Friday, November 29, 2013


In November, have you ever seen
a field like this, green
still in its greenest summer
Sunday green
cowdotted (and between
the fourlegs sometimes four legs
more, twigthin and thirsty four,
or dancing twos and fours)
While all around the trees
clap paper leaves,
rustle their Sunday skirts
those saucy girls! they flirt
they flaunt, they sing
newmaidenly -- sing
Eden songs
A breeze snaps
sweet and sassy
at the skirts about their feet
It might be spring --
Sunwarmed, center-chilly
let us, too, leap and sing
such saucy frolicking
such sure doxologies

Thursday, November 14, 2013


(this is not the poem i wanted to write.
I wanted to write --
in beauty, like the night. To write such stars, such blue, such blue, such black -- vangogh swirls against the dying of the light. Such violin-thin wails to pierce your heart -- I wanted
you to read, and ache, and love

me -- Love
me --

Love me in stars pinned up against the night, me crucified

instead i find myself writing the same poem again, over and over,
as i might turn a pebble in my palm -- i murmur:

Terrible --
this world,
and beautiful --

and there are SOULS

--these little vast and heavy things:
they will, when you have forgotten that i writing, still
their own small deep and lovely being)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"For My Mother" (2006)

As i scrawled in the Black Book: "She gives me so much. I write her bad poetry."


If the world were a different place --
If I could have any thing -- I know
I'd want the wide sea in a silver bowl.
I'd want the moon on a golden chain,
And a glass of the scent of the grass when it rains.
I'd want a bowl of my mother's milk,
And a bottle of her tears --
I'd feed my mother apples and pears.
If the world were a different place,
I'd give my mother bread and wine.
I'd be a little vine
That twined around her waist
And bloomed in all the colors she loves best.
Oh, I'd have a bowl of my mother's milk,
And a bottle of her tears --
I'd want to soothe her skin with silk
And wash away her fears.
If the world were a different place
I'd reach into the deeps of space
And gather seven shining stars
And set them in my mother's hair --
I'd give my mother a crown of stars.
I'd give her a pearl for every year,
And a  rose for every day,
A yellow rose for every day
And a red rose on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

cat (bouts-rime ii)

cold nose curious whiskers     cat
discreet, white-mittened
steps precise as poured tea
sits proud     stares over grades
(its own estate complete)     late
sleeper, long napper    cold
eyes sliteyed peruse the noon
then s  t  r  e  t  c  h spine spunout glass
nose windowpresses     trees
outside whisper green green
whisper brown

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bouts-Rime I

A branch longfallen, rotting quietly
Serene among its fellows, by the creek --
Beneath, inscrutable and dry, a toad
Glares lidless. Somewhere a saucy finch
Details to the wide creekside society
His exploits of the day -- A fit of pique
(finches, you know, are flighty), and the load
Of his tune ends. A twitter and a pinch
And the wide sky is his road. His glide swells wider
Than all his boasts and chirps. He hops and skips
From wind to wind, a mirror to the water-striders.


Oh Child
Your eyes, so tender-wide
(I am not the first to draw this spiderline)

soft skin and tender petals
faintly fuzzed--
From Eve we have loved so, our similes
cut canyons --


the sweet hungry curve
your smallbird neck
stretched so fracturable-strong --

Your mouth, your twotooth smile
confidently sweet
as a wide, bright summer sky --
you bite

two teeth and gums
Into this life
Into this crisp and sweet --

Your little clouds blown past
You have not reached
the grainy, mealy bruise
the hard and bitter seeds --

Your birdmouth opens
hungry, wide
to bite this world
so new, so crisp, so sweet

Sunday, September 29, 2013

long distance (2005ish)

One foot, and then the other -- God!
I'm no good at this,
no long dist-
ance runner.

It hurts so much to fall --
Stumble on sin
again, and again
taste dust.

If I could see the end -- but it's
the middle of the day,
and a long, long way
until the end.

long road

This one dates i believe from shortly before i started college, so 2004-5.
So far i am resisting the temptation to edit this old stuff.


