Saturday, December 31, 2011


worst things anyone said to me: "you are not the homeowner and your mother is DEAD!" bank employee and teller of untruths and "you won't pass your driver's test" blithe eye doc who gave me false read on vision test
best things anyone said to me: "we love each other so much it would make the love meter explode" my son "you have me" my daughter consoling me about my mom's death "i love you" jeni "he gave you a false read on your vision test" dr. nesburn
biggest creative accomplishments: finished pink smog, teen spirit, love magick anthology, sold elementals to smp
biggest physical accomplishments: able to run again, forearm balance w/out the wall
best new creative partnerships: laurie liss my amazing agent, christy ottaviano at holt,michael homler at smp,david wilk, jeni mckenna, my hot love magick writers
favorite books: the great night and the children's hopsital, both by chris adrian. i didn't mean to put you off with my enthusiasm, chris!
greatest loss: chris yackley
craziest dog: elphi
most patient dog: maggie mae
best brother: gregg
best sister: tracey
loyal friends: adam and jeni
most generous yogi: cheryl at goda
most generous facialist: sara at skin santa monica
best students: all of them
proudest moments: jasmine getting picked as one of three six grade cheerleaders
sam getting A+ and rocking the sports blog samsports
most patient eyeglass proprietor kevin at la eyeworks
best photographers: maria andreotti, mccabe russell, nicolas sage
best chiro care: dr hari bhajan khalsa
best legal support: mike stone and robyn roth
best real estate support: jim mckenna and michael cramer
best support system of people i don't personally know: you

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the tasks of the body

The task of the eyes is this: cry and see and see and see and see and cry
Until you see the faces of the children, one and two
Not as heart beatless shades on the ultrasound screen
But hot wet babies in your arms
See less and less and less
Rip and tear
Half black out
Be held in a doctor’s young hand
Be bound with a buckle
Wear a patch
Continue to see
Be told you cannot see
See anyway
Watch the man’s face in the lamplight
Remember the high planes
The thick eyebrows
The hook
The wild splay of feral teeth
The lips that you do not need to see to know

The task of the throat is this: do not speak
Grow nodules that inhibit flow of hormones
Fear cancer and radiation
Accept the needle
sometimes forget or fear to speak
Tell the hands to write

The task of the hands is this
write and write and write and write
never stop writing whether the eyes or the throat work or not
continue to write
as if your life, all of your lives
depended on it
they do

the task of the breasts is this:
grow modestly realize you are pretty
hear false alarms about cancer
grow full and streaked with life
pour forth milk for the children one and then two at once
be proud
try, though small, to protect the heart

the task of the hips is this:
roll and shake and undulate and switch and dance
stretch and widen and give and receive
open to bring the children one and two
know your purpose has been served
be fearless be strong

the task of the feet is this
walk and skate and dance and jump and run
run and run and run
wear six inch aqua blue suede platforms
and tortoise shell stilettos
and sharp boots with chains
pound under a vest of iron
swell, hurt take the needle
almost explode with pain
worse than any the hips have suffered
accept supplements and greens and oils and adjustments
wear comfortable shoes

this is the task of the heart:
open close open close open close
open open open close at the father’s deathbed
close at the mother’s deathbed
close at the further loss of love
wear chains wear locks
rattle in the chest
think you are immune to opening
except to the children one and two
see the man’s face across the table in the dark tibetan restaurant
quake as things do
before they open

this is the task:
stand at the door on the feet
in semi comfortable black boots
do not speak of longing
do not use your hands
do not use your hips
do not use your feet
watch him skip and jump away into the night
that is only partially lit with the hope of longer days in the forms of strings of colored bulbs on wires
go inside
close the eyes
dream of a pool and a waterfall
and beautiful young women surrounding the man you desire
hear him say he considers you virginal
while they stroke his face
when the voice says, “running and running and going nowhere”
say “no, no, going everywhere
for the heart refuses
even after everything
to stay closed
for this
is the final task"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

dipped in blood

music enveloped me in his black wool overcoat
the night so cold it turned our breath to smoke
he brought me soup and movies
and we kissed ferocious
in the white haze of the lights strung from my porch

music in his big black boots
went off to play for dance
while i sat hobbled waiting for his kiss
and then found power to raise and degrade me
with each thrust
until music saw my words
written in response to his
and corrected my mistake

i can only listen when i’m falling…
or in love
but i can always, always write
with a pen dipped in flowers
or in blood

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flirting with Disappointment

Flirting with disappointment

Disappointment has good shoes
Thick black combats and rubber soled brothel creepers
Frankentstein boots from Japan
I fetishize them but what’s the point?
They can’t give me what I really want

Disappointment apologized for something misconstrued
But he had made it clear
He didn’t want to sleep with me
Until he was in love
Which could take years he said
or a mere
So why am I still waiting for him to invite me to the masquerade ball
where I, hiding in my antique sequin gown and silver filigree Venetian mask,
can pretend I do not seek
a kiss?

All the roses in the garden have been cut
Just some thorny sticks poke out at me
My daughter shouts I hate you
And my son weeps for my eyes

I must not give up
On any of this

But as for Disappointment?
Perhaps I’ll find
some shoes instead

Friday, November 18, 2011

Red Tara in the 21st Century

Red Tara in the 21st Century

seated on a lotus
in one giving hand you hold the bottle of medicine
is it lexapro or synthroid?
in the other the utpala flower and the bow and arrow made of flowers
but not to pierce and capture
a date from the internet

your skin shines like rubies
your foot poised to help
the silks wrapped around your body
your beauty like beyonce with her wide-spaced almond eyes
and smiling lotus lips

as my mother lay on her deathbed she embodied you
arms outstretched
and eyes shining like wish fulfilling jewels
love pouring out in waves of radiance
for this is what she taught me
the love for all sentients, the love for self
in all the samsara and imperfections
of an “unmarried woman on anti-depressants”
and more than this the final lesson
--as she soared out through the crown of her head
becoming white light--
the ultimate secret and truth
where nothing exists
--no suffering, no afflictions, no search for love--
that of pure and complete

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


can we have ghost flowers in our haunted house? the ones my mommy gave me on every birthday--pink peonies
not to mention my mommy herself in a peony pink dress golden beads in her teeth reading poetry
to my father while he paints her holding the phantom flowers
and vincent van go go ghost my springer spaniel with the long eyelashes
tigger and fluffy and coco and teddy and thumper and even goldy and sylvia the gold fish and nostril the beta
floating upside down in the bowl (glass not toilet)
belly up but smiling
i'll wait for everyone i love to join us at their leisure
to watch movies and "eat" our favorite snacks have endless slumber parties
dance together in the garden neath the moon
say i love you all the time
but without the fear that it will be the last

i thought europe was immune
like a place in my imaginings

i'm still fourteen there
with lips full as that video girl
walking the streets with my parents
nearly fainting at the Botticelli behind the wall
eating slices of watermelon by pink watermelon palaces
tiny glass animals twinkling on my windowsill

the place I could always escape to if I had to
if it got too bad here

but after all these disasters...
maybe there's a city under water
like Italy but better
a carefully planned grid
with large marble statues of dryads and sea gods
streets paved with broken shells
coral pink castles with abalone floors

i'll be the fluorescent fish in baby blue
with a pretty fin
when you take me in


if we aren't ghosts or fish under the sea
can we be stuffed bears in my doll house
with a four poster bed, a wardrobe with tiny hat boxes on top
a china tea set with blue roses
a wooden bucket and washboard to clean our little clothes
a black wrought iron stove with fish painted on the pans
ceramic cakes on lace doilies
birthday candles in red iron candlesticks
real glasses with gold flowers
tiny china dogs in the mantelpiece
a nursery for our baby bear and his little wooden rocking horse
and eye glasses with lenses made of clear nail polish
little jaunty berets and felt rick rack vests but no need for pants
we can pen our stories at the roll top desk and give them to birds to take into the world for us
we won't need any money to fill our teddy bear tummies or pay the rent
the bank won't come knocking on the door
nor any angry men trying to push their way inside since we won't own tvs or computers or anything with the letter i in front ofit
or any jewels
except a few dried flowers and the smallest sea shells someone once brought to fill our garden

wanna go with me to outer space? check out some other place without global warming?
just think what it would like to see the world from there
you've got to think, how could earth have been made
with all its oceans and deserts and mountains and cities
with all its trees and flowers and meadows and valleys
with its insects and birds and reptiles and mammals
with all its wild mix of people
why are they fighting? why are they hurting each other? why are they destroying this perfect round thing spinning in space?
their perfect round thing
why aren't they sharing? why aren't they caring for it and for each other
it makes less sense than the existence of life
on other planets

