10.15.2016

Another language

Another world

  another language
  another world again
  hello Moon, old friend

  asha

6.29.2016

Roadside oil rigs

Roadside oil rigs
metal dinosaurs in the
hot Texas morning.

asha

6.07.2016

This now shattered mirror

This now shattered mirror
reflects and holds ten thousand
fold the world it sees.

asha

Red Fish

Red Fish

A red fish
the size of a child
startles up through the trees.
Who sitting around this stone table
will remember it for me?

asha

Crow and I

Crow and I alone
on opposite sides of the
road. She flies away.

asha

Pyramid mountains

Pyramid mountains
speechless in the summer snow.
Someone has to talk.

asha

5.07.2016

Letter to my daughter

Letter to my Daughter

Sometime past midnight,

I am reading your note, the story of your equinox afternoon. I can smell the sugary musk of rain and rot. I see the field and you in slow motion playing with a ball that gets away and rolls into the elongated shadows of the trees. I am a slug munching leaves there and, as you pass, twitch my antennae into the vibrating air. You kick the ball back out into the open under the red-orange evening sky.

Tomorrow the light will begin its retreat, allowing the world to sink back into its roots. In breath, out breath. Bittersweet. Little Molly is curled beside me, her thin black lips hidden by white hair.

I love you, always.

Mom

4.29.2016

Words

Words


The floor of my mind is littered with words—scrawled, scribbled out, crumpled words. I hear them whispering to one another—lonely, shifty, resistant as shadows in wind, as bugs in cracks, as sprouts growing in the fetid dark. Some are annoying, sharp rocks under bare feet, others threatening as broken glass. Some are photos fallen from a collage with little value of their own, pennies on the ground. Others are blobs of paint that did not make it to the canvas, beautiful, dry and beyond recall. Others are worlds orbiting their own remote stars. Observed they change. They do not obey the rules. They float, switch polarities, attract and repel at random, sometimes swirling, sometimes playing dead only to suddenly reappear with new meanings altogether.


asha

4.18.2016

Stonelight - Prelude

Stonelight

Prelude

THOUGHTS WHILE LEAVING . . .

setting out upon a long journey
I take my lantern off the post
the hills in the west are approaching Jupiter

a young moon
in the 7th house
horns to the east
floats low in a purple lea
half in shadow/half in light
I take the path of the terminator.

there are endless stones in this path
each stone a world
and endless steps in this journey
each step a birth/each step a death
birth/death blended into this exquisite twilight
through which I go towards Jupiter
and the edge goes with me
for we are in need of the sea.

asha

4.11.2016

Stonelight - Movement 1

Stone light

Movement 1


the little moon
       the little moon that starved so long in the brass box
       the little moon
who only eyes of dream can see

        —that one—

who lay so long
sunk in a chilly abyss beyond the reach of conscious fire
she has summoned me to leave the daylight realm

cold stars swirl and drown in the black sea that must be crossed

on a winter's night
           first passing the lava bone brain forest of an inner deep
                                                                                            I set out

            she keeps her dark face forever turned to dark
            she stands behind ripped clouds
            hanging from the proscenium arch of night
            peeking in at the living world
            aching with light

on a winter night we set out on that terrible journey
     through the larvae brain bone forest
           over sunk stars sparkling beyond reach

only eyes of dream can gather the crystals
      the frozen shipwrecked treasures from which the moon was born.


asha

3.14.2016

Priestess

Priestess


Having found no suitable priestess
I have become my own—
transforming—
and transforming myself.

asha


2.07.2016

Road's Eye View

Road's Eye View


I saw her once presiding over the beginning of the day, the giant turbaned umber goddess of morning’s sunlit web—Banana Woman—mountains of bananas rising behind her, towers of bananas stacked on the table around her, foothills of bananas cresting baskets along the market’s spider path. She would not look up from her ledger so, needing to make peace with my demons, I gave my confession to her dogs.

