Saturday, December 25, 2010

What's Chipping.

They said
if you thought that the wind howled last night,
wait until you hear tonight's cooked up
pot of storm brew.

People look forward to things. when,
when they look backwards they trip on sidewalks;
uneven and patched with tar. They
look at patches of dry grass in the yard
of my neighbor's house

you know the ones
that mormon family
who moved away
the daughter pregnant
a year out of high school

that blue house
that's what's chipping.
The wind can howl at the shingles sometimes,

but when we find our bodies
inside, in sweaters, scarves
--pajamas, even
flannel lulls the sky of my sheets to sleep.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How to show anger, politely.

What if what I said made you
or sad?
Is there any chance that who we are
has potentiality for radiant gladness,
for possibility,
for things to come?

These seeds are not grown overnight,
trees are not grown over weeks
but in decades of archaic time
when wishful thinking let me chopped wood on my professor's property
when we made love and kisses happen in the bathroom
when we drank bottles dry with french man and woman.

Things happen when we are organically,

Nothing more, nothing less.
Let it rain.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the rapist.

sit on the stairs
in footie pajamas
listen to shadows
moving, darting
to corners,
fists of words
in your face.

Sit on down,
down in the chair.
Sit it down, talk to me
like they didn't know how to.
They have all been paid to do this.

Eyes are for more than closing,
fingers are for more than turning pages of books
my baby yells didn't have to unhappily pierce the walls.
See me:

I can be jubilant screams to the sky
distant shouts making smoke signals
opening your eyes.
I can't be a buffer;
I can't stop hard falls.

The Couch, in response to "The Searchers".

It was the polyester hide-a-bed that meant death.
Pilled up fabric a rusted pumpkin orange,
my father sealed his eyes shut,

slept on through afternoon sun.
The light made patterns on the bedspread
across the lump of a languid body who only knew one thing:

hibernating with the bear
hanging with the jailbird
electrocuted by his God and father,

the door left a crack open to let out the stale air
the wooden floorboards creaked under our feet
as we tiptoed our way around expansive empty rooms.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clavicles, how beautiful and
their neighbors,
the smooth ridges between neck and soft shoulder,
a ridge miniature goats might climb if they could.
If this body were a snow-tipped mountain.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Honeyed Tea and George

We talked, there sat at night. You rocked
with tea in hand, clever mind dissecting
my words, his eyes and hair, curled wet.
I grazed over your form.

And what is our purpose, you asked,
shirt off your shoulder, showing clavicle
showing shadow, probing thoughts stick in hand,
your feet probing shag carpet, searching.

An attempt at a bit of loose iambic.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's a wintry afternoon. Mary Wise is cooking food for her people, and we are drinking good beer and having friends.

The windows fog up from your steam and
vegetables and coconut milk
in the pan, man,
a storm of sauce on white rice
like the color white on me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The breaths

heave up and

wait. . .

The rise and fall of my father's chest
and his red woolen sweater,

my eyes watching his closed ones and
their flutter,

The day rattling out, an engine cooling,
out of oil, belt falling off.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ground Rises Up.

Today, my Seattle looks like a big apple. Spots of green where the leaves can't make up their minds when to fall, birds not yet pushed out of the nest by their mothers. Not yet. There are spots of red when a passing semitruck flashes by, whirling up a concoction of wet and crunchy, from the leaves fallen in gutters, from the bus stops. From the piles of orange and red resting by leaf blowers.

And sometimes this apple has moist damp puddles full of bruises my feet avoid. Walking down the hill the boulevard north of the cemetary, I realize my boots aren't weatherproof as I feel slow infiltration seeping into wool socks, their gray fibers turning black with the wet dark water. The shoes I wear sinking into the mud around gravestones, around the base of an oak tree, into the muddy grass, gone brown.

For me, Seattle has turned a corner, made its decision. Today Seattle made up its mind, handing itself over to me over the counter at my local bakery, the jaded cold hands of my barista giving me chocolate brown crema in a cup, asking for cream.

My hands cramp with the cold and I know. The corpses in the ground rise up and smell it too--not because it's Halloween, but because their bones feel the warm chill of fire that comes in the sky, that stares back down at them when they look up at the leaves. Today, this city is alive.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Excerpt, "She Dreams of Better Times."

We could write all these things down. How grandma yelled out her hunger and pain into a bowl after grandpa died, her, shoveling the cereal flakes into her gaping mouth. “Well, I’m hungry.” Not ten minutes after he died, my mother tells me. Spoon after spoon. Flakes fell like soggy snow, pressed into the linoleum by her trampling diminutive sneaker feet, by the funeral home workers carrying out the dark body bag to their hearse. The flakes were vacuumed up later after they dried and latched on, maybe by my aunt or by my mother, eyes damp and swollen, the insides of the vacuum groaning out guttural sighs. Are we done yet, they asked us. Enough already.

Your grandma’s makeshift playroom housed many a cousin, many an aunt and uncle who didn’t mind sleeping on the floor. No skin rubbing, no blue rambler love making happened. The foundation’s cracks remained unshaken by orgasm or by earthquake. The house formed a pale postage stamp collection with the other ramblers, other elderly couples, their visiting children, their pink lawn flamingos and wind chimes. There were blow up mattresses on plush carpet, emerging from the storage unit after an annual sleep next to the croquet set. The sheets on the queen-size bed were neatly kept and smooth. The slippery pink roses on the bedspread kept tamed and clipped like manicured nails.


Once I went through the drawers of the desk in that room. Stamps. Thumb tacks. Cuff links. All kept, but not in order. I cleared off the dust with my fingers in the yellow daylight that made its lazy way through the venetian blinds, I made dust drawings with young fingers.

If you looked down the hall you could see the slanted light, golden through the shades, telling your young brain the time of day. You can smell the warmth of the concrete despite the air conditioning. Yellowed dog-eared pages rested on the pressboard shelves, a dark oak once stylish in the seventies.

Her toenails, crooked and yellowing, remind me of how my mother’s look now. Now I cringe when the old toes are clipped. I can’t watch her being helped into her apartment—third floor, Ya-Po-Ah Terrace—by my by her caregiver Diana, by my mother and Aunt Mary. We swat at the fruit flies, hoping that killing them will give grandma more time, make her see the rotting fruit on the pocket sized counter. Make my mom not ever have to give grandma a bath, not ever.

Monday, October 11, 2010

With Love and Apologies (sans proper formatting.)

If it has felt like such a long time
since I love you blue and watery
—I’m sorry;
it was not in my plans
to go without telling you for long,
what I hope obvious.

Do my eyes do enough?—
My deadened skin and rough feet might have
rubbed your surfaces the wrong way or


just maybe
you got the message
I sent you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tolerating the Believers.

God is not bullshit,
but this class is
with its lines
its angles burdensome. God is night storm.

If I sit here
for one hour
and a half, I will hear
about mustard seeds and saccharine

and maybe--perhaps
God will teach this class for you,
not with nice felt cut outs, bob hair cut
but with electrocution of heart, o God

give me a downpour of water.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last night sleep didn't come easy
restful, whole but

came in fits and starts,
races half-started and never finished,
deciding what to do with two closing eyelids,
arguing over my heated sheets
no cool spot in sight
save the crevice between the mattress

and the wall.
I woke up to see a spider and its web
swaying in a gray breeze outside.
A sunrise overcast and diffused by hanging ornamental clouds.

What does this look like, we wonder,
through the window of someone else

someone who doesn't hear the horn of the boats
in the channel below
begging the low blue bridge to raise its arms?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sometimes the Sky Falls into My Parent's House.

How is everyone
I asked my mama

said it's four feet high and rising,
her voice rising
up a beat,
up to your shoulders
weighing the weight down on scales
where doors shut out dark waters
I count seconds till I escape it,

the dry rot expressed its scathing remarks in silence
a buffer for things said
for rinse water
that promised to clean soil out of towels,
failing, leaving gaps in the day,
leaving work shirts and your son's play shirts
a bone chilling freeze.

The water's sky high and rising,
she said through the stiff receiver,

so please don't make me
the last one floating
in this house

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Woman.

Trace them

she showed her ink into inky night.

Etch them with your fingers and
I might tell you what they mean
in the pitch black
following us in the rolling rain.
If you're lucky.
You might kiss my lips, you know.

