Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday tree.

You are my
this is my
my pretty plastic
blue boat that
I got
for my day
of birth.
Here it is.

They thought
I was a
boy, but I
was not. I
did not need

My grandma, she
had a dream
of me, one night.
I was a girl.
I am a woman.

She gave me
a tree, a birthday
tree, red japanese fingers,
spindly leaves that land,

still bluster down
to the dry grass
behind my parent's house.
The root ball
is too large to move now.
Only twenty-two,
it lives in its grave.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

His problem

It wraps around all
wrapped around his
hard too
grips it
with a force,

caresses the groin
all muscle
tail and sinew
body not
to mention

black eyes.

Therein lies

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I am from the two children

kissing in the basement

underneath hallelujahs

and choirs,

and warbling sopranos

with pink nails.

I am from you, from the deep red

of you, from the caves of your heart

that wanted me,

that kept me.

From the asbestos to the linoleum,

I am from the basement and the bed,

from your jeans that widened,

from your hair that whitened,

from your arms still strong,

smelling cold cream.

I am from the maple tree

that was doomed to fall

but never did. The tree lost

a limb, soft wood inside,

drops damp leaves, is

a raccoon bed at night.

Its voice is the ocean

in autumn windstorms.

I am from mourning,

from celebration,

from bowls of cereal spilled

on the floor and crunched underfoot.

I ate, I destroyed,

and you cleaned the floor

with a wet cloth.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I were to give grace;

if I were to do that

that thing

that thingy-thing that

may seem a bit silly

to closed and chilly me,

that would help you,

I think.

You, curled into a C.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When I lay me down
to sleep, maybe forever, found

in dark blankets, pillows,
folds of skin around me

do I know what lurks where
I can't go, down there in that moist place?

And what if it's no more
than a salamander, some slime, or

stink I've seen many times before?
If not forever, let me rest

till I'm better, at my best,
my head lain quiet on your chest.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bea is a woman and

I mean WOH-man

with curves aplenty,

with vast pants and

vast plans.

Her kitchen floor

is cleaned by me,

thanks be to a check

where she writes my name

down, still misspelled.

Down the shelves,

dust bunnies hop into cloth

suiciding at the smell of lemon:

Bea, I pledge to keep

your books to shine.

Evident she reads:

I spell out down the line

with titles like

Sensual Massage and

matching CD, Understanding

Your Fibromyalgia,


God, My Name is Red,

Three by Annie,

every poem Collins wrote,

people he read,

dead people, sick people.

When we first began

she told me, Once a month,

she dates someone,


Through the internet.

Come later this Sunday.

Chris and I like to sleep in

on Sundays.

Her back door unlocked

I make sure to knock

in case they are naked,

full and waking.

This morning her man

walked out without,

de-shirted, left tiny hairs

on the bathtub tiles, and

her laugh was round.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fearing Dark.

sometimes I look at wooden boards,
the siding, ripped by wind
chipped off by dried bird shit.
In the dark the marks are invisible.

The city dims. So do voices:
they recede into ivy plants
the green turned a deep navy blue,
shiny. Maybe Benny the homeless
rock man polishes them in daytime

In the wee hours they shout
into our iron-wrought window:


what is he saying? Is he crazy?


I pick deep, black berries,
hundreds of them, that disappear
with disappearing fragments of sun,
until the thorns hide rustles of raccoons
and shadow people drinking beer.

I wake up in the morning, fall asleep
at night. It is the only thing to do.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Julienne, Naked.

You're a bitch, julienne,
with your face
braced for the worst
you squeeze the wurst
out of me.

You're a witch, julienne,
waltzing away
all my hard-earned
creative juice,

You're a snitch, julienne,
slicing the knife
down my finger,
lingering at the taste
of fine blood.

One day I'll pacify you,
make love to
you on the counter.
Right now, all I do
is dice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rough Draft.

