Nothing Catty on this Roof

we are a scrappy pair

we two

as we scratch and claw our way

from under this dung heap

into which society

shat us out.

you shred skin

as you shed convention

laboriously hefting

lifting you

from beneath the shadows.

I reinvent myself

rewriting the future

on the blunted nib

of frenetically wielded quill

revising me

into a long cool

draft of summer breeze.

we scrabble together a moment

amongst the endless scramble

a breath, a bite, a word.

deadlines loom

thunderheads gloom

your steadfast grip

lifting me

trembling rooftop helpmate

barefoot hammering

racing the clock

while a storm rolls in.

you find me cheeky

up here

skittish and determined

give an appreciative wink

at my disheveled skirted squat.

we giggle at hot footed dance

you secure my safe descent

lifting us

beyond the hectic humdrum

and I tuck this moment

sweaty and dusty

with my windblown locks

behind my ear

where I will hold it

dear

Forward Ho!

it is rather herding cats

this marshalling of my forces

from among their separate spinning

manic super collider orbits

where meltdowns

\dripping uranium (or wax)\

feel the lesser mount.

they scratch and hiss

these feral festerings of the past

shabby black- tabby

pets of my much touted

witchery.

I have no bags in which to drown them

\all my rivers have run dry\

so I give frenzied chase

and they scatter as I scramble

to gather them together

these mistresses d’ fate.

I have fur balls in my coiffure

with catnip accoutrements

\harried housewifely ‘do\

and my fever is ballooning

as crises are wont to do.

but I need them on my journey

\these testaments in tattered fur\

so I cajole, corral and conquer

snarling cougar to prancing puss

and onward, shambles,

we meander

all my lives

and I

Just, Because

the cliff face is sheer

not in the sexy negligee way

but in the holy crap I might die

way, and the ladder trembles

because it is old and unsteady

and has been exposed to the elements

and years (how many??) of wear

and wind and sun, and not

just because my frame

vibrates as I cling, petrified

yet somehow moving one foot

determined, concentrated, tortuously

slow, down

rung by rung

and it holds and I’m not dead

or falling, bouncing across the rock face

so I move the next foot

leaden yet beset with tremors

until it finds purchase on a greyed

perch, here in midair, terrified.

there is no breath, yet a heart

hammering fast as hummingbird wings.

the wind pries at my balance

as it eddies, mocking me and my

acrophobia. finally there is rock

awaiting quivering soles, and I

scamper, blindered and winded

to a ledge approximately level.

I grin with panicky relief

having beaten back a demon

as I clamber toward the next

because

there are sites to be seen

fears to conquer

trails to hike and

just, because

Of Mother

the spirits of the ancients

rumble in ochred striations

rasp with copper calls

of the wisdom of the earth.

this petrified sand, here,

that grabs my foot-treads

\while I suspect it of slippery treachery\

roots me, through the centuries,

in ways only my soles

can wearily fathom.

wild beauty surges through thundering veins

with every startling gust

that reminds me, breathless,

of my cosmic insignificance.

sandstone vistas ransack my wind

\as I grasp, mindless and controlling\

while my cap is strewn in the dust

with all my careful planning.

long deceased, gnarled juniper branches

smoothed with the oils

of countless fearful

lend strength and support

as stubborn doggedness flags.

there are cliffhangers here

\rarefied legends beyond my ken\

that cling, dusty and persistent,

to knotted and testy calves.

mother o’erwatches

omnipotent and ever-present

as I traverse her playground.

Fevered

it is a cat-scratch in the arch of my tenderfoot

this swelling, welling in my soul

back arched and forehead burning

I hiss

at the brush of your outstretched paw.

hairs upended and mewling

black yesterdays slink under ladders

splattered in the shabby patina

of abandoned masterpieces.

steeped in antiquated ammonia

vintage carpets curl in threadbare sedition

I weep

silent rivers of involuntary revulsion

swiped away with defiant wrist wipes

these salted choleric commentaries, unleashed

lest you read weakness in the tracks

overlaid in the dust of my disgust.

i know the rules to this game

as I clamber broken rungs, clattering

upward

upward and away from the furballs

you hock up by the scores, licking

yourself in depraved self- gratification.
your nine lives evaporate, evanescent

and vitreous, recalled by the fiends

that birthed them. i humor you

and watch you disintegrate

vanishing

Trees in Winter, Siberia

(This piece was prompted by today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, using Adrienne Rich’s “What Kind of Times Are These” as my inspiration)

 

in winter, trees are stark naked, like my truths

when they creak and groan in the howling wind

your ears prick up, fixated and keen

living under them, as you do.

 

I know my truths are hushed, silenced and quashed

shriveled scarlet maple leaves, flaming in shame

peeking, hide and seeking, from their burial spots –

hidden ‘neath the blizzard banks, ‘tween I can’t tell and you won’t ask.

 

it’s funny how I disappear a little more each day

in this wasteland of muzzled testimony,

gagging on marinated bear paws, downed with guzzled vodka

as I wonder how I landed in this Siberia of veritas, right here at home.

 

I am a shadow of myself, disappeared with my truths

lost, until I stumble upon the gathering place, brimming

with diademed women – walkers of the shadowed roads –  who conjure

now the midday sun, glittering experiential jewels, scattered in hilltop shouts.

A Little Walk

hills called me forward

another and another

ever exploring

 

solo adventure

scrambling well off beaten paths

dusk drew nigh, slyly

 

each next summit piques

my need to conquer the next

majestic views ‘wait

 

minutes, well-trodden

morph into worrisome hours

mom never forgets

2020

“things will be so much better then”

proclaimed the dying sage

her declaration sure and certain

\how strong the words\

belying the papery thinness

of her withering husk.

her whispers rattled as I

read them, steadying my shaky

heart, rapt across the miles.

i swiped backhanded at doubts

\dripping wayward tears\

mortified at my wet-noodled spine

she is tranquil in contemplation

of her death (permanent)

while i am moldering

\rank and stagnant\

in the aftermath of mine

(though my death was the temporary kind)

 

on that steel stool

in my concrete cage

better was beyond the ken

a theoretical construct

\like relativity or the Big Bang\

which i believe exists on an astral plane

other than where i reside, somewhere

  • out there

(though let me tell you about a Big ass Bang!)

 

yet she averred to me

\hope and constancy\

this woman wise and warm

from the glowing embers

of her fading days

  • tattooing better

upon my flagging spirit

so i tucked her prophecy

\folded and tattered\

between my fraying ventricles

staining it with each bloodied beat

as i crawled from then

  • forward

 

now i catch a glimpse of better

\from time to time\

guttering in the distance

a candle buffeted

  • and burning still

At Day’s End

my fingers

strong yet supple

rub insistently

along your firm lines

massaging hard-working grime

from your weary edges.

with emphatic strokes

I work you into a lather

as we

release

tensions of the day.

damp and shining

we lay prone

your face a shimmering

reflection of my

earnest exertion