Sary's Poems

The Way My First Girlfriend Gave Flowers

Almost summer, so they put 
fucking flowers on everything-- 
Billboards, campaign flyers, 
lottery tickets. 
We never really had a break-up, 
Only drifted separate ways 
and then discussed 
the new waters we were treading. 
Teary-eyed, in April. 

"Brought you flowers," she said, 
climbing back into the car 
at the gas station. 
Scratch off three the same, 
win up to a grand. 

I won a dollar, 
plus the penny I used 
to scratch. 

She said very little 
besides that. 
~~April 2004

The Storm

You gripped me so tight, so sudden
That I thought it was the thunder
Shaking loose from the balcony,
Where younger women waited
With Bacardi and my best interests
To walk me forward.
You will never be in front of me again.
Later, I sat in the rocking chair,
Banished to the balcony
so new friends and lovers
could fit their stuff in my apartment.
You were gone, like always.
The fucking storm ended quiet.
~~April 2004


That Christmas Eve the mom and daughter cooked
A table full of Christmas food and sweets.
They lit green candles as a centerpiece,
And didn’t mention Christmases before,
Or how they’d never cooked a meal like this.
And neither of them spoke of coming years,
Preferring to talk only of the food
And decorations that the daughter made.
The son spilled milk, and everybody laughed –
It was the kind of night you didn’t care
About another ugly carpet stain.
You didn’t mind the creaks, the broken doors,
The closets where your lives all fit, and then
It was a pretty house by candlelight.
That Christmas Eve the dad brought presents home
From god knows where, and wrapped them up in green.
“I love you all,” he said, and kissed his wife;
She echoed him, and turned to watch their kids
Laugh heartily and tear into their gifts:
A paint set for the girl, for the boy, a flute.
“Oh, Dad!” they shouted, ran to give him hugs.
“Oh, God,” the mother said, but very soft.
She didn’t ask him where he’d got the means --
She never spoke of money over meals.
That Christmas Eve they ate like others did,
Together at a table, telling jokes
And Christmas stories, singing carols, too.
At midnight Mom plugged in the Christmas tree,
And that’s when nothing happened, nothing lit.
“The power’s out,” Mom said. “Must be a storm.”
And Dad said, “Bring the flashlight,” but by then
The spell was gone, the Christmas dinner ruined.
The son said sharply, “No one’s paid the bill.”
The daughter said, “I don’t want stolen paints.”
The mother knelt to mop the carpet stain.
The father went to get the light himself.


"Ain’t like it was when we was comin’ up,"
The woman says, and I don’t point out
She must have come up twenty years before me.

Her kids are standing apart from us:
The big one, sneakered and cool,
Trying to blend into some other family;
The little one in boots almost too big for her to handle.

That one’s jumping cracks in the sidewalk,
One foot at a time,
And there are two separate sounds of her landing:
The heavy boot hitting the pavement
And then her little foot
Hitting the bottom of the boot.

"It was a different world when we were that age,"
The woman says,
Even though when she was that age
I hadn’t been born,
And when I was that age
Her kids had.
"I used to run wild, all over the place;
You know, up there on the hill 
Before they built the mall.
But I don’t let these two out of the yard by themselves."

Even now she doesn’t take her eyes off them
For more than a second;
So I know she’s got to see her boy
Edging further and further away.
Little girl looks up and grins widely at her mother.
"I’m spacewalking,"
She announces,
And her mother nods seriously and says,
"That’s fine."

The bigger one breaks his scowl to smile briefly.
"I used to do that," he says, sounding older than he looks.


I sat at the computer
on those nights that were damned
by everything from ladybugs
to the quality of light.
I let my hands keep moving on the ashen keys
while my thoughts drifted away
Thoughts drifting always
And if they didn't
it was because I hung onto them
Pleading, "Don't go
Don't go away"
And when they did
it was to the darkness down the stairs
that lived and breathed inside the cubby
behind the refrigerator
Inhale ... exhale ...
even though I was old for such things
as fearing the empty house
And when the breathing stopped
or I tuned it out
My mind drifted through the window cracks
past the porch
with its swarms of moths that fluttered in my stomach
till I cried and cried and cried
It drifted down the snowy hillside
that would have been perfect
if perfection was something I could comprehend
on nights that terrified me so
And looking back
Safe in this moment
I think there was even something perfect about those ladybugs
The way they flitted and fretted
on a bare light bulb
And lived briefly
in the glare of my insanity
and the glow of the computer's incessant screen
While their aluminum wings beat a rhythm again:
"Don't go away ...
Don't go ...."
03 January 2001

