Monday, September 7, 2009

This Ancient Thread; Strand 4, Part 1, Draft #1

Tactile rainbows night of new feelings
symptoms of social order-system shock
too hard to ignore too soft to grasp
white knuckled in late evening's failing light.

Evening was our oyster, Juggling Suns
jamming square pegs in our circular holes:
at least that's how it felt, heads compressed,
our little brains crushed too full to cracking with laughter, big thoughts,
levitation and smooth anticipation driven nails: music
that drifts to eardrum and plays like harpstrings gently tugged
melody pure.

The World Turtle led the way:
beak pointed north, the universe at her beck and call.
Thus she led us into day turned gray then night,
but not lies led on high
brownies prepped the week before in a kitchen off campus,
enjoying our destinies as if fate itself could be contained in this uncontrollable world.

The World Turtle led the way, dark splotched in the rarefied starlight,
and us her disciples, followed as dogs wag tongues and drip saliva,
evaporating but slowly in the humid State College air.

Clammy Hands and Homemade Looks

Clammy hands and quiet looks at girls
sweaty ass crack on a split plastic seat.
I shift in my seat, back sliding down then up, awkward in my cramped chair.

Shorts too short
the price you pay for homemade looks
shorts too short,
Daisy Dukes, says a friend.
Bad enough that here I am, young man spinning clay
into forms bestial and ugly, one of only three guys
in a class run by a hippie in new-aged rags,
dark purples and rainbow sparkles shifting and swaying
with every move of her hips or hands.

My stomach turns and I feel pale pink puke
spattering my throat like magma splashing the rim of a caldera,
and all I recall is the feeling of fear:
of being being called out,
being singled out as someone other than them.
Daisy Dukes, they would say over and over, not all at once, but still
from time to time, Daisy Dukes-Daisy Dukes-Daisy Dukes.
The General Lee was parked out front at my high school
so how was I supposed to feel?

We grow out of this, so some say, we grow older,
but memory yet keeps the past alive
as embers snug in cow dung,
carried from camp to camp.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Of Remembering Kittens (formerly This Ancient Thread; Strand 3)

There always were a lot of cats on the farm,
and kittens birthed so often that imagined
irrational fears of mothers like Black Mama, a dark mottled calico,
stuck fast in mind and memory.
Suckling her litter out of the way in one of the pig sties,
our lookout posted so she could not catch us unawares
should she come round the corner.

Another mama had one tell-tale eye
puss green pale filament stabbing me a ray of evil light in the dark of middle night,
one leg curled up useless by her side,
mangled tan fur rooted with burs.
She reliably had kittens two or three times a year.
Some one thought she was sexy. Someone thought she was too good to resist.

Most of our kittens survived barely long enough to remember,
and far too short for names.

I remember kittens:
crushed under the right rear wheel of our shit brown Suburban;
eaten by wild animals, left to rot as hollow shells of ribs,
headless empty of innards;
shocked fried stuck stinking caught up in the electrical underbelly
of the freezer that sat squat and cold on our porch,
but the death I remember most deserves a story all its own.

To keep kittens away
my dad built a wooden plank across our porch top step.

One day,
a friend of my second older brother must have been in a hurry leaving our house.
He rounded the corner of our porch enclosed by age-old stone wall
quickened pace stepping right through said wooden plank,
plank kicked far ajar, now dislodged
scraped stone, but could not hide the sound of kitten crushed
and killed faster than it ever knew what hit it.