Category Archives: Rabbit Writes Poetry

Bakersfield Begins

                                                                                                      


Nowhere Stairs, Somewhere in Washington

Nowhere Stairs,
Somewhere in Washington

TBI 4: To Bakersfield With Love

Like a silverware drawer in an earthquake
this old motor home rattles with every hole,
trundling down highway 101 as if we were stuck inside a fat man running
slow, but we’ll get there. Trying to nap on the trampoline in the back room
counting the daylight between me and the sheets, sleeping with only one eye.

My prisoner thinks if it’s Tuesday this must be Pakistan,
or is it Germany today? He harvests words like a satellite lost in space,
picking up occasional beeps, giving them back
in random sentences that make me cock my head
like a confused dog. His brain refuses to tell him the war is over
or how to make a sandwich or the meaning of aphasia,
what we have here is a breakdown in communication.

My life inside out is just a pocket full of memory crumbs,
I  lay a trail south and hold hope like a birthday candle
lighting the way for two fire fighters, his friends in a previous edition
take turns driving through the night, to deliver him like a UPS package
shipped safely to Bakersfield in one of those big brown trucks.

He decides to run away at a rest stop somewhere outside Shasta,
puts on his shoes and coat, quietly opens the back door
I wake and catch his hand, “It’s so cold outside baby, wait
and leave in the morning.” Defeated, huddling in his jacket
he never takes off his baseball cap. Slouching in the ratty captain’s chairs
bolted to the floor of our cage we wait for morning to come for him.

I feel like a freight train clacking down the concrete,
bump ba dump bump ba dump into central California and the end of the road.
Today is November 27th and time’s dead star collapses inward
becoming a new map that leads to April when I will see him again.
I feel like my grandma’s quilt, the one she made for a five-year-old me
from scraps of clothes we loved or hated, tied at the corners
with red yarn and washed so much it has holes now like me and him.

I want to leave, I think too much. I’m past the prayers and the bargains
God. I’m working on acceptance and escape. No one told me
escape is the stage of grief that carries guilt like a stone in its greasy backpack,
Bakersfield and the Facility are waiting surrounded by fields of grapes.

I will hand him over my burden, my love, my focus
will change like a reindeer molting, I’ll lose winter fur and grow antlers
to fight insurance companies. I’ll be listening at the door with a glass of wine
in my hand, waiting for April to call, hoping he wrote down my number.

Push and Pull

Push and Pull

hed

It’s Not About Escape

It’s Not About Escape

This poem is not about my parents
creaking, fighting, beating the actuarial tables
at ninety years each.
It’s not about how much I love them or hate them
or how I can’t rise above the pain handed out on platters
so heavy I finally had to let go and slouch away.
It’s not about my brother and sister,
two broken puzzles scrambled in tatty cardboard boxes,
both still echoing red leftovers of parental fear fifty years on.
My trajectory was always up, away from sizzling light bulb love,
the kind that burns off wings and drops you crawling.
No, this is not about how I cannot save them
flightless and scarred, still looking for that toxic molasses high.
I can’t deny the pull, I listen to them all,
an endless buzzing loop of tears and repercussions.
This poem is not about how I got to be the family archangel
when all I want to do with this flaming sword
is cut a hole in the sky, spread white wings
and fly forever into the quiet blue
just me, the sun and the wind.

A note of explanation: My brother called this week, out of the blue. I no longer speak to my family of origin if I can help it. The cycle of insanity they live in is one I choose to leave behind. It makes me sad but it makes me healthy. It reminded me of this piece I wrote two years ago about my family. Sometimes, things really don’t change…

 

TBI 7: The Cherry Tree Motel

The Cherry Tree Motel sits placidly beside the hospital
and wears a necklace of chain-smoking chambermaids
clustered by the back door day or night. Apron-wearing pigeons
that coo, huddle and peck around a lacy cast iron table
decorated with a crescent shaped ashtray, a pink sixties remnant
that overflows with lipsticked cigarette butts.  Clutching coffee cups, they watch nervous motel guests who smoke there, backs to the painted wall, arms folded like cigar store Indians,  their worry rising in smoke signals.
The Cherry Tree Motel has a buzzing red and green neon sign.     I read  that this is George Washington’s motel and he is proud of his lending library, revolutionary war books the sleepless can borrow.    This is not the place to send your out-of-town wedding guests to celebrate beginnings and blendings next to the ambulance bay.