The world is iron clenched shut

I will tell young children someday from a rocking chair
but my body will be a soft cushion for the pain we know

--stroke my head, it's a porcupine in love--

but this eccentric mother will reply to you
in the dark making love to you,
tumbling over her people:

it just is.
And oh for more than that.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Worn Bristles.

He doesn't rarely look me in the eye
the eye and as he hides
behind the curtain
brushing his

his teeth
still brushing his

for twenty minutes
that become
an hour of shuffling sounds
behind the yellow curtain
at the hotel

brushing still
with worn bristles
his teeth and
tapping the window

the window at the world
through the glass.

He keeps brushing his teeth.

I Come from the Land of My Father.

Greetings from the land of fertility
where water waits your hot-soaked lips
and red flame birds sing
songs of stucco houses
of late bonfires
of eyes flashing in the sunset

We bring you pitchers of cool water
made of clay mixed with hay and damp stream dirt
full of the same water
it took me twenty one years to find,

maybe more.

Now I lie in the bush, my back on the green
among cool friends I sought for years
among the family I peel my eyes for.
They run on the heated mirror of horizon.

I lie among shoots of new growth pushing up through sod.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anticipation, Excitement.

"I can hardly wait to return to my photographs of clouds and my essay on rain."

-Leslie Marmon Silko

I love this quote from Silko's introduction into "Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit", a book of short stories about the surrounding landscape of New Mexico.

Her excitement leaks off the page and into my skin. It is the last line before she begins to write away at her writing desk, taking pictures in the hills around her house, of rocks and sagebrush. Of things that smell grayed around the edges from sun.

I hope I can do her justice this year.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

With a Small Catalyst.

The clouds at night promised rain.

Last night I became a green inchworm in the dusk
and ate peach juices till I found the pit
the inner sanctum where the white flower used to be.

With or without the dare

I could stare back at the stars all night
I am not afraid but for the chance
I might fall off the earth with its furious spinning.

Let my light hands
these that I raise through thunderheads
be what they were meant for,
shoot furiously through the deafening darkness

wending a way
to a home without a white picket fence
to a home where my eyes grow wide and I say

Yes. This is what I want.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Space I Get for Myself, O God.

Sometimes there needs to be a space for the silence
of singing voices of strangers in the emptiness of my room,
of incense and candles cradling the air
while I lie half naked on my newly made bed
on yellowed sheets kept in boxes without tops,

open wide for the future and spiders,
open wide to let flames lick at their edges
should a house fire fall upon us (God I hope not)
but for this vacuousness in all its beauty,
in all its loneliness

makes me miss my crib and cradle,
makes me miss the cradling of your warm arms last night
the arms of my mother a decade ago.
It makes me want to hold the old woman I don't know
her name was Kathy, the woman in church who cried over her husband riddled with new-found cancer.

Behind her dark sunglasses the rain came down
wet on the hands of all who gripped her shoulders to steady her
wet on her silky green shoulder pads
already missing the one she loved, the one who was not yet gone
cursing You who took him from her.

If you can do this to us God
burn my house my head my heart, but
how am I supposed to love you if you kill us off
if you let me snap twig branches and burn ants,
let me watch old women cry
if you let me love so strongly
but will eventually take them from me?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lake Women.

I sat by a lake
with a blanket wrapped around
my shoulders, our ankles

and we gazed open wide
confided, pupils collide together
each yanking the other's heart strings

my trembling cool fingers
broke the nearby twigs
thin like reedy voices

or like an old woman's long hair
snappy, ready to nap,
pulling a quilt over her narrow frame.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All Fall Down.

Of course you'd cry
if it went down with thunder and tumbled all bruised
if strangers drunk didn't care,
no one to run their fingers through your red brown hair

when planes crash
sometimes invisible hands fix the engine
or shake awake the pilot.

Awaken us fools.

But sometimes seats
in their fully upright staunchness
land gracefully in flames into a forest
off the map
off the radar.
In the Atlantic.
In the stratosphere.
In the Appalachians.
Into peace and pieces

of course you'd cry if you couldn't breathe
if your eyes couldn't open to see
some hazy future.
I think I might understand what you see


Monday, August 16, 2010

Forever it seems

my shoulder has hurt from all this weight
standards of living too high
and I can't keep up with all you kissing couples
flying by on their madrigal chariots
spaniards caressing these foreign girls' locks,
biting each others' ear
(secretly so they think)
because to them the world is fuzzy background.

For me,
the sight of you eminent
all remains a long dark tunnel
with a light at the end
with perhaps stigmata Jesus shining through
all Caucasian and golden and passive
saying, "Blessings, child"
instead of turning the changers' tables on me for how much I swore last week,
for all my dank romantic daydreams.

Never fear,
for I come quickly.
I come home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Roadside Tavern.

I write for all
o yes I do
with fiddletons and violins
wahoo the sound resounds
and smithy wicks the lips
so sweet, smooth
my feet can hardly beat a proper time
Nothing can beat it
or cheat me of this.

Our cheeks red from sun
from the life glow good
full of nutrition and soul vitamins.
I feel almost whole
as your fingers run strings
up and down my soul.
The brown beer never bitter here
and always a cozy winter
when my heart thinks of you.
Faces so warm from the sun.

The silk of your hair
looks like theirs.
Will you be like them
when you get old?
And will I be my mother?

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Kind of Crawl.

Brenda and Paul arrived today. We are all safe, together, entertaining one another, impersonating Simon Schama and playing in parks. Wish us pleasant travels as we journey through London and on to Dublin this Saturday morning.


Some things lie deep in the pit of the gut
like lead weights
like anchors to a seagoing ship,
the hour when the night pulls close his cloak around his shoulders.

The day-greasy streets are wiped clean
in the black night air;
in the dark only the glow of windows show.
Look within, people like us live inside.

Addled well with love, pints and familiar face
a path to bed is made
though perhaps not a straight one
till I too pull the cloak of his arms around mine for the night.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

People Watching.

The volcanic young woman
massages smoke through two pursed lips
her nose
her hair a false red
and her young eyes
a french and riveting blue.

If she were to battle her lover
sitting beside her,
she would win. He touches her small-of-back:

shares her dark papered cigarette
as they bicker amongst friends
under geranium flower boxes,
the pink ocean sunset glows off the brick
and I finish off my cigarette at the table.

Holyrood Park.

When the earth and straw cling to my cardigan
I know it is you
all the people before us trying to pull me back
to the earth,
forcing my eyes up
my toes to touch the ground
and sink into the ancient body
to find the core of what has been hidden forever,
waiting for me,
my lover till I return to you.

Mr. St. Giles, I Like You.

Today I visited St. Giles Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sadly I missed a concert there last night, but got to hear the organist in his loft this afternoon after trekking the city. Lit a candle for friends and sat awhile. I've been to at least five cathedrals on this trip so far, but this one felt cozy and lived in, a lot like Mary Mag's in Oxford, my main church for the five weeks I was there. Most Anglican churches are not only called "High Church" but tend to feel loftier than is tangible for the little people. This coming from a cathedral-going Episcopalian. Good day so far, and I still have yet to hike Holyrood and get pub grub tonight. I depart early in the morning for the Lake District.


The light hits
patches in each place,
a cerulean blue
or a piercing red
or, if the reformers got to you,
the life was sucked from your eyes
leaving nary a saint to look at me
with watery eyes,
to tell me to eat my vegetables
to clean my room,
no great beings to fix me to my seat.
The ones remaining don't miss a beat.
My hearts skips a beat.

Mary was not only Caucasian
but had an exceptionally high forehead
save when she appeared to Titian,
his glowing Middle Eastern muse.
He was still convinced she was a blonde.
Female pattern baldness
immaculate conception
and Caucasianitis
ran in the holy family, I'm afraid.

And how does Joseph her lover react
seeing her and himself,
only two teenage lovers enshrined with a naked baby
in circlets of gold against Victorian wallpaper—
does he cry out in his sleep

anything is possible, but oh God how?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



So here it is.
This is what I feared
longed for
dreaded might not happen
to me
what i dreaded regretting
no plunge into blackety black
blackness with little stars scattered
throughout the forest pitch tar stick.
Myself wanders,
plays chess with one color,
I undress myself
my bottom lip only touches its upstairs neighbor.


