Saturday, April 26, 2014


This is a man

This is a woman

this is a man-
in theory,
     he is more than a boy

this is a woman – in theory
she feels, still
like a girl

this man is metal –
     solid, shining

this woman is medley of lustrous facets

this is a man with two children
this is a woman with four children
this is a man with two children- both
boys  this is a woman with four children-
one boy, three girls – respectively

the children all - bright boundless blend

this is a man in love with a woman-
     a woman in love with a man
this is their second go round
this is optimism   this is a beginning-

this is family – this alloy,
crystallized into solidity
this is life – these days 

this is an awful
lot of children  a lot of mouths to feed

this is a man trying – heroically 
respectably, day after day
to bring home the proverbial bacon 
a man who found some of what he wanted
and knows there is always more to want
this is a man
more castellan than king

this is a woman trying  this is a woman
this is a writer this is a mother  this is a stepmother 
scratch  mother  this is a wife  a bride  a teacher 
this is a woman trying   trying to be an optimist

this is their house 
a house with six children inside
almost always
almost always
there  almost always moving  talking 
eating  playing  learning 
in all directions      nonstop 
out of house and home  loudly
at the table
on the floor  gathered round

this woman sometimes
feels like the old woman
who lived in a shoe

this is the man and woman’s life joined
until they die  they pray  united 

this is their dandelion house – full
and fat with promise  this is their house
held up carefully  gingerly  with the understanding
that when grown  children swirl away pulled
by their own winds

but this house for now is full and clothed
in children  bedecked in toys  this noise
is its constant din:  the cries; the laughter;
the pleas and bedtime prayers, the stories; songs;
the lessons; the feet running across the tile;
the dirty hands smacking prints across the walls
these children are still forming

this man has been made steel
                                   day after day
heroically, trying

this is a woman trying
hard to stay soft

This is a life
This is their life
This is the life

This is their story, unfolding
This is a woman unfolding stories
in a house full of children-
three boys, three girls,
their individual stories

This is the swinging pendulum of time
and this is now

Friday, April 25, 2014

He Loved Her

He looked at her as if wanting to read
her thoughts. He spoke to her as if hungering to tell her
his.  He listened to her as if craving to feel
her words.  He embraced her as if to wanting to hold
her secrets. He kissed her as if yearning to touch
her heart.  He tasted her
as if trying to memorize her sweetness.
He touched her as if desiring to make her his. 
He loved her as if dying to awaken her soul.

Source:  Emma by Jane Austen (the first line is the original)

Another Direction

They fit me like a glove.

I like when classic things
are sent into another

I never wore them.

Color has changed everything.


It has to be worn young and modern. 
We want to encourage people to play. 
You know, you've got to seize
the chances you got….with fierceness
and urgency.

An act of the imagination. 
This insane, hallucinogenic
                                                   mashup…like emoting
                                                   in a poetic way-

Like big, long words and sex and sighs.

Screw it, let’s go play.

Source:  various articles in Vogue, August 2013

Inside Her Woods

Inside her woods:  the mind’s
of the rainbow; trees
(of course); the hush
of things; sleep;
the last red squirrel;
a wave,
                                    a winged form;

the very lifting edge
of evening;
a coin stuck in a slot
for many years; the sound
of water pouring; a matter of terror;

a gentle little thing;
craters and mirrors; a circle full of light;
     its conclusion;
a bent-down bough
     of nothing; children racing;
pollen; a new world; bubbling

                                  breeding pools;
woodnymph’s Joints
and Kracks; bright and blowy
enclosure of weather;
                          a flood
                          a plain;
                          a thread;
                          a bridge
out of the linked cells of thin air; a rose;
one foot; green; roots; opponent eyes;
a scrapwork of flashes
among billowing
clustered on its branches;
various Danks
of Dusk; the moon,
a waspish whiteish; more than one North
Star, more than one South

Christ; silence; dawn closed and containing everything;
                           the rock’s heart
under darkness;
flies; the dead tongue;
the dandelion
like heaven concealed; a man;
on the wall, etc.

Source:  Woods, etc. by Alice Oswald


But what is the use of that?

                            So, there is a bit of a detour.
                                  The way the sciences return to life
via the scenic route

What makes this a Poem of Knowledge?  Why do we write-
                                          fill in these blank spaces?
                                  For power? Insight?  

And could it be that sorrow persists
longer than knowledge, longer than wisdom,
and certainly longer than Stuff?

                                 It conquered time and distance.  And of course,
bewitchment suggests discomfort.

       The obvious answer is we write
        to communicate. 

        The balance of writer
                 and readers has changed. 

We are not the hard gem-like flame but the smudge glass
which happens to contain it.

