Geography - Ramblings on a Brooklyn train
The earth swells.
It grumbles underneath aftershocks.
Sediment. Indigenous rocks, Fossils.
The terrain of the mind just above sea level
Rolls below in dayglow colors;
rotten cotton on a wire,
A gunny sack- these are
Facts, concrete and personal -
S&H PLUMPING SUPPLY
Announces in peeling yellow-
It dances and prances in red burnt orange wind.
There’s a mysterious window-
I stare into a stranger’s life;
They have a message to send-
They look back to speak- I can’t see their words.
An old RX sign swings, like a curdled photo,
So divine as it shines on in the sun
and rows upon rows of gothic angels
cry silently to the mundane -
I feel the rhythm on the tracks-
“All the same; all insane…”
DITMAS AUTO REPAIR,
screams a festival of colors…
like a crazy blood Moon.
Manic Brooklyn -
Raw, steel-edged brown, down and dirty.
Caribbean turquoise splatters
graffiti on the walls, bursting out on rooftops.
Green Ivy and blue poetry
Mingle on cracking brick…
… The darkness comes quick,
Sucking us all into the belly of Jonas’ bitch.
There is a resting of the soul
As one tumbles into the tunnel.
Me and the Pakistani boy with red shoes
watch the finely dressed black man cleaning his glasses
with the handkerchief his nephew gave him last May
when he went to his brother’s funeral in Riverdale-
They hadn’t spoken for decades-
that was last year…
Never fear the moment.
Accept it .
Take it; it‘s yours;
I gave it to you freely
right here on this train
Hey, don’t stare!
Life is never complete,
Not as people with briefcases compete
on the platform all forlorn.
I can almost see their shadows-
The man with polished Italian shoes;
So precisely he shuts his mobile filing cabinet-
Immaculate Conception of organization .
People don‘t really care past the surface,
The shallow sediment,
The layers of crusted clay sod .
Like a wayward poet, the green lady
Sings, “ Power to the people!”
right past 4th Avenue.
Off key and scarlet, Sammy Pain wails the blues
just under water while the purple
King Kong shouts “Hallelujah!”
for the geography of a soul.
Babies cry in ancient Hebrew
about Jehovah‘s wrath-
you do the math on the path
train on the way to Jersey City
After you do the New York Times’
crossword puzzle with nerves of steel,
giving perverse answers to nasty questions
About politics and God.
Black mud, with little Shasta daisies
Grow up inside the wooden, rusty steel rails;
Pungent, sweet mystical gold glitters
As it all rushes over the cruddy tracks
And I may never come back….
There is this centrifugal force, magnetic,
pushing us down, down
into the earth where we will suffocate
in dirt fossilized into indigenous rock.
What a geological find we will be!
Once I was a Cowgirl
With Savoire faire
In a Corvair-
In mid air-
Now I just don’t care.
I was supposed to be Cinderella, god damn it.
As a little girl I’d play dress up
in mommy’s high heels
in her crinoline slip of green.
I'd dream of faraway places like Morocco
And pretend I was a senorita doing flamenco
I would imagine I was Charro or Rita Moreno.
I dreamed of being a movie star- Marylyn Monroe,
or a vagabond, a gypsy. Or a witch.
I wanted to be Jenie, the one all the men dreamed.
I imagined I was magical, fantastical,
That I wasn’t who I was.
I’d play Barbie doll with the broken head,
dance like Sissy and Bobby in Lawrence Welk’s bubbles.
Like Doris Day, I'd sing "Que sera, sera"
And wonder who I would become.
I knew I wanted to be somebody,
So I painted my nails and learned how to be mean,
I hid in my easy bake oven, banged the plastic frying pans,
took the make-believe vacuum and cleaned
With mother’s little helper.
(Deem your souls to the devils, girls
there’s nothing in between.)
I’d paint my face and dance
to the Tammy Wynette tune mommy taught so well,
Sang Amazing Grace and prayed I wasn’t going to hell,
Or that the world wouldn’t end by the Russians
before I got the chance
to do the shimmy shake.
I’d pull up the fishnet stockings
Mama bought for Christmas,
With the boots made for walkin’
And wish I was a sinewy Warhol
go-go girl rattling her cage and talkin’
to fay boys with eyeliner far from home.
That is how I caught the Cinderella Syndrome
Alone in my room with Mama's 45 records
all scratched up on the stereo,
deluded about all the wonders I would know
when I found John Lennon and BB King-
well, Sister, they ain't in the Village no mo’.
Momento de Morte
Those moments when time stops-
The smell of morning glory one August
The touch of an infant’s fragile hand
On an early Sunday morning,
watching thunderstorms on the pier;
Papa in the grey coffin-
Frozen images of reminiscence.
Is that how we live forever?
I will look for it in an alabaster box
One of the seven virgins brings me.
Lavender shadows the room
And the pieces of wallpaper shred away.
I will pick them up and give them to her
Who is after me and around me.
Dragonfly, pert like shreds of glass…
Whispers strange words, really,
But they float downstream to meet me
On the other side of remembrance.
The Three Sisters- to my rosebushes
The Japanese Magnolia, hysterical blue, is with grief.
Three roses, arrogant red, choke themselves in pride-
Three sisters, creeping up the banister,
Like spoiled princesses of the Netherworld
A fatal touch of the deceptive vine
Is sweet at first, then scorching and bitter,
And angry Popov is pricked every time.
The wind stinks of vacant morning glories,
Horse dung hydrangeas,
Foxglove, Draped in Dusty thick cotton,
In the sweet brown earth
Where people freed, their souls saved,
Find something obscured
By pre-dawn mists; ghosts now whimpering
Winds tumble weeding
Into fields of wheat,
Oblivious, over there are
The scarlet girls
Conducting lust and gold-
They have their agenda,
These withered princesses
Of the dead cause,
These women who paint their face
To dance in crimson that hurts.
Nature is ruthless-
As they flirt with the breeze-
"What else can we do?
We can’t go back,
It’s snowing, the petals are falling,
And we should go to Moscow instead
To whine about dreams,
That didn’t matter much anyway."
Look outside, at the purple,
The color of sorrow
That's what it's all about, really;
The magenta leaves shiver in disdain.
Stop dancing in dreams and judgments;
You can’t live up to them, poor sisters,
All topsy turvey,
As the scent of sweetcake,
Wastes away in summer wind
Like a composition by Dvorak,
Or something like it.
Poetry by D.L. Anderson