“Let it come, as it will, and don’t be afraid.
God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.” – Jane Kenyon
You give me just what I can handle,
but no more! Not a drop over-full do You
throw into my bucket. Not another
heap of hay across my shoulders, wide.
You do not burden, or so You say, but
rare do I believe that! My bucket
is quite full, Sir! My shoulders cannot
bare another bale!
Perhaps I can handle more than I dare
think. Perhaps You are molding me
into something great I cannot yet see.
I like the thought of something great
of me to be made, but I also like the
thought of easy days! The scale is
tipping past the balance You love
I must admit, You have brought me
quite far. You have shown me beauties
of sunrises and sunsets over many
different lands. So if you do not leave
me comfortless, I can go glad into
the blackest night! If you do not leave
me comfortless, then no man shall
stand against me!
“Life? ‘Course I’ll live it.
Let me have breath, Just to my death,
And I’ll live it.” – Maya Angelou
* * *
You tear at the corners, rip it open, just to see what color the stuffing is. White, but every kind. Ghost white, snow, ivory, old lace, vanilla.
This lustful life –
Your cheeks are packed full of orange and yellow sweet potatoes. You’re gunna choke, but manage to wash all the mess down with bitter wine – so sour and slick with tang.
Manic Mondays and Tuesdays, that bleed blood red and purple into the rest of the week. There’s so much color and texture, that your eyelids are sore to the touch the next morning.
You rub them at your alarm. Your head aches, from your temples, down your spine. Time unfolds like helix coils, unzipped. Tap your tongue to the top of your mouth, then glide past every segregated tooth.
Coals from last night’s bonfire glow in the mid-morning light. With a rubber hose, you wash them black and run through the sizzling steam. You want every part of your jacket to smell like that.
There is a wall of muffled sound: Trains screeching as they slide to a stop, cars humming on the freeway, doors opening and shutting, honking, talking, rustling, music playing.
You write poetry.
Speak a native language.
Play an instrument.
Use public transportation.
Listen to music.
Talk friends out of suicide.
Watch the sun set.
Eat home cooked meals.
Wrestle with Faith.
Believe in God.
All while you live, this lustful life.
I told her she doesn’t recite poetry, she IS Poetry.
She smiled so I could see all of her teeth –
Held out her hand and I traced the wrinkles
until I hit a timeline I could relate to.
Poets, more than regular folks, share a
common history. We walk through our blood lines
just like anybody else, but we have these highs
and lows that you can trace on our hands and on
our faces. I know she got called “nigger girl” on the
bus. I know she had to force a man off her young body.
I know she wishes that one, particular pain would end,
but she doesn’t know where she’d be without it. I talked
smooth like sandpapered wood and acted like I could ease all of her trouble
but once she got wise to what I was doing, she
said, “Fuck off” – almost like she blew a cigarette in my face: her eyes
said I don’t care how many people are at this bar, I’ll stab you in public.
IS Poetry can remove her look quick, like mascara on a cocktail napkin.
Her smile is a front and her patients, thin. She is militant and radical.
She doesn’t belong to country clubs or frequent gala affairs.
She’s my winnowing heroine.
As she left, she kissed me on the cheek and whispered,
“Try and tame me again, and I kill you.”