Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Tall Tale And The Flying Wheat Tail

It was long, long ago when I sat on my father’s lap
to hear a bedtime story; one I’d heard night after night after night.
Father knew tales of a valiant lad who fought for his land’s glory,
or the mischievous doe, or the girl so fair—so

long was her hair, she used it to sweep the story.
But the sweetest to my ear was the one about a little horse.
And though I’d heard it many times before,
the ending was different each time it was told.

 “And once upon the time …” my father said,
with a rock and a pat, my head close to his heart,
“there was a little white horse with …”
“No Dad, the horse was yellow.” .

“So it was yellow and had a long … long … tail
and his name was … Yellow Horse.”

And as my father spoke, Yellow Horse, as real as
a story horse could be, came to me gently
gliding through the sky on a filmy cloud of smoke.
He was a tiny little horse with long feathery lashes and
eyes black as the night, blazing silver as the stars.
But his mane was not yellow at all.
It was the color of wheat: creamy and pale.
And so I gave him a new name: *Trigal!

I called him aloud. He turned to look at me,
and shook his mane as if having understood,
in as close to a horsy wave as he could.
He stood on his vaporous cloud
and his eyes beckoned me to come for a closer look.
He lowered his front legs inviting me to climb.
I held my legs fast around his body, bent forward,
and clung tightly to his neck—my face next to his mane.
“You smell like thyme,” I said politely.
Trigal stepped off the little cloud and began to gallop
with me on his back, holding fast—my eyes closed, laughing aloud!
He ran faster, faster, as I held on tighter and tighter—filling the silence with laughter.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, though I didn’t hear his voice.
“Did you speak, Trigal?” He didn’t respond.
My storybook horse sped across the meadow
splashing as he raced through the brook.
His mane tangled with petals—purple, red and yellow.
He was faster than lightening and soon, his long, long, tail
spread like feathery wings of wheat, and he began to fly.
We were way above the clouds, gliding gently through the sky.
“Do you like this?” He asked.
Again, I knew what he said, but never heard a sound.
“How do you speak, horsy? Why can’t I hear your voice?”
He slowly turned to face me, and when he looked into my eyes,
I saw my face reflected in his black, shiny gaze and knew
his thoughts—my thoughts to be one and the same.
“Where are we going, Trigal?”
“Somewhere left of the moon, and south of the morning star.”
“Is that very far?”
“No! We’re here in fact.”
And a riveting sight, it was! Castles made of chocolate,
trees laden with sugar puffs, bathtubs filled with cream,
hair ribbons made of fluff; children dancing in the street,
mothers singing soothing rhymes, lulling little ones to sleep.
It was the land of imagination, my horsy said.
“What do you fancy—how do you see yourself, lass?”
“I like to dance!” And no sooner said … just like magic,

I was dancing, twirling, pirouetting through the sky!
“Look at me. I can dance!”
But I stopped when I saw Trigal turning back.
He smiled at me and with his lashes, fanned a goodbye.
“Don’t leave me horsy, don’t … I want to go home!”
“You are home, silly girl, imagining your life.”
“No! I’m left of the moon, south of the morning star.”
“Well, that’s just where I found you: asleep on your father’s lap.”

* Trigal = Spanish for field of wheat.

Carmen Ruggero © 2010 – 2011 – 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Balcony Garden

I'm out on my balcony
killing time, counting stars.
Jasmine's in the air when suddenly
the sweet scent of vanilla brings back
a different time, a different garden, a different moon.

You were there,
and vanilla-scented whiffs of smoke
still rattle my mind.

It was so very peaceful,
but then winter came
and rendered the garden barren.

And you were gone.

Perhaps my fault,
perhaps yours.
Who knows, who even cares anymore?

And here goes yet another summer.
My balcony garden is nice,
not the same, just fine.

And I dream about how things used to be,
though dreams have faded and you along with them.

I've almost forgotten your face,
yet the scent of jasmine still haunts me,
along with memories of sultry summer nights
and vanilla-scented whiffs of smoke.

Memories fade into pictures of memories.
And yet they live again on a soft summer breeze.
Carmen Ruggero@2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dancing in The Rain

I’ve seen blue skies turn charcoal gray,
heard thunder blast
for miles and miles on end,
and frail leaves…
I’ve seen them spin to the rising wind.

Rain… oh rain… oh rain…
nothing but liquid music, I say.
Hear it ripple, see wee droplets dance on the cobblestones.

A mist as dense as the walls of hell
steals away the warm shades of autumn
with a sharp metallic hue
and I close my eyes.

When thunder roars, turning day to night,
I dance, I dance, and dance in the rain
like an old fool, mad little poet
still searching for the other side of doom.

Carmen Ruggero ©2012

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Give Thanks

I give thanks when times are hard;
simply because they made me strong.
I’m grateful for the lean times
that taught me to be a giver,
loneliness helped me be a better friend.

And I don’t fall or break when in pain,
No! I give thanks for the joy I feel now and then.
I am grateful for the nourishing rain,
for the bitter winter that leads into spring,
and when the storm is over,
I thank Him twice for gifting me with a clear understanding
of things that come my way from time to time.

