When I was young I wanted to be male.
How genital equipment could create
profound discrepancy I’d weekly fail
to comprehend. But it appeared my fate
would be to linger kitchenbound like Mom
at parties, talking babies, food and health;
applying makeup, dreaming of the prom;
while all the men had news, prestige, and wealth.
I learned then what it’s like to be perceived
as weak and sweet and passive, classified
a maiden, my directness disbelieved,
my strength distrusted, dirtied, or denied.
I found out how unfair assumptions are
(like those of each religion organized
by men) and more, I understood they’re far
from being true, and worthless as devised.
When I was young I wanted to be male –
Perhaps I intersected history,
when women walk outside without a veil,
and girls are manifesting destiny.
What does it feel like, to rest on your laurels?
Leaning on branches or sitting on leaves?
With all your advances and pausing withdrawals,
do you ever doubt what your master believes?
How would he measure your growth and promotion?
Why did he stop you from climbing that hill?
(You’ve made him your target of love and devotion,
divining fulfillment from marketing skill.)
And where does it surge from, my drive to be writing?
Why do I gather such nonsense to sing?
Though I can be witty, I’m more into biting,
and I still don’t know how to know anything.
I’ll celebrate your birthday for a week:
I’ll kindle you with toys and sweets,
select and offer food and wine,
regard your theories, rub your callused feet,
enjoy your body thoroughly with mine.
And when our celebration ends, we’ll seek
no more, and you’ll take nothing back
but memories. Our ember days
will settle in sweet cinders, sifting black
upon your shoulders as you walk away.
The weight of friendship lays on me so lightly,
canopies so rightly on my heart,
that I can carry it a hundred years.
The bands we braid of self-respect delight me,
stabilize my stance until I start
to range beyond the boundaries of fears.
Less heavy than a dandelion seed
and more ephemeral than gossamer
are what you ask of me. To meet that need
unneedful, to attend the low murmur
beneath your conversation: these are light
responsibilities. They’re friendship’s right.
almost like heartburn
creeping up in me
with uneasy tightness
while I try to determine
the cause of disquiet.
Something is missing
and the fact that I removed it
or that removal is right
does not fill the void.
Time will mend me
and while it unwinds
I’ll mine this mood for poetry,
explore this mine for mood,
invert this mind to spill
a balm of wisdom
on a healing wound.
daily more swiftly
pushing me ahead
but I catch looking backwards
the patterns in its wake.
From a construction project: write Haiku using Sherwin Williams paint color names.
pilloried between fence slats
face the morning sun
intimate white left
to age on old wickerwork
in rainwashed comfort
still water in the distance
salute the dark night
The messenger assigned to comb the shore,
and carefully select the perfect sand,
invested half an eon in the chore,
and filled the holy bucket with her hand
until she had the quantity she sought,
and bore it to the purifying flame,
and while it cooked to clarity, she wrought
from Lilith’s rib a handle and a frame.
As grains of sugar melt to caramel,
so golden sand was altered by the heat,
until it flowed translucent in a spell
of metamorphosis. And to complete
the magic gift, she mined for mercury,
pursuing metal slippery and round.
She caught it in its toxic levity
and laid it superficially profound
to make a backing silvery and bright,
so face of glass admits the eye to see
and back the basis sends the endless light,
reiterating like eternity.
She made the mirror, woman’s task and tool,
and yet the patent-holder is Semuel.