Sunday, November 9, 2014


Saffron yellow threads of light shine through
the slats of the window blinds.
She wakes early,
dresses, treads outside to greet the glow. 
Last night’s  rain left mud so she is careful
where she steps.  Otherwise,
there’s not a sign of storm, the sky of sapphire,
cloudless.  An owl, unaware
the sun soon will rise, still flies low
overhead, whoo-ing like she’s the trespasser.

She stands at crossroad in her own backyard,
glances once where pale
purple crocuses will open even in the snow.
Uninterested in their optimism, her footfall
finds dry ground to navigate
toward the lone rosebush her husband
planted years ago….years before he died.
The roses are on their second bloom of year. 
China pink at tips of petals, white in middle,
and at center, a color like golden butter.

She lets a finger slide along one stem,
stops and gently, barely pricks herself
with thorn.
She does this every morning− repeats this
strange ritual, where she contemplates
beauty alongside pain, draws
drop of blood, and with her tongue, suspends
the flow, tasting stannic sweetness.

She thinks of all she didn’t say
when he was with her.
She grants that much was said, but cannot
escape the truth that death has summoned
words laid latent she always thought
she’d have time
to verbalize.
Now, these words may as well be buried
alongside his body, for, though she’s taken
each meditation she’s had since and had
also then; let them burn unsaid,
then spoke aloud
with fervor at his grave, then wrote
them down as unsent letter, prose in journal,
and even poem, without response,
they’re worthless−
seeds that will never effloresce.  

She’s not been angry but for this, and every
sentiment she’s left with is one of praise.
Though not a day went by without the words
I love you uttered, now even those seem thin
and wanting.  Wrought with not enough.
Had she never held what all was planted
deeper in, she’d offer self-forgiveness
but the knowledge that these existed
without voice now haunts her.  She had tried. 
Found herself tongue-tied by the sheer emotion
felt, unable
to admit the ache that came with ardor.
So, now, the tiny throb of pulse from prick
all she has to serve as a reminder that once
necessary words were born and budded
in the silent soil
of her mouth.  She’s left
to mourn their suicide.  His, an honest death,
her words a scandalous, shameful hanging,
choked in this vacant air. 

So, she forms prayers of repentance
with hands that tend
the garden that he left her, frets over every
flower’s life but plucks them when they’re
close to expiration, preserves them
in a press.  The grass
grows free but weeds are promptly pulled.

Perhaps she believes the blossoms to be
expression and that care
will be her
her suffering unfinished.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Could our souls be so open
we could build a fire?  Burn the bones
of our past?  We could start again−
Find our souls unburdened
by our quondam havoc.

Yes, baby, unearth your skeletons
and I’ll dig up mine− each
clandestine secret ever held,
every fragment of shame,
every shard of self-reproach.

It’s a midsummer eve; let’s let the sun
set on all that came before we met.
We’ll watch
the framework of the witches
wither in the gilded flames
until their cackling dies out. 
The heat
will scorch our fear. 
We’ll be reborn.
These bones have been our bane
and bondage.  They rise at night
to haunt and taunt, remind
us of our sins; their limbs rattling
as they boldly dance around our bed.

So, during
day, in safety, we’ll bring them
to the light.  We’ll make
a ring of rocks to place disparted
bodies in.  Pile high, bone by bone,
every soulless fuck, every thief
of worth.  Abjuring
in our conflagrant ceremony,
the selves we used to be and the selves
the bones once feigned to be. 
We’ll throw in skulls with cavernous
sockets, where eyes would be, still
as vacant as when flesh filled
face.  We’ll throw in cold and lifeless
frail fingers and inhuman hands
that once grasped for all that was not theirs. 
Their lying tongues have rotted,
their fraudulent hearts, decayed.
Ears that would not listen, now
do not exist and wills that would not stop
when asked, have been long put to rest.  

Now, just bones.
Once the bodies of men who wielded
their weapons like promise, women
who seduced the weak and watched
while their victims moaned and writhed
beneath their honeyed words of power,
now, unburied, we see, these bodies
are just bones.  Without garments of skin,
they are nothing but brittle stories.

