Jillian's Poetry

La Guitarra y La Esperanza The sun, sending its heat through a red dusty haze. In the Plaza, a dog nosing another. In the shadows of the cantina, beer changing to sweat and gas. A couple of viejas, gossipping of their old men. A faint melodia, like a thread running through all, Woven by a tired guitar, Singing of all that was. The guitarra,almost as old as the tocador playing it. A young muchacho, standing there. His head leaning to the music. The old tocador notes him. Just strums some chords. "You like this, hijo?" "Si,señor very much." "You wish to play like this?" "Oh yes Señor." "To play like this, hijo, you must be able to love. But you never really love anyone. Only your guitarra. Every song of love, every song of hope, every song of loss, every song of despair, must only come through the guitarra. Can you do this?" "Oh si Señor" The old one thought for a moment of the sadness the young boy would face. He remembered his own. "Come, young one, God will have to watch over you." The guitarra started a new thread around the dusty Plaza. It sang through the red haze The sweat and the beer. It sang the old songs With the setting sun. But it sang of hope that would come mañana, With the sunrise. Jillian Ramsay Stern 4/14/2000 Chile and Beans. The mustang snorted, trembled, dashed about, ran to the far rails. Nobody sitting there. An old Vaquero chewing on a cheroot, watched the wild eyes, flaring nostrils. A young novillero atop a corral rail, watching wild-eyed, with flaring nostrils. the Vaquero saw the muchacho. More like, felt him; felt the fire in him. Madre mia!!! This muchacho is me, forty years ago. Hijole!!! What a bronco I was "Oyez! Joven! You got the huevos to ride him? A sibilant hiss. The muchacho breathing with the bronco. Quietly, Now, not daring to breath, "Sí, Señor. I got the huevos." "Andale pues. Let's see what you got." Lariats sailed, Anchoring the bronco. Keeping an eye on a restive back hoof, blanket, head gear, saddle, cinch get put on. The muchacho kneed the bronco's belly. The bronco whoofed. Cinch tightened two more holes. The Vaquero smiled. This might be some ride. The muchacho eased up to his seat; lariat, bronco, boy, all tensed. Lariats slacked. The bronco stood still The dust stayed still Time stood still A sharp scream. That bronco rose in the air; exploded. Parts of him everywhere; teeth snapping, hooves flying. Then the ride began: Bucking Crowhopping Sunfishing. Never did hooves touch the ground. The muchacho, rattled, like a dried pea. The bronco rolled. The muchacho sprang free, sprang back on like a coiled spring. The boss hand came out Angry and roaring. "What the hell's going on!!" The Vaquero stopped him. "Hang on, Boss. Watch." The boss seethed. "He's gonna get killed!" "No, Boss. He's gonna ride that bronc" The muchacho sails through the air, thrown. He's back up. His eyes connected to the horse. The bronco dashes by, daring the muchacho. The horn, big as life... Hands grip... Legs spring... The muchacho, riding again. The boss starts, The Vaquero restrains him. "Boss you never gonna see a ride like this in a long time." The bronco, tired, lets the muchacho guide him... This time. "Boy, get over here!!" The muchacho, on the bronco, canters over to the boss. "That was one hell of a ride. What's your name?" "Chile, Señor boss" "Chili? What the hell kind of name is that?" "I don't know Señor." Turning to the Vaquero, "He here for work?" "Yes boss." "He's got a job. "What the hell'd we call that bronco?" "Since he was full of beans, We call him 'Beans.'" The Boss snorted, "I guess you'd figure, 'Chili and Beans.'" Jillian Ramsay Stern 6/7/2000 Two on. None out. Shift... from foot to foot feel the ground... don't get stuck to it No outs. Two men on need a double play ball god, I hope he don't try to fan 'em shift... keep moving... here it is... "Strike!!!" strike... good got him thinking from a hole c'mon babe give us the dp "C'mon baby. Not a hitter. Not a hitter" "Ball!!" ball damn it okay okay he might get cocky well take it c'mon man give the dp ball shift, shift keep moving don't get locked up where'd that pebble come from? okay here it comes stay loose here it... CRACK!! White screaming so fast, so fast moving slowly but you're slower A leather rocket right at you up you bastard up get the springs uuuup smack! Got it!!!!! "OUT!" coming down leather whacking a grey dust bundle lumbering by. "OUT!" "First!!! First Base!!!" Peg that sucker!! smack in the glove Got him!!! "OUT!" Holy shit Jesus We did it "Waaaaaaaahoooo" "Triple play!!!" Jillian Ramsay Stern 01/24/98 The Widder Blodgett Widder Blodgett is tough 'un. She's put four to rest: Caleb the beautiful. Limbs of pure silk. Hair like sun beams. His walk, proud like a young stag. The master of his own ship. The ideal couple their future bright. Yup Widder Blodgett is tough 'un. She's lost four. Seth from the next town; Smooth and dark Like a sable. Never had she been so sated. His