Wojahn, David. “Not Releasing The Genie:  On The Poetry of Stuff vs. The Poetry of Knowledge.”  The Writer’s Chronicle.  May 2014. 49-50. Print.
Proulx, Annie.  “Why Do We Write?”  The Writer’s Chronicle.  May 2014.  60-65.  Print.

(italics mine)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


In this one-eyed, starless night,
     the moon glows lonely,
casting shadow
on the skeleton trees,
their limbs outstretched.
The night birds
and with crooning
song, profess
that this dark is new.
soft, white light
of orb exists
an eerie mood.
He cannot sleep. 
The gloating crow replays
inside his
mind to remind
of his betrayal
and too, his
own words-
the declaration,
“I will not
deny you.” 
He weeps. 
He cannot sleep-
the night before
he could not
stay awake.
He replays words: 
the blessing over
broken bread,
the wine they drank,
and the blood
Then the scenes
replay: the soldiers
coming, the kiss,
the scandal,
the swords raised,
Jesus seized.

Will the sun rise at all tomorrow?  She cannot tell.  She has not slept. 
        The light of her entire world is gone. Stolen. 
        Her strength is gone.
Her tears dried. 
Her body numb. 
Ringing in her ears, the mocking. The cries of the vicious crowd – “King of Jews.” 
His cries.  She shudders,
tries to block the sight
of his flesh, lashed, the nails in
his hands and feet,
the spear that pierced his side. 
Her head
where they placed the crown of thorns upon her son.
These visions, etched like every word he spoke, these visions.
She recalls his birth, the indignant voices of those who cursed
her choice but rocks now the memory of her infant son,
hope mirrored in innocence’s eyes.

It is Friday. 
We are millennia
The sun knows not to shine,
though any other day,
 I’d think it just forgot.
This Friday, the sun remembers,
hides and her concealment
hurts our eyes. 
The clouds
keep her secret, patch the sky. 
I read the words of Matthew
to the children, the story of the lamb,
slain; I tell them that this day
is christened good.  I begin
with The Last Supper
and begin to weep when
the crowd chooses Jesus. 
I hear the scoffing jeers. 
I see him carrying the cross
and I cry because I know him
as a friend and because he is a friend
I’ve never known.   Because as a child
I dreamed of him and so they crucify a man
I’ve seen- a man I love.

My body tingles and I’m reminded of my betrayal. 
I know the son will rise- that Sunday’s coming but today I cry.

Body- Held Secrets


I am a secret,
           sealed in skin, 
even from myself.
Section of a story.
Mystery of a manifold. 
Known only in tidbits
like gossip on the lips of women.  Related.
Relished.  Narrated
like old news made new
                  with the retelling. 
with occasional omission
                  or embellishment. 
Hoarded.  Mess of fact and fiction
upon arrival. 
At times, I am sedulous in my search
for self, sorting
through, separating
whites and colors, or hungry
for more, I cup my ear to glass to soul-door, hoping
to hear what my grownup self might know. 
And, too,
         there are times I turn away,
tired of trivialities,
tired of teleology,
the bother
of knowledge.
I am mere whisper.
Breathed, hushed in the dark. 
            forming still.  A season –
the blush of fall leaves rustling
under feet or the blossom springing up
pink quick just before summer.
Held by space and time by body
feigning reality. 
Flesh of fiction. 

           And the earth
seems to be more than landscape,
rather memoryscape,
though I can’t recall if this is paradise
or hell. My body
             bridges the lacuna
             between the tangible
and the abstract, refusing
to follow rules of unities. 
My body both belongs
and aches for another home, so I search
the deep, attempting to unravel
engrafted in my DNA.
I am skin, bones, guts
so I creep
cautiously down
to core to excavate whatever’s pure. 
This interfusion of flesh
and soul
       seems so accidental. 
                                    I am in touch,
                                    out of touch,
more than what is seen, seduced
into disbelief by mirror’s reflection
and my own movement. 


My body with its sudden aching
rebels like the feverish child
sent straight to bed,
the child who still wants to play

The day stolen by the sway of illness,
this lassitude, unallayed
The legs on strike so confined and laying stretched, my limbs sink into the sheets
This pain more acute when still. 
turning, left, right, I settle on my back,
hands clasped at chest like death pose and I begin
to pray
First, the furious bargaining that accompanies grief….
Then, finally, in acceptance, abandonment to the discomfort,
the self-admission with some small amount of shame
that this is what it takes to slow me, to draw me
and out.
I cease fighting and the near constant percussion
in the background of this house seems to lower as the paradox
of a newfound, familiar gratitude rocks me
into an almost sleep
where my sight is sharper than when awake
and where when weak, He is strong and I or He prays.

