Fragile Lover

I met a narcissist in her natural habitat
an audience for her wit and charm
unheeding the warning
glaring neon above her head
“DO NOT FEED THE EGO”
blinded by big white teeth,
wanting only to kiss her
to bask in her glorious smile,
to be her captive
audience

until the show turned dark
she had my heart
but wasn’t sure after all
if I was young enough
or pretty enough
to introduce to her friends

and I learned
that complements can mask
insults
that the ebullient Insta-ego
recording, snapchatting,
seeking likes
protects
the most fragile kind of lover

who can simultaneously admire
and despise you
not seeing humanity,
but one’s service
to her self-esteem
damaged way back
when attachments first failed
and love never grew
and that maternal bond
broke

so here I am
the finder of broken things
having learned to turn
and walk away
my worth not defined
by a disrespectful tomboy
with a snappy suit,
a hundred silk ties
and a terrible eighties haircut

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

wise woman

now i am a wise woman
having learned that
i know nothing
except how to take their hands
and lead them through the maze of pressure
and blood
up winding mountain paths
urging them forward though they want to rest
finding a safe place to shelter them;
“rest now,” i whisper,” just a little,”
offering sips of water
though they are not boxers
and this is not a ring
i am wise to the ways
of love and birth;
know that it is a worthy journey,
and they are ready
having discarded boots and gloves,
bravely digging toes into the damp earth
their fingers find purchase
in rocky places
and i am there to rub their hands,
tell them “yes, it hurts, like love,
like life, and you are strong,
your tribe is all humanity;”
i am blessed to make this journey
many times over
to know the terrain,
to jog along easy summer trails with
the hurried ones,
birthing like breathing,
to grapple and belay up arduous cliffs
met unexpectedly,
but fearlessly
by other parents,
their brows furrowed and sweat-soaked,
but hopeful, so hopeful,
for the waiting joy;
i know life,
how it hangs precious
in the gaps…
i wait for it,
coax it,
sometimes bargain with it,
i am firm with life,
commanding it,
i am soft with it,
easing precious new being from warm
uterine cave,
to place on exhausted parent’s chest,
and smile,
and whisper
“welcome, we have been waiting for you.”

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

 

wise woman

now i am a wise woman
having learned that
i know nothing
except how to take her hand
and lead her through the maze of pressure
and blood
up the winding mountain path
urging her forward though she wants to rest
finding a safe place to shelter her
“rest now,” i whisper,”just a little,”
offering sips of water
though she is not a boxer
and this is not a ring
i am wise to the ways
of love and birth;
know that it is a worthy journey,
and she is ready
having discarded boots and gloves,
bravely digging toes into the damp earth
her fingers find purchase
in rocky places
and i am there to rub her hands,
tell her “yes, it hurts, like love,
like life, and you are strong,
your tribe is all women;”
i am blessed to make this journey
many times over
to know the terrain,
to jog along easy summer trails with
the hurried ones, birthing like breathing,
to grapple and belay up arduous cliffs
met unexpectedly, but fearlessly
by other mothers,
their brows furrowed and sweat-soaked,
but hopeful, so hopeful,
for the waiting joy;
i know all
about life,
how it hangs precious
in the gaps…
i wait for it,
coax it,
sometimes bargain with it,
i am firm with life,
commanding it,
“breathe, little one,
even if my fingers are beating your heart,
and i must force air into miniscule lungs,”
i am soft with it,
easing precious new being from warm
uterine cave,
to place on exhausted mother’s chest,
and smile,
and say,
“welcome, we have been waiting for you,”
as she crests the summit and smiles,
tears streaming down her face.

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

More than the sum…

More than the sum . . .

I am a mountain,
The rolling foothills
Of my soul climb,
Float,
soar
To the summit
Bursting storm clouds,
Battering my northern face.

I am a river
The rushing waters
Of my blood
Churning the earth
That cradles me,
Mother-like.

I am a wild and thorny rose
Full bloomed and fragrant
Softly, sweetly, fiercely
Defending
My
Self.

