31 October 2009

Letting Go

"Come and stand here,
naked before the people.
I dare you! A poet always stands
naked before the world!"
- Allen Ginsberg

So the muse defeats you, then.
She's got you tongue-tied.
No worries, just let go of your inhibitions.
But don't forget a scarf; it's cold out there
in the real world.

I only have one piece of advice,
and I hope you're listening, because
there's only so much that muse
will repeat:
Don't die of exposure.

Wm S. Tell

i need to operate this way because i have to. there's this expectation set, established. human beings are supposed to communicate with one another. we wake up from our dreams and walk on the membrane of reality. we make our reality. if you aren't at war with yourself, then you aren't paying attention. material's encrypted. i can't care about your gadgets. they wrap your intentions and behavior, blur your vision. He played with the idea that human speech was the result of a virus, contracted by our ancestors--"the word virus." between gasps there is meaning, words defer, provide contours, but not purity. i wait, i listen for truth. it arrives in a grain of sand, a cloud--their purity, beautiful, spoiled by language.

A Smothering

please forgive me for having a limited number of tools.
i think in words, phrases. i have ever since i learned how.
i wish there was a way to peel back the layers, take a peek
inside. this can't be all there is, even if it's all we'll ever know.

i wonder if you can tell me how to breathe like you do.
i wonder if the beautiful is imaginary. we have rules for a reason,
standards, guidelines, barbed-wire fences...
if you tear down
these walls until your palms bleed, are you crazy, or are you free?

Cut word lines, Cut music lines, Smash the control images,
Smash the control machine...
i want to, i want to, i want to
feed the energy, starve the system, crave the center, not just take
a peek inside. is there a way? could we ever know the real? no words,
only images. i'm trying to stretch these conformities, these symbols,
but they're still here. i think in words, phrases, a blurry image, a shadow.

please let me out.

29 October 2009


digital isn't tangible
can't run my fingers across the edges
can't smell the new plastic,
the ink on pages.
once it's gone, it's gone
collecting files never collecting dust
there's something sterile about loading
i can see it but something's missing:
the trace, the lineage
from store to home
to daughter's backpocket,
up the stairs, sneak a listen,
put back in daddy's room.
the synthetic lacks the sensual
too crisp, too tight
too perfect, unlike the asymmetrical
crease in workpants
unlike the temperature of grandma's soup.
desire is flawed, smudges in the grooves,
crackled, not stiff, like a quirky boyfriend,
a bent flower, a snort with a laugh.
digital isn't tangible
it's sneaky, invisible, limited.


Wake up brush teeth shower and dress leave the coffee pot on for her come home night starts check the house reading glasses on the nightstand

wake up brush teeth shower and dress leave the clean towel on the door come home night is cold check the house suitcase on the floor cat asleep inside

wake up brush teeth shower and dress leave note on fridge for her come home night fresh check the house note still on fridge unread cat ears back annoyed

wake up brush teeth shower and dress leave like she left suitcase gone cat slips out hole in screen finds another home to sleep night aches night Aches.

I Came Here to Tell You

I came here to tell you
that I am no longer interested.
Way to go. I extend my hand,
you slap it away. And I'm
supposed to be a good girl
and keep it a secret.

Congratulations to you too. You smile politely; I smile
sincerely. I guess it is easier to leave feelings unmended,
instances openended. You are not the person I thought you were.

Everyone in this space knows
my name, but they fail to test
the waters with me. I am no longer
a child, but my hand aches to be held.
My cheek waits for a kiss. I leave
the door open for you.

You leave me no choice, let alone a map, a legend to translate
your symbols and codes. Code-switching, it is better to be
professional than a friend, someone dear.

This trial is imaginary. The cracks in the facade
were showing all along, and I'm tired.

28 October 2009

Dial Tone

Good job, sweet-

I left a question

instead of a dollar.

Between loops, I

a sigh, but it's

to tell if it's pleasure.

Your necklace is wrapped

tightly around your

the blood stops flowing.

I try so damn hard to

it new, just for you,

you never return my calls.

Rock, and...

I believe
they call
it rock &
roll, mother-
fucker, so
hang tight
& hold on.

& internalize
this beat:
lift the
needle, &
start again.

27 October 2009

Cult of Personality

These are all my sad little suspects. Armor-plated suits and ties--Daddy just won't say goodbye. Each word is a bullet but we fire at the same time. We don't know who's ultimately responsible. The fatal, final bullet, pierces your tender throat. There's no one to blame except everyone--Sad, sad, little suspects. And they say words can never hurt you, yet no tourniquet can spare you. God is great but will he listen?

Wild Things

this is the bass line, splitting your hairs, breaking your thumbnails. you are a lump of warm fur, anger behind that smile, shyness your apology. you're hiding in the background of your misery, a history in tangled hair. your throat is too raw to tolerate a scream, but you make a noise the shape of your heart, your intentions. punch a hole in the wall. "there's your door; is it small enough?" but we slide past the words, run in circles, the center is fear. a host of suggestions filter, swarm like bees without your help. "you're out of control. you're out of control."

23 October 2009


1. let me bookmark this page so that i remember to come back to it when i'm ready to read what it says.

