Sunday, October 13, 2019

Where is My Answer?

There should have been a beginning:
There never is, of course
There is edge of darkness, sight of the ceiling, settling of the spine
Before the motor catches, deep like a breath.
I've never believed in anything like this,
This road that narrows and drops, its skinned edges,
Pinched asphalt leading to places
You're going to have to leave--sooner,

There should have been a moral;
There can't be acidic crystals below
Titrated sharply from all the mistakes, flickering live cave paintings
Because it ends abruptly, interrupted
As if it isn't a story and I'm not warning
Myself that there are turns ahead on this

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and Poets United. I've been putting notes on paper for November's NaNoWriMo draft and thinking about places that become more and more placeless and that restless undertone of "time to move, time to move." Love the way the picture chimes with the idea of movement without any of the mundane needs of going. Where would we migrate if our dreams were geese and we had to chase our flocks? 

-- Chrissa

Sunday, October 6, 2019

My Whole Body

My whole body becomes chest and throat; October raises me, like a forest sliced and glued and soundboarded, to his neck. He will bring the wind, the last heat, and the sudden fall of night. Until this concert, I had always imagined my ghosts drifting in robes. I am varnished with a formula only necromancers and beetles know. Everyone says the instruments are electric now; we are cyborgs so that you won’t fear when the night breaks into inhuman traffic; we are all electric shifts, spots of shadow and cold. Or that is October. In his tuxedo and with those dark shoes polished so that I am looking at the limelight below...or a streetlight, beyond which the stars are blank and silent.

My whole body is chest and throat—you think he plays a special effect. A game of wires and electronics. A game of hunting for the soul in the buzz of a human house, humming to itself and letting its doors drift open. Like the game we play listening to the static of the stars, already turned between channels. Too much light pollution on the stage to see them in the midnight leather, they are only pieces of all of us, in the dust.

My whole body has become chest and throat and it is my voice that threads your nerves, plucks your stomach, and seems, almost, to form words in the goosebumps trailing beneath your formal attire. I sing in muscle. I linger in the drift of honey-crusted pine sap scraping across strings you’ll never quite see. I sing in the taste of the forest October remembers like an old score, long settled.

My whole body has become chest and throat. A song moans in the rafters.

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and with Poets United, provided this passes their threshold for prose. :) I'm glad that October is here and I'm hoping that the rumors of a cool front next week will prove true.

-- Chrissa

Sunday, September 29, 2019

We Forget So Much

My grandparents tell me about the scientists, late at night
When the heat sighs under the door
About how the world believed that thinking and caring
Could be given over to others
But that world drowned and we play on the floor
Of the ocean that was
All of us, while the adults polish the last bright dish
Filling with hope from somewhere

The scientists knew about water, about oceans, fish
But none of that belongs to us
It was paid for to be hidden, to be resold to us
By the hope whispered
Into the dish we keep if there were gods
Say my grandparents

My parents say that we need to be careful, to walk
The sands with them, slowly
That the water will come when the disk is perfectly cleaned
Like a sun rolling down to us
It will shine a path directly through our eyes and wrists.
Height won't let them forget, nor will they abandon us
To the myth of scientists.

For me, poetry isn't a full conversation. It's the spark that will land upon what tinder exists in the reader. So what this isn't is a full and careful philosophical proposition that a certain thing is good or bad and what we should therefor do. Maybe it's something that worries me.

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and Poets United.

-- Chrissa

Monday, September 23, 2019

Magic is Malleable

Mercer, Roadside 9/23/2019

Above, tiny, white-bellied planes sail silent
Across the evaporating crust of the moon
Into clouds that might be all that remains of her light
Steaming above us, day-blown

Here at the edge of the over-baked asphalt
In diamond paint splotched like an iceberg
Melted into plastic and crumbled into the weeds
She winks at me, and dreams

It was a good, cool morning and the small toad who was waiting by the table where I ended up this morning stayed nearby as the tree specialists cut down a few branches and then a few trunks not far away, inside the thin puddle of woodland that grows between the parking lot and the picnic area. There were an inchworm, minuscule ants, and a tiny jumping spider, all small as if we're starting over from scratch after the rains of last week.