Friday, October 21, 2011

what it feels like

you asked me what it feels like
my head on your shoulder warm silk water tumbling over muscle rocks dense and smooth and soft
my arms around your neck you lift me up like i weigh nothing even though sometimes i feel so heavy and huge after dinner and your neck tenses with sinew but your head seems vulnerable shaved and your skull has a delicacy about it that warns my hands away
i squat naked on the floor to start the music with the smolder between my lips like a woman who has never once doubted anything about her body
relax my throat and open my mouth so wide that i take in almost all of you and i wonder if there is any woman who could take in all of you there is so much of you in time to the chanting music as the candle flames shake with longing
but when you are inside of me it feels like width and breadth and fire and tiger and lion and power and dread and love
--that exists somewhere in time and space dancing with a woman in a dress plunging to her smooth flat belly violet eyelids and black hair brushing the hollow of her back where you hands steer--
but was never really here
with me

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

torn red dress

You’re dead and the bruise on my fingernail still hasn’t grown out
The one I got when the weight crushed it
In the gym where you used to stand with tour hands in your pockets
Hiding the scars on your legs
Muscles diminishing but we didn’t really notice
Or how lonely you were
Or that there were tumors inside of you

I was being fucked the morning you died
By someone twice as tall
And even younger than you
And I’m ashamed I was cold
Because you rejected me for a twenty year old
When it would never have worked between us anyway
Now you are fading like the bruise on my thumb
While the man who called me baby doesn’t respond
And love, that trickster
Sits in the rain
Laughing in her torn red dress

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Angela Carter

"We do not go to bed in single pairs; even if we choose not to refer to them, we still drag there with us the cultural impedimenta of our social class, our parents lives, our bank balances, our sexual and emotional expectations, our whole biographies/all the bits and pieces of our unique existences."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Chris
I hope you are not scared, were not scared. I hope someone held your hand and that you saw love in the eyes of the people standing around you. I hope you didn't feel pain or panic or fear and that if you didn't have time to feel closure that at least you had time to feel kindness. Because you were always kind. You asked me how I was on days I wasn't okay and you really meant it, you really wanted to know and you cared. You encouraged me to keep running. You suggested some exercises for my back. You emailed me when I came into the gym with my son and you said, "You're doing a great job with him. It reminds me of me and my mom at that age." This meant to much to me. Also how you gave him a little hand shake lesson. You didn't speak about it that much but I know you had gone through a lot with doctors and surgery and your leg. That you were pretty happy with your life but maybe a little lonely. 44 is so young and you deserved to have lots of love, you deserved to have friends and loved ones around you, especially in that moment when breathing was so hard and then impossible. Talk to us, okay, Chris? Tell us what you are feeling, experiencing, how you are doing, what you need. Some of us can hear you and all of us can feel you, even if it just in a song lyric or a baseball pitch or the smell of fall's arrival on the gray air. We miss you and we are also here for you, like you were there for us.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Other One

Death numbs and disorganizes me
But the other is a motherfucker no matter how you look at it

Death can be kind and writes poetry
With his long white fingers
He says, “I must take her to the parlor.” He is polite
While the other eats blood in gobs, mouthfuls of tissues disintegrates and erodes sucks and belches burps and laughs with a mouth like a fat fish

Death took my mother for a walk in the garden
She wore pink cotton pajamas and held his arm
There were lanterns made of rice paper
The tress were hung with cow bells
Somewhere someone was singing

The other one lay curled in my mother’s belly trying to make her his puppet
She refused
Bargained cordially with Death
Who bowed his head and nodded
Then walked off whistling softly
the winner with a petal in his tailcoat pocket

Monday, September 5, 2011

My own private arrowhead

I think of arrowheads of obsidian found in the earth polished and rough-hewn able to kill or simply to rub between thumb and forefinger as a reminder of how not to hurt oneself
I think of gods with wings rustling on the windowsill
In the still of night
Never look at them in bright light
Never speak too much when they are here
Be silent, reverential
they can crush your heart in their fist
or not

I think of longing limitless that frightened away too many men
Or caused me to send them off with the thorns of roses tracing blood from their skin
And cracked music and unused condoms

I wear a rubber band around my wrist by daylight
To snap myself out of mistrust

Psyche’s sisters told her he was a monster
And then she burned him with her fear
I refuse this
And it’s not why I light the sage in your presence

I have done Aphrodite’s many tasks
Again and again
Until half blinded and motherless I believe I am without fortitude
This is not the case
My house is still here
my kitchen full of empty jars for sorting beans and grains
Under the sink are paper cups to rescue spiders
I am vigilant for burns and bites and cuts and scrapes and breaks and fires and stings (though I can’t see the wasp’s venom)
Always listening for my children in the night

When they are not here sometimes you come
Sharp as an ancient weapon
Fine and dangerous as Eros, listen
My light’s to illumine not to burn
I’m done with that I’m done

Saturday, August 27, 2011

a poem finally

magic still sits crouched on the flagstones by the pond in converse
while small winged creatures flock around him
made of light made of light

love embraces his two children as i do mine
so that all of us is in that moment
the purest of love's stances holding them holding them

i sit here wondering who i am
when i'm not holding my two close to me
i've given up looking for our fourth
(except maybe the dog)
but long as i have my home
i'll be okay i'll be okay

it's august
the little yellow cottage still wears christmas lights
and there are two easter bunnies in the garden
stone buddhas in the back
i won't leave here unless they tear me away, and screaming
now you understand you understand

my soul is buried variously
beneath the birch tree and under the water hyacinth
in the attic and under the floorboards
i've resigned myself to being alone here
with my beloved children and the dog
this is who i am, not only where, not only where

and magic still crouches by the pond in converse
though i don't always see him
and love still scolds me for not having the right sharp knives
in my kitchen
though i insist i only want to casually date
a few men at a time

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Talking to Strangers

I didn’t want to scare you
But you keep begging me to let you ride your bike by yourself around the neighborhood
“I hate you, Mommy, why do you have to be such a safe mom?”
So I thought it was time (though not realizing it was time for one of childhood’s many deaths)
And I told you about the little boy who got lost in New York and was stolen and killed
I didn’t say chopped up I didn’t say tortured, murdered, who-knows-what
But you paused and looked at me
And I knew I had ended something for you
Some state of innocence and trust
Different from “Don’t talk to strangers” and “Some people aren’t nice “
You tried to hit me and you wept and I knew the anger wasn’t only at me
But at the horrors of the world and its monsters
(The ones I can’t stop writing about)
And the tears were for that little boy
With his long locks and somber black clothes
His tiny bespectacled face
Sweet and wise
And so, so beloved
You cried just as I had when I read it a few nights ago
(But I had no one to lash out at, no one I loved to blame)
You were crying for him too
And for you
And for the unattainable wide open streets lined with endless trees, the cool breeze drying up the salt sweat on your brow
Legs growing muscle as you pedal though space
Unfettered and unharmed and loved enough to be set free

