Six Poems by Mary-Marcia Casoly


Blind Sided

Then she whispered under her breath
Can't you stop it from moving around when we're talking?


I was born with this retarded child,
I forget that she is so free with the absence of sight.
I forget which is the left side and which the blind side.
There is no place
that she doesn't go with me. But I've had to learn to be patient.
She talks all the time. She is wanderlust.
Reads all my emotional braille; she roams, imperceptibly
away from me, drawn to the sun rolling
around it its socket.

She is wild with her own dreaming,
wrapped in a white nimbus cloud. She knows the fine
fingernail eclipse of our world. She is unaware of the textured
blueness of curtains. She is always unprepared,
preoccupied with white walls, vermicelli, iambic air.
Growing up we used to wonder
how two eyes could share their window seat
without always seeing double. One foot shifts to the other.
I look out for her and she watches out within.

Sometimes she still tells me stories. She teaches me
how to navigate my dreams, the way I look both ways crossing
the street. She is still a child, children never ignore her.
They lean in to her, invite her to move. They ask me,
has she ever fallen way back into my head? And like if she
ever did come loose, how would I ever get her back?
"I don't know," I say, "I can't imagine how we ever
could be made separate."

Thirty years and more have made my left side headstrong,
heavy bent to shape and focus. I can never see
the other side of my nose without a mirror. I forget
what someone means pointing at my "good" eye.
You won't look into my eyes, afraid
like my eye never was; but don't you understand?
How could anyone begrudge this second-sight?


What I'm telling you is I wouldn't mind
if I could I'd lease the cottage next door or down the block
I'd like to observe your windows
the cycles of light slight movement of curtain or wooden blinds
you stepping out quick for the paper
to be there to say c'mon lets walk around the block
for sudden playful conversations
I'd come by often I'd borrow your recipes
swipe gumdrops from your jar
nab a few chapters of any book I just happened to find
read them on your doorstep
knock on my door any time of morning or night you'd be welcome even if I was out of
    [my mind
and the house a mess as it usually is typically unorganized
There are plenty of times I need a lift you too
anyway sometimes I'd tell you kindly to get lost but really I'd let you in
company makes misery an outcry
The other day I saw two women at the cafe with one pair of ear phones divided
between them one
in one ear, one earbud in her friend's ear and they were both bouncing
to the music while each read a different magazine
Could we ever be like that?
Well maybe not like that
but I'd like to take a run on a short leash
until I got tired having a sore neck
pulling this way or you dragging me away with you sure I'd whine a bit that's my way
we know things about each other that we never even have to speak
we'd get busy, we'd take time, we'd have invitations a secret code
we'd fall out, we'd fall in
we'd have a bead on it:   the rising sun the sunset which way the crows fly
and the shuttle bus rumbles around the corner and would you just check to see if I locked the front door
and do you happen to have an extra egg
and I don't know just because
we live our lives satellites spark the distance
what would it be like living in a sort of Armistead Maupin suburb?
my best laugh, my best cries, a quick tea, a massage
see you later meant later soon we'd catch an afternoon or maybe talk or not
maybe I'd seem sort of hostile and hermitage but you'd know
and wouldn't mind
even now I get that feeling I keep leasing different cottages,
keep moving every third full moon, redecorating myself, throwing out some,
recycling some, turning up the music to the right kind of loud
enticing you to open up again and sometimes I string my laundry line right out
to the telephone pole to pick up I don't what they used to maybe call vibes
I don't know all the names yet
But I walk your neighborhood, I hop the bus,
I cop a ride

Before the Epiphany

January is the skin itself, the wind, fingers that find the way forward. Amen, the wrongs of the words transparent. Poetry, watercolor and books read by the moon. I am not a superstitious cat moving its ladder. I know now, nothing better down to the wire, my desire, disappearing under his. . With his arms full, carrying a waterlogged bundle after the bookstore fire of 1920, sometimes my father was still called Sonny Boy. I have one of those books: The Story of Scraggles by George Wharton James. Hundreds of years into the future struggles daughter grass. Foreign music plays, old tunes, guitar strums. It could have been a song, not quiet like weeping but - on the far wide world, a milk-tooth cut, the pads of paws trod on cold sunlight. Waiting and watching, wrapped in the fiction of my bathrobe, listening into the quiet of afternoon or longer behind the window. Spending my own time. The human pleasantly plumbs. Do not choose beads, do not choose bone, for the heroine or the witch. That one speaks and sparks, that one wars, that one sends chill winds to blow, then there is that one: unknown. Say the poem, say the year, it is a source of gravity, a source of charm. A bug in the grass, hearing aid, the difficulty without which to think at all. And yours, thanks, it must be the grease of the rose behind my ears. Come in circles around me, it's been too long. I remember the cry of the peacock at the old Mountain View farmhouse now demolished. This New Year's Eve I lit all the candles in my house. Play hell, play heaven, we turn in our sleep. The angel spreads out, this is the beach where the sun walks. Time flying; come down in your voice the golden beehive; around your middle: honey. A woman and her many sisters, shake and shine in firelight beloved. 


