30 December 2009

Consideration

I collected these slips of paper,
this evidence for your consideration.
We forget to wash our feet before
bedtime, before the sheets cooled.
There's a price to pay, but it's
invisible, a shadow you mistake
for someone, a little orange
light in the doorway. We'll wait
and see, but I doubt he's coming.
He hasn't smoked cigarettes for years.


28 December 2009

Kaspar Hauser

I fear I am
still learning your expressions,
the way your eyes move from the page,
your voice straining
on the transmission.

I am the boy up from the cellar;
every man a soldier, every animal
a horse--just toys, enigma, wrapped
in the difference between sleep and wake.

We bring in the tree
from the cold, protect it
from the snow. The cardinals feign
curiosity, enigma between the folds
of their wings.

We may never know
the birds again, isolated
from hearing them--amnesia
the magic that creates
the hunger we need
for trespassing.


10 December 2009

Berserkly

I find myself disenchanted
with the typical hit and run
at Telegraph, or Dwight.
This time, the blood spurting
from the poor chap's nose
is the color of pavement.

Everything is gray today, washed over
in old movie style. I let out an "aww"
of concern, automatic reaction, before
looking away. I can think as straight
as I can see, which isn't good.

I slowly cross, a small cat
the color of pavement. If I'm lucky,
no one will see me. If I'm lucky,
no one will care either way.


08 December 2009

The Lost Friends

They said it was easier to do with eyes
shut, lips closed, but your mouth is
a wound, all red and shining.

If I pretend that nothing's wrong, will you ask me anyway?

The moon is round and cancerous
tonight, a tumor hanging from the sky.

Patiently, I rub
my mouth, my wound;
corners drawn smirking,
waiting for the clouds to cover.

I wrote a letter to
you, sitting in the cold.
I sent it through whispers,
short breaths, visible like
smoke escaping.

If I pretend that nothing's wrong, will you ask me anyway?

I feel like a nuisance, so I keep my mouth
shut.


03 December 2009

Sometimes a Pen is Just a Pen is

over Six
double-spaced pages,
my love
s t r e t c h e s.

God,

my hand is sore.

And yes,

I give you
permission
to laugh.


02 December 2009

Philanthropy

Your ideas are refugees. I watch them
fold in hunger.
Then again, I'm cheating because
the blindfold wasn't on
all the way.

I whispered something
to the predictable hero, but you
misunderstood, and now I'm left licking
the crumbs
from your collar.


Skinned Knees

Let's contemplate and calculate how many kisses count toward the total. There was the drunk Coca Cola Santa at that party. There was that grocery store clerk with the blue hair. What was her name?

I wonder what your dreams must be like, all musty and green-stained. I bet you even wore that smirk to bed. I bet you memorized every time the actress laughed on the TV. What was her name?

I wish I could read your handwriting, your statement, words gunned down, unprepared for your exploitation. The caption falls out of your mouth, a wad of flavorless gum. Why am I so patient?


01 December 2009

Switch

I did it because
I was tired of waiting.

Allow me to re-
consider the fly on the wall,

tired of waiting
for gossip to come.


I.

The spider you killed—smeared—on the wall is
still there—a sad painting, a dab of brown oil.

I just see it—my eyes don’t focus, they interpret,
interrupt the light patterns, then send up a code—

The trouble is that the painting could look the
same upside down.

30 November 2009

Excerpt from "The Silly Ones on the Backs of Receipts"

Use more verbs instead of adjectives. They have more punch.

(I'll have more punch, especially if it's spiked.)

He wondered aloud if the world would end on a cute note instead of a gruesome one. What if our days were numbered once a giant teddy bear appeared and hugged us out of existence, rainbows taking our place?

My teddy bear Velcro is as old as I am. He has no fur left.

Words I use most often in my poems: scatter, intention, and, tired...

My thoughts are scattered today, displaced. I wonder if there is a universal mind; I wonder if said mind catches these thoughts as they slip away from me.

Or perhaps I'm elevating humanity like we always do, like we are the be all, end all of everything, when really, we think more about nachos, bills, and attractive swimwear than anything remotely theoretical and salvageable.

I would now like some nachos.


29 November 2009

Anagrams Never Lie

Evangelist, evil's agent--
a telephone girl, repeating "Hello."
Conversation, voices rant on.

The eyes, they see
the meaning of life, the fine game of nil.