2. your decision has left a bruise on my neck the shape of your thumb. now everyone knows i somehow belong to you.

3. from the following options, choose the best one: i thought i knew, i did know, i knew nothing at all.

4. lies form a birthmark on your conscience: blue, green, yellow. the bolder the lie the bolder the mark the longer it will take to heal.

5. i am a grain of sand. i am spacejunk. i am an eyelash on your cheek.

6. a cat has hundreds of vocal chords but i only have a few and i don't strum them often enough. play that instrument, fucker.

7. of course the fallen tree has made a sound. you're arrogant.

8. the sun is a fist. the sky is a wall.

9. even your breath is radical. even your sigh lifts me.

10. i'm the only one with these eyes and lips and when i die, i am the matter of the earth, we are whispers collected by the leaves in the wind.

20 October 2009


it is not ladylike to spit, yet here it comes -- the bile in my throat so thick, it's a tickling swarm -- bug guts on the pavement.

the trace isn't a slow ride but a slow burn -- my thoughts are louder than sparklers -- fizzle out just as quickly.

smile, little one, with inchworm dreams -- the front half of those suckers are quicker than the back -- it ends before the finishline.

frost spoke to shakespeare, or at least used him -- mortality is a popular topic, i guess -- so, the bile spreads, yellow and careful.

i want you to call me doctor -- i want you to call me mentor -- i want you to thank me, thank me, be me -- fizzle out just as quickly.

we are the layers, even if we point them out -- we are the fragments, the earth -- our blood is mud, our truth high above us.

you aren't supposed to have access -- that's classified info -- as soon as the pleasure crawls down your spine -- bug guts on the pavement.

so, the bile spreads, yellow and careful -- our truth high above us, it ends before the finishline.

19 October 2009

Turn This Squeak into a Growl

if i'm hungry enough, i have to assume this won't break me,
that the walls of my stomach and my heart won't cave, that
my dream can keep feeding me.

extra letters at the end of my name,
the piece of paper at the end of the year--
it's more than this, more than you say.

don't tell me to shove this dream, break its jaw while you steal its money, 'cause
i'm here for the long haul, and it isn't getting away--

i'm here for the pen; i'm here for the page.
i don't care if i make minimum wage.

so, screw you and your advice; i'm through with being nice.

don't you worry. this dream will keep feeding me, keep me alive.

An Action is a Dream

An action is a dream inside out--the time
we are sleeping, a reality with seams showing.

We're just lying down, cocooned--obviously,
the pictureshows behind eyelids are pointless,

even if they are free?

Can I make a mistake in a dream? The mind is lonely
every night. You hit me in a dream.

You kiss me in a dream.

My pillow is wet, and my seams are showing.

17 October 2009


This sun always forgives me, an unbroken tenderness.
A bird squawks "Judge not, judge not," and I believe
in the song. It takes little movement to crack a stiff
shoulder, open a stiff mind, even if the giving fails
to speak. This is the point at which a smile
will suffice. I can finally put down this cross.
The weight of light is all that burdens me.

15 October 2009


I listen to oblivion. The sound      it makes      is a slow rush.

The world won't end with fireworks, with sparklers, with screaming, fire in our hair. No,

the world will go quietly, the ozone a pillow
over its face.

Tears may stream down our faces, but fear will be the knot in our
stomach, not the knife in our heart.

I listen to oblivion. The sound it makes      is a slow rush. We melt away.

We melt away.

14 October 2009


Hey, don't you worry.
There's a word for that, somewhere.
It crawls on all fours, pretending.

I cover your eyes with coins.
This is me, paying my respects.
Obviously pretending.

But the opossum is talented,
lying on her back, a breath
trapped in pipes; so clever.

So, I assume you'll wake up.
I watch for you to twitch.
There's a word for that: pretending.

13 October 2009

don't make me

if i quote a song, you won't forgive me.
a time traveler, astronaut, taped breasts,
a scar above the nipple i can easily muse.
imagine the tapestry created after
the idea dries and you put it away.
do not eat the moth balls,, they are not
the same as the malt balls,, covered in
chocolate tasting like chalk,, there's a lip-
stick mark on my front teeth and you didn't
tell me. you only commented on cancer, not
the sign but the kind that grabs at organs
grabs at sex and never lets go. let's go. this
dress don't make me a girl. this hair don't
make me a girl. if you shut up you can fu
cking listen, gender queer space opera.


We do
   the best
we can
with what
we have.

we have
   is a
wish, masked--
   a secret.

Jayne Mansfield

this is where we intersect, form an X, we mark this spot. time aborts me, the arms intersect, no crosses. we insert an adage here, hum to ourselves.

i remember greed like my birth, sticky and vulnerable, but neglected to mark the page, my greasy thumb used instead for sucking. this is where we intersect.

i tape our photographs together and pretend we were in the same place once. i am nostalgic for times i didn't have, people i never knew. i had a dream once, i kissed jayne mansfield good-bye. nostalgia for someone i never knew.

as i open my palms after prayer, i refuse to close them, make fists. this is where we intersect; our old pages stick together, flowers in our creases.

we are grateful for the clouds that hide our shared wisdom. we mark this spot, chalk on pavement. the rain washes it away, takes our time with it.