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


slow roll of belly fat
to protect my organs
the space between my legs
from marauders
like that one who stood above me naked
possessed by the dark demons
he saw in my bedroom
asking if he could come inside while i lay drugged

i need a pack leader with a soft voice gravelly in his throat like river rock and quieting firm hands
that know what to do
i need a friend who is not simply desiring of the glamour brought by my poetry
and publication
or afraid of the demons who have been stalking me
someone who won't call them demons, just bad luck or chance or life
i need a hunter, a woodsman
someone who thinks in solutions and then crafts them
who outwits the bad luck
who points his arrow at me and when i fall in the mulch and moss and violets
runs over on the legs of trees and bends and gathers
me up

Sunday, May 15, 2011


pretty blue eyed girl with perfect calves
tossing words like veils and petals
smiling in every picture and though sad, believing
in love like i used to

while now i sit here with my eye sockets full of powder and buckled by a physician
not believing in much anymore
even though there are a lot of young women who read my words to help them have faith

i've given up praying even
for that restoration
i sit typing in a windy house with shade leaves pf bougainvillea rustling across
the walls
can't do much except work and eat my mung beans and rice
waiting for my children to come home
the only story i want to write
the only thing i believe in anymore

Saturday, May 14, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse cont. unedited

once we watched that zombie movie together
but i couldn't see the screen very well and i was on antibiotics
and my body was saying "don't let anyone touch me
"i have to heal for at least a year"
and you got a little hurt
and said you felt lonely when you were with me
but in the end you understood
and you still sent me flowers when my mother died
and chocolate vegan hearts on valentines day
you love patti
and you read all my poems
you walked my dog
and fed my children
and took us to the beach among the wildflowers
you planted in my garden
and fixed my pond
and advised me on business
and invited me to stay with you
in spite of what my heart-forsaken body told us
one year ago

but it's been a year now
and although i write about the walking dead
without hearts of their own
i know there is no such thing
as the zombie apocalypse
my patient and true friend

Friday, May 13, 2011

heart break. for jasmine and sam

who made up that term?
so apropos
it really feels that way sometimes
like little shards
like the small pink and white china bunny
that cracked into lots of pieces

but when my children touch me
i can feel their fingers picking up every single tiny dangerous piece
and putting them back together
so they almost fit

Thursday, May 12, 2011


the expensive facial serums unopened
the olive oil half used
the glass jars of black beans and barley
the tissue packs and lip balm in your little crochet purse
the scalp treatment that smells of coffee and chocolate
the cloth doll you made for me when i was a child
with blond yarn hair and green embroidered ct eyes and small pink felt shoes
the velvet throw pillows with tassels
the fragments of old lace and linens
the carved bone cameos
the moldy leather bound books you treasured (they were from your father)
the journals filled with secrets i 'd rather not know
the photographs of you always more beautiful than i was am or ever will be
the love notes to me
the wooden toys and stuffed bears you were saving for my children
though they are now too old for them
the boxes of articles on disease prevention that didn't help at all in the end
the drawings and paintings of you by all the men who worshipped you
reminding me of this lack in my own life
the date book that ends abruptly on september 23rd, 2010
some of these things i cherish
or sell much too cheaply
or give away
some, destroy for lack of space or because they hurt too much
but when i pat my skin with the thin film of cream
i can feel your fingers
and i do not want it ever to be finished
and when i hold your date book i want to write in it every day
for the rest of my life

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse cont (i have no idea what i'm going to write here goes)

One day Catalan found something strange in a field.

It was a little plastic thing with arms and legs and eyes that blinked open and shut. She tried to remember the name for it. She thought, baby, and girl, and little sister until she finally got to doll. She tore a piece of material off her golden dress and wrapped Doll in it and carried her under her arm as she trudged along beside Romeo who had under his arm the wooden box that had contained Catalan's heart.

At night the skies swirled with hot black winds and ash and by day the air was thick and still and red and they often slept then, under rocks and trees to hide from the sunlight that was not good for their dead skin and from the poachers with cruel teeth and little flashing eyes.

They had stopped holding hands somewhere along the way, although Catalan was not sure when this had happened. Maybe after Baron took Romeo, and then her, and doubt was introduced into their previously pure dead minds.

Catalan held onto Doll instead. clutched, actually.

One day they found a cabin in the woods with a little wooden table and three chairs and a cot. Catalan sat Doll in the littlest chair and pretended to serve them all some dried leaves for supper. Then they all tried to lie down in the cot but it was too small so Catalan curled up on the floor with Doll in her arms.

In the middle of the night she felt hands and her body jammed with fear; was it another poacher?

But it was Romeo. He picked her up like a dead kitten (not a dead cat for that would conjure a less sympathetic image somehow) and put her to rest gently in the cot with Doll beside her. Then he curled up on the floor near by to keep watch. He never closed his eyes

oh, only for a few moments, just a few.

And that was when the door opened and they heard the roar of animals with dark fur and teeth who had learned, since the disasters, to speak.

Monday, May 9, 2011

shapeshifting daughter unedited

one pale gold curl on the top of her head
has spiraled down into dark gold and sun-streaked waves
they tangled once so badly during my eye surgery
that we had to cut them short
now they flow again
and i can still see them

soft features soft curves soft skin everything about her
she doesn't like the way veins show through her translucence
but if your skin is made from fairy wing that is what occurs
slowly it will become more human

she has learned to hide her grace just enough for self protection
walking with head a little down, arms close to sides, hips motionless
but the sugar plum who walked on tiptoe
and can break dance like a youtube girl
is there beneath

braces and pimples serve the same purpose
under them she glimmers sun and shade
still my little
begging for sugar and needing arms

i see her shifting shapes to woman very slowly and yet so fast
as she shape shifted into this implausible girl from that baby with a single curl
no teeth
no word
except my name

Saturday, May 7, 2011

fear of flying unedited

you wouldn't think it would be that hard to get on a plane
or that my fear isn't really that much about crashing
i can't read the signs very well
and my feet hurt when i walk
so i'll have to bring sneakers
but theyr'e so scuffed and dirty
and they wont go with my one cute outfit
and what will i eat i'm on this special program
for my joints
and what about my vitamins
can i bring them?
how much liquid is acceptable
becuase i need my skin products and shampoo
and i hate transferringn stuff into those little bottles
everything spills
what about my dog at home?
will he pee on everything will he pine who will watch him?
can i stop working for even a single day?
will my home be safe?
there are girls who leave the kettle on and attach too many extension cords

i can't even think about air that doesn't smell like cars
and cozy little restaurants and someone to take me to museums
and someone to listen
and no one asking me for a snack or space on a shelf
or clean underwear

mostly there's my kids
and being away from them
every day they're at their dads they seem to grow farther from me
in little ways in spite of how tight they hold me when they return

and, also, you know, what if the plane does crash?

but at least
for once
i'm not afraid
of you

Friday, May 6, 2011

empty space unedited

when you died it left an archetypal space
of mommy
and i cannot keep weeping and reaching inside of it
trying to find some remnants of that feeling
i got when you smiled and the world spread out a field of golden lilies
like a wedding dress of thinnest mesh and jeweled petals
when you said , "i love you passionately"
when you held me against you
before you were so small and brittle
i was afraid even my light form might crush you

no i can't reach you
but i can step into that space
catching spiders and changing diapers and tending blemishes and making sandwiches
for my children and now, suddenly, other people's grown children
i'm too busy and overwhelmed with bills and stories and reading students' papers
and telling them their strengths
to bother with my girlish scars and sense of diminshment

this is how we grow up
after loss and loss and loss
and then the greatest one of all
that feels like being buried in that dirt and wood
and ends up being us becoming that which we cannot live without

Thursday, May 5, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse cont. unedited

It was Romeo, looking at her from the other cage where he had been cowering from the light of the TV and all those shiny ladies in bright dresses. He still had Catalan's heart in his chest. With long, graceful, dead fingers he reached out to her.