"Take up your cross, and follow Me," you said.
But oh, Lord Jesus, I'm weak,
and oh, Lord Jesus, I am frightened.
It's a long long road up to that black hill.
Those harsh and rusted nails, waiting
to skewer a familiar pleasure --
That little habit --
what harm did it do to anyone,
that it should be spread out to scream and
shrivel in the sun?
All those little loves too? to be hammered
there to bleed, drop by drop? to die?
Oh, Jesus, this black burden on my back
is my own self crucified,
and it's a long long road up that black hill.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bouts-Rhymes, also administrative stuffs

Hello, my faithful two readers. Thank you for all the cheerleading! I love you both monstrously.

I am about to start dumping "poems" (if i can call them that) from pre-2005 or so. Just so you know i'm not all depressed or anything. Anymore :P

Also may be playing around with re-labelling stuff. For my own delectation. Since i have been spending so much time ignoring the sticky spots on my floor anyway.

OK, glad that's out of the way.

So i haven't forgotten about the Handbook of Poetic Forms. The next one on the list is BOUTS-RHYMES, which is another fun game to play!! This is easier to show than to tell.

BOUTS-RHYMES -- a how-to
(1) Challenger: "hey, have some words i just made up with my brain. Betcha can't write a poem using them as the line ends."
(2) Poet: "EXCEPT I CAN."

(The end)

Ex. g:

Challenger: "rose, chose, spill, glows, fill, mill, doze"
Poet: "Earlier than the sun she rose
          To meet the one her own heart chose --
          That made her lips to spill
          Such silly giggles. Oh, the rosy glows
          Of infant romance -- they could fill
          A room with light. I could write a mil-
          lion lines like this, but it would make me doze."
Challenger: "You totally cheated. Also, your meter changes like 3 times in 7 lines."
Poet: "You suck."

So if you want to challenge me, toss me some words. Any other parameters (it has to be funny! It has to be sad! It has to be in the first person! It has to be a found poem!) are optional. I will write a poem of it.


Monday, September 23, 2013


some One turned on the faucet
left it running --
water's pouring
from the warblers' throats --
Burbling -- bubbling -- pip! pip! dribbling --
a warm gush gurgling
a liquid spill of notes --

Brrr-eeep! interrupted
a robot tone -- brr--eep!
a cell phone trill --
a giggling bill --

and another bird still
chuckles from the grass
chuckles and giggles
telling jokes to himself
with a hitch! and a buckle
in his voice
as he laughs --

Then another trickle
drips down from the tree top
an inquiry in 
every liquid syllable --
Drip! drip! dribble --

some One turned on the faucet
and didn't turn it off -- 

Friday, September 20, 2013


The sugar ants are back. The wall is crawling
that same serrated line, that seethe of black
bodies, rambling, diverging, resolute. Some crumb,
some sticky patch, a crumb of catfood, and
they've come. Again. The sugar ants are back

and there's a roach -- but we don't call it that,
it's a palmetto bug -- a roach by any other name
will perch still, fistbig, on the wall above the shelf,
until it sprints -- it skitters -- worst, it flies --
to shadow. God help me, there's a roach

and fruit flies. All the fruit lives in the fridge,
and we have flies. They dance around the dish
of soap and vinegar. They razz their little wings,
they shrill, they whine their tiny little whines.
I pray for spiders, pray for lizards. I have flies

and omens lurking in the bathrooms. Shadows
that ring drains and faucets. I scrub them
once a week, with bleach, and then the shadows
gray, vague, drift relentless millimeters back.
Their armies seep through every drip and crack.