We reside in the ICU catch basin, family trout-in-waiting,
until we find out if we get to swim away or turn belly up, deadened
with grief and loss. Celebrations here are patched together things
made of the desperate need to believe it will be all right. We all peer into doctors’ faces, wishing we could read what they are not saying.

The Cherry Tree Motel has two floors of hallways lined with brown doors,   and the elevator has buttons for floors one, two and three.
Room 212 has a picture window looking down to cars parked
in slanted spaces and across to a brick wall and up to the blue Montana sky.

At night the alley morphs to runway, line-of-sight for life flight helicopters, their blades whopping  just above me, stirring up the dust below.   I hear them coming, purring like metal cats
until they are close enough to hear the blades’ syncopation,
engines dog whining, landing and shutting down to off load their damaged cargo.
I lay in my room in the Cherry Tree Motel on sleepless September nights, praying the copters in and waiting for my own miracle to come.

Poetry from the TBI Series: TBI 7

TBI 7: The Cherry Tree Motel

The Cherry Tree Motel sits placidly beside the hospital
wearing a necklace of chain-smoking chambermaids
clustered by the back door day or night. Apron-wearing pigeons
they coo, huddle and peck around a lacy cast iron table,
centered with a crescent shaped ashtray, sixties remnant
overflowing with lipsticked cigarette butts, all clutching coffee cups.
Nervous motel guests smoke there too, backs to the painted wall,
arms folded like cigar store Indians, worry rising in smoky spirals.

The Cherry Tree Motel has a buzzing red and green neon sign.
This is not the place to send out-of-town wedding guests
celebrating beginnings and blendings next to the ambulance bay.
We are all residents in the ICU catch basin, family trout-in-waiting,
until we find out if we get to swim away or turn belly up, deadened
with grief and loss. Celebrations here are patched together things
made of the desperate need to believe it will be all right. We all peer
into doctors’ faces, wishing we could read what they are not saying.

The Cherry Tree Motel has two floors of hallways lined with brown doors.
Room 212 has a picture window looking down to cars parked
in slanted spaces, across to a brick wall and up to blue sky. Nightly,
the alley morphs to runway, line-of-sight for life flight helicopters,
their blades whop just above me, stirring up the dust below.
Sleepless, I hear them coming, purring like metal cats
until they are close enough to hear the blades’ syncopation,
engines dog whining, landing and shutting down to off load damaged cargo.

I lay in my room in the Cherry Tree Motel these September nights,
praying the copters in and waiting for my own miracle to come.

This motel was straight out of HP Lovecraft if HP was ever in Billings, Montana….

Poetry Emotion

Winning entry from the Wild Poet's Forum Creativity Challenge 3/29-4/11. I'm very happy to have won and impressed with the caliber of entries I beat. My strongest work seems to be centered around my crazed family of origin and my ongoing struggles to make sense of my upbringing. I think it informs my writing and painting. When my parents were not very, very bad they were very, very good and so much fun. I think the crazy part was figuring out which people you were going to get on any given day. I'm hoping to complete an entire book about what love is and is not, "Knot Love" has been under construction for a long time now but I'm getting there. Here is the piece ffrom the It's Not About Challenge for your delectation.

It's Not About Escape

This poem is not about my parents
creaking, fighting, beating the actuarial tables
at ninety years each.
it’s not about how much I love them or hate them
or how I can’t rise above the pain handed out on platters
so heavy I finally had to let go and slouch away.
It’s not about my brother and sister
two broken puzzles scrambled in tatty cardboard boxes,
both still echoing red leftovers of parental fear fifty years on.
My trajectory was always up, away from sizzling lightbulb love,
the kind that burns off wings and drops you crawling.
No, this is not about how I cannot save them
flightless and scarred, still looking for that toxic molasses high.
I can't deny the pull, I listen to them all,
an endless buzzing loop of tears and repercussions.
This poem is not about how I got to be the family archangel
when all I want to do with this flaming sword
is cut a hole in the sky, spread white wings
and fly forever into the quiet blue,
just me, the sun and the wind.