Rambling Woman BluesAll my biscuits are broken,
and I'm eating the crumbs.
Sometimes you just take it
any way that it comes.
Oh, my baby is rambling,
and I can't track her down.
It's three weeks tomorrow
since she rolled out of town.
And I know she's a good girl
and she won't do me wrong,
but the days are so empty
and the nights are too long.
I ate all the oysters
and I'm down to the shells.
You know we all do things
that none of us tells.
And my best friends are tired
of me singing the blues -
well, if I told the truth, friends,
I'd say I'm tired too.
But I need a companion
when I get so lowdown.
When my friends say, "Good night, Slim,"
the blues stick around.
When my baby gets back here,
I will send them away.
I'll say, "Thanks for your time, blues,
I don't need you today."
Every cat has its whiskers,
every dog has its day.
When your baby is rambling,
got to see it that way.
Love Walked AloneLove Walked Alone5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Love walked alone. The party was nearly all
such parties ever are faces, voices, open arms.
But she had stepped outside without a word
or sign, then left the building for the street.
There she bent down, undid her shoes and stood
on the sidewalk in bare feet. She knew the city well,
had traced many paths through it, heard many times
the same hearts beat, the same voices, the same
silences and sighs. She could hear them now.
But every walk brought surprise, and tonight
there was singing somewhere, how far away
she was not sure, but a great many voices rose.
She went in what seemed the right direction,
following the grid of streets as if herself a note
upon a score. Something under her right foot
gave way loudly. It was a shard of broken glass
her tread had ground to powder. No pain, of course,
and no harm to her, or - was that a trace of red?
She looked and sighed, walked on and shook her head.
WordsWords hate me. When I send out the word "no"Words5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it disguises itself as "yes" and that is what
people think I mean. I shake my finger at it
and call it a very bad word. It scoots off
and hides under the table out of reach.
I sit and weep and ask it why it hates me,
why do it and all the other words hate me.
If I try to use the words "that makes no sense!"
they join hands and skip away together
and people take them for "what a great idea!"
They hate me and I don't know why,
what did I ever do to them? All but a few.
"You" is a word of integrity, it has never
been unfaithful to me. "Love" is a word
with bad habits, it is always thinking
of sharpening its claws on the sofa -
which considering the size of love
would reduce the sofa to shreds -
but when I ask if it would turn on me
like the others it looks hurt. And your name
it is always near but never in my way,
and never pretends to be anything else.
It tells me there is a resistance movement
growing among the words, more
Little songLittle song1 year ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
There is a street named Mr. Street and on it is a bird
who sings all day and sings all night and never says a word.
There is a house named Mrs. House and in it is a man
who thinks all day and sleeps all night and seldom has a plan.
There is a moon named Miss Half Moon and in it is a face
that sees the street and sees the house and each thing in its place.
There is a hand whose name is Hand and in it emptiness
that will receive the days to be and asks if they will bless.
There is a world whose name is World and in it is the time,
the time to have and lose and have again, the human, human time.
The Cloth of SleepThe cloth of sleep I'll make for you,The Cloth of Sleep5 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I'll weave it with my own two hands,
out of the thread of dreamless rest
and thread of dreams that calm and bless.
A pattern I will draw myself,
upon the night so dark and fair;
I'll pin it to the cloth I made
and then I'll cut with skill and care.
A gown of sleep I'll sew for you,
it will be yours and yours alone,
to wear that you may put away
the worried fabric of the day.
When I have made this gift for you,
I'll send it to you in a song;
send back to me the news I seek,
that sleep was good, the night was long.
A mirrorA mirror2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I have a mirror that shows another face.
I have a face that asks to hear a song.
I have a song with room for light.
I have light that is the red inside every color.
I have a color that is waiting for its name.
I have a name that means tenderness.
I have tenderness caught in a mirror.
FallFall3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Something fell. How could a sound so loud
have been a dream? Yet how could a sound
so loud have left a silence thick as this?
There is so little sound you might be deaf.
You say, "hello," softly, to the dark.
You hear your voice clearly through the air.
The lighted clock says four A.M.
Did something fall? It could have been a dream.
It may have been the picture in the hall.
Why did you hang it with a single nail?
Or was it something not so near as that,
whose size and mass you cannot say?
Was it here in the city, a block away,
a mile? There would be sirens, surely.
Or was it something both near and far -
did a world slip down a stair,
from one step to the one below?
Whose was it, then? Or was it yours alone?
In the morning you will know.
It was not a dream. Something fell.
Barbed Wire BalladBarbed Wire Ballad4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Bring more barbed wire. Bring the heavy rolls
of twisted steel and metal thorns. Wear
heavy gloves, unspool the wire from the roll,
make loops atop the wall. Bring more.
Bring more barbed wire. Here are metal stakes
on which it may be hung. Go on and on.
Here is a wire cutter for when we are done,
but that will not be soon. Bring more.
Bring more barbed wire. Here are people
to keep out, there are people to confine,
here a place to make secure, here we are
on our side, thank God. Bring more.
Here are people, there are people,
here a border, here a barrier,
here are places, here are people,
here a wall and here the wire. Bring more.
My Blue ChildI let you go now, my blue child.My Blue Child4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Fly away, I make you wings of memory and pain.
The wings that offered healing once would not come again.
Your pain is now complete, your pain is past.
Our pain is torn and tearing, our pain will last.
I played a counting game upon your back when we were small.
Then I had your wounds to count. I could not count them all.
A prince come from a star, with golden hair;
I took you to my heart, I held you there.
You were my own, and every threat to you made me fierce.
Now I must be, yet cannot be, fierce enough for this -
to let you go now, my blue child
No Time for the BluesI had no time for the blues,No Time for the Blues5 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
but they had time for me.
They came to my house
about a quarter to three.
I had to get out of bed
when they knocked on the door.
But why had they come?
They would not tell me what for.
I was awake with the blues
for the rest of the night.
And oh, I saw the blues
by the dawn's early light.
It was a quarter to nine,
I had things I should do.
But I couldn't go out,
I was feeling so blue.
And so I said to the blues,
you must have somewhere to go.
They glanced at the time
and they answered me no.
I had no time for the blues
but the blues didn't care.
All the time in the world
is what the blues have to spare.
NoteIt crossed my mind to tell you I love you,Note5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and then it crossed again.
The third time it did not cross but sat
in the only chair. The room was bare.
After sitting a while it rose and left,
only to return again
with arms full of flowers, another chair,
and a table set for two.
I love you. Come in.
Waiting for My Rider BluesWell, I'm waiting for my rider,Waiting for My Rider Blues2 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I hope she gets back soon.
We really should be leaving
if we are going to reach the moon.
My rider is a sweet one
and she likes to navigate.
But we got to get a move on
or we are going to be late.
She went into the city
to buy us bread and wine.
If she got lost inside the market,
getting out could take some time.
There may have been bad weather,
and she was caught by a storm.
Just as soon as she gets back here,
we will both be safe and warm.
She may have met a crowd of people
who were watching a parade.
She may be waiting till it passes,
and they move a barricade.
She may have heard some people singing
and gone to see what song she heard.
She may have stayed to sing soprano -
you know she sings just like a bird.
She may have had to show her papers
to a security man.
They don't make you that much safer -
they stop you because they can.
You know I will be waiting,
however long it may be.