Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why it's good to have a place called home

They let the apartments go this spring,
let contorted eaves remain untouched
after the cataclysm of high winds
destroyed everything like the monstrous
tangle of Medusa's coil.

Swallows arrive en mass building nests
in fissured awnings and on the flat-topped lights
above our green doors. The noise astounds me,
the screeching birds explode at once from their fresh columbary.

A robin's head pops above the hem
of uncut grass, hunting fat worms in early dew,
riffling wishes from dandelions
and liberating them into the hazy morning.

The parking lot is empty now,
the business men off to lofty glass houses,
stones rattle in the pockets of their gray suits.
They will sit behind sleek, mahogany desks

with the view of the valley unencumbered,
but they'll never have the time or cause
to enjoy it with phones fixed to their ears
and a false assurance in the nod of their heads.

I sit on the curb in the crest
of the circle at ground level
and witness everything missed
on a daily basis--

bird shit and gravel, sun glinting
off the stop sign, jet trails in the blue
and the far off sound of trains on track
that complete this garden utopia
just on the wood's edge.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by Creekwalker 7/09

Messier 35

For Beto

You recall the memory for me about when your hands
were covered with purple earth, when you cut
your mother's existence into the canvas,
a blossoming repetition you couldn't explain.

Helio came in, unfolded his celestial compass onto the floor;
heavens strewn across the earth almost as amazing as in sky,
and he tells you she is here. A long, slender finger pointing
to a bundle of stars; She is sitting at the foot of Gemini.

And still,
you can feel her hand upon you,
her fingers lightly touching your hair.

You tell this moment with glorified innocence,
taking sun with a tortoise and a dog,
hummingbirds hovering over your face, unafraid and close,
their jeweled bodies reflecting onto oiled skin.

In my winter, I consider how time is the ultimate master;
ordering light at one end of an arm, darkness at the other.
His fingertips great magnets moving worlds
separately until converged in one.

I imagine you lying there on baked earth,
your dark hand resting on the turtle's rough shell,
the dog panting softly in your ear, with birds in your eyes.

You are St. Francis of Assisi calling them,
waiting for the solemn whisper of night
to return your mother home.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008
Published by Creekwalker 7/09

He is sending me into the sea

On the water’s edge, where foam
kisses sand and sea glass nestles
between kelp and littered mollusks
until high tide takes their surrender,
he screams into the ocean.

Bottled anger and demon sadness
that is touched with love releases
and scares leery bystanders
up the near empty winter beach;
they scatter like clouds
along the gray horizon.

Winds cut sharply into his face,
tears frozen thick enough
to bore through, memories of warm
hands ice fish into his core,
leaving him somehow less numb
and more human than before.

Salted waves lap against sneakers,
toes getting wet with the beginning
of life and the end of life,
as he gently gathers shells in hand
to give as smiles in another time.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by Creekwalker 7/09

The Funeral March

A bee falls in mid-flight,
days numbered from the beginning
of inception, and it is this moment
when all matters of energy change hands.

Troops of ants in their neat
fastidious lines, methodically
plying the infinitesimal structures
of another species from its still
beating heart, taking death to make life,
carrying a weight in their jaws,

(a milligram may
as well be a mountain)

and this becomes the burden
of their own life span.

Aleathia Drehmer 2007
Published by Creekwalker 7/09

White Lies

I take the left fork
in the trail to avoid disappointment
and only light my secret
once I have passed the surge
of buttercups on the fringe. I like
to smoke sometimes, but can’t bear
what she would say if she knew.

Up here, the air is ten degrees cooler
and the trail’s edge is littered
with thick tufts of carpet bugle,
and climbing roses strangle the underbrush.
It is cut throat here; they stand on top
of each other for sustenance—reaching
their thorns across a sweet honeysuckle’s
face, bleeding her pale and withered.
One can barely discern where raspberries
begin and roses end, both fruitless now.

Near the end of the paved path
there is a hole in the branches web,
the red of Canadian Columbine catches
my eye as birds dart through for cover.
I am a stranger, upright and un-feathered,
and they call warnings I do not heed.

I am swallowed by conflictions in nature
and the smell of tobacco burning between
my fingers, remembering that she still tells people
how she caught me smoking last summer, just
that once, and it was a mistake.

