Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aunt Chuchita

From October 24, 2006

She smoked Salems
at the same time
she muttered Spanish,
pious, paging through
her beloved prayer books,
felty with use,
the loosened pages secured
inside with a rubber band
or two.

Devout and demented,
slowly unbraiding
her long gray hair,
keeping close track
of the bobby pins
or someone might
steal them.

And then a spew
of unintelligible
over-the-border language.
Words of love,
words of annoyance.

Green eyes,
tilted up at the edges,
magnified by laugh lines
and wire rims that clutch
her lengthening, velvet lobes.

Sturdy body
tucked into cotton dresses
buttoned down the front,
showing one hip
higher than another.

Aunt Chucita,
who wanted
to be a nun in Mexico
but snuffed that dream
to help her hermana
raise five children
in the roaring, racist 20s
of hot, sticky Houston,
long before air-conditioning.

She never missed a day of prayer
or finished one without a smoke.
Image by wonderlane

Monday, March 23, 2009

For Wendy, who tames my hair

I call this a wrist wreath. I've made way too many, but I think this one's my favorite. Beads with stripes follow me home wherever I go. We seem to have boundary issues.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Skeleton Leaves

November 30, 2005

Leaves pace the sidewalk.
Not may left now--they look nervous.
Rakes have abducted most of them,
big callous hands herding them into
slick black bags.

A few escapees will be flattened
by an early snowfall.
Waterlogged at first,
misshapen clumps of tree detritus
and fading color and brilliance.
They'll cling to each other
till the sun, earnest and angular,
crisps them back,
loosens their sticky grip and
curls their edges into razors
slicing apart the safety of numbers.

Brittle and separate again.
Swirls of wind agitate them,
sending them nowhere
except the edges of sidewalks.
Every so often, random survivors cling
to some one's shoe or blow up
against a furry jacket--one last hope

But some child needs to find
a delicate leaf skeleton
when spring returns,
and wonder.

Picasa photo by WallMeadows

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Homage to Hopper

It's late. Too late.

Ruth has herself a man for the night
But he won't be there tomorrow.
She's finished her coffee and
is reapplying her lipstick.
The rest of her makeup may be threadbare
but her hair is holding up just fine.
She chose her dress well this evening--
Burnt sienna, raw silk,
close in color to her hair,
tight across her broad shoulders
and just enough scoop to seduce.

Roger just wants to go home.
He doesn't care if anyone tips him.
Go home for chrissakes, or wherever
it is you  go at 3 am!
He can smell the the alcohol burning
off their breath and can't decide
whether to make another pot of coffee.
His back hurts, but if he stays
bent at this angle, he can get relief.
Problem is it makes people think
he's interested in having a conversation
when all he wants is to close shop
and go to his room above the diner

It's late. Too late.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Envy: Geese on the Saint Croix

From March 25, 2006

I have two feet, flat and wide--
why can't I stand about smugly
on frozen river water receding by the day?

I can flap my two wide arms--
Why can't I launch into spring chill air
with wings full and open and nonchalant?

My nose is large and silly--
Why can't I bellow and call and honk and fuss
with no remorse?

My body fills out, round, plain and ungainly--
why can't I sway side to side in icy water
until I lurch clumsily ashore using no arms?

say the wet, fallen trees
growing lichen like row upon row of fan-colored fans
and smelling of musk and mold:

perhaps in another life, dear

Photo courtesy of Ross/Picassa