father promised him his shipyard, But he still had to ship out. That's her, the Widder Blodgett. Still looks passable? Why yes. Samuel, the one they called "The Frencher"; He accepted her as she was. Not complicated, comfortable. Always with his watch cap and his pipe. He looked like the Quebec farmer he was. He'd gone too. He was a man. D'you see? That's her, the Widder Blodgett. Got some money. No young 'uns. There was Dirk; Herring choker. Tried to set up some sort of chandlin' business. Went bust. Took to drinking. Sea got him too. Drowned while fishin'. That's her standin there, 'bout every day now. Just standin' an' lookin'- At the sea. Wonder what she's thinkin'? (You bitch, you hag, you took them all And left me nothing but wrinkles. Why?) Jillian Ramsay Stern 12/11/97 Nightmare Stars blinking in their effort to see through the darkness of the glen. A crash and branches breaking as a hart, startled, wakes up running. A soft jingle of worn metal, creaking of leather harness, muffled clop clop of... Everyone in the croft bolt upright! Reivers!! Borderers on a raid! Mother clutches her dears, hushes their crying; muffles those not hushed. Father goes for his sword, then to quiet the lowing beasts. Breathing is a luxury. Hearts pounding in their ears. Fears, peering into the murk. Eyes, daring not. Low rough voices; murmuring, laughing. The sounds are at the clearing. Glints wink and dart, like an imp of hell dancing in evil glee. Silence... "Too close an' naethin' here" The sounds drift away. Life jolts into painful being again. "Let's do this lot on the way back" The parting shot. The eyes in the croft stare. They wait... Jillian Ramsay Stern 11/20/97 Gliding Along Gliding along Floating on the reflecting lake The canoe, a fragile leaf, Whispered across the lake By the sighs of the gentle wind. The breeze plays with my dress and hair Like the soft paws of a curious kitten. My bare leg dangling in the water's caress, The cool clear ripples promising love, Should I give my body to the lake's embrace. The sun, kissing my shoulders and arms, Begs me remove my hat and kisses my face, Promises his own warm embrace, After the cool of the lake. Kisses and caresses, Sighs and embraces Are my passion while Gliding along. Jillian Ramsay Stern Flamenco Fury With a graceful arrogant strut, the bailerina stalks the center of the room. The guitarista thumbs the chords. The cantaor is already rythmically clapping. The tension fills the room like a whip slowly being drawn back. A pause from the guitar... A heel stabs the floor! Another crack of leather on wood; another and another until it sounds like the beginning of an avalanche. The cascading heel and toe of the zapateado, like the relentless surge of the ocean, not to be denied. The guitar strings, full off fingers, whip the palmistas to a controlled frenzy. Their clapping and singing impell the bailerina to higher passions of movement. Skirts flaring, hair escaping, fingers flying, hands clapping... Farucca frenzy has captured us all. Our hearts echo the machine gun staccato. With a final rasqueado, a flurry of staccato, the whip snaps. We sink back, exhausted, until the next coplas. Jillian Ramsay Stern 12/21/97 A Culloden Greet Drifting, staggering The distorted landscape Holding a plaided figure And her search Opened, unseen eyes Marking her not Gaping mouths Grinning teeth Bodies, limbs, weapons Scattered like A throw of the dice By Death himself Blood, Dried, caked Proving life can't Be turned inside out A plaintive wail Penetrates the roar of death The wraith vibrates With anticipated grief A mound, a body She falls Ah dear God It's him Keening, she tells them They, though unmoved, Listen Attentively "Ye promised a month. 'Nae mair than that, ma.' It's been a lang month An there's tae be nae endin' o' it." "Ye were to dance the German Lairdie Tae his ain tune. Alack! Ye'll nae foot it Tae yer ain dirge. "The Wee Lairdie's dancin' on All yer graves Ye're muckle heros, But ye're a' deid " 'For the King!' ye said But Charlie's trippin ower His skirts An awa tae hame " 'Tae hold Scotland for us!' Spake ye But it's Scotland Wha's holdin ye, my darlin' "Alack an awa, ma ain dearie Ye were a man An there's nae doubt But what' re ye noo? The audience, unmoved Remained silent The wraith slowly Melted into the mound The wild keens Moved them not The wrenching sobs Touched them not What cared they For a mother's grief? They were heros On which ravens fed. Jillian Ramsay Stern 5/01/98 Pas de Deux Two bodies hurtle offstage. Can't stop till they hit the wall. Chests heaving, "Wasn't that wonderful?" "Robert is right on... Perfect beat...." This said in short breaths, sucking in dirty, dusty air. The inexorable music plays on. She shrieks, "You're on!" He vanishes in a cloud of rosin dust....... Only to appear onstage. A calm cavalier, sailing through the air on grand jetes. Finishing with a double tour en l'air to the knee. A gentleman's reverence; A