Our walls are permeable, our floors, traversed,
our seals unsealed and tender to the world.
Next week we could be split and opened wide
to the great, the wet, the crawling, wild,
exultant world. We will be Eden.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

this is a poem for the cockroach poisoned

How crisp how frail its limbs
twitching still fluidrich

clicking twitching inchlong
too long alien such

a small beast overturned
to turn such revoltings

glossy smooth as wellturned
wood i cannot will not

call it beautiful its
carapace mahoga-

ny impossible the
ladys eyebrow arch

its elegant anten-
nae parabolae and

its small inscrutable
face eyes and mouthparts un

speaking moving clicking
it is this this endless mind

less moving that revolts
tomorrow ended in

the stiff brittle incurl
messageless the last mo-

tion perhaps of us all
i cannot will not call

it beautiful in death --


Since we're getting all seasonal. An old scraplet (2004?) from the Black Book


It's August, and we're sitting on the porch
Each in a slick
and sticky
second skin.

It's August, and we're sitting on the porch
Freezing our teeth
with sweet iced

It's August, and we're sitting on the porch
dreaming hot
and hazy

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September breathes

The wind is changing. September breathes
A new beginning onto every leaf --
A story not yet read. A golden door
Where never was before

And in your hand a sudden weight. A key
Heavy with years and secrets. Anything
Waits behind the door -- Quick, unsure
Your heart, your hand, extend --

September breathes encounters -- whispers roads
Unknown their ends -- a thread of cold
Unflowered yet -- And not yet told
Tree to tree, that "Once --"

Monday, July 29, 2013

weary blues

Lie me down a little while
Don't want to sleep too long

I said
Just lie me down a little while, I
Don't want to sleep too long

My eyes just get so heavy. I
been working here too long --

Lie down with that gray heavy
make space beside your bones

I said lie down now, lie down easy
Make some space beside your bones

Don't want much from the world, just
Want to rest those weary bones --

 Old snake comes like a thin gray fog
Curls up inside your bones

I said old snake, he comes like smoke
Curls up inside your bones

Just lay you down a little while
Don't want to sleep for long

Lay me down a little while
Don't want to sleep for long.
I said

Lay me down a little while, I
Don't want to sleep too long

My eyes are just so heavy
I worked in this world too long --

Don't ask too much of this hard world
Don't ask this world for peace

Don't ask too much of this hard world
I said don't ask this world for peace

Don't ask for no refreshment I
Just want a little sleep --

A little box, a little earth,
a little old gray stone

Said I don't want much: a little earth
A little old gray stone

A little box to lay me in
And rest these weary bones

Lay me down a little while
Don't want to rest too long

Monday, July 22, 2013


so we come again to the garden

walking these our footworn paths
hand in hand
survey the land that now unjungled sighs,
settles into these tilled and wellsown fields

to docile groves, to humble carrot patches
the sweet rioting of vines contained and pruned

to fragrance of green breaths
to bees rejoicing anthems as they labor

what jungles may have been, what bitter thorns
now, stem by stem, and sweatbathed, all uprooted

those bones that writhed with shrill wormjoyful stink
rotting now quietly beneath their trees
sweetening the dark and tender soil

here we have cultivated love, and conversation
fed with delight, with honey, cinnamon, ripe peaches

let us return now to the good bread of toil, to salt the earth
let us brownarmed and strong together
let us raise our beesong too of work and rest

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


the cars' eyes in the fog glance swift and bright approaching
we all in these our boxes wandering appear and disappear
we do not know where

some giant has blown smoke into the bowl of the earth
thick, white, creeping up the nostrils into the brain
it summons us visions

every moment we arriving from fog into a new somewhere
are leaving always, we do not know where we may be going
or we may only be dreaming

we wandering see only fog thick as the scent of lilies
black treeshapes pasted onto tissue paper dissolving
we have forgotten where
or we may only be dreaming