The stars will come tonight to shine
their blessing and we’ll drop the match
and we will not mourn
as bones at last turn to ash.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Broken Pleas

Lord, hallowed be your name. Merciful / Lord
                                of reconciliation, hear my / poem as prayer; these broken
pleas in lines,
Lord; /                                        
                                                                             metronomic musings,
unmusical, / heavy with fear.  Lord, hear not my
                                       numb speech /
                                                                                                      but the token−
                                 the meaning.                                                            Take
away / the hindrance of self−
                                the sense of− and leave / with me a greater sense
of your presence; / Your spirit within revealing signs,
                                                                             sight / restored
                                                                       and light.  Within this rare shining, /
shine through
the gift of losing self to You. / This vital understanding
awakened / only in sheets of grace poured out and down /
                                and seen in strips of visibility, / so release me of all pride,
                                                         generate / humility and create connection /
                                                          so I might dine with you in communion /
drink from goblet
                                                                                              of signification /
                                                                                             my sins forgiven
by sipping tipped back / offering and again in harmony / I pray Thy kingdom
come, Thy will be done…. /

The Sunday Whirl

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Light Calling

She held
  her life in her own hands
as if it were an egg.  Strange, small,
A world within, unknown. 
Unexpectedly still intact, she had never seen the whole
of a shell. She imagined
the egg pulsed; felt not vibration
from this hope but believed
not death
would be discovered if she were careful.

Between her thumb
and middle finger, she held it up to the light
streaming through her bedroom window,
to see if she might see inside
but found the covering too thick.
Still, with her index finger, she twirled
this secret little world around;
an oval earth rotating on axis of her will.   
She cupped it gently
                   in her palm,
feeling its cold, smooth shape.
She placed it on a piece of paper, spun it like a bottle
in a kissing game;

removed her touch and noted shadow
and when tired of speculation,
                 she devised a plan for hatching.
She made a nest of blankets in a basket
and went to sleep to wait.  She dreamed
she was inside the egg, warm and safe and placid,
curled up tightly in a ball.  She felt this
while her eyes were closed but a sound
from faraway
woke her and her eyes without permission opened.
Her confinement produced no great unease
though her feet began to tingle.

She strained
        to hear the sound outside herself− a voice,
Conflicting thoughts entered her mind. 
She felt compelled to venture out and meet the call
but also wary.  There seemed only one way out−
that of fracture and this, if she were honest, she feared,
so holed up like a mole in hiding she fell back asleep. 
For years. And in the dream she dreamed she woke
unable to remember where she came from but knowing
who she was. 

And light was streaming
the bedroom, spreading over her, so welcoming
the day, she stretched
        and was subtly aware
that as she did, small bits of shell fell softly off her,
though overall this was unremarkable.  Sitting
on the edge of her bed, she stilled a moment before rising,
and asked the voice that was in the light if she might
be able to see at last the large world outside herself,
and for the ability to release her will, offering herself
to the divine, deriving
power from something higher, demanding nothing
and asking for help only and finally, when she stood,
                                                            with eyes wide open,
she walked out toward the calling,

Margo Roby

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Bedroom

The lock on the door that does not keep the children out; every
size of sock, balled up, scattered everywhere, unpaired;
deep-red roses
drooping sadly, heads bowed down, stems entombed in a clouded
vase− eleven of them, so, one short of a dozen
(strange); brown framed
of a laughing, happy Jesus beneath a brown for background
canvas of our names in cursive inside heart of petals; bought
for twenty dollars at a yard sale,
          end of day,
two velvety violet-ish
couches, covered in dog hair, one doubling as a desk, the other
as a hamper; on the coffee table, another vase (this one tinted pink)
with withered flowers– these of unknown variety – purple, too many
to count;...

Plants do not fare well here.  Like the best-laid plans.

