Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Verse in Quatrains: WATER/DIRT/ROOTS/SUN

WATER / DIRT / ROOTS / SUN

My father says, "To grow, one needs water,
Soil and light." And so I plant myself in dirt,
Expectant, although I have no roots
And I know he meant greener flora. But maybe with some sun,

I, too, could grow to reach the clouds, drink water
Through my feet, and eat soft dirt,
Poised to settle and spread my roots
Deep into the tender earth. Maybe with some sun,

My complexion will burst into freckled smiles. Water
Sits in the jar before me, lonesome without dirt,
Cold and unfeeling. I delicately slip the roots
Of the young offshoot in first, suspending it in sun:

Tendrils of fiber float in the endless space of water,
Endless room for growing. Marveling as it grows without dirt,
I forget what it is my father once said. The plant's roots
Strengthen, thicken, suspended, unrooted, seek no sun

On my coffee table, turn up their nose at anything but water.
I grip the finger length rod by its neck, easy to move without dirt,
And examine each day the improvement in roots.
It grows with no end, settling against peeks of sun

And smooth, round glass. I always let it fall back in its bed, the water,
But one Monday, I thought it was time for dirt.
I think I felt what my mother once felt, releasing my roots
For good to roam alone. I planted it in deep sun,

As gently as I could, hoping it could grow with more than water.
Each day I watch my child, stunted with dirt,
Confused, and I wonder if my mother felt this pain. Roots
Obscured by soil, I cannot monitor my child, and only see sun-

Burnt leaves.

Justine Bienkowski

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free Verse: Gorka

Gorka
A Wedding Tango in Three Parts

1.
When all Spring's flowers have sunk to the ground,
sweating, as old, fat ladies do in summer,
it is the time for pretense.
The mother, old, wrinkled, but proud
will remember her wedding day so full of joy.
She will hope, as everybody does,
that this marriage will not end in shame.
An old lioness, the mother will stay tight-lipped
about nights of anonymous passion.
But remembering, remembering, remembering.

2.
The bride, done up in lying white,
is prettier today than she will ever be again,
but she does not think of this now.
Guests crowd the happy couple, chanting,
"Gorka!
Gorka!"
The crowd remembers the bitter taste of life,
and hopes that in these few hours
a blissful forgetfulness may settle
as the couples kisses on cue.

3.
What does the mother think,
as she spins around and around
in the arms of her husband,
entwined like a double helix,
mirroring their double helix gift?
Does she want to tell her daughter
of the affairs? Or does she stay silent?
Does she scream,
"Gorka!
Gorka!"

Justine Bienkowski

Free Verse: Sickness

Sickness

It lives down the hallway,
in the moist crevices of stairs and lilted wood.
Breathing cold, summer air,
I find myself again in a couch's arms,
held close by musky years, not hands.

The wood peels slowly away from the door,
opens beneath my questions--
complaining of humidity.
The weight of the ceiling cushions me
in an unsettled nest as I quietly listen to your retching.

Maybe tomorrow I'll touch sandy shores,
maybe I will breathe mountain air.
Your face is pressed tight against
wrinkles, reflecting pillows,
your itchy nose twitching.

Where do you go in your dreams?

I cannot read your mind, but I wish
that next time you'd take me with you.
For now, I'll stumble in darkness,
hoping my clumsy moves wake you
to bring you home.

Justine Bienkowski