Eve’s Omen

“Because there never was an apple,
in Adam’s opinion,
that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.”

Because isn’t it a woman’s folly?
to recognize knowledge and vulnerability;
we know how our bodies live in danger,
how they live despite it.

But Eve never had to take a bite
to know her own nakedness
and shame.
She just wanted to show Adam:

“see? this is what the world looks like,
it is not beautiful and soft
it is a man’s rib-world
bleached bone-white
sharp and hard-edged–

And I was still bloody
when you removed me
from your side

So I listened to the serpent
that your man-God
put in front of me;

And it makes you believe
that women are serpents, too.”

Women are serpents, too.

Because we were not made of a backbone
(and this is not to say we have no spine),
We were made from ribcage
we were made from a heart’s place.

So we ate the apple,
we ate the heart
that God hung up in that tree

and it was worth the trouble
if only so you could see–

There will always be an apple worth eating,
if only you ask Eve.

Beginning quote from Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Photo taken by the poet, Maxine Peseke, in October 2022, shortly after the poem was originally drafted.

All of us animals

After the birthing of the calf,

I wanted to hold her four-legged 

tipsy body in my arms, then 

leash her to me for what 

could be twenty years of life

rather than two or three

on a commercial farm. I wanted

to keep her with me so she would 

avoid all of the unsayable things 

we plot against cows.

Even before the calf’s mother 

sang in the pain of labor, 

even before the mother cow 

marveled at her own image 

in her new baby, both of their lives 

were set for human needs.

What I really want to say is this:

there are some animals we care for 

and some we do not. Of course, 

I include humans in this word animal.

Perhaps there is a way to see each other 

with love in all of us, in our eyes, in our fur, 

in our hides, in our muzzles, on our hooves, 

watching the sky and Earth, smelling 

the air for the coming winter.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Masterpiece

Katrina Kaye

You are

a winter’s day,

the mist of breath as I
laugh in the cold,

the cracked footprints
fading in snow.

You are

a river trail,

the stretch of limbs from 
cottonwoods that canopy the sky,

the bare branches that streak
shadows under the winter’s sun.

the soft brown earth of the path
which leads me from wild to home.

You are

velvet embrace,

the softest of caresses
against cheek and jawline,

a secret in my ear,
a kiss on temple.

A gentle hand stirring the
small of my back.

a sweet invitation to stay in your arms
and lingered in your constant gaze.

You are

a peacefulness I didn’t know
was possible.

a home I didn’t know
was needed,

a treasure I never dreamed
was deserved.

A masterpiece,

that magnificent and that simple.

Look at the sky

poem and photo by @musings_by_gina

January 01, 2023 | Sunset

“Look at the sky / It’s the colour of love…” ~Sade

Setting in firecracker fashion, she bursts wide. Orange glow burns—life is her philosophy since time first wandered over desert seas like an eagle soars looking for prey. Sun’s watchful eye sees New Year’s Joy for some. Heartache for others. Hear the saxophone blues play one note at a time.

Mule

Katrina Kaye

I am mule.

My bay, an obnoxious yap
from graying muzzle,
as I move from under master’s whip.

My velvet ears twitch
with distrust for the acts of man.

I will not be owned
and have grown impatient
with the repeated deeds of
those who claim to know what’s best,

so I become obstinate
with mud to my knees
rebelling by standing still,
immovable in open stall
despite the whistle on the wind.

I want only a gentle hand, but deny
those offered me as though
their compassion was insult or pity.

No longer do I hold plough forward,
but I long to safeguard the moments
as they are gifted: one sunset, one thoughtful word,
one cube of sugar, one kindness at a time.

Surely, this perseverance
will lead me to dry pastures where only
the occasional fly distracts from
solitude and peace.

Becoming

-Gina

I marvel at these old cottonwoods
Some with gold and brown leaves
Few still with green
Branches misshapen
Broken
Scorched
Age has only made this Bosque
More engrossed, tangled, wise
Small shoots regrow, becoming
Reaching for bird and sun

I cannot filter the trees into perfection
I can only wonder at their time in history
The chipmunks and squirrels who have
Made their home in the hollows
Of these old tree bones
Worn with time

My feet walk the path unseen
Comforted by this space in nature
This Bosque along the timeless Rio Grande
I stop to feel the grooves of a downed tree
I too am as worn
Wrinkled
An age spot on my right cheek
Gray hairs have rooted
I am fortunate to have reached this age
Still standing
Still becoming
Reaching for bird and sun

(C) 2022


Photo by my daughter, M.J.M. | “Becoming” | Taken in the Bosque

When you lose a city

it’s not just buildings and bars,

coffee shops and theaters,

it’s a realm of memories, 

of interactions and greetings,

a changing out of rivers 

and how they relate to the land 

and to the sky. The loss 

is of voice and gesture, who you are 

in a place, a hum of who you once 

were, of what you still cling to. 

