Monday, November 16, 2009

(In)communicado

The silences are you, too. Still,
they wear me like
wind wears autumn.
Restless. Churning.
The way sand wears skin
raw. As gravel in my knees
is silent
after the fall. How blood
seeps in syncopated beats
behind closed eyes. The way
one breath exacts the next
in a long hall of sighs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weather
Rockaway Beach

Wind coughs and sputters, chokes
rain bursts along pine cone perimeters,
slipping to bed of earth
between heavy blankets of fog.
White horizon, gray sky.

Gulls open themselves to rising
columns of air, unfold
and release themselves
on waves unseen. Bodies held aloft
heads cocked, wings banked,
hold a steady eye. Others

lock wings like shutters, hunker down
at the edge of the frenzy, peck
where froth rolls and breaks. They search
the tossed and torn
for sustenance, shriek and squawk
how difficult it is to survive.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Tattoo Lovers

The private path of friendship softly worn
and lightly trod so as not to leave tracks
nor track leaves inside the messy sworn
monogamy each of them transacts,
now sketches ways to paint the intimate
time lost in not enacting passion’s spark.
Such art might illustrate the yearning heart
without the breach of touch: let ink embark
along that bicep, this hip— now enshrine
majestic boughs of cedar sweeping low
where spread of moss and bodies dream entwined,
a forest bed held warm as breathing slows
and filtered sun unfolds to shades now drawn
where fevered art depicts such want foregone.


Forget Sartre and Thoreau

A life I want frittered away
in details: confusing play
with love; love with affinity;
confusing equanimity
with mutuality displayed

as smiles. Believing right-of-way
of hearts trumps any dossier.
Be-ing without fraternity.
A life I want:

God in your eyes. The Milky Way.
Grave and glorious disarray
of masks unveiled. Divinity
of soul revealed. An open soiree
of one beloved passion play.
A life, I want.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Men She Had Known

iii.
He beat her silly
with his easy manner
and promises, gleaming
copper etchings
never materialized
the night he served her
Sake in a Mason jar
with a nightcap
of Latex, so nothing
could touch him.

iv.
He plunged fingers
deep in the dark,
sought moisture
to quench his thirst.
If only he could have
dampened her
against his rigid
pride, he might have tasted
the oasis in the desert
between them.

v.
She watched him strip
away the layers
he wore in the world,
stood before her, bare
souled. She bought
the whole package,
wrote receipts in poetic form,
although he had little
to give her, being
fully clothed and otherwise
spoken for.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

For You, Who On My Birthday, Celebrate Your Birth Day, Too
Lisa, Kerri, Ben, and Ron

To share the day our mothers bore
the weight of birth as underscore
to sex enjoyed with charity,
their clothes cast off familiarly,
bodies sung as eyes explored

consciousness tossed overboard.
I like to imagine years before
you conspired with me in parity
to share the day

of yesteryears our mothers bore
their body’s soliticious shore.
Our pre-breath solidarity
in utero dexterity, treading water
in mother’s core, till time
to share the day.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Biker at Starbucks Naps

Patrons patronize the coffee shop
and each other, except he
whose grizzly chin rests
against his black leather jacket.
His chaps, tight on thighs,
cropped at the most male parts
now nestled without the steady hum
and buzz of Harley, its headlight
cocked to one side, waiting
as its owner’s head lolls then, too
until they are all three
parked at the same slant.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Palm Reading

They sway as one. Yet,
when the hour comes,
neither frond nor palm suffer
the parting. Leaves turn
green to brown
rustling earthbound,
each demise incrementally closer
to the hollow finale.

Palms die a little at a time,
no purple heart
to memorialize courage.
They refuse to measure loss
as anything but living.
Even now, they undulate
in the breeze, beckoning,
"Come. My coconuts are ripe
for picking."


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Imperfect Parcels of Gratitude

Mother Relinquishing
You opened thighs,
bore the loss of shaping
who I would become. Determined
to help me to enter the world, flesh
stirred within, conceived me
before I understood consciousness
myself. You offered me
life. I thank you.

Mother Receiving
You opened your arms,
bore the pangs of my indifference
as I sought origins of my beginning.
In due time, you conceived
me needing a history of my own
cellular division to meld genetics
with experience. You offered me
sanctuary. I thank you.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Late October
for Caroline

The heat has come late,
and unexpected. Listen,
there are no ears left
on the sweet corn. Stalks
torn from the earth. Rows
and rows of pumpkins
cut from the vine
like too many red-headed dolls
decapitated by jealous

brothers. Listen,
sometimes it is not
a brother
whose hands
do not understand.

