Wanda Phipps

Saints & Sinners

Inspired by the Christina Saj painting

heels touch the ground
first transferring weight
through to the toes
from the bend in
the knees—from swinging
hips—from twin shoulders
balancing on the neck
and the head like
a cup full of:
Sidney Poitier and
Shirley Muldowney
pigeons on the windowsill
Bohemian Rhapsody on the tube
Federal Hall down the hill
A Course in Miracles
on the cell—backpack full of
poetry, novels, essays, stories
music fills the ears
eyes forever
looking backward
struggling to stay present
when memory outweighs
the future—all that matters is
looking for a sure footing
feeling the way
over the rocky surface

seconds 14

the wind was
wailing and
moaning this
thought it was
a woman
then a cat
but no
the wind
was moaning
through the stairwell
from the roof
or cracks
in the windows
crying to get in
or out—wild cry
in the city
crying wild
wilderness reclaiming
its space

3:00 slump

your mind ticks off
a list of things to do
but your body doesn't move
you wander from one end
of the room to the other
and when you get there
you forget why you came

just thinking of action
seems tiring but
inaction is guilt-ridden

so you sludge through
one minute task taking
hours longer than usual

you think what's the ticket
maybe some sugar
yes maybe a snack
yes maybe a meal
yes maybe a fuck

mouth, feet, mind moving slower
and slower
as time follows
and deadlines become
the dirty laundry
of the brain

Wanda Phipps, author of Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems, has been published over 100 times in English, Ukranian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician, and Blangla; created theatrical productions with Yara Arts Group presented in Ukraine, Kyrgystan, Siberia, and NYC: curated several reading series and written about the arts for Time Out New York, Paper Magazine, and about.com.