poems by margueritte


"For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing..."
from Blake's Jerusalem


Cover: Watercolor by Bonnie Coate



joint possession

she occupies a certain cubic feet of space,
with as little dissonance as possible;
passions, thoughts, wants and deeds filter through the clickety-clack of freight trains that share the tracks running through these border towns;;
please, somebody, let not the barnacles
that cling to her teeth, stifle
this foolish mass of atoms;
in the midst of expectation
and disappointment,
she's an imbroglio of shy eager
foolish arrogance, and like the others,
she has created her own dung pile;;
her ladyship's peacocks disappeared
(perhaps into the jaws of night-roaming
beasts);; she s no longer exasperated
by wounds but remembers sad
breezes among olive leaves and
howling winds circling cottonwoods;
here, the finch and the sparrow, the hawk
and the dove ignore their differences;
in naive comfort, they sing and they dine
from the same branch: they drink
from the same fountain; they gather
sticks and fur from the same plot of land.



white horse hill
(a memory)

in this heart-breaking dawn,
she trembles before a rising sun
that needs a helping hand;
after a night of shadows,
she searches out
carlyle, wittgenstein, even
mickey mouse who may have
believed in the power of the individual
(as did she); the swan that pulled
weeds from her eyes
left her blinded by philosophers
all talking at once (rapidly, like a machine);;
usually she exits the womb-like comfort
of sleep, only for birds, coyotes or Bo,
a dog that knows everything;;
the heartless wind that knocked her off balance
has quieted, leaving her lop-sided,
now needing two canes
"to speed the parting guest" (Pope);;
while windows rattled
and birds hung on for dear life,
one of her lambs went astray,
never to return; it was like when
Mars knocked the wind out of Venus;;
she wished to return home hut the shadows
she clutched for, kept slipping away;;
she often sits up till dawn, alone
with the stars; I heard her say
I'm staying a while longer to see if
I can find my little lamb;
she was talking to herself, of course;
she knew the lamb had joined a new flock
that grazed on a consecrated carpet of green; (somewhere in England, perhaps,
where it all began);
she can still smell the heath;
can feel the barrows wrapped in stones;
can see bluebells and crowberries
on command.





a flashing silence

she is at the same time
concentrated and distracted;
yet her flashing glance
(like that of an eagle), in seconds,
penetrates to the very soul;;
not now, happiness; she's busy
hopping around on her own shadow
(as does the fly or the cat, dragging
a Tiepolo pink scarf while pouncing
into its own darkness);
it doesn't know about idealism vs
realism as does the old lady;
who knows, perhaps its very pounce
proclaims this knowledge;;
things fall apart as they age;
it is the same for people;
more than one worn out soul
hobbles to the other side
every second; longevity is not a trait
admired by the old lady;
her moods fluctuate with meteorological
precision and she can't produce
even an unpolished handstand;
the mountains she once hiked
look down on her (as would a kind aunt);
today, a young coyote looked her
square in the eye (a wondrous moment);;
a cold wind can rip the sparrow from its perch;
can tear open and freeze the heart;;
what force will close the old lady's eyes;
what will rid her of the bruising indifference
of an endless heart of winter.




the creosote moon

gently lifting a veil,
she exposes the face of the moon,
half derelict, half roses that smell
of creosote after a rain;
she wants desperately to reach
inside to stop the pendulum;
instead, follows the moving group in prayer,
their voices in harmony with those
holding hands with the wind;
the Stations of the Cross are there
to examine and she does:
at the Third Station, someone
whispers a Tantum Ergo:
another dares to touch the feet
of the young man carrying a cross;
a black mass of ravens fills the sky with their darkness and disappears;
in their place, a vision of a small girl
who fondles her white dress
and touches her very first veil;
she thrusts her tongue forward
to receive the blessed bread;;
the group genuflects at the Fourteenth Station:
a cloud passes before the creosote moon;
fingers are dipped in the holy font
as they pass 'nealh cathedral arches;
the little girl you ask about has disappeared;
she was never there in the first place;
simply a figment of my imagination.





not a homing pigeon

in third grade
her caretaker
was a demented nun,
so she was not charmed into learning;
charmed, nevertheless,
her innate vivacity
was systematically squelched;
yet every sentence she diagrammed
became a bridge to brilliance;;
some wounds
were large enough to fall into;
a space where questions
could not he asked,
thus, nothing answered;
she crossed the wilderness alone;;
she was worth little
hut not nothing;
(she was something in disguise);;
when boys no longer lied tin cans
to the tails of dogs,
she left limbo
on the wings of a dove;
(a pigeon, actually;
all she couId afford at the time);
later she pitched her tent in the desert
outside a place of barking dogs;
garlands of shadows hung heavy there;
she got herself a broom
(shaped like a Freudian analyst);
swept those shadows
into a nearby sewer,
making their way over the border
through a tunnel dug
for the transport of drugs;;
the morning sky, watered like silk,
spreads itself over the village
but not too many people are looking up.