Saturday, June 22, 2013



is the night mumbling
deep in its throat
grumbling dark things to itself

the rain is rushing
it is bare feet slapping
the sidewalk
faster and faster

lightning cracks:
rain starts clapping
and clapping, a
standing ovation

the puddles are giggling
the puddles are laughing
tears in their eyes
bright stars in their eyes

thunder is threatening
dark things in the night
beatings and lashings
rain is laughing and laughing

dirt is laughing
grass is laughing
trees are screeching, howling,
busting leaves laughing

rain --

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


i am saving all of the shouting
i am not shouting, i am stuffing
it into a shoebox
i keep the shoebox under my bed

goddammit i want my breasts back
i fed you two hours ago
i fed you two hours ago
i just fed you two hours ago
i fed you two fucking hours ago
i am tired of being hungry every two hours

a bowl of oatmeal
a handful of granola
half a cookie
another half a cookie
a peach
another peach
a handful of granola
the leftover beans, salad, a cookie
an apple
another damn cookie

it's only an hour to dinner and i
am so damn tired of being hungry

and tired,
if you would take a nap i would
take a nap
i would like
not to have to choose
between exercising or writing or taking a shower
or just working a goddam crossword puzzle

i have never loved anything 
as much as your sweet face sleeping

i am saving up this box,
under my bed,
i need more than a shoebox,
i'm buying a filebox,
maybe a refrigerator box

every time i want to snap
i look at your sweet fussy face all
screwed up and unhappy
and somehow i'm kissing
your toes, your fat cheeks that smell 
always, like sour cheese
the fuzzy duckfeathers on your round head --

i'm telling you that box is going to fill up so fast
pretty soon i'll have enough to sew up 
all of those un-shouts and -slaps into one great big blue
and scarlet hot-air balloon
and i will be the world's first mother
to actually fly away to Australia

(probably not the first)

i might spend a whole day
three hours anyway
or at least an hour
before i have to come back
and kiss my baby

Thursday, June 13, 2013


so what if this woman gets raped God
you know He had nothing to do with that
jesus standing there crying behind His eyelids,
Oh honey, you know I didn't mean for that to happen, why
Can't we all just love each other like I do
My yoke is easy and my burden is light, you know
I would never ask you to carry
that, and
it's your body not that poor
bastard's not that maybe baby's and it
probably would have had something wrong with it anyway
so many of them do
Oh honey I don't want that for you
nothing but a baby yourself, go
Get you that fifty-
dollar unbaby off the shelf

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The morning after

I want a baby

I want to finish my degree
I want an internship with a company whose name you've heard
I want a career where I can make a difference
with my unique abilities
I want a solid paycheck and the opportunity to advance and a nice bonus twice a year --
I want a good career

I want a long-term live-in with a good career
it doesn't have to be as good as mine
a man who appreciates what I have to offer our partnership
Who pays the check and opens the door and buys me a dozen roses twice a week
I want a platinum engagement ring with three diamonds, or heck, six or even nine
to show everyone how he feels about me
I want a wedding on the beach in Maui with vows we write ourselves and my college roommates carrying lilies and all the songs they played on the radio when we were first dating --
I want a unique and meaningful wedding

I want my own house
I want a big house in a nice suburb with a little yard and a dog
a fluffy dog that stays indoors and doesn't make too much noise
named Margaret or Jenson
I want a gym membership and a treadmill upstairs. I want a gameroom and a TV in every room and a two-car garage and three cars and easy recycling and a water filter and a four hundred-dollar composting system that doesn't stink. I want organic vegetables and pedicures and hot yoga and fifty-dollar face cream when my face starts looking thirty --
I want a nice house

I want a baby
one of each
I want a girl who will take ballet and grow up to be an empowered young woman who loves herself and speaks her mind
I want a boy who will play teeball and baseball and football and grow up to be a sensitive and caring young man
I want a college fund and a prep school fund and a private school fund
and a preschool fund
and a fund for dance class and taekwondo class and sports camp and horse camp and music camp
I want SAT tutoring and iPods and iPads and the right clothes and Disneyland vacations --
I want a baby,
later --

I do want a baby

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Those wide eyes like hooks
bit in my heart, and drew it out

in long strings, like angelhair
all tangled --

They were not black, after all
those strings
nor the tired brown of driedup blood

but wincing rosepink and violet.
Too soft, like pasta cooked too long

like jigsaw sunsets.