Stranded on the Face of the Moon

Hello, my darling ones
out there in orbit where I can't touch you
Remember what winter became?
There were things we did, in winter
And we were closer to each other
And so much further from each other
Than I remember ever being.
It was cold outside
So cold, and silver-black
With the woodstove far from being ours
We drank wine coolers
Slept in unfinished rooms
Where blankets didn't keep us warm
And dreams were long and strange
Or else we didn't sleep at all
But sat freezing up all night
With our fears and our hearts beating faster than
While we held back tales and tears and smiles
It was beautiful out there
And it was horrible out there
And it was everything out there.
And when I say beautiful,
I mean the kind of beautiful that nothing else can be.
It makes me ache with what it is:
A work of fiction, art, or light
That God or Schubert put together.
We came apart out there.
We lost each other and ourselves
We lost our things and lost our minds.
We found out what the moonlight meant
and it came as a surprise.
We were stranded up there
In our coats in our castle
We were stranded on the face of the moon.
Suspended in orbit, 
We all meant something new.
And I loved you all so fiercely
And I cried to think about you
sitting out there on the moon
With not so much as oxygen
To keep you all awake, and me besides.
To sleep was sudden
Out there dizzy in the universe
With waves of dreams of things we knew
And didn't know and wished we did
I ran to you in dreams
With my arms full of pine needles
And found myself running on paths
lit by the moon beneath my feet
And I was terrified with every breath
And I loved you all with every breath
And I cried so hard with every breath
That nothing was the same or ever would be.
Remember me?
Remember summers and blackberry stains?
I do, 
And I remember you
I reach for you every so often.
But I am here on Earth today
With a wide grin somewhere in my chest
So I wave instead
With my weathered hands
As I see you rise and set
before the stars.
My dream, my moon-walkers
My darling ones, hello.
Oct. 4, 2000


On days when yellow checkerboard sunspots fill the
spaces between then and now
I am taken with things like spilled salt and sudden
And kittens with runaway whiskers fascinate me
As do runaway whispers of children hiding in coat
Breathing the smell of snow or spring on a jacket
On days when sunspots inside are summer
And outside glance off snow
I am taken with things like dripping and melting and
breathing cold
And the laughter kittens must think as we scurry
about them
Forgetting to sleep in sunspots 
~(c) sary1013

The Need ...

...burned from inside each of us
Long-past endless forgotten summer mornings
With the sound of the rain doves calling storms
Found us already out
Hair tied back under corduroy caps
Imagined to resemble velvet.
Rain soaked earth
Where we dug with our fingernails
Patterns of horseshoes of horses we never knew
Wind whipped manes that didn't exist
Across our eyes 
Which saw creatures we couldn't have seen
Swayed backs and roman noses 
were only beautiful to us
When we heard of them
Hearing beyond them the tumbling hooves 
Of a gallop we couldn't have heard.
Thunder brought our dreams inside
Safe in the stable
With the grassy floors and the maple walls
Lightning sheltered us
And the need ...
Burned from inside each of us
And galloped on 
To the stable sky
While Heaven nested in the rafters
And kept us warm.
~~Sary (c) 1998


she walked away as if it were another day
didn't stop to listen, and,
if she had, she wouldn't hear
sounds like these can only be heard on videotape
played back on moments aching for once again
when it's too late to revise
phrases spoke go silent
like little girls not knowing and speaking anyway
these little girls 
who will know if they keep trying
will be here one day
once again is different too
to little girls with teary eyes who once grew up
and still know when to cry
but never how
tears like these can only be shed for videotape
rolling moments she can't smell anymore
idly she wonders if they'll ever come up
with a camera that can keep smells, too
eyes closed, she tries to conjure it up from videotape
but she didn't remember it then
the moment was too simple for such things
"Nothing ever Happens here."
so ... she left
and is alone to watch her videotape
and embrace momentous while freeing Once Again
there is something to be said for all alone
sounds are different turning in her own head
and nowhere to go
even the girl is unsuspecting
her breath quickens
pulse flutters and she feels things tenfold
things more real?
now, but on her videotape
real was spinning with her arms out
and change?
was losing her balance on purpose
and falling?
that was on purpose too.
But she never wondered where she might land.
She already knew.
she walked away as if it were a dream from which she could wake
but falling dreams that wake you in the middle of the night
don't do it till you've very nearly landed.
And falls like that don't wake you up on videotape.
~~by Sary


The man in the old-fashioned suit smiles and spills his coffee 
We feel close, as if semi-darkness and the rain outside unite us -- 
The man in the suit and the woman behind the counter 
Who's been working all night and is probably only feeling tired and grumpy 
And not connected at all. 
My eyes sweep back across the long counter 
With its neat piles of Newsleader and Chronicle 
Reesees cups and candies 
And unexpected, suddenly, I'm shocked by something missing. 
There are no fireballs. 
No round, red candies to burn my tongue, 
To suck on for seconds at best before spitting them into the palm of my hand. 
No contests to be held with sisters -- 
Who can suck on a fireball the longest? 
And no pop-rock candy 
(Rice Krispies flavored and magnified) 
No gravelly strawberry bursting on my tongue. 
No white candy, either, with its tangy powder for dipping, 
To sit on the stone wall outside the courthouse 
And lick the powder from the candy stick without ever taking a bite. 
The man with the spilled coffee nods good-bye and ducks out into the rain. 
The woman behind the counter is tired. 
She probably doesn't even know that there were fireballs. 
She probably doesn't even know what I've lost. 
~By Sary
(c) Oct 1998

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