Catalan said, "I thought you left me," but it came out as only a plaintive groan.

Romeo said, "The man is a poacher," but it came out as a wail.

Baron, the man who had captured them, did not like zombies. He thought they weren't aesthetically pleasing to look at, they smelled bad and you could not have sex with them. So what the fuck was the point? He wanted to study them, do a little research. They were his black holes.

"When will you trust me?" Romeo whispered to Catalan, though it could have been mistaken for a soft whistle.

Then the silence that precedes disaster. Then a low rumble like a zombie's protestations. The earth began to shake and crack beneath them. It sent the cages crashing to the ground and rolling down the free standing staircase and into a pile of rubble under which Baron lay, soon dead. Romeo was able to reach the key hanging from Baron's belt with a bent metal hanger on the floor, and release himself and Catalan.

Holding hands they shambled past the ruined dining table where Catalan had been seduced, through the wood of ashen trees and back onto the road where their walking dead lives waited. Catalan trusted Romeo, she supposed she did. He was carrying her heart around. But it did not beat and it left her without one.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

baby karma unedited (obviously) i'm empty today

i used to only want babies
then, when i finally got them, just one grown up man

now i have two kids with eyes like water moons
one crazy pup with dreads
one tiny pretty naughty orange kitten
two glorious young women
and one thirteen day old baby
in my little house
playing squalling barking fighting laughing crying
among dust bunnies and weeping rose petals and chirping trees

and there's no grown up at all

just me

Monday, May 2, 2011

i still love you unedited

when we met i didn't feel i knew you at all
sitting on the lawn with your baby in your lap like a cream and peach madonna
then you read my books and everything changed
you fed my baby and played paddy cake with him
you brushed my girl's tangles
and cleaned a dead possum out of my shed
you even nursed me when my eye tore in half

so what happened?
i said the wrong thing one day
and apologized a few days later
you were telling me about great sex with your new love
and every part of me hurt too much to listen

i just said that one thing
but it never really is just one thing, is it?
when i myself have shut down
it's usually after a whole series of affronts
conscious or unconscious

is that what you felt?

i should ask this to your face
but just like your facebook status of engaged to that same love
i post it instead

we only communicate through these strange machines
and just like when we first did meet
we one another do not see
at all

at all

Sunday, May 1, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse unedited

After Romeo vanished, Catalan wandered heartless through the land. She came upon a forest glade and there she saw a table laid out for two to dine. A chandelier of iron flowers painted white hung from some branches and rose petals were strewn across the torn and faded damask cloth upon the table. Broken mismatched china plates and two precious wine glasses shone in hazy sunlight.

Catalan sat and pretended to eat rose petals and drink the gold colored wine.
Then a man appeared. He had a small beard and was dressed all in black, with formidable biceps. His eyes were too cold for her to remember what color they were and he had something biting and cruel about his smile but this she ignored. They spoke awhile; he told her she had a lovely smile and eyes. He said he was a scientist and that he had built a telescope to study the electromagnetic forces between black holes.

"Would you like to see my telescope?"

She would.

Man's name was Baron and that night he brought her to a gutted house with a free standing stairway that lead to a small attic room with a telescope. As Catalan was looking through the telescope at blackness she felt the man's hands on her waist. He lifted her up and put her in a cage. She hardly struggled; she had been through too much. He took the cage downstairs to the basement where others like Catalan were imprisoned. A show called Sex and the City was playing on the TV. Catalan scrambled to a corner of her cage and watched the women in pretty colored dresses and shoes and she was glad that she had left her heart with Romeo.

Then she heard her name being called and turned to see who spoke to her...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

tornado unedited

i've felt ripped asunder
ripped from loved ones
but this makes poetic metaphors look like pale corpses
thrown in the dirt

what was it like to be torn apart like that?
it even had warren olney gasping
how you barricaded yourselves in the closet with two dogs and a friend
how a house and a door and even your football player boyfriend's body
was not enough to keep you from being thrown 500 yards
he survived woke on the ground with two dead animals beside him
and you were nowhere
young dark haired and pretty
as the new princess
no glass carriages white horses satin trains lace veils meadow bouquets or princely kisses
no law school marriage babies
just the wrath of a despairing and indiscriminate planet
lost bride of the tornado
may your domain be oz

Friday, April 29, 2011

unedited: kindess came to visit

kindness came to visit
he took us through a mountain of wildflowers
to a perfect, hidden cove
where my hot, complaining children ended their warfare
to splash and bury each other in the sand
kindness took us to a movie
he would never otherwise want to see
and fed us at restaurants he would never otherwise have gone
and then kindness walked my errant dog with me
and i told him
i'm so glad i don't have to be the man for once i'm not very good at it
and he said why should i be
my shoulders fell back down
and my eyes, for a few days
didn't feel like they were filled with sand
i didn't even notice
the hollow sound in my maybe-very-last designer purse
(even though it was from tj maxx)
as the coins rattled around

but kindness i am still scratched and empty
in such disrepair
even your landscaping fingers
cannot rebuild my ruined garden

Thursday, April 28, 2011

for miss unedited

were you lost once in some blue hotel room
papered with peter pan?
did you forget who you once were?
with no one to remind you
shattered in a mirror black as ray-bans

other daughter
third little
fierce girl-boy in black cashmere and basketball shoes
perfect black hair shock and pretty lipped vampiric smile
(don't you dare get those teeth fixed)
you send me photos of your grocery cart and i am proud of your broccoli
your apples and organic strawberries
seeing you learn how to care for you
after years of not

you come over and play basketball with sam and bring jasmine your old bright hoodies
since you wear only black now
and sometimes when you are sad, you put your head in my lap like a long, sweet, slightly feral kitty cat
who sometimes needs a home
and butternut squash soup and chocolate chip cookies from the oven

sometimes when i am caring for you like a child i forget
that you are the one i call when i am most afraid
that you were there
with pink flowers and phone calls
more than anyone else when my mother died
that you counsel me like a true sage on work and men
and then i remember that when i'm gone
you are the one i will want my children to go to first
to be held and reminded
who i was
by one who knows

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am going to write you this poem off top of my head with no editing here goes

it is always bad to look up blogs of men you have dated
late at night when you are alone
and that sick rush you get when you find the poem
about you
that says you are not the shining flower
he once thought

though i never knew he thought i was either shining or a flower
nor that i had disturbed him enough to write a poem of this kind about

i wish he had told me to my face
how he felt untrusted
and about the way he perceived me
and then the way it changed
i would like to tell him directly too
but all that is left for me to do
is write this and post it for everyone but him to see

and maybe for him, too
and maybe for him whom i once called you
as my petals drop and furl to crisp dark shreds

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A poem for Gilda

It’s been six months since you left
Out of the top of your head
And the room had never been so empty
Nor your body
now a tiny shell dressed in fresh pink cotton
Before it,too, was carried off by men in suits

I don’t wonder so much where you have gone
but on bad days I want to go the way you did
And if it wasn't for my children
And not just my biological ones (though mostly)
I’d want it really badly

You broke your heart open one too many times
Like a little otter with a shell and a rock
And I can’t do that anymore
If I try again
My whole body will break
Just like yours
Invaded by Death’s gropings at the site of Love's decimation