I am a woman
Grown strong in my
Weed-lot life
Meandering un-beckoned through
Fences and flagstones
Tenderly encircling
My dandelion children,
Purple loosestrife sisters,
Whispering
“Grow . . . grow . . .
For we are the creators
of life.”

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Part 3: Escape

waving goodbye and meaning it,
sorry sorry little brother
i am recently a child too
unaware that you and i are separate,
separated now
by the Salish sea
i go west like a pilgrim
to another place,

this one for moneyed chidren
of politicians, doctors and crooks,
if there is a distinction;
loud unruly daughters,
beligerant sons;
entitled, beastly,
privileged little racists,
future scientists, musicians, V-jays
and rapists,
did you ever notice how easy it is
to make one into the other?
racist
rapist
one
the other

i found a home in this place,
learned, because i was told,
that one should look into
the other’s
eyes
that we do not speak to
potted plants
that humans hug,
sometimes
consentually

how to explain now
how much i loved
that white-walled room
smelling of lavender and sweat;
the house mother, so kind
like a real mother might be
but not my real mother,

the common-room still lives
as tender memory
girls and boys piled higgledy-piggledy
the young and restless,
playing on that old tube tv
bare arms touching
glances passing between future lovers

i learned to dive
in the cold ocean
deep into wrecked places
the only girl
and therefore,
always proving my worth

my skinny boyfriend
loved skateboarding
and cigarettes,
was gentle and rough-dressed
and never used the phrase
“paki-shack,”
meaning the convenience store,
like all the rest did

he was a loner, and so cool,
judd nelson to my molly ringwald
maybe he was a racist,
but he didn’t talk much
so i don’t know
he graduated
became a deep sea welder

i learned calculus,
and puked peach schnapps
neither of which
matters now
i learned the difference
between c and p
which still matters
like a car wreck in the rear view mirror
like a bullet hole
behind the bed

i thought i was free
but it was just
monster school.

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

nocturnal emissions

up at 4 am
again,
bathed in salt
not necessarily the healing kind
sweat and gooseflesh
i am being preserved
in preparation for what?
fine, then
i’d like to be a pelagic
pisces
i am not a bottom feeder
(well, okay, sometimes i am)
or if i am to be pickled
in my own brine
perhaps
a festive little
onion
i am fragrant now
in the process of this transformation
body melting,
bubbling and expanding,
i am taking up more space
in my head
in my bed
the puppy won’t sleep with me anymore
lest i scald her
and i whisper, lovingly
to my sweet sweet girl
honey,
i love you so
but get your
hot hand
off
me
now
i am transforming
and i’m not sure what form
you will find
in the morning

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Labels

We are given
straight
Jackets at birth
Swaddled tightly,
Torpedoed,
Into our proper places.
Boy
Girl
Burritos of expectation,
Many failing early,
Arms and legs clambering
To be free
From those coloured
blankets.

The label
Schema
Scheme
Schism
Becomes dictator
Absolute
And corrupt.

First gender
Then name
To denote, identify, relegate…
Popsicle sticks in the dirt
To let us know what we’re growing
And when a thistle erupts
Under the label “Rose,”
Well, that’s a weed.
We’re
Not
Growing
Weeds
In this Rose garden,
Yet there it is.

Dear thistle,
Wind yourself around this sharpie
Give yourself a new name
And the rising wilderness will feed you.
Your roots will grow legs
And run, run
Into the welcoming woods
There to join the named and nameless panoply.
Rosish thistles, thistlish roses,
Not-a-rose-or-thistle
Call-me-Tree
People
Anthropomorphism aside,
People.

We are the rainforest
Magic and medicine,
Root, rhizome
Pistil, stamen,
Unique.

We take our labels
Our straight-jackets,
And snip snip the seams
Furtively,
Or loudly rending
To produce these
Queer
Costumes
To fit our queer bodies
On the way to
Transcend
Dance

We meet in Salons
To chant and spin
And show off our creations,
Ourselves.

Do you like my dress?
It’s made of popsicle sticks.
I wear it ‘cause it makes me strong
I wear it ‘cause it turns me on
I’ll be a thistlish, thorny rose
And you be your own original prose
We can be he or she or they
Or boi or girl or free-flying fey.