If we are both so sane
(the doctors told me otherwise)
why does the room shake so,
why do my hands quake so intensely
with tremors of faults in the earth,
quake like women three times
four times my age?
On a roll downhill we are
in time, in mind.
We lost sanity a long time ago.


I have always been afraid of those I call
Does that make us something
better? Perhaps in this flying freedom
I take you lover with me
like Whitman scolded me to,
yelling from the stony grave.
So complete me a woman who treads the ground,
so whole a man and poet you be,
tethered loosely to this soft dark earth.

Friday, July 23, 2010

the space between the yellow lines of the road
distract us from looking at the homeless
girl on the flagstone, by the bench
drawing with wet chalk

we don't want to make eye contact, no,
that would be frightful
that would be addressing what is
that would be crystal.

when she was a bitty baby
her mother rocked her in the cradle
and sang smooth songs into her ears.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Had a Dream.

I have been having a really, really bomb time with all my pals over here. Lately I've been dreaming crazy dreams, getting great feedback from my profs over here, and missing my posse. I miss you all. Thus, the poems, trying to figure my shit out, and reminiscing.

Last night I dreamt that my father came to me
He said to me with sullen face:
I don’t know you anymore,
we don’t know each other.
He walked,
walked far away and I didn’t know why or who I was.
He was not my father.
I had no man.
This is what I had been dreading all along
hovering mist in the distance of what I had always known.
I was alone, totally and utterly.
I wrote him a letter.
He forgot.
I had no man and no man had me
I was not to be had.

Dueling men fight over abdomen,
intestine, womb, swollen belly,
my gut reaction to what they said, who they were
in relation to my self.
How selfish that is.
I drink wine to cure my liver,
to pickle the wind that blows over my face
and keep it in a jar
far away so I don’t feel its bitterness too concentrated.

We make love from afar.
I breathe the sea, the salt desert
and though I wait for it to happen,
I know it has happened, already, to me
the mingling of salt water on wound, on hurt
and the beauty you possess before the burst
of veins and pulverized nerves,
of your bringing me upward,
scars ruptured again and again with each heave.
Rupture the steadiness I crave, and
once the stability comes, break all trend,
and tread all paths that seem to lead us
to panting baby streams where baby deer drink
me up till I'm dry.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defining the Day.

I'm doing well, my last week here in Oxford. I wrote this trying to figure out how I'm doing, so forgiveness if this may seem exploratory. Actually, no apologies. This is what was to be said. I wish formatting weren't such a bitch. Know there are intended indents. Oh well. Love to friends and family.


Today was a grandfather sea turtle
an entire ocean
a whale
and some odd number of waves
let loose from my hand into the air
that breathed more freely because of it.

Today was a pile of sweet rotting leaves
bunches of number two pencils
of tape dispensers
hulls of sleeping bulbs.

Today I wrote something
that might have mattered,
said something must have mattered,
was someone who mattered. I was.

Do not measure too much, in coffee spoons
or by the downy brown hair on my forearm
that will eventually turn ash blond gray.

Today shocked like an electric socket, like Edison

no more dull slow burning glow.
the cleaning lady outpours old days down the stairs,
I watch her
head in hands
sitting on the top step.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Long Was the Night.

Last night was long. All yesterday was long. After riding the train for six hours that day, I had a lot of time to think. Here is what came of it.


Here travels the night

whispering some vague welcome out
through windows of lit windows
of homes with a chair for me

offered up for me.

There must be an old country song
playing soft on the piano in the back room
the tune mostly remembered
the words mostly gone,
train tracks drumming shiny clacking teeth
and the whir of the night
nothing but dark white noise.

I am drawn to lists

like moths to garish light,
middle aged men to cans of beer
little girls to their plastic pink lipstick
in the bowels of plastic clutch purses,
like cats to cream

and by the time my similes run dry

so my eyes run wet

with something deep at the burning core

red hot ash,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Home Stretch.

To Andrew Marvell:

You question hell
and if you're going or not;
I bet you're Catholic

now I'm going to hell

but I'm not going to lie
because I don't do confession

I don't really know why you wonder so much
because we're all going to die
at some point. Maybe from cancer
or from a disease-ridden fly.
Plus, your poems are kind of, well...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yes, I am doing well, thank you. How are you?

I hear the electric drums and the patter
of rain on pavement turned a deep wet black.

The air has turned a new page in its book.

Monday, July 12, 2010

E. E. Cummings, Genesis, and the Brothers Grimm.

Getting ready to start my third paper, the second-to-last of this whole program. Wow. I'm writing on the significance of spinning in fairy tales, the phallic imagery, the work the women (some dumb, some clever) were forced to do. Sometimes there's a turn of wits. The sky over here is complex and cloudy, so I feel at home in the weather. I miss people. Chances are, I probably miss you who are reading this too...

Anyways. Here's to procrastination.


in the beginning it was fresh
pregnant and swollen out and up
the sky could breathe and fly on pinions
like the birds it carried on currents
the heartbeat was clean

the dirt was clean we were clean
all over, my toes had no calluses and there were
no thorns for miles
and no punctuation to complicate
nothing to complicate nothing

and nothing can come from nothing
without a word or name, without abracadabra or
or a small glimmer of light up in the expansiveness
that collapsed in on itself because it felt like it.

how can this be nothing

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To a Young Love.

I am doing well here in England, and beginning my third paper, starting to research. So naturally I procrastinated and wrote a poem instead, sitting in Blackwell's, reading Andersen fairy tales and Marvell's poems. This one's title is based off of a T. Roethke title "To a Young Wife". But overall bears little resemblance to.

That you are is
and wheat fields
a vast expanse of possibility,
uncertainty, the probability
of crashing is high

Sunday night the lights dim
in the cathedral;
the only sounds are of restless feet
shuffling, voices of the two high tenors
twist upward
and your dark breath
melting into my chest, onto my neck.

They tell me they don't wear seat belts
or helmets in the country
so there are a lot of damaged skulls,
and splints
on farmers, their sheep dogs, on farmers' wives
and their children.

Monday, July 5, 2010

After Reading Clare.

When I write I want
them to breath out
a sigh.

When I write I use no
exclamation marks but
try to let you mark on your own.

When I write I
never answer the question
why do this

to allow us to curl up
in the lines that form home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

After Work.

The shack and a few trees
float in the blowing fog

I pull out your blouse,
warm my cold hands
on your breasts.
you laugh and shudder
peeling garlic by the
hot iron stove.
bring in the axe, the rake,
the wood

we'll lean on the wall
against each other
stew simmering on the fire
as it grows dark
drinking wine.

-Gary Snyder

Upon Everything, Sizeably Fragmented.

We drink coffee
We drink tea
I walk miles of pavement
but the miles have walked me hard.

I make coffee
I break bread
as I crack the spine of
writers who're dead, caress their fractures.

A hole in my dress pocket
I lose pence;
this time we have
is incense

sneaking through alleyways, under pork pie hat
dodging cigarette smoke and the soles of my shoes.
Line up details and facts in lists to remind ourselves
we can't lose.

Drinking black coffee
is liquid sin
with a light at the end of the tunnel.
I give in.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Distance on Pub Wine, Good Romance and Hope.

Take my pulse to see if I'm well
I'm well
there is gap here
there's beat of my street feet
but my pulse doesn't quicken quite like
around you

if I could stroke your fingers
take my pulse and tell me I'm well.
I'm well but the garden is not quite as green, a bit more
stagnant than I want
do I want

what do I want...
you here?
You here

Take my pulse to see if I'm well

and the ground supports me
but could you too
you do.
Your freckles are stars
infinitely distant
and infinite here.

Take my pulse to see if I am well.
Hand on my chest
feel the blood flow life
and I will do the same.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Apologies to Masses and Self.

If I could indent a line or two,
--or three or four or five--
I'd bet my poems a spot better
and feel slightly more alive.

If Blogger knew their four one one
or I a web tech geek
would the mistress' breast be dun
or her chamberpot still reek?

