The Badger

I’ve written a series of poems as gifts about/for dear friends, and have decided to gradually post them here. The poems are partly inspired by the word-origins and meanings of the names involved. This one was partially inspired by medieval legends about badgers as intelligent mythical creatures that would burrow beneath mountains.

Legend goes that in a darker age
when men killed myths for power,
when dwarves killed men for gold,
the Badger still burrowed between mountain stones
great labyrinths to hide his treasures,
great puzzles to trick his foes.

Cleverer than the felicitous fox–
the Badger never forgave whenever he forgot.
Lo, to remember his accidental unawares,
he’d brand his own flesh, cut a lock of his hair,
and tuck it into rocky nodes:

because the earth houses memories
beneath its skin like bones;
layers of truth and years of mirth
sewn into strips of red clay and black dirt.

Editing

image

Black scratch

pen: marking up words,

rewriting history,

scripting loops over misspelled screw-ups,

unwarranted freckles,

happenings.

The word planks, the dotted i seeing and

still bleeding through.

I wish they wouldn’t.

Didn’t.

Couldn’t.

Each pen stroke is a bar

caging half-seen thinks

and scars

into ink.

Each phrase a car full of half-crazed

passengers screaming something

that sounds like truth

and looks like pimpled, braced, trembling youth.

Honest Thoughts from a Wedding

One fresh foam white bodice grew from a chitin mermaid tail;

bride: bliss was the veil fanning from her forehead.

I wear fresh cut hair, short chic on tall chick;

new feels model beautiful—in the wake of bridal bliss, feels magical.

Back of the room view: young men tied to cameras aimed,

clipping moments out of time to hang up and dry.

Preacher strings short thoughts with too-long threads;

I daydream: who is the photographer in dapper threads behind his lens?

Hearts and mouths erupt—“Man and wife!”—now it’s time for cake.

The sun and his moon cut with hands and hearts eclipsed.

Now: Let’s dance!

My eyes lock with a best friend, words unspoken said:

what marvelous mountaintop moments; what handsome single men.

The Coffee House on Cherry Street

 

Black breeze pulls strangers’ marijuana smoke

Between deck splinters, up our nauseous noses;

Night brings to Cherry Street a symphony

of multicolored voices, tires tearing wet pavement,

Urban wind whistling through metal sheets.

 

Under the too-sweet-cake smell I stay

Because you stay with me. It forms a fist

In the back of my throat, but I stay

Because you stay with me.

 

Black silhouettes behind your slanted shoulders

Lean in, spread lips into each other, know;

Night brings to Cherry Street a subtle show

Of red neon signs, bursting beams of headlights,

Christmas strings suspending us in a yellow glow.

 

Your lit eyes, innocent, watch me watching them;

Your mouth smiles sweetly. Blush rises on this pale face

as it turns away, that you won’t watch me watching them;

Your mouth smiles sweetly.