Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sally Blue

Bell your story for a warning, Sally blue
Stand with your toes curled 'round the weeds
Call for countries rising on the sea-thick winds
Hang a bell about your throat, Sally blue

Hold him close to your chest, let the snore tumble amen
Belly to nose, who never sang a hymn, Sally blue.
I'll dream those waves beneath the sky, rolling
Green above the sand, beneath the storm, roaring
In his snores.
We'll sway like weeds together, Sally blue.

There are fairies beneath the underpass
Hives below this concrete summer sky
Pulsing down my neck and shoulders
Heat thrumming like wings.

Where have we come apart? What seams were torn
While your dog was sleeping, Sally blue?
I'll climb the clouds that fall, cruel upon
The swimming cars, I'll make the melt
Of oceans
Water our weeds like faith, Sally blue.

Cry through glass and glimmer--
There were fairies in the underpass
Who sieved ocean through their wings
Whose only pulse was heat.

Who told you dogs dreamed faith, then breathed
The only rumbling hymn I've never learned
Sally blue? Stand and hold him closer
As he kicks away my salt-rimmed fingers,
Draw him near,
We'll dance the weeds one day, Sally blue.

Sharing this week with Poets United for Poetry Pantry # 411

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Magic Glass

I embarked for Oz from Texas, from couch or carpet in the once upon a time
In the days where the cars left no ruts on the highways, the motion its own track.
Restless, she whispers. Not rootless. Tethered, lifted with the heat
Pressed up from the asphalt, the heaviest of birds, my own ghost, drifting.
We have been so many places, she whispers.
Green glimmers from the edges of the window. I can hear the vinyl
As I slide across the seat, feel the windows sliding down as I press the lever,
Waiting for someone to come, to turn on the air, to twist the engine
Into the deep thrum that will carry us toward Port Arthur and deep into
Fairyland, where the Cokes are cold glass fish drawn from the horizontal fridge
In the shady salon, deep as a swimming pool.
We can drift again, she promises. I see her toes trailing in the bright dust,
Universes swirling miniature in the sunbeams. She drags a hand through
Light and particle, through dream and consciousness. I hear a door click
As she wavers, the edge of vacation flowing like slow glass until the daylight
Bends and we are treading
In the magic glass.

This is being cross-posted this week with both The Sunday Muse (Muse #12) and with Poets United (Poetry Pantry #410). I think I'm ready for fall...
Hope you have a good week & if you're working on NaNo, may you have many words come visit you. My brain has decided to distract me with cover possibilities (because what's the good of having the barest beginning of a draft if you can't daydream about covers?) but I'm still moving forward. 

-- Chrissa

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Window Shopping/Conjuration

Doors slide away, pulling the dust and heat aside
Step through onto concrete polished by sole and mop
Gleaming under the lights, where the fruit tilts
Toward the sheen. Remember the way it felt, smell it now--
Magic is the place where you don't live.

There are overhangs, deep shadows over smooth concrete
That chips into sharp, stony fluff, like a bitten candy bar
On the corner, where the steps lead down to asphalt
Somewhere you've only been once.

Sun, heat, puddles; the swift shade deep behind you.
Turn back to the window, to all the homeless things
While the heat catches your arms and ankles
Breaths chasing you to the car, to the heavy heat
In the backseat, before it blows over you.

And everything moves, all the things you've carried
Sloshing across the backseat. You'll be home in a few days.

It's the leaving, the heat and the air, the bright lights,
The heavy light, the shadows and the still shade
When you're young enough to parse each separately
Before the blur that becomes errands erodes you.

Magic is the sour surface gleaming like a rainbow,
the puddle that gives you the town in pieces of sky.

Magic conjures the sadness that must be slaked
By neatness, by things properly placed.

Magic is released in the sweep of the doors,
In the smell of the antiseptic difference down the road.

Doors slide away. Buy a spirit for everything that waits.

This week's posting schedule is a little different for me. With the beginning of the summer version of NaNo (I'm already behind...) and a holiday week, I decided to try to get in several poems regarding formative places. Probably because of the holiday, I'm caught up in thinking about vacations from back when I was young. The way I was fascinated by mundane differences, like not-my-grocery-store. The tiny coke bottles where my grandmother had her hair done. The possibility of going to dinner with my cousins and standing in the tile entryway of the old Luby's, waiting for the line to move. Tuna noodle salad in a white ceramic bowl. This isn't really what was intended by the prompt (which mentioned historic markers and wasn't really meant for a writing exercise, anyway) but it's the way I took it. And so, poems about memory (and magic) through the 4th.

-- Chrissa

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dreamers Like You

Heat gasps from the a/c whenever the car stops at a light
Lever the window down--living in the future, now--but the past...
Grass lines by the roadside smell sweet, smell of dusty import stores
That have been, of bound brooms, of sharp, gold-fringed decor

Sunlight wavers above the asphalt
Drive through a heat shimmer--
Not exactly a rainbow--

And this isn't a green smells like packing and drying grass
Sweet as sugar on the edges of this melting roadway.

