Penelope Coaching and Consulting – Poetry from Heidi Seaborn

 

Give a Girl Chaos

Selection of poems from Give a Girl Chaos.

 

 

 

Chaos arrives screaming—born

 

                                                under a certain star    shifting

 

                                                            every day that follows

 

Chaos

 

            is an unplanned dinner party

 

            the neighbors stop by for a drink      and never leave

 

 

 

Chaos  lives in homes

 

                        in bottles         stashed             in the linen closet

 

           

 

                        in dreams  

 

when the lights go out       

 

                                                            and families turn upon themselves

 

Chaos is cancer

 

        rooting our bodies’ richest soil

 

                                               

 

Chaos  never

 

                        travels light     over packs      overstays

 

                                                                        delays departures       

 

Chaos—

 

            another name for a dark heart

 

                                    roaming   

 

 back alleys of our world

 

           

 

seas rise     maelstroms slash

 

                        skies seethe

 

                                    fires spark                   spread                                 

 

 

 

O she is hungry these days

 

                                    this goddess of Chaos    this mother

 

 

 

once a girl who dreamed big

 

a girl who birthed a universe

 

 

imagine what she could do now

 

 

 

a girl who harnesses Chaos

 

can whip          winds into a horde

 

                                                of butterflies   

 

hush hurricanes     settle

 

storms             salve spirits

 

 

O give a girl a little Chaos

 

see what she can do

 

 

 

Don’t bother to knock come on in

 

you are meant to be here

 

                                   

 

                                    sometimes                              

 

                                                Chaos is the way in.

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Motion

 

~after a photo of frozen monarch butterflies taken in Michoacan, Mexico by Jamie Rojo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in Santa Cruz

 

            hundreds of monarchs swirled

 

                        around me

 

     flirted

 

                                    with eyelashes   fingers

 

then flew to Mexico.

 

 

 

           

 

Clutter of paper tigers

 

 

 

                                    spread across a canvas of snow.

 

 

 

Wings fanned in all directions   frozen          

 

                                                            in flight.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we fail to see the signs—

 

don’t    not now   maybe never

 

drive when you’re tired

 

walk alone at night

 

marry that man.

 

 

 

We fly into cold weather

 

                                    wings of persimmon  

 

                                               

 

                                                            gold     flash.                                   

 

 

 

 

Travel Advisory for Turkey

 

~A suicide bomber killed five including two Americans, and injured 36 others in a busy tourist area in Istanbul, March 19, 2016

 

 

 

I will not snake the Spice Bazaar maze in Istanbul,

 

past the sacks of psychedelic colored baharat and herbs.

 

I won’t inhale cumin, sumac, saffron and mint.

 

I will not bring home tuzlu nuts and Turkish Delight

 

or know the bolt of Arabica coffee sipped from a demitasse

 

with a bite of beyaz peynir cheese.

 

 

 

I will not heed the imam call to prayers,

 

look to the minarets to guide me to the Sultanamhet mosque,

 

wrap my Pashmina over my head, shoulders, slip off my shoes

 

find my place among the women,

 

stand, kneel, touch my head to carpet, stand.

 

The prayers a requiem for the dead, the dying.

 

 

 

I will not haggle with the rug dealer as he and his cousins

 

roll open another hand-knotted Anatolian carpet, blood

 

red, starred with indigo and gold blossoms.

 

“This one. Ma’am, this one best for you.”

 

It will not arrive on my doorstep months later

 

wrapped in burlap, unfurling a scent of shisha smoke.

 

 

 

I will not see girls, braids bouncing as they skip

 

to the jump rope’s beat, the sing-song song.

 

Boys dribbling, rising to layup, block an imaginary basket.

 

The ball tapping from outstretched hand to hand,

 

skittering off down the dirt alley, mothers pulling

 

aside curtain doorways to scold.

 

 

 

I will not eat charred sheep kebaps

 

or drink rati and pick lüfer off the bone by the Bosphorus

 

imagining Ottoman trading ships navigating its length.

 

I will not journey to the Hattusas

 

as the sun illuminates history, stories, what remains

 

from thieves, Pergamon’s curators, ancient battles

 

 

 

like this war: the remnant of an Imperial tapestry,

 

a lost province, gaming foreign powers, the Euphrates

 

knotted near the border, its mouth burned dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond

 

            ~Krabi, Thailand 2013

 

 

 

Our bed smells of coconut milk. Outside

 

            the tide washes through splay-fingered

 

                        mangrove roots, leaving a lacy stitch

 

 

 

with each wave

 

            as a fisherman heaves

 

                        his longboat onto the beach.

 

 

 

An acacia tree shades

 

            the gardenia bush beside

 

                        this pink house on stilts,

 

                                    salt air.

