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
with the scent of cilantro,
our union heals
in your womb.
From the cupola
the benign blue brightening
in the east
as dawn grows upwards
from the roots and branches
of dark pines:
the silence of sentinels
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
into a fractured firmament
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,
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.
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
you walk through the apple garden
the wild yarrow
grows in lunar circles
Down by the pond
bamboo, blue dragonflies,
soak into your shadows
Your brown luminescent eyes
and float into orbit,
full of lightening and raindrops
I try to swat them
the volcano erupts
a burning crust envelops the sky
and drifting above me
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,
leave vengeance behind to cultivate
on a distant moon.
7 - Happiness/New Hampshire
The ecstatic child
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
under a day old crescent moon
we floated into a cove
of dark dangling willows
the loon cry
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
the night throws
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
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
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
your terror grows
and lurid yellow eyes
from the fetal forest
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.
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Comments about this poem (Mad Woman Poems by peter bormuth )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(January 30, 1935 – September 14, 1984)
Rainer Maria Rilke
(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
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