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Recognizing Kali in a Young Girl

This is the first poem of mine I had ever heard read aloud. I had wondered about my poetry, whether it was any good or not. Whether it was worthy of publication in any way.  I had been reading the works of my favorite poets, Piercy and Ciardi and Millay, wondering if I would ever like my own work as much. No, I was sure. No.

One late night, after a campfire and dinner with friends, driving from Jonesville back home to Gainesville, Florida, the radio on a local station, we listened to a show with a variety of music and poetry and prose. A poem came on, introduced not at all, without a title, and I listened, mind fixed solidly on the words and rhythm. This, this, I said to Lee, this is what I wish my work sounded like. I wish I could write like this.

A stanza or two in, I said this. Lee elbowed me, said, “but,” and I asked her to let me finish listening to it first. She elbowed me again and said, “That IS your poem.” I believe this was followed by an eye-roll.  And, yes, indeed, it was.

And it was as I wanted it to sound. Said what I wanted a poem to say. I had written something I would want to listen to.

And there went my excuses.

Recognizing Kali in a Young Girl

Sitting here by the side of a two-lane
watching no cars go by
and steam rise in plumes
from the gaping hood of my automobile,
my daughter and I on this lonely shoulder
sitting, waiting for help.
Waiting for assistance.

Standing to stare into the engine
in a testosterone ritual predating cars
and trucks and carriages,
carts and wheels,
I imagine an early progenitor of my gender
staring intently into the mouth of a horse
checking teeth, gums, breath,
looking at the legs and feeling he wanted to kick something
but having no tires available
grabbed the beast’s cannon bone with a sturdy hand,
checking for splints.

Bubbling and boiling,
maybe this car will never move again
and I’ll have no reason to sit within its space
confined with hope of forced conversation with the little girl
too old to want to talk with her father
and too innocent to know why.

Turning away from the beast
I look to the field:
wildflowers blooming
tall, short, colored like air and sun,
water and earth, dancing in the wind
with my daughter, swaying and swirling
with my daughter.

The old rabbis have said,
or so the Hassidic recount,
not a blade of grass grows,
not a leaf falls
that an angel does not make it so.
Classes of angels,
Cherubim, Seraphim,
cloud angels and insect angels,
grass angels and tree angels.
Angels, then, for sunlight and rain
and for home cooking and pizza joints.
Angels for taxes and funerals and sex.
Angels for car engines.
Angels for little girls.

And there she is,
crouching among the blooms,
picking iris and narcissus.
Harvesting angels.

(This poem, along with many others, can be found in various anthologies as well as my own book, The Phoenix and the Dragon: Poems from the Alchemical Transformation (Smithcraft Press), available, along with my other books, Tellstones: Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition, and Bud the Spud, at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and elsewhere, for you reading needs, whether you like to hold books in your hands or read them on tablets or phones of Kindles or Nooks or, goodness gracious – so many options.  You can find my author profile on Amazon and please find me as well at GoodReads.)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Culture, Family, Poetry, Religion, Social

 

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Gabriel Erector

At a garage sale last Sunday
I purchased an erector set.
Not an ordinary erector set
but one in a sky blue box
and in it everything I need
to build angels.

It’s an angel building kit.
Not the kind of angels
made of plastic and wire and
glue makes your head hurt
and the world dizzy spin.
Not like a model set.
Not like the kind of angels
who blow a horn
and my living room walls
come tumbling down
or talk in my brain and I go off
to fight the English,
but the kind of angels
who open rain clouds,
tug at grass blades until they’re long,
lift up the corners of a baby’s mouth.
The kind of angels who pull open irises
and make it so you can see
the chest of your loved one
sleeping next to you
rise and fall with each inspiration
even though it’s completely dark,
but you know you see it.

It’s my angel building kit.
So far,
since I took my kit home
and opened it,
It has rained,
my grass grew,
my irises bloomed
and I can see my loved one’s chest
rise and fall in the night
even though I have the shades drawn,
and it’s completely dark.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Family, Poetry, Religion

 

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