Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wouldn't It Be

Wouldn’t it be wonderful
to stand tall on a mountain, glory shining
like a bronzing skin, with flashing sword,
and in my heart the courage
of day during night, and within
these thick bones wisdom humming
a victor’s song?

I want so much more
than wonderful. I want

a hand behind my head.
I want to make euphemisms
in my underwear
and be carried to a warm bath.
I want to want nothing
but what I have.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Madman Knows Winter

I am very good at clenching in the cold.
Might even go so far as saying that the winter
winds are friends to me,

at any rate I don’t mind snow
or hail when I can carry this bearcoat
and wear my coonskin hat and gloves.
It’s when I warm I’m worried,
thawing in a doorway

slow as pains of grief.
I don’t know what happens in front of fires.
I don’t know what hands do
after mouths invite inside.

Miscommunication Series

Please communicate, she asked
the man, who, frightened

and strangely reposed,
withheld, concealed.

But wait, she said, looking up
in the dictionary

what she had asked,
those are antonymous things.

I do believe two people afraid to touch
each other should touch each other.
So long as one isn’t playing chicken they will
leave better: with more soul on their fingers.
This I know.
And I know you don’t believe me but I also
thought you weren’t afraid.

Imagination Woke Up Scared

Another hot breath of endless air,
another dark morning, don’t
be to me, please. My hands are
open be something I don’t already
know the taste and the fingerprints of.
Please. Anything other than another
long story I am too tired to tell.

I Win

You thought you shocked me but I shocked me
years before you had the charge.
My bones are burnmarked,
heart a lightning storm.

But lay down your thunderspears, come
stand in this field. Then

I will be

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Perseverance

There are few things better
than sitting at a table with a toddler
playing peekaboo behind two spoons
50 times.
You get tired but she doesn’t
get tired.
She lives for the faintest of smiles—
even the forced ones, even the almosts.
And it takes me 49 turns to wonder:
Who knows joy better?
And if God’s the child, what am I?


I hear starvation makes your dreams seem real
real big and I don’t doubt it:
known hunger for a long time;
doubles every night.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

White flags don’t mean anything these days.
Before the battlefield broke into unhappy sight,
the general said We will have victory but I was trying
to keep my knees knees, keep them from melting
into these very boots and missed the second half
of his statement. He said later victory does not depend
on this battle, for better or worse, and I am tired.
So I tried giving in, but I keep getting shot.
I guess seeing the whites of my eyes
was enough.

I Repent

Dear gentle soul, I am sorry
for wrapping you up in the arms
of my narrowing mind.
You looked so much like someone
I have been waiting for. 


Oh God! My heart won’t rhyme
with present, past
or future melody, insisting
instead on stubborn
being unusual,
being alone.

Cut Me

out from this tyrrany of old new-named
virtues – vainglory, charm, that look
of cunning in crafty eyes – that blind.
Show me the benefit of tying down

joy with the pretense of endless half-pleasures
and wisdom with tomorrow’s ideas, or,
if you can’t,
drop your rope.


I’m addicted to ashes;
they fill my mouth and my mind and I know
there’s nothing “good” about them.
But deep calls to deep and what’s fading
calls to what’s dead. Each pair make their own song.


If I am a little girl,
I am a strange little girl.
Strange, how little girls are.
Little strange how strange, if I am.
Less strange that I am little
than that a girl.
Strange, if I am.

The cat chases the mouse but does not eat him.
The cat does not eat the mouse.
The mouse does not eat the cat.
But does the mouse eat.
The cat does not
but chases him.

Give me a few words to pick from.
Give me words to pick.
Pick for me a few words.
Pick words from me.
Give me words.
Pick me from words.
A few words.
Pick me.

Hope Swelled

Hope swelled
up like a dead bird


Carry the skull
and fingerbones with me
and leave the rest

What deep voices
in me. Where
do they come from?
I am alone.

Near numbness now. Wait:
worship the way
sense sinks slowly.

Came Down

Dear messengers, brothers of light,
welcome! We have been waiting
since the shining hope of your arriving
dawned, becoming more intimate with time than
ever, each second
bearing new hungers.
See, our hearts made a city in your name.
It is peopled with desire
to the brim, fat and flourishing.
So tell us:
Have you danced
on water, felt fire in the frost?
You are perfect prisms
full of the whitest light,
but earth is a blessed brown country;
its inheritors are rich.
Can you who know no envy
envy us, who have enjoyed all bitterness,
death and defeat?
Sometimes I question and other times
I’m sure: It must be
better to rise twice from dirt
than be born of and forever
live in air. Dear messengers of God,
is there any truth in such thought,

Two Feet

The earth is splitting; I have one foot
on either slipping side of normalcy.
Can you tell me the difference
between a flower and a flytrap? I need to know
before this crevice cracks my knees.

If Only!

What if I could get by
on the fruit of my mind?
and the money trees merged
roots with virtue?

Sorrow Is Good

Sorrow is good for the heart
but some kinds kill.
When will I be old enough to know
which kind is death to eat?
The way I gorge myself
you’d think I wasn’t scared,
not knowing.


I. The signal was weak today. From upstairs you could barely hear anything. But you were so calm it almost scared me, the way you could stand not to see me clenching the banister. II. Rainbow sprinkles and chunky monkies dancing in the clamor of bliss-hungry eyes. Remember? Chocolate-dipped waffle cones and melting sticky puddles of don’t cry over spilled sweet cream and the green- blue- and banana-colored laughter fighting laughter in the air: I scream You scream / We all scream For I scream! III. She listens to so many songs about love and before I can grip the leash of my heart harder it barks at her Who do you think that you are? I can almost hear her answering Don’t be so dramatic please.


How quickly I accept
symbols of bread when I am starving.
This plain girl you think you see
reading quietly on the train
is a mad woman chewing signs,
paper shreds between her teeth bleeding
ink. A dry taste, almost sour,
like something that was edible once.
I should have listened.
Vendors of milk and honey
on every corner; I pretended
my pockets were empty.


Wish you could see me,
struggling forward from the night inside
to touch you, give you something new
and beautiful, straining

through the thoughts I’ve had of you
and thoughts
you’ve had of me.

How absurd, these spidery legs,
wrapped round and round
by pale webs, kicking
like they’re getting