the day/night cycle
any hour might find me awake
or    asleep

I  coil up and huddle under
covers  available in the three rooms
where I spend major time
excepting the kitchen
where I stay warm being active

one of my favorite seasons
 THE favorite when it is newly upon us
 and unveiling its unruliest face
drawing up and into
my head
(and my knitting)
I amuse myself with fancies
 which involve more activity
than the season encourages in me
it is a hunkering down that pleases me
             though 
I have resolved to go  Out more
  rather than use the Wonder of the Out
  to enhance the Wonder of the In/n

and to take my camera
though my camera does not
care for the cold 
necessitating the use of body heat
to warm it between shutterings. . .

frost and froth
simmer and stew 
winter words of power

the stark of it all
enchants me

my new year’s eve thing

outback maples (2)

it happens every time
before the event
I already know just how it will unfold
in me
I’ll watch the snippets of welcoming in parties
starting with Auckland
and moving through the time zones one by one
and every celebration I watch
has the same effect:
almost immediately I begin to tear up
and as the countdown proceeds
and the camera pans between
the descenting or ascending ball
and the crowd
between the kissing and the fireworks
between the strains of auld ange syne
or whatever else they may all be singing
and the shouts of excitement
it becomes difficult to fight back the urge
to let my tears become weeping
and inside   it is as if
my heart somersaults
with feeling

all this 
over a date
designating the beginning of a new year
the precise day for which 
has varied over time and place
generally between January 1st 
(after January was added to the calendar
around 700BCE)
and March 1st
(a nod to the newness coming with the vernal equinox)

until Pope Gregory XIII more or less fix’t January 1st
as the beginning and eventually
         decades  centuries pass here
it became THE New Year’s Day

you see how arbitrary it all is
and yet
there I am year after year
my heart somersaulting my eyes full of tears

I think I figured it out
last night
in the midst of the experience

my reaction is to optimism
a perceptual attitude toward the universe
which is  to my mind
too little on display
but on New Year’s Eve
it makes a boffo annual appearance

the memes of fear 
the doom and gloom
about the state of the world
especially the state of human affairs
always on gnerous display
and yammering in our ears
are shut in the closet
and everyone who comes out 
comes out without them

lest you feel badly for these abandoned memes
do not worry yourself
as they are on the playground most every other day
of the year and 
while the revelers let out their optimism
they are being attended behind closed doors
by the depressed
the curmudgeonly
the terrified
the joy slayers

I am a year round optimist
as far as my own perceptual attitude goes
and so frequently I am a minority
of one among    moaners groaners and whingers
I try to avoid being with them   en masse en messe
and it happens less and less often
as time goes by
but to see it in full bloom
as people cheer and hope for
a better time in the immediate upcoming future
well
it moves my heart to somersaulting
and my spirit to joyous weeping
I nurture the wish
that the feel of optimism
and its consequent effects
could be realized by/for these crowds
all the other days of the year