graceful acknowledgement to... She comes twirling onstage; pique turns on the diagonal. She seems to not have feet, as mortal women do. She has not come off point since she came onstage. Finishing with a flurry of fouettes.... He comes sailing back on, flying on a tour de salle; jetes of every variety. She, regaining wind she never had, joins in the furious coda. They separate, he downright, she upleft. They meet in what, by rights, should be a collision. It isn't. She runs, launches, flies. He catches her with all the aplomb and timing of a tight end. They finish in clouds of rosin, to cheers and yells from the wings; A tidal wave of love from the audience. Finally offstage... She, "These goddam shoes stink." He, "You gained a few pounds." "Bastard!" She hisses. Such are the gods of the dance. Jillian Ramsay Stern 11/12/1999 I Don't Cook Anymore Dedicated to Patria Ramsay A small flea market table With a cast iron kettle. A young woman, Rummaging. Behind the table, Grey hair and grey eyes smile. Nimble fingers find the pot. Gnarled fingers hold the lid. Out of the pot, Comes the past: Savory bread, When she was little; Stews that sang, Mother knew the music, Which she learned To sing as well. Out of the pot Came her wedding feast, Anniverseries and Baby's christening too; Many birthdays and Holiday roasts, Her Da's funeral And Mum's too; Birthdays and holidays, Breads and stews; More anniverseries And a wake or two; More quiet times But still, for a holiday or two; And the neighbors, "Could we..? It would be such a help, thanks." Years of love in, Years of life out, And then her dear one's Last need. Her daughter? "Mom, I don't use that" Her daughter in law? "Thanks but.." "Mom, get rid of all this stuff. Why not sell it?" "You're right dear" Nimble fingers Listening to the pot. To the lifes and loves, Hopes and fears. And then the gnarled Fingers let go. Grey eyes sadly smile. "I don't cook anymore." Jillian Ramsay Stern 5/2/98 A Mote Dedicated to the giants whose shoulders we stand upon while we look and measure a Mote stands, arms upraised, staring Eternity in the eye aware of itself it grows it is what it is because of selfknowledge Eternity, not selfknowing, is unaware of the Mote the Mote defines Eternity by dimension and time Eternity, now the Mote, fears death, being nevermore Death, Eternity's ally, erases the Mote Eternity is moteless but... again... a Mote stands arms upraised staring Eternity in the eye... Jillian Ramsay Stern 11/22/98 Infinity's Future The yearling, trembling Howls and snarls clicking teeth The One Who Leads, bellowing with anger, fear, frustration The smell of blood The smell of impending futility Too many of the grey ones The One Who Leads, still swinging her head stabbing, goring, kicking at any grey she sees Nowhere to go but infinity She has to fight for the young one She must A shout and a shot The grey ones know they have lost, for now Slick, riding in at a gallop, firing at the wolves They grudgingly fade away Two or three will never move again The One Who Leads got them The One Who Leads, exhausted, spent, bloody, most of it hers, sinks to her knees Another shout some shots "Over here! They're over here!" More riders - Seeing the carnage stops them, sobers them The One Who Leads telling her last thoughts and instructions to The Young One Kyle rides up "Damn!!" His pistol still warm, points at her Slick, understanding what he sees "Hold it boss! Don't shoot yet She ain't done." "Done what, you crazy waddy?" "She's givin' instructions to the youngun." "What the hell you talkin' about?" "Without her, you ain't got no lead cow." "I know that." "Well, she's tellin' that yearlin' what she's gonna have to know. That yearlin's goin' ta be your next lead cow. Leave her to me I'll do what's got to be when they're done." Kyle and the rest swung away, staring at Slick, The One Who Leads and The Yearling. The Yearling, listening to her future while The One Who Led bleeds her way to infinity. Jillian Ramsay Stern 05/10/2000 Etched Crystal Love has etched my heart Diagrams of what was and is not Pain brings clarity like cut crystal 'Til love finding a new facet Cuts anew Jillian Ramsay Stern 1/10/99 An Alien Scouts Song1 This world's strange. It's an alien place, where words of love are a dime a dozen, but never the penny for your thoughts. Hay foot, straw foot. I'll always get the boot. I'm forever out of sync, For I'm the real missing link. I came to seek solace. I'll solo back again. Advance scouts Sing for themselves. Who could know What only they have seen, In ways that only they know? Hay foot, straw foot. I'll always get the boot. I'm forever out of sync, For I'm the real missing link. I'll go back. Why stay? My report's done. The place's no fun. What the hell? The galaxy's big. Hay foot, straw foot. I'll always get the boot. I'm forever out of sync, For I'm the real missing link. Jillian Ramsay Stern 6/10/99

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