                         ... edges
everywhere, crossed, overlaid: books, furniture, shoes overlapping
the edge
where carpet meets tile;
edge of dresser, mantle,
nightstands, all surfaced with papers, trinkets, valuables
and not-so-valuables, threatening
to topple

There are no clear lines here.  Sharp-played piano keys sound
out.  I cannot tune
                        it out.
plunking of rote song
but rather impromptu melody made by small, playful fingers,
moving like geed horses
and also bullet-voices marking breaks, shooting through
these flimsy walls.

...bluest blue sky
seen from my window; subtler blues inside, copycat shades
on candles, glass, hair on a painting where I was favoring
experimentation, in photographs, scarves,
sheets; lip balm in a small, round tin that I can’t open
but won’t throw out; few spots open for sitting or even walking;...

A dismal mess.  Signaling
in our marriage? 
So says a study.

...blanket thrust off the bed in heat, still crumpled on the floor;...

What calm I remember, a ruse believed sub rosa, wrought carefully
with such intricate threads of denial.

...words, words, words, meandering across pages and pages−
poems, prayer journal,
notebooks full of distilled hope; (such
              shallow thirst)
attempts to release heavy weight of this; damaged trust
hidden in a drawer;
half-truths pandering to sentiment hanging on all the walls;...

Media in vitae in morte sumus.

...paperwork combed through for clues; in bowls, matching rings,
unworn; captured and enlarged mocking smile; the muck
of bad luck evidenced in disarray; indulged in urges; aroma
of your cologne, distinct; written rants; and more than what
is written here or even seen.

But, oh, beautiful, imperfect man− my room was a mess
before you moved in.

The Sunday Whirl

Friday, September 5, 2014


First:  acknowledge that it is a dream
you grieve−
nothing more.

I have just that.
Nothing more.  I have just begun. 
Have only just stood
in the hollow made by that assent
staring into the void, turning
my soiled hands around and around
to see if I can recognize the dirt
woven in with my veins.
Have only just
recently seen
that it (we− you) was
(were) merely what I wanted it to be
and nothing more.

How, seeking reality, did I,
made of clay, sculpt
man with such care, my hands
so gently
smoothing?  Yes, my fingers
can still feel skin where I thought
your face to be.  I cannot call to mind
an image of my thumbs sinking
into your flesh
carving out cup-shaped sockets
to look so deeply into
but here, I see,
beneath my nails, the mud.
What greater sin than this
surmoulage?  I do not believe I breathed
when we kissed.

I had a falling dream and woke to find
I really fell.  I am still plummeting.
In the mornings, words greet me.
Unfinished words, I long ago
(not that long ago) began to paint
stenciled on my wall.  The pencil
marks for every letter
are still there, illegible
from anywhere but up close
but the crimson color fill-in fills in
three letters only of a phrase
that was meant to say
a room of one’s own.  I left
the project incomplete
when you moved in.  

Too, unseen, behind books
another fragmentary sentiment:
Half-done purple painted verse:
Hosea 2:14.  I followed your voice
instead, afraid of the desert
and true tenderness.

All these partial writing on the walls.
Like the picture taken early on
that now looks altered in this light.
I can’t say quite how I perceived it before
but now your grin jumps out
too self-assured and my own small smile
registers a certain wariness as if that girl
knew more than what I know now.
And there I wore, and wear even now,
around my neck a symbol of your heart,
that supposed offering.

I think step two is to stop addressing
everything to you, to turn away
from that which I’ve created so I can see
in whose image I’ve been made.
To see what is truly bound,
not around my neck, but on my forehead,
what is tied as symbol to my hands,
what is fixed in my heart and mind.
What words expressed,

I do not wish to make you smaller
than life but only life-sized, finally
so I can recognize my hands when clean.
You can then break, freely.
I will leave your pieces be and pray,
confessing guilt for forgery
and after kneeling, my eyes will see
the evidence of woodwork, revealing
that I have never been alone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

These Things

A dream
is a poem
is a dream.  Obscure.  I am picking it apart
for clarity, piecing back as best I can, the glimpses,
fragile, lightweight half-truths that they are
and I am considering letting them drop.
                                  Letting them go.
(Though they shine)

I do not want to write you this.
I do not want to write one more poem for you.
I cannot avoid this.  I cannot mature
past this
     this dream.

