Friday, February 8, 2013


the women again

women, then, don't wear some things:
angry faces on their wrists, on tiny
jewelled bones of jewel-like wrists.
they turn in their seasons like suns,
like rusted ferrous jewels, unused
to the motions of their angular men.
having novels written about them,
women conceive of conceiving, then,
in a kind of angular retaliation
or dedication, some of their fantasy
becomes children, which solves time.
they shine and spawn crustal faces,
hours sun-full, clear-cut as sundials.


at big sur 
 for R.

downcenter into your eye
swimming past the green
into the well of black
i catch a glimpse of you
something beautiful there
glinting moving as if seen
through water through sun
where the shade leaf falls



for Iris Mac Low

the woman bends with majesty:
move the sweeter beast I am;
when a baby wants, it will come,
regardless of my plan.
that I result calm or numb
makes it November, not June.
but notice our incurred frailty:
if I am honed to dignity
by you, I am part of all.
when the baby wants to be,
it will be, summer or fall.
nothing I say, beast or beauty,
strong, mars it. changes.
it happens as the heart arranges.



the hunchbacked woman:
clad in bright silk.
her hair shining near
her lover's cheek.

if the flawed flower has
fine perfume and true
color, it pleases the
senses. she knows this.

what is between them,
their legs, has contentment.
perhaps the color of
her silk, her silken hair.



to Eileen Kaufman

i say woman can
sense woman.
anguish, where are you.
in a dream, you walked
up a stair, while you
sat next to me
in a mexican atrium.
she flew in for the day
and was surprised to
find you,
the way you look.
she had your face.
as i watched you all.
the you next to me
was thinnest: too thin.
it made me weep,
all of it,
             but mostly
her exclamation
on seeing you again.
write to me,
                    tell me
my dear, how you are,
have you been
taking care of yourself?



i stand before you
to represent all of the women
you have ever hated

your mother who
whipped the shit out of you
your aunt who
kibitzed the life out of your life
the girl who didn't
or wouldn't    or couldn't    but didn't
etc      etc      etc

what chance have i got
unless you consider
that you stand before me too



for Alice Faye

Watch yourself move (lighter
than air, than celluloid)
across the past, across
those Silver Screens to now.
How you shone, and shine yet!
My time as woman reaches in-
to those dimensions, I can
remember you as you were
when I too was air-light.
My child sleeps nearby.
The child I was, still am,
sleeps or wakes within me.
In the gentle ruin you are,
does the air-light lady live?
Perspective; you sparkle out
softly, memories, wistful-
faced, an artificial form
lovelier than speech, than
old farm grandmother types
or simply different, by
choice. The choice I know.



or any man who has written your name
and is left then shaking and naked
before the pain of the lovely humans.
Here is broad sunlight, to indicate
there are wills as strong as mine
which cause animals to reach upward
toward whatever makes them learn.

A weak man with the soul of a demon
has just called me on the telephone
when I thought it might be your voice.
The icicles melt and new leaves form
while I tell him I am not interested
in his busy affairs. Three friends
who are larger than his whole house
are dying of their stay on earth
without being able to send messages
the whole problem rending them alive
in a slow tortuous process I watch.

And many more of us have gone on.
When a 'lady' puts down 'gossiping'
I say it is just the human condition
from which not one of us is exempt
and that she might consider growing
a philosophy which understands that.
She moves thickly in rooms near here
wishing all her rooms were larger
and it is true: if you wish rooms
larger, then they are indeed small.

I am surrounded by my sweet comforts
the flesh of children animals friends
and still the rooms ripple and quake
when I consider your name and absence
and that you walk on earth somewhere
or sit at your desk even as I sit
or lie alone abed wishing for love
and forming your stony philosophies
from the leaves which melt from ice.

The only thing I can do is continue
in a semi-calm that assumes answers:
the children are almost as tall now
as when I thought I knew everything
and some day all this will become
their land of the elegant questions.
What will remain will be the stream
moving with dignity past my window.
And even that is changing constantly.



Carol Bergé
From a Soft Angle:
(Bobbs-Merrill 1971)