Changed my life
falling into the mist of your hazel
hazel   a color of two
a kind of green
            change in the shade of leavings
at noon
the hazelnut cracks

hazel   witch hazel
neither one nor the other relieves
what I feel

a plume wafts down midair
      circles, lands where the dragon lies still
darkened hazel woods
      blaze of a cat's eye blink

the seasons hold
hazel moss, resin, certain tones
find myself searching

      sorrow into interwoven joy

hazel so insistent
I call to you hazel,   come
                  be more hazel

Notice there is no haze
to burn off

dream into brown or green sheets
forgotten places

my floor tiles, my morning, my waking

Hazel widens the heart
Not like a river, not like a house,
      but is half river,    is half house.

                        I don't really know you
                                                            but love

Winter's last bit of Shorthand

Great hungry rumble of the nearly satiated: That's why they climb Mt. Hood or any mountain. Full moon on skirt of trees. Syrup drops, delinquent drops, amateur watercolors. I confess. Model in pale composure. Let me look askance. Invisible cloth, invisible clouds. These anniversaries sneak up on us, even when we're well aware of their presence like a cat. Necessary. Beyond the invented childhood, we fish the river. It was Ezra, a fast climber. You deserve some praise for that he said. He was in Canto. He was past the next bend. I was only this far along. The young are strange enough to hide, he said, and no promises are as sweet as none. That feeling came over me, a finger riding the circular dial of a rotary phone. Ennui doesn't necessarily steal the robin's-egg blue. Waft of bridled wing has not been harmed nor the putt-putt burs of Italian trucks holding their own with motorcycles passing. Having been there once it will always be a part of me. A scale of three notes. Have some more, you know you love them. She'd ordered a book not realizing it was printed in German. The caller spoke in another language. Words are trust, whirs, false distances, words are: boxes delivered. Wishes on cue. This is the call, this is the one: She died seven pm on a Saturday night in February. Great-aunt Cecilia, I dreamt of my little birds. I had gushed. Someone, (was it you?) had just asked after them. I had just left the room, but on returning, the cage door was open, empty. Hand held to the hopeless sky. The clouds drifted open. From that blue patch they flew back to me. The notched gate closes. Empyrean solace. Someday I may show you the snap shots. There may be some resemblance you make out. But would it justify my life? A Chinese scientist has successfully implanted a remote control chip in the brain of pigeon. They will fly left, then right; down, then up. Now they search for a practical application. Thanks to this rare snow in the bay area, we find a dusting of mystery. Without anyone around, something or someone speaks of days gone in symmetry. Friend of foolishness follows as we age. A walk in the splash. Rain must rain. The volcano of Stromboli erupted but the town has not been harmed, nor the black beach or parched fishing boats...

Sleep of (the) Morpheus

While flying long distances sea birds are constantly napping, closing one eye at a time, allowing one side of the brain to sleep. Making the distance, switching on the other, unconscious until touch down. Literally flying blind. Sleep the color of direction. Its own determined pilgrimage. Wondrous spots seeping against wars, chisels beneath jokes, that have gone on too long. Dream recommences loving. Damp breath. Emotional bait. Head and feet daring. Sleep searching for sleep. A source of the half-said, the half-spoken. Runnels. Tunnels. Mining for interest. Sleep swallows whole. Just as a child once holed up, lamp on, falls asleep reading. Everything about him concerns me. Take me in your arms. Sleep like nestling woe. It's going to be all right. When I woke as a child I took comfort from my fathers quaking snores. On his back, the god wedged amongst ponderous pillows, secure, loud, rattles the universe.

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