So to you friends and kin out there
if anyone be reading
shit formatting limits my keyboard and
behind it, a poet is seething.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Comings, Goings.

dreams I had were that there was a
path winding paths green and a touch
dark with deeps of brush and twig branch
piggy backing I leapt on back attached of you,
dirt road and words worded
letters like fixed falling away in seconds
impractically it all was I know
but still we lived it with
wheels my mind did move
sense made there was. I think

gaps in conversation so I still
don't know what your head meant or
my mouth dream-said. Never can I do word but
know what mine meant and know words spoken
by your muddled mouth and hazy body.
You shout while running I on your back
got we moved by the clear river the stream
paths passersby.
When my mind be dream cloudy always what
I mean to say gets said through teeth
my mouth might not open wide.
or your eyebrows gesture desperate
to get a yes a cross my way, cross

the river and through bramble
tangled with messy flowers, teardrop poison
berries I ate when not hungry and wake
from living the chaos fragmented
down paths that forested my sleep
that encased cases of waking thoughts;
sense there was none ever anywhere.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tonight and Other Nights.

Tonight is an old full moon
yellow, even
with a circlet and freckled face

our faces are
yours is, too.

Last night I sat on the curb
looking out at the glow soon
to land on rooftops and stone paths, on
my nose

on your face, were you here. Today
I climbed a swooning steeple and pulled off
with my ragged nail
soft moss of the Salisbury West Wing and

gently placed it by my breast, in my dress
till it is carried by some licked envelope,
carried by the sea.
There was a time when she sat on swings, lived
under blankets, wrote stories no one would read,
slid down the mountains of her parents' knees

ran around the house with stars on fuzzy toed pajamas
and gave neighbor girls shots with plastic medicine.
They protected her from the cooties, from disease and
spreading plague of pinks, purples, and glitter.

Things are different now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things That Travel.

My body warm and worn
wants streams that are lived in

where trees droop into cool
water, where insects doze, wander
as I do, here across fields on dirt paths
and over bridges.
The leaves are small and light, delicately
punctuate the ripples on the surface
of the water glaciers have made.

I can't see straight; sweat runs down my
back and front, meticulous in its travels,
finds me
like rivers on the map
moss and spider's trails
find their ancient way into my mind,
not hurried but calm, not grasping
laced over my hands refracted in wandering river.

If I were to think, to strain, if
my voice were to echo through the canyon,
would I start some forest fire
some rock slide
would I hear only myself
where the river joins
parts and
finds its mate again?

would I hear only myself
or would my words be returned?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


One tall drink of water
one taller cup of coffee
one mug of beer. That's the tallest.
This is the best.
I'm not afraid of the worst.

Close the door and open your eyes before you settle.
If we sit on the sofa it goes without saything that
an indentation will remain after we leave for other realms
or simply for the outside balcony.

This older wiser one in front of me speaks ethics,

but I want to think of the ethics
where we touch fingertip and nail
sensitive nerve endings, electrified
through currents, a mess of tangled wires,

You light up my eyes like some sort of electric luminescence
like seeing glow worm caverns and caves carved and ruptured
by flash floods, by rivers from paleolithic times. Before my birth.
See me trying to tell you about rivers
with a river of words and furrows of my mouth,
of my brow,
of my palate at the back of my mouth.

Powerful obligations of hospitality he says.
Care for the poor bloke on my porch he says. Sure.
Come and let me hold you on my porch,
let me let you hold me, something I must do:
this is my code of ethics.

The sofa
two stained mugs
a cigarette and a half
getting it right in the way
our lips vibrate, hesitate, wait and

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Upon Going to St. Mary Mag's.


today is a day
any other

because every Sunday
we celebrate Mary
the unwed mother

and all the others

who have debts unpaid
beds not made
and haven't prayed
in years
smell the incense
kiss the buttresses.

Sunday, the day
the Lord hath made.
I will kiss ass and
be glad in
priest and hymn.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Snail Mail.

Since you wrote me such a letter
I thought I'd do the same.

Chimneys here are in a row,
roofs angled and shingled
everyone calls me love and cheers
but I am neither of theirs.
I wear the same dress two days' time—
two months' time you write me letters
and I'll do the same.

Orderly grass needs running on,
needs me to mess it up.
A red-faced old man sat in the park,
muttering his breath out
strongly smelling acrid, alcoholic.

School boys drank Coke on the same bench
calmly next to him, hovering shadows
of their bodies played on the ground
from the lowering sun,
all joining in the same.

I could never ride a bike on the left
even though I'm no right-winger.
I have more wings than I care
to count feathers on
overwhelmingly off white,
still learning how they work
you learning the same with yours.

Pray, think about me.
I'll do the same for you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I write a haiku,

a haiku of a heron,

which is now over.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Anything Good.

Like the old woman with the shuttlecock,
tying the knot,
fibers tear away from the red and blue dyes.

Water makes cutting the rug easier but
makes me worse, too.

This is that liminality you were mentioning
wasn't it
that point in time where we're shadows

the point when the grass we indented in young mayhem
takes time to spring up again, the

lag time takes
jet lag and reading
talking and walking
coffee and cigarettes takes time
as does anything good.

give me your hand and
I'll photograph Scottish rain
to give to you in person.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Death was free to all,
not here it thus has grown
for when cool breezes stroke my neck,
Spring, its seeds hath sown.

And how shall I appear and lay
when buried in my grave?
My bones to reach through dust and dirt
and hold the hand that stayed.

The hand that staid hath nail endured,
builds firelight at day's gloam.
For where those feet are planted near
it's there I call my home.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

thank you to the world

thank you deep friends

thank you deep love

thank you my family

thank you deep breaths of air

thank you God for all of this.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

You tell me
you are beautiful

but then I don’t know
what to say because

I’ve heard that before, it
died like flowers that die.

She had some horses, Harjo says
That licked razor blades. I haven’t

licked any but my mother licked
the toilet bowl in college. and my hand

licked the iron once. Maybe it liked it
maybe did it on purpose when I wasn’t

looking. Almost called my hand a bastard
but she stopped to remove judgment from herself.

Hand is not it not separate and severed
my horses are wild have human heads,

have otter heads because people say
my eyes are too mischievous to be calm

like horse eyes.

Now I have to go write for the academy of up-turned noses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Water Pot Body and Blood.

If God came to earth right now

He would kick some serious ass

and it wouldn't be with the atheists and the homosexuals

___my father said

drying a pot with a clean towel over the kitchen sink.
Us making dinner becomes a ritual
a ceremonial act of wine and beans
drawing of warpaint and dijon under
our eyes

on our cheeks in geometry patterns
help us stomach
with memories
the food in our bellies
the food in the underbelly of our minds.

Feet pounding concrete paths
let me stop touch the dew
resting on gentle leaves and taste
I am crossing paths with water,
_____crossing foreheads with the mark of chosen people.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who You All Are to Me.

I circle my wagons to my chest, these
pioneering people of mine in the center
surrounding white star flowers eaten by our cattle

their mouth's circular chewing
of grass and of hay
thinking metaphysical thoughts

or simply about the sun's rays
the heat beating through to their hides,
about their fly-swatting tails.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

To My Future Self.

There was a time when I walked everywhere
when I didn’t scrub floors on the side
and was afraid of men with deep voices.
A time when I didn’t wear thirty SPF sunscreen
or cut up your pasta for you.
A time when my parents sent me off
into the world

with a letter to open on the plane

Mom, she asks, what happened—
and I have no response
except to tell her, to warn her
not to change too much or choose
too much or lose too much of your key

a dash of asphalt, a sprinkle of old shoes
newspapers that rustle inky blues into the air
on clean Sunday mornings at the breakfast table.
Skip church sometimes, I tell her
drink too much wine at night
sometimes and poke fun at the priest’s
funny hat

Listen to me
when you shouldn’t;
that’s when what I say is real honest and dark scary
my advice comes in thunderstorms and breezes.
So when I cut your pasta with fork and knife
open your eyes wide.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beloved and Me: Response to T. Morrison.

oh Lord girl
he tells her, looking through the curvilinear lines
her holes and gaps, the worms in the rotten, wet wood.
The pan smokes on the stove and he says

Oh Lord

she eats what she can,
lives when she can
but has never loved since she was stolen away,
since her milk and honey was taken from her and all but
dried up in her veins

but without burden, curved breasts are held
one piece of the fabric of her skin
lifts them to the light
she lets up already, breathes.
When their twined holistic hands unite her to her body

He has a way of making the women cry into quilts

of making her cry the way
he loves, white-knuckled and cradling her
the way her mother should have
the way her father should have
the way she tries to for herself

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Potential Dust Bowl

On Sunday it dripped water
from the sky faucets in the
upper dome above. The father who watered
the garden below made fruit
rooted deep in humid chocolate earth.
What will we eat with the first layer of
topsoil leaves the bedrock without moist blanket,
walks away?