Sometimes, heat
will rise out of season;
a mother forgets
how easily tulips
bruise.

This one, listen
she didn’t mean
for the lavender pollen
to stain her daughter’s
forehead.

Before the coroner’s report,
she had never even heard
the word petechiae.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Response to Matthea Harvey’s Call for Guerilla Poetry
On the occasion of two honored poets’ decline*

i. Seamus
Not exactly a pissing shame.
It would have been enough to scrawl
No! on the title page of the book
that pays you royalties, even if
a poet’s payment is never royal
enough. The act of pen scratching
against page, your magic scribble,
what she wanted to see
even if she couldn’t read it,
didn’t want to, you know, sell it
on ebay as anything recognizable
by you. A mark blossoming ink
into the story she would tell her son
when she took the feather-paged,
broken-backed book down
forty years later, fingering a line
you once conceived. Being eleven,
her son was still young enough
then, to believe in the infallibility
of heroes. The type, she said,
was only a bit of postmodern retrofit
to the synapse blip of a poet’s brain,
but this, this handwritten scrawl
on the title page, this sprawling
human urge to reject, this illegible no
was written by the great Seamus Heaney, a poet
who remembered what it was
to believe in men larger than life.

ii. Galway
It is almost a pissing shame,
what you forgot to say
when you read your poem-
in-progress. Sometimes the nose
leads one astray, eh? Bad rhymes
in your name, almost
a pissing shame. I, new poet
on the block, forgot
how undivided attention
to the lure of a line
will make others attest
that writers (I am too
often with my pages, too.)
let the written word usurp
connections of the human kind.
I apologize for my intrusion.
I intended only a moment
for you to sign.

iii. Paul
Yes, definitely. Yes.
It is a pissing shame. If only
you had read something,
anything,
after you pitched us to run fetch
books from the Labyrinth with our
hard-earned cash and 15% discount,
well-trained Labradors returning
with slobbery balls and lolling tongues.
I could have bought your book too,
or maybe, I mean, I could have
chosen something else, say, tickets
to a Mariners game to watch
J.J. Putz shut out another batter,
or skipped poetry altogether,
changed my flight to Vegas
knowing if I turned up two kings,
I should bet it all
on a three-of-a-kind.



*to sign books.
Princeton Poetry Festival. Princeton, NJ. April 27, 2009.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nassau on the Horizon

She lulls you asleep with her rocking
like your mama, like your yoo-hoo,
baby, sweetheart, honey-love girl.
She creaks like old wood
drying in summer heat,
groans and shudders
under your weight.
Her highs and lows
serve every whim.
Each thank you
returns her silky
"My pleasure."



Monday, May 4, 2009

Huffing and Puffing

Three
young ladies
huffing hairspray
stuck to boys pressing
arms around their shoulders
offering maximum hold protection.
Girls’ minds blown on aerosol
can’t see all the boys want
is a temporary hold
against feminine
skin; judgment
lost in three
lacquered
brains.



"Huffing and Puffing" originally appeared in Green Monsters on Red Moons.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Run, Girl
for Nissa

The wind at your back
cheers your momentum.
Spectators pack the trail,
ready lips suck cold air,
legs pumping long strides,
hair blowing back except
for the part in back
that lags straight up
like some hep-cat
in Louisiana. You,
the blond, blue-eyed
child who came to us at
three wishing you could run
wild with the mommy who wouldn't be one.
You're all legs at fourteen, but she eludes you
still. The surrogates you chase in her place
naughty-haired, white-smiling boys
with four-packs hold intentions
other than motherly.

Breathe, girl.
Work your hard, lean muscles.
Toss your hep-cat head
like the mule you've become
packing love for those
who never claim it.

Run, girl.
Your origins
mere competitors
and you blowing by.



A prior version of "Run, Girl" first appeared in Poetic Voices.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some Toads Are Messengers

I bade him tell you
Hurugh. Hurugh.

Roughly translated
from Bullfrog, which is all
he knows, it means:

Come, I am eager
to share flies.