You have just brought me a cup of coffee−
are the sweet thing
you do.  You ask if there is anything else
you can do, lightly touching my back, leaning
to kiss me.  These things
that I’ve interpreted as love− as if love
is a formula to be expressed by specific
But nothing is this simple.

You have left me with my coffee and my pen
to write.  Do you guess that I will write of you? 
My hands are bleeding.
As for the rest of me− what will
become of it now?  What
will  I look like
in the mirror anymore, I wonder.

We only ever saw the stars
                      so dazzling,
the one night.  Remember?  Even though
every night, I look up.  I said that night
that we were missing all the good stuff.
I don’t know what I meant.  These− all−
are just fragments.  Our foreheads touching,
unaware someone was taking a photo. 
Were you asking if there was anything I needed?
Did I fall asleep with vision of that moment?
Just that one.  That one and ones like it
and build dreams
to carry me through
the waking?  What will I do now?  Everyone
else was looking at the camera but all I saw
was you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Not long at all
after we started dating, we declared our song to be “Ho Hey”−
which is a stupid name for a song so we refer to it instead
by the lines of its chorus & these lines, I bought for you
on your birthday with a frame & now hanging
above our bed
are the words, “I belong to you,
you belong to me.”  I read recently
“There is a reason the word belonging has a synonym
for want at its center; it is the human condition”
& I suppose this is true, but the thing is, though now
I can’t imagine how I’d live (or ever did) in your absence,
belonging either to or with another was something
that I always feared; autonomy, the language that I spoke,
the rift that I created to exist between us & somehow,
in spite of this, you caught me & being caught
turns out to not be bad
at all.  In ways, to be sustained in union produces certain
new-found freedoms.
Shortly after I ceased resisting, I found
encompassed in your arms, room to move in brand new ways.
sifting previous notions, softening
the hard ground I’d stood upon, so flight became an option. 
Beneath my feet, the sturdy rocks
I’d forever taken for granted began to shift like old, rickety
floor boards in a dangerously aging house
& jumping now, a bit more promising…

another strange
fact of speech discovered in what it means to cleave−
the unwritten understanding that inherent in the explanation
of is a choice:  to split from or stick fast to or also
both if interpreted in biblical terms
& I think
my reasons for remaining
in my alienage were simply
constructing makeshift cliff I wished someone would
save me from, quite confused on the differences between
what was desire & what was need until you kissed me
& my bones turned into wings.  I still can’t speak to you
of love without a stutter but at least the subject
no longer renders me completely silent.  Your courage
baffles me & fuels my own.  Together, we
compose unspoken,
unmatched melody reviving romance.  Released
from cloud-capped
captivity, I’m flourishing feet on ground.

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's Constant

Baby, I can’t tackle
the news or noise− I’ve tried.
I can’t take the static
or the slant or the supposed
statistics anymore, so,
I return to you
curl up in the comfort of us.

I read the stories,
the suppositions, all the slander,
and I get worked up
and then worn out and my ears
just hurt.

I start
to fear
for the state of the nation
and the future of the truth
and where it stands.
I start
to fear my own voice, the burn
in my throat
so I return to truth.

    I begin again to poise,
                          to position myself
                          on the side
                          of what I know
                          is right.
                          I return to you,
because baby, see,
truth is, you’re my voice
of calm in this crazy world
                         and you’re the reason
to my rhyme,
not that you’re my higher power
but only that you’re one
God-given reason to believe in one, 

so because
I can’t write lines
to tickle the ears of the masses
and because
I have a knack
for leaving unfinished
what I’ve started…
rather, an addiction
to new ideas
that trumps my commitment
to completion,
    I find it easiest
               to just write
never ending words for you.

I try and center,
remember back
two days ago
how we had a downpour
and the thunder
and the
ground flooded, the rain trampling all
the dirt

and how
when the sun returned
I noticed like it was a brand
new phenomenon and I heard some bird
song vying for attention
                         that I’d never
heard before.

