Thursday, July 9, 2009
nobody has to stay.
in april me and sarah,
we said, "onwards,"
we took two dandelions
and held them up like wineglasses,
and we said, "to montenegro! to bosnia!
to ljubljana? to south, then north!"
and then, "cheers, darlin',"
and we blew.
closing my eyes, believing
that people will be kind to us.
we have fake names -jane adelade
and thalia lavender.
fjords, stray cats, dumpster bread.
always sayin', well you can't take it with you
always askin' what time is it do you know the time,
because we never know.
i remember those golden curtains in the living room.
club music, a dark lake, and the new mosque.
holding a leaf, what is going on lets get
the hell out of here
the bus is only 400 lekë
from shkodër to durrës.
and then fireflies, and donkeys.
war bunkers, byrek, zebra matchboxes.
smiling with our mouths closed, sayin'
hey thanks for the ride, i mean
meanwhile remembering paper chains
out of construction paper, remembering
ballet shoes and writing my name in the sand
with my toe. remembering
driving from ventura to azusa
with a gas station fountain soda,
with pasadena traffic,
my arm out the window.
sarajevo calls to prayer
and woven socks, counting change.
and trains, watching things move out the window
makes feelings enormous.
i am seeing cornfields in a blur- someone
turning their head quick, i guess
i am leaving notes above kitchen sinks
and drawing tulips on walls, something
is falling apart for me, thinking maybe
cities and gardens and village names
they are my friends, i guess
clothes and maps, receipts and
china markers, twenty somethings sitting in circles
on the grass like tribes, like families on a holiday.
it is late, and people are starting to make the rounds,
"hey anybody gotta cigarette?" askin'
"hey gotta light?"
playin' that layla song on the guitar
for the second time, and then
"hit the road, jack."
little conversations in hungarian,
in greek, in english and portuguese.
one guitar is named anna, and the other,
lucille. and then,
remembering a sign above a window,
in kotor, the one that said,
nettles and elderflower
red poppies, water well, itchy eyes.
meanwhile remembering little pencil erasers
shaped like fruit, remembering noodles on the stove
at one am, the loft, bus stories, dirty feet.
on cheryl's loom, i weaved just a few rows
sending yarn back and forth in a little wooden boat
pushing down the pedals like a piano,
watching the strings move.
and then paprika! bicycle! untied
shoelaces. andy goldsworthy, mulberries.
the danube river.
i am walking around the fortress in belgrade
sitting down in six different places.
and cherries, i hold the stems like,
yes, like cigarettes. while in jalovik
i am tying the tomato plants with string,
helping them learn to stand up straight,
lifting their chins, while talking about L.A.-
why it's complicated.
and the little grey and white cat with black
lining his eyes sleeping in the curves of my legs
i am calling him, "kid."
a trip to šabac, all of us piling
in the white van. roasted chickpeas.
sourdough, "someday" lists.
nobody has to stay.
long days with no poems
only harvest, and scratching my ankles.
thinking, of course, nodding my head shrugging
my shoulders, watching
the grasshoppers go high.
working in the fields, thinking hymn hymn
thinking apologetically, about how i do not have
big brown eyes. remembering her, them,
afternoons, grilled cheese sandwiches,
messy rooms and grocery stores, i remember
i miss my dresses, and iced
one braid for four days down my neck, holding
baby goats named little sun and vivienne saying
something about melancholy is the colour violet
staying beside people who want it there
and i think, there are things connecting far into ten
twenty thirty years- maybe some things
are at the very beginning of the beginning
of making sense.
oh. countryside blues.
simple people tired, people.
maybe it is better not to carry so much meaning
all the time in the palms of your hands on the tops
of your eyelashes thinking, wait
im not finished yet, with the city
and her ways and sloppy streets i am saving
the quiet land and meadows in a box between books
and towels and i'll bring them back out when i say,
"okay." i am promising them-
the farmhouses and sheep,
and the woodstoves.
i am not a bright yellow, still
pollen, and posy in my pockets.
cutting linden tree flowers, for tea
because it's my name, or something.
apricots, and anna karenina, or actually now
it's mrs. dalloway.
to the rodopi mountains, to see the nymphs,
white snails like mice. birch tree,
and i am holding mint leaves.
waking up to big windows
and mixed up barely still there dreams.
i lay for a while, and sit up.
my own room, and there is even a clock.
i dont understand it, my life, where i am.
i lay back down. i can hear
georgi going up and down the stairs.
he is the only one who wakes up early, and
the rest of us sleep like bears, waking up
and thinking, hymn- to those unbeloved and unadored,
to those unnoticed, always to those
who disappear and only dream
of coming back.