writing & reading

I never said I was an actual angel.

 

Dark_Angel_Wallpapers_62 (darkwallz.blogspot.com)

No.

I said I was like a brown-haired angel

beating back the cold night air

with my dirty wings.

You never said that.

Yes.

I said I was like a sweet part of mother night

holding off the dawn

with my forgetful heart.

You never said that.

I did.

I said I was like a bemused Christ

in Pniel pinning Jacob

with my bare hands.

You never said that. 

Listen, then.

I lay right next to you

and touched your hot skin,

whispering into the dark that

I was an actual woman you would need

to woo.

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Sway Me

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Lover, stay.

Pick up the gourd flute and

play me a fragile song,

tender with your breath, wet

with the sweat of fingertips

dancing down bamboo.

Charm me deep, oh, as you would another,

your eyes black with mystery,

your heart overbrimmed.

Lift me, coiled, from my dark basket —

frightened as I may be by

your bright world

and the easy way

you have with sway.

I’m sleek, though,

glistening.

Artwork

The Other Mary

MaryMagdalene_PassionoftheChrist

Dedicated to R. Browning

***

We even watched the moon, that moon, sink

as some hearts break. And I,

who loved her more than he

in life could do, demanded

one kiss, just one,

and thought well of it for all I’d done!

With the tears I’d dried, the endless rubbing

of those trembling hands, and

whispering only a ‘there, there, my own sweet dear’

nothing more would ask

from my stenched corner,

though I was made to watch those rounded hips

sway, so lovely

in their way,

as she walked the dusty floors, toes dragging,

and would hear the cries from her soft lips escape,

yet me, unheeded.

How could I listen twice more

to that ‘sweet Lord, mine,’

(by then dead, her Lord, though risen)

without myself

rising up

and striking her not once,

that thankless whore, but thrice,

as any man would, and must?

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Tossing thighs

A_Ray_Of_Light_in_the_Darkroom

That night

years ago now

when first I felt his

hot hard

absence

and

opening to it

smoldered alone

on an old couch, waiting,

the wanting wound

her way through me

as if she were a

fin de siècle Salomé

looking to fetch

a cry of sexual longing from the king of Judea.

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Vacilando

papaya

On the way to Cochabamba,

and just as the heat

from the white sun overhead

began to burn

through the silk scarf

you gave me to cover

my bare thighs,

we pulled off the main road

to eat the papaya

I bought for us

the day before.

“Cada pequeña semilla es un deseo,” you said

and held up, between forefinger and bruised thumb,

one glistening dark seed for me to consider.

“Do you mean that each little seed is a priori a wish granted?” I asked.

¿Qué significa a priori, cariña?” you wanted to know, and laughed.

Later, when we awoke from our naps

and a late afternoon breeze tousled

the dark curls that had fallen so sweetly

across your forehead,

I leaned over to kiss

each one

and to whisper,

“What if we just stay here?”

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Wow

Jaguar

but the best encounter

Diane

I’ve ever had

the best one

was when

I was tracking a jaguar

in the jungle

by myself

which I usually don’t do

I saw these big male tracks of a jaguar

I’d never seen before and

I just took off thinking okay

I’ll track it a little while but

I shouldn’t be alone but

I ended up tracking it for hours and

 it was getting dark and

I didn’t have a flashlight and

I can’t be alone in the jungle without a flashlight so

I turn around and

there’s the jaguar

in back of me

wow

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(Excerpt from an 8.18.14 interview between NPR’s Diane Rehm and zoologist/wildlife ecologist Alan Rabinowitz )

It was like the end of the world

140723-mh17_kids-7a_9ccd2da63a049d06de43af53892c5c1c.nbcnews-ux-640-400

in those fields

the grasses were very high

wheat fields sunflower fields and

you would come upon the bodies

in their strange shapes and

it felt so deeply sad that

no one was coming to help them that

they were alone

basically

there was a little girl

who had a little

pink T-shirt on and

she was in this distant area near a pond

totally thrown clear

not near anything at all

they stay with you

the faces of the people and

how they lay in the grass and

they come into your mind and

it’s hard to get them out

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(Excerpt from an 8.6.14 interview between NY Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise and NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross)

The awakening of conscience

remorse

On a long walk today I thought about how difficult it is to develop a genuine conscience. It comes unbidden but only after we have worked long and deeply on ourselves — perhaps with a spiritual teacher to guide us — and only after we have been made to suffer the truth of what we are and what we are not.

When I think back on my own feelings of remorse, I am reminded of one event in particular, when I behaved very badly with a college roommate — a kind, gentle, and unassuming soul if ever there was one. Sometime after we had gone our separate ways, she appeared at my door with a man she met while traveling in France; he was, I have to say, on the very other side of beyond sexy, and throughout the evening I flirted shamelessly, outrageously, with him — all the while pretending, as I must have done, that she wasn’t even in the room, my friend.

When I remember this misadventure, I am pained more than anything else by what my behavior said about how little I valued her and about how unwilling I was to see her as a woman who could be desired by such a handsome man. In fact, I remember feeling something of a shock when the two of them bade goodnight and went off to bed together.

Over the years I have thought to contact her so I could apologize, but I have been stopped by my sense that the truest apology would be more hurtful than the original trespass because I would have to acknowledge how I must have had to diminish her sufficiently in my own mind to do what I had done.

We do this all the time: diminish and dismiss others in order to justify our own vast cruelties, which is murder bit by bit.

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