poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I woke up on fire


I bought a bumblebee from a witch,
Eat him mid-winter, she said. But I’ve kept him to look at
and he turned into springtime.

Bees hunker, bees wiggle soft-stinger bottoms from side to side
to dance, to engrave the tiniest love-notes on flower petals.
I bought a bumblebee from a witch:

he looked so little, wet wings pressed down to the velvet.
I thought there were no bees left in the world
and he turned into springtime.

His black stripes are crushed-up vanilla beans.
How will we describe the taste of honey when there are no more bees?
I bought a bumblebee from a witch

and I woke up buried in wildflower petals.
I woke up on fire, and he turned on the rains, I mean he rained
and he turned into springtime.

The trees used to be filled with soft golden bees.
People used netted hats and the word swarm.
I bought a bumblebee from a witch
and he turned into springtime.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brooklyn Bluebird


The night before I died I heard a bear cry behind the house and then a child-cry response. The mother was there she just couldn't see her cub. But they could hear and smell each other. It was the middle of the night before I died and I crept to the window and prayed to the God of Cities to let there always be bears, to let there always be crying bears that sound like children. Always mother bears crying for those cubs missing but articulating the loss back to her. Always bears.

To the God of Cities I prayed don’t come here,
don’t come here/ don’t come here/don’t come here. Oh,
I didn't realize your spring mornings
were full of birdsong too. Behind the swirling metal supports

of the makeshift frame there once lived a wooden bird
smelling of breakfast. In her café there are branches glued
to the interior walls: it’s a way to tell time by the moon.
Now the clock the bird came from doesn’t matter.
They don’t make little forest-themed robots
to tell time anymore, but now there's this nothing
and I'm doing jumping jacks in the corner and calling it dancing,
and there's no birdsong to tell me how long I've been doing this bullshit.

Sounds at night let you know how lost you are. The Brooklyn bluebirds begin to bounce around the backyard because spring is in the city before spring is in Vermont. I forgot that birds make song here too; that there are real birds here. I forgot people make noises in the night that you can't put a name to. I forgot the city makes it's own. The father makes the son in his own image: the son wears leather jackets and says the word "nigger" and sleeps with women who are too young for him. The night before I died you told me to close the window.




Saturday, March 22, 2014

Picture of Teeth


“Pray with your eyes open or you’ll miss the miracles,” she says.
I’m checking email in church
where the bible plays out on the walls in color all around me.
The weather in here is old incense, yellow teeth, booze on the breath,
all the good air has already been burned.

The weather outside is wet and dirty—air shot through with water
and the newspapers puff up on the sidewalks
and either way, I’ll eat it, but it will make me sick.

Tame animals do that all the time: eat the wrong food and get sick
and then eat the sickness. Take him back to bed
like there’s no money left
in the world.

“Animals don’t wear clothes,” she says.
“That’s why they’re so happy all the time.”
When he leaves her, she’ll start to take in strays.

She saves her best clothes for occasions that never
come. Or they come but she is not invited. She is
old clothes, is
too big for herself, is
washed out, worn. This makes her husband angry. There's no money left
but that's no reason for her to look like there's no money left.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ursa Minor


Your feet leave bear tracks in the snow,
when we walk the night flash-lit so the cars can’t miss us.
When the sun shines a greenish light comes through

the iceberg. I have a glass bluebird, wings painted with glitter.
Pick up your face, the glassbird says. The stars watch.
Your feet leave bear tracks in the snow.

I press my back into the trees and scratch, up and down
shedding blue painted-on sparkles called happiness,
and when the sun shines a greenish light comes through

the iceberg, tells me when to expect the icicles to fall.
Icicles don’t mean anything. My feet leave bootprints with no smell,
your feet leave bear tracks in the snow.

We dance a sundance; we dance the whole animal.
The way you’ve frozen, I can see each grain of you.
When the sun shines a greenish light comes through

and the frozen trees sound like they are cracking,
as the wind blows between branches fragmented falsetto,
your feet leave bear tracks in the snow.

My lungs fill with a cold light, listening to the wild turkeys
heavy in the trees and the trucks heavier on the highway in the freeze,
when the sun shines a greenish light comes through,

when the stars shine the iceberg turns blue.
My feet leave dance tracks on the sky.
Your feet leave bear tracks in the snow.
When the sun shines a greenish light comes through.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dance Down Camelot


One step, two step, waltz, jig
we can’t fly but we can foxtrot
the backdrop keeps changing us.

 Sissy that walk and cha cha cha
 teach me steps that you forgot:
 one step, two step, waltz, jig,

swish of mazurka, now mambo, capoeira:
teach me low: swat and squat,
the backdrop keeps changing us.

Heel out, turn the toe, I know: it’s salsa.
Now teach me tango and take something off, it’s too hot.
One step, two step, waltz, jig,

dub step, hula, hora, haka:
those aren’t my feet. Teach me to love what we’ve not got:
the backdrop keeps changing.

Those aren’t my legs breakdancing. Can’t can-can nor redowa,
teach me how to dance down Camelot.
One step, two step, waltz, jig,
the backdrop keeps changing us.