So I’ve given up
On my desire for someone to accept the offering of my broken-open heart
That someone, floating on his back in the sea beside me
Big dark eyes and a body of immeasurable warmth

How do you lose the person you love most
You don’t
You die with them
or at least a part of you
And then you find them again

Now all I want is my home
This is the other shell I’ll inhabit
Until I die
(Like you, with a beloved child on either side)
I am it’s heart
And eventually
I will be released

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dancing Mermaid Photography


Rodarte Via Rita Dertkin
‎"Sometimes, it seems as though we have always created together. As children, we were inseparable and always made things together. We grew up by the beach near Santa Cruz, California, amongst tide pools, redwood forests, mustard fields, California poppies, and apple orchards. To this day, it inspires everything we do. Hare Krishnas, psychedelic skaters, punks, poets, and surfers all defined the way we saw the world, and helped to shape our creative inclination..."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For Jasmine during the mortgage crisis in America

Hyacinth eyes you bring me a tiny blue heart filled with red and yellow flowers
I wish I could give you a palace overgrown with lilies
And a sky filled with flying horses made of stars

Outside your window the tree I planted
purples jacaranda as your eyes
All I wanted was to shelter you
but now they make your bed away

So much sorrow in such a small person
At night you grind your teeth in sleep as do I
Warm against me my deepest comfort
Why is it I cannot comfort you?
With pop star princes and sparkly t-shirts and gardens and stages with velvet curtains

You have been inside of me for all my life and now you are outside of me
But not really

I would go blind for you I would sleep in a box
I would go without the love of a man the rest of my life
I even tried to be with your father again
I’d do anything darling one but it seems as if there is nothing I can do
Except hold you beside me and read to you my stories
no matter where we may sleep

Monday, February 21, 2011

Romeo and Catalan

While wandering, Catalan saw a boy quite recently dead and resurrected
While Catalan carried her heart around in a box the boy had no heart to speak of
Someone had cut it out
So he limped along with one hand pressed over the hole in his chest
Catalan followed him in secret for many miles, spying on him as he scavenged for bugs and rodents and sometimes stopped to read from a large old encyclopedia he carried around with him in a red and white plastic Target bag
He had black hair, green eyes and wore a long black overcoat, and in spite of being dead he appeared quite beautiful
At least to Catalan
She decided to call him Romeo from one of the books she had read in the house
It seemed appropriate because the original Romeo was beautiful and dead
Catalan followed him for days before she finally made herself known to him
He backed away at first but Catalan sat quietly with her palms open on her knees, and eventually he crawled up and lay near her and they spent the whole night in this way
At dawn they set off together side by side and Romeo played a little tune on a harmonica in his pocket though it was dangerous and might draw attention from bands of marauding zombies or humans with a vendetta
Once Catalan tried to hold Romeo’s hand but he shook his head, gathered his fingers in a bouquet beneath his throat and hobbled ahead of her
So one night while they were camping in a field Catalan took her heart out of the box that said For My Beloved and put it in sleeping Romeo’s cavernous chest
for hope can be resurrected even in the walking dead
when love comes to town

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love said

Love said, Good luck with him
You have a tender heart

I never trusted the words Good Luck
Break a Leg is better
Break a Heart more apropos

After five dates Music calmly said, I just want to be friends first
Get to know you
Then we’ll see what happens
But he already fed me
carried me to bed
And kissed me like he wanted
to climb inside my mind
though he did not
touch me inside

Music said, It’s me, not you
And that he had a broken heart
Didn’t want to injure mine
But I’ve been building scar tissue
Up inside
For years now
that shit is thick

Love, I’m tougher
Than I look
And just as alone
As was I

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love Quadrant

I wanted Music but he was evasive
As Music always is
Making us feel things we don’t understand
We don’t know why
A visceral experience made of blood and sinew
So it seems at the time
But ultimately ephemeral

Love was resentful and left
I understood
I would have done the same thing
In fact we shared a name

But Kindness persevered and continued to give to me
Poetry and chocolates
Even though I was far away
And had not been able to hold him
As he desired, perhaps needed

We are not alike, Love and Kindness
But together we make a whole person
With perfect sight and hearing

Still I waited for Music
To take me out again
to feed and tell me stories
and then drift off
to dream about Heartbreak
or was Youth her name
who was still his soul mate
in the forgotten pictures on an abandoned Myspace account

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love is Blind

It does not take much
A glass of wine, an offer to look at my computer
Swaying to some music
A held hand
A warm wool coat draped over cold flesh shoulders
The right thick black boots
A kiss in a bar
A kiss at the door
A walk on the boardwalk
A walk on the sand
A raw food meal made of coconuts, cashews and mangoes
The words, You look great
The words, You are so beautiful
The words, I’m so attracted to you
The words, I love your mind
A deleted Internet dating profile
An Indian meal and a party in sequins
Thai soup and a movie brought when I’m feeling run down
Exquisite animation that makes me cry
Plus high cheekbones big eyes and a wicked grin
And thirty poems in as many days
Words that seem to reveal a soul
And might just contain a secret message
Or perhaps not

I’m so ready for love that those things are enough
And I’d rather disregard the evasive words
The lack of plans
The unsent valentine
The aborted touch

I know I’m partially blind
But perverse winged child with your bow and arrow
Just this once
give me the good grace to see

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day (photo by Mccabe Russell)

In some cultures there are no words for music or art
Because they are just part of life

I wonder if love should have a name?
And a holiday
Mylar balloons and chocolate filled with hydrogenated oils
Plastic roses and store bought greeting cards

Like most of these occasions
An excuse to get drunk and have sex
When what I want goes so far beyond any of that

My mother always made me Valentine’s out of construction paper and silver doilies she found forty seven ways to say I love you in her gracious script
until cancer silenced her

My ex husband always filled my car with bouquets almost as tall as I am
When I just wanted him to hold me with a sprig of lavender behind my ear
The last man came over with every plastic toy he could find at Rite Aid
Took me to dinner and kept me up all night
When my torn eye needed rest
I said I love you I love you while he rocked above me
A week later we were as far apart as two people could ever be

I don’t want Valentines
I want to twine myself in lights
And kneel before you
In black lace underwear and motorcycle boots
On a bed of roses
Thick and soft as flesh
And I don’t want anyone
To say a word

Friday, February 11, 2011

There's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse part 4

There’s no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 4

As Catalan wandered through the desert her heart began to fall out of her chest. She took it out and wrapped it in a piece of fabric torn from the hem of the gold dress and continued to walk.
One day she heard shouts “Heya hot Z, nice dress!”
She fell to the ground behind a rock and slithered on her belly. Gunshots rang out and she could smell beer and man sweat.
“Kind of cute for a...”
There was hole in the ground big enough for her to slide into. There was a tunnel.
The tunnel led down under the earth and there she hid until nightfall. Digging in the dirt she found a small wooden box.
On the front it said, For my beloved
but there was nothing inside.
Catalan put her heart in the box and when she no longer heard the men she made her way back up.

She slithered and ran back to the ambulance.
She had never driven it in this state but she vaguely remembered how so she rode haltingly across the rough terrain back to the road and then along the highway over a bridge beneath which lay the skeletons of hundreds of men
The bridge led her into a town full of large houses and wild gardens.
One house felt familiar so that is where she went.
It was made of river rocks with a gabled porch and inside it was still in tact though dusty and dank.
She took her little wooden box and went up to the attic where she found a cot and lay down and stared at the dust motes and tried to remember.
She knew she had not always been this way…
There was a girl with smooth skin and blue eyes looking at her from a mirror
There was a man and a woman who hugged her and another, smaller girl, with blue eyes
They played together
There was a place the mirror girl went to learn things
And big mirrored places where she went sometimes to eat things and buy things
And there were books some of these were in the house downstairs on the shelves
Catalan brought stacks of them up to the attic and read them all day, emptying their contents into her head. At night she hunted for small rodents and then she went back up to the attic.

