DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Friday, April 13, 2007



We come whirling down
like lopsided angels, each of us
a riddle on the family tree.

All our Sunday faces
are strangers to a mother
who cannot remember

the hour of our singular births.
I know we must not show her
how many hearts beat under our ribs

or she will wrinkle
and burn away.
Your computer cannot integrate

our baby parts
with its thin blue lines
or its darting cursor

sewing all night
with a long string from belly to mouth.
Each of me is a basket

filled with bedsheets
& bone flakes
& inkwells.


She is three-in-one
A sort of trinity
Observe the three of her
That live here sometime
Sprouting like mushrooms
From a damp cave floor
Innocuous most of them
Most of the time

Fleshy umbrellas
Wild or edible or deadly
These are the two
She calls sister
Thrusting the silver rootlets
Of their lives
Into her body
She would gather them
With her fingers
Long knives
A harvest to be canned
Frozen or dried
Or squeeze them until they burst
Like puffs of smoke

The three of her
Feels everything
Pick one
Eat her with meat
While she is fresh
Before her babies come

She thinks she is real
Steps among the luscious caps
Carefully not to crush
The wild flesh of her
The edible flesh
The poisonous flesh

What are they doing for lunch
Stuff the three of her
Into your brown bag
Tell her to fuck off
Swallow her cold


Janus had but two heads
For God's sake

And I have three--
One wood, one salt, one fire
Making demands, giving orders

Fire tells wood how to die with grace:
Stretch out under my red hands
Spit out your black widows

Grow daisies.
Salt tells fire:

I will smother you with crystal hands
Stop your red mouth
Ears, throat and belly with my white rocks.

When I come down
One of us is left.
She is not me. She will dissolve

And leak out with my tears, sweat, and menses
She will not get old
She will never see our skulls.

photo (c)2002 Distinctly France


At 3:49 PM, bb said...

This is rather intriguing!

*What are they doing for lunch
Stuff the three of her
Into your brown bag
Tell her to fuck off
Swallow her cold*

It quite reminds me of Theodore Roethke.

At 11:29 PM, Dana said...

So I had to print this out so I could read it again. It is so fascinating. I love the imagery in it, its mystery.

At 6:54 AM, pepektheassassin said...

Thanks, people!

At 11:10 AM, AnnieElf said...

Hi Pepek. Pretty mushrooms. Makes me think of Fantasia. Did you take this picture?

So - I'm curious. Why did you think I was in Ireland? I'd love to be there but I'm just at home in good old California. **sigh**

At 1:43 PM, AnnieElf said...

Hi again. Got your explanation comment and that certainly explains it. I'm clueless about sitemeter so you are ahead of me. LOL Still wish I was in Ireland.

At 1:07 AM, chiefbiscuit said...

That's fantastic stuff there!

At 10:54 PM, RavenGrrl said...

I, too am printing this out for bedtime reading. Your poem has so many layers, depth, mystery. Your voice comes through loud and clear, too. I love your poems!

At 7:46 PM, Dana said...

So I've read this several times now, and I think it's damn brilliant.

At 9:50 PM, pepektheassassin said...

Thanks again. Nice to know you like it!

Site Meter


maureen said...

came back.
had to.
your words strike even deeper, richer than when i first read this piece.

i love (make that LOVE) this line:

Each of me is a basket

filled with bedsheets
& bone flakes
& inkwells.

GreenishLady said...

Joyce, Not sure you're checking comments here, so long after posting the poem, but I don't see an email link in your profile. I am struck by similar tracings in your Triptych and mine, and actually went back to check WHEN had I written it (October 2006), because I wondered had I soaked in certain phrases and structurings. (No, it seems we just both happened to use them in poems of this title! Wierd!)

I love the atmosphere and tone of this entire piece. Thanks for pointing me in its direction. I will be reading it quite a few times. It is so rich and mysterious.

About Me

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1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.