Protectionism, nice to imports.
Eleven plus two, twelve plus one.
Admirer, married,
Spiro Agnew, grow a spine.
Anagrams never lie—reveals a renaming…

Untitled

Light                     scatters, your face, lined with light and shadow, a balance of dream and wake.

I told you of my nightmare, the cat screaming in an overflowing pot, backburner,         covered

to muffle the horror. That was the last time I saw you, tears connecting      your lashes, your eyes

      my mirror. I shake and you hold me. I yearn for a lullaby so that my dreams are filled with the

vibration of your song, even if the         words blend with the stains on the ceiling, take shape in

         imaginary clouds.


Negative

A
grainy image
leaves more to
the imagination.

Out of focus, it is
an unreliable inter-
pretation of your
face—

An
inkblot for your
nose—eyes are
speckles, or holes.

Somehow, I feel
shaken, like you-
’re missing your
soul.

The
canvas is there,
but not the pic-
ture. Instead,

A
blur, a shell
distorted, re-
imagined.

No Birds (Sung at Vauxhall)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
“If you squeeze a little too tightly, you might kill the bird.”
– Ed Gein, famous American murderer and grave robber

Through trial and error, consequence. No birds, no bush.
When they found her, they said she was hanging by her feet,
headless, ripped open like a deer. Skulls used as soup bowls,
corner posts for his bed and living room décor. Her head,
however, was never found. When he was arrested, he did
not fight. He confessed to using human skin to upholster
chairs and lampshades. When given anecdotes by a
psychiatrist, he answered truthfully. “There are always
consequences,” he would casually say, sometimes unprompted,
sometimes through a grin. “I don’t care much for birds. They
make too much noise. I like silence. I can get more work done.”
It was a little bird that told me to be careful of silence.


Sleepy Printer

I dream. I leave a
tiny print on the glass,
the surface of your mind.
It’s still. I hear the hum
of machines, the beeps
of a sleepy printer.
I dream. The words wrap
around my fingers tightly.
They bind my hands. I can
only press one key at a
time—poke, poke, poke.
The computer forgives me.
I dream, close to the
canvas, microchips warm
to greet me.


28 November 2009

Catch

For Dan

I think I know this land, the shape of it,
the baldness of each shadow, the curve of each tree.

And then I fall forward, and instead of flying,
I crash-land. I'm surprised at the strength of my
call for help, my guttural howl.

I'm surprised at the rhythm of concern that follows,
as the ground warms from the sun and the birds land near
to investigate.

It's hard to be angry as the wind
whispers, "I'm sorry," and the trees sway
to compensate, catch falling leaves.

I am thankful for the wind, and the trees who dance with it.


24 November 2009

Show Me Mary

With five minutes left in my back pocket, I approach you (all superficial smiles and long underwear). This is the cute one, in all white, and she reminds me of some child I saw in a coffee shop in my hometown, her mother all Triple White Out, mostly foam. Everyone loves the coffee as much as Clint Eastwood loves the snarl.

I'm almost late, and I feel like the White Rabbit without the vest. MY heart is pounding, MY stomach is growling and wants more than coffee, dark juices sans vitamins. I am the typical polite one; the cute one in all white looks like me only from a different time, one with imaginary tea instead of coffee, with principles instead of obligations.

I'm late, and yet I'm always the first one there anyway. Show me, Mary, how does it go?


Potential Storms

“You don't have a soul.
You are a soul.
You have a body.”
- C.S. Lewis


i am not
from a rib
but from a kiss.
i am not
from the sand
but from the stars.

sometimes i pretend
i don't have a body--
i am not contained
and i am infinite,
energy that cannot
be created or destroyed--

a constant breath, a breeze.


Clingstones

O, culture. You can't fill
a scrapbook with bullets.

It takes so many hours
to forget to fix the clock.

As the orchestra of frogs
prepares the instruments,

I'm reminded that I'm not
supposed to be in awe,

because it's all been done
before. The familiar isn't

supposed to be exciting.
(Unclasping the same bra,

kissing the same woman.)
O, culture. I wait.

The children's eyes
are covered--I wait.

Like the meat of a plum,
I hold onto the center,

because of magic, because
when the flesh rots, I know

there will be some-
thing left to cling to.


