Sunday, November 9, 2014

Donna Fleischer

Wind Drives the Rain

In your time there have been those who spoke clearly for the moment of lightning.
Muriel Rukeyser (Are You Born? Are You Born?)

Relentless, the wind. She drives in a night thunderstorm crying. It’s 1981. There are decisions to be made. People at work come to shake her hand, give secret thanks for taking a stand they secretly made but can’t afford to lose their jobs they have families.

She may lose her job being merely a human someone who carries an earthworm from sidewalk to earth, braves a recrimination, takes sides with the underdog. Her foreman stands by her side as she answers questions from the vice president. They reach consensus: when it’s her turn to work on the pornography magazines the Personnel Department will send her a telegram not to report to work, and she will not be paid.

She sees all points of view. Company afraid of a lawsuit; fundamentalists would think she’s doing it for g-d; a friend who owns a radical bookshop warns that she’s on a slippery slope with both feminists and Anita Bryant. A million angers.

Better to keep her own counsel. Without family or wealthy friends, no one to help with rent. She’d be blackballed in the industry if word got out. Remains quiet. Obeys the telegrams.

Two years later requests a shift change to accommodate her mother’s first shift job that keeps her going as she lives out the last year of her life with terminal cancer. Is told it can’t be done. She finds another job the next day.

Wind drives rain         desire
drives utterance      with the trees       
confession     some camaraderie

A moment of lightning bursts the tree to flame, a moment sung. Go to poem get torn apart,
learn to begin

open  hands –
a blue butterfly
dodges traffic



last night I visited her,
grandmother, fifty-two
years  dead    rushed to her
in her viridescent metal outdoor chair

no longer to stand
at the height of her lap,
can not make myself fit
those times I’d return home

with a hurt and a silence, and
she would go to her rocking chair and
wait    for me to come to
where we would not speak      but only move

as one




spiral  of

Chambered Nautilus pulling
its buoyant, gas-filled shell
upright on top of the coral sea


descending with day
into that unknowable,
its inside mother of pearl brighter



some leave their trees riding
minute sun-glazed thermals

as they fly through death becoming
i remember you through the cool chasms of alone

uninhabited office furniture in winternoon shade
and starlights on the pines

hermetic momentary passion plays
weaving in and out of sleeplessness

vulva of the cave
vascular pressure of memory


the old Boston Post Road

Riding North to Boston on a touring bicycle
must return home before nightfall

Fine weather to move along
seams of city streets, wharves, and ports.
Diatoms glitter in the harbor

America’s first revolution.
I pedal on memory, intuition, instinct

to find a friend who lives here
in a life made with her own hands
since the Stonewall Rebellion

Slowed by traffic. Surround sound truck horns,
car horns, fog horns, tugs,
these are the names

of the streets, these are the turns to get back home. Gulls dip
and cry. I smell the burnt wood of the USS Constitution, pass
spellbinding weathered piers, salt sea swells

By now twilight is not far off, I have not found her.
Pumping fast as I can, anxious, scared, try to conjure

that one critical road, between highway, bridge,
and wharf that I must take, but it’s drifted into
somewhere else

Kind people who think they know the way, don't.
I’m hungry. The handlebar turns to reins, reins to

kite strings. Confused and tired and still 
so many unknown roads up ahead. It was never about
getting there.

orange traffic cones forbid
yellow crime tape detours

gulls sweep out to a
gut-spilled sea


Sea Walk

dunes       incline      almost      motionless

sand flowing into sand into sky a
hot breeze a
sea rose by the snow fence    glimpsed    a
final pushpull up   to  
leeward winds     o  x  y  g  e  n   

the Atlantic  rolls      out
puckers    crashes    sucks  at   your feet

you walk for several easy miles through
seafoam, salt-stained fucus, fairly
large and occasional extracts

of driftwood       to dry a bathing suit
and a towel
in an hour

brain fired
by sun     mind
in tidal pools

a horizon      imbricates
confuses    terrain    

you finger each spherical mosaic
turn of glassy hexagons throwing
light into air     prismatic diatoms  that  glint  
through  froth their  skeletal deposits
shoreward  slosh    ankled in edges of brine guts
stranded horseshoe crab    helmeted warriors   longing
’til seaweeded waves    release      you

a dorsal fin out on the cold edged  water 

epinephrine      hook-gaze          oblivion

from mounting orbitals beneath

a wave    intangible rip current you
go with it

 © Donna Fleischer


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