How suddenly the sky clearing−
sun-cracking ember first
then brightest blue warding off
the clouds
seemed quite poetic
and verse-worthy.
How I hadn’t even realized
before that moment
that my mood
had matched the weather.

The weather is as fickle
as the headlines
but at least it’s fresh.
So, I’m drawing from that instant
a little bit of joy
and cleansing and I’m likening it
to you because
I’m convinced that if anything
in this world remains as good, it’s love
and baby, love
is me and you.

Love is the way you
look at our daughters
like they are morning
glories just discovered
in earliest hours.

It’s the way
you teach our sons
how to be men
in a world of boys.

It’s the way you
tuck me in
and wake me up
with the prickle of goose bump kisses.
It’s that your kind
and that I’m rather fond of you.

It’s that your thoughts echo
and your heart mirrors mine.
It’s your midday call and your steady
talk that’s balm for my frantic
overloaded mind.

And though the seasons
and the clock
ticks quickly and time
slips fast away
especially when we’re together
                    the fact remains
                    that your presence
is reminder
that love, not fear, fuels

So, I’m done wrestling
with words of protest.
I’m done with platform
and with preaching.
I’m giving in instead
to what some
believe makes the world
go round.

I’m silencing whatever’s in me
that’s afraid of healing.
It seems this fallen world
            has finally culminated
to a place of mass insanity,
given itself over to terror
and to hate

but I now surrender
      in this dark
to a purer force−
that of love.

And I’d rather write sap than filth,
romance than lies; I’m energizing

   my own peace movement,
my own
sit-in where I don’t move
until I’ve swayed

my heart
toward courage; the courage
to write on and on to you,
unashamed of simple love poems
believing there’s still
for progress on that front.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


To put things in perspective:
there are children starving
in Africa…
and in India…
and even here− in America ( the Beautiful).
The above−
       a note to self.
My-self:  who, sadly, it is easiest to think of.

The list of what
                 we can’t afford
is growing rapidly.
Meanwhile, we are not in view
of any bright or grand futurity.
The middle class is learning
that the stark black type that wrote them in
and the white blank space that offered room
to move were merely hues….or shades.
Not anything to be counted on.

Now, the gap widens and we more clearly see
the grays defining
just exactly what transgressions truly are.
The grays grasped
like straws, like the slippery lowest rung,
are bleeding up as we begin to understand
what it means to go without.
Oh, Lord, forgive me for hoarding
such loftiness of speculation.
Je suis farci of self.
Hard times will soften hearts or lines.

The underclass, the so-called dregs,
the  demimonde, still by definition work
and the women at the bottom relent to roles
and certain rites of supposed passage, sights
set on some lying light
the end
of a very long tunnel, the flame
anymore barely visible, just the dimmed
orange of a waning candle

Forgive me my judgment of all the women
who walk Van Buren selling selves,
who close their eyes beneath
the looming power anticipating
drug of choice and its promise of relief−
the feeling of (if only fleeting) being at last
reborn; the only promise ever kept. 
Forgive me scorn for those who only
seek asylum, fleeing to a country that at least
has food to offer if not welcome.

As we learn,
now, to live in a nation whose dream has expired,
along with any generation still inclined to mourn
the loss, I ask for pardon
for all previous assumptions. 

I still tell
my children that there are children starving
in Africa…in India…right here, in the land
of vagaries.  We’ve never missed a meal. 
We’ve never walked a mile in a child’s
footsteps on way to well for water. 
So what do we know of need? 
Divorce us, Lord, of separation if you will
or must to break us into recognition. 
Reveal your heartbreak and stay your hand.
Grant us less not more and bind perspective
around our necks.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ode to My Muse

Cloud promising a rainbow,  persistent, though rarely loud,
   looming moodily above my days, daze
          inducing.  Wisp of woman, shadow-formed, entering my kitchen
          in the steam
from stove; my bedroom in my husband’s arms, my mind
at any time, seducing.  Her hands are songs, holding mine, pulling me away, casting spell with wand
of many hues that bloom like flowers,
recognizable by aura
and soft scent
of childhood mixed with specks of mystery. Somber yet also playful, contradiction is her trade mark. 
I am powerless in her presence.

