Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
My Mother’s Garden
There was a time growing up,
I couldn’t picture my mother
Without dirt on her hands.
The day I heard grandpap had died
I ran home from school to find her
Spade in hand, knee deep in the peas.
I couldn’t believe it, didn’t understand.
Through death, a miscarriage,
My brother’s teenage rebellions,
While my world fell apart,
She tended the garden.
It got to the point I blamed the plants.
I pushed away the vegetables
That she had placed before me.
It was the only time, during that time
I saw my mother’s eyes well with tears
I ate every bite of that broccoli
And never turned it away again.
Still I didn’t understand.
When I left home for the first time
It was to a third floor apartment
That faced the street.
I only understood on the day I found out
About my husband’s affair.
I went out and attacked the flower beds.
Staring at the devastation I left in my wake
I told my son to get his shoes on
We were going to the nursery.
Confused, he asked
“Do I have a new brother?”
“No,” I said,
“I have to get more plants.”
Through separation, lawyers and divorce
I tended those seedlings.
I had the best begonias on the block that year.
My friends looked at me askance
When I answered I had my husband to thank.
They offered to find me a therapist.
I told them I already had a good one.
One my mom had recommended in fact.
Where do the strong go
When they need support?
When I need to find wisdom
And my inner voice,
I go to my garden.
I tell the bad things to the weeds.
In a secret hope it will stunt their growth.
I save the good news for the vegetables.
Hoping my dreams will nourish my children.
At the end of the day,
I have a pile of weeds at my feet
Waiting to be mulched.
And looking back I see
Only good things growing.
Kahlil Gibran on Love
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses
your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather,
“I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more than you love me?
Beloved replied, I have died to myself and I live for you.
I’ve disappeared from myself and my attributes,
I am present only for you.
I’ve forgotten all my learnings, but from knowing you I’ve become a scholar.
I’ve lost all my strength, but from your power I am able.
I love myself…I love you.
I love you…I love myself.
Rumi on Love
Liberate my soul.
Fill me with your love and
Release me from the two worlds.
If I set my heart on anything but you
Let fire burn me from inside.
Take away what I want.
Take away what I do.
Take away what I need.
Take away everything
That takes me away from you
The Wisdom of Gourmet Pizza
This afternoon Katherine and I walk to a pizza place,
Her summer dress contrasting with my cashmere warmth
its that kinda day.
Her little angel plays while we sip lemonade and iced tea,
dissecting our lives, and marriages.
She claims to be emotionally secure, detached, cool, in control of her life,
as she feeds tomato slices to her son.
“I can kick him out anytime without qualms,” she adds as if
that were the ultimate in feminine achievement.
“And does it bring you joy ?” my wonder queries.
“It eliminates unhappiness,” her wisdom retorts,
“which is more than you can say for yourself.”
My gods nod a silent assent.
“What of dreams, and sacrifices
softness, love, romance ?”
She looks at me as if I were mad
and breaks into an indulgent smile:
“You give way too much!”
“You give away too much
Men desire so much less.
You offer your soul to his needs of a midnight fuck once every two years.
He prefers jerking off to your eternal love,
food and laundry over poetic exchange
softness, intellect, beauty, depth – is lost on him,
any mindless bitch can fill your space, and mine!”
She pauses, lifting the pizza to her eyes, studying it in silent contemplation
as if the recipe for happy coupling were etched on the crust, basil leaves and chopped tomato.
Then samples the food in slow deliberation of repressed memories
“He desires so much less than what I am”,
she returns, smiles, gently wipes the baby’s mouth and kisses him softly,
and powders another layer of wisdom to hide the cracks in countenance that only I have seen.
Over the next few pizza slices,
the thirty year old initiates me into the wonders of male psyche.
Men desire so much less
the words recochet off the walls
Twelve dollars and some change
and a generous tip to the server
to birth her experience into words.
In his late forties, Zeus probably looked like him. The
sound of his voice transports me to Phaeacian shores
where Odysseus battles raging waters.
The suave professor enraptures me.
His eyes and hands sculpt the world before our eyes, his voice
loving and hating Calypso in equal parts.
The suave professor enraptures me and his dynamism spreads
like gardenias that line the ivory gates through which we
return from our dreams as he weaves seamlessly our
individuality into the tapestry of our heritage.
The suave professor enraptures me as I wonder what it’s like to
be his wife or his daughter, enveloped in a warm blanket of his
intelligent voice, with his knowledge for a pillow.
Then I notice the crooked digits, knotted and bent like an
old woman’s tortured soul. I turn my gaze away
and quietly watch the perfect snowflakes drift by the window.
I & Icarus
I’m used to heights, I think of them as my destiny !
On my way there
A moral attitude creeps into my life, repeatedly
A certain one sidedness
Creating delusions of invincibility
And then, as if on cue
The web of humanity,
weaves around my pseudo godliness.
Desires pick on integrity.
Consciousness fragmented by chance failures
In ego-functioning !
A frail, fragile, frightening, suffering, souless shadow
Stares back from the abyss,
Daring me defiantly to disown its causal woundedness….
The unconscious takes delight
In breaking everything held dear
By the conscious order,
Including my fantasies of the moral attitude….
In the very presence of my illustrious illusions
Of the divine within,
Equanimity concedes defeat
– a prisoner to the seductive forces of raw vulnerability.
Far far away,
From a place of heights that had been destined for me
The gods look down laughing.
Once again, a pair of wings designed for freedom
Had dared to seek the sun !
The Abyss of the Soul
A certain woundedness
moves within me
And moves me within
By simple psychic reality.
In the farthest reaches of the soul
In the dark desolate dungeons of yesteryears
Light of comprehension fails
To penetrate the fog of determinism
In that place of inaccessible reverence, hide
My salient, silent sufferings
The weary soul is burdened
by the weighted crown
Of jaded, expanded conscioussness