No deer today, only bunnies and one squirrel and the sense that the rain was lurking in the puddles and waiting to breathe wyrms to coil among the pines once one's back was turned. It's the end of summer by the calendar and the rains are coming to wash away the dust and to bring the green to the backs of the trunks, like a rising crest. It's a delicate time of year, like a mushroom cap that's perfectly frilled and susceptible to the least drop of water from the branches above. Will the heat leave a hardy growth of story behind or will the fall knock it back to the ground? 

Too soon to tell, really. 

-- Chrissa 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Apple Tree

There's still a house there, and before the house
There was that apple tree
And it's dusty and full and the fruit's growing old
But its still, probably, sweet

And that apple tree blooms and then sets it fruit
And we drive through, eyes on the street
And the families keep changing but not just there
But we think we still see their sheets

I don't know where that first garden grew
Not right down my street
But abandoned gardens and houses left behind
Are all I know of Eden

I'm older now and this is the yard
But where is the green?
All I've got left are the souvenirs, relics
Of the garden we've seen.

The apple tree brings the fruit to the scheme
And the snakes are brought by the weeds
I'll bring the guileless, wisdomless teeth
And rumors can flame through the screens

Hope y'all are having a good week! We had a surprise...hurricane? Tropical storm? last week, which really doesn't seem like it should be a thing but is, apparently. We were fortunate to just receive the rain and none of the flooding on my street while the it felt like the city was drowning once again. Which, I suppose, when we were able to get out and run around again, gave me fresh eyes, checking to see where water lingered and what made it through, checking the creek obsessively and worrying about our local library, and noticing an apple tree full of fruit in an abandoned (or possibly just temporarily deserted) yard. And then the image above. And there's a story there more than a poem...there's a power who's just pulled a relic from a flood and the land is drying all around but the music isn't playing and the birds aren't flying and there's just the sun and the smell of wet sinking down around the foundations and the way you think you remember something but it just doesn't break through the present haze. Or maybe that's just me.

-- Chrissa

Sunday, September 15, 2019


Courtesy of The Sunday Muse prompt

The best parts are the dark, gentle rewrites
Faces spun up to reassure you that old friends remember,
& old lovers are just a summer's coursework away...
Too obvious a mix of living and studying, but messier
Your brother's old carpet and legion of toys
Cityscaping a dim-lit dorm room beneath
Cerenkov string lights, blue underlid fluorescents
Setting your books among them, in the darkness, unread
Before you head back to the unlit auditorium
To be told by shadows the lecture was bad
But this row of unexpected friends will keep you
And your old boss apologizes in the form of a TA
Forgiving you for not doing the reading
Promise seeps back, like water in dry grass
Rising dark, cool on your toes and unreflecting

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and Poets United for the Sunday verse round--poetry is an excellent way to start the week. I started this week with a round of writing in the arboretum, as the mornings are cooling nicely and I'm not crisping around the edges by 9 am. There were deer this morning on the drive in but none, thankfully, near the benches. Deer are the spirit animals of anxiety & I tend to imagine them creeping through the underbrush (because squirrels and birds sound fifty times their size when you can't see them). And because maybe I've watched too many bad 70's movies in which nature is definitely out to get you. And because of that one time I didn't see a tiny herd before it ran in front of me on the opposite side of the park. Anyway. Totes not obsessed with both seeing and avoiding deer. That would just be weird. :) 

Hope you have a good week!
-- Chrissa

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New Minutes

Three dark-haired boys--wavy, curly, skull-cap straight
Walk out into the bare crosswalk;
Five in the afternoon, a slant of shadeless light;
These thick, flat streets are too new for trees.
That building's stone cladding is dappled by car shadow
And the second story--where the plastic tooth dressed as Santa
Grins down upon this river I'm driving through
Casts its form, tidily, to the back.

Sharing with The Sunday Muse for the Wednesday prompt "boketto." While the definition provided (gazing at the distant landscape with an empty mind) seems to refer to contemplation in nature, I find that this sense of openness also occurs when I'm in the car, particularly when it's a longer drive or we're heading somewhere along a new pathway. The piece above was prompted by my choosing an inefficient route on the way to pick up my husband, shortly after realizing I would be late. Traffic and road repairs/widening have picked up around us, lately, and earlier that day I'd found myself startled to be diverted onto a new road that swept up, bypassing the familiar street-level route.

Even if it is the car-infested landscape of an exurb growing with all the charm of a buckling lava flow...this is still my landscape. 

-- Chrissa