Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pretty Things on a Shelf

A Faberge egg
More than itself, an opalescent hidden life that never begs.
Then maybe a geode--split and revealing millions of dazzling crystals--
A hidden mystery of complex and beautiful design
Juxtaposed in a menagerie of frivolity.

Scattered in shapes and sizes
Photographs of smiling family, friends, and
Laughing children framed in glided wood and shining glass.
Happy waltzing families, as Tolstoy once told,
Really are not all happy in the same way.

Left off center a delicate flower
Cut down in full glory bloom.
Maybe a lily in an heirloom vase
Or perhaps an exotic orchid
Set upon the shelf, equally doomed.

Spined out flat
A tattered antique diary of Anais Nin.
Confessions fictionalized in a misbehaved, romantic and eroticised life.
Or maybe some darker tale of reveling sadness, lost dreams, wasted ambition--
The Bell Jar or The Sun Also Rises.
Whichever, whatever--confessions or roman a clef—
It is bound and forgotten in old leather
With water stains on the cover,
Flaking title on weathered spine.

On a dark shelf in a secret corridor
With buried echoes of mourning,
The divided chambers of my heart implode.
Breathless now and out of miles and broken walks
Comes the sadness; splintering out of despair,
From the weight and this pain of loving you.

Like Isis in the underworld
Trying to find the pieces to make Osiris whole again,
Or as Artemis running over punishing hill chasing not deer or wild boar
But to save Horus and Iphigenia
From the fragments of tomorrow, yesterday and today--
I go on and on and on, running.

The cherry blossoms cut the brilliance of the morning that rushes past me.
I watch as a hawk swoops down to catch its prey--
An unaware mouse shuttled off to its doom.
On and on and on I run.
Pounding out the miles and broken walks until
the salt I taste is no longer sweat but tears.

On and on and on I run and the miles fall away.
I put my dark things back on the secret shelf and lock them
In the furthermost quarter of my heart.
I run until I come home happy,
Loving you all again, and place myself
Like pretty things on a shelf.

* The photograph is a self portrait and is old. It was my very freshman attempt in the darkroom trying to do an Ulesman. The poem is new, I wrote it this morning after my run. I am sure it could use a million edits and paring down but I doubt I'll ever get around to it.


  1. I think it is beautiful. The photo and the poem. And being a critic, the only thing wrong with it is that you misspelled Anais Nin. I really do think your poetry is beautiful. And I may be a lot of things, but i am no liar.

  2. Thanks Anne. And I looked at Anais and thought it looked wrong but thought I had already fixed it once. Damn french names. Going back to correct.