And her dogs replied—

Let us begin with death and the possibility of death for this is the humid season of atrocity and wonder and the starting point is fear and desire twisted together, inseparable vines, the assailable heart and the available flesh lashed to a skeleton raft, survivors in the carbon sea shipwrecked in this stinking swamp, ten thousand tiny concertinas squeaking in the buzzing, clicking, humming dark—

where are you . . . here I am . . . here I am . . . who are you . . . who are you . . . where are you . . . who are you . . . where are you . . . who are you . . . who will feed my daily flesh . . . where are you . . . who are you . . . I cannot sleep . . . here I am . . . peel back my skin and eat . . .


asha
Mexico

2.02.2016

To Ram

To Ram


when you came
and the sea was night
oh come
be with me always
o Boat—night and day at sea
your touch— 
at last I speak
singing

round
creaking
laughing at me
because you are kind
my heart can grow
because you love me
I do not need to know tonight

the foghorns hare aroused me
from the dream
I drift on
away from sleep
away from sleep
in you—in me

thinking
o Earth
living constellations
and dark
and the blissful
the murmur of your holy name
awakening in my heart at last
o joy

the fulfillment of my deepest
sweetest
sorrow

perhaps I can never return
my way is with you
if I cannot reach you tonight
streets and bushes
let me be
I will sing and die
waves on the shore
the end of the sea

if you touch me
o Ram
make me mad
your love is enough
so empty
so night

be still
Heart— Night— 
Cloud of Dancing
you do love me
that is enough

stairs of stone
of wood
of waves
and laughter  skyward—
as though I die
telling me—

be at home my child
my darling, my earth and look for me
I am here behind every guise
garlanded by Love’s bitter-sweet tears


asha

11.27.2015

Communiqué 611

Communiqué 611


I am writing this in the dark
fingers dipped in ink
ushering each reluctant word
to its place upon the page, the
invisible theatre. It is risky business,
spies and traitors everywhere,
slavery and broken minds,
but these are strong old friends —
old as war.


asha

11.20.2015

Between Us

Between Us


if the blood red rose
blooms white some spring
lighting its obscure
part of the night

a small perfumed moon
nestled among its thorns
who would protest this wonder?
I tremble before love’s simplicity

oh bitter sweet surrender
oh ever sweetening trust
even death is turned
inside out

let it pass through me 
love’s terrifying light
should I become ash
it will be enough


asha

7.11.2015

Chinandega

Chinandega


Now, back into the current flowing past this quiet room, back to the
leaving road. A taxi stops in the middle of the street. I get in and am
driven to a market where I board a bus which moves out onto a road
edged by trash, blooming fence posts, fruit stands, tables and chairs
at makeshift open air cafes and crowded with cars, food carts, bicycles,
buses, chickens, trucks, people, homeless dogs and overloaded tilting
wagons pulled by starving horsesall moving down the smelly gray 
river, a hydra-headed body decorated with scars and symbolsmoving
always in the same directionChinandegahottest city in Nicaragua
Chinandegawhere the hen and rooster lie shackled together at the feet
of three women sitting at table in the middle of the road. Chinandega
where life is how they keep the meat fresh until it's time to eat.

asha

6.14.2015

Ontology of Clouds

Ontology of Clouds


A thrown stone finds its resting
place within the grass
the egg, more than a tombstone,
must shatter first into light
what is born must devour itself
in order to survive its darkness,
its promise and threat.

Dandelion lanterns along the path,
soon blown out, are not a loss, no
seed is a loss. In the green light

of my first summers, seeing the wild
mass of morning glories swarming
secretly over overlooked places,

I knew I had inherited a lie.
When the spirit is wounded
and the wound is deep

be gentle—in this ache,
this flare of dying light, again
and again we risk everything.
Salt stained clouds foam up the sky
it is on an afternoon like this
we will begin again with nothing.

asha

6.07.2015

Water Brother

Water Brother


When I see the brown hills lying
coldly in the sly distance
and the clouds     having lost their ocean
looking for a place to weep
and the crystal drop on the still leaf tip
                                         falls
I remember the angels
   perfumed and ancient as midnight
   new as silver of the waxing moon
who spoke to me of death.

