A Poet's Kiss

Albuquerque poet Mary Oishi puts poems, pictures, and thoughts here for her family and friends, and for lovers of poetry everywhere.

Name:
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Saturday, February 14, 2015

you are here



                        you are here

yes, others get unearned advantages
you are advantaged too:
ancestor to ancestor
goblet to goblet
poured strength to strength
through generations
centuries-tested, multiplied
strength to strength to strength
poured into you
that's how you squeezed into this life equipped


yes, others get unearned accolades but
what reward is higher than
that you are here
when so many times you should have died
in that dark room alone
in that dark room with someone
who should have never been
in charge


you are here, hearing these words
so listen well:


what gold-trophied glory can match
the fact that you are here?
less-equipped, you would have died
when that crazy man grabbed you in the street
when waters rose
when fevers raged
when you got that shocking news
when you were completely betrayed
when your heart was utterly broken

not even priest or wizard could
take such blood red sorrow
paint this day in blues and turn it
royal purple

you should have died
you should have died so many times
i cannot count them all
you should have died but

here you are
still here
still here
still dancing

-mary oishi

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

pusher




are you out there in the stealth night on the edge of blue?   listening.
are you loving me for sending you this fix of heartbreak
slid down metal, taut and wound. electric. are you?
are you dancing with the spirits of those who left us
forty fifty sixty eighty years ago? dancing. in a jukejoint.
in R.L.’s living room. are you in the field picking cotton in the broiling sun?
wishing for shade. any shade. a toothpick. anything.
can you feel it? the sweat. the thirst. blur between slave and sharecropper.
slave and chain gang. can you? are you out there in the stealth night?  listening.
understanding. coming closer in. becoming. blues surging through?


mary oishi

Ghosts of Penn's Woods



                             

waterways were named after them:
Susquehanna River, Conestoga Creek,
Conewago Creek, Swatara Creek,
creeks so wide they'd be
rivers of legend in the Southwest

soil rich and dark and humus
feeding forests dense with raspberries,
wineberries, teaberries, huckleberries,
strawberries, honeysuckle
sassafras, pawpaws, birch
plenty of fish and pheasants
rabbits and white-tailed deer

well into the Twentieth Century
farmers on the banks of the
Susquehanna plowed up
shoeboxes full of arrowheads
carved by Susquehannocks
abundant proof in an abundant land

after Penn's deed from the king
(to a land that was not his to give)
those who lived easily and peacefully
in Penn's Woods, with Penn's Woods
were themselves massacred
the band of 14 escapees
including 7 children
were housed in the Lancaster jail
for their own safety
but a mob stormed the jail
finished them off

nobody talks seriously about
the Lancaster Massacre:
before this poem it never
had a name

it's all idyllic farms, cows
on green hills
the simple life
shoofly pie

a Lancaster County blog from the
Convention and Visitors Bureau boasts:
    The Fulton House was built
    partially over the foundation of
    the old Lancaster jail...

    It's said you can still hear the screams
    of the Conestogans...

    So next time you're looking for
    a spooky place to visit, head on over
    to the Fulton Opera House!
    Happy Halloween!

wonder if the ghosts
of the original inhabitants
ever sit by the water that
carries their names
that carries their memories
that carries their lives
down to the forgotten sea

two-and-a-half centuries later
it's doubtful they scream.

perhaps they look
    and look...
        and look...
    and quietly sigh

                            -mary oishi



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Baby Veronica

this day is begging for a poem
this day is running crazy down an oklahoma street, screaming
chasing carloads of federal marshalls and one little girl
who wants grandparents and cousins
a clan, a community, a daddy who looks like her

this day is chasing those marshalls, wailing
BUT GRANDPA'S IN THE HOSPITAL WITH CHEST PAINS!
WAIT! A WHOLE NATION'S GRIEVING
WAIT! THE U.N. HAS IMPLORED YOU TO SAFEGUARD HER RIGHTS
WAIT! A FATHER WHO FOUGHT FOR YOU--THAT'S HIS BABY GIRL
WHAT. IS. WRONG WITH YOU????

the cavalry of marshalls disappears from sight.

(Is this 1813 or 2013?)

this day falls in a heap exhausted
exhaling sobs
knowing the system always favors
wasichu values: more money.
greed washed righteous by “respectability”
flawless hygiene to cover a hollow life
numb with ritalin and prozac
its sterile feet squeezed into gold prada heels

parading as success

oh yeah, this day is begging for a poem
not a sonnet, not an ode, not some couplet
contrived behind ivyed walls

this day begs a poem, no, a prayer, forgotten prayer
rising slowly like a feather on the wind

joined by an eagle's call, then wolf, then bear
then ten thousand buffalo
thundering on ancient graves

a prayer that wakes the ancestors from
their too soon sleep from long walks and long rifles
until they rise up and follow her
walk beside her every step in the white man's world
whisper comfort so her Cherokee heart stays warm
in the strange cold heat of south carolina


mary oishi
23, 24 & 25 september 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

after hearing about Julia Chen, a haiku

cut more than eyes when
she cut epicanthic folds
ancestors bleeding


-mary oishi

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

With my friend Herb Tsuchiya!


Saturday, May 04, 2013

when i sing of seeds

Audio of this poem
when i sing of seeds
mine is not a song of acorns and grains
kernels and cones
not when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds
falling from trees
wrapped in fruit
floating lightly bearded in the breeze
in a bird's beak, a squirrel's cheek,
a gardener's loving hand

i sing not of seeds but of
blossoms fragrant,
bursting fuschia and crimson and gold
i sing of majestic trees
that join wind and earth and sun
for two thousand years
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds i sing
harvest, sing baskets of corn to be husked
sing peas to be shelled, shells to be cracked
and released of their nutmeats
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds i sing
roasting and baking and grilling
sing conversations around the table
silverware clanking, appetites satisfied
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds i sing
thirty years down the road
a child yet unborn crunching into
an apple
when i sing of seeds i sing of
bouquets picked and handed to
mothers with love in the year 2999

when i sing of seeds
my song rises
verse after verse into
all that is life
a swell of possibility
when i sing of seeds.

when i sing of seeds
i sing down seven generations
times seven times seven.
when i sing of seeds
my song never ends
my song never ends when i sing of seeds

mary oishi
4 may 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

a suite of lonely


no loud noises for
a woman who lives alone
at night and dogless

you could go crazy
in a big house by yourself
with a pack of dogs

women long divorced
and recently widowed know
night ticks relentless

that face looking back
from the mirror, you carved it
in sun, with river

would you like a kiss?
yes, you would, sweet and nuanced
and slightly hungry

good memories not
as much comfort as one would
imagine    {sigh}


mary oishi
january 2013