Will we eat each other, small pets——
or perhaps eat books with mayonnaise
mustard and ketchup?
Send for me by mail and
if you lick the envelope
the postal service will carry you
across fog-filled oceans and fields,
fields with woolen sheep that sweetly reek
of sweat and birth fluids, sour and biting;
I will inhale, eat again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

These Lines Are Gaps.

You live in a small house,
|||/ shared a room with your brother John
who shares your height but
not your personality, glowing
and fading
|||/ dwindling into a hole you keep
|||/ in a gray tin box in your chest.

If you were a woman
you would go plain face
|||/ clean slate
spic span but
you wear no pearls with your plaid and
just curls that you own

curls that you hone each morning
with water an a towel
||||||/ naked and void
in the shower that smells
dark and damp like a man.
That looks like the underbelly of a toenail,
that has walked through grass and dirt and bone.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"What Was Told, That"

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

-Jalalu'l-din Rumi

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Culver. Vulvulate. Cultivate.

I rake the wake, wait—
no, I wake the rake, the bait
bate the wings of hawks, bait the birds
and me too, me three
cause me and you plant seeds
in furrows and billows of the moist cloudy

Dirt is sifted with a sieve in March
because March is the time when yellow shoots
give a holler of life up to the sky, thrust out
perennial heads from the warming ground
till they wither down dead, shelled tuxedo men
with rusty roots.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Waking.

The light shines in at six-thirty, pouring in when he least wants it. When his eyes are closed the tightest, when the sheets are dusky with long shadows, creases picking up darker tones of the blankets. This is when he must rise. Must collect energy, using it like a rope to pull himself out of the comforter. His outline in the navy blue covers mark where he shifted and shuffled during the night, legs twitching, his jaw shifting the lips that dryly moved from side to side. To leave the old bed that sags with aging box springs, found quickly in a friend's garage, the bed he hoisted onto the red bed of his truck.

An expectant hummingbird built a nest outside his bedroom window last week, placing the pea-sized mottled eggs into the nest with care. If he listens closely, he can hear the whirring of her wings. If he listens, he can hear Gina starting her car next door. He can hear the keys jingling in the pocket of her jeans. The denim hugging her curves, the grass wet with dewy sprinklers, her tennis shoes damp from morning fog.

. . . . . .

He is a statue, feet firmly rooted into the slick linoleum, standing in front of the percolator on the formica. Mug held in his slack, limp hand, eyes inanimate and half-closed, he waits in his green cotton bathrobe, hair tousled and smelling of warm sleep. Waits for the deluge of muddy waters.

Ingrained in him, he can't help but know the sucking sound of the water through the coffee grounds, through the filter, sifting down into a carafe that will give him one cup, only to turn cold for the rest of the day. The coffee will sit, waiting, waiting to touch the bottom of another empty mug; it will wait with nitrates to water the basil and raspberry plants on the patio.

This is how all days begin. Like days on the calendar, he breathes in one breath after another; inhale, exhale, repeat, the slow rattle of his heavy chest sounding like crackling newspaper. I could stand to lose ten pounds, he thinks. I could stand to cut my toenails.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


With each gentle breath, with each shift
of the frame, movement of another kind
takes place.

Momentarily down a path,
a ravine green with watery lace
that falls

should a gust
disturb the light and steady breeze,
here I wander. Here I fall.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Writing in loose iambic pentameter
to gain control of sound, to caress the air.
He read "The Wasteland" and wrote a letter home.

Do we dare descend the stair that leads to nowhere,
into darkness, no hope to spare in the frying pan
save a stick of butter?
I must claim my name, this title mine
with a softened hand.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cloven and Light.

You are everything.
With each dive and turn
scales grow, webs are made
to eat insects and
moss grows slow on wet rocks.

You leap light padded feet
down the steep incline,
becoming the stone
inconsistent beneath you,
but always there. Always.

See the cloven feet
the hooves stubborn,
head following suit. I
am no different than you,
O living heart I chase.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Driven by Grace A. Halliday-Miller. A Page.

Change. Change makes it harder to start something. Like this page. I have an entire blank page to fill up before it's gone and passed.

People pass away like pages, like sheets that I need to clean because mine are dirty. Dirty because birds shit on my car hood. Dirty because I haven't showered in a week.
Well, I have. But sometimes I don't.

Elbows perched to the point where they dig into the table, as if it were dirt, but it's marble, cold hard marble of conglomerate. At one point, the pieces were all tiny tiny rocks that my baby feet stepped on. Now they make contact with another part of me, a part of me that isn't ready to think of baby me.

I will begin this paper with gusto till I gradually disappear in the writing. Till my skin cells shed off on your wool sweater. Till I don't exist anymore except my marrow.

My body is made up of little more than a few things. I exist because of coffee, eggs and wine. Water and osmosis of what I am, soaking in the rain as I walk, but cotton kills so I change out of my wet shirt into a drier one. Not that dry. Not that clean. But enough so that I can fall asleep in it, underneath the quilt. Unless I open the window I sweat, and hear the light breathing of her across the room, mumbling her dreams into my open ears.

I go to school to get smart. Perhaps I'm not smart yet. Street smart, most definitely not. First, we need to start a street gang, rob old ladies' purses of dog treats and candy, become rich, and split the spoils. If we ran the road, there's no telling what would happen; perhaps I'd go to jail or run away from home.

If I were an African bride, I would not hold a chicken in my fist, but a sunflower that pointed toward the sun and bright orange moon. You are an orange moon that reflects the light of the night, street lamps and stars. But now a brainstorm must fall on the earth.

Bits of gray matter that collect in rain barrels, providing fuel for crops and bitter soil. Bitter soil and root that have not seen honey in many moons. Vitamins far better than in pill form.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Like Pavlova.

The fingers. The tooth. The nail.
Foot patterns that sound of running hail.
Maybe more, or not. Go ahead,
dissect me.

The arching back. The skyline a graceful neck.
I'm no wreckage so
sound out the plosives with caution.
Pronunciation pure,
kiss my freckles.


"The voice. The handwriting. The gait.
Maybe the smell of my hair.
That's all. Go ahead,
resurrect me."

-Vera Pavlova
"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."

-E.L. Doctorow

Living Elements/Filaments.

No one I know likes wearing socks to bed

except my grandma who doesn't mind,
even wears a cranberry house coat
since I was little and
doesn't remember
what time it is
what time it was
how thick my skin is
or what year it is.

She doesn't know what kind
of jello she likes or when she
last took a shower, but
she knows that something isn't right.
The fruit flies whisper it to her and
so do the lumps in her gravy.
A light that has seen Edison
in the shop making filaments,
World Wars One and Two and Three rumble in

a stomach that has been hungry
since the depression,
is loosing itself
from the attic in the Cherry Street house,
losing the effervescent glow
that my mother knows of
that my mother and aunt hold on to
until it is time to turn off
the attic light
and walk down to their living below.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Early Rain.

If I am awake it is only because
the rain is so loud
the drains are so full
and these four walls
make a hull of a house.
If I am awake, it is because

my comforter is not made of geese
softness, but hides wafts of my
sighs in the creases, lets my toes
wiggle in the deep darkness
at the foot of the bed.
This sleepy head needs to rock

herself down on the choirs
of muted falling rainclouds,
mist and fog, to retire regardless
of the wooing of harbor boats,
the migrating southward flock,
home with paper-thin walls or not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pie Day.

My mother made pies,
clean cherry pies that lay
copacetic by
the blackened coffee
in the burnt clear orb
of the diner pot.

Every evening
she wrote on napkins,
humming them at dusk,
gray-blue eyes twinkling
in the rose gloam-time.

She self-confident
in my small child eyes
opened the windows
for fresh air, for breath,
only to close them
when our voices rose
above propriety.

The pitted cherries
formed to my fingertips,
squeaky thimble fruits
licked off by my baby tongue.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beachie Migrates.