River is wide and
water knee deep, she said.
So deep, it looks black sometimes.
Nothing rhymes with sometimes
unless we rhyme it with itself.
Like a whirlpool. Over again.

One time, my father almost died
in water, before I was born.
I hadn't worn my fabric into the pink quilt
of my mama's red womb, but he knew
of me, and so did others.
Collective, we know.

He gave me jars of water
and now I make it slosh round till the
insides drown, flooding my stomach
quick as it came in. The water
moves rivers through me.
See it on the floor,

falling through the cracks,
the boards, seeping the earth
it stands on. It is good medicine.

This lady tells me bye pretty mama,
but I'm not anyone's mama. Still,
I dance to a song I can't hear.
She wore djembe earrings.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Serious Man.

If I were to write something serious

if I were to ever do a thing

like that

it would be to make note of the fact

that I've never seen you comb your hair,

more of how it roars

around your serious face

and purrs down each night

into deep pillow creases.

Monday, June 27, 2011

not sure where this was going.

we are four:

four pairs of feet, the

occasional callous or blister

where one sits

on the sidewalk of her watch

watching it all

the gravel skidding,

tires, eroding.

one stands

up for her rights like

her boss man told her not to and

another stands

o she stands, with fists pumping

legs burning

a fire building

behind the bricks of what she sees;

one screams

with a wide pink tongue,

profligating the word of the future

the words found hidden

in bread crusts,

in dust crumbs

in wainscoting, job hunts.

I cut off all their crusts today

garnished the air with them

tried to drown it in beschamel

and whisked the dried skin away,

watching it fall

onto the shoulders of my sweater,

into the pan of melted butter and rue.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not never not
no matter how you are
you are never a ghost,

not to me. Light skinned
opaque, the sun can't see
through you. You are

stolid oh solid one. Please don't go
ghostly, go into mossy wisps
receding to the woods.

Hold my hand instead.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bloom, rest there

Bloom, rest there,

simple and soft, sink down

with petals open for my neighbors to see;

the flower on the balcony

wearing no clothes but its stamen

staining the skin under my nose, brushing

its fair white hair, damning me to hell

each hole I bore through the swell

of those five fingers stretching, bending

in the stillness, in the breeze.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My fathers, there are three of them;
they put on coats
every morning but Friday,
they are fools in slack pants, jeans.

They put on their charcoal coats
the color of campfire,
holy fools in slacks and jeans,
their hands withered, drowsy, tired.

They become charcoal
each year more dried,
flames lick hands so soft,
curling inward for the night.

My fathers are shriveled more
each year, more salt and pepper hair
on hands enflamed and withered old.
They dance inside their lair.

More salt on the potato, on the hair.
With nerves alight, on fire,
they dance inside their lair,
my fathers, walking a tight rope wire

in graying coats and jeans.

Elementary Desire

Her cheese, an electric orange,
sparked them jealous.

Cut into sharp squares
collided in a plastic stack

of product. Of kiddie snack that smacked
processed, churned out,

stared at,
thousands and millions of us

wanting, NEEDING a box like that

sugar juice and candy,
sticky ham and cheese.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I've Been Talking with Dmitri and Job

"Glory to the Highest in the world,
Glory to the Highest in me!"

O thee, we keep me from saying these words
lying upward, the ceiling
staring down from its corners
at me, naked and white, ultra neon glowing


Me, not bent or mown down,
but crazy with height, loft,
dizzy till you knock me down
in the dirt. My face wants it,

to smell the smell of rain's father.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Celebrating My 201st Post

Clap your hands, all you
down with Dante who want order, want
a sensitized sentence;

bend your branches, trees
in the forest who cry for chaos,
fall for repentance

like it comes all clean
with lightning, with cloud bellies,
finishing my sentence.

Night Travels Revisited

Here travels the night

breathing a welcome on the ten-o-clock train

its throbbing lit windows, watching

homes with a chair for you,

offered up for you.

