Desire and Other Poems

Claire Catlett.gila flowers
Photo © 2016 by Claire Catlett

© 2016 by Beate Sigriddaughter

Where do I begin?

My parents whisper
in ways I cannot imagine.
A birth with snow and candlelight
is easier to grasp.

We all come from desire.
Desire trumps wisdom.

Your long dark hair fanned out
across my threadbare clean sheets, you
so in love so many years ago
even my cigarette mouth
didn’t matter. We cannot go back,
not ever, though in dreams
I go from time to time.

Now, so much older, I walk down
a wash bed with you. I carry
some of your stuff into the wilderness
you have chosen.

Farewell, my love. There are places
we must walk alone. It is difficult
to say goodbye between stone
walls, juniper, and primrose. You
in your plaid shirt and wide rim hat
against the sun whom we both love
but also respect in the desert

Be well, my love, in the wild
places you belong. Soon
you will sleep under stars. One day
you will take me with you
to the places you belong.

Oh, one more kiss, so soft, then off
in different directions, you
to the beauty of your wilderness, I
to the beauty of my words.
One more curve
in the wash bed, one more wave
goodbye, my love, we have chosen,
you that, I this.

On the way out I get lost.
Not long, it is all so obvious
when you pay attention.

Later that day I dream I am lost.
At times you are with me. Maybe
this way? At times I am alone.
Maybe that? I know I am going
in the right direction, but I am plagued
with gnats of impatience and
a wish for effortless perfection.

Perhaps the best part of my dream?
I didn’t mind being lost.
It was interesting. I was focused.

But in reality I do not stay lost.
The way is past the alligator log,
then through the saddle between
two gentle hills, follow the crest
of a ridge, yes, then finally the cairn
just beyond the Indian paintbrush
which luckily no deer has eaten,
then home where I find
I love you.

And I never want to leave
or change
this gentle place of knowing.

Claire Catlett.sunny hills
Photo © 2016 by Claire Catlett

Fairy Tale

In a fairy tale the princess decides
to build a golden road and declares
whoever comes down the middle
is the one.

It is true, wrong princes see gold
and think it would be such a shame
to damage it. Her true love doesn’t
even notice. He is thinking only
of her and how he will be
with her soon.

I did notice when I left many
things I owned behind
to be with you. Sometimes
their memory still tugs at me.

Still, bravely, I have always been
part knight, part damsel.
When my heart first broke
open for you, unicorns spilled out
and foxes, flame-framed glimpses
of light, heat, sunrays, flickering.

I had a vision once. The two of us
climbed up into the sun
on a long ladder of ribbons.
There we sat side by side and looked,
content, into the world.

I was raised on fairy tales, sweet
ginger feelings, crystal moods.
They nourish me still. Tell me
the part again where you will be

my love forever.

Claire Catlett.BW sunny field
Photo © 2016 by Claire Catlett

Into The Mist
Reality is overrated. A mistake
is easiest with strangers, or even
better unobserved in solitude.

So I want to walk away.
There has been no welcome
for the only gifts I had
and what I wanted for
myself was often manfully
withheld, love, peace,
my circus dancer acrobatics
in a breathless world.

I have forgotten what I want
in life. I have lost desire.
I do not remember.
Let the sadness embrace me
of letting go of things I have
and also things I never had.

The mist is merciful.
The mist is undemanding.
So let me just walk off into
the curtains of forgiveness.

Not so fast, spirit says.
Don’t you remember the corners
that have always turned
for you, unfastening
amazement? Yes, there always
has been new enchantment
when the dull mud broke open.

I will hang on a little while.
But it is good to know the mist
is there, white, rolling, daring,
extending secrecy, magnificence
and the temptation to be
remembered as one who walked
into the mist and didn’t return.

The mist forgives.