Carmen Ruggero@ 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

That Gaudy Red Hat

By Carmen Ruggero

I see you standing by the door.
The scene replays itself, mauling my mind
with permeable impressions of
no enduring value, except to me.
I hold on to the acrid bite of anger,
that pinch of rancor
that keeps me from feeling numb.
I see you parting your lips, tossing
mutant words inside your mouth,
excuses I don’t want to hear.
Feeble arguments … she’s your soul mate,
and so you need a fresh start.
But what do I do
when my life hangs on the balance
of an unfinished story, blank pages,
and ethereal dreams.
I get angry -- it feeds me.
It wakes me up, and puts me to sleep.
I see you standing by the door,
and I slam it in your face.
Words still trying to escape your mouth,
bounce and jump and seep between your teeth,
but I can’t hear them. I slam the door again,
and again, because I’m angry,
and big, and six foot tall!
I head for the bath --
got to wash your scent off my skin.
Take the scissors to my hair
just cause you liked it so,
and watch it fall around my feet,
a discarded memory of your touch
I can still feel, sometimes.
I drop my towel -- I’m really five-foot three,
and a hundred and ten soaking wet.
I think about black silk, and start to get gloomy,
so I lean on my anger
and reach for my holy flannels, instead.
I look in the mirror; my hair is a bloody mess …
I hide it under that gaudy red hat
you once gave me,
sit on the edge of my bed, light a cigarette,
watch my thoughts meander through the smoke,
peter out, and fade into the walls.
I feel a prayer coming on … maybe not,
I’m angry, ugly, hairy, and unwanted,
but feel a lot better about the whole damned thing.

@Carmen Ruggero2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evening Rhymes

Rima XX(20)

”¿Que es poesía? dices mientras clavas
en mi pupila tu pupila azul.
¡Que es poesía! Y tu me lo preguntas?
Poesía… eres tú.” – Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

What is poetry? you say, as you fix
your gaze on mine.
What is poetry! And you need ask?
Poetry… is you. – Translation by Carmen Ruggero

With thanks to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Evening Rhymes

by Carmen Ruggero

What is it you’ll remember? you asked.
Will it be the ginger sky at sundown?
Or the scent of rosemary we basked
as twilight flew in purple wings, and drowned

the world surrounding you and I? You smiled:
The way I gaze into your gentle eyes,
and question: am I by your charm beguiled?
So much, my passion, I could never guise?

We’ll remember this ginger sky, I said,
when winter calls. We’ll hear the whispered rhymes,
on evening walks, our verse, a moonlit kiss;
this moment -- we’ll recall it all through time.

Our poesy, our truth divine and bright,
a sepia vision of a moony night.

Carmen Ruggero @2004 & 2005 &2011

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coming to Terms / Aceptando la Realidad

Coming to Terms

The road was steep and narrow –
not an easy one to challenge,
to jump over slippery stones
and run, always run, don’t walk!
And though the stream was shallow
I tired… but didn’t let go – I quickened the pace,
and it was the running,
the constant zigzagging motion
that outfoxed them all
turning me into a crafty and agile deceiver.

Ah… but I tired. One day I tired,
and I paused to rest, to breathe,
to sleep awhile and then,
I couldn’t run any more.
It hurt too much to pretend.

Some have dreamed a different ending.
They said my vision was narrow,
I could have tried, really tried.
“Look at her. She can sleep and yet pine
for her whimsical claims to glory.”

Poets! What dreamers you are!
Whimsical fantasies? Narrow vision?
What a laugh!

What is it your muse has whispered to you
about blazing summers in the city,
or shuffling through freezing snow and ice?

I know that walk. I’ve walked it alone.
I know the self-deception.
No sense in invoking poetic insights.

This narrow road came to an end.
No more running, no more hurts,
No more tears to shed.
My day is done!

And I watch the twilight as it dies
and I see my lazy, lazy dreams,
slipping by me like driftwood in a stream.

@Carmen Ruggero2011

Aceptando la Realidad

El camino fue angosto y empinado –
realmente no fue fácil desafiarlo,
saltando sobre piedras resbalosas
y corriendo, siempre corriendo – nunca caminando.
Y aunque el riachuelo no era profundo
yo me cansaba pero nunca desistí – aceleré el paso.
Y eso fue. La carrera eterna,
el continuo movimiento serpentino y astuto
que me convirtió en un ágil impostor.

Ah... pero un día se acabó.
Agotada, me paré a descansar, al fin respirar,
quizás, dormir un rato
porque ya no podía más.
Ya me dolía pretender.

Otros soñaron un fin muy diferente para mi.
Comentaron que me faltó la visión necesaria,
que podría haber empujado un poco más.
¨¡Mirenla! Aún en sus sueños sufre
porque su triunfo no fue más que un capricho.¨

¡Poetas! ¿De qué sueñan a costillas mías?
¿Caprichos, fantasías, visiones nubladas?
No me hagan reír.

¿Qué musa les suspira tal simplicidad
acerca de veranos violentos que queman los barrios
o arrastrar un pié tras otro – abriendo camino
y acabando enterrados en nieve y hielo?

Yo conozco ese camino. Lo he caminado sola.
Yo conozco lo que es decepcionarse a si mismo
No hay necesidad de invocar astucia poética.

El camino fue angosto y duro y se acabó.
No corro más, no sufro más, no lloro más.
No lucho más.

El crepúsculo toma un color nocturno
despacito, mis sueños se alejan
y me pasan de largo como astillitas en el riachuelo.

©Carmen Ruggero 2011