Friends

Friends

 

 

People touch people in some

free-form folding of lives,

briefly, changing shapes,

always re-emerging against

new sides, blending like

figures on a screen, always

in motion, changing colors,

signifying some never-ending

continuum, floating in a

liquid teeming with

possibility, sliding

into each other, skin to

skin for the length of a

second.  Touch is the

brush of friends

at anchor.

 

 

62191

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a few more

Haiku

 

 

 

Clouds form.  Cold north winds

roll in.  We run toward Spring.

Slide.  You warm in me.

Petals

 

 

It is warm in this padded place.

There are guards who keep me

safe.  I am cream in the

center of a huge puff.

 

I am crazy.  They give me

pills.  I am sleepy all

the time.  I see petals

without the rest of the

flower, look out of windows

I cannot open.

 

I remember my mother,

she floats by, inches from

my hands.  She wears death

like a dress and looks for me

in a crowd.

 

I am put to bed.

In a drugged dream I find

her, there where she

wants me.

 

 

Published in Primipara Spring/Summer 1983  Vol IX:i

 

 

 

 

Middle 70’s

 

Torn Corners

 

 

 

We women are unboxed girls,

our ribbons untied, our

wrappers spread out, our

corners torn.

 

We stick back on pieces of

ourselves, a little out of

synch; we peer through

the holes.

 

Our little girls lie under

the tree in baby boxes.

Pretty shining foil and

organdy.

 

We women wait.

We make room.

 

 

prob late 70’s or early 80’s

may have been published in Primipara, not sure

9696

 

Sunlover

 

 

I lay out there nearly naked.

You are warmth and touch and

kiss.  My pores open, yield

juices that color me the shades

of heat; the browns of new-

chewed leather.  Your breath

rubs me.  Gentle undulations

thrill my almost open and ever

waiting body.

 

But you cannot reach me where

it counts.  Oh, would I give myself

naked, your lover, exposed.  I

would be unafraid.  As it is I

look in the glass at your outline,

rub the places for you, reaching

for the juices you should

lick but don’t.

?  late 70’s

 

 

a few more

 

The Only Thing South I Ever Knew

 

 

 

The only thing south I ever knew

was you.  Across the line my

brick house, cold against

winter winds.  You walked in.

 

A pale drawl red as clay lay

leaf-like on a Wisconsin

lawn.

 

The only thing south I ever knew,

you, wet, clear,

a  season  reflected.

 

Hot days you hung like famous moss

across the north of me.  Timebold summer

smeared like soft sand.

 

I was unshoed.  The seasons of

your drawl oiled me.  You trickled

s’s, soft piney sounds.

 

 

You were the last it was to be

vines across my porch.

 

 

 

April 30, 2001

Recrudesce

 

 

(Recrudescence (recrudesce): to break out

again after lying latent or relative inactive)

 

 

There are doors which even you and I

have never opened.  Shut for so many

years I am slammed back against

the sink of meditation.

 

Drawers unopened , their loneliness

stuck shut, slipped behind hinges.

Whole cabinets of dust.  I wore many

selves.  Stains hung here so far

removed from conversation

as to be little calciums. Calculi.

I rattle.

 

 

When the gun was pressed against

my head I sat more still than a

whisper, more quiet than the

center of a fruit.  It stemmed

into my hair, I felt its roots

shoot.  I was sixteen.

 

I always wondered if the red dye

of my fear rubbed off on him.

He was silent, his face the only light

in the room, the phosphorescence of

madness.  He couldn’t find

me I guess, inside my absolute

stillness.

 

The edge was a steel shaft in

his hand. At last he slipped it

to the door.  In the end I

saved him.

 

ego te absolvo.

 

(I was so afraid he wouldn’t

like me anymore.  )

 

Aphrodite

 

My head is cloudy today,

thought unlike wisps is a

chain clank.  Buoy is roiling

out of reach.

 

Long night of drear dreams

unraveled patterns

lost babies into the arms

of strange men.

 

I long for a shore

Far away from myself

unshelled, the grit of

sleep gone into seagulls.

 

Tomorrow’s sunshine today.

Weather here is uncharted.

Winds smack me unexpected,

flatten me unpredicted.

 

I rise from my shell

of course.

Everymorning is a god

of unreason.

 

 

Caroline Shank

 

June 2003

 

Lost One

 

You were gone before I could begin

the litany.  Scratched from my life in

brown flakes.  A long scream.  I didn’t

know it then.  Eighteen is a narcissism.

 

I never got to pray the one liner.

You creamed in, creamed out.