So now the taste has gone bad, fetid and dirty
in my mouth, head swimming from its rush,
and heart tripping like a hammer. I snub it out
on the concrete before descending back into humidity
and neatly shorn lawns and cookie cutter
buildings, back into reality.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Creekwalker 7/09

Jesus doesn't have a woodshop

you want that built in baby
the girl that fawns all over you,
washes your clothes
and fixes your meals.

you want that built in vixen
to lead you to the bedroom
and shove you down on the sheets,
climb aboard and be the captain of you.

you want that built in little girl,
with her sweet smile
and coquettish eyes that beg you
to save her soul from the world.

you want that built in woman,
the one that navigates the sea
without a lighthouse, without a flare
and finds shore every time.

she doesn't live here
she doesn't exist here
she doesn't want to be
the craft of your hand.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Gutter Eloquence 5/09

Reasons for Not Sitting Still

“If I had the stars of the darkest night…”
--Bob Dylan

I sat down with good intensions
of writing a letter to my father
to tell him about my life, right now,
but lingered in the fact that it always
feels like a quarterly business report;
a laundry list of happenings he won’t
ever be a part of, special moments
never returned. I think about a poem

written by a friend darning losses
of important men: fathers and uncles
and brothers. And I wonder if your own
disappearance in the end will fill me
with regret, or worse yet, will I know
how to mourn something I never had.

Summer is lurking around spring’s
short corner, and the evening sings
with trains, smells of honeysuckle
and newly shorn grass; a few escaped
dandelions that survived the blades,
wave in the light breeze. I feel
ten years old—bewildered and curious
by your existence, wanting to have enough
strength to bridge this gap, to swing
on the stars of this night hoping for words
that rarely come. I am surprised how
my well runs dry and my tongue falls
mute in your presence.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by Not From Here, Are You? 6/09

Apartment 22

Jorge climbed the stairs of the tenement apartment building whose walls were as thin as whispers, and he heard snippets of each family’s life as he ascended the stairwell. His feet made the worn wood bow slightly and they groaned and creaked for no one. The hallways were dark and scattered with mouse droppings, smelled of decay. Garbage cluttered the corners and broken toys lay on dirty floor like orphans.

The death of sounds was common here. No one cared where they went or who made them unless it disturbed their sleeping habits. It wasn’t uncommon to eat lunch to the sound of gunfire or hang the clothes in the apartment to dry, listening to the sound of fists contacting a face. He lamented the fact that this life had taken away their compassion and left them numb to atrocities in their own backyards. But this was what he could afford on his meager pension from the mill. He could do no better than this and it made him hang his head slightly.

On the fourth floor, he stopped. From apartment 22 came a noise he was not accustomed to hearing. It drew him closer to the door with its peeling burgundy paint and lopsided, black metal numbers. It was music. It was tender and passionate and he hovered at the door silently, aware of the space around his body as it filled with warmth at his own excitement. He leaned in with his ear pressed to the jamb forgetting about the building’s filth, forgetting that many would sooner shoot you than look at you if you came close to their doors, but he could not draw away….not yet.

Jorge placed his hand against the beveled wooden face of the door. He held his breathe to not miss a sound. He felt as if his entire body were set afire right there in the dank hall. He felt his cock twinge between his legs at these sounds. He felt like a man for the first time in many years, thought about his youth and how he spent many nights with women clutched in his arms, sliding deep into them, enjoying the musk of their bodies and how their mouths let out the music of their sex. Those were good times. They were nothing now.

Notes escaped from the cracks around the door spilling into the stale, heavy air of the hallway. They were sweet melodic effluvia that danced in the air, kissing his face, and Jorge knew at once it was a woodwind. He listened carefully as the woman, yes….he was sure it was a woman playing, blew into the instrument. It is a flute, he thought.

He imagined the delicious pucker of her lips pursed over the curved hole. He heard the deftness of her fingers as the padded keys brushed down onto the silver body covering the holes where air would stretch into music. He could hear the sole of her shoe lightly tapping on the hardwood and imagined her graceful neck and slender fingers. Jorge closed his eyes and drank her music imagining the swell of her breasts as she inhaled to put strength behind the notes. He wondered what it would be like to run his hand up her knee while she played a melody for him, just for him.

His body betrayed him with its mind of its own. His skin was warm and his face flushed. Jorge felt himself tremor all over and noticed he was hard as a stone and standing like a lecherous old man at some young girl’s door, when the landlord lumbered up the stairs and saw him there. Jorge could tell she was drunk, could smell her from the top of the stairs where she stood holding herself up on the railing. She had a devious look. She was a devil.

