ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS
THE 2002 ACCUMULATIONS
I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT SHOES
Shoes -- nothing to say about shoes. They habit the feet,
one foot, two foot: feet. They form a duo: shoes -- keeping one
from the earth, keeping out the wet -- at times,
making the vicious concrete,
less vicious, at times.
I think of the silk dust of India -- kicking my sandals off,
walking in the soft, red, volcanic dust -- staining my feet up past
the ankles. Poof poof, stepping through the night on the trail
with my four drunken, new-found Indian friends, past the
street lamps in the forest along the ridge, along
the mountain-side at Matheren.
Discalced, I didn't think of shoes then.
Returning to America, I've had to wear them ever since,
except along the lush wet mile of summer morning lawn
in the Arboretum. The tingling toes would say farewell
forever to light open shoes, heavy boots,
the fitted casements needed to tread through
Living among the stars, keep one shoe
hooked to the earth, one to the sky,
dance with the howling wind.
Let Seattle's flickering night-time
lights tattoo your heart.
Stride the moon's progression.
Touch its fullness. O gibbous moon, shine
on the serpentine links of the two-eyed
freeway cars, shimmering.,
They undulate into the dark of nearness,
into distance unperceived by the quivering,
coruscating heart. Up next to galaxies,
eye to eye with Jupiter's Io, flash!
Sparkle! Elude black space, know emptiness, walk
the moon's orbit -- too high to reflect Lake Union.
Anticipate dawn. Tiptoe in slippers
welded to moon and stars.
Wear bronzed shoes, metallic stars' light.
My sister thinks my moon shoe looks like
fallopian tubes and a vagina --
and a uterus right there at the top.
I think it looks like eggplants and Hale-Bopp,
but, in any case, adequate to walk
the highways of the conceptual mind.
I do not mind the lack of opening nor do
I explain the lump at the top. Like
caveat emptor, let the viewer beware. Dance
the skyways just below Alpha Centauri, open
inevitable night with joy, remembering always
empta dolore docet experientia.*
The passing shoe, the written word, even
the rain whispers in the night. One dare
not think of the spinning ball, pale green
and blue, stalking, in a limited way,
its perpetual orbit, confined to the universe.
Round and round, past the yet-to-explode
stars, past the future, past the past, one step
and then another, shoes contain observations,
sand grains, soul food for a lifetime.
The fifth shoe marks the crossroads,
the axis mundi, the walk up and the walk
down. Bear with me in paradise
where the bears wear neither shoes, nor tinkling
bells. There is no one to warn.
No one picks the berries anymore.
Yet the berries are picked. Blue, black,
straw and rasp. The fifth shoe overflows,
a cornucopia, a way out of the world.
Can there be more than this:
the leaf, the wind, the shoe smashing
raindrops? There was hardly a shoe
left when the Towers fell, but paper floated
in the air, stench. Six months later: lights
search the heavens for answer,
memorializing monuments that exist
only in thin air, very slim air, as the sacrificing
goes on and on and on and on and on and on
like footsteps, unshod, across the reaches
of time, desire, fear, hatred, greed. O, greed is
not the least part of calling others "the axis of evil."
Walking shoed on the earth hurts,
hurts me, hurts the earth. Let the toes
tickle the grass, let the grass wet and
tickle the toes. Better yet, walk in the
sand, let the ice-cold water foam,
lick, pull, undertow toes, fasten one
to the earth, suck one into the sea. Thunder's
predicted for tonight. Let lightening strike
at the heels, let thunder roll under the arch,
flex the sole. Adopt sandals if its mandatory
to walk among the comets, over the galaxies.
Bronze the baby's shoes. Give a little weight
to the foot, satisfaction to the shoemaker,
limit to the journey -- for, if bare, one can
walk forever, hand over hand along the rainbow's
curve, sit at the summit of the giant cumulus,
peer down. Surveillance won't help, won't stop
the tap-dancing, contradictions-in-the-heart shoes.
Shoes. I still have nothing to say about
that with which, unnaturally, we trod upon
the earth. Shoes: purple, red, blue, black, boots,
dainty little dancing slippers -- racks of shoes,
a fetish of shoes, walking, running, tiptoeing shoes.
I'll write a portrait of shoes. I remember my
O-very-high-heeled red shoes best --
with cut-out leather toes (I am sure it was still
leather in those days). Now we have blue, pink,
clear, naked shoes -- colors no cow
would confess to, nor alligator claim.
Other people have no shoes. Is that a tragedy?
Hindu's thought I was a crazy lady when I
took off my shoes to walk upon their silk-soft earth
-- walked and walked and walked. A rural lad said: "Why
give yourself so much pain? A taxi will come." I walked
into the sea, I walked into the dawn, up the subcontinent's
coast without shoes, without taxi or pain.
Shoe, plaque, book.
I've done my paean for shoes.
Let them make their way in the spring time,
exhibitionist's single-soled world.
Brassy shoes, bronze boots balancing
carefully past the moon, a second ending,
a new beginning, exploring the way
as I step, not swiftly, not surely, not more
surely than the 21st Century
subsumes the 9th Century shoe,
while the catkins breed on the twigs
in the sky, aments dangle. They precede the leaves,
both on the known and the unknown trees.
Charles thinks my moon shoe looks like
a Cheshire Cat domiciled in a shoe --
grinning above the laces, through the winter leaves.
Last night celebrating Cambodian New Years
with green dancing peacock, how glad
I was of the wind, how protected in my eyrie
contemplating my accumulated,
composed, fragile, moon-constructed shoes --
preparing them to last in earth-long song.
POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART + INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO