nothing quickly chasing me

swirling lava holy water

smoke eyes turn off

don’t look down up 

or to the sides

don’t look in the heart

or speak to the breeze

hear for beats of far off drum 

they’re marching inching to the end

maybe for the best

drips drops of pain

pictures of her

inside of him

innocent perhaps

but i’ll never know the truth

so yesterday was i

but understood

i promise you

the wider my smile 

the stronger the pain

of where i think i see this going

edged cliff here i go

nothing quickly chasing me

dying calla lilies

quiet night traffic far away
every now and then a pup yelps
a wayward bird sings outside my bedroom tree
on book table black pressed wood
furniture of wayward youth
thrift store jar where my heart lives
a pair of dying calla lilies
representatives of shifts in life
into a phone i type feelings that should have been spoken many years ago
supple tender gentle were my hands
reaching up to the hearts of men
and discovered as i pulled back empty bleeding stumps that they had no love to give me

mbrazfield (c) 2021

north beach

i dreaming on the couch
will meet you at Jack’s alley
doo wop were the days
when you let the voices out of their cage a movement of freedom
within the confines of infinite youth
all are welcome and there you go
climbing up the stair to heaven
on steps of words one atop another
city light bay we the beat and stray
hipster pharaoh usher to the generation drunk in experimental experience at night morning sober in stark madness
busses flowers LSD plus the three
i’ll wait in tenderloin scribbling
hieroglyphs on chewing gum wrappers catching whispers in the wind with flowers in my hair
paper cuts betwixt the webs of my hands
snap the jazz between the streets
my shoe untied my notebook knowing
that smile i do when missing you

RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti

quilt my American confession

i have nothing left for tomorrow everything is almost gone inside of my head

i am overwhelmed overtaken

i am just one person

i am struggling with this quilt that i have stitched over an entire lifetime

my fabric squares each a segment and time a lesson a book a song a smile anything shiny anything dull

i stare at my quilt

today it looks tattered

i see a little blood stain

i see big pools of blood

in my eastern squares where a lot of intersectionality began

i see struggle little wrinkles threads pulled to the side giving way

old old cotton that has traversed the generations

to the west of my quilt i see trails like the topography maps

blood gold hard labor fires metal beasts

i see part of the world coming together

a tic tac toe board the X’s over the O’s over here

the powerful always on top drawing the line over whoever they feel like

tonight i’ve turned off the volume on my tv set

i click from channel to channel and in my head i make up stories

i make up narratives  and conversations for those people on the screen

those who are better than me

have spilled a lot of bleach a lot of indigo a lot of oil

a lot of grease a lot of dirt a lot of bills a lot of vomit a lot of shit

onto my quilt

i don’t know how i can keep myself warm or cold or hot

i don’t know how to press buttons day in and day out and wait to be told what to do

i have lost my needles in a haystack in the world ran by wires

i don’t know where i am most of the time

i try to hang on and i look at the trees and they have branches and leaves

i tried to examine how the leaf stem sticks to the tree

i try to articulate argue examine breakdown pull together any instinct

of how the tree and its leaves stay together

i don’t know anymore

when i look at butterflies or hummingbirds they look gray

when i look at the grass or the flowers they looks black

when i look at my hands or my face it looks red

when i look at my feet and my veins they look blue

when i pass through my doorway every night i’m alone

i feel like my quilt squares are falling to the floor

while doing the laundry i meet my neighbor

she’s covered i’m covered but we’re both naked

our quilts in our baskets all have the same snags the same wear and tear

i a professional i a quiet person she a mother she a beautiful hard worker

yet our quilts make us sisters

her quilt is jagged my quilt is jagged

we look at each other but we’re really detached

we are left there for all the civilizations to see

for all the viciousness to scratch at

and we look down and we say excuse me

after i take my quilt from the washer i bring it back home

it looks the same as i seek for solace looking at my corners of the ceiling

wondering when the cobwebs might come in again

it’s so dull with no life no little creatures to give me purpose

no little creatures to cup in my hand or cup in a cup

to put outside so that i can smell some kind of air

i returned to my tv screen and turned up the volume

and there are hundreds of different colors different words and different weapons

different levels of hatred and anger and selfishness

i look to see in a crowd

in the sea

wired humanity where the unpluggables are

where my tribe is not on any one side of an aisle

i will not be on any side for any style

i am who i am

i turn away and pick up my quilt with its little squares

i remember fondly when i was four and a fried chicken drumstick hit the bee and flower square

and left a permanent shortening mark

then i look up toward the middle of my quilt

a Bohemian style square i see where there was a cigarette mark left by an old boyfriend

on the other side of the quilt with the tasseled square with cuts in it where i hid my money when i was 12

