Category Archives: Free verse

When you Die then you Live

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

When you die
(I said to him)
matters not how many are around you
in your hospice bed
or none
as you perish in the storm
you die alone.

Then why
(I said to him)
when you live
can you not be equally alone
however surrounded by insistent motion
or in the stillness
of a moonlit snowscape?

But how can I love you
(he said to me)
when you wish to be alone
when you go away
leaving no note
when you stand so still
under the moon in our yard
and neither touch nor word
you acknowledge?

When you leave
(he said to me)
with no word of farewell
(as in that old song)
I die inside
but when you turn your eyes
to look into mine
I come alive again
Why
(he said to me)
do you do this?

Don’t you know?
(I said to him)
Don’t you see it’s because
I want us both to know
what matters
and whom it is we truly love?
Love is a trade-off
where there is no pining
where there is no loss
there is no desire awakened
there is no gain

Would you know life
(I said to him
the last time I left us)
learn how to be alone
with your eyes wide open
with your mind on everything
except us.

 

 

 

 

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What we Settle For

(So, I thought to myself as I read this written who knows when, why not? And here it is)

a poem… by   ~burning woman~ 

It’s there – for all to see it doesn’t work –
but no one can see it;
not until it collapses in your lap:
when the hopes and dreams
shatter as glass when a rock is thrown
and children run laughing
while another screams inside a dark house.
Isn’t it amazing what we settle for?
What we convince ourselves of?
There is the tried and true and failed –
Oh yes, failed, utterly failed –
but what can one do? It’s all there is, isn’t it?

We are born into society – a pattern set in cement –
and even if we notice (too late)
the cement is cracked and crumbling
no one is pouring fresh stuff down here.

Let’s see, what are the options
for the budding human’s dreams?
There’s church – some kind of religion
so you can get hooked to God – the Great One
who’s more silent than the grave;
family – parents and siblings and fights
followed by separation and divorce
and relocation to another apartment.

There’s government – you register to pay
everyday of your life and beyond;
there’s school – education to make you fit in
and teach you how to walk with eyes wide shut.
There’s work – you have to make money —
it’s what makes it all go round and down.
There’s repetition: your own family now —
the confining straights of marriage
and kids and responsibilities no one ever taught —
you fly by the seat of your pants
and you remain afloat – maybe –
or you lose and fall and lose again.

And at that point there’s jail — you had your good times
they brought you too low and you couldn’t climb out
so they scoop you off the sidewalk,
in cuffs you watch your shiny stolen car
burn inside the basement of a house
and an ambulance screams away.

Stop, you say, stop already —
it’s not that bad, not for most —
and sadly I have to agree, it is not:
most accept the middle road, the common ground.
They warm the pews, fill the voting booths,
sit at desks half asleep to make it work
and in the end they commute, commute, commute –
like the beat of a train’s steel wheels
on a cheaply laid track —
to the job and back from the job,
“I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go!”
and it all becomes the same, blurred, wasted emptiness
mixed with forgotten dreams alluded to
with sarcastic laughter once or twice at a party.

And hope, what happened to it?
Well, it’s still there, somewhere —
in the shoe closet with its broken flip shelf,
in the empty baby’s crib or the rusting barbecue.
Sometimes it’s in the cold hot tub
and sometimes in the boat with no license
or under the scum in the swimming pool.

Mostly it’s in the maxed-out loans and mortgages
maybe just enough to tell the Sheriff: not today,
just barely enough.
Dreams and hopes becoming the memories
rounded up to form the padding in the coffin.

Tu me Llamas “La Terrorista”

[thoughts from burning woman – visions of the future]

Tú me llamas “la terrorista”
but I was never a terrorist.

You came into my home in the night,
pulled my lover, me, my baby from our bed.
You made me watch as you tortured and killed my lover.
You stripped me and gang raped me and beat me
and you took away my baby girl.
You threw me naked in one of your cages,
to mock, to make sport, to make me talk.
Talk! Talk? What did I know? Nothing.
I asked, begged, pleaded, for my baby:
you threw acid to my face and laughed.

I escaped from your cage of terror, ran into the jungle
I was naked, starved, dirty and my face was burning:
that was last year, as time is counted. Or was it
the year before that? I found other dispossessed,
victims of your terror goon squads.
We survived, we hid, we found clothes and shelter.
We found more of our own and we vowed revenge;
oh yes, revenge the like even the gods had never seen.
We stole camo gear, weapons, computers, radios
then it began and we made it real in hand to hand combat.

For my face, a dozen of you lie rotting in the jungle.
For my lover, a hundred of you bloat and float
down the river, or lie in the fields to be eaten by pigs.
But for my child, a thousand of you will die, some
not so quick nor painless. I will ask you where she is.
You in turn will beg and plead your innocence:
“¡No lo sé! ¡Por favor!” and I will laugh, and kill you
one by one.  Not once will I feel regret, not ever!