Friday, May 1, 2009

tasting

imagine grape
firm and yielding
crushing the essence
fruit into wine

imagine merlot
rich and compliant
succulent juice
alive on the palate

imagine lips
savoring harvest
robust delight
flesh upon tongue


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mother’s Last Dance
for Del

You make it easy to suffer the loss
of importance in the world,
show films of our true selves
as you dangle just out of reach.

When others come running, touched
faces disconsolate, the ice burst
settled in your skin,
I become the burnished sun
you rest against. Their breath

writes slow notes
in your periphery. They stand
bedside, hoping
to apprehend the music you are
dreaming; they cannot stand
you living in previous time.

You remain in the now
this very moment, close
to death: Its softness.
Its gentle gift good night.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Scent of a Place She Did Not Want to Go
for Michelle

The brand new Ford Escort I rented
to drive her to Seattle, Washington.

Seattle, Washington, the restaurant
at Pikes Place Market, fish scales

and oysters on the half shell, slipped
down her throat, scent enough to gag.

Queasy at the top of the Space Needle,
she didn’t want to talk about it

or get back in the Escort to return
to the Bayshore Inn. She wanted

to run, wanted only to run,
not away, she said, but to.

To what? I asked. She threw her
perfumed hair back and laughed

bull-headed, as I packed her bags.
I thought a long hike in the Cascades

with Outward Bound could free her
from the spiked stakes

picadores plunged in her
while she was still a child. I thought

she would heal in the scent of earth
mulch and cedar boughs, could learn

to bend away from fatal thrusts.
She called the second day, wanting

to talk about the rental car.
She hated it, she said,

it reminded her of moving
from one foster home to another

with nothing to stake her future on,
just the smell of the State car

and a garbage bag of belongings
to accompany her. The place

at the top of the Space Needle
was too cramped, she said, men

leaned against her. She could smell
booze coming through their pores,

stale tobacco, dried cum on their
skin. It made hers crawl.

Her arms and legs tried to follow
some dozen years later, after

the odor of industrial ammonia
in Rosemont Girls Home,

after the smell of her own
breath, chalky from medications

they made her take, after her
daughter was born, her tears

and sweat as her body tore
open. She could smell her own blood

and urine, the antiseptic, and
baby Karissa’s damp curls

coming out of the place where
hers had been shorn. Even

the soft smell of the baby’s head
after her first bath, the warm milk

letting down, didn’t clear
the scents she carried with her

from childhood: adult men
pressing against her bare skin.

First lilac, now horseshit, now
stale beer, now Lemon Pledge,

the series of homes she moved through,
pressed to be Christian,

Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness,
till she didn’t know what to believe

except what she had been taught
to play, the skin flute; and take,

methamphetamines; to dull senses
she wanted to forget, and they did

too, dull them, on the day her car
left the road at a slight curve

plunging down an embankment, where
she lay trapped in the stench of her own

shit, ribbons of handprints
blossoming into a blood-red cape,

la plaza de toros final.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Makes as Much Sense as Anything Else

the zoo fell on all the keepers’ toes
until they were unlate and sorely bent
with grins as stark as blue monkeys
puffing up hills of Indonesian ink
they could not even find their patchouli oil
to keep fleas off butterfly wings

one of the wise-cracking eggs
(spoiled for lack of vegetation)
decided Pilatus Porter should be mayor
of Portland because he knew
all about wiring buildings
and dethroning frocks

Citibank went sideways
babies stopped crying
the state of Oregon fell into a huge
crevasse, a serendipitous hole
made of mint-flavored Lifesavers
that had been crushed and re-cemented
in a scheme to save the self-esteem
of all those apes
who never even bothered to vote.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Penmanship

When I see your words online,
posted moments before mine,
I’m back in third grade,
Bradley Burns
brushing up against me
in the coat room.

When I see your name
almost touching
mine, I’m learning cursive,
delighted
how my body curves
around the pencil.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dr. M

The distance between crazy
and sane is the space between
your thumb and finger. You bewitch
the brain, first with your dark
eyes, then with potions to beguile
the mind. You ask them to place
the whisper of their breath
in your palms, entrust the journey
under knife to your care, though
they don't know you well
enough to share a cup of coffee
or an evening meal. You send them
off to wake up hard and hurting,
or soft and scratching (or sometimes,
not at all) and for this they pay
a king's ransom, itemized
Services— Anesthesia.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Pileated Takes a Moment to Reflect

Worry herself, that's what she does.
Tapping the top of the barbecue
lid, hoping it will open, hoping
there are bits of flesh
worth carrying
back to the hollow nest
where dependents
wait

wait

wait—
Shouldn’t she be
looking somewhere else
for what she needs? She won’t
find it there in the steel case
of charred remains.
Isn’t it true,
she could
tap

tap

tap
all day, nothing
would come of it.

shouldn’t she be pecking
at some earthy tomb?
Shouldn’t she
be grubbing around?
Why couldn’t she

be soaring,
showing off her red cap
like the scarlet letter she wishes
it would become.

