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.