poetry

T. Thomas

 Winter 2001


Native Tongue



Native Tongue

I watched as you walked, face-first,
Into the wall -
"Eyes wide open," you said, but
Already they were shut/blinded
To what you needed not to believe.
Helplessness, my fear,
Has become my companion
And I cannot turn away,
Cannot speak the language of
"She'll learn the hard way." 
It is not my native tongue.


Walk

Weakened howling of an old dog breaks the stillness
And I roll over to touch your moist back under the heavy blankets.
Splinters of winter moonlight outwit the drawn shades;
The fire is out.
Hopeless dread finds me alone again, and though I can reason,
As any human can,
I find the lack of will to do so.

Forward motion becomes a desperate thirst that cannot be quenched;
My sun-dried soul stands still on a hill overlooking her downward spiral -
This time, one that she's sent herself on, not influenced by me.
You find it hard to conceive of my sorrow - she's just a friend --

And I, too, can't shake the feeling that I should just get up and walk.
But what you haven't felt and cannot is the satin of her soft hand on
My bare shoulder,
As she leans in to kiss me, wanton, with every nerve alive.


Taker

Trinkets, spent dollars on friendships,
Crumpled little notes of encouragement -
All a fruitless effort to make you loved;
Allow yourself to be sought out,
Found in the midst of your sorrow and raised,
Newly vibrant, into the role of taker;
Power lies there, waiting.


Past Guard

On the bare board he lurks,
Waiting for an opened door.
Slick-tongued, pointed-tailed lizard,
And he is patient -
His minute heart racing,
Flooding his body with the need to slide,
unnoticed,
Past guard.


Penis Envy

Rattling of papers and the energetic banter of teenagers gone,
The book room couch offers solace at the end of a bitter day.
It is not meant for me to suffocate in such silence,
And my heart leaps at the chance to corral an ear.
I tell again my tale; there is difficulty beyond words in letting go.
Lacking the prerequisites for her defined loyalty,
I find myself spiraling into what I want versus what I can have,
And the broken-legged table remains objective,
Holding for me the lamp and coffee, but providing no palliation.

Phoenix

Lady Lazarus in her own right,
She has fallen time and time again.
Her heart rent,
She dreams of eating men -
Pleading with herself in waking hours
Not to make the same mistakes,
Wandering aimlessly,
But drifting toward a new dull ache.
She hasn't put her head in the oven,
But knows she's been burned.


Return

Dust the crumbling brick from my eyebrows;
I am tired of beating my head against the wall
That is your warped need for abuse.
Have yourself re-raised,
Learn again what love is supposed to be -
Yours for yourself first,
And only then for another,
Not just giving and giving,
But getting in return.


A Form I Own

These hands are not those of a man,
Yet, somehow, not wholly delicate
And wanting to trace a line down the peak of her hip,
To a point where a palm fits
Against the back of a knee
And then, between beautiful toes,
With my face against the soft top of her foot,
Just to touch
The beauty of a form I own.


More

An ache that will not surface,
But pushes, battling for the chance to explode
Into a world of air,
The rushing sound of "More!"
Presses what I thought was an impregnable shield
Of need to be normal,
Pulses away at my center,
Bloating me with unmet needs.


Dream Interpretation

Upon the movement of my mother's lips (from a distance),
I crumpled, a small heap of tears,
And woke myself from this dream with sobbing,
Immediately realizing its significance.
I have lost my self.
My self that is not afraid.
My self that would take a risk.
My self that would do the unexpected.
My self that is represented by
Wavy red hair, unkempt,
Milky skin and freckles,
Unshaven legs,
And the courage to roam,
Unattainable,
With a following of mindless men
Who dream of taming a woman like me,
An adventurer,
A conqueror,
Alive and alone.
And where is the map with that treasure marked?
This is a journey to begin without course,
To turn within to intuitive guidance,
To jump from this raft that is not self-bailing,
But has been filling with water for quite some time;
Is it worth the chance that I could come to a place
Where my best option
Is to open my lungs to the flood of whitewater?
Indeed,
Because even then, I would eventually
Rise to the surface.


| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Contact Us