Archive for September, 2017

Punky’s Hair

The oyster shells will cut your feet to ribbons they told us

               Daddy cut watermelon on the back porch

    And Mama got Shine to sell her the sivvy beans

      And we were so in love with them

     our hearts split in two like the luscious melons

    and the labs – Pandemonium and Mary – slept logy and fat in the 

                   shade of the live oak 


All summer our girlhood became as tender as the plough mud

             with the richness of new things growing

                     In the mushy warmth


And we became creatures called woman before cognition

                registered in our young minds


Bone gangly hilarious skin screaming with confusion

                 and longing for Punky and Stevie to notice

         and Punky’s head smelled so good I reeled

               When I went to pick up the peanut meant for the RC Cola

dropped intentionally by Punky

                         and I caught a good whiff

                    Punky’s hair smelled to me like what I knew but had forgot                               in the other worlds

                            sunshine, sweat, salt, some nastiness….


Mama used to kiss our boo-boos and admonish a trembling lip with that look of hers




          sifting through with smell, snorting and snuffling, like a pig with truffles, pulling up the memories

            like poems in the wind 

the earth a poem of its own 

the plough mud my menstrual blood all the boys and men I held in my     arms those nights of confusion and longing

          the terrible deaths I died over and over and the babies and the blood

                 the secret becomings and the crucifixions

and the babies and the blood 

             seeing Mama finally wither at the feet of patriarchal demagoguery

and it ended there and then for all of us didn’t it? 

Her heart once so filled with love and devotion now so angry and

                 spiteful brittle mean dry and spitting at the end

That meanness – it can happen to all of us at the end


The heart is a muscle too

            It must be exercised    all those chambers and hidey-holes it contains!

  All those uncountable places we thought

                                                No! No!  I can’t go there! Not there!

But we sniffed this one out – this memory – that memory – that unbearable one – this unbearable one –

               we sniffed and sniffed and sniffed


until we were nothing but light all the memories bending and fitting into light

            nothing but light


              and the light became another’s poem

                                     another’s word

                                     another’s wind

                                     another’s dream


and the oyster shells cut our feet to ribbons

                and we dangled shreds of flesh

                      like gems into the precious past





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