The Ring

he wears a slim band on his left hand

scratches the ring on the testing stone

explains about the bottles of acid

18 carat, 15 carat, 14 carat, 10

I notice the day’s price of gold on

a white board – changeable

pour the acid there

the right one illuminates the gold

the jewellers were on 10th avenue

he was angry and lurking in the back

she placated, seemed nervous

I wanted something simple, unusual

white gold that swirled from

smooth to gnarled patterns

he never wanted a ring

didn’t want to be branded

didn’t mind that I would be

man with the slim band weighs the ring

plugs numbers into his computer

carat times weight times today’s price

the ring wasn’t ready on time

came in over budget

their marriage was on the rocks

the shop closed soon after

everything potent in hindsight

pour the right acid on a ring

and its true character

shines through

 

 

Cool is Sexy

rainstorm, and my hot flash and I

are out out in the garden

naked we feel the grass wet under our feet

and the rain drip down over

our hair to our breasts

our belly and ass jiggle as we jump among

the azaleas, pink in full bloom,

and feel better than we’ve felt all day

as the breeze touches the moisture on our chest

and arms and aching feet and

brings the temperature down a notch

so our veins rescind, and our sweat dries

and our pulse slows

cool, sexy,

glorious cool,

my hot flash and I fucking salute you

Tightrope

I wake early and often

sweat springing from

my neck, my feet, my collarbone

the change of life, or one of many

I’ve been trying to write a poem

about a tightrope, but I no longer

know why, or care

the connection isn’t clear

something about being

tied in knots

holding, binding

an image in my mind

of me suspended, cocoon like

sagging into the ropes

even as I struggle to

break free

it’s a mirror of sorts

that life I get up and live each day

the one where I am tied

to work, to home

to the same worn paths

I’ve now walked for decades

I return to the tightrope

and that elusive balance

and the way the rope is never ending

but some things end – most end

thus the night sweats

and the binds

real and imagined

and the rope

and the urge to let it all go

and fall

 

Lost

 

I can’t find my therapist

streets of Yaletown look the same

I blame gentrification

wax bars and custom tailors

capitalist sea of things

I can’t afford, don’t understand,

don’t want, don’t need

Kafkaesque this

ten years of confusion

Kafka would also lose

his way in Yaletown

I say to my therapist,

“I got lost again,” and he says

“You are here, on time”

he notices what I do well

while my focus is elsewhere

why can’t I find

a way to his office that

doesn’t find me, ten minutes

prior to my appointment,

gazing at the blo bar, the juice bar,

the distillery, wondering,

where the fuck am I?

 

 

 

 

Travelling Shoes

Tai chi shoes, he wore, left them at my house

I mailed them, but he’d flown south

I trace his travels in shoes

 

Here crows fly east at dusk every day

ritual magic carpet

rides – adventure in the sky

 

map of North America in the light

finger slides here, florida

I trace his travels in shoes

 

mom sent sandals to Athens but I’d left

for London – that was the past

long ago, when I had wings

 

he needed walking shoes spent weeks searching

cobblestones found size twelve Keds

I trace his travels in shoes

 

view from my window busy chickadees

flutter honeysuckle buds

constant motion, ready flight

 

I trace his travels in shoes

 

 

The Rat

the rat abides

even as I rake

disgusting turrets

moldy bread pasta

walls avacado hulls

he persists

 

he ravishes my compost

skittering claws

adept at de-lidding

the bin, dragging

my castoff detritus

to his ratty lair

 

I saw him once fat

shimmery, cocky

living Kingly

on my homemade lasagne

roast chicken

chile citrusy salads

 

I was on my way to court

-the ex-husband-extracting money

rat eyes glinting, entitled

over the compost

he postured – just

keep the food coming

 

I can’t call it a truce

disturb his nest again and again

more bricks on the compost

the arrangement is non-consensual

he will keep taking

as long as I keep eating

 

I could call it a metaphor

a scuttling long tailed image,

a symbol, a living

squeaking personification

It’s life imitating life

It’s a fucking rat

 

Freedom

we live many pale

moments and

few blazing, gold ones

 

freedom is seizing

grand moments

knowing they won’t stay

 

this moment, you say,

lips brushing my neck,

we will recall

 

where you are snow falls

and moments pass

three hours ahead

 

freedom is living

the moments we will

never possess

 

you are in the east

I am in the west

you blow smoke rings

 

through the phone

this moment

I can almost smell the smoke