Purple Balloon

This purple balloon
spit with wet lips
filled with hot air to maximum capacity
bulbous and breathtaking in the space it makes
and takes
without asking.

This purple balloon
tied with a string
straining toward the ceiling
wanting to touch the fluorescent light
just to see what happens.

This purple balloon
breeding more static
into electricity
causing gravity to rebel
in the rubbing hair of passerby
trailing its string from thing to thing
draping its arrogance
into the center of your attention
without thinking.

This papier mache
torn from pieces of infinite care
torn from pieces of wretched think
the fingers sure and staunch with destruction
jagged edges and smooth intermingle
inside the blue bowl soup.

Each slick piece
waxed to the balloon
spread with sticky adhesive
chunks of newsprint slathered like egg whites
onto the surface

Each slick piece born from honest work
painful missteps
creative choices
the words repeated on one strip full of step-by-step instruction
others experienced with time and influx
of crunchy expulsion

The blurring of paper into grey matter
the layering of life
work
missteps
choices
words
time

drying and curling into a new balloon-shaped being
in grateful preparation for the prick

of the needle.

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Dear Sister, Part II

Dear Sister,

She pulls us along,
the butterfly leading the caterpillars
we inch in our fuzzy toes
we shuffle in her shade.

As she fans the flames
as she showers us in light
as she soars above and looks ahead

she is not leaving
she is waiting for us to join her.

Dear Sister, Part 1

Dear Sister,

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag ornate with the swirling blooms of love
and the patches of cashmere entwined
with silver spools.

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag that holds the scaly remnants of snakes
and the grounds of bitter coffee
with dirty band-aids.

She reaches into a bag
each day
a bag that smells like gardenia and peach
and the scent of sated
with earthy life undertones.

She reaches into a bag
each day
and smiles.

I am not a surfer

I can feel the chill of the water
in the wind that sprays my hair

the wet sand puddled in places
picks up the paraffin in the sunset

the wink of old footprints
flush with footsteps untaken

the smooth belly of the sand ready for me to pat

I propel forward, the waves that chatter my teeth
inching closer to me, like a feral cat I want to pet

prancing one foot further each time
ready to be ransacked

and then they arrive,
beneath the postcard sunset and the
silhouette summer day swimming in my vision,

I see the surfers.

Expecting Baywatch, these boys slobber into the sea
one barely making waves
the other backwards and flapping like a drowning seal
these are the photographic evidence I need to know

I am not a surfer.

My brethren chainlinked against the seaweed, I cannot look away
expecting success, failure, death by shark, who knows?

I never thought before that surfers could teach me something new
show me on a platter a principle I’m likening to

it is not about being flashy on the board for all to see
it is not about still life adventure on a mailed piece of paper
it is not about escaping the mundane by tasting the tide

it is flapping in the undertow, crashing into other swimmers,
knocking your head sideways into the water
ingesting seaweed and measuring which way is up

it is walking right back into the deep crash of beachtime
it is a flashing mindpicture of yes
it is worth facing the undertow

it is knowing you are a surfer.

Construction Zone

jackhammer
soothing the sound barrier
like a screaming robot.

shovels dig and splay the broken street
right in front of others
the loaded cars breathing ragged
on all sides.

road signs
threaten with the menace of a mouse
in a lion’s mouth.

orange orange
black messages
slow, be prepared to stop,
rough road ahead.

Slippery Fish

Slippery fish,
who knew you were happy in that bowl?
I spent so many years scoping out surface
for you, foaming at the mouth with eager
anxiety.
You were buried under the sand.

Slippery fish,
who knew you were wounded in the water?
I felt so many years of frenetic family
scoping our surface, eager with mouth spent
foaming
Digging out the soul in the sand.

Slippery fish,
who knew you were dying in the water?
I spent so many years finding foam for us to eager
surface for us to scope,
anxiety buried in the bowl
You are floating over the sand.

The Daisy: an elegy

There you sit on the windowsill,
the cold glass rubbing against your vase
as you stare through the pane to view
the waning sun.

You recall when the fog could be felt on your petals
the rain kissing your face like dew, the humid air
reaching into you from stem to tip
to soil.

You recall the rush of growing, giving your petals to passerby
blending between the other flowers, bending to kiss the bee
before yawning at the end of day
and sleeping through the darkness sea.

You were plucked late enough in life
losing the length of roots outside
stuffing into the crannies of this cramped blue vase
and gazing upon the eyes of the one who plucked you.

Here you sit on the windowsill, no longer
sunning, no longer
singing, no longer
swaying in the summer spring.

You want to return to the other flowers
You want to be resown.
You want to wither, watching them,
the flowers you are no longer.

But you have something they don’t have

the strength to carry these long memories
the scope to know that strife
is necessary to each pretty white daisy
to survive through all this life.