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.