         I can taste her when I wear my apron
            and her lines crawl across my skin in looping scrawl, spilling
            in through my willingness to listen, to be found.  To see from the sea
            of my moments
            and my movements, her as land, lush
            and fruitful.  Voice of sirens carrying across my waves, reducing
                                      When she is through with me she leaves me                                                                                                 spent.
She knows I love to love and hate her
and that when I remove my apron,
she’s the one I blame.

Poetic Bloomings


So, I drip sap for you.
You are my vice.
You are mine.
I have given
up the fight, tired
of pretending
there's anything
                    I want
to write about but


Thursday, August 7, 2014

I hate

I hate being a poet…and by hate, I mean love.        
And by love, I mean
that I am compelled,
driven here. 
I hate that I can’t write about Israel,
or sunsets and daisies,
or in the voice of Sophocles.
I hate that I still write best
in the language of a teenager full of angst − and by best,
I mean, I’m most satisfied.  I hate that I write poems
      to you
and that I write poems about writing poems. 
That emotions more than imagery crowd the page,
panting.  That I forget that moods aren’t facts.  I hate
the need – the greed for words.  I hate
that I tend to complicate with forced routine.  I hate
that I’m readable and relatable and I hate
that I just presumed that.  I hate that I’m confessional. 
I hate that I’m not more academic, scholarly, referential,
clever or elusive.  I hate that that’s a fact.  I hate
that I worry I’m meant to write not poems
but rather drivel in a diary
and that I want to wring the little neck of Philomel.
Most of all, I hate that I sling words like hate and words
like love around.  That I’m a typical fill-in-the-blank. 
That I’m an adult child always waiting for the other shoe
to drop, seeing things in only black or white. 
That I’m an alcoholic thriving in one
of only two extremes: chaos or that damn
short-lived pink cloud state. 
I hate that I’m a co-dependent who’s ill-at-ease
to think the honeymoon is over
so now I’m writing angsty teenage poems
instead of cleaning the bathroom like a good wife
would.  I hate these labels
and that I fit them
so damn well.  That the evidence is in.  I hate that I give
myself up and away with this need, this greed for words. 
I hate that I’m an ego-maniac with an inferiority complex
and that I can’t tell you outright
that I still feel jealous of other women
and that I start and finish stupid poems about you
looking.  That when we’re in what we like to call a funk,
I won’t admit
that I don’t want you to take that part-time job
because I worry you’ll run off.   I hate that the economy
has tanked and that we’re broke.  That real life
gets in the way of playing house and that our kids,
most days,
scare the shit out of me−meaning, the amount
and also
the responsibility.

baby, I love you
and maybe that’s all that counts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Can you hear me over the sound of the story /
you’re rehearsing in your head? 
Can you see me out- / side the mirror
your reflection’s bound to, your image /
bending to your will? 
Can you see your heart in there?
My mouth is open, I’m speaking words,
while you are / posing, pursing
lips, pressing send.  What is it that / you pursue? 
What glory do you imagine?
What / wish is thrown in what well
when you casually / toss your change my way?
What hero from what Greek myth / do you play
today?   I need to know my part, my / role
so I can swoon on cue.  You’re the lead
and I’m  / supporting actor− is there another option? /
Your wisps of truth fall slow like sand in the hour - /
glass of time you’re wasting and when the glass
shatters / your lies will leak.
You’ll be exposed and I will wash / my hands of you,
because I have tried
to reach you. / I have stared into your vacant eyes,
tried to climb / the wall you’ve built to keep out
those you fear would call / you out
and my arms and legs are tired.  / I’ll leave you be. /
I’ll keep your secret.  You keep your superhero /
mask.  Save face with your stored excuses.  Hide
behind / feigned power.  Attempt to mend
your martyred heart and / I will pardon
your inability to love / because after all
you’re just a scared and hurting / boy grown
into the dim shadow of a man.

