Monday, January 14, 2013

Early Rehearsal ~ Beth Levin

Early Rehearsal


Get up in the dark
feel for my pants and shoes
coffee offers false hope
the eyes not responding
Wet Paint
voices travel the cold tiles
Stand the whole way
feel for my music
reading "Esme" miss my stop


I never know just how long
to keep the egg boiling
before it's a goner
and I opt for toast with butter

Some are organic these days
a lovely brown with speckles
I imagine the chickens
are left to roam free
having a party around four
and the good sense to go inside
before it gets dark

Waiting for the egg to boil I muse on it
half dressed and with one sock still to be found
there is the striped creature
peeking out from beneath a pile of washcloths
completely out of its realm

We walk single file to the school yard
tallest at the rear
so much order before the chaos of recess
At the beach you bury my legs in the sand
swim too far out

We are so young untutored
I wear a skimpy top
unaware graceful

Now I listen to jets and imagine bombs
Nam erased you
and I'm in layers too heavy for summer


Awake fresh
grudges shopworn hangovers shed
dress in a jiffy
barely a mirrored look
walk out in the wet air
steel gates lifting
vegetables newspapers coffee
my breath fast and cold
the morning reveals the perfect plan


You see I live on a hill
with a canary and a potted violet
My lover comes and goes
when he is hungry or in
the mood to talk
his eyes moist from
cabbage soup
a day on the stove

Schubert on the Bechstein
pears on the blond table
love songs under my fingers
my fingers like fans
only wanting a tender voice to
wander the melodies

But my furniture is oaken
pears go uneaten
Schubert's on the shelf
my borscht comes from a can
the life I should live
follows me like the night winds
of the Erlking


I live alone
Lulu walks on the piano
sprick-spack, sprick-sprack
One blue eye one green

My dreams have fled
yet I'm content
to laugh at myself
knowing the secrets truth kept
from desire

Frying two eggs in the iron skillet
butter stings the surface
bubbles dance
eggs combust with butter
balloon out here and there
before setting

At night wrapped in a patterned shawl
I rummage old letters with a Florentine eye
My lovers sweet demanding
I spy a nuthatch
Woo-ee-ah, Woo-ee-ah
all the day long

Death does not trouble
I hope he takes me
as I sit at the window
staring at wild thyme

Time is beauty
An instant
a breath


This morning she walked out into the freezing day
her long brown hair under a Woolrich cap
S. lugging her kit
Inside a koala clutching its baby
a few plants not all survivors
Elgar on the radio soup on the stove
I could sleep now and dream of the girl
I could tell you the sweetest stories
I could think in puzzles
or follow a clear thought to its conclusion
I could weep or look at you bemused
I could sit in a chair and not move
and listen for footsteps


 there is something about the way
 sunlight hits an ivy plant
 there is something about the way sunlight
 hits an ivy plant on the oak table by the window
 there is something about the way sunlight
hits an ivy plant on the oak table by the window
 on a late summer's afternoon
 there is something about the way sunlight
 hits an ivy plant on the oak table by the window
on a late summer's afternoon before the rain
 and the cool darkness sets in


A crinkled skirt of blue
a print of old patterns
I lift it to wash my feet
under the hose
scrape against the screen door
running back and forth
the air soft again pulling me
could you see through
the filmy blues
to my skin
alive in the bare breeze


At home I miss home
the stories begun unfinished
aromas penetrating silent rooms

On the street I miss the street
the travel never commenced
my bags packed unpacked
the music learned forgotten

In winter I miss winter
snows of another time
the crooked hill where I sledded
in spring the thick mud that ate my shoes

In this hour I miss this hour
the bark of the tree that never scraped at my ankles
the appointment never kept
the coffee cup with a pink stain where we never sat

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