I now wear my scarred face with pride. For a necklace
I wear grenades around my neck. At night
I sleep with a machine gun in my arms. My new lover,
he is very potent, walks his talk, gives me courage.

Your prostituted media posts pictures of me,
of before you burned my face and destroyed my life.
They call me “la terrorista de la jungla”
the woman terrorist of the jungle… but know this,
you who die at my hand and that of my comrades:
you made me what I am: the she-wolf deprived of her cubs.
congratulate yourselves!  While you die, think of the girls
you raped and tortured. Was it worth it? It better.

Like my hero, Che Guevarra, will you capture me
some day, torture me, kill me? Perhaps. But know this:
a fire that consumes the likes of you is sweeping this world,
from one end to the other, we rise, we rise:
we have learned this one thing, that though rising
may see us die, we are equally dead in your hands and arms.

No mas, no mas, no mas. La justicia nos llama y nos estamos
levantando!

[transl: No more, no more, no more. Justice calls us and we are rising!]

Dancing in Paris

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

I’m dancing, really dancing
only I don’t quite dare know
who this girl is, dancing so freely,
with such uninhibited abandon.

Behind her looms that steely landmark,
the Eiffel tower.
She spins and laughs, closes her eyes,
it appears, disappears
now covered in lights,
now wreathed in fog:
the clouds seem to frown
and she shivers and trembles
thinking, “Such daring!” Is this me?

It’s her happiness, you see.
The mighty Olympians are confused.
Perhaps even angry
for they’d swore she would never
taste happiness in this life.
The man in whose arms she swims:
who is he? She can’t remember–
Is she dreaming again, lost again?

She doesn’t know what time this is.
How long has the Eiffel being?
This must be a recent time,
a modern time, so says her dress.
This time, this one time
it has to be real,
not just some pointless vision:
one more of countless.
This time she beat the odds–
she-did-it. I-did-it… me!

I’ve dreamed to be here,
to possess this experience.

But it was always just a dream,
one after the other:
dreams, I have survived on.
From dream to dream weaving
the plain web of my simple life
in my very own make-believe tower,
a prisoner of fate and of fear
until the day I die
to enter that final dream.

But here I am,
dancing in Paris.

No other city looks like this;
no other feels like this.
The world is my home town
but Paris, ah, Paris
is the front door to my heart
and it lies wide open!

Be angry, Olympians, hate me if you will,
it matters to me no longer:
your lying mirror lies on the floor
in a thousand shattered pieces!
If I die now, then I die.
You were powerless to deny me

this one moment when the taste of happiness
touched my lips.  I am laughing!

I Know about Pain (She said)

The following is a collaborative poem between Wilde Taylor from Morality Park and myself as  ~burning woman~

Listen
she said looking out the window
the magnolia did not quite
succeed in hiding the crows
I know about pain

Look
She said, listening to her soul
I don’t know how to stitch it up again
The water of the universe
Unable to contain itself
Grief, spilling out,
It knows about pain

Understand
she placed hand over heart
a cloud passed over the sun
emphasizing gently spoken words
this is sorrow from grief
for the pain

Feel
Said the fe/male pain
I am you and you are me
Together, sinking ships
Parting waters,
This is not denial
I know you

Drowning
she exclaimed gasping
hands to her so white throat
drowning in your/my (our)
eternal unbearable pain
should we not end
the pain?

Reliving
Is remembering the pain
Blue topaz, seas of sanctity,
Reincarnate once more
Retell, rewrite
The pain lives on –
Drowning itself
Into pieces of
Lightness
The unbearable lightness of being

That Feeling, it will not Leave

Where do you hail from,
you shattering feeling
flying on wings of doom,
harbinger of sapping horror?

It all seems so perfect right now,
the sky is pure, clear and blue
and high noonday sun sparkles,
distant snow-capped hills.

Spring arrives,  a bit unsure,
Winter birds actively seek
elusive bugs and sluggish worms
among pink buds and greenings.

Surely senses don’t lie so,
all must be well with the world
bathed, exploding, in delight
of so much beauty and peace.

But that feeling, it is not leaving.
There’s pain in my heart,
my food tastes of sawdust;
childhood nightmares are back.

The Day After

 

[a poem by   ~burning woman~]

It was a day long after
what happened didn’t happen:
denial was in full force then,
it made everything work,
and work was the order of the day.

There were warnings,
there always are warnings.
The planet was upset
sending signs of distress
in skies and seas and lands.

Birds, bees and butterflies
were less to be seen.
Fish left rotting carcasses
strewn across sandy beaches;
floating among the flotsam.

Violent storms, deadly droughts
succeeded chemtrails
and incessant burning of trees.
Smoke filled the valleys;
children choked in gun-smoke.

It would come, of course:
everybody knew it, everybody.
But promises and hope ruled the day
Larger bandaids were handed out
with flu shots and plastic smiles.

The day came, it was inevitable:
everybody had known the truth of it,
the inescapability of it.
Oh, it would have been a day
to be remembered.

Had there been anyone
to remember.