That snarled yarnball
that unshelled uncurled astonished snail

is too-pink and heavy, tender still
from your small-weak-inexorable pull--

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I keep a box with your heartbeats
at the back of my closet
buried under too-heavy sweaters
my most uncomfortable shoes

sometimes i hear them anyway
your hearts, beating away
doubletime, mouse hearts
little bird hearts

I thought my heartbreak
would drown them. Still
they go on drumming away
with their own impossible life --

I need

a bigger box
a bigger closet
a bigger house
to hold you

I did not have room in my body
for you, little mouse,
little birds, I do not have room

I am tired
of hearing your heartbeats

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


So it is spring
though cold:

The crocuses already
in their prim-planted rows
in their neat-bordered beds

Such tender insides --
what white assurance, what
fearless blue --

The crocuses already
(tender, bold)
open like eyes
like hearts

though there is snow foretold

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How can i

Already you press so eagerly
against my skin.
How can i give you to the world?

How can i give you to the world?
This world is nothing gentle,
nothing kind
(but there are stars --)

How can i give you to the world?
To the hooked praise of kind strangers,
to our too-knowing darts --
(We will draw out your heart
in strings
and play cat's cradle):

but there are stars --

i will give you to the stars staring
to the smutface moon
to the thin lines of trees twigbare in January
and small frogs crying like crickets.

i will give you to the good, green grass
to the small heartbreaks of snails beneath your boots
to the uncurling of spring leaves, chartreuse, translucent,
tender, brave.

i will give you to the summer sky: unlined
and doorless blue
to the reek of lost birds' bones beside the path,
to the mindless trundling of beetles
sparking gembright in their mud and shit.

i will give you to your days
to their thousand sharptooth beauties
to their thousand thousand betrayals
small and deep.

i will give you to the misery
(the miracle)
of your small skin.
With my blood i will give you to the world
wrapped in your body
so thin a wall, so

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

point vierge

The thin crust of the world is flaking off
in old-paint curls
that stick beneath my eager fingernails

What lies beneath
What breathes still with God's heartbeat
What waits to take a breath, to ask --

is it time?

Wings wet and crumpled
still it lies
waiting for the moment
becoming --

My fingerprints are bleeding --
What shape when the world wakes
Wingbright and beautiful?

Friday, January 18, 2013


This is a small sorrow. Already
i sit bonecold,

Tremble: black coffee a
welcome jangle in an

This is too small for heartbreak.

 Two days. Already my breasts
have lost their ache,
have shrunk unneeded to their
small untenderness--

(Tonight i will drink red wine.
A whole bottle. Two
if i want them.)

Oh small small grief
oh little bittersweet:

you sit across from me
you will sit there tomorrow
you will hold my hand tonight
and cry brief tears.

We are left heartwhole, barely
touched by that
small soul.

Left so little to remember--
just this day, wintercold,
black coffee,
sour on my tongue.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

franklin --

o brown and glossy girl,
what have you known?
your tragedy is datelessness

your tragedy is highschool: melly said
you were a slut,

you do not eat breakfast,
you do not eat lunch,
o you are slim, brown girl,
you sip starbucks through a straw

you eat two bites of anything,
brown girl, and you buy
dresses for two hundred dollars.
Your daddy gives you
those dollars.
You do not have more
than your friends.

you have cellphonetvipod
it is the tealcoloured one you wanted

you do not have more
than your friends

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

the fifth portrait

And you sleepy-eyed still tiptoe
in before the sun
creep in between us,
breathe our sour morning breath.

You smell, still, of princess bubblebath
and your own sweet child breath.
The halflight shines white off your hair.
Your small elbows and knees are needlesharp.

We lie, wallowed and pierced,
watch the spidersilk
your small breathing

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The fourth portrait

It's a damn shame, and already they're blaming
and blaming.
Soon they'll be banging on our doors.
I don't buy nothing unless it's off the books.
I'm stocking up.
They can make their limpwrist rules
up there
but me -- I have the right
to keep and bear --
By God when some crazy bastard comes after my little girl
I will have teeth in my mouth,
I will bite.