"This is the life I have been given..."
from Daily Negations (July 28)
by John S. Hall

there's no reversal of rose to bud,
yet it will not the the end:
merely the suspension of a previous moment;
when the time comes,
bind my hair in rattlesnake weed
(finer than jasmine);
weave a mat of golden poppies
to keep my shoulders warm;
you may wrap your blindness in my shroud;;
all I had to say has been said;
(I don t really mean that);
it s time for a muted tongue;
let the mockingbird whistle a galliard
(without guitars);;
the other side of file tapestry,
strangely flat, disorients;
the bird whose parts separate
in the wind; whose bead flies off;
whose right wing flutters toward dawn,
soars to vineyard and lighthouse;;
on which salt lick do I place my tongue;
which barn do I enter; which animals are my kin;;
this is not a hollow torso;
there's a woman inside; an old woman;;
it all seems to go up in a puff of abstractions;
yet it is Spring and the violets appear on schedule.


animui iactus / within range of the mind

this veil,
tossed over my waking bones,
clings as would cob webs
that filler out the ageing of my body;
the debris left behind
breaks down a tough skin
that once provided protection;;
it is all here; I can see that...
the stove the bed the ceiling,
white, heightens as I grow smaller;
the kitchen table a bowl of oranges
the sleeping dog. all here;;
in a dream
you tell me of a blue hummingbird;
how its wings beat so fast you could not see them;
how it flew to a flower; for a moment sipped nectar;
how in another moment it disappeared;;
your voice, so familiar it could be my own,
fills these hills which by now contain my mind;
caressed by a wind that at night
becomes a cello; the cello
becomes your voice which is mine;;
it is under this spell that the owl
snatched a cat from its crouch;
that the coyotes surrounded my narrow bed;;
the sky began to speak,
detailing piece by piece bit by bit
the heart and soul of my life;
still, one piece, a very small stitch
(from what looks like a worn-out tapestry),
lags behind with the dead toad
shriveling in the heat of the sun;;
ghost-veils that are everywhere
clinging to thorns and craggy rocks
become the very distractions that hold me here
when I want to leave; in the distance
a puma drags a ghost-veil across the valley
to cover the huddle of newborn kits;
they purr in unison;;
the coyote with her own pups
awaits sundown before sniffing out
the familiar purr the kittens the veil...
which it will devour with
their blood and clinging entrails.




et tu ... et tu ... et tu ...

there is the urge to disintegrate;
the urge to merge, reluctant;
it all came to life with the streak of silver,
a snake crossing the highway:
we all stopped to gaze at a bleeding sky;
to examine the mountains' wounds;
to listen for the wind and the hawk
that rides that wind;
but for the mountains' constancy,
I'd join the wind; howl in its face;;
I will tread the serpent's lounge;
dance to its crackling rattle;
I'll fly into the vastness of stars; sky;
to kiss freedom on the mouth
there, on the floor of the canyon;;
when Salamun* died
I did not know it for six months;
for a moment, my own heart stopped;
(in obedience to the fine terror of oblivion);;
I fear for my books; translations (Salust too)
and the small brass clock that kept me ticking;:
I'm watching myself watching myself;
nothing on earth happened and it did;
in the end it will be a great success story;
my favorite lizard will move in for winter;
both in exaltation and regret
we will live happily ever after;
yet we must often remind ourselves,
(like with the fealty of the mountains),
joy and grief will always be cell-mates.

*Tomaz Slamun, Slovenian poet





memory, as fetish

the heron not far
silent blue
the stillness of water
the long-legged bird
a muted strut one foot
before the other, soundless,
golden eyes, golden reeds;;
at the bottom of a deep silence;
in the presence of self...
(her soul's wrappage, her plumage,
the leaves of her hair, her broken wing),
tangible as is tangible;;
she knew solitude was not a sealed tomb
but a power tool for the bold;
those fashioned from paper and string
were carried on stretchers,
seeking a mode of survival;;
she's been looking for moisture
where deer nibble chestnuts
at the side porch;
where the pellets of owls,
still moist, hold rabbit fur and claws
of rodents, joined to memory as fetish;;
sometimes she is a sparrow, satisfied with leftovers; sometimes bent as cypress in submission to wind;;
she knows the softness of clouds
will always be there, simply by tilting
the head back and lifting one s eyes;;
the drawbridge has lost its swagger
and pain can turn in any direction, without warning (even disguised as a flower);;
though she straineth her heart, her wings are soiled;
that will be what counts);;
she forgives the rain but nothing else.;;
once again Beckett's I can't go on, I'll go on,
rings in her head,
and I don't remember when I died.







