Category Archives: Uncategorized

Our Lady of Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop

She dances with the springy slinky curves
and high energy of electrical

wires, twisting in reflections and sunlight
full of purpose and shadows, pulsing with

untranslatable messages. She twists
like a cat, coos like a mourning dove. She

is her own rock band, her own blues. Her smile
could charge spaceships. She is not so simple

as people think. She tells me she was raped,
but no one believes her. Except for you,

she says, and my mom. After what he did,
she says. Do you think he chose me because …?

she says. Yes, I say. A brief moment of
silence. She tells the story in the guise

of a dark cloud, and she is the thunder.
She storms out. She tells me she is bi, but

no one believes her. It’s a phase, they say,
you’ll grow out of it. Why don’t the women

I like like me? She droops wistfully, graced
and graceful, a slim gerbera daisy

of a girl surrounded with petals, then
bounces, surging upward as if launching

herself, as if seeds, as if percussive,
as if ballistic choreography,

as if she’s a superhero sizzling
into space. You go, girlfriend, you just go.


Our Lady of the Night Sky

Blasting music down the highway,
staring at lights that open, close,
and open, cascading rainbows
across midnight blue sky. The day
is full of invisible stars,
full of noise, of evil and good.
We need both, don’t you think? We should
keep walking, keep driving the car
down roads we aren’t sure of, going
sometimes home (and thanks for the ride)
but sometimes somewhere we can glide
into a mystery, showing
for the first time the stars that spark
from us when we are what goes dark.

a day born of moments

blasting Fats Domino and dancing in the kitchen
boiling peppers into a tingle in the air

a cloud shaped like Italy dangles from a cloud shaped
like Europe, but Greece has melted into the blue sky

the mouths of babes cry aloud free and truthfully
the words of a woman from Australia shiver apart into meaningful gaps

a wire fence melted into threads of shadow dancing on the ground
a hammock strung between the green tree and the iron tree bows under the weight of youth

Rolando draws the lines of love as genitals glowing with fire
when all the rest of the body dims to last year’s autumn leaves

resting under trees and over grass in the spring thaw
it is not spring here, it is fall

here the colored trees bend beneath the sky and almost touch
here the Queen Anne’s Lace has clustered in brown stars that were once white

here the milkweed pod swells to bursting, bends back its lips,
its feathered dreams whispering to the wind

the stars reach out to me like old friends
they ask me why I write. to pray, I say,

to heal, to share, to remember, to forget, to save, to set free,
but mostly, I say, to pray, to pray


A Waltz (Unmentionables, 6)

* one *

Blows cascade through
drumbeats and horns,
polished in memory
like precious stones,
hard and bright.
Arms flung up,
freeze in place,
harden. Stone like,
they feel nothing
until they break.

* two *

Falling, falling, falling,
until falling is
the natural order,
so much so
that I sleep
through the fall,
through the landing,
curling in midair
to land comfortably
like a cat,

on the floor.
The rumbling voice
is unheard, part
of my dreams.
The heavy feet
climb creaking stairs
translates only as
rhythms and movements
of distant peoples
dancing in darkness.

It isn’t until
knotty arms scoop
me up, disturbing
my slumber, that
I begin to
struggle, crying out,
“No, no, no,”
and then curl
back to sleep,
where I started.

* three *

This old body
aches, learning again
the value of
what works well.
In my dreams,
thoughts spin, splinter,
and spin again.
Above my head,
arms curl, hands
flicker like candles,

small bright flames.
A whirling dervish
spins and spins,
dancing like Francis,
off the edge
of a cliff
without falling,
dancing back from
clouds to land.
His back arches,

so his face
can look up
at the heavens.
Arms rise, fall.
Hands paint air,
like sharp downdrafts
in a tornado,
calling blue skies down,
raising blue waters up
to fall home.


Praying in the Dark (Unmentionables, 4)

It is an easy thing to stay silent,
easier than being invisible.
I don’t need to pray kneeling or bowing;
I don’t need beads in my hands; I don’t need

a book to teach me how to hold my heart
apart, to walk through the world with a space
that spins inside me like a gyroscope,
a center to broken and blooming hopes.

The words of prayer are a constant murmur
beneath all other thoughts, polished by use
and worn down into droplets like music,
sounds that do not carry meaning, but are.

The rosary is re-learned as a touch
of fingertip against skin, counting bones
instead of beads. Here’s how: gripping the wrist
counts off decades, moving slowly upward.

Hands held just so. They mean something. A pose
that says here is a beginning, and here
an end. No one else sees. No one needs to.
Forget the beginning. Forget the end.

The heart prays without words, erratically.
The prayer reduced to silence, spins away,
spins so perfectly it seems to have stopped.
It’s silence is so loud it deafens me.


Three Days (Unmentionables, 3)

There are three days.

The day before.
The day.
The day after.

There are three days.

A day like any other day.
A day like no other day.
A day eternal, for ever and ever, world without end, Amen.

There are three days.

The day when people go about their own business.
The day when buildings fall down and fire flies up.
The day when all stop and stare to see an empty sky change.

There are three days.

The ordinary day.
The day something happens.
The day nothing moves, except the rocker, creaking, creaking.

There are three days.

The day of work.
The day of wishing for sleep.
The day of prayers.

There are three days.

A day of begging.
A day of denial.
A day of consent.

There are three days.

The day of sleep.
The day of praying for death.
The day of peace.

There are three days.

The day I am clean.
The day I become dirty.
The day I stand in water, too warm, too cold, nothing right.

There are three days.

The day of expecting.
The day of breaking.
The day to assess what broke.

There are three days.

A day I decide what to do with my life.
A day someone else decides what I will do.
A day I do nothing.

There are three days.

The day of lights.
The day of dark.
The day of dawn.

There are three days.

A day of white flowering bushes.
A day of waterglasses and sweat.
A day of hot tea and blankets.

There are three days.

The day that is remembered.
The day that is forgotten.
The day of forgetting.

There are always three days.

The day before.
The day.
The day after.

World without end, Amen.


Reading Aloud

Thumbnails of a few of the images selected for the UM Library Talent Show 2014.

Thumbnails of a few of the images selected for the UM Library Talent Show 2014.

Our Library System had a talent show. I try, as much as I can, to be supportive of bonding activities at work. I interpreted this as such an event. My first thought was, let’s talk with Alex and do a martial arts demo (ie. Asian weapons). My second thought was, that would mean finding something vaguely familiar of both of us (working from different martial arts traditions), not to mention practice and time I don’t have. SOoooo, that’s out. What’s easy and fast? I have this poetry blog, you see, and I can read. OK, that’s what I’ll do.

What I did NOT know was that they were going to videotape the performances, with multiple cameras on booms, lights, music, the whole shebang. OH MY! Reading is easy. Reading for people I work with is different than reading for other poets, or my friends. Being camera ready is WAY different! So, caught by surprise, but here I am.

FYI notes. All the poems read in this video are on this blog. They are also all sonnets. In the performance, there was a series of photos projected on one of the screens behind me. All of the photos were selected to thematically connect to one of the poems to be read, and were my own photographs. You can find all of them here.

Patrica Anderson @ The Library Talent Circus