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

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

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,
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

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

"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


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