At dawn I went to the hill that sleeps
and called their names
      loudly    
                 louder and louder
until even the snakes in their dens
shuddered
     then softly I called them
      quietly whispering each name
until there was no sound at all
          but the tolling of a distant bell . . .

It was then they came
sursum corda
scratching the sky, reaching through
the eternal blue dream with their talons
clawing long blazing marks in the wind—

and in that moment,
      sweet inconsolable lover, water brother,
one mad despised flower
          with no petals at all/with translucent petals
growing beneath the bridge/beneath the fig tree
    laughing to itself
        bird on the morning breeze
            empty of everything but light
               bloomed

asha

2.12.2015

Spirit Barrier

Spirit Barrier


I remember it all
the human flood
the empty chair
the calf crying
before a growling wind
lost histories leaking
through the spirit barrier
a delta of pain
draining into
a bayou of suffering.

I awake beneath
the magpie's beak
see it reach
for my eye
see the world
turn red and black
and white and fade.
This is not death
these quills
brushing against my breast.
I am smudged and washed
and swaddled
in the stiffening sheen
of my own blood
and readied for flight.


 
  asha

12.07.2014

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice


It has always been spoken of
as the grave and womb of light
this most brief day
this deepest midnight
stiffened with ice and silence.

It is crucial now that there be
harbors and pools and islands
of light, and it is necessary
that there be song
for the dead are everywhere

stricken with grief, wandering
among the birds of winter but
with song they may be comforted
and Love, on this longest of nights,
requires the giving of a gift.


— asha

illustrated

8.04.2014

Drift

Drift


I have been up all night
writing and re-writing
tomorrow
watching the stars
tick across the sky.
Around midnight
the Big Dipper is just
beyond my window.
By 3 am only stars.
No names.
Then in the hush
just before dawn
when time slows
nearly to a stop I see
my grandmother’s dog
the one she made live outside
that entire North Dakota winter
his pleading, cold-crazed eyes
a sad, two-star constellation.
They shot him in the spring.

The sun doesn't rise.
The world falls face first
into its light
finds its mark
resumes the
fiction of the day.

With regret I sense
before I can see
the Holy Dark
dissolve into grainy
morning. Here and there
a bird stirs in its quills.
Before long
they are on the roof
rattling the gutters
pecking at the tiles.
One of these days
they will pull
the house beam out
and the whole thing
will fall down.

                          asha

7.30.2014

La Pared

La Pared


They are not gone, they are on bricks
    beneath plaster, beneath paint,
       beneath posters and handbills fragile
as snakeskin
abandoned to the sun and wind,
beneath the stenciled telephone, a face
   "Jesús, el teléfono del diablo"
                                        "Mexico, poco real"
and startled black figures suspended
                                        in a running tumble
past creeping vines turning
         what was once a wall
into a crumbling spine
            blackened by the repeating,
                                   always humid afternoon.

When the day is done I open my window to the street
stir my brush into the sleeping paint and begin again.



asha


7.22.2014

Re-beginnings

Re-Beginnings
Seattle  –  on the occasion of my mother’s death

Touched by your eyes, I quake. Whatever is good has ceased to flow. I throw the poison mirror away. The walls close towards center. Barely room to breathe.

Morning comes and again I resolve to survive the day, overcome this. We had planned to do that. Times have been better. My flesh hurts. I plunge back into sleep.

But the urge returns, jarring open my eyes. You aren't here. What am I creating here? Or am I just re-living-living-living the worst old outcomes? There was a truth here somewhere. Sinking, my thoughts become seeds seeking the comfort of dark. Memories are of no value. Where I am now I am safe, between everything, away and alone under a high cloud sky.

