Chris Smither, singing my mood.



Will you take me to sing the stars?

we will lie down

on the bosom of the earth

and forget ourselves there

we will  sing and gaze

until our souls rise up

until we can scarcely remember

that we have bodies down there

flesh and bone to bring us back

and make us human again


will you teach me the words?

I’m afraid I never learned them

I am shamefully mute

but I have the melody

pulsing in my heart

I think I could learn

if you helped just a little


will you hold my hands?

don’t let go

I sometimes get lost

in the mist

I need you to hold me tight

and guide me down

when the singing is done

Citrus Eaters

“He DIDN’T!”  She gasps and her bony fingers fly up to her mouth, stopping it up.  Stuffing back the surprise.  “Oh honey, he sure DID!  Nekkid as a jay bird he was!  Just as nekkid as a little bitty baby!” The two of them sit together on the porch swing, all gaunt and angles, huddled together with foreheads nearly touching, as if the proximity of their scalps one to the other could convey the gossip like an electric charge through two nodes.  “Oh my gracious.  I suppose it’s just a matter of time before they send him off, too.  They just can’t even be bothered to care for him n’more.  ‘Specially when he keeps on a tearin’ off his britches and fetchin’ off like that.  Mercy, mercy.  Poor ol’ Gussy.”   They both have tender little oranges cradled between knobby knees, peeling with fingers just as dry and brittle as a chicken bone, the skins falling into fragrant little heaps in the scoop of their laps.  “Sweetheart, save these an’ put ’em in with yer niester wares.  I do and when I open my drawer to take out my unders, it smells just like a sunny day in Florida.”  Two heads bob with contentment as the oranges are pried apart and gummed zestily down.  “Got some drips on yer chin, Glory.  Catch ’em.” 

“Look at them.  I just don’t KNOW what to do!”  The matronly daughters of our two citrus eaters peek out the front room window, watching as Mama’s do little babies.  “Oh, my.  I know.  I know.  I think it’s time to start thinking about sending Mama Glory to the home.  Do you know that I keep finding ORANGE PEELS mixed up in her unmentionables?!?  Can you just imagine?”  Fingers fly up to stuff back the surprise.  “She isn’t!” “Honey, she sure is.”


where are you now?

I want to wrap my arms around you
from behind
and press my cheek to your back

I want to kiss you there and tell you
how much I love you softly
so only your heart can hear

I want to smell you
and feel the hush hush of your breath
as you sleep

where are you now?
when will you come to me?
I am waiting

Poetic Lies

it looks so noble
the fluid grasping of words
and emotion

there is something of the mystic
in the poet

the lookers on
and envy
just a little

ignorance is bliss

the truth is
those words
were carved from the heart

the still thrumming heart

of that envied creature
and what goes on behind closed doors
is the feverish scrubbing
of hemorrhage

who is so smart
that cuts his heart to bits
and puts them on display?


stand over the edge
tipped forward
as far as you dare
eyes closed
smell it billowing up
cool and musty
rotten earth
it’s a chill that wraps around
and goes bone deep
in the nicest way
a sort of arctic caress
that is just right
for curing
that feverish ache
that sometimes comes with living
you’ll feel lighter somehow
your burdens won’t feel so heavy
try running
try dancing
try jumping for joy
see how much easier?
you should appreciate
these glimpses forward
when the time comes
you won’t be afraid to leap

Now I Am She

It’s supposed to get easier

as time goes by

this living thing

this getting on

this passing of time

I have always fought it

it is the only way I know


from the first wrenching breath

that tore tender lungs

the gulping down of tubes

the beeping

and pricking

mechanical start

the woman who nursed me at her breast

stared down at me with cold eyes

there was no warmth for me there

so I shivered my way



stumbling through my baby years

no tender murmurs

only the sting of smack

on nursling lips

the tug of needy hands

on Mama’s skirt

sternly yanked away

I was wretched

and alone


the desperate hunger

that comes from long denial

of the most basic


love me

love me

oh love me


shining out from eyes

too sweet

satisfaction to you

who stole that gentle bit

from my soul


I managed it

I did

I grew up and

here I am                     

now I have chubby hands

tugging my own skirt


love me

love me

oh love me


and it only gets harder

I only fight harder

it’s all I know

I suppose