It’s Mother’s Day
It’s Mother’s Day
The political policies & social tragedies of the United States in the late 1980’s & early 1990’s provoked this honest & furious collection. These poems bristle with rage. They confront & challenge . . . Here are poems that demand to be heard. To that end, a CD of the author reading 28 selections is included.
The Woman Whose Skin’s
slick as a snake
running naked through the trees
a kid under each arm
smiles her gap-toothed smile
ducks behind an elephant ear
never to appear again.
From every corner of the town
women rattle cups
send plumes of smoke racing
like horses their daughters can ride
skin against skin
into the hills
where the warriors wait
dangling lucky rings for them to grab onto.
The woman whose skin’s slick as a snake
slides along the bank of a quickening stream
sniffing out clams, frogs and the nests of salamanders
stopping for a breath when the sun slips behind the horizon
and her appetite’s sated.
Last night she slept with her sisters in her father’s house
tuned her guitar
mended her mother’s gown.
Last night began the waining of the hunter’s moon
someone harvested a lamb
carved a pit from the trunk of the largest tree.
The man will soon return and the door will close behind him.
must I leave my home
wear a new name
lose my luck
never speak out again
That same night
having rested long enough
the woman whose skin’s slick as a snake
turned slowly in her bed
stroked the kids coiled close beside her
then packed and left in the last of the dark
. . .
Someday you might glimpse a hip
a shoulder caught in a flash
twist of thigh;
you’d swear you’d passed before
respectful as neighbors living in the mist
Jim Talks About Coyote Mask
For Jim Allen who owns the gift and knows its powers
I can’t believe she’d want to give it up.
Bad vibes, she said. Too dark.
Or some such nonsense. I think power.
The dancer with the cunning tongue
mesmerizing rattlers, toads and puma alike.
I picture him totally out of control
frothing at the mouth
his goatee flecked with spit
smacking his lips and licking his gums
out of reach
ready to snatch away
No wonder Zuni
treasure tales of his treachery
why he’s mascot to despair.
Bobbing and weaving he circles
all eyes follow
he’s been known to tease, to change his shape, disappear
there are those who’ve seen him dining at the finest tables
blessed by the most elaborate churches.
My neighbor recounts the time in the desert
when she waited to be rescued from the cold and Coyote took her
to his den
fed her a meal of free-range hen
then mounted her
turning loose a tantalizing truth she’d been forced to hide for years.
Did I say
he holds the lever
turns it at his pleasure