12 October 2009


the pattern folds
between veins, a crease
a drop is heavy
a drop is crucial

when you open your mouth for a drink,
the leaf is a cup, it gathers, it waits

the pattern, symmetry
between veins, a crease
a drop, released
a drop quenches

when you close your eyes, the leaf gives,
the drop slides, already gathered, ready


I didn't come here
to write; I came
here to speak. The
page just so happens
to be tender enough
to be receptive--
the pen seduces me.
I don't ask for much--
be my reader, my lover, my muse.

10 October 2009

Blame It On the Rain

this is the rest of the story, written on
pages inserted later, after you had already
gone to bed for the night. i'll let you in
on the epilogue after you've finished what
i slipped under your door (i hope you don't
mind; i saw your light was on, but i didn't
want to knock). i'm sorry that the ink is
smeared a little. it's the rain's fault.
(please don't start singing "Blame It On the
Rain.") i'm sorry this is so late. hopefully
its quality will make up for its tardiness.

08 October 2009


Says I am invisible in my feathers

That bird, leaf in her mouth, is not a dove, but a raven.

She cannot assign peace without squawking--
a cry that slices: a sudden cut in the sky.

Someone blurted, "I cannot tell the difference

between ravens and crows."

She is invisible in feathers. In-
visible, but with a deafening call, a tired song: nevermore.

That bird, leaf in her mouth, is not a dove, but a raven.

She, not elegant, but clumsy can only
drop the leaf.

07 October 2009


If the sunlight catches your hair, refracts
the strands just for him, let it.
I've got a man who's closer to the sun.
He holds me like I'm made of glass.
Glossy is how I shine.

And we make love nestled between rays
while you melt noiselessly in the shadows,
afraid to do more than flicker in the darkness.


It was more like the center had melted--
the city walls were as thin as foil
with a host and some guests buried beneath
the molten intentions of those who knew better.

Someone somewhere was checking off names,
just words on a piece of paper, nothing more.
To him, each name didn't belong to a mind that
held a dream so tightly, it died with him.

Little did he know       what happened
as the Flesh burned together, becoming One Flesh.
He didn't think about    what happened
when they spread their arms and folded them over

each other, like pages of notebook paper.
They took a breath, and they were gone,
their thoughts scattered like ash across
the indifferent sky, and someone somewhere

feels tired, and bored.


we expect this tap on the shoulder to come every other day or so, sometimes every other week, or month -- alienation-hide-and-seek, voices calling from around corners, behind trees -- i should be over this by now, but i feel a tickle, a sneeze coming on, giving me away -- we expect this, a punch in the arm, a smile and wave, sometimes often, sometimes not often enough -- they say we can't live in isolation, we need community, we need the warmth of another's breast -- we need to feel safe behind mother's skirt or under the covers, as if monsters are allergic to polyester blends -- we expect this, to be loved, to be valued, to be carefully plucked from a solitary tree, polished on a shirtfront, and enjoyed -- we expect this because we want to be seen and heard, even in pause, in shadow -- hide-then-seek -- found

06 October 2009

Coming Home

I'm often asked, "When are you
coming home?" But the person
posing the question does not
understand the meaning of the
word. Home, not the place with
the high ceilings and red carpet--
Home is the place where decades
of shoebox coffins protect former
pets. Home is the place with holes
in drywall, a bathroom sink without
plumbing. Home is a fragment, broken
off in the membrane of my childhood,
the disembodied spirit of a house
without a typical context. I open a
wound and call it home, so the
question coming from her lips,
his lips, stings the sore. "When
are you coming home?" As if home is
still a destination. As if it exists
in time without dust, still protecting
the people with cotton lives and
judgment. At least home isn't
abandoned, except by me.

03 October 2009


A child asks if the
sky is able to be
touched, tickled,
pinched. The teacher
shrugs and sighs
something cynical.
A child asks his
mother later if
it's true that
the sky feels
nothing, is indifferent.
The mother, running
her tongue across
her teeth, clicks
an answer: a question--
If the sky feels nothing,
then why does it blush?

02 October 2009

Foreign Policy

I offered an olive branch.
You offer a grenade.
What am I supposed to do exce--!

. . ....


This is the
scene of the crime,
a murder happening
in slow motion.
You break the bread,
but you forget to pass it.
An unsent memo
is obviously missed.
I'm supposed to read
invisible ink, invisible
because the pen never
reaches the page--
the side effect
of slow motion.

Please translate
your actions for me.
The words don't match
the body language.
A shrug with a yes.
An eye-roll with a thank-you.
This is the scene
of the crime, a murder
happening in slow motion.
I want to tell you
but you don't want to listen--
Caution tape, a fence.

I have to say
that I miss you. Your
voice crackles on the
phone. I can't see your
expression to judge the
temperature, this game
of charades. Am I close?
On the nose? You break the
bread, but you forget to
pass it. I'm left watching
the spider fall slowly
down the wall, the bungee
cord too weak to offer security--
a murder happening
in slow motion.