Two Portraits

I

water covers my view on this sunny day,
splashes off the sponge, drips and slides down the window
squeegee squeaks smoothing and removing excess
brown hat, green, yellow, and red encircled, rest upon 
the window cleaner’s head, shading his eyes
doesn’t see, or chooses to ignore, the row
of computers, coffee, and humans in front of him
separated by glass, separated by income, by class
dark wrinkles, teeth missing, aged mouth moving
focused conscientiously on the job,
bucket, towel, sponge, squeegee, soap
tools of his trade contained, pulled behind
as he shifts side to side walking with effort
old bones, old joints, old life limiting him
but still he works, moving on from window to window
leaving only a stray streak behind to show he was ever here

II

rattle, clash of bottles startles me, lifts my eyes from the engulfing glow held in my hand
“mahrning,” she says, she passes,
followed by the clatter and clash of bottles,
plastic bags rustling, shopping cart wheels squeaking,
dull black hair, a linear frame around a pallid face
brisk, efficient, covered in her layered mis-matched clothing
winter, spring, fall, even during the heat of summer,
latex gloved hands search, recycle bin to recycle bin
fingertips sensing, plunging up to her elbows
into the leftovers of the wealthy, must be swift,
thorough to beat others to nickel and dime bottles, cans,
among brownstones and historical mansions,
garbage bins, recycle bins as they were,
bulging bags filled, removed, a pittance earned,
only the absence of bottles to show she was ever here

Getting A Grip

The anxiety of life flows
through my body and into
the grip, and squeeze, of my jaw.
I find myself gritting teeth,
clamping down, attempting to control.
Years of dance training, soft face,
relax the jaw, wet mouth, easy breath, gone.
Potential upheaval, courses through my blood,
tumbling myself off, away from my center
while I foolishly believe my mandible,
grinding, wearing down enamel, and my peace,
can contain all the what if’s.

Letting Go

Letting Go

“Let It Go” circulates through my brain,DSC_7627
the catchy rhythm, forceful words,
the no longer cool song of 6 year old girls,
but my theme of now.
Let the attempts to control events go
roll the dice, see where they land, let them be,
the universe will take care of itself, of me,
a minuscule aspect of the universe.

Let the thoughts go,
they can not help,
as the white petals fall from the trees
having served their designated purpose,
they drift like snow to the ground, tumble
across the pavement escorted by the wind,
on their way to being compost,
feeding the next cycle.

Let the emotions go,
feel the vibration of the emotion,
the tempo, the color, the texture,
feel where each emotion resides,
emotions that grip my heart, my soul
wrench at my gut, pull me forward, back
sideways, upside down, and frequently, inside out,
now let them go, even as compost,
emotions can not help.

Thoughts return to explain, rationalize, justify,
support, and suppress the emotions.
Let the thoughts pass through as vibrant clouds
floating through the blue sky of my mind,
mustn’t hold onto a thought, follow, or chase it,
observe and let the thought be and it will go,
but my thoughts are resilient miscreants
demanding my attention, dragging me away
from experiencing my truth, my self.
Thoughts create new stories, to entertain,
to pardon my actions, or lack thereof,
nuisances distracting my mind from peace.

Etymology of Human:

latin origin, related to humus, maybe,
of the earth, a resident, an extension,
vibrating at her frequency, a single species,
pulsating among millions, as mites and bacteria cover,
live within me, my species covers and lives
with the earth, causing harm, causing health.
I, an individual human, among innumerable beings,
an earthly being, distanced from nature, I suffer.
Earth suffers as the humans of the earth,
from the earth, connected to the earth, become ill,
or believe, erroneously, they are above other creatures,
are separate from others, separate from all of nature.
Like bacteria within us, no longer in balance,
unlike the bacteria that we can not live without,
the earth will live without humans, but still,
we are connected, as a chakra system swirls around me
the atmosphere of earth swirls around her, my mother,
unseen yet colorful, covering, flowing, vibrating in waves,
can not separate myself, should not separate,
a change at one end of a particle wave affects the other,
Earth is ill when I am ill, and when I am ill, Earth is ill,
there is no action without reaction, a cliché saturated with truth.
Health, nature, I choose, to find nature within me, to resonate
with my children, my neighbors, my city, my biome.
I choose to create health, then my earth can be, and I may,
still will, be of the earth, with the earth, an extension of the earth.

