What to do with saffron

I was gifted saffron
at a tender 22,
when familiar
shallots and peppers
became subpar
to the spice of discovery
of love and the city
on my tongue

-and I tasted
over and again-

until one day
alone and puzzled
in a tiny kitchen
holding a vial of saffron
(a gift from
a coworker
at my big new job
out of college),
I realized I was far from
being a grown up.

New love every week
was not filling
and cooking chicken
in wine just made me drunk
(in my sophistication,
I marinated myself).

Somehow not knowing
what to do with saffron
made me understand
I knew nothing.

vitriol

so beautiful and soft,
day broke verdant and pink
not red like I thought
– I’ve got to get the hell out

before I frighten
cheerful morning birds
with my shout
of “fuck this!”
as I trip over my own feet
and twist sweet nothings
into odes
of vitriolic despair

one more attempt
at smoothing raging hair
and minimizing riotous hips
only ends
in sweaty frustrated
abandon
with no relief
from field or creek bed

so beautiful and soft
have not been my dreams of late
while something edges closer
to sanguine freedom

Open

I’m forever their forget,
not being built
for remembrance.
Learning so long ago
ways of men
– fists leading to thrusts
always, always
to forget
in me for a little while
a world harder
than they.

I remember
too much,
letting my spirit
open softly
before withdrawing.

Parade beats

For someone waiting
for the next new thing,
she sure got old fast.
Her visions of rainbow connections
notwithstanding,
she couldn’t hold a toothpick
for more than two seconds
without turning cheerleader
and I always felt I was in jeopardy
of losing an eye
when the band began to play.
Her strips of frosted hair
reminded me
of Lily Munster
and the way she sucked
a Camel
made me feel sorry
for her boyfriend.

She had moments of truth, however,
when she looked out the window
or drank her coffee
or curled a fist when taking about love
in the back of the old Dodge Dart.

So we say hello
with a nod
and pass most days
as women
who have no need
of horoscopes or Lifetime movies,
catching glimpses
of something that matters
in the sound of parade beats
and revving engines.

“Graceful swans of never…”

The dually was perched
on the lip of a gully,
door open,
lights blinking,
engine rumbling in place
and the man in the wife-beater
paused long enough
to piss and think how pretty
the puffy clouds looked –
like breasts laden heavily with milk.
As he shook his last drops,
he hummed
part of a Smashing Pumpkins song,
not aware he was skewing
lyrics to fit:
“Yesterday’s just an excuse away…”

He had left her
mixed up
in a lime green velour blanket,
sticky and splayed
at the motel off the old logging road.
“The earth laughs beneath my heavy feet…”

He had long ago
thrown up his hands
to any thought of choice,
letting women tell him where to go.
The fucker was happy,
thinking of breasts and home.
“Supper’s waiting on the table…”