Let our weed-children grow unfettered
Straight-jackets abandoned
Wending joyfully
Through the gardens of life.

1sagefemme © All rights reserved 2016

Bacon Fingers

There was a piece of gristle stuck in her teeth
She picked at with that chipped fingernail
Three purple fingers and a purple thumb,
one pink ring finger blinking insanity
Sheep to the slaughter
Give me a
Break

Just paint them all beige
Like that joke about the Sistine Chapel
Use a roller.
If you want art,
Rip the stoppers off and have at it
Make them sparkly and chunklish

The gristle would have been endearing
But she was vegan six months ago
Indicted now by pig fat
For the hypocrite we all are
Watch
As it finally slides free of bleeding gums
And is swallowed with a side of purple polish.

She laughs;
Palin-like cackling,
“Can I get a hallelujah!”
Furtive glances,
Hand brushing back imitation dreads,
“I mean, Namaste.”

She licks her bacon-flavoured fingertips
Delicately,
Showing off silver rings
And that tree tattoo with birds scattering
Up sun-kisses arm
Tanned from volunteering in Thailand last month
Playing with orphaned elephants, monkeys, puppies…
She has a good heart
And perfect eyebrows.

 

1sagefemme © All rights reserved 2016

 

“Gift”

“Gift”

Here I come, flying
On wings of cardboard
Crafted in my most creative moment
To rise and soar and rise again
On currents of exhaled
Prayers
See my arms open wide
My green eyes searching for you
Reach up, reach up,
graze my belly with your aching fingers
And listen to my laughter echoing through the trees…
Follow, follow, follow, I cry
And I will lead you to the place where you may rest
In my warm arms
And listen to the rapid beating of a heart well used to laughing.
Hold my hand and jump with me to the place of no regrets
Do not look for sorrow in the bushes,
But run fast and free though life with me.
We are in the middle of life now,
No longer the youngest,
Or prettiest, or strongest of our kind,
Yet we are wise.
We see the end of life on the horizon and know,
Know
That regret is worthless;
That infinitesimal moments matter
When eyes meet,
And passion bursts into being
Out of nothing,
From nowhere,
A gift.

1SageFemme © All rights reserved 2015

“Butch” a poem

Butch

I am a queer woman,
sexuality leaning hard left of center,
heart fluttering for a dying breed of boi-girls and athletes,
Girls rocking masculinity like music
A furious mash-up of rock and lullaby, muscle and emotion
They may or may not identify as “Butch,”
Purr in a girl’s ear,
Call me Zane, Jordan, Charlie, Mitch;
Walk in comfortable shoes polished to a glassy shine
Or mud-caked work boots and a wind-whipped work-man tan.
They have a thing about
Penises and
Breasts,
A relationship fraught with conflict and desire,
They love tits,
but not on themselves,
The shirts just don’t
fit
right,
They may have a penis in their
mind’s eye,
And sometimes in draw-string bags, in boxes, in drawers,
They like to strut,
Sideways smile at flirty girls,
Buy long-stemmed roses and dapper suits,
They are strong, and fragile,
and oh so complicated.
I love them all,
Want to be Femme for them
(A short-haired,
Small-breasted version
all my own)
Wear matching bras and panties,
Perfume and lipstick,
Catch their smiles in mason jars and line them up
On my window-sill
To remind me that this species
Still exists.
I want to wrap my arms around all of them,
Tell them how lovely they are,
Thank them for saving me from despair
For without them,
My desire would never find a mark.
I want to tell them,
Thank you.
Thank you for polishing those shoes,
Tying a double knot,
Doing bedside push-ups at night,
Perfecting that confident swagger,
Learning how to lead,
And being willing to follow.
Thank you for tolerating the bathroom stares,
For not putting on that goddamn bridesmaid’s dress,
For being such a good cook, or driver, or motorcycle rider,
Thank you for holding my purse,
For sitting in the shade with me,
Thank you for working so hard
On that hairstyle,
The top cropped, or spiked, or waved
Just so.
Thank you for not being afraid
To hold my hand,
And look up at me,
And tell me,
sincerely,
How much you like my heels.

1SageFemme © All rights reserved 2015