North swims down the coast but when it passes away and dies,
North migrates again. Look, leaving the porch are its two girls
one old
one not, following the flow of the dry path leading
to the hollowed hull of the barren tire swing tree. See,

the blushing light leaves make a low percussive soundtrack
to the shuffling of gravel and grass beneath old sneakers,
beneath a frame so old, so frail, it needs the crook of my
much younger arm, silver with a light layer of sweat. Yet

she is not mine to own but mine to love;
We share her fingernails and narrowed bone and marrow,
her sun glow skin and her rolling voice of ocean waves
that stirs up pebbles at the bottom of the family shore.

Where have you gone and why do you hide behind the phone
behind returned envelopes
stamped, behind yourself?
I will sit on a worn sofa holding you until you leave me,
until we fly migratory-style like geese into the morning,
knowing the door is never closed but open

and look, see.
My doorbell works, and we peck lips through the screen.
It has been too long; shadows out on the porch wait to
come inside where it is cool.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Tree Line.

Walk beyond the tree line,
even if the sun scorches
your fragile tender skin—
the roots and branches thin,
burning the smell of pine into the air with
spring and summer whipping through my hair.

Burn, dodge, and bury me
in the darkened patches of shade,
under trees, lumberjack trees,
the umbrellas for my ashes
in needled acid ground,
wildflowers round my dusty head.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brother It.

This is how it is,
it being something
that isn't vague,
that isn't nothing,

it that I can touch
with its rounded stony edges
and smooth gray gradient,
fading into the black background of night.

IT outside myself like a tumor
sitting on the front stoop,
a hardened jelly bean, a whitewashed child with a
too-pleasant face for a boy
not smiling with eager teeth,
but with lips and hair that has never
have never been rumpled

you use the wisps of it in essays
for fear the concrete
will be colored with neon chalk
by abnormal children, like me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"If survival is an art, then mangroves are artists of the beautiful: not only that they exist at allsmooth-barked, glossy-leaved, thickets of lapped mysterybut that they can and do exist as floating islands, as trees upright and loose, alive and homeless on the water."

Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The plane
oh no
flew into the tree
from the porch where we sit
but came out the other side without injury
to either
and I sigh relief.

This didn't
happen with
towers when
I was a little
girl, only ten.
Well, probably
fourteen. The
news came on
and they said
Nothing Like This Will Ever Happen Again.

Just like that,
in capitals, tall,
with holes in the
letters, the vowels,
for people to
jump through as
they flame on.
To flame on with
papers flying,
because I wanted
to skydive before
I died but not like
Not cut in half, not
with eyes so wide
the blues are bluer
and the ground is
harder, looks harder
than when my knee
ate gravel falling from
the ladder trying to
get onto the roof.
I was nine but now,
now I'm no longer
that excited age.
I fly because I have to.

Testing Performed on Limerick.

There once was a girl from Milwaukee
who wanted to play some throat hockey.
So she took a pass
from the puck, but poor lass,
sock in mouth, woke up from a dream
most rocky.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sandpaper Tongues and Chewing Gum.

Sitting in her chair
she stopped
and thought about how
a black person had never
touched her hand or

never touched her ever.
She chewed her gum, gnashed
up and down,
spicy cinnamon, looking,
watching the girl's
dark brown and leathery hands

spread out to her
half moon nail beds that
hid the pink underbelly
of her palms.
Sitting, she hoped for
the turn of a shoulder
or the shuffle of a page,

or for their arms
to accidentally brush
against the other
like a dry brush
to a dry canvas or desert.

The plaited hair girl became water
for parched tongues
that scratched all
surfaces they licked,
sandpapers spongy and needy
clinging on to her, leeches.
They wanted something
other than blood.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nobody Gonna Beat Me at Nothin.

What has she told him
I wonder?
Apple cores and
empty tasses and
justification letters of
blank whiteouts with
specks of pepper?
Letters of It's Over and I'm Done.

You can tell me what it means but
God knows that I'd be a Virginia
and write on not knowing
an eekaleek of Greek.
Apple skins
like fine pores of faces
like that Talking Heads song,
seeing faces in movies.

Looking up behind you,
blue people smiling
or crying—
dying inside for the protagonist.
Faces in movies
that sometimes get out of focus
if the film knob gets bumped
or if the baby-faced kid filming it
just got out of film school.

Movie babies,
all of us, really.
I don't know what I'm doing
and neither does my father
who's been at his job
for twenty-five years
and counting.

When they knit me
in her womb
they didn't know
what they were doing
with the sperm and such
and neither will I.
I'll fumble my tackle.

Our fibrous cords make no sense
and yet we are strings of human.
But how? People float up from
Bach and Rachmaninov notes
sounding beautifully horrible and frightening
and the like,

stork seeds that are watered by piano notes
of my mother taking lessons
and my kicks punctuating her belly
with each wrong note.

I have read all your
uncommon readerly faces
that I have yet to know
and that are not mine
for who can own a face?

If she ate apple blossoms
her cheeks would turn red
fit to explode.
They were pretty
so she ate them
stamen and pistil and all
and felt bees wanting her,
thrumming around her head.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Movement, Maybe Hydrology.

Movement is
what it does
which often is not much.
The slow-and-languid sand
slides through the hourglass hands
sans any speck of care, as gravity
drags it down
down till it
actually is a river
a ribbon of rapids
or a flash flood
in an Incan cave system,
hollowing out the limestone
and carving, deleting away
etched out battle scenes
and pictures of pregnancies,
labor given to my
great great
who wore braids
and left her family
to be adventurous and
marry a settler.
Movement is
what it does.
Often it does too much.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jazz Auntie.

I tell you, she should sing
indigo blue notes
under neon at night
in a green dress too tight
that cut off circulation
damn worse than those
jailhouse whale bones.

so stunning that Columbia
could only press records—
we could only press typewriter keys
and flash buttons to hold her down.
The press never officially got a statement.

She can’t be our grandma
or even twice-removed auntie
but like hell did she glide
out from the curtain,
like foggy condensation
down the highball,
the melting ice cubes
playing hillbilly spoons
round and round the bottom
of the cheap clean glass.

But we weren’t there, so we don’t know.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We Are On Hinges.

Our brains from the inside
can’t open very wide at all
with hinges made of shattered glass
that creak down long dark halls.

You’d like to take a rag
to wipe the rancid smell off;
the odor like a pungent bag of
rot and dirty corpse-like moss.

Do you see it in the shadows
of heavy contrast canvasses
or in a gold-flung open window
through the crevasse
of a locked keyhole?

Stomp through irreverent mud,
my dear
but please be good.
Pixie dust there is none.
God, please let there be one.

Your full dirty self may clot
and paralyze the right side
held close like an atrophied hand,
hoping all can make and can rock
rock your hands asleep,
putting to bed
the party you’d find if you opened
every one of our heads.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which I Attempt a Splash of Rhyme and a Bit of Emotional Longing for the Mating Season.

If only there could be
some small thing
to which the two birds
outside my window sing their song;
them full-throated thrushes
by the wood pile,
by the shed out back
covered in dead autumn brushes
and fire red leaves of Indian paintbrush
that break and shudder
when I touch,
worship them.
They beg you to come back.

Gentle this gloaming breeze be,
so how can it stir
so violently at night,
keeping news of what it keeps
behind jail bars of
terrorized mountain ice—
what does it keep to itself?
Pinnacles of homemade craggy crowns,
razed glacial thrones of kings,
looking down with hollowed eyes and
purpled fingers mottled from the cold.
How quickly all hallowed lays waste.

A movement, a stirring gust,
a ghost has flown its coop
maddening evermore within me,
this spectre haunts,
frightening the cat on the stoop
and the baby in the cradle
that was sleeping not two minutes before.
I search in shadowy closets,
through open doors,
pockets of moth-eaten coats
and rusty books
but come back with empty hands.
They are long and drawn in
with fine pencil
not now harmed,
only untouched.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On Reading Alexie.

There are, many, is.
There is sweat and blood and tears and
a hole full of a lot of other things, full
and pregnant secrets buried under earth.

I play basketball and go to the bar
and grow a basketball belly.
I eat nothing of consequence
but bread and canned meat
words of people
that huddle close together then scatter,
fly away,
come back to sit on the porch
and want my help.

But we and things are dry.
Hair strands blow away
at a finger touch.
Twigs snap and
grass is only green
right by the river
that barely moves itself.

I have to try to wake it up;
is it sleeping?
If I poke it with a stick it might become a snake
or a turtle in a shell
that would live if I went to the pet store
and got it crickets.