I’ve laid down my one expectant request:  I will still,
here, as long as necessary, only rising when I’m certain
the hour’s purpose has been fulfilled but, Lord, when
I reenter space and time, I must be returned to form,
if only  for remainder of today.
So now, it’s just mostly names, uttered, silent, as I’m reminded
of who but not necessarily what and when my eyes open,
I know what I don’t know, that I’m a little more whole when broken. 
That I’m unfolding and that search for self is only realized in abandonment
of self. 
Only when I am quieted by strain
can I most fully realize
that beyond all
this exists a full reality.

These are mere whispers heard in the hush of light and heaven is closer,
nearer than I fathomed prior.  The earth is just a dreamscape,
His body bridging gap between abstraction and understanding
and his reflection is moving through me.

The Sunday Whirl

Monday, April 14, 2014

East of Eden

East of Eden  we are in limbo  deceived
by belief in earth and I lie 
                                     limbs outstretched 
palms open  petitioning
        in need
of rescue         I am not saved 
No one comes and my fears are confirmed
I am confined to silence  the enemy’s hand
on my throat  fingers hooked
wrist turning nimbly  casually 
gleefully          My heart already out  underfoot
East of Eden  I lie in hopeless wait
                                 in the den of the beast
Did I not willingly enter
                                  this hell?

Moonlit gloom  blue burning
sky glim             burdened chant
                           under breath so unheard as if underwater
undone so unwon
                                             disgraced  unmourned

This sworn edict  heaven’s temporal oath
and the porcelain taste of tart 
fruit still tingling on my tongue 
it’s promising burnished glow still in mind’s eye

I did not willingly enter                I fell  Unknowing 

I was shut out
                                                       and now        alone 
                                                                   worth vanished 
The vault breaks
The ferns I wear scratch at my skin                                                      
barely cover                                 I cannot sleep
for I am on watch
                                                                   checking corners
My bed is a tangle of twisted weeds twining
like strangling arms           East of Eden
 I have encased myself with shell 

A paper nautilus             I create a poison 
 I am a colorist                                   shifting
to self-protect
and you fear me
though you knew me when I held a different form
You fear castration              I fear you 
                          I retreat within 
                          to depths
you cannot fathom 
Paralyze with escape
                            My shell is leaf-like fragile  Peel it back
to find me

                            East of Eden  you hear my call
as song of siren 
                                  tempting  You fear
                                  my golden hair  You fear
You fear my voice  You are cursed  
                It is written on the walls  and the dragon roams
with goal to kill 
               destroy                                                glassy eyes 
piercing  spears 
rearing head  seeking to devour

He has found me out                                                                                                     
taken me in
and left me
here to die

We are in limbo in a brief-eternity vapor
We are flaming wood          this orb an urn
We are in danger
We are tumbling down and fast
We are ashes

I am beauty  Changed  Life  Dust  Flesh  Rising
Calling forth and out 
Come and find me

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Blue

The night sky is different tonight- the blue more royal,
so the clouds more white,
so low and so full
that only space
of blue is showing
and looking up,
               it’s like looking down,
like the swollen clouds
are land
and the sapphire sky is sea
and the sea is breaking- the space widens
and I, grounded, am privileged
with an upside down somehow,
birdlike view of the show.
My face is lifted. 
I can’t help but watch, to try
and memorize
the heavens. 
It is on these rare nights
that I can most envision
The Second Coming.
The moon is full and brilliant,
but the clouds
tonight are uninhibited
and operating under
full spectrum command,
stealing glory.
The moon’s role, it seems, to showcase
the slow-fast movement
of those low snow-light clouds.
The sky is layered. 
and more and more
Clouds at base,
moon and heat
of stars at height
of vault above.
The moon at first, imbound ,
glows brightly even through
and the clouds pass over, cover, pass
over, cover, hiding,
whispering, washing, shining
until at last the moon
released, seems to fall down the sky
      as the clouds rise,
stretch out wispy,
wistful fingers as if still trying
       to grasp the beauty
of the orb.
I marvel at the feat
and later try
to name that blue: Azure,
Indigo.  More specifically: 
Berlin, Midnight, Navy, Prussian
or Parisian.
Some poet could, I think,
should name that blue
and write
a poem about the blue, its shade,
                      the clouds, the moon,
and how it fell.


clothe this arid terrain,
       this sapless, sepia soil.
night comforts,
relieves, then rested sun rises
again to torment.
the air smells
of carnage and ruin.
tongues of insects
are calling out in need
of rain.
tiny reptile
scurry across sand, searching
overheard, in sky,
in adagio chirping, creatures
a torrent tango.


