I’m Reading

table center of my tiny world
made bearable by ancient
heater blowing hot dust
we inhabit this camper
as if we could make it
our home. in May I reach
seventy trying not to
resent the broken promises of
America of my hopes and dreams
or in truth

is my name old woman failure
do i stand like a broken
flag blowing in this cold
western wind wondering if
my prayers are too stupid
if that guy who spits anger
at my spiritual poems is right
belief an opium to make
me forget the freezing phantoms
that haunt my nights questions
howled by the coyotes in the fields
outside this place joining with
the pop of guns November hunters
take their fill and kill to cull
the herds of deer and elk
can balance be achieved by killing?

i know no words of mine have
any effect on the immutable divine
prayers i make only to change my 
countenance to spin myself into gold 
this poem discomforts me i want to leave 
town now run from her words she is 
explaining why no one has paid for my poems 
why i was born here where we stand
on the bones of those we kill and kill
where men and women and their children
in black skin have never escaped the 
slave ships in which we crossed them 
those who cross our borders
for refuge of any sort find guns pointed
and the soldier's boot no matter how long
they clean toilets and tend our lost children

this land is not your land or my land
though the indigenous ancestors sing
in my blood it is a stolen territory
not that it needs to be returned the
return is to a knowing that nothing
is ours, every drop of love produces
joy, manufactures abundance comes from
nothing we have done. truth yells here
our collective lie-thoughts believe in
the greed made pretty by manipulating charity
i show you my dinner plate instead of my
deepest fear and love cyberspace as unreal
as our emptiness. will we continue to allow ourselves
to be stolen crying alone at the screen? we mean
to earn enough next year to make us happy an
idea will come a hand will reach us through the 
internet of our isolation I lay down this LIE
sleep dreaming, answers unimpeded by the call of screen and mean
I have direct connection. my heart has wisdom written. i'm reading.


A Brave Girl with Holes in Her Clothes

i sit with my plain greek yogurt
sweetened with real maple syrup from
the land where i was born my gut
is scrapped raw woke this morning 
caught in a nightmare from last nights
movie a pandora's box whose lid is
usually well sealed dealt with this
garbage from my early childhood long
ago but still it can be stirred by a
horror story too close to home 
the coyote whines in the distance
don't disturb me tonight they sing my song

laying unsleeping i weep for this child me lost
that makes me sometimes cling to my wife until she might 
suffocate because if i am alone in our
house fear creeps in on legs of danger
in this state American as apple pie
i am guilty of something??? there is a rotten
hole in my solar plexus where my innocence 
died it is where my anger originates and boils
out unaskedfor zinging arrows at trivial things

it wraps my arms around money when i want to
be generous afraid it will hold me captive 
and without funds i will be unable to run
tells me i am incompetent, damaged unworthy
to prosper unable to sustain love points
an ugly gnarled accusing index finger in
my direction digs into my skin and twists
the truth with unmitigated lies 

because I am old and used to this nasty voice
i scream prayer into my past
call out to all right and good give
way to a consciousness so filled with
light the voice of this accuser abuser
this dead old satan whine goes silent again
i rise wiser ready to do the laundry
sun rises with me... outside 
morning is breaking me open and up
i praise this new day and walk away
brave again like the girl who beat the
odds and made it out with only a few
holes in her clothes