Gold trees

Remembering you,
I paint trees
that haunt my dreams—
the golden light shines

No one can hold onto
the sunset forever,
or recapture
the Holy Grail;

the trail of immortality
is long dead—
family secrets
are found at the stump

of the enchanted tree,
now hundreds of years old.
Does its apples
taste like wisdom, or gold?

But you
always had a
golden heart,
easily illuminated

the prize was
never the goal—
love & happiness,
by truth, is.

The guest house

I liked the tree tattoo on your upper arm
as you played volleyball with Team USA in Tokyo.
Your green eyes were shining too.

What if we had lunch together?
Would there be a chance
for us to be together,
swimming in sheets,
having sex as your waves
crashed down upon my dunes?

This would never be real,
not in this lifetime—

but what about
in another pocket Universe,
where we had a guest house?

All of our emotions are welcome there:
even uncertainty, shame, dark thoughts & disgust,
they will be tolerated
as well as lust and love, light dreaming & bliss.

We won’t turn them away.
Even though most of the house
was painted by loneliness,
romance & self-love
was built in the heart of it.

Even when
in this time and Universe
you don’t know my name,
& we have never met,
& the tree on your arm
is not real—

In this guest house,
anything is possible.

I pick the apples growing from your arm.
& I take a bite
as I look in your eyes.

Green (a Ghazal)
I miss the softness of green
grass before it was sprayed with fertilizer.

Now all green
plants I rely on are plastic, except those on

untouched, flowering fields in sparkling crystal houses, those are green!
What happened to realness, to buzzing bees?

Did they fly back to their striped, sharp-tailed, green
planet? Is that why we all buy silk roses,

dreaming of smooth, velveteen petals smelling of rain? We were also green
once, before the planet died off from waste & pollution.

The farmers are trying to feed the world with greens,
but we are force-fed vitamins & freeze-dried food.

When the hunger’s gone

You took the last train
out of Love’s station,
leaving me back in Purgatory.

When dogs smell meat,
they wait feverishly
with their teeth extended,

their tongues hanging out;
you did that
when I first looked at you.

Where did your hunger go?
My love remains strong,
but you’ve lost my flavor,

my flesh and lips
are no longer satisfying.
I am still the same woman

you once craved. But the rails
tempted you to move forward,
to find someone new

to love and feed upon.
Why can’t you be satisfied
with me? What did I do wrong?

How could I have made you stay?
You didn’t answer—you left one morning
without warning, without an explanation.

You were so tired of climbing
the hill on 231st Street.
You dreamed of Downtown

& its pleasures in Manhattan.
You wanted more than me;
your little dreams were too big.

I may be crazy like a hunter,
but I know who I am;
this is where I need to be.

1st year in New York

When I first visited New York,
I thought the streets were electrified—

I danced with the Sufis upstate, saw trout
swim, & ate tofu & real Greek moussaka.

When I moved to New York a few years later,
the streets felt more solid. I was a grain of rice

or a solitary dried green pea
in a deep can of sharp tacks.

It was the coldest Winter.
I almost froze to Death

in my basement apartment
in Gravesend. Nothing happened

there; I told people that I lived
in Sheepshead’s Bay. I had nothing

in common with Lubavitcher Jews,
Russians & Italians. Oklahoma so far away—

I met someone in Riverdale.
4 months later we were engaged

& 4 months after that we moved
in together, in Manhattan.

But I needed those first 8 months
to become another sharp tack

so I could live in this city
for the rest of my life.