Navigating Ink Stains

(a poem in two tongues)

dawn scatters across the room
to find me still tangled in strands of
ink – I struggle, half-heartedly,
to free my fingers from a dream
where you reach for me
pleading that I dive back among
the rivers of your mane,
sable and silky, until the daze of
your tenor finally breaks at my feet
against cold ceramic floor

pero la idea de encontrar
con mis labios, lengua, dedos, piel y pestañas
el arroyo de tu carne
en el mapa de tu cuerpo
que te llevara al gozo completo –
físico, emocional, espiritual —
no es lo que me pega al salir
de los sueños de nadar
en ríos de tu cabello
de tinta negra

No, dawn scatters flesh’s desire
in shards over the floor
where they stick in my feet,
while before my ink-blurred eyes hang
motes of shared truth,
growth, insight, unexpected tenderness,
laughter, song, books,
flawed but growing humanity —
meanwhile, the dream that I must
walk away from clings to me

like letters written indelibly on paths
that I tread every day
pretending I don’t feel
your voice whispering
against the nape of my neck.

~LD

Travelling

High above the center
of the labyrinth,
where I sit sipping
the last of my wine,
the Host of moon
is scraped flat to the east,
but still generously lights
the thread across my palm
showing red dye
awakened by sweat and
smeared like blood
on the day Theseus
fought the minotaur —
now a mere skittering
of enormous, whistling bones
leaning on shadowed stones;

Tugging the thread,
I know that Ariadne’s nap
long since ended curled
in Dionysus’ arms; this thread
leads out to the rocker rails
at my grandmother’s feet, now,
and I pull myself along
right and left and left again
until after many long turns
I’m seated again at her knee
As when I was small;
Today my arm is long
and reaches round her waist,
still strong, and warm
Though her eyes fade and withdraw
From a few feet away,
this close, touching,
she hears every word
and her eyes widen and sparkle
recognizably the woman
I remember,
hanging on to her own thread,
twisting knots of memory
between weary fingers.

~LD

Anhelo

The sun winks
As he turns toward night,
and blush washes over
the breast of thin clouds

Thick velvet mat of treetops
are shot with shining
green threads woven
through by busy lighting bugs

I breathe air
thick with mist
of time, and think
I hear my name

I roll the base
of my glass in its
puddle of sweat
on the table

the raspy, low voice
of flayed earth
calls me across the miles

the sound falling like
grains of sand down through
leaves fish-scaled up to the sky’s
watery surface

the outside edge of my soul
misses the open arms
of desert galaxies
that echo with song

and winds adornment
around the waist
of a yearning not numbed
by spirits.

~LD

Thefts

I’ve been careless
with the ink
from my pen,
going to bed
before the ink
is fully dry
on a leaf.

Words left to
steep overnight
are marred in
morning light;

Some little squirrel
has wandered
through my
heart
and stolen
my last stanzas,

every single one

Shall I Tell You? (on Ravel’s Tzigane)

Melancholy
is a desert
dust storm
And then,
and then

the salted scent
of wet caliche blows
down the city street,

and children
step out in rainbow shoes
running to catch rain
on open hands
on arcing tongues
faces, spinning, lifted in glee

but the dissonances,
too much:
too much water,
too much lightning,
flowering thunder,

children fleeing
squealing home,
to tell the adventure
dripping
all over again.
beneath raven braided
regaños*.

~LD

*regaño = a scolding

My thanks to my musician friend who pointed out the  possible poetry in a stray comment on Ravel. ~LD

Open Highway Summer

sticky asphalt steams
against the blue scent of velvet sky —
decadent rich —
my eyes reach out to stroke
the fine curve of sunshine mountains

We roll, top down,
along the glistening ribbon
of black with white
rhythms keep time with a dream
and city lights blink
in a distant valley
to the back beat,
“you got a fast car…”

the ebony wake of your
hair disappears in silvery waves
into the highway
sunset

~LD

Urban Pasture — NaPoWriMo #22 — Earth Day!

chencho

I borrowed this from Green Thumb: Adventures in Southern California because there is exactly zero chance I could have ever gotten this shot. Gorgeous. Could have been my very own Chenchito. Click on the photo to see more great shots like this one.

After a time wandering
the asphalt labyrinth
songs of the pastures
call seductively
promising peace and quiet
simplicity and beauty — a melody
inducing amnesia, erasing
mosquitos, ticks, thorns, flies,
snakes, fleas, burrs, chiggers
and stickers.

But one desert moonless morn’,
a breeze slides across my skin.
As the sun flirts with the night sky,
I recognize a certain flick
on a wire overhead.
His notes dance around the pole,
slide down among the pebbles
and over the driveway
into my feet and hands

before he stretches his wings —
streaked with concrete white —
into the eastern sky.

~LD

True story. Obviously, I’ve messed with the “pastoral” concept quite a bit here, but as my students might say, “it’s valid.”

The prompt: “Today is Earth Day, so I would like to challenge you to write a “pastoral” poem. Traditionally, pastoral poems involved various shepherdesses and shepherds talking about love and fields, but yours can really just be a poem that engages with nature. One great way of going about this is simply to take a look outside your window, or take a walk around a local park. What’s happening in the yard and the trees? What’s blooming and what’s taking flight?”

And Echo (plus) It ended — NaPoWriMo2015 #21

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IMG_0718

IMG_0721

I had no idea how these would look once posted, but in the preview at least they are legible and nearly as cool as they look on my work table. I couldn’t choose, so I’m including both. Now I’m only short 3 in 30 days.

“And Echo” is taken from an unknown page in Khaled Hosseini’s _And the Mountains Echoed_ and “It ended” is taken from Martin Zusak’s _The Book Thief_ (which my sophomores and I are reading). I always love erasure / blackout poetry. I’m fascinated by the way ideas entirely unrelated to the original text jump out. ~LD

Socrates’ Daughter — NaPoWriMo #20

I started out with so many questions
that my defensive answer to every comment,
every query, every concern and every puzzle
was, “I know.”

I went along inventing truths,
axioms and freedoms
and innocences
to pull out of my locker,
my book bag,
my computer,
my shoe,

Until I figured out
the one thing
I know…

~LD

The Prompt: “write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favorite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata. Each line can be a separate statement, or you can run them together. The things you “know” of course, might be facts, or they might be a little bit more like beliefs. Hopefully, this prompt will let your poem be grounded in specific facts, while also providing room for more abstract themes and ideas.”

Surely someone has already written this? Or maybe I was the only brown-haired, blue-eyed know-it-all who got a clue really late in life? Fun idea. ~LD