Saturday, May 2, 2015

Stacy Lynn Mar: Poetry

Pizza Talk and English Beer

On the eve of a holiday
I cannot fully remember
I came to you
Like a drunkard on the mend,
Stiff in my winter boots,
The smell of front porch
on my hair.
I'm not sure what I expected
But you were two thumbs deep
In some foreign documentary
So we spread cold pizza
And Old English beer between us
And talked sleepy circles
Around mad prophets,
The historical poets of our time
And each syllable you spoke
Felt like the edge of another world
I could cross, except
The alcohol was stealing my thunder
So all I could manage
Was a 2am rant about
The binds this world born us into,
The unjust in our lack of choice,
The wondering eyeball of chance,
And the God in all our words;
How always Saturday night
Would find us waging wars
Against the invisible forces
Of our universe and how
Come Sunday morning
There's always more questions
Than there are answers.
How, exhausted, we fall asleep
Across the bent in arms of each other,
Aging as we sleep
Like old dogs waiting to die.

Mediocre Star-Matter

I could be anywhere right now,
Reading my poetry
On a sidewalk bench in Bali, perhaps,
My hair a pigeon’s nest,
Curb-side poet, preacher of the prose,
Each day another rusty penny,
No fancy PC, no notable publication,
Just a beggar with a Dixie cup.
Maybe I’d be somewhere near Idaho,
Hugging the makeshift robes
Of an imposter Jesus in some convent,
Fingers bristling of what it feels
To touch the confess-less hand
Of another body while I’ve still
Breath enough to exist outside
My mausoleum of prayers and psalms.
Or I could be a streetwalker
In the gemmed city of Bangkok,
Slant of my eyes searching the footsteps
Of church men and socialites,
Drunken college kids and uniformed oppressors,
My body a street-side carnival ride
Where stranger men drop their quarters
For an hour or a night,
While my sad eyes flash beneath
Well-lit hotel signs and closet bulbs
Like new pennies.
But I am none of these women,
And who is to say
Who becomes what entity,
Our souls dangling like invisible twine
Beneath the ocean of the sky,
That gaping mouth of whatever random
Universe we each inhabit,
Until the Gods, the elements,
The dusty pieces of hollow stars
Plop you into whatever life you become,
Surreal as a graveyard plot,
Something you never knew until it born you…
Eyes and guts and half-sung lullabies,
As sharp and hot against your ears
As the hum of the stars you once rode atop.

The Middle Years

There’s something powerful
In the nostalgia
Of an old radio show,
Perhaps it’s the grandmother
And the great uncle
We hear in the muffled voices
Of bodies long-dead,
Ghost of their voice strings
Conjured to live again
In the existence of our ears,
Our heads, in the same old language,
Memory of a southern dialect
Sizzling like an antique transistor radio
Into our morning rituals
As we butter our toast just right,
Push the ache of our backs
Into eloquently-carved dining chairs,
A solitaire place-sitting for the single.
How loneliness at middle-age
Touches you, and your mother,
In almost the same way,
Crunching dates and numbers
Into a Fiber One breakfast,
Slumping into yoga pants
For the sheer, cotton pleasure
Of elastic comfort.
You smile at your ancient
Inner soul sister,
Shiny-eyed and decked in
Mary Janes and school-girl braids,
Embrace the life in times gone by
And bid those middle-years
A defiant, brittle-boned ‘hello.’

The Heart Stone

The Gods gave it to me,
Metal comet of my midsection,
Glass sheet of my chest
With a picture-window view.
For years I fed it with
Fairytales and the silk of dresses
For first date ‘hellos’
And the everyday woe it was
To live between four brick walls,
A girl alone, a girl full of dreams.
I carried them around in my pockets,
My heart full of beach-glow.
I fed it with coffee and cake,
A wormhole void of sacred touch,
Until one day it left me
For ground slugs and salted earth,
A cave in my chest that bent
In upon itself like a sinkhole
That I scrambled to fill
With crazed words of mad poets,
Biographical quotes and moon shadow
Of quiet nights when memories
Ate at my flesh like rabid gnats
And all my unlived dreams burned me
Like the spinning rings of a dead star.

Winter Soup

She cooks for me,
An anonymous,
Bird in a blanket,
Veil of a napkin
Across the shaking knees
Of my winter shiver,
Embroidered initials
Of a man we neither know,
Soft thread of a no-name,
I strum the old ghosts
Of their soup stones
The mummified remains
Of their wilted silver,
a second hand silence
pushes against
taut knuckles
and full cheeks
as if this unknown
were whispering
into the silence
of our woodstove kitchen:
how to fold
their kitchen linen
into quarters,
how to trim
the trees and holly,
how to roast potatoes
and sauté onions
as if my father
were not a cook,
my grandmother never born.
These are the secrets
I’ve already been told,
Of the menial and plain
I have previously
Though I still listen
Like the child I was,
Soup on my chin,
Kitchen China falling
Through my eyes and fingers
Like see-through prisms,
A fine crystal,
The eight reflections
Of all my inner children,
Always watching, ever listening.

Stars and Strange Faces

Nights were rather damp,
the windows of their upstairs apartment
Too wise and dingy to discern
The separate faces of strangers
From the busy inner-city below.
Her lover was a patient man,
His chin a collection of breakfast crumbs,
But she knew the heart beneath
His old plaid shirt was mechanical.
He worked for the postal service
To support them, a shadow-man
Dressed in proper blue,
Hands full of car keys and
The paper bag lunch she arranged
Like a boring habit each morning.
And when she was alone
She would strip herself
Before  the many-mirrored bathroom
Like a swaying shower curtain pushed apart.
She’d collect the anti-depressants secretly
In colorful bath-salt jars,
Those little beads of forgiveness
That would free her thoughts
When no one else could understand
That it wasn’t about love or loneliness,
But rather an itch no drug could scratch.
So she wrote letters to dead feminists,
Copied recipes for success
From the life of Dorothy Parker,
and cooked supper for her husband
Like a good wife should
While patiently knitting mittens
For children she’d never have.
Every few weeks she’d consign
A soft batch of her fingered creations
To the corner thrift shop
For a cheap five bucks per pair,
then stop at Greg's Diner for chamomile tea
A pretty girl nodding
At the smiles of strangers,
unspoken dreams rolling around
between her cranium like a marble.
She knew one day she’d have
Enough money to buy the stars,
To leave the city.