There must be a Hank Williams song

playing softly on the piano in that back room,

the tune remembered,

the words mostly gone,

as train tracks drum their clacking teeth,

the murmur of night,

nothing but dark, white noise.

You are drawn to lists:

moths to garish light,

middle-age men to pissant beer

hookers to their electric lipstick

deep in clutch purses,

like cats to cream

and by the time your similes run dry

so do your eyes run wet

with something deep at your burning core:

red hot ash,


a volcano.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Emblazon Me Please.

Blaze me on your jacket,

boy, the little finger tickles you send

up my spine and cerebellum,

they kill old antebellum skirts

in their eager largess. Enough

definitives, stress, unstressed

feet making time and sense

of the nonsense I make.

Why do I wear lace

when I long for rip free denim hardware,

rip-free and non tear

caked in clean brown mud?

See the curving belly roll

each jean fold

the pucker of sultry jean that calls

every hour or two

it asks if you made it home safe

if you need a ride

did you have that other shot of whiskey,

or did you need to stay the night.

Talk softly.

I’ll kiss you on the cheek and tuck you in

The sofa beds down for the night

having loved on people like you.

Here Travels the Night

Here travels the night

whispering some vague welcome to me

through the windows of lit village windows.

Of homes with a chair for me

offered up for me.

There must be an old country song

playing softly on the piano in the back of the room,

the tune remembered

the words mostly gone,

train tracks drumming their clacking teeth

and the whirr 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

hookers to their plastic pink lipstick

in the bowels of clutch purses,

like cats to cream

and by the time my similes run dry

so do my eyes run wet

with something deep at the burning core:

red hot ash,


a volcano.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blank Pond.

My sleepy papa slept on, piecemeal, lightly;
how, when I waited, when I picked up stones
I didn't break his still pond surface, soft and mossy.
He scratched me with his beard all rough, unclean, and gray.
He couldn't bring himself to shave, left himself messy.

And so I tell you, over and over, your face
is open, smooth, deliciously wrought on corners,
a dot-to-dot of spots, freckles here and there
handing me a pebble, to let me in
the algae dark and deep, till I fall.

My eyes, open underwater, see there
an eel,
skeleton fish tails, roaming
orange duck feet treading water,
concrete and naked below the surface plankton.

Monday, March 28, 2011

through Idaho, Colorado.

This is a trip of up and down:
hills, mountains flat and plateau
East to West. Wait,

West to East.

through Idaho, once, a trip
of there and back again,
this time no stout ponies, no

we're in a Volvo this time
gliding over terrain I knew
in the cinema screen I keep
on the back of my skull. This land
had to be, and I see you, but wider.

Hello wide open,
hello barn doors. Frost and froth trees.
Hair that freezes,
makes dusky crystals to break wide open
my heart pouring out in headlight mist
and brights.

Eyes to the tilled earth
slow turn the furrowed chocolate.
It closes its eyes each winter,
whispers away bye and till
the ground bursts spring.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I am a free floater
on the cusp but never in one place
skirting the edges of ponds like dragonflies
avoiding the roots and tubers because
they cling.

Come spring I shed my scalp, my skin
proclaiming to you a sign of all things new
but asking for the same green-eyed answers
at every new year and

now my tattoos are razor sharp
but I fear the day when they will fog over
my bellybutton dandelion fuzz blown off
windmills spinning
anchor unchained
and I reply:
It just is.

Trace them,
she shows ink into inky night.
Space them with your fingers;
I might tell you what they mean
in the darkness
followed by the sound of rain.
If you're lucky. You might kiss my lips, you know.

The world is iron fist
I hope my body becomes a soft cushion
for all I know;
stroke my head, it's a porcupine making love.

Our eccentric mother will reply at the end of the day,
it just is.

Oh for more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We grew from the land of ice
that never froze--
not really.
Trike tires skidding on chilled asphalt
in the way they did,

the rain came indoors,
through basement drains;
water clung to the wet neighbor dog.
Bones were cold and clueless
interior beings curled up close
to one another on soggy sofas.