“What the hell are you doing there?”

“Nothing…eh…nothing ma’am.” Jorge said looking away.

“By the looks of the party in your pants, it does not look like you were doing nothing Jorge. You’re a dirty old man leaning against the door, huddled in the corner stroking yourself like a peeping Tom. I should kick you out, or better yet post your sad face in the lobby as a pervert, but you pay on time so I will just remember this. You will owe me big time,” the landlord scolded him like a child.

“I am going now, up to my apartment. I am sorry. I didn’t mean anything. The music put me in a trance.” Jorge tried to explain, but the landlord just looked at his pants with a grin of a wolf. She licked her lips and smiled showing her poorly kept teeth, released another wave of her pickled insides into the air for him to choke on. Jorge looked down to see the pleats of his trousers tented like the pants of a young man and a wet spot forming there like a lewd death for everyone to see.

Jorge felt his excitement fade and wished his cock would shrivel back to its cotton grave. He wanted nothing to do with this weak excuse for a woman. She was wasted in more ways than one. He wanted the dove behind the door, wanted to kiss her skin and please her….take her from this wretched place, but he said nothing more as he looked at the door again.

He hung his head as he walked past the landlord avoiding her intensions. Now he would never know her beauty. Jorge reluctantly left the woman of his dreams with her music and her body of grace and her answer to the reawakening of his heart and trudged past more death to his own.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by Not From Here, Are You? 6/09

The Sadist

Little cuts under the cuticle,
nail beds bleeding
imperceptible to anyone
except you, and sparingly
you’d lash me outright.

The welts raised and angry
and I would think I needed
secret degradations to grow,
couldn’t fathom them as malicious.

All the while
whispering to myself,
I deserved that one.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by Gutter Eloquence 5/09

Jesus has dancing girls

Jesus, has dancing girls
and cheesy used car salesmen
in his godly employ.

“Listen here folks,” Cadillac man says
on center stage with heavenly gyrating nymphs,
“Jesus loves YOU more than your parents,
more than your children,
even more than your spouse.”

My husband looks at me, sideways glance,
eyebrow raised as if to inquire
about my extra-marital affairs,

“With Jesus?” I reply out loud
laughing wildly, “Most definitely.”

Aleathia Drehmer 2006
Published by MUST (print) 5/09

Faces of Old Men

Cultural smells threaten the air
with temptations creating
a hostile war zone in my gut
as I run my fingers along
spiked iron bars confiscated by rust
beneath the surface, chipping
away at the infrastructure.

The tepid water sprayed
from the green hose wets my arm,
skin reaching and pulling
towards petals imprisoned in spaces
between rectangles, trapped
in two-dimensional skirts
of fabric tragically shapeless.

The sound of tread
from two wheels and four
kissing the pavement,
dissolves into beats of bass
that push shoulders back
and cock arms stiff
in a show of cool.

Leather faces, imparted
with yellow smiles, gaps in the mouth
letting the world enter of its own
accord, letting tongues slip
through as if made of ocean salt
pushing through ragged coral,
only to be wiped clean
by the hands of age and sun.

I am an illegal alien
with a swelling in the core,
taken by realities, unfolding
inside myself, watching
the transformation of
the human condition
in smiles and eyes.

Aleathia Drehmer 2007

Published by Literary Mary in "Don't Call Me Plath" 5/09

How to save a life

You tell me you love me
under the spotlight of a small gooseneck reading lamp.
I feel you crawl onto the crisp sheets,
bed dipping under your weight as you
settle in beside me and whisper my name.
I roll over from my book feeling the heat
from your skin burn me, the look on your face
nearly as intense, and enough to make me hold my breath.

I feel your heart beating furiously on my elbow
as if some piece of your father’s ghost
is trying to keep tempo with sticks worn smoother
than marble. This is a tune he won’t quite catch.

And you speak the words I wasn’t expecting to hear
after such a short time together; my own heart
rushing to the scene of the crime, wanting above all
other things to be able to love you back, to see
the light creep into your eyes whenever I enter the room,
but I can’t be that close to the fire.
I can’t put all of myself into your gentle arms
when I am not worth more than a broken China doll.

Tears roll down the square of thrown light on my cheek,
my mouth betraying its orders, the guardian asleep
at the gate, and I hear them fall into the air knowing
you need to hear me say it, knowing at that moment

my heart
felt the whole of it
burning into us both.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Literary Mary in "Don't Call Me Plath" 5/09