One day she woke and heard voices downstairs.
They were high and light as flowers would sound if charmed into speaking.
She remembered this sound
She listened closely at the door but she did not go downstairs.
For days she sat up in the attic listening to the children.

She could see them from the window playing in the garden overgrown with weeds and ivy tangles.
At night she peered at them asleep in their beds on her way out to find rodents.
Sometimes she left them some.
But one day one of the children—a small, blue-eyed girl who looked strangely familiar, tiptoed up to the attic and saw Catalan lying on her cot eating a rat.
The child ran downstairs screaming, “Emma. It’s Emma!”
And from her window Catalan saw the others assembling an army of sticks and stones
So Catalan took her heart in its box
And left as fast as she could

Thursday, February 10, 2011

there's no such thing as the zombie apocalypse part 3

there is no such thing as a zombie apocalypse 3

one night they heard catalan mewling and coughing in distress

they went to the highest point of the house and breathed the winds that came from the south
yes, they could detect it
that smell
stench, really
riding the air

they were coming again

so the man and the woman got into the ambulance with catalan tied in the back
and they rode toward the desert

they parked among the joshua trees as deep in the monument as they could go hidden behind boulders
there they stayed, keeping watch
eating rabbits and feeding the rats to catalan
scouring the sky for shooting stars

but soon the woman found
that her body was changing
she'd thought her cycle had stopped
that night in the cabin when she picked up the gun
but now something was forming inside of her stretching out her belly
filling her breasts in undaunted preparation

(that night...
the ruined mansion
the gold dress)

she did not want to tell him but finally he noticed too

he took his gun, handed her hers and stomped out of the ambulance in his boots
she sat at the window watching him go
catalan curled at her feet

he was gone all night but she did not allow herself to cry
at dawn he returned with the pink streaked sky
that once in times now almost forgotten
they had camped beneath, drinking wine and eating sandwiches
when camping was a past time and not the default
when they had the audacity to actually try to make a child

when they had not been accompanied by a dead girl with molting skin

he got on his knees and pressed his face to her belly and wept
"there is no life here " he told her
and she begged his forgiveness
and told him that somehow things would change

months passed like this and one night they saw
catalan shambling in circles around the ambulance
pointing to the sky

they looked up and saw it heard the soft thrum of it
the lights flashing over their faces blue blue blue
the woman fell to her knees her hands on her belly

when it took them away
catalan stayed
they watched through the glass
as she staggered off
wearing the gold dress
the pearl leather shoes hanging around her neck on a string

decimated and stubbornly undead
preciously almost still alive
as the planet they left behind

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 2

There’s no such thing as a zombie apocalypse part 2

They left the cabin in the old ambulance he had been able to barter in exchange for their home
The one they had before
With the wrap around porch and the french doors
And the garden with amaryllis and fig trees
She had hated the ambulance and the cabin
But now she was grateful as they headed down the hill into the ashy air

By nightfall they arrived at a ruined mansion
He went first, she followed with the other gun,
found herself waving it back and forth like antennae
The way she’d seen him do some nights
When he paced around the cabin

An empty foyer with parquet floors walls had crumbled and trees grown up inside under the shattered glass dome
a staircase swept up into nothing and spiderwebs curtained the spaces where there had been windows

Later they found Catalan, for that is what they called her, weeping alone in a corner
She must have been beautiful when she was alive
And she didn’t look like she would eat you
They couldn’t bring themselves to kill her but they had to put a rope around her neck just in case
At night sometimes the woman would wake to find Catalan staring at them from the corner with her glazed bloodshot blue eyes and her leprous face

They went out in the day to hunt for small creatures and cooked them on a fire, then camped out in the ruined house
Huddling for warmth but not inside of each other the way she wanted
They had not made love for weeks now
He considered it a luxury but if truth be told
She believed it was the key to her survival

It was the first time in her life she was glad they had not had children but if they made love she could forget this and everything else

Once in a closet she found a dress
Gold satin with a full skirt and cloth covered buttons
And a pair of pearl colored shoes with pointed toes and tiny pearl buttons on the toe

She put this on for him one night but he told her, Where are your boots, not a question
and so she slunk off to uniform herself

Soon it would be time to start moving again
Because you never new who would find you unexpectedly
But for now she liked living in the forest house
And one night when Catalan had been tied up in another room
the woman put on the gold dress and pulled the man down into her arms
And kissed his mouth

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse

there's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse

"take off your boots and come to bed," she said
but he remained seated at the window
sharpening his knives and every now and then
looking up to stare out into the blackness surrounding the cabin

'we don't need a gun," she'd tell him
"and why all those blades?"
she liked how his boots looked
ordered on ebay from japan
thick soled black leather
with quilting and straps all up the leg
sometimes they made her wet
but she didn't think they were necessary
as more than a fashion statement
just as she thought his survivalist beliefs had gone too far
filling the basement with that many cases of water and cans of beans

"i'll tell you a story," she pleaded "about the way it was"
but he shook his head
and continued to work on his blade
his eyes that sharp, too
and even darker than the night

she fell asleep finally without him
and when she woke and reached for him
as she always did
he was not there

she got up and went to the window
in her t-shirt and underwear
goosebumps rising on her legs

pressed her face to the glass
thinking she might see his torch burning in the yard
where sometimes he went late
to improve his moves
or just to watch

he was not there

and then she saw them

rising over the hillside like trees that had been uprooted
staggering as if they had ripped up roots instead of rotting feet
arms flailing like dead branches
and the sewer smell that always accompanied them

she called his name but no sound came out
she felt as if impaled
standing there unable to...

and then she saw him
leaping forward out of the shadows shining his torch in their eyes
wearing his boots
a sword in his other hand

she didn't take her eyes off of him
reached behind to find the boots he'd bought her too
thick black monster stompers
they had laughed about it once
dressed alike as if for rock and roll or combat
sippping miso soup and eating clams at the little japanese restaurant that no longer existed

that was when you could go to see a movie
make love without listening for sounds in the yard
wear boots for fashion's sake
that was when pacifism was an option
but now in the drawer behind her
her hand fumbled resolutely
for the gun

Monday, February 7, 2011

Parallel Play

Parallel Play

In the dirt I squat and stare
Making worlds I want to share
With you but you are busy too
Sword fighting with the hazy air

In my pile of sand and mud
I place wild beasts to face a flood
Fairies, angels, buddhas too
A castle, moat, a garden, zoo

You wield your sword and flash a grin
You dart and turn and slash and spin
While I pick up a baby doll
hold it so it will not fall

Come see my world, I beg, you smile
and run away to hide awhile
but then come back to check on me
and laugh at what you always see

The wild beasts lick each other down
The goddesses each wear a crown
Wild roses grow most everywhere
And some are tangled in my hair

And though our games so different are
You run away but not too far
We please each other in this way
So different yet aligned in play

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For my father : London, 1972

For my father: London, 1972

The girls wore floppy hats, bellbottoms or mini skirts and platforms
They all seemed so tall and bright
Like psychedelic flowers
I could never be or pick
But you bought me purple suede gillies
In Pickadilly square
So I could at least pretend

Then that underground Italian restaurant
With the bathed radiance of gold light
The waiter took my fettucine away before I was done
But you got me another
Your arm around me, tweedy jacket and the smell of garlic cream
Twinkle eyes and a crooked tooth

I learned early that if a man buys you food and shoes
It can make you feel safe
At least for a little while
But when you got sick and there was no one else
I learned that I would have to buy them for myself
Never trust anyone too much
Or lean too hard into the crook of any woolen arm
Wetting it with your tears and exposing your heart
Because eventually they are going to leave
Even if it's only death do part

For the girls who come to me

For the girls who come to me

”Does magic exist?” they ask with their glittered eyes
hair swishing down to slender waists
Petticoats and platforms
Feathers and lace and leathers and chain
They want me to confirm what they secretly know
Maybe prove it
so I write another story
light some fairy lights
give them cupcakes
and tell them they are beautiful

“In December I almost died”
She says
“But I graduated I composed more music I hung from a wire and danced in the air”

“Does magic exist?”
she asks
As if it is somewhere else
Some foreign place outside of us
And not just her standing here aglitter with youth and talent and the desire to love a lost soul
Who asks her with his eyes
Just before he leaves and breaks her heart
"Does magic exist?"