Now my lips lack moisture,
white ash and dust
shrivel round the red peach skin red
that used to be, but now isn't
save when they bleed in dry smiles.
This could be sweet deliverance.

Friday, March 4, 2011

If I Could Inspire Jealousy.

hey, up there, see that yellow light in the window;
it is he who tells the story
the story of the bear and kai-oat-ee
taking the grain at harvest time.

All of our friends came
to the fireside,
see, and they all gathered round,
told me how much they loved your ways

they loved the way your words made magic
at twilight, among the searchlights
and the birthday of your city.
I don't drink beer to escape

but to get it up, get the story up
get the grasses up and active, working.
If my hair were sage brush
damn, would it smell good,

and men would love me, and women would envy,
want my wampum bracelets and belts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Covers Album.

Naked if I want to, slylike,
I climb up tree drainpipe,
drip honeydew in summer,
sweat down the small of my hide.

And all the moonlight hippie titties,
naked if they want to,
nip off diamond droplets,
disturbing the water

our strings long plucked,
the wind shakes branch buds,
sends browned petals down
to their death, to their drowning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No, I haven't

No, I have not written for some days, with the overcast up ahead,
chilly wind and snowy weather.
It is difficult and words come slow.

The brain has an uncanny way
of being able to hold itself
gray mass pressing outward,

so outer pressure pressing fissures open
encounter innards pushing back
making wet
thwacksmack, whackatasmack

I have not written for some days, but that does not mean my eyes
examine wet mulch any less
than they did last week,

that the green buds are not doing their best
to shed dead skin cells and rejoice
like they did last year

and the year before.
That year was the year bees were going extinct,
at least, the year the press cared.
If I tried to help all the bees
trapped in all my jars,
that love would be volatile.
Now I don't own a single jar with a lid.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I haven't had a sip. I see steam.
Not yet. Until I do
I flirt at the wide eyed little girl,
hand in her pink mouth,
sneakers pointing up from the floor
and out the foggy windows.

Her sneakers have shark teeth on them.
She's cooler than I am.
I don't know why but
the american poetry I read
and the Neil Young they play
are better early in the day;

I read places the I haven't been
into rolling scapes
invading the little shop,
crowding red-eye patrons against walls,
the breezy dry grasses doing their thing
in front of me.

The barista with his tribal tattoo
changes the CD and goodbye:
John Wayne and Neil Young vanish.
Now Bjork complains through the speakers.
Icelandic whining and piled high black
hairdos do music. The people grunt disgruntle.
I note the nearest exits.


I like my land made
not of fire and ice
but of rain and fog
made of misty fabric
that evaporates when it turns corners

A place with piles of wet paperbacks that can't sell
with old Norwegians and Swedes in sweaters
where I kissing your chapped lower lip,
licked up the blood I made.

I like the land to eke outward,
expanding from the earth's core
up and in, out
eating us up because it can,
not because we want it to.

Monday, February 7, 2011

To the Person in the Doorway.

Tonight you look lovely, your stance by the door
ringlets going round unsuspecting freckles
that didn't know but to attach to your face.

Structure you may have,
the iambic lines of your body
carry you up and firm, straight and strong
the shutters to your blue
eyes close their blinds sometimes
open for a few
close shut again
the curl upwards of a brown lash or two,
the brow rippling sand dunes,
making the dotted waves of your ginger skin
unsettled, earth shattering. Quaking, though

I just said hello.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Top Stair

I'm on the top stair.

You're always friendly and maybe
Tyson is on the floor, all brown
and warm

I'm on the top stair
the wooden stairs, oak,
with knots from past lives.
Sometimes we end the stairs in joy.

Mary Oliver buried her kitten.
I bury the past
with its mossy overgrowth
covering my apartment door,

its thrones without dictators,
no kings or queens
but serfs in the field.
My face turns to the sun to feel it

while I knead bread.