Shouldn’t she stop staring in windows
that can never be forests?


Sunday, April 19, 2009











Pileated Woodpecker Is Not on the List
Tap, tap, tap-tap-tap.

Despite loud ringing
calls, and persistent rapping,
she doesn’t get in.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Paying Respect to the Street Pole at the Corner
of Columbia and North Beach, San Francisco

You ten-hut all night, upright
as some far-right Republican, never
wavering your position; not in the not-slight
wind nor the sway of passing tourists
pausing to mill about your platform
like revolutionaries caught in a rifle mark.
You defend your corner like
a steadfast soldier, never mind
which bad ass, business class, no-name
nobody walks by, not thinking
to thank you
for your ever-ready light.


Friday, April 17, 2009


i dare you

boy
you buggin my cool
bite your crazy ego out blind
hang your naked rage and cry
courage ain't enough to fly
dance your reckless blame loose
let the past
go by





"i dare you" first appeared in Green Monsters on Red Moons.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Man, Not So Different Than His Fowl Friends

A life beset with conflict lies
just beyond the sash. Eyes give rise
to a regnant Canada Goose
and mate, whose fierce attacks induce
ducks to vacate what geese surmise

is prime real estate. They devise
tactics to wreck homes; emphasize
their might as right to reproduce
a life beset

by weaker species compromise.
Slight lends no real consensus; size
determines nature’s means of use,
strength brokered as a flag of truce,
feathered to decriminalize
a life beset.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Sad Truth About What Comes Next
In remembrance of Sandra Cantu

you can’t remedy it
you can’t remedy it
you can’t remedy the way a child skips

into the hands of it
into the hands of it
into the hands of one who creeps

in the shadow of it
in the shadow of it
in the shadow of what we cannot say

saying the dark of it
saying the dark of it
saying the dark of it cannot remedy it

you cannot remedy it
you cannot remedy it
she is gone


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Farrier

She was fifteen; you, thirty-two.
I wonder, did she blossom
in your hands?

Some men don't understand flowers
bloom best unforced.
You wouldn't. You never

let your colts run barefoot,
preferred to shape red-hot iron
to your own specifications.

You knew how to use a twitch
to make a filly stand quiet,
quiver with anticipation

at an opening gate, or prance
under light fingers
plucking reins.

It wasn't her time
to flower. Spring came
early that year.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hidden Cost
for the mill rats at Smurfit

Thick concrete floors conceal a dozen men
with muscle memory fine as rats
dragging conduit through knee-deep chemical waste
in the semi-darkness. Clumps of putrid pulp
lie submerged along an encrusted creek.
The E.P.A.
OSHA
Erin Brockovich—

nobody sees this
except the men who skitter four tens
each week, so your correspondence
can be printed on pristine paper
92-bright.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Anniversary

Last year at precisely three p.m.
on this date my father expired
like a parking meter
without a gasp or wheeze
just tick, tick...
stop.

I can't believe a man who could fell
trees big as mountains, fly airplanes,
shoot bear, beat his own son
without a second thought
just whip, whip...
died.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

ending

Remember me like this, always
lured by the glimmer of minutiae.

Crashing waves batter
gold bits into worn pebbles

tossed by the tide, silver
stones shimmer in Aphrodite’s

darkening foam. Wind-battered gulls
stand in crowded klatches, beaks

clamped tight as empty purses. I lean
into the wind, concoct entire futures

in the moment it takes to scoop
a clutch of sand, a feather. Undeterred

by their mocking gaze, I dip
a quill in the sea, write my own


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Missed Connection

What diety designs a track so stark
that soul escapes before the engine makes
its stop? What lot permits such heartless lark
to rake the poise of one whose faith now shakes
her stunned and pulsing heart? Through acrid smoke,
be-dulled and sooty black, entrails of hope
betray her trembling lips. Lost tongue invokes
his name before the pregnant cornucopia
of dreams upon the tracks reproach
in futile sparks each dimmer than the last.
He slipped away so softly from the coach
she did not see him go, but now bemoans,
no god exists. She disembarks alone.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Atonement

the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each
separate individual…it is the ensemble.
-Karl Marx

i.
From a distance one does not exist
except as part of the gray
meld where sea, sucking and spitting
claims shore. Woman wanders
the edge—its relentless pressing
and receding
transfixed by the power
of at-onement.
Awed
cowered
she posits proof of
her own essential
Oneness
lifting a single stone
from the sand.


Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching,
thinking, feeling, desiring, acting, loving…
are…the appropriations of human reality.
-Karl Marx

ii.
Stone is never as simple as it feels
in the hand. Each historical epoch
captured existence in it’s own finite form
without consideration for outcome.
Some rocks dazzle.
Some cut.
Some lie
dull and brittle against the living
created when nature knew only itself—
and other existed purely
as predator or prey.
No man watched the first rocks form
neither heard the shrieks
nor smelled the flesh
condemned to steaming wells
of black tar.

Mankind.
Womankind.

They came.
They sensed.
They named It
and each other.
They arrived malleable
in the hand.
But whose?

They will tell you
Eden exists not in the bold face
of one who dares to stir your soul
ablaze against the licking flames
of complacency
but in the congratulatory gold watch
and the security of knowing
checks continue
even after you stop
caring about what you do
who you are
what you dreamt
you’d be.
If hell is the deep black abyss
promised to those who plummet from the grace
of conformity, purgatory must be the slippery slope
of mind wrestling heart’s despair
for those who fail to be transformed.


Alienation is…the equivalent of sin. -Karl Marx

iii.
Illegitimi Non Carborundum.
They will devour everything—
a parade of tired and desperate people
who give minute after consuming minute
to garner mantels of existence
that demand desecration of their own
spirit in the interest of community,
subjugate soul until introspection and thought
have been suppressed long enough to placate
everyone.

Don’t let the bastards get you down.
Walk and talk and breed essence
the way one bright bit of broken glass
churns in the surf to be cast upon shore
then draws the eye in defiance
of where one and all coalesce.

The dark sea batters.
It is hard to brave depth
for the glimmer of such tiny light
in lost and broken bits.
You may choose to batten down the hatches,
weather the storm, but there is no safe harbor
in alienation—
home
work
church
state
all eager to yoke you.

In time, the weight of their need
will force you to lean so close to the ground
they need only clear the debris
in that very spot—
and clergy to offer forgiveness
for your sin—
before tucking you back
into earth’s sodden fold.


We become aware of the void as we fill it. -Antonio Porchia

iv.
Open your hands. Pluck this pebble
from my eye. Tears flow
with its departure; they cannot
erode the gift now proffered.

I challenge you with phantoms
charaded as action; ideas expressed
in electronic blips and ink scrawl
because I am afraid to do
something that might become what we are not.
I fear this fraud has been complicit
in your alienation.


I have lost my way of being
who I am if we are not
sometimes together
where eyes are portal to soul.
I refuse to be the thread
that binds you, even loosely
to an existence that fails to transcend.
So I wander the uncertain edge
of my own seeking, wondering
if the only atonement is solitude,
if ensembles exist at all.


Monday, April 6, 2009

The Poem She Found in He Who Searches Is a Bitter Pill

Sometimes one lives
with a woman a thousand years
and yet—
that woman never
understands you.

At times one allows
an unknown woman
to absorb the best of oneself
and this unknown woman
suddenly intuits everything

guesses everything—
and one is naked in her eyes
even though one has only
unbuttoned one’s pants
a little

as if, absent
-mindedly. It’s not easy
to know who one is, and if
he is—
and it’s still less easy

to complete others by trying
to incorporate them.
There is a time for everyone
to tremble—
a time of changing skin.

I am tired
of making myself plural.
In other words
here I am
with little courage

to be here—
to forget one’s own desires,
to take refuge in the life
traumas of another person.
Rebirth?

No.
No rebirth.

All men are alike—
they don’t hold up.

And women?
They’re all equal-
ly hermetic
and outrageous.




