Backfired Sleep

One arm pressed against
furry cat feet;
Shoulders and back softened, finally,
into warm sheets
and patchwork quilted cotton.

I recognize
dream sparkling
at the edge of my eyelids,
dancing to the melody
of Friday neighbors.

A crack
sounds against darkness
shattering dream tide like glass.

Brushing off dream dust,
I remind lungs to breath
and heart to squeeze;
hiding in sudden silence, I wait and wait.

When the cat lays her head back down,
ears in neutral, mine are still alert.

Soon, Friday neighbors lift melody anew
and we know if it’s not safe,
at least it’s over for now
and I melt back into
softened starlight dream.

~LD

Returning Time

A sliver of moon
mocks blood
and tempts tide

I twist
clock hands back;
now it’s earlier

instead of later.
Time enough
to see clearly

errors without remedy,
fallen in burnished
shades of yellow and red

like sycamore leaves
the size of my feet
along a sidewalk.

They crunch
and break
beneath steps slowed

by a chill
in the desert
sunset that refracts

pollution
back on itself
and on me.

~LD

Missed Call (for S–)

You were
in my back pocket today,
tucked between
generous flesh
and thin denim.

I thought I dreamed,
or had awakened still drunk –
hands shaking, eyes sticky –
deciphering your name
from a foreign tongue.

Minutes passed
while I stood in line
to take in truth
and pay the bill.

My fingers trembled
above a return message;
the cashier’s look
spilled impatience on the counter
as I hit send.

I slipped you in
again between flesh and denim –
heart kettling behind my ribs.

~LD

At the Feet of Las Noas (remembering Paris)

Photo courtesy of C. Patrick Neagle

Cristo de las Noas, Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico // Photo courtesy of C. Patrick Neagle

Today,
beneath a tree
at a sidewalk café
I sipped a glass of lime
and Topo Chico
sweetened with grenadine;
a waiter’s smile
made me blush,
while the sun set behind Jesus
on the hill.
Condensation gathered
on the clear glass,
drawing a concerto of tiny flyers.
A young Hemingway sat
smoking Delicados, drinking
a pale green frappé,
and reading El Laberinto de la Soledad
at the next table.
A meter away,
city folk bustled by in cars;
their countenances low-lit,
glanced our way,
before returning zombied eyes
to devices where they live and work.
A cream colored pit bull, leash dragging,
sniffed around the legs of our chairs,
and apparently satisfied,
returned to her person’s side.
Later, as I walked down the street
the stars came on
blink by blink, remarkably
outshining street lamps
and passing cars –
then, I remembered
other trips,
other cafés,
other Hemingways
other labyrinths.

~LD

If I could

I’d write you a love letter,
but the barkeep reaches
across the glistening
glass top surface
and sets another ambered
sea on the coaster.

Sweat drips along crystal ridges
of experience, and innocence,
slides along the rim
of a cylinder
of sin –

distracting me from
the long list of things I’ve seen
and read and heard this week
that remind me:

salty, toothy smiles
in early summer afternoon
that turn to

rusty eyes and cheeks
by autumn star and moon.

Winter comes.

~LD

Braided and Dashed — Poems on a birthday eve…

Braided

Strands of silver
Woven in the old way
Hand over hand over hand

Build a sluicing melody
Rushing against the damming
Demands of time

as it speeds along
in sightless pursuit
of a crooked path

sketched onto a map
long hidden,
ragged ends folded amiss.

Dashed

Like a sunrise
across the striped limestone
hills, not so distant

Time brightens aged gullies,
green, now, with unexpected rain
life lengthens and inhales possibility

No hyphen here to join
pieces of idea,
but rather dashes
marking ends and beginnings
of interruptions.

~LD

Tools of the Trade — thoughts on home ownership (week 1)

As I clamped the pliers down on the disappointingly named decorator hook and it bent into a shape utterly unrecognizable as a hook, I thought, “I should have known better. They’re called “decorator hooks”; OF COURSE they are made of cruddy pot metal that won’t hold up to any serious twist.” I had pre-“drilled” a hole using a hammer and nail, and still, the underside of the MDF cabinet wouldn’t take the pretty little hooks I’d picked for hanging my measuring spoons and cups without mangling the hooks. I sighed, such a waste of elbow grease. Did the math – about two bucks for ten essentially useless, but pretty, hooks. Lesson learned (again): if you can’t handle and examine the product before you buy it (especially when it comes to hardware) there’s a good chance that it is, well, crap. Back to the hardware store, this time for hooks which are less pretty and more functional. Fine.

In the master bedroom, as I set up the somewhat tall, massive, buffet-style table that I built a few years back, with the notion of using it to fold clothes and to hold my jewelry boxes, I’m still rather amazed that the only major flaw is that (just) one leg is about a centimeter shorter than the other three. I cut the lumber for that table with a handsaw. A HANDsaw. I measured everything carefully, but still that one leg got away from me. Though the table is hardly what you might call beautiful, it is exactly what I wanted; I should take the time to plane the other legs down to match the short one. But, I never do. You should see my plane, so antiquated as to be nearly a joke. A plane requiring elbow grease. I use it. But I try to keep it to a minimum. I’m low on elbow grease, and they don’t sell that stuff at the hardware store.

Having purchased a home, I think I might have done well to also invest heavily in a hardware / paint store. I’ve lived here four nights, and already I need a new key for the hot water feed to the washer (that side is drippy at the handle), a decent drill with concrete-capable bit, paint for the façade — not to mention the front entryway — a couple of quarts of hole-filler putty, a good pair of cable cutters to dispose of the tv cable in inconvenient places. I’m sure more such details will occur to me over the weeks and months and years to come. Maybe if I’d invested in a hardware store, I could convince them to stock elbow grease.

~LD

PS. Ridiculously happy in my new place in spite of minor details. I’m dreaming and drawing it into the shape I’d like it to take. No doubt, this will be a project of some planning and time. <3