He knows the answer, the one she wants to believe in
But he can’t take the risk of knowing it is true

If I lost my sense of sight I could still feel you

The thicket of hair
The big soft eyebrows
The lines of your smile
Sweet feral teeth

The lips I can suck
The ridge of collarbone
The mass of bicep
Strained veins on forearms

The defended chest
The narrow hips
The motorcycle thighs
Black leather boots

If I lost my sense of smell I could bury my face in your neck and armpit and lap and
The musk sweat and salt

If I lost my hearing
I could press my head to your heart and feel the pagan drum circle in your chest
I could press my heart to our veins
And feel the symphonic swirl of your blood

If I couldn’t taste you I would have meat and rock salt dandelion greens and red

If couldn’t touch you I would look and listen and smell and taste and dream

You see, I’ve known you before. A long time ago.
And I’ve been sense-less a long time since

You say you need to wait and see
Who I am
But I already know
You with every one of my imperfect six

Friday, February 4, 2011

yesterday at the roman villa
i saw a lot of things i really liked
the tiny rock crystal fragment of aphrodite's nude torso
glittering in its case
like it was made of tears and sunlight
and the heavy gold necklace with the large amethyst flower pendant
that I imagined pulsing at my collarbone
like a fairy jewel
and the little pointed toed red leather shoes with gold trim
belonging to a long dead girl
buried in her sarcophagus with her toys and bangles
making her seem like a real little person
and not just something dead
but best of all was the statue of orpheus with his bald head, his chiton and snadals
his hands held up before him
bearing a long gone lyre
a reminder that eurydice could not be saved
but beauty lives on even in death
the two bird women with their talon feet and wings on either side of him
will not let us forget our harpy fears

this is what i wanted to bring you back here for
so we could stay the night
hidden away somewhere
only to emerge and drink wine from the kylix
and bathe in the fountain mosaiced with tile and shells
filled with waterlilies
and surrounded by water gods
and you would wear the metal helmets
with little slits for eyes
and i would wear the amethyst flower and a pair of dead girl shoes
and my skin would shine like rock crystal
and we would dance with nymphs and satyrs
and be initiated into a cult of mysteries
at lyre-less orpheus' sandaled feet
while the harpies scream

Thursday, February 3, 2011



yesterday was really hard
not tragic just hard
the kids were fighting and the dog peed in the house soaking the bottom of my bed sheet
and then ran in circles around the front lawn nipping at my hands wild eyed when i tried to get him to come inside
i ruined my good pink suede sneakers
and the neighbor laughed at me
swearing and spinning in the mud
and then i yelled at my children
much too harshly
and i was so tired and over burdened
and none of my friends answered my calls
and i just wanted someone to comfort me
but then i got your poem
about your week
and i just wanted
to comfort you

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

blood II

blood II (with gratitude for the inspiration)

one year ago, february 21st 2am
one week after a valentine's day of mylar balloons and roses, real and fake
and chocolate i would never eat:
the last time i made love
the first time i made love without knowing it
though i know you asked if it was ok
the rest was black out

i'd taken a sleeping pill and one xanax
left over from my surgery less than a month before
still suffering ptsd
when the fight started i knew i had to check out fast
didn't want to stress my newly bound eye

you were rocking on the floor and speaking in tongues
about being good
and the dark thing behind me
and suddenly i didn't know you at all
though i'd been with you five months.

since then well i'm better
you are gone and i haven't opened the medicine chest
the pills are expired i don't need them
i want to remember everything
every single moment
feel pain and cry and bleed
my eye's healed as well as it will ever be

but when my mother died the blood poured for two weeks straight
then stopped as if for good
as if to match hers
and now you'd think i'd stop
too, searching for this thing i want
but i refuse to stop
i am not going to stop
loving extravagantly
open-heartedly, dazzlingly
but not blindly--
with a bitter little pill
dissolving under my tongue--
and then maybe my blood will come back

i'm not dead after all

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a pictures is worth a thousand words

I love you he ‘d say at the end of every phone call and after awhile I stopped saying it back
Just words
I love words
Succulent as fresh melon
Warm as the puppy curled in my lap with his head all the way under the quilt
But those were just words
And he never said it with his hands, his body
Although sometimes I would see it in his lasered eyes
When my hair was done and i was holding the children in my arms
The one night he tried after almost four years
The Sport’s Illustrated swim suit issue had just arrived
And I couldn’t help seeing those hairless bodies with painted on bikinis and huge breasts
Egging him on
I tried to confess my fears in the office of a shrink
But my husband flew into fury and that was the end of it

It was only pictures
But then I love you
Are only words

Monday, January 31, 2011



on the good days when i get to go to a yoga class and do sun salutes to a patti smith song and then drink from a young thai coconut and then teach my students in my cottage full of my mother's books and my father's flower paintings and then i light the lights and see all of my friends and we dance around and sip champagne and wear false eyelashes and then maybe i get to go out to dinner at a japanese restaurant and sit in the tiny hidden booth room behind the curtain and eat lotus root that the immortals ate and then be cozy in a bed full of two children and a dog or maybe one wise, kind lover and i wish that i life wasn't so short
i try to remember the night i lay in this same bed in the dark with the gauze over my bleeding eye and the world closing in black and i wished that life wasn't so long

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Remember when we lay together drinking wine from the amphora and you played your lyre and sang to me
Our lips were stained and then my breasts
The cypress trees swayed ever so slightly and even the birds stopped singing to listen
When I was stung by that serpent of our tragedy and carried way beneath the earth
Where no thing blooms
You came to find me but I was already Hades’ girl
You could charm the trees, the birds, the boatman and all those walking dead but it was not enough
Even your song could not save me
Only my own will ever bring me back to life
And if those maenads of lust dismember you and you become a tree
I will lie at your roots and feed you with my blood
And in this way again will we be one

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mortgage Crisis

Mortgage crisis

When I walked inside
I cried
Like arms I was contained
And in exchange
I put a roof on it
To keep out rain
Gave it all of what I’d earned
By making worlds
with words
We keep each other warm and dry
It is my earth and sky
A thing
But one that holds me while I dream
brings me flowers in the spring

It costs me everything
And though I hope within its arms to lay
Me down
I may
Be forced to walk away

