Monthly Archives: April 2013

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“Kindly tell the tender deer, O morning breeze
I am wandering your desert and the wild countries.
Long live the sugar merchant, but why
Is he unkind to sweet lovers, the honey-bees?
Tender rose, pride in your goodness forbids
To ask the manic nightingale of his fantasies.
Only with gentle compassion can you trap the wise.
The wise bird from any snare simply flees.”

– Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Hafiz Shirazi, Ghazal 4

Bird In Cage

Poetry Preserves

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Call Me By My True Name

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This poem a rather angry response to a Thich Nhat Hanh poem called “Call Me By My True Names” (you can read it here: http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html). I’m not usually in the habit of enraged poems in response to Buddhist monks who teach compassion and peace, but this teaching really upset me because Thich Nhat Hanh asks his readers to find compassion in their hearts for a pirate who sexually assaulted a young girl, who later drowned herself. He urges us to consider that we are all interconnected and we should recognize ourselves in each other. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’ve faced a sea pirate or two in my life, and it made me really upset that someone would ask me to recognize that a rapist’s heart “is not yet capable of seeing and loving” and that we need to open “the door of compassion” when we think of them. Sorry, Thich Nhat Hanh, but I am mad as hell and I refuse to sympathize with those who terrorize others.

To the Sea Pirate:

I will not throw myself into the ocean
I will not slide between frothy waves
And rest on beds of coral
I will not retreat with the tides
And hide my pearl inside a shell
I will not let the splash of water on rocks speak for me

I stand before you with the teeth of a shark
Razor-sharp
Stained with blood
And smiling
I rise above you like the moon
I control the ebb and flow of what is around me with my white light
I cry aloud like gulls
And my voice bounces against the cliffs
Filling your ears with the truth

No matter how many Zen monks meditate upon our story
Claiming to know my experiences
And understanding your heart’s motivation
No matter how many excuses are made for those who steal the innocence of others
No matter how often society tells me to tie a stone to my foot and sink into oblivion

I will live forever

And my name shall be known
And my name will not be forgotten
And my name shall be spoken

My  name is BETHY

…and I will not be your victim.

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This work, “Call Me By My True Name” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Quote

“If I say your voice is an amber waterfall in which I yearn to burn each day, if you eat my mouth like a mystical rose with powers of healing and damnation, if I confess that your body is the only civilization I long to experience…would it mean that we are close to knowing something about love?” – Aberjhani, “Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black”

Lovers_of_Turuel
Image: “The Lovers of  Turuel” by Jose Luis Mieza Photography(http://www.flickr.com/people/24100730@N08)

Poetry Preserves – AberjhaniT

Image

dead roses

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines. . .
it matters little
very little love is not so bad
or very little life
what counts
is waiting on walls
I was born for this
I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.   

– Charles Bukowski, “Consummation Of Grief”   

Upon Wrapping My Wet Dreads In An Old Lover’s Nightown

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I suppose I should be grateful
For what you didn’t give me:

Debt
STIs
Physical scars

But tonight
After I luxuriated in a long, hot bath
Infusing my dreadlocks with coconut oil and sandalwood
I needed something long and cotton with which to wrap up my hair
To absorb the dripping water and slick grease

I found the perfect item
In the bottom of my dresser
That ugly, old nightgown that you gave me
Casting off something you had used up
And no longer needed
(A preview of what was to come?)

It was worn
Nearly see-through
(Much like the lies you told me)
It was flimsy
(Much like every promise you ever made me)
It was stained
(Much like my opinion of you)

For the first time in years
I was grateful for something you had given me

Perhaps
Our relationship
Wasn’t a total loss
After all

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This work, “Upon Wrapping My Wet Dreads In An Old Lover’s Nightgown” by Beth Murch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Walking Barefoot Towards You

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I was inspired to post this poem because I just had the experience of walking barefoot (well, nearly – in my stocking feet) over the sheer ice that is Kitchener-Waterloo in “spring” (my shoes had no tread and so I was slipping dangerously for someone with no ACL in their left knee). Memo to self: next year, buy boots that have cleats on them. Or, you know, befriend people with cars, you silly hippie.