The novel "He Who Searches" was written by Luisa Valenzuela.


bearing time



slogging through mud in hip boots
baby takes time, the crush of flesh
against flesh, nurse clucking at his resistance
to the pulsing insistence of vaginal walls
and the cold bright world he will meet
when his face breeches her hips
and tired flesh ejects him

it grows at night when no one watches,
slips from your head, micro by micro
revealing shades of red and blond,
each new shaft in morning light
displays a millimeter of shine
so incremental no one comments
oh my, your hair is longer

at the dmv, latitudes and longitudes,
arrows on signs, doors and desks
point and lead and direct and insist
this way and that way and over yonder
till you have passed the same redhead worker
three times in one afternoon and
still not renewed your license

thick like family secrets or ketchup
dried on the dashboard, your words
slow-poured, and me savoring
a fresh sense of heart
check my email one two three
times daily, but words come
in their own time, when you press send

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lake Maiden

Water ripples along mud shoulders
where ice binds two small islands into glistening
nipples. Her marshy bottom fills with cast-off shells
shaped in an unseen mosaic. Rain melodies
dance in divots—winter’s frenzy
whips dirty lace along her saw-grass hem
where toads sink deep in her fertile belly
for a long sleep. The mystery is always
whether this is the last season or whether,
when winter passes, she will press her toes
against the far shore, arch her back,
deliver tadpoles, ducklings, spring.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Unsent Letter To the Man Who Raped and Killed Her
for Jessica

Had I lain panting while you bloodied your way
into the world, I would easily forget your trespass
as you latched to nipple and nursed at swollen breasts.
Impossible to fathom what wrenched your baby fingers
into these callous hands; which wretched moment
fused your heart and head into conspirators of horror.
Easily forgotten, the violence wrought upon vagina
when you come as babies do. Incomprehensible,
your replication of that destruction as a grown man.
How could you bestow such rage on any child?


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easy to Miss the Symbiotic Dance

His bark is tough
enough to withstand wind,
though it may succumb
to boring insects
and water creeping in.

Her reputation is invasive
as she creeps
up the stalwart trunk,
expanding her green reach
toward his welcoming limbs.

Ivy penetrates fir in ragged
notches,each protecting other
in what some perceive a strangle-
hold. Others call it love.




Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Years Blow By

Monday, poolside, pre-dawn,
2003. Broken straps of the pool chair
slap the deck beneath me. Engines rumble,
lugging Mercury across rough sea.
Wind shears the surface of the pool
spraying the fiery-eyed Cyclops
curled in the palm of each early riser.
I scan for evidence of the sun
rising, find only miles of dark sea.
Wind lashes my hair in strands of
torn sails. Smoke wafts toward

Saturday morning, early,
a Chevy pick-up, 1969. Jimmy and I
curled in sleeping bags and old coats,
slam against the steel bed of the truck
as dad rumbles along Weyerhauser roads
spotting for buck to feed us through winter.
I scan for signs we are headed home,
find only a sea of evergreens
cut in wide swaths by perilous gravel roads.
Dad sucks Benson-Hedges, flicks his ash
out the window. Jimmy and I
hunker down for the long haul.



April is National Poety Month

so i am taking part in a challenge to post a poem every day. To see how I live up to that challenge, stay tuned.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Grave Stone

A bowl of rocks, a bird of stone.
Gray granite heavy and flightless
like the flies whose wings my brother pulled
before singeing them black with sun-
light shone through glass.
When you look close, things burn.

Rock forms to fingers for digging
or killing: stones won't tell.
A half-rock the size of a chicken
heart heavy in the hand.
I picked it up in Dachau: a token
dark as blood.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

M & M Poem





Pot Watchers
for Nils

women watch
pots mirror
vessels yield
lush light







Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to Do Friendship

Build a fire and let it heat
the room. Invite one you must know
inside. Walk loose, limbs dangling
like limp piccolos with nothing to do
but whistle the tune that you, wise child,
once knew by heart. Sing
flames that singe and wither.
Be unafraid of intensity—glow
little ember, flicker and grow.
Give yourself space to be fierce
and thunderous. Be dark as you must.

Stomp.

Storm.

Splash in murky puddles.
Listen to the hiss of water
tossed on lost dreams, blackened
edges where others fail to consume your offering.

Stand tall, shake the ash from your wings.
Fold shoulders back until blades clash
like swords slicing at armor you wore
to protect heart: its seeds, its hulls.
The charred remains help separate destiny
from twirling whimsy. Breathe soft
and slow. The embers of every blaze
you have endured and every torch
you will ever light smolders within.

Strike your eyes in hers.

