Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Longing (Upon Waking)

We were there, my brother and I, hiding in the basement of the healer's house. I longed for her private sacristy--the singing bowl, burning sage, and prayer to the four directions--I longed for a sacred kind of calm, but I knew she was depleted and needed respite. Even healers need to sleep.

By hanging around waiting, we had gotten stuck, afraid to ask for the door, afraid to cause a disturbance, have them think we were stealing, or worse. I had just washed the baby in the commode, and we lingered somewhere near the furnace, behind a door, peering at the healer's husband in his easy chair as he watched television, his Bob Ross hair flying off his head, his feet up. At some point it became dark, and we could hear the husband's soft snoring. When the house was still, we tried a door that led to a stairway and out to the front hall. Here we opened a second door into the night.

In a leafless tree, an owl spread its wings; he was white with brown specs on his breast and had yellow eyes that looked down into one's own nakedness. He was fierce but elegant, soft but stern, and his wings took up most of that southern sky. We stepped out, free, and he flew up into the night, his giant head adjusting like the moon.


***

"Some people just get stuck inside you." This is what I told a student regarding his obsession with a high school classmate. I don't know whether it's ego or love or just unfinished business, to tell you the truth. I'm talking about longing like I still long for you. It's been some twenty or so years now, and I grapple with your mystery. Why do people get stuck inside us? You once admitted we had a bond (you were reaching to run your fingers over my faux leather biker jacket when you said it) but I doubt the bond tugs at you like it tugs at me. You were trained early on to not let such things get to you.

But there was that time, years after we broke up and after you broke up with her that I knew you would walk through my front door. We had just moved in to that dingy apartment in Brighton, and I was standing in the foyer looking at the painted grain of the wood and I said to myself, he's going to be here at some point. And then you were. You called me up to return a book of poems, and you picked me up and we went out for dinner. Your hair was cut and you were wearing a ring. I don't remember anything about the ring, only that it was there, on your hand, some gem, and I thought perhaps she had given it to you. You had transformed into a man and yet you still lacked some facial hair; there would be parts of you that would be forever boy. I wanted to make a good impression upon you, but this was impossible. You had already made up your mind to move to LA and besides who would want a woman still dripping fresh with longing and need? She's as desirable as a wet piece of laundry.

Is this the part I need to rectify? Your opinion of me? How I see me through your eyes?

***

There was a stairway to the third floor apartment, and I ran up and down it for exercise. I thought perhaps you were watching me. You were playing a game on the fields below; it was some kind of timed obstacle course. I saw you during your run; you hurled yourself over the finish line, and I thought, yes, I do that too, hurl myself at things.

I found out eventually that you and your wife were our new neighbors. While you were at work I befriended her, and we planned to have breakfast, despite the fact that she could barely speak my language. Was I just trying to get to you? Get on your good side? When you finally came home, you arrived dressed only in a towel. I hadn't seen you in years and then, suddenly, there you were, dripping wet, the hairs on your chest, wet, wet. You glanced at me and then started talking to another writer in the room about how you had connections. The longing inside me throbbed. "I'm doing this to myself," I said. It's a wonder turned sour, a conditioning, of sorts, for real life.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

There May Be Openings


There May Be Openings


There may be openings,
though I spend my life
banging at the door
there may be openings
at my head perhaps
or in the floor.
You subtle god rising
tucked away in some bud
some stone, some afterthought
you dangle, you plunge
you live your life
underneath my tongue

A thirsted, distant entity
yet intimate
lies within me
a hatchling crying out
to sustenance
to embrace and dance,
to chance

Flip a coin of mood and
I am staring at you darkly
and you don't move an inch
I cup your riddle
in my hands and sit, investigate
meditate
wait
for a petal to release
for a scent, some sound

but what I don't know
unfolds behind me,
around me, blossoming,
harkening
in petals and sounds abound