There are witches in the wisps from the side of the road
Wine-blue morning glories keeping the weed sheaves straight
Summer smells like this, the green heart of the season cut and bleeding
Hair drying in clumps while the witches creep in wisps and shimmers

The road summons what it will, huffs flight along the shoulder
Like coals just caught, hot air leaping and licking at the taste
Of spring drying like fruit leather on that open blacktop griddle

Through the mirage, where the liquid is like gas and sight
Is drunk and slides down the slick edges of things
That used to be transparent
Someone remembers glass is always slumping--

Or that's an urban legend.
And the witches? Climbing over the thinnest edge of the story
Where the window is cracked open and all the green sugar
Ghosts invite you to stop, to taste of yesterday's grass?

Well, the witches sweep the road clean
Of dreamers like you.

We've entered the season of baking in Texas, meaning the season in which the state would like to bake you, preferably in a handy parking lot that's been heating since 7 in the morning. This isn't quite part of the remembrances that I intended for this week, but it brushes up against them:  stores that I used to visit, car trips in which I'd watch for the mirages on the road ahead, and repeating stories you don't necessarily believe (does glass really slump over time? Is it constantly flowing, only super slowly?). 

-- Chrissa

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I Am Led

I am led, though the path has been shaken from the forest's back
The stumps of the thin trees have emerged--boars sniffing the wind
For the smoke. The forest is running. I am led by the trampled paths of
Boar and deer in the haze of dimness blooming like algae above us
Dropping the old signs from their backs and unspooling temporal rings--
Smoke rings take life from grass to stone, through bitter dust blowing
Through the conch shell passage of my sinuses until I am singing
A path for the forest as it rises, running, the opossums making handprints
In the dirty blue sky like notes in the staves from which we hang
Primate notes running with the forest down the snapping tension
Lines that I read like the letters broken from the branches rising
Before me, great antlers tearing from the skin of the world
Boars running madness through the ashen fields
Shaking the clay from their bristles for the hands of the opossums
For the notes that sound in my nostrils, for the new paths
Down which I am led.

This was inspired by The Sunday Muse Muse #12 and is being shared with Poets United Poetry Pantry #409. This week I'm hoping to do a few posts inspired by the sermon that I heard while visiting my parents--at their church, not from them :) --about remembrance and places that are special to you. Also, Camp NaNo begins this week, so a big cheer to all of my fellow Nanoers! Yea!!! Your will project will be awesome! :) Best wishes for a week of good adventures,
-- Chrissa

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Let us count the number of paperclips that we have placed in the shelves
Where the paper is kept and the water for the small fridge beneath the desk.
There are pens in boxes standing next to the binder clips but we counted these yesterday.
Next to me is a restless angel. It is mine, in that I have the training of it.
Where is the home? Where is the hearth?
There are wings dragging through dust already swept through.
The closet buzzes with leftover hallway lights.
We can hear the receptionist murmuring into the phone.
Where is our household? Sustained by this, I breathe.
A prayer that is more a placation--this brings us the paycheck,
And then the apartment, the food, the car.
We depend upon this closet, upon the way these pens never vanish,
The way the paperclips are always available, the way the paper
Is always laid to rest in the belly of the copier.
Restless angel follows after, brushing the sides of the hallway,
Blocking the doorway to a small office.
Why are we here?
This is home.
I check the stash of paperclips in the drawer. Trust in these.
Trust in the paper, in the staplers, in the flashing light on the phone.
Trust in the chapel quiet of the hallway, the open doors, the women
Who move along the corridors. Say they are nuns, say they are votaries...
I will say they are priestesses, the angel mutters. The lights buzz.
I will say you carry your home like a shell from the shore.
The drawer holding my purse shudders.
I will say that it takes decades to learn to turn your prayers
Into something like light and like incense and that I cannot relearn
What it means to keep such a house.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

What You Don't Notice

It’s the shock of what you don’t notice—
A comment burning through the a/c firmament
Fading like wisdom from the edge of a pipe
Slow fall, slow burn, slow down.

What is light hungry for that it casts us stark,
glows until we have outlines dark
Against the hammer of sensation, there is sight—
And where it lives, is light.
What if we are not protagonist at heart,
Just the flash it strikes as it marks
A bumper from the goal, obstacle or blight—
We devour what it leaves behind.
What if we are pulse, beat, solid jar,
Only rhythm that deviates the dark?

It’s the shock of what you don’t know—
Ignorance blazing through cold comment
Catching like ashes in the park at night
Slow flame, slow walk, slow town.

So...this week's prompt (courtesy of The Sunday Muse & being cross-posted for The Muse #10) forked out of the gate, like lightning. One branch was related to a comment about seeing yourself in the background, rather than the foreground and the other branch remained firmly foreground. The poem relates to the first and I'm working on what the latter might become (perhaps just a welcome distraction draft as I try to get ready for unexpected guests over the 4th) ((what, don't tell me all your Christmas decorations are already put away)) (((no, really, don't tell me.))) ((((see, we were going to have a late Christmas with family and when that didn't happen...well...there is a pile of sad-looking decorations on a table in our den)))). 

In addition to the Muse, this is also cross-posed with Poets United for Poetry Pantry #408. Hope you're having a warm and sunny writing week and all your reading is escapist in the best way! :)

-- Chrissa