Dec 03
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To Be Free

(A slightly revamped version of a poem I wrote in 2013)


We have been climbing this towering peak

our trail from the lowlands, born out of the sea.

On our way, we’ve found winged things, pieces of love,

And letting them be, we walk steadily on.




Up we keep walking with wonder and might

Through beautiful mornings and beautiful nights.

And stars line our path like sky kissing the earth,

simple and soft like the sound of rebirth.




We watch the sweet lakes in the valleys below

Where mirages of things waver and glow

Where all those who cry and those who rejoice

See water as a mirror and forget its sweet voice.




And in their soft slumbers they hold and they hold

And they dream of a God whose name they all know
Nov 21
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My Grandfather

His lips murmur,
words low and crusty like burnt bread. 
His eyes are old with milk inside them,
skin kissed in scars and scabs.
He rolls up his sleeve and shows us.
Here, this is my pain.
He is wearing a hat with a feather in it.
Have you read that bible I gave you?

He talks about two things mostly, 
his pain and his ancestral line. 
Occasionally, why immigrants need to assimilate. Also, God.
According to his calculations, we are descendants of not only the man who invented the rifle used in the American Civil War, but also Eli Whitney, a French king, a friend of Ronald Regan, and a Wampanoag Indian.
One of the first to be converted, he says proudly.

No matter what other din is filling the house, he is telling us stories,
Talking about the geniuses who came before him
his SAT scores
his father, a farmer who could build anything, his grandfather,
Nov 01
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The Light on the Table

Today, I wondered
whether death is a womb as well—
whether anyone can fit the vastness of who they become
here
into such a small space again.
Perhaps though, the space is not so small.
 
I cannot say what the light on the table means,
Just that its voice sounds warm.
Its hands are soft.
 
Friend, I say,
do you know
your beautiful, beautiful name?
neither do I. 

 
Oct 18
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Holiness


It had never been so clear as it was
this morning as I sat with my mother in the kitchen—
the sun glinting through the window,
lighting the soft gray clouds,
kissing the last remaining bits of orange
hanging sleepily from the trees outside—
that holiness
is not something you find
only
under the roof of a church.
Nor does it linger just
atop any mountain that asks
for days to summit.

It is much more commonplace than that.

It reflects off the soup pot
soaking in the kitchen sink,
it sings from the radio speaker,
from the pages of a book,
from your own voice
if softly, you hum along,
the notes in your chest becoming a small sort
of communion.
Oct 15
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The Wind Said

There is nothing to do, the wind said
As I held a feather to my heart,
Its hollow owl flight tucked beside that tiny bone-
the arch I see on my chest when I breathe


It is the same arch beneath which I have walked, I think,
when the orange ground stained my shoes,
somewhere to the west
where I inhaled dry heat
and dust played in the sunbeams.


I have learned that our bodies
are maps of the world.
We are same giants we dreamt of as children,
The giant we are both killing and trying to save.


And yet still the wind said there is nothing.
Nothing to do
despite all of this life—this overwhelming life—
that we are, that we eat, that we must maintain
lest it die.
It is supposed to die.
But also to live.

And so perhaps
we have overlooked what the owl
and the deer
and the turtle
and the wind
still know.
Sep 03
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The Sweetness We Forget

Perhaps death smells like autumn leaves,
maple hands gently fallen,
bodies curled in sweet blood hues
Laid at the feet of their mothers.


What a wonder it is that we try so hard to pretend we will never fall from our trees.
It seems such a tragedy to leave this world bare,
To be swallowed by snow.
We forget it seems,
That there is a sweetness in
The bloom that comes later
And a sweetness too in the falling,
In returning to the earth
In red.
Aug 27
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What Beats

But I am not that—
The waves I see.
The stinging hunger pains
For sweet sad eyes
For fledgling bones,
For your story that could be told with water.
No,
Show me the life in your laughter
The rumbling thunder that you called for.
That is me.
That is the way I am moving.
That is what beats these wings.
 
Aug 27
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The Giant

A year ago I felt my soul
and tightened my hands around it
I sunk like a stone into the water I’d grown
And felt my cage rest on the floor.

There’s a goldfinch I think
And copper red ink
That swirls in your body with breathing
And when you lay down
And let yourself drown
You find that it’s all that you are.

Stones let me move you so I can be seen
Though the layers of time that you sleep in
Let me open my lungs to the thundering ones
To the giant whose bones I sleep on.

I don’t know how to write I don’t know how to name
I’m only the stars and their shine
And I know that we move that our bodies are gold
But sometimes I turn off my mind.

How do I grow farther from you dear earth?
You’re starting to feel far away
But I can not bleed now to feed you, my love
Wait until this life has melted away.
Aug 27
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The Ache

There is an aching that holds me
when I think about my fledgling self.
my self
with wings furled, shoulders seeping upwards
stomach empty and quiet
legs tired and trudging
voice full of the kind of optimism that is both empty and too full.
There is an aching that held me then too, though,
And so I have come to suppose
that to ache
is to be human
And so if I am to be human,
It will be as empty as it is full
As hard as it is soft
As painful as it is blissful.
And so I will sit and ache
and wait for the next
now
and the next and the
next
 
Aug 27
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River

Hello, dear river
The waves in the din
How do you climb the stairs?

When I was young
You tickled my tongue
And I walked home filled with your rain.

Hold the wolves in your rippled hands
Teach all the tadpoles to swim
Empty the earth of its hollowness
Put your breath back in my hands.

If my father could hear your voice
He wouldn’t need to weep.
We’d walk through the forest and fall to our knees
And meet you in soft shallow sleep.

How does the time pass, my little one?
How does the cold water feel?
If everything turns, then we’re turning too
But while we turn we can lay here.
 

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