December 11, 2012

Settled

I live in a house in the city
on a street that turns green every spring
with the man who calls me his woman
and the woman that he thinks I am.

I wear his ring on my finger.
I wear her smile on my face.
He keeps me happy and laughing,
and she keeps me in my place.

But at night, when the windows go silent,
when all of the house is asleep,
I can still hear my caravan rolling
somewhere far away from my street.

And I still feel the drums of my jungle.
I still know all the words to the songs.
I still smell the animal on me,
under all my expensive colognes.

I still smell the spray of the ocean
when the wind blows in from the east.
And I yearn, with a nomad's devotion,
for a road rolling under my feet.

I'm a quiet, respectable woman.
All my clothes are dry-cleaned and beige.
But I still have my old scarlet lipstick.
I might wear it again one day.

December 3, 2012

caged bird (with apologies to Ms. Angelou)

I know why the caged bird
doesn't sing. Not because
it misses freedom
or sky, or flight, or inspiration.

Pah to freedom. This cage
is paid for. That noise? Is for
the birds. You're free,

so what, you're young,
you flutter by, you sing,
you get discovered, told

you're something
special, you sing louder,
better, righter, more.
You find yourself

doing it for money,
trilling for trinkets,
cooing for compliments,
chirping for cheese. They

call that freedom. Girl, please.

I know why the caged bird
doesn't sing, and why
it saunters lazy
to its perch, and, there,
from on high, grandly

takes a shit.
Someone will clean it up,

when you're a caged bird,
song, or no song.