I feel their seeing

clothed in the skin of a goldfish,
the disguise, not sufficient...
nor does the first aster suffice;
it is too late; your flowers,
embarrassing lacerations,
simply cut through the coatings
added to protect; let's move on
before the Lift gets stuck on this floor;;
winter is approaching; the spiders
are moving in; settling behind the piano,
the hook cases, the ancient trunk;
it too has lost its coating, leaving tabs
of canvas torn off from rusted nails;;
everyone thinks the darkness of night
cannot be detached; that we can bathe
in its warmth 'til the cows come home;;
she's been emptying out files;
tearing things up by hand to release
anger stuck to her cells; the cataracts
never did arrive as predicted;
(she's that tough); can still see on the
distant trail, the minister and his wife
on their evening walk; is there a sermon
linvolved; she wonders, too, if smudge-pots
still exist;; the workmen have
displaced the owls who moved
onto the desert's edge, to serenade
the mesquite with their basso question;;
but the smudge-pots; why at three in the
morning; it must have some significance.






the fledgling hawk,
there, atop a pole
because I wished it; but
you my beloved, are a
condemned star;
the mountains will not bow to you;
(this I did not wish);
I was laughing but maybe
there was nothing to laugh about;
this must be why the dog
came to lick my injured heart;
dogs know betrayal
even when scented with lemon-thyme;
thus, the granite star refused to twinkle;
(yet a sprig of jaundice caught in my hair,
burst forth as desert violets);;
the second fledgling stood on the road
not knowing what to do next;;
cold moon, paralytic iceberg;
come; there's a melting memory
in an icicled beard;;
we will start the new minute together;
when she woke;
she was within the wrong family;
(a common phenomenon);;
the abandoned nest, brittle, eggless,
large enough for her to sleep in,
was her last memory;
where is her home;
who are her siblings;
what will she do with all the closets.




which sky is my sky

I invite you my sententious solitude;
to the quiet of the movement of trees;
to harking dogs, silenced;
to a crane's feathers in the dust
of tomorrow's children at dusk;;
while sleeping,
someone tightened my braids;
the evening clouds too,
are braided tightly;
even the horizon
is a confusion of knots;
we will never know the meaning of this
but cry, nevertheless, because it feels good to cry;;
this is not my sky; not really;
my sky widens over the Hudson River;
Central Park s meadow;
over Houston Street;
it narrows between buildings and derelicts
whose wings churn the milk of the sea;
whose hearts deliver a pulse to storms;;;
she remembers a curtained window;
a black iron stove in the kitchen;
a child crouches there, refusing to cry;;
look; a cello grows out of the soil
like an artichoke strangled by bittersweet;
stabbed not by the rose but its thorn
(the pain-inducing part);
let it quiver in your eye;;
in a dream, the sculpture spoke; said,
it is time to notice things;
I said,
who asked you to perch on my shoulder;
to peck at my ear;
who gave Venus permission
to hang out with that sliver of a moon;
whose fingers molded that mother and child.






speculum stultorum / a mirror for fools

never mind the disjunction;
my form has narrowed
and the motor falters,
yet I'm able, still, to ward off intrusions;
a toy changes; he grows tall;
his voice deepens;
shall I turn him into a hawk; an owl;
a lizard; I'm already behind schedule;
responsibilities are vague and confusing;;
the wind has picked up, putting the dog
in alert mode; this adds to my own anxieties
which she feels as her anxieties;;
dew from the moon has dampened
my already droll dreams
and collects in puddles to quench
the thirst of the jackdaw;
o moon, silent, crescent;
build me a cell to protect
this self that labored a lifetime
to remain an unadulterated self;;
I've chosen this sunny day
to evict the worms living in
a two-drawer file cabinet;
quickly, they wiggle their way
away from light and will surely
survive the desert winter;
some would disagree but I have proof;;
there's a wolf lurking at my door;
I'm too scared to ask:
what message do you carry;
do you want my carcass;
does grandmother send greetings
(do you understand her Ukrainian tongue);
are there others like you, waiting
to pounce on my verisimilitudes;
have I died yet;;
are vultures circling my little hut.



Naco, AZ


Copyright © 2015 Margueritte

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