Friday, May 2, 2014

Waking You at One A.M. to Say the Hamster Is Back


Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.


  1. Thanks! I'm just hangin' eating Tiny Burritos.

    I feel bad that I have let my work situation cut back on the music thing, missing some good stuff. This month sounds crowded with trips with Planet but we will find something.

  2. No, my only Pixies reference is that song that got played a lot on that radio station. But I appreciate the undeserved credit for putting any thought into my work.

  3. if that hamster used the same table grace as we do at our house, it thought to itself (using an english translation by charles lindbergh's daughter of words originated by francis of assisi)

    for all thy gifts
    of every kind
    we thank you, lord
    with quiet mind

    be with us, lord
    and guide our ways
    around the circle
    of our days


  5. A Hispanic hamser? Who knew?

  6. of in the circling of my day , thoughts of my pet hamster ..peter.. frampton ,ag. / and ear thgirl , j.'s companion ,nice to see here .. / thoughts also of being in a lock up setting somewhere , when a more out of the woods from man was in there with , and he managed to get .. through out the building speakers to play .. the pixies caribou (of why a delight' of longer telling , but i can not say, one day i will .. ) .. so in this .. lock down .. til they could get the ..caribou.. to stop playing , so thoughts of that wild man , /now to see what neko is/was up to