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peter bormuth


Mad Woman Poems


1 - Beginning the Journey



Upon arrival I saw a small woman

with sagging shoulders and lifeless limbs

[dark hair like whispers of dried leaves]



Soon I learned to listen

to the soft monotony of your voice:

slim reed hollowed by pain



Now our limbs lie tangled together

like a battleground of roots

All day I keep your scent on my fingers

as I stop to salute the flowers



Tomorrow we must travel on

past the brown pools of your eyes

where soft furtive animals

drink at the edges



Following the white road home

we will cavort with the ancient ones

who dance in the dark spaces

behind the stars




2 - Little Wind



Shame and grief

leave your body

like a sudden rainstorm,

a solo by Coltrane,

a meadow of grasshoppers

convulsively jumping for joy.



Like a deep

arroyo

of sunlight

filled

with the scent of cilantro,

our union heals

the shadows

in your womb.



From the cupola

I see

surrounding foothills,

the benign blue brightening

in the east

as dawn grows upwards

from the roots and branches

of dark pines:

the silence of sentinels

meets

the maddening morning of jays.



My heart was a casket closed

of wood elaborately carved

Now you've crawled in

and curled up to sleep.

Little Wind, your voice is

gentle as apples.

Little One, I want to stand

holding you, my chin

on your head,

until the aquamarine

brilliance of morning

shatters

into a fractured firmament

of stars.



3 - Separation



My love, I miss you at night

and at odd times during the day.

I crave your almond eyes, high cheekbones,

the line of your chin, neck, ears, nipples,

and nose.

In my dreams I smell the scent of

your armpits, my head rests on the smooth

white skin of your belly, my life weaves

among your bones.

What a foolish wind curls from my lungs;

this long sigh in the morning.

Without you the day is empty like mirrors

Young girls pass me in tennis clothes

and a crow glides over the clovered fields.

At night

I walk between hydrangeas electric

in the moonlight,

seek silent rivers under concrete curbs

A blast of exhaust, and the shouted curse

of the black bus driver.

Old man with sad eyes and black clothes,

smoking his pipe, peering in shop windows, turns.



Where is the salt spray? the scent

of seaweed and herbs?

This earth, this sea

rising from your loins

the froth of your dreams

writhing, flowing, together....

your ochre pain

your silver foam.





4 - Battle



The tenderness of flowers

devoured by glass

Abandoned

you walk through the apple garden

the wild yarrow

grows in lunar circles

and mourns

Down by the pond

bamboo, blue dragonflies,

and sunshine

soak into your shadows

Your brown luminescent eyes

meet mine

and float into orbit,

full of lightening and raindrops

I try to swat them

like houseflies

buzzing, stubbornly



Suddenly

the volcano erupts

a burning crust envelops the sky

and drifting above me

three fiery

and tedious moons.





5 - Longing



I drown myself in the ocean

of your odor.

the spinning tides draw me

into your arms.

Let me comb pine needles out of your hair.

Let me dance naked in circles by your side.



Love, when you are absent

the wind whines and groans

calling your name among the armored trees.

Without your presence my memories

are like a core of discarded fruit,

devoured, rotting, ready for seed.

My tears are pointed crystals

nudging their way through the earth

to your side.



Nocturnal One, your love,

like the purple robe of royalty,

leaves traces of resignation, duty,

and drawn swords.



The odor of your armpits enriches me

like the scent of lilac,

the aroma of coffee,

the smell of cinnamon,

the snarl of wood smoke,

the fragrance of fresh baking bread.





6 - Memory



Georgette, barefoot Bauerin, gardener,

tiller of soil

Cultivator of ancient grapes, olives,

swirling citrus winds

Sun child, child of crag and Baqa'

and coastal sea

Ikhnaton knew you and called you

'woman of the cypress'

Mohammed and his tribesmen

knew you, and the Crusaders

knew you, and the Mamelukes

and Turks knew you

supine on your back, spreading

your legs high in the hot sand.

Fertile and patient

you have peopled the oasis's

Your tap root is deep, nourisher

dressed in black

your tears have irrigated the land

Daughter of Tyre, night tiger

your dreams are the color of blood-oranges

My Lebanese beauty, desert flower,

nocturnal bloom,

leave vengeance behind to cultivate

blue lilacs

on a distant moon.





7 - Happiness/New Hampshire



The ecstatic child

eyes leaping

mouth agape

little legs

stretching to push the petals

of the player piano

from the mahogany bench

while the white keys dance and hop



Earlier, hair blowing free

your head rested

on my shoulder, sleeping

as Buffalo Soldier* and I

leaned into corners

and exploded past birches

full of shadows and surprise



A lucky breakdown

led us to Webster Lake

Canoeing

under a day old crescent moon

we floated into a cove

of dark dangling willows

the loon cry

echoed

around the indigo shoreline

while twilight ricocheted

streaking the sky



Together we depress the petals

our voices laughing and out of tune

your joy infectious

difficult for me to measure

your first vacation in fourteen years.



* a 1981 Honda GL500 Silverwing motorcycle





8 - The Pelham Hills



New moon

the night throws

tentacles out

octopus like

ink black

the claustrophobic forest

of young white pine,

oak, maple, and birch



Holding your hand

my feet feel the trail

the subtle density

of the packed earth

leading me home



We light a candle

illuminating

the darkness of my tent

the vertigo of fatigue

rushes past your eyelids

like a small stream

and you sleep



With the insomnia of trees

I listen

to the guttural forest

the yip of the fox

and the midnight passage

of the old porcupine

needles fall from branches

like soft rain

as roots probe among rocks

and moldering leaves




Mumbling in nightmare

you stir

your terror grows

feathers

and lurid yellow eyes



from the fetal forest

comes the

screaming

demented

laughter

of owls.





9 - Herstory



Like a solo by Parker

before he became 'Bird'

your sorrow is scorned

and laughed off the stage.



Chord and word captured you

hammer imprisoned you

unfinished houses, children, and songs,

hang like weights from your breasts.



Asleep in the sky

your mother rocks

calling for you to hold

her pallid and insane hands.



Today large hands, coarse and greedy,

grasp your shoulders like vines

monologues of black blood bubble

from the ceiling and walls.



Air, to speak it's terror,

seeks throat and tongue.

Quiet....your house reeks

of guilt and raw gasoline.



Amid the debris of a life without

edges, you survive, holding fast

to imagined tenderness: the taste of

sawdust, the texture of unwanted cum.






10 - Departure....the ending





In ceremony we carved the stick

memories pleasant and lacerating

each given a turn of knife,

a cleft in the soft yellow wood.



Yesterday, in a circle of friends

arms and legs interlocking

we honored our children, and the past,

drank crystal waters from the blue bowl of night,

and sang, giving voice to our sorrows and tears.



Now sister, our paths part

day dawns and we drink from separate streams

the web that united our hearts is broken

black liquid leaks through cracks

and pools form on the surface like oil.

Submitted: Saturday, February 20, 2010
Edited: Saturday, February 20, 2010

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