Poetry from Maria Evans

“The things I needed”

The things I needed
things you wouldn’t give me
things I couldn’t get from just a friend

Just forget them?
Leave them be?
Ignore that part of me is reaching and crying
And searching and dying
with every day you fail me.

But to get them from another
From someone who cannot give me The things I need that you can
and you do

it breaks my heart
each time I realize that I could, can get them
from somebody else
Reject it? When I need it? When my heart cries for it?

It tempts me to hate the other option “WHY YOU NOT HIM?”
why him not you

Not enough
no replacement
with one set of dreams
another dies

*****
“s​ometimes she makes me feel old”

It is a way she has
She speaks in absolutes
As if the world by her defined
Were all the source of truth.

Her moods are swift and fierce
Her sweetness unbesmirched
And oh, it seems her innocence
She left behind at birth

I cannot help but watch
Her ever­-changing face
And wonder ­- is’t myself I see
In all her lack of grace

Was I once, in my youth
Just such a smiling thief?
All full of laughter, scorning love,
With endless joie de vivre?

*****
“Portrait”

It sometimes feels like the only part of art I care about is getting to know the sky
How the clouds part and grayly curl
How they shade, their rims aglow with light
The fading darkness, deep with blue
Under the storm

And gold and peach and pink and fire’s red
Licking the surface at the edge of night
Changing moment by moment to burn
Then dim out of sight

All the rest is too real
Too easy to touch
Too constant

And because they are everchanging
Painting clouds is almost easy
There are millions of ways to make them right
But I do not wish to paint a cloud or any
I’d rather know one sky or two
To the last scrap of vapor lost in the red

*****
“Detailing”

You look at the world like it matters and suddenly it’s like
WHY is it stories we remember
When there are red plum leaves and sand in the concrete
Sweet scents on the wind

The interstices of life are worth having forever
And we don’t and it’s not fair
A few scattered moments and a narrative or two
Out of a lifetime forgotten

*****
“Medium”

Do I love you? I might
What else am I to do?
I love easily, clasp freely, and cling
Residue like oil
Or pigment
Spread thin
I am yours

And oh no, not the first time
Nor worst nor last
There are drops of me everywhere
Unwashed away
From the hair of the hundreds
Holding but a memory of me

Still I sell it short
And I ache for the stretched and separated drops
And I hear a deeper beat in my breast
As one once parted grows near.

Do I love you? I’m sure
And I shall, I can see
In the color of your hair
A few drops of me

*****
“Proof that I’m a shit poet”

I’ve written rather a lot of shitty poetry
Diahorrea through the mouth and hands
And honest as illness, as purging poison
Medicinal and so it runs
Green over the flanks and flowing
In among exalting verses

I’d be less if everything was craft-perfect
Forget rhyming and meter, my madness I mean
Incoherence or worse, immaturity in anguish
Pain over paltry things
When the greater pangs ring unexpressible
Or gong harsh and exaggerated

Oh let me write my Maudits
Let me speak as if I know too little to regret my words
And prize my shitty work
I lived that moment of stupidity and pride
And I claim my follies as mine.

*****
“A Sense of Calling”

You give yourself and your soul to a faith
And draw therefrom
A purpose a strength
A sense of calling
It fills your belly and straightens your back
As adversity bends and empties you
Your soul grows more felt and more known
And you are more what you choose to be

And where lies the line
Twixt the faith and the self
When the decades past have built
You into its walls
Your face on the holy fount
Where the young acolytes learn to follow
You not your savior
Your words about him
And as years let your ankles sink into its mud
The foundation of all that they teach the next young one
Where stands your soul, if unchanged?

Could you have meant it at first
If this was the goal?
Could you mean it now
That this has come?
All the ears perked to hear you
Detached from the silence
Which sent you here

*****
“Joy!”

Flash of a grin
And you’re off again
And all I can do is rush to follow

Over a wall
Disappeared and it’s all
I can do to catch up
And you’re off again.

God, what a chase!
It’s a wealth of good fun
It’s a joy and I swear
Nothing else could compare

Not right now, not like this
See?
And you’re off again!

*****
“Joy”

Sweetest of dreams, the breath and beat of day
As all its breezes brush my tears away
The sights and songs of busy life surround
This weary woman and the gem she found

Within the passing beauties of this hour
Lies one sweet sunbeam, fallen on the flour
Dusting the floor of one small kitchen room
Warmed with the work as I sit at my loom

Something of sweetness, safe within the stove
Something of beauty, with these hands I wove
Something of brightness speeding from the sky
Some breath of glory cools my face and I ­

I see the best of all is here with me
All sacraments come straight from God I see
Visions of his touch, now, upon the world
Lovely as angels with their wings unfurled.

*****
“Evil Beauty”

Eyes downcast, your voice in sorrow
Hands resting, cupped as if to borrow
From the air the strength to speak
All lies which say “I’m soft and weak.”

All lies to tell of lies once told
Without a price for what you sold
That innocence and hurt you claim
For evil done in MY good name

Your eyelashes hold back a tear
As if our God is one you fear
As if the murder of our child
Were not your act, oh maiden mild

Cruel turn in life that I should bed
You, jezebel, and nearly wed!
To know the way you twist and moan
And wish to strangle every groan

That sweetness and naivete
You sang and danced and spoke at me!
That elegance in how you twist
While blood drips down from heart to wrist

A hole resides within your chest
Which mars your erstwhile perfect breast
I know it now, oh yes I see
And am ashamed I trusted thee.

And now the flash sparks in your eyes
So perfect anger marks its rise
You bite the words, “Oh, how I knew
No drop of mercy springs from you.”

*****
“Two Lost Travelers”

I met God and St Peter one night in the cold
They were dressed in the bodies of black boys, waiting for the last bus they’d missed
And as the story requires
I gave them shelter for the night

How did I make that decision?
Except I know it was easy:
If I had not I would have regretted my failure, all my life
I had no wealth to lose to a poor woman’s boy named Vasily
I had no city to lose to the flames

I had my wish to save someone

It was easy; I’d do it again were the circumstances so convenient
I had male roommates for the only time in my life almost, who I trusted enough
And They were there in front of me, their need clear and clearer
Talking of walking home the whole way,
in a cold that bit through unknown streets
where other boys and neighborhood watch and police
could ALL jump to conclusions
And wasn’t I hoping to teach kids just like them?

I had something to prove and now I define myself by that something

God and St Peter got lost one night
As planned, as usual,
And yes I have fallen into debt
And yes my city is in flames
with my daughter salton beside

And I, I am free and alive
and somebody new besides.
I made a decision one night
and now I look for two lost travelers
Down every road
for righteousness made easy

Because God damn it is hard to do it alone
Doing good is NEVER so clear cut
and I am afraid I sometimes fail

(badly)

But God and St Peter walk
to meet you only once
And make you and break you once.

It will never be so easy again.

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