Burn.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Two Girls 4 and 6 Twirling in the Park

I stood under the hundred year oak
watching little girl bodies intersect
at the belly where one lay across the other
at right angles on the doughnut-shaped swing
and a young man—clearly not their father—
spun them round and round.

I got dizzy watching
in the warm afternoon wind,
worried what to say, not knowing
any of them-- just gaping
like some voyeur, sordid and obsessed
with the relentless need

to stare and the nudge of something
in my gut. Maybe it was
how his hands moved so quickly
to spin them; the little one's cries
rising in near delirium, clamoring
for him to stop while he kept on

twirling them round
and round and round
on the city park's Big O
tire swing until they melted
into tender, mewing kittens
willing to be held.


"Two Girls 4 and 6 Twirling in the Park" first appeared in Green Monsters on Red Moons.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

You Do Not (de-doo-dop)
Need Her

Go ahead, resist her
de-doo-dop
incandescent lines and taunting
sensibilities. Each awkward angle
relinquishes proportion, tempts
distortion where she dangles
in your periphery. Cage your
dismissal. Pretend
she is invisible when the breeze
ripples and your tie loosens
chokehold, it is not
de-doo-dop
her
and when the wind messes
your silver tresses capped closed
you can bet she’s not-got wicked fingers
tangled there and her tongue isn’t
slipping lobe to lobe, circumnavigating
the northern hemisphere
of the globe you so-tried
to fence from view.

You can lock it up
chalk it up or blame
it on the arrogant wild-eyed
minx who refused to cop a trade for someday
antics and cheap trinkets. She wants
it, flaunts it; the thrilling filling haunting
every single solitary pulsing
molecule— each cell
swirling, twirling
reflections multiplied and divided
in dazzling
de-doo—dop
dance of your prancing
duality. Take her
face in cupped palms,
succumb to breasts pressed
close against the child-shamed chest
float
sink
swim
in the essence you struggle
to repress. Go ahead,
resist—

You don’t really want her
to be your
de-doo-dop
mirror anyway.

Do you?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Calculated Response
for Gary Stogsdill

What first irked Frege about calculation
described as aggregative mechanical thought
is that such conjecture is wasteful,
fraught with temptation toward hasty admiration
for what we think we know we know.

Do laws exist to suit the objects
about which they are thought? Mechanical speech,
he might assert, is about as thoughtful
as a parrot whistling a skirt. Calculation
equals aggregative mechanical thought?
Gottlob Frege: Definitely not.



Monday, January 26, 2009

Skipping Stones

A rock will call you, its color catching your eye,
the weight or shape offering rightness in your hand
as you bow to pluck it from its settled place.
Texture, smooth or rough,
forms against you in an act of solidarity.

A word will strike you, the rhythm, or syntax
from tongue to ear, or pen to eye, as familiar
as old friends who know one another's cadence.
The context reveals the connection
between intimate and unfeeling
in its familiar molecular docking.

Pebbles jingle in pockets and words in minds.
Pick a stone that fits your palm well. Carry it
in your pocket like champion marbles; hard-won
against pocked cat's eyes and battered steelies.
Skip a word across smooth water.
Notice how many times it taps the surface
as it carries you, the way it pulses like a metronome
to keep time with your clamoring heart.


surviving extremes


should not (i know) venture here
and yet (rovers must be prepared)

i streak across time and space
(for the unexpected) encounter

(nature is) what i feel
(an arbitrary teacher)

(to prevent hypothermia) your skin
screams (strip naked) touch me

across the space (find a protected area)
where minds drift (and lie close together)

a dangerous course (to maintain integrity
of the body) permit (and ensure) hands

head and heart (sustained
warmth) unfettered flight.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Mouthwatering


She dances
like rain falling.

He drops his umbrella
and catches her
on his tongue.



"Mouthwatering" first appeared in Erotic Readers Association in 2004.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Challenging Gottlob Frege's Notion of One


…if we were to say 'a means a number,' this would be open to the same objection as the definition 'one is a thing.'… a does not mean some one definite number which can be specified…With one, however, the position is essentially different.

The problem with ‘it takes a village’
is that it did not take one to create a child,
and while one benefits from positive factors
in the family, the exponential is not true
in the personal: a mother is not the same
as the mother, as the one mother
one had when one first had a mother.
(One mother plus a mother) minus one mother
does not equal the mother.

Any child can do this math.