I am wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
I know that you said that we shouldn’t see each other anymore
But my need for you has built up inside my belly
Like the thunder has built up inside those grey clouds
Our passion is like an addiction
We smoke each other with curled, yellow fingers
Sparks flying
As we bounce each other off curbs
Walls
Sides of houses
Our mouths open and hungry
We clamour for more and more
I know that the womyn in your lobby
Smells the desire between my legs
As I press the button for the elevator
She holds her poodle and watches me
Race towards sinful satisfaction

I am wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
You open your door
My soaked clothes are stuck to my body
And my feet are black with grime
But you grab a fistful of my dreads anyway
And pull me inside
Unable to resist
The sweet taste
The moist heat
The searing raking of my fingernails
As they carve my mark onto your back
The way you whisper my name
The way that we are the same height when lying down
It makes me forget that you sent me away
And I let you between my legs and into my heart
Just one more time
Just one more time

I am wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
You, the needle in my vein
Deep inside of me
Pushing the plunger until we slump
Exhausted from craving
With our bodies stuck together with sweat
Animal magnetism
I say, “I shouldn’t be here”
But there’s nowhere else that feels as right as here
As now
As when you press against me like a flower between the pages of a book
We sleep with fevered dreams
Knowing our bondage has little to do with the sheets
Twisted around our bodies
And everything to do with the shackles of lust
We always part from one another
But we will come and come again

I am wet From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
My hair smells like ozone and my skin tastes like you
I place my hands on your hips when you say
“This never happened”
I skate my fingers over your ink when you say
“We can’t keep doing this”
Already our limbs are trembling
Eager for another fix
You grind against me as I lean on the door
Holding my hands above my head
Biting me
Swallowing me
Consuming and consuming
Until we are diving under skin
Wrapping ourselves in the leather of our bodies
Inhaling the incense of doomed lovers

I am wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
You murmur in my ear
“Please don’t come back”
I leave you bruised and naked
My lips swollen with forbidden kisses
I adjust my skirt as the old man next door
Spies through his peephole
I stand in the elevator, I pull out a Sharpie
And I write graffiti on the walls and mirrors
I scrawl the things I want to say but go unsaid
I print the words that should not have been spoken
My fingers are smeared black and still I keep writing
I cannot stop this free-form poem that pours out like vomit
Shaking and sobbing, I spill out more and more
Searching for the language that makes this love healthy
Searching for a sentence longer than time
To form a cry for help

I am wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you
I run from the elevator through the lobby and out the exit
I run slick-footed over stairs dotted with puddles
I run down the block and into the park
Until my lungs are blazing and my feet are bleeding
I am fleeing you
Trying to find a sanctuary to take refuge from you
But I feel that need building in my belly again
As lightening snaps across the sky
And I know that no matter where I end up
I will always find you
For the desire is constant
And you will seek me
For the longing is constant
And I will become wet
From walking barefoot through the city’s streets
In rainfall
Towards you

 footprints-wet

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This work, “Walking Barefoot Towards You” by Beth Murch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Dark Places

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I am in love with the scars on your back
Puddles of white on a surface of almond brown
Parts of you are classically beautiful:
Your face, your arms, your hands, your neck
But really, I want to linger for hours on the slope of your spine
I want to spend an eternity pressing the heels of my hands into your marred shoulder blades
Smoothing your speckled trapezius muscle
With fingerprints that are only too happy to scrape up the cells of your uneven skin

I want to love you in the dark places
In those shadowy corners that nobody sees
I like that the language of your body has curse words
I like that there are parts of your own being that scare you
Those are the places that I want to settle in, claim squatter’s rights
Then hang up my windchimes on some old tent pole
As I wait deep inside your fear

I’ve been chasing your voice down bus station corridors
Following you from city to city
Drinking bad coffee and smelling you on parts of my body that you’ve never touched
The salt-sweet smell of your black hair
The musk of your armpits
Somehow, I can scent them over the reek of garbage, urine, exhaust fumes and day-old bagels

The Greyhound driver is careful not to touch my hand as I give him my ticket
I know you will also shy from me
Even though your words have made me feel like your narrow hips have slapped against the width of my fleshy pelvis
As you draped my dreads between your fingers like mala beads
Your breath rasping in my ear like the announcement of departures over crackling loudspeakers
Because it is the nature of poetry to fall for someone as they pause between sentences
And in the length of time it takes to swallow a mouthful of saliva or to lick one’s lips
An entire romance can be played out in the mind of every member of the audience
Leaving an artist wondering why every time they sign a chapbook
Someone leaves behind another still-beating heart bleeding on the merch table

But, Poet, your scars and your work really cause me to react viscerally
I feel every inch of you inside my guts
Like you are wedged somewhere between my stomach and my spine
My intestines draped around you like dangling participles
To say that you move me is an understatement
Similar to saying that the Ice Age
Displaced rock formation in the Niagara Peninsula
Carving out the stark, jutting edges of escarpment
Just to prove that it was there

You let me see you naked, just once
Long enough for me to know that I can read the tributaries of your veins like some old women can read palms
And that the wounds on your flesh are a topographic map to your core

So, I continue to ride highway coaches
Hearing the timbre of your voice in the slap of windshield wipers
Seeing your cicatrix as lightening tears across the grey sky
Hoping that if I chase you to the edge of the country
You will be forced to turn your back to the ocean and face me
And, when you see your reflection in my eyes
You will see that I painted hearts around the parts of you that you thought had no worth.

Creative Commons License
This work, “The Dark Places” by Beth Murch, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.