Figure of a Man

My husband whose speech is suave,
            but only for me
Whose heart is worn upon his sleeve
Whose hair is the dark of a starless night
Whose hair is soft as a kitten’s fur
Whose skin is smooth anointing oil
Whose words make gentle waves
I wallow in like at a lazy river
at a water park, like a hippo
in a mud bath, like in riches
Whose words are filling like the cream
of breakfast pastries, sweet
         and delicious
Whose teeth are white and flashy
precious pearls
The teeth of an actor
in a toothpaste commercial
Whose tongue is an orphaned child begging,
            the heart
My husband whose tongue is the monsoon
wind bringing rain to the desert
And is the cherry topping the whipped cream
topping the ice cream sundae
Whose eyelids are as innocent as a swallow’s
My husband whose feet are the soft tread
of an approaching cat
My husband whose eyebrows are sepals
his soul,
enveloping developing buds of roses
My husband whose grin crinkles the corners
of his eyes like toes curled in
Whose toes are witch fingers
Whose fingers are spades for finding
and stunt doubles for tightrope acts
in circus films
My husband with a back that is a field
of stories
That bewitches
My husband whose back rolls
like a centipede’s, like an accordion
Whose shoulders are passwords
                             and secrets
My husband whose wrists
are the chills in a haunted house
Whose wrists are floorboards creaking
in a house that has held many dreams
My husband whose lips are the memories
brought back from a souvenir
Are a pop song
Whose arms are long branches of a willow
and the arms of tongs willing and able
to withstand heat
Whose chest is a down pillow
to rest my head upon when sleeping
Whose falling and rising motions are like
a tide at swell
My husband whose stomach is stirred
by hunger for me
With lips that are the last bite
of a favorite dessert
Whose soul is a room I make my bed in
My husband with the eyes of a tundra
sunrise glow
My husband whose heart is the tapping
of stones sent
to a window at midnight by a secret courter
And is the rim of the steepest cliff
I’ve stood on, calling out to hear my echo
And is half of mine

Monday, July 28, 2014

Struck by Lightning

Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity. – Joseph Addison

What if I want to write another poem
on love?  Would that be alright?  Would I need
to apologize?  Last night, the rain fell
just when we were thirstiest, and
as I held you, I listened to the whack
of water smacking against the window.
I watched the drops stain the glass, the blowing
thin-twigged bush outside our bedroom that I've
paid more attention to of late, greeting
it when I wake in the mornings, its gold
buds barely visible except in light
of sun rising.  I am trying, lately,
to form new habits, to notice the small
beauties that surround me and to practice
gratitude.  So, last night when the storm came
I remembered that you love my touch, that
the way my fingers skim your back sends chills
so I traced the outlines of your tattoos
again and then attempted to recall
if I’d ever had an experience
like this− if I've made love to the background
sound of thunder and rain pelting louder
than the music playing to set the mood
and if I have, I can’t now remember
so even though I knew I left my books
outside in danger, I stalled, centering
in the moment, hallowed by our presence
and our choice to still and to acknowledge
that inside love there is something holy
to be revealed so even beckoned by
the worry for my words, surely soaked by
now, I waited until I felt the beat
of your heart slow down.  We unfolded
bodies, redressed and walked out into
the rain, letting the cold drops pelt our skin
welcoming the blasts of wind because in
the desert, we’re parched and storms are something
of a thrill, but still, after rescuing
the abandoned books, we sought safety in
the car, enthralled like children, saying, “Did
you see that one?” whenever lightening flashed,
hunting the sky with eagle eyes for streaks
so as not to miss one and I wished for
a moon roof because they seemed to strike right
above us and you said you could under-
stand how people could want to chase storms and
I nodded and said I understood why
kids and dogs are so afraid of thunder-
storms because even inside the bubble
of the car, the sky lit, at times, so bright
and there seemed to be no seconds between
that and the thunder that I couldn’t help
imagining what it must be like when
one is struck by lightning so I dabbled
in the fancy of our house on fire
even once we’d fallen back into bed
but then I remembered that once before
I’d been struck by lightning – it was when we
first made love, so I settled down against
your warmth in the hollow of the blankets,
fulfilled and remembered that nothing bad
had ever come from entering the storm.