Entropy

I lack punctuation like the droplets
that scatter Id like to think

Im absent for a reason like I
leave residue the heat
from your palms

There is no safe space in fractured
time minutes that scatter

It isnt surprising to go days without
using my voice waiting for you
to call to know to answer

I dont share unless Im invited and I cant see
the forest for the trees because I dont want to

It is easier to be invisible scattered
amongst particles
and the days spent counting them


19 November 2009

Paper Hands

I got these paper hands don't wanna hold nothing that won't cut that isn't delicate.
Drug fizz got her brain all wonky no talkie just sips and leaves with a stick man.
Stick man no Hunter no Allen no Neal, just a wannabe fuckrocker with bad intentions.
At first seems nice now seems rapist now seems fizz fizz fizz see through hands.
The voices drown out other voices and silence just happens suddenly inside an egg.
Reminded of that short story, we are all eggs but we don't know it until we are drunk.
Until we pretend we are empowered radio action scared into origami into folds of oblivion.
Until we pretend we are noise white noise stuck between pages don't wanna hold nothing.

18 November 2009

Unintentional

I wonder if the shape of this flesh
is complicated by the electricity within it.
(The sky can't be a cruel joke.)
In my dream is a face I've never seen,
electric eyes. I look to the ceiling,
the pasted stars--glow-in-the-dark--
and trace the shape of a storm cloud (unintentional).
I've spent a lot of time in this body,
and yet it feels borrowed, not mine.
Are faces recycled sometimes, a Julia
in Eighteen-fifty now a Sandra in Twenty-oh-nine?
A different face appears, and I swear I've seen
those lips before, those eyes, but where?
Feeling electric, I caress this dream, careful
to ignore this (clumsy man-made reality).
They don't know how the electricity
got in our brain, in our heart. How can it keep
time, this constant dance? The sky can't be
a cruel joke but it's silent.


Good

I haven't been writing very good poems lately,
but that's ok. It's about process, forgiveness,
growth--being the flower instead of the weed,
being the voice that stretches, tickled
by the sun. I try not to prick clumsy
fingers, and I forget that no one blames
the rose. I guess this is a fine example
of my predicament. I don't know what is good,
if I'm good--a good person, a good
friend, a good artist. I wonder how much
it matters. We ignore the dandelions
until they're out of control.

16 November 2009

Clock Checker

I wish I could spend
a little more time with these ancestors.

If only I could return the favor,
give them something lacking circumstances,

cliché: the-rain-that-greets-Seattle,
the I-love-you of process and habit.

Sadly, a screen is not a face.
I inherited this gap from someone.

I inherited this depression.
The scraps of cloth that compose

this quilt stretch-to-cover-gaps,
bare evidence. This child is cold and hiding.

The monster can't hear me breathe.
It is with this insight

I hold my breath anyway. It concerns me
when I relate to songs about addiction.


15 November 2009

Creep

I'm helpless or helpful, depending
on which piece of land I'm standing on, and yet
the grass gives under my feet all the same.
My shoes feel the difference. My head is in someone
else's dream.

I'm assuming you can read this.
If so, you should know that I have a song for you.
It isn't well-written, or even pretty,
but it has to do with the skeleton of your goodness,
how it's buried in a shallow grave, a collar-
bone sticking up out of the ground.

This is your shining moment.
I wait for you to remember me.


Untitled

Something tells me
that the big bad wolf is getting carried away.

In San Francisco, the buildings are the woods,
shadows in the alleys without
the blessing of trees.

But we can pretend, as the pigs sit dazed
in their offices, waiting for faxes, filling
spreadsheets from memory. Facebook is minimized.

The wolf can imagine it really clearly--plump
creatures, warm and average.

Our tension is where we least expect it.
We fold a page over, somewhere
in the middle, and forget to return to the scene.


13 November 2009

Tenant

First, she's twenty-three, with a coy expression I recognize in myself. Then, she's twenty-six, and the bass player is lighting her cigarette in black and white, a coffee stain in the corner. That half grin is solid, knowing, and I'm stricken by how much she resembles my mother at that age, all fresh and dangerous, a dab of color on each eye. Flip the page and she's thirty-four with shoulder pads, pointy breasts, another few pages, and she's forty-something, a wig for a crown, at a tea party with mis-matched dishes and deviled eggs. And I wonder where the first expression went, that coyness exchanged for wisdom, for heartache, a whisper instead of a yell. That half grin is still solid and knowing. I never knew her, and yet her finger prints smudge the corners of my visit, and somehow, she's permanent, a tenant in a memory revisited, casually observed, mourned by an outsider.

11 November 2009

The Answer, My Friend

How hard I try. Dylan on the radio. Clumsy whispers against glass--we draw shapes in the steam. How hard I try to recognize slow hums, your throat, boiling water in your chest.

I'm alone here. Pillow is damn cold. Answer's blowing nowhere--it's a rattle in my skull. I am alone, watching bubbles rise, multiply. I blow at the foam, my dinner almost done. I burn my hand by accident. Clumsy whispers--"shit!"--and I eat dinner alone.



10 November 2009

The Right Way

I want to be a writer, she said, in her telegram voice. I want to lack indifference.

I didn't mean to alienate you, her eyes shiny and silver, fingers crossed and tongue tied. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

There's an awkward pause. She thumbs through the notecards in her head. This is the right way to speak. This is the right way.

I want to be somebody, she said, a crack between words, crabgrass sprouting. I want to live with books. I want to be polyamorous, each page a lover, each book a world.

I didn't mean to make mistakes, her lip chapped, stretched, cracked, red creases. I didn't mean to apologize so damn much.

There's a slight wave. She wonders if it's friendly. This is the right way to cry. This is the right way.


Do Not Eat

To cut it without ruining the frosting,
Use a long piece of floss—
A knife isn’t delicate;
It will tear at the design,
Smear the roses,
Completely disjoint the letters
That form Congratulations
We don’t want to do such a thing
To something so lovely.
Be patient while I slice.
Be patient while I try to maintain
This perfect confection.
Perfection.
We won’t eat until I’m done.
Take a picture of me while you wait.


On Xenophobia

The object is to walk faster than the moth can fly.
Bigger games are abandoned as little ones push
past—puzzle pieces, small fragments, little truths
to make chaos seem organized, meaningful. Even numbers

are more comfortable than odd. Soft sounds are gentler
than harsh ones—static in my ear, sharp esses stinging.

"Shut up," I guess, is your favorite phrase. I suppose
the trick is to keep on walking. I don't look behind me.

A moth gets stuck between the screen and the pane. Don't
watch as the moth escapes, the shape of a bird in the
background. The object is to not sense its longing,

or even imagine it. The object is to not identify with the moth—
a small fragment trapped between safety and fear.


Dear

She uses all the best words to describe the freckles on an apple,
the grainy skin of a pear.

You have your phone, your business voice. She has her patience.

When the phone is off, she notices the thud in your chest as she rests her head on it.

She’s soft, a ripe apricot—
She dreams of orchards.
You dream of machines.

At the end of the day, her nails are stained with juice—
she laughs as she touches your nose with a grape finger.

She settles for a lazy embrace, a wound you call enchantment, as you settle
further into bed,

silent and dear.


05 November 2009

Indirectly

It took an afterthought to realize
I was the graffiti of your past,
a secret alibi tattooed in places
only the lucky get to see.

I posted a declaration on your door,
made it public, without the intention
of starting a cult. But here we are,
throwing the rotten fruit away
and saving the ripe ones for worship.

I wrote my name on the back
of your shoulder while you
were sleeping. We had fruit
and conversation for breakfast.
"These are the times that try
men's souls," you said, spurting juice,
and for a second I forget who said
those words before you did.

Instead of smiling, I remembered
my role, and left the words for you
to imagine, like the etchings barely
painted over, a trace of an idea covered
by others, an afterthought for sure.


On Nostalgia

Sunshine with a blade in his mouth, we're supposed to assume that's ok somehow, drawing lines across our faces--mustaches, caterpillar scars.

To be told you are a list of disorders, diagnoses, it smacks of predictability, quantifiable somehow. And yet we are always more than the sum of our parts, our squeaky wheels, our oiled joints.

Sunshine splits that chill in me, falls short of raising me up, but with perked ears I know that sound--those leaves, now dust--is too good to be true.

I long to trample in piles, slice them into sections with my legs, fall suddenly only to have the crunch save me, like it always does.


04 November 2009

No Deal

just an aside, i guess, not that anyone
asked for it, but I sometimes question
the weight of numbers, the population status quo,
the data figured and manipulated to persuade
everyone that money is good, worship money, money
is the new love, the old love,
the resurrected christ, round two.

waste those nickels and dimes and enjoy
your addiction, cigarettes piled high next to you,
you're on your fourth martini, and all she wanted was
to be seen, wanted to marry the woman of her dreams,
and it doesn't really matter anymore, because
christ loves money and not people.

rub buddha's belly for luck at the tables,
kiss that rabbit's foot before the races.
the people have spoken, and they want trash. the people
have spoken, and they want more, more, more,
more, more, more, more, sung to the tune of wheel
of fortune, sung to the tune
of deal or no deal. no fucking deal.


03 November 2009

Wrong Number

pick up the phone an absent caller, wrong number, or maybe it was on purpose, to plant a seed in my ear, if venom was fertile. but to be open about the matter invites opinion, sharp teeth, feigning concern. all i know is that i'm sorry, if i hurt you enough to drive you. i do the best i can with the smile, the pen, the frailty of words, of mistakes. all i ask is please don't spear me. spare me. i cross my fingers you got the wrong number.

Stolen Footage

a life, a page--cotton fibers woven into shapes, we wear the brand, walking billboard, walking life, two-dimensional.

is there something behind the crosshairs--the blurry victim in front? the mental trial, devil on each shoulder?

this is right and wrong, a different brand--singeing hairs, bubbling flesh.

a life, a page, a short story, a blurb in the paper--the shape of a man, three children, divorced, he wears the brand, walking life.

elsewhere, a brain splattered on the convertible, she scoops chunks as best she can, not knowing any better.

the blurry victim, a meditation on hits, runs, circumstantial evidence, a devil on each shoulder. we dream.


01 November 2009

ghost of reality

memory
ghost of reality
or shadow,
interpreted
fragment of minutes

my brain,
a filter
i want the pure
experience
i want the whole

eat you up
drink you up
plate for plate
cup for cup
this is the blood i shed for you
this is the flesh
take and eat
take and eat

what
that face
in the mirror
that face
reflection
refraction
a fraction
of worth, of self
not real
ghost of reality
one-sided

like our argument
like my memory
an interpretation
half the story
half the truth
ghost of reality
or shadow,
interpreted
fragment of minutes


The Feed

This is the shape of the machine.
This is the shape of the god you created.

Wrap your legs around magic, spliced
for your entertainment, for a fraction of the cost.

We don't know where to stop.

This is the shape of things to come.
Send me a text while you slap her around.

Hush, child, while we gather, spliced
for your entertainment, for a fraction of the cost.

I kill you all with a six-barrel shotgun.

This is the shape of the terror.
This is the shape of the system we do not want.

Crave, come despair, headlines spliced
for your entertainment, for more than we bargained.

I'm in love with something that I can't see.


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

Tangible

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.


Untitled

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.


27 October 2009

Dial Tone

Good job, sweet-
heart.

I left a question
mark

instead of a dollar.

Between loops, I
hear

a sigh, but it's
hard

to tell if it's pleasure.

Your necklace is wrapped
so

tightly around your
fingers

the blood stops flowing.

I try so damn hard to
make

it new, just for you,
yet

you never return my calls.


Rock, and...

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

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

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

(con)science

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

E-go

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.


18 October 2009

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

Beam

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

Away

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.

13 October 2009

Make-up

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.

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.

Joy2CU





We do
   the best
we can
with what
we have.

What
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

Patience

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


Why

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

Limn

RAVEN
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

Flicker

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.

Atomic

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.


Chosen

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

Untitled

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--!






. . ....




01 October 2009

Charades

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.


30 September 2009

On Stellar Seismology

The stars are mouths
that hum and sing, but
do not exhale, do not
articulate like we do.

You asked if they made
noise before they die, or
if what we’re hearing
was created long ago—

a last breath of sorts, you
hypothesize, or more—a last
word, if only we knew what
it was, other than some sad

pluck of imaginary vocal chords,
the strumming we only get to hear
long after the concert is over
for the rest of the sky.

But no—each song is a finger
print, a pulse, sharing an age,
a size, a location, and perhaps—
perhaps a true breath—

like a bird on a branch,
a purpose exhaled in notes,
with hidden details—a map
outlining meaning with each stir.

Mythos

I.

Before marking your
favorite Bible verse—the
one about eternal hope—
you wash your feet in
tepid water.

At midnight, you think
of me, as you promised to do,
and for a brief moment, our
waves connect and weave a
gentle tapestry.

I tell you in my little girl
voice that I try everyday to
be good. I try to protect you. I
twist my words to make
them politic, so that no one
worries about me and
my crisis.

II.

When Jesus loved me, I had
all of my organs intact, even
the sick ones. When I was his
sunbeam, I kept my desires
secret. My imaginary friends
covered me, beautiful
in shadows.

I forgive Jesus as much as he
tries to forgive me. I cradle
eternal hope in my eye lashes,
my heart strings: my spirit is
hammocked between
sights and sounds, vision over
visibility, and I hope you forgive
me too.

These Cells Are Passages

i'm reading
the braille
of your goose-
flesh

this is the language
I know, the un-
spoken kind,

the kind

my fingers

translate

my only request
is that you
stop
trembling and

let the pattern
speak for
itself

Meditations on the Importance of Mr. Spock

(a work in progress)

If everything, every human
were something to study,
to examine curiously,
there would be no
room for cynicism.
The multiverse and its
creatures would be
terminally... fascinating.


On Postmodernity

It's a trap.
The door is unlocked on purpose.
Before you know it, you're
turning the knob and suddenly!
you're in the middle of
a bad poem, and everyone
is looking at you
'cos you walked in late
and that annoys everyone.
How dare you be so
fucking vulnerable!
Don't start laughing--
I know it's hard. Truly,
I'm there with you,
but I can't help you right now--
I'm in the middle of reading this poem,

.....
....
...
..
.
suddenly distracted by the thought
of cookies--warm, hot, melty
chocolate chip cookies.
It's a trap.
The door is unlocked on purpose.
I'm supposed to lose my train of thought
and stop speaking altogether in
three seconds.
1...2...3.

High School Yearbook

These are not the best
years of our lives--
these are the shards
we put back together
after an accident.
God dropped the vase--
it was God shrugging, saying,
"I didn't do it, Mom, honest!"
And here I am, a dust
pan in one hand
and a broom in the other,
saying, "You clean it up."

Lacan's Dilemma

Is it possible to miss the Imaginary Stage,
the comfort of linelessness,
the knowledge of oneness,
the capacity of only seeing
the self as an extension of my mama's arms,
her breath,
her vocal chords,
her breast?

Is it possible to stop myself from looking
in that mirror and saying,
Oh, that's me,
and I'm separate,
and I'm free,
and I'm not a part of anything,
and my arms reach out to no one,
and I breathe in isolation,
and my voice is a soft echo in this cave,
and this breast only contains
my own heart,
my own cares,
my own science. . .
?

Could I prevent anyone from forming
these words with their mouths,
asking me to imitate and emulate
and confiscate my own development,
counting and shaping these figures without having
to memorize and vocalize,
without having to know language?

I lost the connection.
When mama became m-a-m-a,
I lost the connection.
Words took that away from me.
They caused the gap between
theory and practice, between
fear and silence. Between
me and you. And
I want to go back.

29 September 2009

One with Wings

Tomorrow is the last day.
The window was open;
in hopped a grasshopper,, ,,
just a little
one with wings. Tomorrow
is the last day for
pretending the mold
on the carpet is grass.
Bye bye, little one.
May you enter
someone else's window
and scare them too,, ,,

Pistol....er








)



(



pull your s k i r t
over your h e a d .
bang,bang, you ' re
d e ad............





Bloodshot

is it fair
that the future
has blood on
its hands?
i'm left
dreaming with
my eyes open,
bloodshot.
i'm holding
a gun
behind
my back.
blood
shot.
i'm silent
then a masked
man enters--
a shot.
a shot.
a shot.
blood s
hot. please
come quick;;
the culprit
is still
alive,, but i
don't know
for how
long.
maybe
he wanted it
for his
kids
Desperation
satisfies
a different
hunger.

no,,
did he know,,
maybe he,,
knew,,
Bloo
d shot.
is it fair
that the future
has blood on
its hands?

28 September 2009

So Book Me

I have a confession: I enjoy the weight of a book in my hands. The smell of decaying pages is akin to sniffing glue in first grade. It's all true. I'm guilty as charged. You better lock me away, because I brake for no one but bookworms. No one else is worthy of my consideration, my tears, my frustration. I'm no ordinary criminal: I prefer paperback to hard cover. There you have it. I've done it. I've read too much and orgasmed over many a passage, slayed many an innocent victim, cover to cover. So, stop wasting my time and read me my rights. I'm looking forward to having some quiet time alone with something to peruse.

27 September 2009

The Pull (II)

whisper   a breath   into this tired, broken frame, this
puppet discarded.   i have this   gift of strings, tangled
in plastic   fingers. a sterile   smile   greets the world,
hollow imaginary   lungs keep the chest   still, the face still--
still   the eyes.   the mouth   lies.
let me dance. let me pretend   through you,   one   jolt   at a time. whisper a
command, promise   to follow through.
tell me,   who lies to   whom?

26 September 2009

Hidden

The sky, an ocean, inside
out: without the hum of
waves, the birds
flutter instead.

I listen, twisting
in your bed, a sky
behind my eyes, an ocean
without noise: if a cloud
is a collection of thoughts,
warm, fragile: the birds
would know--yet I am hidden,

Even from the sky. I tried
my best to move you. Maybe
the rain will do a better
job than I.

25 September 2009

September 19

This little one, so light
her weight barely affects
her perch, this branch.

The morning is
her song, shared--
her body, her position,
an instrument.

She meets with
her chorus each day
in these branches.
A bird's bones
are hollow to make

her flight effortless,
but what if her sound
also travels with ease,
with triumph, each morning--
her mouth a reed,
her body a flute?

23 September 2009

Absent

In Old
Hebrew
breath
is the
Spirit
moving
across
the wa
ter. I
was ho
ping U
woul d
notice
my sto
pping,
my loo
kin g,
my try
ing to
Forget

Untitled

perhaps this star, not just any one, but this one, is our star. perhaps it is a freckle on the back of the sky, bigger than the others though similar in shape, a mark that is permanent. perhaps this star, unlike the others, is our star, one we can pretend to touch with our fingers, one we can see when the sky is exposed. perhaps we can see it better out in the country, silent and vast like god, and perhaps we can point to other freckles, their appearance no less remarkable than the modest trace of this star, not just any one, but this one. perhaps this star is our star, our home.

The Radius of My Brain,

welcome back, please take your seats,
i have a question for you,
but i won't ask it just yet,
i'll wait and see if you can guess,
the radius of my brain, my house,
the formula for breath,
the distance between here and this imaginary star,
a canary in space,
i'm watching you,
yes you, there in the back,
why aren't you listening,
why aren't you in awe of me,
why aren't you taking notes,
why aren't you wearing red today,
a bright day, a good day, a fantastic day,
for hearing my words,
and figuring out my motives,
you there, closing your eyes,
am i frustrating you yet,
have i made you want to drop this useless class,
yet,
have i made you wish you were someone else,
yet,
and i breathe, and i put on this tie,
it's too short and my kids laugh at me,
why don't you care,
this is why i'm here,

WTF kind of poem is this?

PTSD
IBS
(OMG)

HSP
MFA
(FTW!)

BTW,
WTF
kind
of
poem
is
this?

21 September 2009

Curtains

hello night, black as blood,
cold as a stone--i left you
a fragment, a verse trapped
in a jar running
out of air. please
breathe one word before
the crickets steal the show.

Outstretched

Do not mock me. This is how I sp  eak. I no longer bend to wash your feet, rub oils into your wounds.
I no longer hear your voice in my ear--

Do not mock me. I do not have wounds in my hands, and yet I still burn, I still pose--arms out   stretched, waiting for per   mission.

Do not mock me. These are my words. I cannot share your flesh. I cannot tally your crimes.

And yet, I am still here. I cut my feet on the path you laid for me. Why do you stand there as I run to you?
Do not              speak.

Our Suicide

♀ vs. ♂

female vs. male
woman vs. man
the extra letters
make us extra
special--
here we are, Athenas big
and small, holding our
mirrors, looking inward.
here we are--smooth and frail--
too weak to carry
Ares' spear--
hear us [timidly] roar
and use this reflection
to look behind us
for opposition.

female vs. male
woman vs. man
the extra letters
make us extra
special--
here we are,
judged not by the
content of our character
but by the fit of
our pant suits--
"ask not what your
country can do
for you, but who
you can do
for your country,"
so says the
cynical warrior, wielding
his spear of flesh.

here we are--small
and frail--too weak
to fight back.
we are Athenas too tired
to drop our mirrors
and pick up a spear.
female vs. male,
the shades in between
missing from the palette,
we have no excuse--
we only have denial,
our suicide.

17 September 2009

Dreams of the Yellow House

      Right now     I
cover         your mouth
knowing
you can breathe
   through your
nose.

Right now
your       eyes are blue. Right
now    your eyes    are green.
   When      the sun is the
  color of ash you will
        remember.

Your     front tooth is broken.
You swallowed
    part     of it when it
cracked. The only        thing I
   remember      is your
        father smack
ing     your mother
inside the yellow      house.

      I re
member       your father's frame,
muscles    like rock,
      bones    like knives.
Right    now
I am

unclenching my
    fist    for the fir
st time.     Right    now you
are laugh
ing      at me,
your    wolf    mouth    waiting.

    With one    crack,
your   nose is broken. I
   cover    your   mouth again.
   This time          you will remember.

15 September 2009

The Lack

Always perfect, never good enough, with a
side of can't-do-this and a dash of so-help-me-god--she's coming,
this child of ideas nestled safely before stretching
through the skin--knowing fear, confusion for the first time.

The connection broken on purpose, warmth spreads
to fill the void that is created--always perfect, never good enough.

Screaming, then letting go, vulnerability covered
in juices, with a side of this-is-a-miracle and a
dash of I'm-so-afraid--make way for the gap--the womb is gone.
Life is always perfect and never good enough.

12 September 2009

Untitled

Daisies turned over,
drunk with oxygen--
I break a petal,
I challenge my
own wisdom.
My sun-stained
expression,
the grass
our only blanket:
You asked me
something,
I refer to
the rabbits
chasing each
other under
the red bush,
but you are
indifferent, and
nature is indifferent
to you, indifferent
to your breath,
your silence.
I traced a cloud
as it moved past
your shoulder,
seemed to occupy
itself with other
observers, and
I am surprised by
the flutter,
the balance,
the grace of it,
unaffected by us.

Perspiration

He said
there are
no ideas
but in
things.
As
I let the
water wash
over my feet,
I felt time
collapse with
the next wave
in the
distance.
A rhythm
posed as
memory,
hypnotizing,
lulling, until
my ideas
became nothing
but beads of
perspiration
on my back.

A Temporary Remedy

I.

When the skin puckers or blisters
after it is burned, it will turn red,
if not after the injury then after
medicine is applied.

II.

Pain is a part of living, the
Buddhists say, but suffering
is optional. So when I draw a
line across your abdomen and
proceed to slice, you're supposed
to feel it, but you're not supposed
to cry.

III.

When the skin swells after being
punctured, that indicates the wound
is dirty and needs to be cleaned
with rubbing alcohol before
medicine is applied.

IV.

The soul swells when the body
becomes too constricting. The
use of rubbing alcohol is not
recommended, although other
forms of alcohol can be used as
a temporary remedy.

11 September 2009

Untitled

If these seeds should
happen to sprout salvation, God damn it,
keep watering them,
and make sure they're planted firmly
in the soil and not next to
any rocks that can get in their way.

If these fears should
happen to feed remorse, God damn it,
keep starving them,
and make sure they're scattered loosely
in our hearts and not form
any clots that can get in our way.

May peace be the sun
breaking through the clouds. May love flood
our veins and capillaries. May truth
be ours once again.

10 September 2009

The Pull

      Your heart,       my marionette.
   I pull       on the heart
strings, and       you sing for me.
I don't have to   move     my lips for you to say    you love me.

  The lights shine   stars in our eyes,   we split the connections
between rays, but I'm not   nervous. I just
wipe the      sweat from
my brow without    breaking

      the tangles between   my fingers. Then I pull    on the heart
strings to make you     dance

for me.
   It is through you          I dance.

09 September 2009

Empath

Being            your        shoes,
sleeping with   your    enemies,
sunlight   trickled  through    a
crack        in       the              flesh.
I nbsp;dressed           the wound and
forgot about                       you.

Being  in            your        shoes,
I    binged and            purged—
out          of                        purgatory
itself, only scratching  the surface
of    your    deeplyseatedremorse.
I did    not    ache for     you.

I    saw your      wedding photo
in  the paper. You wore  make-up,
had your  hair curled.    You never
wore make-up, and  your hair was
straight.  You  hyphenated the last
                               name.
I      threw       the      paper       away.

Flesh

I tried to compare the sound of
laughter to that of squeezed
dogtoys, but something humane
surfaced from the corners of conscious
ness and resuscitated some tv-mem
ory of a poor heart being squeezed-
literally being squeezed-between
two palms.

There's something awkward
about surgery-gloved hands grasp
ing at exposed objects previously
covered, warm, safe. Now, flesh is
a book, words are read that have
n't been, and I imagine a book be
ing held close to the chest, close
to the heart, where it belongs-
covered, warm, safe. But
what about laughter? Obviously not
every utterance is uncomfort
able, dying breath, a weezing.


And thus not every express
ion that shows joy is actual
ly of joy. But warmth is
different, not hesitant-a
book held toward the
chest, its eventual ex
posure proving miraculous
or fatal.