 

 

A boy riding a lemon-colored motorbike,

 

            drops boxes of peppers

 

                        at the kitchen door.

 

                                    Across the road,

 

the sign stabbed

 

            into the grass warns

 

                        Entering Tsunami

 

                        Hazard Zone

 

 

 

Edging the jungle,

 

            a golden girl

 

                        nests in the pungent

 

                                    branches of a mango tree.

 

She sees beyond

 

            the ocean’s edge,

 

                        the earth curving away,

 

pulling the tide like a blanket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bearing Fruit

 

           

 

 

 

At first I wanted to keep you                     

 

                                   

 

                        like a sweet yellow plum

 

 

 

I picked on a New Hampshire back road

 

at the slick start of day

 

 

 

blackberries slipping brambles, tar sticky

 

 

 

 as you were at birth

 

 

 

baby boy

 

            tucking your little wings

 

                                    against the sweat

 

                                                and seep of my milky body

 

 

 

I held you till morning

 

to see you in the light that bled

 

                                                through the window

 

                       

 

when it came time to name you

 

cotton-swaddled boy

 

 

 

I scrawled your name

 

 

 

hesitated

 

gave you a father

 

 

 

gave myself away

 

like the bride I wasn’t/was

 

mother so happy

 

mother to a boy

 

plucked from the ashes of a fire

 

forgotten

 

            with the thought of you angel

 

 

 

wind-spirited   

 

lifting 

 

you  ribbon-tailed kite

 

           

 

flight  flight  flight     

 

over fruited lands.

 

 

A Girl’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t seen stars in ages   sky          tarred with winter’s brush

 

            tonight they turn on    one by one       as if stirred to life by motion

 

lighting a path home               I could follow it          build a house in the galaxy

 

                                    its milky wonder my milky tea     

 

 

would I stand on my porch at night                look for Earth—       

 

                                    for the girl discovering           sea stars in tidal pools

 

               the woman lying in a field in Bourgogne                 inhaling stars

 

before hitchhiking on to Florence   love waiting       counting on stars

 

                        to guide her up            into a Himalayan night           as the moon

 

summits Everest         slips into China.         

 

                                                                        time backbends   stretches

 

            a yogi              centering to nothingness                    

 

 

before exploding—

 

                        a burning starry universe                   

 

 

from my celestial perch

 

            I see     myself             raise     my son’s finger

 

                                                to trace the big dipper   little dipper

 

                                    drizzling 

 

                                                honey onto this         

 

                                                            and every night.

 

 

 

 

A Clean Kitchen

 

 

Sometimes I worry that the world’s got a cold heart. Will it ice over like food left too long in my freezer, little crusts of frost growing fungus under the Tupperware lids? My freezer needs to be cleaned & by that I mean the refrigerator must be cleaned, everything pulled out, shelves wiped & by that I mean the kitchen too, oven, range, cabinets & by that I mean the whole fucking house & the raised beds in the garden need to be planted & the house & the garden where I write at my desk with the dog’s dirt & fur curled around my bare toes & the hum of the refrigerator reminding me it wants to be cleaned. I just read a poem from a poet that wants a clean heart, but I want a clean kitchen & a clean poem & frost-free heart.

 

 

Single Handed

 

 

Hold steady

 

Ease into the wind

 

I remember my father’s

 

Directive—hold a firm tiller

 

into the wind, sails luffing.

 

 

 

Sail in, come up, catch the wind’s

 

edge. I know to ride its strong thrust,

 

anger seething along a straining seam

 

blowing apart, when to fall

 

off, let the wind

 

rage on past. To need

 

no one, to sail solo.

 

 

 

 

How It Ends

 

           

 

 

 

I think of you. I see our road,

 

pavement worn, an elephant hide

 

 

 

smudged, yellow line dividing

 

our coming and going; you,

 

 

 

like the furred grass, shoulders edging

 

down the sloping hill

 

 

 

to the stone beach. Now I hear the gulls

 

swooping into the sea.

 

 

 

I’ve walked beneath the moon’s slice

 

until the jagged glass under

 

 

 

my skin polished sea smooth. You are

 

my blue washed days.

 

 

 

We untangle our garden

 

exhale persimmon sun.

 

 

 

the Orcas breach.

 

 

 

 

In the woods behind our home

 

a massive hornet’s nest, emptied.

 

 

 

A gossamer paper lantern, we

 

light a candle, send it burning

 

 

 

into the night. Ah, the hopes of hornets,

 

you and me.  The road ends here.

 

 

 

 

Give a Girl Chaos

Selection of poems from Give a Girl Chaos.

 

 

 

 

 

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