Posts tagged ‘poetry’

June 16, 2013

baby daddy

“What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility it. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not thing that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory… He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted chaos of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.”

– Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers

July 30, 2012

rain washed histories

The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife

If I were a cinnamon peeler I would ride your bed and leave the yellow bark dust on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek                                                                                                                                                                                                  you could never walk through markets without the profession of my fingers floating over you.

The blind would stumble certain of whom they approached though you might bathe under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh at this smooth pasture neighbor to your hair or the crease that cuts your back. This ankle. You will be known among strangers as the cinnamon peeler’s wife.

I could hardly glance at you before marriage never touch you – your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers. I buried my hands in saffron, disguised them over smoking tar, helped the honey gatherers…

When we swam once I touched you in water and our bodies remained free, you could hold me and be blind of smell. You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women the grasscutter’s wife, the lime burner’s daughter. And you searched your arms for the missing perfume. and knew what good is it to be the lime burner’s daughter left with no trace as if not spoken to in an act of love as if wounded without the pleasure of scar.

You touched your belly to my hands in the dry air and said I am the cinnamon peeler’s wife. Smell me.

– Michael Ondaatje

when i was young, i loved a man whose smell captivated me. most things about him captivated me, and because i was young i didn’t yet appreciate that to be captured does not correlate with anything love or life sustaining. his smell though… a haunting and seductive aroma, rich with oil, grease, and inaccessibility owned me for a long time…  i found this poem when he was my love, and the words of being marked,  stories told by the aroma of a man got me deep.

i thought of myself as some kind of a mermaid then, for reasons i can’t relate to now, and i used to think that the sexiest thing was that even water could not erase our acquaintance without effort. truth be known, the reality of time eventually could erase anything that did once connect us, including his smell on my skin, and even in my heart, but the poem remained a favorite, and still grabs at my romantic self and asks me to answer who it is that i am marked by.

but i don’t have to think about it. i have no questions about whose smell i am associated with, or will be for moons. the traces themselves are not always present, but i am reminded in seasons where his story is more pronounced then others, like when the summer brings us plenty and we are blessed with wealth in resources and he and his family work hard to provide for us. or in the winter, when i prepare warm food for our family that his hands made ready for use and our whole home tells the story of him being from the west coast.

it’s the rich smell of salt and sea… and when the direct evidence is gone, there is another smell that lingers. it’s the aroma of a healthy love. it’s the smell of a good man. it’s the smell of my man, and in the shadows, of his family, and his roots.

it’s the smell of me. i am the west coaster’s wife.

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November 9, 2011

on the night that you were born

“Why had no one told me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth was the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers? But of course, there is no way to tell this or to hear it….

I wept and I yelled. I gave up all hope and I prayed. I vomited and my knees buckled. Then I began to push because there was nothing else I could do. I pushed and I pushed and I thought I would faint…

“My son”, I answered, dumbfounded, taking him into my arms.

Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at the grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking.

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and I was bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood.”

– Anita Diament, The Red Tent.

moo, i still do not have my fill of looking. watching you grow is my greatest joy. i can’t wait to see your deliciousness when you rise tomorrow, 2 years old, already. your future, and mine for you are in it, look bright my babe. on your birthday and always, i love you.

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