In the courts, in the pavilion
in the center with my God
Behind the gate, as His daughter
Sings and sighs, with letters and
chatters to her Father.
I am telling Him stories
and He listens patiently
Allowing my laughter and
Amazement fill His room.
He talks with me in a steady
gentle voice called Forgiveness
and wipes away my tears with Grace.
He corrects me in His Mercy
and I sit up to play a new song for Him.
Is it passing your belief that God led me to cross the ocean at such a young age, to expose me to the love and art of sound that you know so well?
Was it only the angel’s clumsy coincidence that I swim through turbulence, only to immerse in books and stories that equal my conversation with you now?
Even recently, do you overlook the orchestrating of the Great Conductor, who removed things that served as my distraction, only so I could focus on our own wandering thoughts?
Have I come so far, to be devoured for one weekend and be delayed in time?
Would I wait, Beloved, until your work produces enough satisfactory paperwork for you to file? Would you wait, Beloved, until I am equipped to make the same drive you do?
All the while, are we busying ourselves with sensibility, and sacrificing the life that is “ours?”
How much longer do we have?
How many points do we each need to earn?
How much of each other’s cares must we take seriously, before we act?
Have I already made the promise and not told you?
Am I so foolish or faithful to do so?
What is Honor to me, Beloved? Or status? Or title?
Haven’t I grown beyond that?
Haven’t I grown to fill it?
What are presents and rings, flowers and chocolates, that show me my importance?
Would it be knowing you breathe deeply in the night and your knowing that I wake slowly in the morning?
What have I to study but righteousness?
What have I to sing but patience?
What have I to plant but devotion?
What have I to write but love?
What have I to listen to but your promise?
You choose how to honor me.
[Originally written 7, September 2009]
Cleopatra in the quiet
Bathsheba on the rooftop
Backseat weapons keeper
Of your leather with your guns cocked
Be I Eve after the serpent
The harlot at the gate
Clutch me with my skirt up
Breathe hard and heavy
When you wake
Sugar sure between my hips eh
Summer salt lust in my throat
Mark your fingerprints in places
In my spaces down below
From your pocket
Pull up right behind my question
We been jamming justice
For an hour
Come undo my disposition
It’s a little nasty and I love it
You answer thick and ready
For the storm
Forget that other birthday cake
I keep this batter warm.
** ** **
It was an uninterrupted time.
Before emails and cell phones and separation.
Before complicated conversations, more than 3,000miles apart
About how next year is a better time to come and visit.
He would hold my hand, around the block.
Cherry Street, where it curves, and we pass by the neighbor’s home with the high gate.
The dogs hear us chatting and they’d bark
Then my soul felt like it was in danger.
Because I was six.
I would keep walking with my father
Who held my hand and kept his stride.
He’d walk me past the gate, with the barking dogs
And talk to me through the noise.
Sometimes I couldn’t understand him
But I always knew his voice was there.
Our conversation would change after the gate.
After the barking dogs, we had to talk about something new.
Tangent and unrelated, but still very important.
I would hear the crickets again
Singing from the thickness of the untamed grass
Those sounds could only reach my ears a certain way
Because I was at the height and age to listen.
He smoked in the evenings
With cigarette in farthest hand
I can’t remember if the smoke ever reached me
Anything on the other side of him
Couldn’t hurt me
He might have even paused on his answers, to exhale
But it’s hard to notice that when you’re next to a moving tower.
It was easier to love my father because
He didn’t correct me.
I didn’t have to grow up under his rules
Our only restriction was distance, occasional pride and politics
Would my decisions have been different
If we walked a few more times
And I told him new stories
Through the noise of dogs in my adolescence?
Maybe it is better we fell short
That I don’t have opportunity to outgrow the evening walks
Avoiding the charge-off, that it was a waste of time and breath
And step and wisdom
I’d rather have memories cut off at six
Than extend them with images of my trying to escape his presence at sixteen.
Now that I’m older
Walks are still special
Uninterrupted talking time
To stay close to the ground, every step a clearing experience.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo or some earth sign explanation.
Maybe because it’s a time I can talk to God
And still feel like I’m going somewhere.
I mold this to my understanding
That this fragmented memoir
Is infused with love and acceptance
Because I am at the strength and age to write it.
“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Psalm 45:1