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vaalski

July 2012

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vaalski: (Default)
Twelfth Night

I remember the day we burned the trees, reeking

of pine, our clothes scattered

with sap and needles, the heels

of our boots braced against the trunk to help us

saw the firs to pieces, freeing

the ghosts of witches from their limbs and boughs. That night

we watched as they went up in smoke, my hand

in yours, the stars all bright and cold, the new year

laid out like roads before us.

vaalski: (Default)
Aubade (in progress)

My lover makes me breakfast in the dark, four
a.m., me shivering in boots
and breeches, the sun not even up, helmet
tucked between my knees and hair half-braided. 

(And her in flannel shirt and pants, a blanket
wrapped around her shoulders,
squinting without glasses into oatmeal
coming to a boil.)


--

I've been working with variations on the first line, tossing it around in an idle fashion, for a while now (one is here). This is the farthest I've gotten with it, and if it works out I'm planning a companion piece called Evensong. I think this is still very rough. There's another stanza or two that I don't know yet. 
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In this world I will be the beast I want--shoulders
maned and heavy, hips narrow, tail swinging, spotted
brutality and brawn. I will choose 
sisters and my mate, touch
the flanks of brothers with my nose. Together
we will drive our enemies before us. Call me
hyena-mother, warrior, careless and ignorant 
of everything but what and who is mine. 
vaalski: (Default)
I have both an iTouch (semi-elderly) and an iPhone (NEW AND SO EXCELLENT) that I keep with me fairly regularly, and I find that I compose poetry on them in place of the scraps of paper I've traditionally used. It's sort of a weird way to write, but I'm slowly getting used to it. 


Here's one--a tiny little love poem--from late last winter. 





Snow Day


The city is still half-helpless
with snowfall and you
are a long time gone already. 
Come home. The bed
is cold and I am empty. The snow
muffles everything when you
are not here and my back
hurts less from shoveling
and more from missing you. 






There are several scraps from around the same time period, which I present to show you how I make notes about what I'm planning to write. 


3 Feb 2011



my lover eats her breakfast in the dark
...
silk and lace against
the curve of hip and breast





10 March 2011



in the halfcold of night
sailboats on the river
and men in them












The rest of the notes/finished work mostly concern the daemonic/totemic poems I write on commission for my forum. I am verrry vaguely thinking about doing these for money or for proper art trades, but that is maybe a bit of a risky road to go down. Thoughts, TDF folk? (And I suppose anyone else who likes my work, but mostly them.) 
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Safe Passage

In one motion the door open, hips against
the seat, the engine coughing over, Jim
up front and the boys in back,
half-falling in, all of them drunk
and laughing, the rocking half-wild swing
of long-limbed weight in darkness--

--and me with fingers checking radio and dials,
reaching up to ask safe journey from the feather 
hanging down to brush my cheek, all this as I
breathe in, then let it go. With one
hand I drop the brake, and with the other 

flick the lights as I back up. In
the yard across from mine, the Virgin
Mary sudden-spotlit in the winter grass, hands
and face and rounded belly
half-shadowed, or half-worn.
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 1. Virgin in Headlights (Edie)

In one motion the door open and
my bag thrown, back hitting soft, swinging 
my legs in and settling
hips and shoulders against
the seat with the rocking swing
of weight that lets me slam the door with the same
momentum that's carried me so far and then
keys in hand, the engine coughing over, Jim
up front and the boys in back, half-falling in, all
of them drunk and laughing, and then me
with fingers checking radio and dials, reaching
up to ask safe journey from the feather
hanging down to brush my cheek, all this
in one breath or two, no more. With one
hand I drop the brake, and with
the other flick the lights as I back up. In
the yard across from mine, the Virgin 
Mary sudden-spotlit , face and hands
half-shadowed, or half-worn.
 
 
 
2. Untitled (Jack)
 
I notice without noticing
that sometime in the past
half hour my low-level limp
has faded, sun sinking
into mending bone like
the slowest realization, and I curl
my fingers against the handle
of my third and maybe final
cup of tea today, knowing
is wasn't just the weather. I shift
my weight, testing. The pain
will return in days or hours, this time
and always, but for now I watch
the two of you and how you move
with me. And for a while I forget, 
and put each small foot in 
its place, one after the other, slow 
and even, equal weight
on right, then left, so that just
this once we walk together.
 
 
 
3. Untitled (Quinn)
 
On the way home I stop
three times, once for each
of us, on stranger's stoops
and steps, in bits and patches
of reflected sun, notebook
on knees, back bent, lower
lip caught up in between
my canines, my whole body
focused in on pen and paper
and I know
each stranger walking by
sees and notes and wonders
but I also know that even one
more step will carry me on and past 
the place the poem belongs.
 
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 Gray Goose Winter

Snow falls like eiderdown and so do I. 
White ices fenceposts and my feathers.
I snap my wings out wide and drop
into space. My flock is already gone. 

White ices fenceposts and my feathers. 
It's hard, keeping aloft -- the cold presses me
into space; my flock is already gone. 
Some far south, some below the snow. 

It's hard. Keeping aloft, the cold presses me.
Either way I will not see them again --
some far south. Some beneath the snow.
I tilt my wings and plummet down.

Either way I won't see them again. 
There will be no last migration. 
I tilt my wings and plummet down. 
The ground is hard, the river ice. 

There will be no last migration.
I snap my wings out wide and drop.
The ground is hard. The river, ice. 
Snow falls, like eiderdown. And so do I.
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Etiology

With my hand laid against your cheek I feel
much bigger than I am and, for a moment,

it’s almost like I own you, like I hold a certain
power over you who are so delicate and just

for that reason I see you not as my friend
but as a conquest and I as conqueror, and

for a heartbeat I think that I might strike you
until you lean your face into my palm

and smile, perhaps seeing some early fire
flashing in my half-shut eyes, or the teeth

I have not quite bared, and then underneath
I feel all my fierceness crumble and I

become tame, like the first of wild dogs.
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