Instead the swing set squeaked its
hinged and rusted and iron-tasting
in the air,
slow bounce of playground balls carried
on the cracked out easterly winds.
The river dried up around late August and I cried.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rewrite of Finding the Best Poem in the World.

Once there was a rumor
of the best poem in the world.
No one had ever seen it,
save the old sage who sat at home
and did nothing
but read books and pet his cat,
stroking the cat’s dark fur
by candlelight and oil
into early hours, to the constant
metronome of the clock
in the long hallway with faraway shadows.

The poet had presented the piece
to the sage when they both were young, and
there it laid on the gilt table,
sheets fluttering in the wind
from the nearby open window.

The sage pulled a soft stone
from out of a drawer
to hold the words in place.
Gray and smooth,
the rock rested
at peace on the lines
without crushing them.
No tea stains or ink smears
or broken arms.
Just a stone,
lightly at rest
on the milky white sheets
with Indian black cursive
in swirling strokes of constancy.
The sage cradled the young words
with the utmost care.

How can you write something
so lovely,
so intimate
as a woman peeing?
The way her dark curls of hair
descend into the toilet bowl
ringlets of lichen on a tree—
the earthy sound of a miniature stream
from a body that will die.
Her corpse cannot resurrect
like a little glacial spring after snow melt
but can free itself as
a leaf of creamy paper on the wind.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cold Coffee.

The light separates from the dark
and writes lines round the mug,
etched cursive on porcelain
coats cups in mouse-colored waves,
swirls with no order
milk splotches like the cow
it came from.

Brown and white delight
melange in an eggshell cup
cold brown coffee
with teat-squeezed cream.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Quietly. Stillness envelops us evermore
—hushed transparent children hiding—
with warm fingers and prying, exhumes
ancient oaks and cedars that lived
when I came from my mother’s womb.

This shuddering mossy room
vibrates with each step taken;
so tread sprite-lightly, feet soaring
and with footsteps awaken
the sleeping giant waiting to bloom
beneath earthen crust and core.

This earth will be my tomb:
yours too; you cannot run, cannot fly
from your end, for it is decided and written
in stone and river beds long dry.
Thus saieth the forest floor.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Smart Milk.

Wrinkled peas,
smooth peas.

Tall men,
short men.

White milk,
chocolate milk.

The coated proteins make the milk in your glass
go down cold and smooth,
traveling to your ass-and-gastric system.

When milk evolved in the cow's stomach,
it knew that it needed to become chocolate
in order to be more desired.
And everyone, even milk,
wants to be desirable.

then white milk is smarter milk.
It knows that little children
won't drink it.
So chocolate milk and ice cream
must have come from
the dumbest cow in the world,
walking into its own trap of natural selection
on the dairy and frozen food isle.

The Escaped.

hensure as in
D.H. Lawrence and his lovers
who probably played
word association games
into wee hours.
Love is to sex as
honey is to ink.
If I'm a caterpillar
my eyelids, your eyelids, are butterflies
gliding upstream on exotically woven sheets
imported, found
in the bazaar on Piccadilly
and bought from a dark-haired
heavily accented Persian mother,
distracted by a slight and slightly psychotic
man rattling his coffee in its ceramic
mug muttering scrambled words
to himself.

But he and she
did not think of such things
as they touched with such
that required no censorship,
making their own words
in speech bubbles
that float violently to the ground.

I do not write of his eyes
or of her teeth--
they, chance are, will never speak
to one another after tonight.

All she looks at are his hairs
on the nape of his neck, the pears
of his rounded shoulders taught,
catching up to her
quicksilver wit and
cheeky tongue.
She is a pear, too,
but a young and clean one.
A slendering fruit child.

Her dimples grace her lower back,
glowing a speckled hue.
He inserts delicate commas
and periods into their hushed phrases
giving the possibility of a purpose.

All my work,
he said,
has been banned.
Lady Chatterley has taken a lover,
the cock has flown the coop,
and his plumage, fire too bright
for the editors and critics,
has frightened his own writer.

To do the frightful,
he closed his eyes
and let his wayward hand
commit the criminal
the shaping of their shadows
behind doors
flung open and
breezes sweeping over
the stuffed air to let in a--
a sight and heave of a lightened chest.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We Are Devil's Food.

Take off the cracked coat and
release a flock of geese
from underneath my breasts.
The cotton,
full of moth hole-y threads
bare faces with light pink lip,
dry and touching
another pair that are not.

They sit on separate twin beds—
eyes nervously wide
glinting daggers
in the blue night.
Their hearts beat
to the rhythm of pond frog,
to moon shadows cast
on ancient silvery birch bark
on quilts made
during the Depression.

Rainbirds now birds
ratchet away,
their whirr dragged through
the languid open window
into open impatient ears.
Ratchet away
till dirt is ruddy velvet melting
devil’s food
under sleeping street lamps.
Miniature thundershowers
make a peaceful apocalypse
for infant spider embryos
under the power of automated sprinklers
that have never cared if centipedes drown
or not.


There was a dying woman
with androgynous baby in a crumbling house.
Found a white plastic bathtub, freestanding,
the stairs slanting toward me
so I clumbered backwards
as well as upwards
to the balcony precariously
leaning into the rubble streets.

She, wispy
demanded of her tenants
rules and payment from the off-hinged open
closet door where she lay on the floor
at the base of the sea foam green stairs
with the baby maybe breathing
on her heart.
A sign told the hours I could stay
the people that were not allowed
and the unwelcome that had been
blasted into her.

There may have been an earthquake
or a political uprising;
there was no home
in my dream
save lone tub
and in reality

perhaps neither has she.

Friday, February 26, 2010

In Response.

I often don't know what I'm going to write about when I start. The pen will generally fight with my mouth or head. In fact, I shout at the pen. Not literally. Proverbially. Jesus said proverbs that made absolutely no sense to anyone except to Jesus. The point? Was there one? God better not have told stories to Him/Herself. This would make me furious. Or just slightly peeved.

I become easily frustrated with myself and others lately. And the more I write, the more I realize this really is a journal entry. You should appreciate the frankness and candor with which I speak. In fact, I keep writing EYE EYE EYEYEYEYE statements all over the hellish world, discussing myself and what EYE think and what EYE feel, not EWE.

How are you? Are you eating an orange? The library is quiet, and my friend is far away. She is doing alright, as am I. What if we were both WONderful? It would be fairyland and sprinkles on the cupcakes of the world. Hopefully there would be chocolate cake. There is juice in the dirt that I want to drink, and I've taken to the habit of tasting the bark on trees, and feeling the texture of twigs beneath my thumb and forefinger. Rub rub rubbing the rubles of the trees the gems that not everyone sees but only a select few. Grandmother oak and maple perhaps knight three of us each year in approval.

I worry that no one else does anything, thinks anything like this. Then how will the two of us get together and climb trees and make love and babies forty years down the road? How will we storm Washington and pirate Her Majesty's navy? Your aura is purple and where are all my friends... When I tell people I love them I mean it, but I'm so damn uncomfortable, because I'm worried it's not reciprocal like the red flower that hugs the hood of my car.

This might be nonsense.

Good Posture in Times of War.

Trying so hard,
He prints the letters
on stationary
with fake green grass and tulips
printed on the top.
The way he holds the pen
with that awkward posture
akin to the curvature of his back
bent over since he got back
from the war.
Since I can remember when.

Framed in the light
of the window,
lamp desk and typewriter
on the right of the room-
The red painted room,
two shades of optimism lighter
than the blood of young men
oblivious of consequence.

They ignite engines
and jaywalk all the crosswalks.
Ride to war.
Nothing will happen
but come back a hero
having fought against somebody,
against yourself,

Everything tastes like potatoes and rice.
Nothing is clean anymore.
Everything smells like metal and rotting dirt.
My lips are dry and I grease them with axle
like they did on the Oregon Trail
and died from hemlock and perhaps incest
to find the Promised Land.
But I'm alive
I think.
I send you letters
but tear up each one
deliberately, working hard
and slowly run out of ink.