In this inner world of the closed flower there is a moment’s rest. The wind and tide erase all. I do not speak the language here. It is a comfort. I communicate through half tones, faint smiles. Outside the petals, rain and finally a clear sky and distant mountains asleep under their snow. Having held back too long, I do not cry. We bend or break. Now I lay me down to sleep. The rain drenched petals creak. I lower myself into the stormsmall boat, small wingsto try the sea.

asha

6.02.2014

Return

Return
To the memory of Steve Mason, soldier poet


to the disembodied
painted faces of the inner air
the stone voice speaks
the whorls upon waking weep
the swamp of singing reeds
the growing world
turns to listen
time
delirious with eternity
sleeps on
there is no answer

in the winter sun
birds are thinking
they do not reply
I have returned
from a long journey
I have changed

the end and the beginning
stir and separate my thoughts
it is noon at my place on earth


asha
 


5.07.2014

Three lines for my brother

Three lines for my brother

The wind is gathering the dead.
“Tell them about us"
they whisper as they pass.

— asha

4.28.2014

Life at the top of the stairs

Life at the top of the stairs
for L.


Having to be somewhere—
I found myself living on the landing at the top of the stairs.

A thousand times a thousand times
                                                        I finishedin my mind

       the unfinished painting leaning against the wall.

The eight-legged one,
    tiny Protectorate of the Shadows guarding her eggs,
she alone knows the rest of the story
the window
                  th
e comatose trees
                                               the fog drenched night
and all the sad creatures and voices caught in the scaffolding there.


asha


3.14.2014

Yellow Shoes

Yellow Shoes
  for Lawson Inada



When I had feet me shoes were yellow
ah yellow as pollen they were
bright as lemons
bright as me lad's smile
bold as his laugh
an oh how I danced in me shoes
all night
a swarm a bees
drunk from the flowers
sportin their yellow pants an boots
knew not as many turns as me lad an me
not haf as many

an when
in the slow river
a bare foot we went a wadin
me lad an me
an bare we were from toe to head
a hand an hand
me yellow shoes was glad to wait
all hodgepodge with his
for shoes has no need a feet
though feet has a need a them
but now
old as I be
I has no need a shoes
not yellow 
not brown
but glad I am
glad as I was when I was a lass
for I got me me lad
an I rather him than me feet.


asha

3.05.2014

Girl


Girl  
     


When I was a girl
and hungry for pleasure
with feathers in my hair
and bells on my feet
a wild unpruned thing
a child on the run
feasting on the sweets
and bitters of love
on the full gush of all things
in a swarm of musics
and carelessly carefree
rising and falling  
on each tide swimming
a slave to the moon
with a barefoot heart dancing
to the flute of my own god
I spilled blossom after blossom
to the wind with no regard
being full of my season
and the aphrodisiac perfumes
on which I fed
lips red   
voice thick from singing
eyes heavy from wooing
until I delivered the fruit of the union
until I became
with the pain and the growing
the reaping and sowing
a woman.
                               
                                           — asha

12.25.2013

Augury for the Child

Augury for the Child 


Even as a child I knew I could possess nothing so I renounced everything but childhood itself. And as a child I knew knowledge could not be enough, that only a homing instinct would be much use after all.

So abundant are the moments of truth diamond drops cupped in the uncountable small green hands of morning—even now I do not wish to turn back from love.

Knowing I will forget—again and again—how to laugh and how to cry and what you mean to me, and knowing that each moment of love finally presses its body in wet fallen fragrant petals against the stone to dry I must welcome strangers and imperfections.

I have seen hope like spring return again and again and the sleek and shiny lights of rain dancing everywhere.

Even now—it is wise to trust.


Asha
Read for my daughter on her wedding day



12.19.2013

After Death


After Death



As moon hidden by morning
as water enters earth
as the blossom’s beauty quivers
falling from the fruit within
as night embraces effaces erases light
and light
being diminished or absent
speaks in dream
I went to the river saying,
River,
here are my voices.
Return them to the sea.

After death
I entered River’s mind
and River’s song
which fills the twilight
replaced the sun.

After death
seeing through River’s eye
knowing night by many names
I journeyed far to reach and kiss
the pulse of earth and sea.

Returning
new mind
a spring rain
slowly descending black bark trees.

Returning
young among the old
new moon asleep on the sea.

Returning
I moor my ship
upon the wind’s voice.


asha