to run away because life was too hard

little did i know what i know now

toward the left side of my quilt there’s a blue velvet square

in the middle bleach marks from days lost to Neil Y’s needles

then toward the top the darker squares with the solid bold yellow flowers

that’s where most of the cotton stuffing is

hand stitches coming apart exposing nothing

i think of my neighbor and how we both looked down

to me she’s my neighbor a woman

to me she is somebody she is a life

i look pass the cemetery skyline and i can see all of the headstones

flower vases peppering the hillside

those were people alive one time or the other

zigzagging in and out of my own life

i wonder what their smiles looked like

i wonder what their voice sounded like

abruptly my meditation cut by a police siren

another fight somewhere down the road

i draw myself back on the tv screen

orange men

white men

brown men

black men

pink men

red men

yellow men

all kinds of men

all kinds of women

everyone just as righteous as the other one

do they see me

do they see my neighbor

do they see her children

do they see her pets

do they see the babies in the neighborhood

do they hear their cries

do they see their daddies as they comeback midday because they lost their jobs

do they see their mommies trying to type on swipe screen buttons

asking for help to feed the family

do they see the old man

do they see the old woman

can they hear what they’ve experienced

what’s going on in Chattanooga

what’s going on in Beijing

what’s going on in Australia

what’s going on in Anaheim San Antonio New York or Canada

what’s going on in the Middle East

what’s going on i wonder

i stop as my voice cracks and quivers

when i lay down and close my eyes

i relish the knot in my throat the hot tears sliding down my eyes

as imperfect as i am as imperfect as i have been defined to be

by the powers who were and those to come

i can still see the humanity

and i can find hundreds of thousands just like me

take it like a man

sky weeping like widow
breeze cold dead man bones
the mirror of wilted flowers in my eye
piano and Adele my lips shut
breath held tight
her song did puncture
the pus filled soul in me
a mallet made of wings
swung across a street
it struck me in the heart
had that ambush ne’er happened
i would have never known
i was woman
for all the times
i had to take it like a man
to bow my head or look away
the lost glamorous stare
the sinking laugh
into the nothing
you said your mother would have liked me
but you never were in love
a convenience fuck i solely was

first tree in the palace

i believe it was last night or possibly the night before last
i don’t know it’s been about 53 hours off and on insomnia
watching news programs
no music
no music for about a week
feeling very tired
Christmas 2020 is upon us
i miss the world
i’m not sure what’s going on
i stepped outside
i saw the faces
covered muzzled no joy in their eyes
and i live among peoples who are very jubilant
my heart sank
last night or possibly the night before
the sickness came
cold sweat
tears
headache
heart jumping out of throat
fear irrational dark squeezing fear
i thought i had been dreaming about Queen Victoria and that first tree in the palace
i thought i felt the snow from Utah
i thought i smelled the stench from downtown
i thought i saw the lights from my Christmas tree go out
then i thought i saw Mary Magdalene touching my menorah
putting out its lights
when i was able to gather my soul and stuff it back down my throat
i sat at the edge of the bed
my cats trembling in the closet
looking at me 6 big bright eyes the Pleiades
i thought and i smiled
i went into the restroom washed my face with cold cold water
fingers shaking causing tiny little droplets to congregate around the bathroom sink surrounded by bottles of hygiene
there was no wind
there was no noise
unseasonable quiet
every other home that i saw through my window dark
no laughter of children
no blow up snowman
no nothing
not even a lonely bug or a spider
i imagined
i really should try to rest
i really should try to stop watching the news
i really should just stop and catch my breath
i was watching The History Channel the other day
they had a Bible soap opera and Jesus was very glamorous all of the Persians
wear eyeliner it looked very chic
then i thought about Bukowski’s  Dinosauria, We poem
i think he was a prophet
that drunken old fool
i’m sending you hugs and kisses Buk
i think sometimes i think too much
but nothing worth a sigh
nothing worth anything at all
i will relax
i tell myself
i will relax
i will pour myself a tall glass of black coffee  pour molasses very slowly
i shall stir
i shall not want cigarettes
i shall not desire a little drink 
i shall not touch any needles
i’ve been so very good
i’ve been so very good
yes i remember now it was last night
it was full of terror
good thing about this dream
was that i could not hear myself scream
i wouldn’t want to cause any problems
i wouldn’t want to scare anyone
cold cold sweat
cold cold hands
cold cold brow
i smile today at the bouquets of sunflowers 
i thought about Vincent van Gogh
how would he wear a face mask
the poor devil only had one ear
these are the thoughts
that pushed the other thoughts
but i don’t want to think about it
i walk through the grocery store aisles
looking for noodles
looking for broccoli and brussel sprouts
my favorite
i passed on the candy bars
no good i say
i pay and i get into my car
for a short but silent drive home
i climb up the stairs
very carefully this time
i open the door and then
i’m in a desert
i could feel the heat radiating on my
cold cold brow
i look around
i’m no longer wearing any clothes
instead i wear a coat of serpents
i can feel my arms flailing
hoping to cast them off
i try to wake up
i try to leave the desert
during my morning coffee
i recall what had happened
i look in my refrigerator
there are no brussel sprouts
there was no Coca-Cola zero
no broccolini
but i thought about going for a walk instead needless to say i didn’t make it out the door again today
instead i tied ribbons on my Christmas tree
i have to say i  like Victoria’s style