It’s a walk down a street 

you once knew, but that doesn’t 

seem to remember you now, 

a new pizza parlor, a boarded-up 

building, that catch-up period 

between friends who haven’t 

seen each other in a long time 

that begins with a question 

about who you are now when 

you’re not exactly sure of the answer 

in this place anymore. It’s your heart 

in your feet, holding steady 

to two worlds, one you knew once 

before the losing, and one now.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Everyone has a Summer

Katrina Kaye

Mine involved boys and alcohol,
late nights, loud music and bonfires,
a little red dress I bought on sale.

I balanced on platform shoes,
etched black eyeliner around lashes,
eager to be a little more than what I was.

I used to smoke cigarettes.
It was an excuse to make
eye contact, slip away with someone,

discuss poetry — or was it
philosophy? — share a strawberry flavored
kiss, and whisper a secret or two.

There was a summer I danced
on a block at the Pulse nightclub
to Siouxsie and the Banshees

almost every Thursday night
in that little red dress with the open back
and side slit, neon light and billowing smoke.

Everyone has a summer,
but there is no reason to be dismayed
when the fall comes.

Even in autumn months,
a night or two may recapture me
to a place of little consequence.

There are still late nights
when I have a drink too many,
kiss the boys on the patio,

kiss the girls on the neck.
Smoke a cigarette from
the brand I quit years ago.

But then I watch myself in mirrors
shadowed with soot, see my city lie in dust,
wondering who else feels the chill in the air.

I’ve grown past the green of my prime,
and, although I wilt, there is a young woman
with a too loud laugh wearing a red dress

who still exists somewhere in the pit of me,
because giving in to the animal
until the sun rises can be so breathtaking.

 

More Trees Than Stars…

poem & photographs by Gina Marselle

What I love about birds

is that sometimes they travel alone on a Path

and sometimes

there’s a whole flock.

What I admire most about the bird–

it’s singular.

To survive:

  • food
  • water
  • shelter
  • hope.

Each morning he begins with his Song.

Sometimes only heard

inside the whisper of God’s tender breath.

By each evening,

the golden hour

comes flooding with light upon the earth.

More quiet than a bird of prey hunting.

Or a mother bird nestling before the night comes;

she hides her chicks and song from all to hear.

Perhaps, it is is I who is lonely,

perhaps, it is I who is depressed,

perhaps, it is me who fights–

it’s me without song,

without flight,

alone.

I envy the bird when he’s high above

floating between clouds and rays and stars.

Stillness on this earth as it moves around the sun.

Wind in my hair.

Stealing breath and time.

There are more fish than birds,

more trees than stars,

more tears than laughter,

more hope than despair.      

The Sunset in Black and White at USS Bullhead Park in Albuquerque, NM |(C) 10.13.2022
The Sunset in Color at USS Bullhead Park in Albuquerque, NM | (C) 10.13.2022

Did you know: “It may surprise you, but there are more trees on Earth than there are stars in the Milky Way. According to a study published in Nature there are about 3 trillion trees on our planet. This far outpaces the “measly” 100-400 billion stars estimated to exist in the Milky Way.”

https://spaceandbeyondbox.com/four-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-space/#:~:text=Trees%20outnumber%20the%20stars&text=It%20may%20surprise%20you%2C%20but,exist%20in%20the%20Milky%20Way.

If I were, I am

If I were a forest, I would breathe 

right now, while there’s still time.

I would spread my leaves 

like a lusting after sky. I’d reach 

my shapes, my shades of green 

and gray to blue and cloud, 

to light, to illumination, 

to all we dream this life to be.

If I was a river, I would call 

to snow down the shaded land, 

welcome it to my body, 

to my frontier of wet and quench. 

I would sing a hopeful melody 

into tunnel of tongue and throat.

If I was the earth of Earth, the soil, 

dirt, sand, or loam, I would sift 

through the air, fly whirlwinded

to river, to lake, to ocean. 

I’d be unafraid to take space, 

to move with the breeze. 

I would remember I too am nature 

and nature is of me, my body 

of water, the dusty dirt shedding 

of my skin bark is part of the song.

-Liza Wolff-Francis