 

(please don’t let me be pregnant

please don’t let me be pregnant

please don’t let me be pregnant

please don’t let me be pregnant

please don’t let me be pregnant

please don’t let me be

please don’t let me

please don’t let

please don’t

please )

 

I wish you had stayed around long

enough for me to know, to miss

the muscle-clinging.  Your father

was a lurch, an interpretation of

a man I knew was a boy but

he drove a red car.  1965 was

all leather, chrome, painted.

 

I would have wanted you.  You

split me open one day at work.

All you gave me was a web of a

dress in tatters, a final molecular

hand waving from the white cotton.

 

 

I am sorry to have missed the

meaning, missed the experience,

not sorry I missed the bastard

who married someone he didn’t

love.  But then I never told him

so I win a little, lose a lot,

love you.

 

Little one, still point, send

me some word of you.

 

 

Caroline Marie Shank

 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

 

 

Not so, really, the seat of spring,

a car of dark cloths, the voice of

boys and whispers.  Do it.

 

Do it, the lion sleeps tonight

playing on the radio.  Do it.

 

Forty years the lion is awake.

I remain in the back, handblack,

churning.  My stomach is den

solid now and hungers for the

shallow response.  The song

played then shouts out loud.

 

Do it.  I wrestled with it, and drowned.

 

The lion sleeps not I think.  I see

the mane of his black head, the

italian tomorrow of my fourteenth

year roared from him.

 

I did it in the maw of that music.

I held onto the rape, pretended

to feed the wimoway.  Never done.

 

I did it to the music of the bastard

who whispered to me of the jungle.

I did it to the tune of the prick that

pinned me to the mighty song.

 

The lion sleeps.  I think not yet.

Snickersnack the wimoway is

whacked low and I drown in the

song.  I did it, like a nun who fears

perdition if she drops the rosary.

 

The lion sleeps tonight.  In the jungle

the son of a bitch NewYork night

pads on and on.  I don’t sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Marie Shank

 

March 9, 2001

 

 

Tragi/Comedy

 

 

I am on the dark side where

there is chaos for scenery;

where the props are hot

and the actors black shadows.

I walk through the parts;

endlessly repeat rituals and bow.

 

My fate is to wait for my

audience; to hear the sound

of no applause.  To call for

music from the empty pit.

 

Strophe and antistrophe

myself as all parts

on a stage where the

curtain will never descend.

 

 

Published in Primipara  Fall/Winter  Vol VIII:ii

 

This one was a 2nd place winner.

October Nights

 

 

Rainy nights.  Octobers lay on us like

wet skin.  Leaves everywhere.  Gold

soaked medallions in the early dark.  We

walked the city’s sidewalks.  Curb’s  shadows

held daylight under lids, to be released

tomorrow, if tomorrow is good, if

tomorrow’s promises are true?  Who

knows?  Tomorrow rises out of

foggy drains.  Deep shadows test

the process.  God’s process

revealed in some quotidian

embrace.

 

We went on.  Each to another. The white

flash of the walklight, sanctioned

innocence. What innocence?  What is

innocence?  We crossed the moment,

bridged the evening, reached for the

echo as it passed.  Rainwet

faces.  Smiles lit the ends of days.

 

Dark October evening’s promises

flew into tomorrow.

 

 

 

Caroline Marie Shank

Oneiros

 

Dreams were flying fast and

furiously then.  Crash landing

on my pillow in the wet they

mistook for lakes.  As a

young woman I threw images

around sleep, clay pigeons

pocked and shattered by the bullets

fired in an hallucination which

passes for the  infantile

inquisition I replayed nightly:

my mother in a black cowl with

no face, only a cigarette

light like an unsucked nipple.

 

I dreamt in those days of men

gathered in galleries to watch

as the chosen amongst them lay

over my supine body prying my

legs apart.  “No”, was my only

response.  My mouth opened and

shut.  No one listened.

 

Later my dreams turned erotic.

I understood the twitchings and

jerkings of my engorged center

were only lightening in a dry

and empty storm.  As the years

went by I prayed not to enter into

the recondite carnival that was

my experience of the night.  I

did not want the ride on the

phalluses or the dance of the

colored ceilinglight at the

entrance to my unconscious.

 

The dreams, then, so many years

ago, are the same dreams now,

only older, more shattering as

I grow weaker.  I keep a journal,

mostly empty, examine my

body before sleep, and check

my few prayers at the door.

I ask for a knight who wants

to talk, a godperson looking

in my eye for signs of life.

 

 

73196

Torn Corners

Torn Corners

 

 

 

We women are unboxed girls,

our ribbons untied, our

wrappers spread out, our

corners torn.

 

We stick back on pieces of

ourselves, a little out of

synch; we peer through

the holes.

 

Our little girls lie under

the tree in baby boxes.

Pretty shining foil and

organdy.

 

We women wait.

We make room.

 

prob late 70’s or early 80’s

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