Inside the Cafe

Inside the cafe music plays,
‘Brown-eyed girl’, ‘ABC’, ‘That’s why (I love you so)’,
feel good Motown sounds flood the cafe,
my legs move, shake and shiver from restraint,
as choreographed images of dancers
flood the cafe, lunging, twirling, leaping onto the bar,
sliding, landing elegantly, spinning on bar stools,
jumping up and over couches, lounge chairs, under tables,
partners touching, pulling close, supported then apart.
Tempo changes, a bluesy song plays,
a solo dance begins full of sadness,
regret,
loss,
and loneliness,
dreams reaching, longing hearts breaking,
the beat goes on, bum, ba bum, bum, ba bum.
My body wants to move,
to spin and to express again,
I sit still as my fingers fly, betraying the energy within.

DSC_7085

The Lamb Whimpers

Lion and lamb play, wrestle like siblings
until one of them is wounded,
removed from play, the lamb whimpers,
lion wins with a roar and a savage gust
as flakes tumble from the sky where
yesterday’s warm and misty rain fell
upon my daughter dexterous in her
climb like the arboreal creatures we all used to be,
as other caregivers watch nervously.
The buds swelling at the fingertips of the skeleton tree
waiting, preparing, for the warmth of summer
to convert my daughter’s carbon dioxide to oxygen
so she can breathe freely among cement,
brick, limestone, and glass, but…
today the lion roars fierce and the wind cuts
turning fingers painful and red.

This winter is different, they say, colder for longer
but still the same: spring will follow winter
the tilt of the axis, gravity enforcing our orbit ensures it,
or have the descendants of ancient hominids gone so far
nothing will be the same for us who came of age
with belief in our superiority to nature,
while this new generation experiences an alternative normal,
where the lamb concedes perpetual defeat, without a whimper?

snow in spring

Toxic Lover

Stunted trees in planters desperately flower in late October,
I want to reach out touch the tree, the bark, the life,
connect to something natural, but the tree needs
to be healed, it can not heal me.
Manhattan, it’s buildings, solid, unyielding, overwhelming,
unnatural, hard, and angular close in on me with the force of
a stifling lover who demands I conform to unconformity,
awakening a claustrophobia I never knew I had,
the sky too far away, smelly, dirty, generic descriptors, but
I’ve been here so long, across the bridge in comparative
spaciousness where trees abound along the sidewalks
roots pushing slate skyward, attempting escape, still imprisoned.

Once I commuted daily, enjoyed the steadfast energy of a new love
the excitement, the classes, rehearsals, the ambition of youth,
at home in the maze of the subways and secure
when I emerged I would know where I was.
Now it’s changed, unfamiliar, everything except the sidewalk and the slime
on the corner oozing from where a garbage can sits,
lost among the shiny, new, expensive, superficial,
first world consumption of things, unnecessary, but desired,
can buy new shoes clothes bags books cards ink chocolate,
pharmacies on every other corner, banks and ATMs on the others,
stuff everywhere, stuff to covet and acquire
while the natural world melts and burns removed
so far from this city that in truth is unreal.

My aged lover has no depth, fragile built upon dreams,
fulfilled, squandered, crumbled, extinguished, modified,
let the natural world come, flood the city, the subways,
wash away the selfish acquisition of millions of murderers,
all who are killing our earth, our mother, our Gaia.
Union square with trees and open air, its farmer’s market
an illusion of nature, filled with the souls
of starving murderers, buying locally, eating naturally
while crushed in crowds of self righteous, like-minded
individuals unaware that here, there is no vibration of earth,
here they can not be in tune with the natural,
here they can not be.
They can only visit an ATM, consume, and destroy
while cradled by the philandering embraces of my toxic lover.