Friday, January 28, 2011

conversation with my dead mother

Conversation with my dead mother

I can see you sitting across from me in the little pink booth at Govinda’s where we always used to go and where the blue gods wear jewels and carnations. You are leaning forward looking at my lentil soup and salad with green sunflower seed dressing and your eyes are big and your hands are long and bony and your hair is thin and your cheekbones are still so beautiful not to mention your smile. You no longer have something growing inside of you except love. You say, “How are Jasmine and Sam?” and I tell you about Jasmine’s play and Sam’s baseball tryouts and how they are in love with our new rescue dog. “Elphi!” you say what a perfect name. He’s sounds adorable. Elphi! Will it be too much work for you, though?” I reassure you that it is worth it because it makes the children so happy especially Jasmine who needs that much love and comfort 24 hours a day. You ask about work and I tell you about the secret project and the epic and the book I finished in your doorway the night you died, the book that still hasn’t found a publisher. “Oh it will!” you say. “I just know it!” I tell you about my classes and the party we had and I worry aloud about money though you think I shouldn’t and we talk about Gregg’s beautiful singing and how much we missed you at his last show. I avoid talking about the secrets I found among your journals and letters because I have already processed this and who knows how much time we have left? You ask about the man and I say I really like him and that he is smart and kind and gifted and deep and unusual and things about him remind me of my father. You try not to get too excited but we are both excited, it is in our natures. When I finish my lunch, which you are very interested in and continue to eye hungrily, I ask, “Why don’t I miss you more?” and you look at me with your glowing green eyes and say, “Remember the night I flew away? When you held my hand and you saw my spirit leave my body? Where do you think it went, my darling?” and then I feel this strange solid peace deep in my chest, not the emptiness or the longing but the feeling of being fully a woman, fully a mother, fully alive and I know the answer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Self Portrait in Clothes and Boys

Self portrait in clothes and boys

Tiny blue turtleneck, baggy green cords
That’s all I will wear! No dresses for me!
Staring up at Jeddy with pure adoration
We are three and four

Peach French cotton wrap skirt and T-shirt
Square dancing with one of the Davids
Warm thick boy hand on my twelve year old waist
Allemande left and the scent of his sweat

Tight jeans and suede hiking boots
JC waterproofed them for me
The pale pretty suede looked dark and flat
There were girls at the party in red dresses and heels

Prom in pink taffeta mini
My date should have been the one with the broken nose and the Mohawk
Doc Martens and kilt
But I picked a blond coke head surfer instead

Engineer boots and velvet, rhinestones and lace
Spread out on the floor to hear X
I see Thorne in eyeliner
That's my boyfriend I say
With the bravado and will of 18

I cut my hair short, bleached it blond
For Dirk in his creepers and black Elvis pomp
’55 Pontiac, swing dance all night
He has eyes for the boys and my hair is gone

Face painted in white
Roses scrawled on my cheeks
By that boardwalk clown
I don’t remember Smoke’s clothes
Just narcotic blue eyes and his songs

Rose wreaths and tutus
Angel Juan in a top hat
Or we’re dressed as dead surfers
Wrapped in garlands of seaweed
Every day was a play
Until naked I lay
In the bathtub weeping

I was married in thousands of tiny white pearls
Like a beached mermaid
Praying I’d get one good egg
If I courted the gods
With so many imitations
I got two

I bought Prada shoes, leather with studs
Tortoise shell heels that made my feet bleed
Hot pink satin Lou Boutin
Before I ruined my feet trying to impress a man
Who wore Payless Van's
and whose favorite book was Jonathon Livingston Seagull

And you in your long leather coat and fedora
So respectful and slow
But I already know
Your body

Here is the costume
I’ve thoughtfully selected
To cover the smoothest
Whitest parts of my skin
And the invisible fingerprints of others
Sequins and stretch pants and leather and silver

We've said we'd stay clothed
until we know our souls
here's mine

undress me

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My grandmother left her beloved husband and shining daughter to come to Hollywood to write screenplays in the 40’s
and when she felt too anxious or too sad
received shock treatments in some clinic
whose name I’ll never know

My mother worried all the time
infections and earthquakes, cancer and accidents
She never took a drug in her life
Until the morphine on her death bed
just a drop

I swallow one half pill each day
5 mg.--the very smallest dose
To stop the loop of worried
self-deprecating thoughts

What if my gods had this?
Anne and Sylvia? Vincent and Virginia?
Would they have lived? Would they have been
the artists that they were?

I always have enough
pain inside to write
but this treatment makes it hard to come or cry

So, the other night, dripping honeyed nectar
I was grateful to you
Even for the tears

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Never Not

Sam says, “Will you squeeze me five minutes straight?”
And, “Will you cuddle me all night long?”

At four in the morning he calls me into his room and I hold him while he sleeps
The dog on our feet

In the morning he has a dream I got an Iphone
And that grandma had come back

“When was the last time I saw her?” he asks
I tell him Rosh Hashanah when we ate challah and said a prayer, holding hands around her chair
He doesn’t quite remember
Thought it was the time before
“Did I say goodbye?” he asks
Then the tears come
Big almond eyes and high cheekbones and everything and everyone I’ve ever loved in that one face now in pain

I kneel before him and take him in my arms
“It’s okay to be sad, to cry
When you need me to I will be her and hug you the way she used to”
“My darling, Sam,” she’d say
bending down, encircling him in frail arms, kissing him with a prance of delight in her eyes

I would hold him forever for her if I could
never not
never stop


What else are you searching for?
A different number
a different color?

When my poetry and kisses are not enough
I falter
When my sequins and stories aren’t sufficient
I step back
Wondering what more I can do
To keep your eye

Trying not to wound myself again
Knowing I deserve the unbroken gaze
If not the unbroken heart
Since those are virtually impossible to come by

Were you bored were you lonely did you miss me?
Were you looking for a backup or something more?
Did something I do or say push you away?
Or were you just not quite enough enchanted?

Now I’m clicking too, though I’d rather just sit quietly
And look into your eyes

I wonder if we are evolving past the beat, the kiss
So that our modern heartbeats sound like this:

Monday, January 24, 2011

OK Cupid

Love’s green Asian eyes watched me too closely
While I danced across the floor
He sent me too many lovely poems in one night
He was unemployed
not actually divorced yet
There were other problems, too
Mostly having to do with my own history
Of not being touched
So I turned away from Love
Went back to my computer searching

I met Resentment with his little rectangular glasses
And Pain who blinded me
I met Wealth with his home movie theater and red bathroom and ice cold bed
I met Kindness who took me to the atrium and planted flowers in my yard
But pouted when I could not make love to him
I met Fear who held up a sign that read I have a sexual disease that might eventually give you cancer
And Nameless who brought over his hand bound book of photographs and left it here and never returned

Then I met Music with his quick mind and measured speech.
But he, too, had his hand on the keyboard
And Beauty was only one short click away

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I who am usually pretty good with words

said "Thank you for a fun night!"

and "You are so sexy!"

What do those words mean anyway?



Cheshire grin and corded forearms

Inked bicep

Fitted hips

Parking lot wandering

Blue purple sequin netting

Indian food doll heads poetry scrawled on paper table cloths

I forgot, climbing on top of you in the front seat of your car

Why there was any need to wait

What does the word date mean anyway?

The number four?

At two in the morning as I clench again spontaneously around air

I remember the meaning of the words caution

And attachment

And in the daylight I am grateful that you stepped away

This once
I can feel your heartbeat
through your thick
There are rugs on the ceiling and coconut milk curry
not to mention one hundred kisses

my present contentment
makes it difficult
to write
a poem

Friday, January 21, 2011

Love Song

Let’s go where caves drip crystals
The air a soft warm mist

Sea clear--we see our feet

Where walls are made of mermaid glass
with lilies white and roses black

And sleep in the grand suite

Danish still life splitting seeds
Melons grapes and honey mead

Eggs and bread we’ll eat

Let’s dress in velvet finery
Silk that’s scrawled with poetry

‘Neath chandeliers we’ll meet

But what I want and what I need
they are two different things
a book, a bed, a water flask
a bowl of rice and thee