Hearts Held Close Come Tumbling, by Pamela Goode, c. 1995
In copper coils my thoughts are bound On blue-lined paper sheaths; On onionskin, emotions fold Their timid tongues beneath Into a corner where the breath is warm Enough to mist the eyes, And tales uncurl The silent girl Laid prone upon the page By her device.
Hearts Held Close Come Tumbling
Once upon a time, there were five alone here and there among the many. They came each from a place in someone’s heart held close in love. And when they were filled past overflowing with the love and ready to give purely, they were cut loose from the hearts that held them close and set tumbling on the wind to follow their spirits’ longing and give the love they had learned. They came each to a place where the bees sang and the clouds moved fast on whispers, and they were not alone. They joined hands now five together and set about making a home and learning to love on earth as purely as they had known love in the hearts held close. And the place they came together was called Beverly Drive.
The Little Blue Boat
When I was a girl, my father gave me a little blue boat. It was deep and fully broad enough to hold two laughing girls with eight knees and elbows altogether. There was a rope for towing out on courses charted by our dreams and pointing fingers, or grabbing back if any current dared to lead his girls astray. We sat and bobbled, my sister and I, in pink puckered suits and salty hair, in the bottom of the little blue boat, our toes and fingers grazing on the waves, alert for treasure or a moment's cooling. And my father pulled the boat from wave to wave, ocean to ocean, sea to sea, and dream to dream, urging the bow in every direction on the sea and sky while we squealed and giggled and pointed out our pleasures. And when he had shown us both the way to every corner of the round and endless earth, he dropped the line and waded in to shore, leaving us each a paddle.
Sometimes I need to feel life touch me hard before I can think clear. Even when what's inside is cool and clean and library quiet, and the outside hangs heavy with heat and sticky wetness. The outside rubs me naked with life until I open wide. Arrogant mosquito kiss. Embrace of a web. Sudden rain alarms and illuminates like a Zen master's swat on the crown. Aaahhh! The fullness of what is real easier to catch, harder to deny, than when you're cool and powdered. And so I sit on fire steps, square in the path of crazed ants with teeth. Heat screams through denim until my flesh beats red. I churn out salt. Hot cat rubs me hotter; her tongue sands my flesh to beg scratches from a stranger, and I respond. Heaven.
My Mother Never Knew
My mother never knew love. It was not her fault. She could walk past love on every corner Of every street (sweet and easy) And never give a second look. She had no craving for it. Only for furs and glitter gold Because in their cold touch She knew for sure there was food When the gnawing came. Love is no match for food. She gave me food, Thinking it was all. I had no hunger for it. Food is no match for love. She never knew love.
The Inside-Out of Knowing
What I didn't know about you went on And on like beaches. I thought the not knowing made a distance Between us, And I wanted to cross it. I thought if I waited You might let loose your story as willingly As the mouth of a river. I thought the knowing would connect us And we would be easy together Instead of strangers always afraid. So I waited and you were a river willing. And isn't it funny how each new tale Is like a measure more slid easy Into the gulf that separates us More cleanly than I guessed. You are a life I haven't lived. You are days I haven't spent. You are the fall and the snow and a healing sun I never felt. We are two lifetimes Apart. Here. And there. Now when I look into the rushing wetness Laid out by compass points and charts, I see the way your days and people and places Fit into each other just so. Easy. No space unfilled. And I think I've learned the inside-out of knowing: That the knowing makes a distance Between us. And if we had never met, Would you be the same?