But for now I climb the stairs.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Subject of the Ocean

is not dead.
Nor will it ever
The foam is white
all right, take it
and run with it, in your hand
on the land, the tan sand (no, too much rhyming there)

and I hate great white sharks, anyways.

But if I say "thought":
I think, he thinks, you, she, me thinks
does each wave lap
a dog at his water bowl
trying to remember
what you had for breakfast?
my skin is
dry, ashen it hangs on the
papery staying power of itself
to drop flesh off the face
of my face

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taking Leslie Down a Notch.

So that I don't go crazy.
So that I don't assume who she is
where she's been
what she's done,
the men she's done and left
since no one—no, not even I
—admit fully to what has been
behind closed doors.

through the front door of my house.
We invite you to wipe your feet, but

keep the dirt to yourself. Please,
we might break if we heard just

That's why, my dear friend and enemy
watery woman I love to hate
transient as the wind inscribed
into the pages, made concrete:
see my assumptions made hollow, not

Stepping on old sand patterns too
like you, I’m
fucking up, mucking up my words,
sending them raining down in darts.
Please forgive me
and the inadequacy
of my words.

This woman is not my mother
did not feed me her breast,
but Lord what if she had?

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This wall needs staring
stared into it,
good and hard and
using German fricatives,
his mind swears:
there's so much taupe
on these here walls.
Frick. atives.

Don't answer the phone.
Don't do it there
it is again, ringing the
hook off the wall
till the paint chips
chips chip chip chips
and you pick picks pick
them off.

Sometimes I'm so perky
when I talk about
what is me, what color
this wall needs or what
you need, me, sometimes.
It's just as good to get:
get some air.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Neighbors I Won't Ever Bring Cookies To.

What do you see where
you look, straight ahead, when
the lights are light pink against city dark, who
are you tonight, why are you tonight, with me, this one?

Rows of houses are stacked, a color box of waxy crayons
glowing orange, fluorescent blue, grade school glue white
all of us living
on top of one another
like a carton of eggs,
varietal colors

next to one another, each of our shoulders touching ever so closely
feeling the warm breath of our neighbors next door
from underneath the covers
where we play with the fuzz
between our toes.
Here the stories grow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

To Have and Hold.

When she told me of the instability of the night
there was nothing left to do
but to hold

my hands out, red staining the fingertips
dripping onto the sheets
from someone who had stabbed her
not meaning her any harm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This is Sometimes How I Pray.

The pressure, there it hides
in your brain, in your brain
a growing feeling slowly driving you
over quick asphalt on highway 101,
driving you insane.

All that pressure.
All that build-up, they say, hush.
Too much at the nape of the neck.

It's no wonder
he felt the need to go this way
one day in sun-filled ice-chilled January.

It's that time, they say
checking the wrist watches they don't have
on naked arms under cotton.

better get that checked out
tapped out, looked at.
Sometimes this feels like a black grab bag.

Not all hands that stroke shoulder,
press fingerpads into soft wrist skin,
reach out for a body to hold it
mean well.
Just because her skin is warm
doesn't mean her heart is, too.
Now it is a tomb froze over.

When she runs her nails up and down
the fabric of the spine of the woman
icily seated next to her
what does she mean?
Perhaps they are friends.
Perhaps they could kill each other.

Is her victim a scratching post,
a chalkboard
or is her long forefinger spelling into the back
"all will be well tomorrow"?
And will it?

Write in groups of threes for completion,
for the circle to let us breathe,
for the stiffness of her spine up
down to the relaxation of bones deep into the chair
the tension's been gone a few hours
all will be well with my soul.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Solitary Confinement.

Last week I lost my brain in a quiet dark room:
there it is,
in the corner.

When my eyes are gouged out I grope the walls.
No shapes but gradients,
shades of black.
Cracks of light under the door frame.

If midnight could breathe it would sound
like this
pulsing breaths,
A touch wet.
This is the room my mind goes to
while it thinks,
debating when to open the front door
or to wait till next Tuesday.