Monday, March 6, 2017

Songs in transit

Songs in transit: coming

I am coming back
to that place on the hill
far from the city where my lovers lie,
where I planted pieces of myself, like a garden bed
it has since grown
a different bush.

Songs in transit: en route to Oakland
In this circus country, truths
are whatever magic tricks you conjure
and language
is made
to jump hoops and juggle
You and I do not belong here.
We prefer magic without tricks.

Songs in transit: Reading 100 Love Sonnets on the plane

“Love, what a long way, to arrive at a kiss,
What loneliness-in-motion, toward your company.”
This is the second love sonnet of a hundred
Pablo Neruda wrote for his third wife.
He wrote from another country, another time,
but today,
across grasslands and north to the Rockies, he speaks
as if to say he hears me, and knows
where I am going
what I seek.
Even if I do not know them, there have always been
fools like me--
we love with willful stubbornness
because we are its progeny.

Songs in transit: this is a different body

So I come back to you--
not to the place where love happened and is gone,

where now another woman goes--no
I come back to you
a different body,
through a different door,
a different bed.

In this new place, words stay.
Touch imprints. Movements happen without noise.
Bound and shelved above our heads, pleasure

is broken down to its simplest sounds, slick and wet 
like waves.
I come back to you thicker. Nimbler.
My tongue quicker, I move slow.
Time has made me a generous lover.
For this you are both glad
and afraid.

Songs in transit: panic

 “There are many ways to carry the past with us.”

This I read at the bookstore
to stop the panic rising.

Songs in transit: leaving

I leave the key on the desk and close the door,
It is not night time, but darkness lingers.
Inside someone’s kitchen, a light is turned on.  
Perhaps an exchange of a sleepy morning kiss.
Over on the next block, Bica's coffee is opening for customers
shuffling to get somewhere
then later, to come back home.

I pull my luggage past them in the rain.
I would have gladly sat down on one of those chairs
and never get up.
But I have to catch the train
back to the city where I was born
and every day
is dying.

At the Rockridge station I get on the 6:25AM train to the airport.
It is crowded. No one talks.
We are too sleepy, too sad,
we don’t want to disrupt this kinetic energy
lulling and moving our weights forward.  

The train hums louder as it dives
into the dark underground beneath the waters of the bay,
the way my mother sang to us
when we were young and afraid of the dark--
I closed my eyes and traveled with the train
back to my mother's womb--
wet and sleepy and content.
But I have to exit soon, and the train knows.
It cradles me for as long as it can, before I am expunged,
forced to look at daylight again—
this is life.
And love is no exception.

Songs in transit: when there is no return 

Where love is born, it can also die—
this is the process.
I know.
Because love is a constant
object in motion,  it leaves
in order to come back;
without return, it is lost.
The hills of Oakland know this.

If each time we love
a little shorter,
a little less kind,
give less of ourselves,
touch not frequently,
look not too long
and don’t whisper with new awe each morning we get to wake together—
it won't come back. 

Songs in transit: I arrived but not yet home

Last night I heard the hills cry.
They felt love wander and feared it lost.
They swelled with sadness, soaked the streets.
This morning they refused to wake,
Leaving rain to say goodbye.

Rain walked me to the train.
Rain stroked my hair.
Rain wrapped its gusty arms to hug me;
I breathed in its Patagonia mountain air,
filled my lungs with abundant space--
keep my feet light.

I took it with me on the plane.
It sat next to me on the bus.
It unlocked the door and walked inside.
It saw me undress and covered me as I lie down.
Then it left me there,
in the city where I was born
and every day
is dying.

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