Anticipate the day
when we can be together again
whetted clay, squelching and
turning on the wheel, on the tree swing
touched by a whispering translucent rain.
Your graceful body off the train,
my weakened muddy frame uproots itself
to you-
You to whom I sing-
becoming strong.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


nothing distinct came
to a place of nowhere
outlines in questions
written in eight point font.

you were to give a human being
the right
the right to fight or lay down
their right hand
for the things transcendent
for the life not yours
for the soul that might not exist
in rainbows and rocks,

would you do it?
Would you take down their two feet,
the toenails off
one by one
and make a necklace from the teeth?

You do not know where you are.
This is no longer our territory.
The sea swallowed up
the lighthouse
and our little yellow boat
so go, you must swim to shore.
I don't know how to swim.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


If I were a fly
I would make love
to steak on counter tops.
I would see through
millions of tiny hexagons
and in black and white,
to avoid swats
and bats of the hand.
My companions would lay their eggs
in garbage cans
or in flower beds
pinpricks of white in the
vast and ominous expanse

One solitary moon of myself
one oval ova
lies in a bird's nest
hidden among twigs
and leaves,
furrows of brown and green
in the tree tops.


The open field
unfolds like a letter
coming out of a cream
envelope stamped and sealed,
fibrous like hay bales
and warm sweet waving grasses.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I wish I knew who I just wrote about.

She's a solid trunk with roots that dig with shovel fingers. She finds the water deep down.

Weaving baskets from her hair, she anticipates rain with the wet fog, the surrounding crowd of gray mist that settles like smoke on the ground.

Should I make a fire, she wonders?

The porch lets her sit for hours at rest on slightly damp pants that didn't make it through the first dry cycle in the machine. And it's too wet and cold for them to air dry. The red rocking of the chair squeaks approval at the quiet sound of ocean waves on the roof shingles. The moss cushions the drops of rain plummeting to earth. Green pincushions they are, welcoming them from the sky, rain babies sliding down the backs of bark brown slugs.

A rain barrel sits underneath the eaves as she gathers her jacket around her. The damp comes into her body without warning--it isn't that cold--as it does in the bone-chilling way of days completely saturated with all things golden gloomy. A small stream trickles down the wooden railings into the barrel, a newly made mountain spring from glacier melt. She wants to be in the forest behind her little cabin, but wonders if mudslides are a danger.

The rickety floor is slippery wet, covered with a carpet you can't find at a store. And besides, the nearest store is ten miles away down the gravel road.

She sighs, inhaling her first deep inhalation in a long time. The small leaves on the huckleberry bushes groan under the weight of gathering droplets, heaving precariously in front of her eyes. The round leaflets are delicate as mouse ears, beaten gently by the rain. They drink up the caught droplets with the morning, but until then, the mice hide in hollowed out rotting red logs and holes in the ground hidden underneath pine brush.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rewrite of "The Litle Match Girl"

There is a house that I know of--
The fence blew away in the windstorm last spring.
Frigid blue chipped paint
Howling of freezing rain.
It holds us inside with its nails,
Its walls made of newspaper.

Gray gusts, opaque and tired
Became a thin white woman whose water broke,
Tormented the battered porch, bruised
And knocked on the front door with windy daggers.

He held us tightly, little baskets of dead twigs
With glowing eyes of wise old men,
Tightly against his chest without muscle
Ribs and fingers with no bone.

I watched him cry for the first time.


Hesitant poised paws overtop
with pink pads
that just walked
through dew.
Wise, wise woman
looking through the front window
not knowing how to get through
the glass at the outside
inhibit caught and sit
inside in a rose-worn chair
and stringy silver elegant hair
pulled up and withered
looking for water
that is in puddles outside.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dog Star.

Dog star, you howl at the moon and not an evening too soon, for your master forgot to give you the cheese from the fridge promised you each Sunday night at nine oh clock. It is the night he plays poker in steamy bars in August. The night he smokes cigars and tips too much to high school burnouts for watered down drinks.

Make it summer again. Take the cirrus and shambles away to the time when little brother swang with me in the hammock at pink salmon dusk streaked with highlights of eighties eyeshadow blue. The sky sang.

Little Brother picked a clean, clear bowl of ruddy warm raspberries that mirrored the sky. The brown-green rows of berry bushes had multiplied with the years, growing like weeds, their tiny pricks giving him a gathering incentive. Calling out behind the whirs of the SunBird, I heard my name shouted. Come and sit with me, it called. Come outside.

Arms guarding from the flies and mosquites, we sat and listened to the end of the day. At first, no breeze, but with time, one spoke softly to us, bringing poems I had planted in the hollow oak tree.
Dying. Well, almost. The sound of the world would wake again in the morning as it had done the day before; now it was tired.

The patio voices dimmed. The older gentleman who lived behind us puttered on his porch. He pretended not to look over the dwarfed wooden fence and through the screen door. A poodle could jump over that fence. His eyes were bird-like and used, milky white like his hair and the milkman. He is all human, all man woman and child, putting on a hard worn cap and going inside to listen to the radio. Prairie Home Companion, probably. Everybody loves the gravelly sound of Garrison Keillor once they hear it. Although we have never met I am sure we would be greatest of friends. His grandmother and mine were best friends when dirt was invented at the beginning of time. I have a photo album of them playing in a wading pool, one summer just like this.

A rusting green truck grumbles in neutral outside waiting for a young girl in a summer sundress to meet her date in the driveway, as she brushes humidity out of her hair.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Other Side.

Your mind is void--
devoid of substance.
You have become
a bridge
crossing the icy crevasse
to fresh grass blades
that watch red ants
play with black dirt
on the other side.

We become dust
minute particles
catching sun
through window panes
glistening up through
rusting sink drains
overflowing with melting snow
and too much rain.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Little Match Girl.

Gardens identical--
same as my neighbor and theirs, too
all turned silver with downpour.
Walls hold us inside
with nails and shakes and newspaper.

Once, a dark wind
brought opaque clouds,
blew down blackened vines;
it killed windows and doors till none were left.

You held us tightly
against your chest
a body with no muscles or ribs,
your wrenching fingers sponges without bone.

Here I watched you cry for the first time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yuma, Arizona.

After Preston died, they sat round on the floor on the carpet with grainy Country Time lemonade. It was late at night and the warm desert breezes would gently rap on the door and let themselves in. The stories were too good for them to eavesdrop.
They would laugh about Grandpa, the one I only knew in a wheelchair; apparently he was love. He never was too bright, but he was solid love. They all loved him, and sat in a cross-legged dilapidated circle passing the piece pipe of tall tales.
“Remember all those times he fell off the roof?” Aunt Willy would say. Guffaws erupted into crying. And I, sitting on the sofa, my soft little eyes tracing the faces of my predecessors, announced the coming of my bedtime with a large yawn. What were they talking about, I wondered? White curls and footie pajamas punctuate the event in my memory. Punctuated with photographs passed over my tiny legs to my mother on the right, my father on the left.
Once late at night, Grandpa got up from his bed after hearing scuffles from underneath their house in Baker, Oregon.
Grabbing a flashlight and shovel, he made his way to the crawlspace and discovered a possum. No sense of squeamishness in his bones, and every ounce dedicated to the task in front of him. Grandpa Preston killed it with a solid hit by the shovel.
And—because it was crucial to my Aunt’s story—Grandpa didn’t leave the possum outside, but brought it in to show my Grandma, holding it inches from her peacefully sleeping face.
“Flo! Look what I found!”
But now he was gone.
Grandma would spray the air ferns held in kitsch glass bowls, telling me how life needed less water to grow in the desert. Spritzing away, she let the water melt onto the pumice stones that cupped the tiny droplets. I gazed in wonder. Life in the desert was arid like Grampa Preston’s cracked lips that smacked with a pink tongue after a dinner of dry meatloaf and crumbling potato.
When the sun danced onto the wood paneling of the trailer bedroom, I would wake up and look out at the front veranda. Mermaid the dog slept on the orange couch, all fuzzing and pilling up from the love and conversation over the years. The neighbors across the way had a lemon tree and grandma took my hand as we picked lemons from a ladder. Incredible how lemons could grow in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a trailer park in Yuma, Arizona. Did these old people water the tree with a spray bottle like my grandma watered her air ferns?
This is why old people move to Arizona, I thought, so they dry up instead of turn into puddles when the rain falls down. We waved goodbye to the nice couple, he with oversized sunglasses and she with pink trouser pants, holding our bag of lemons.
This is when my grandma began to forget to pay the bills.