The Sunday Whirl

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Misguided passion hangs perilously
   in the foreground of temptation,
begging action−words form, tease
                 the tongue.
                 The ears
imagine.  What can ward off
what has now begun?
       This dark magic? 
       This heart swells in anticipation,
            spreads for flight, belly full
                             of worms, of lies.
                                 Without heed,
deception jumps, believing
it can fashion
from desire, wings.
Storming through
on sheer will, this style
of flying,
for a while, works.
        toward fancy, mania elicits
superhuman power. 

Wind whips through the creature’s imagined glory.
The forest of reality
beneath hums her warning
as trees
by the force created.
The birds clear the air
and nest for safety.
            This supposed beauty continues
                  soaring, riding miles
                          in the lawless sky

on the tides
of lure; fangs grow as e
self now seeks prey 
and landing; catching 
sight of innocence
unaware, the creature
swoops with malice
but nearing, finds his whim
and thriving within a swarm of angels,
before unseen and now

fabricated feathers fail and only
by an act of mercy
does the predator not fall.
Hands of God
pride from fate and casts it
into hell.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The men have written the women into stories;
painted them into pictures; allotting
flesh and virtue,
vice but omitting blood.  Captive,

stands at center, at backdrop, jagged hills
and clouded sky. 

She is cloaked in rags of mourning, surrounded,
yet alone.
Arms clasped to chest, head down
like bird at rest.
She protects herself from blades of gaze.

Leighton later frees his brooding image, posing
her deep in dream,
closing the violet eyes
of England’s most beautiful woman,
so that she might not see
the poison that would kill her.

Liberated from laborious mortality, positioned
now as nymph, her sanctuary lies in sea of sleep.
Here, Ada, aka Dorothy Dene
blooms beneath the brush
stroke of a master.

Finally, a reason to be.
in summer slumber,
engulfed in golden
hues like candlelight
that flicker in the distance.

Warmed in still life.
Imagine if you will, relations between
the artist
and his muse; the classicist and his colors;
the fear of lust,
of men; the mission, then,
to cloister
what is mystery, to vilify as sinful,
the simplicity of love.

Or perhaps, blinded
by the spotlight,
inspiration confuses
love with art, envisages romance
kindling in winter,
unaware she’s doomed to neverending May.

Only when finally, flighted
as Iphigenia’s ghost, does she find her voice.
Under authorship of woman, she states
that the lyricists have lied. 
She did not willingly
sacrifice her life, nor did a hind
arrive to take her place.

Weakness strives
then to possess her but myths
no longer
and she reminds her audience
that “women are no good..

Quote from The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We Danced

“Dancing is…life itself.” –Havelock Ellis

In the age of plague, we found ourselves dancing for our lives inside the dark.
                                  We drowned our dread in the music of our making, inside the silky dark.

This way, we levitated, rose above morass and swore
to not surrender to seduction of the dark.

Instead, yielding to the blood flow, the outpour
of our desire, we turned together, following rhythm of the dark.

                      We danced
                           despite the raging, creature darkening our door,
                           round and around,
holding tight each other’s flesh within the dark.

Breathing labored, we drew life from Terpsichore,
                                                                     swaying in the shadows
fluttering dangerously in the dark.

We resisted death this way, moving to the melody of encore-
                                                                     a different ending,
our arms and hands parting the fragile promise of a future outside the dark.

The passing black stole minds as well as lives, the futures of all those birthed before
the Great Mortality descended, the drenching dark.

We defied the fall- death galore.
We stole back life in the midst of dark.

Now aged, our future wanes, footsore
lurking silent, sweet kiss of dark.

We meet again mortality, death that’s come before.
Once we sidestepped fate, creating time in pulse, but now
we slow, no longer fearing dark.

The Sunday Whirl