Disjointed but
    somewhat content
Yet, there will exist in transit
A preferred belief, as seen
    In combat
                     Together, added,
Wed, stayed, confined
In telling circle-prayer
Then out of confessing mouths
Of babes- a disconnection
Vocalized in whatever feeble attempt
To connect
These critical dots-
How it is now with
How it was then and no prefigurement
Can belie inside a forming mind
                     Still clasped tight
In fervency this held,
Preferred belief. 
The smallness
Of the exclamation
And expression
                 sharp and wounding.
They could be mine,
For, already, elements
Show forth, in digging,
Of a familiar type
Of thaumaturgic thinking.
Already perfume
Of a false relief wafts
To tease
the air
With an invisible,
Presiding fragrance
And even
Prove true outside
Of what any heart
Would naturally
Cannot presume
To mend the unrent determination
  Of how it ought to be;
  What was meant
To be. Later,
Even doubt found in chilling
Waves of truth,
Of transgressions
Will be secondary to
                                 The firm dependence
On the poet-like impression
That to relive or re-survive
One’s childhood would or could
Be worthwhile- this, they
Will rock themselves
To sleep with.  Now,
The whole is still
By an, as of yet,
and though
the storm
Is behind the bend it seems
The answer
To the thirst
Of soul-drought.  Daring, this desire
                                In fruitless romance-trifle,
Ever dangerously
With denial
But  forspoken bone-bonds
Are never broken.
Yes, every boy
Is born with savior-complex
Builds a fort of this, presuming
Every girl in wait, singing
Calls from some faraway window
So transferring the need
The mother is transfigured
And this woman resumes
Her place on knees,

Releases, dies to self, 
And thus receives.

So Grateful


I pretty much have to fake it,
                            act like
                                   I’m not
because I’m not.
Remind myself that far fewer
people are looking at me
than I think.  Like take the total amount
and then minus all.
And then uncross my arms.
And there’s this girl sitting next to me
with her arms crossed, looking
straight ahead, awkward, in a loose-fitting,
pink and black, pin-striped business suit 
and I feel like I should introduce myself,
but instead, I,
too, stare straight ahead while
simultaneously to fake ease
and then, I’m so grateful
that the meeting’s starting
because that means no one else will come up
and hug me.
And now I’m listening and nodding.  Uncover,
the speaker says.
I need to remember that.  I also need to know
what to uncover.
After the meeting, I forget
how to act confident,
and leave right away.
I’m tired but I have to think.  Uncover
So, I drive to Karen’s house and then I’m sitting
cross-legged on her couch eating
eggplant parmesan, disclosing
so uncovering
             all the bullshit.
                                    I find out I’ve been blind
                                    to my own dishonesty-
as usual.  And she suggests
prayer cards
and even writes them up for me
while I eat.
She reminds me to bring God
into every aspect. 
Before I leave, she asks me if I’ve read The Artist’s Way
and also says she’ll text me the name
of the Carl Jung book
she told me about and I say thank you
and ask
if there’s any
writing assignment
I can maybe do to figure this all out
and she says no – I do enough of that
and she doesn’t mean writing, like this-
but enough thinking – analyzing.
She says, go like this, and she holds both arms
out wide, and pauseAnd, she adds,
if you’re going to write, write with your left hand-
about anything.
I pre-pray
all the way home
without the cards
and stuff just starts
                     falling off
and I am lightening
     then I tighten again
     and repeat everything
over and over
so I can remember
what I’m figuring out
and then
I remember to put my arms out
                                           and just let go
                                           and take in
and so because I’m driving
I just put one arm out but it works and I hear
my own trio-phrase- an original
or probably God made it up:
                               See. Accept.  Do.  See.  Accept.  Do.
And I think I can remember that.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Sound-emitting since
several sonar systems
Second, survey size.
Shut side,

Scoured success.
Success scoured:

        story.  Signal.
        Southern- same.
        Speak solace,
        Structure solace-



How dare I?  Really? 
Because I can play this out both ways.  Feel both sides.
      Acutely.  If not equally.
      And somehow, I feel
      far too close to this,
         and, too, denied this very closeness.
So, what is fair?  Fair
        where? To whom? 
And In the eyes of God, the law? In the name
of decency?
It is this:  I have to name the unknown,
         name the fear,
                                 reach down
and hold the soft,
fragile realization,
as gently as I now hold what is rightfully yours,
and mine, unwon. 
I hold this pair, this joy, frustration – turn
                                 like a worry
stone into prayer, smoothing,
seeking wisdom, and now, as though
imploring Solomon, hold out
both sides. 

We each claim motherhood, claws
                     in writhing, wailing
                     infant flesh.
Who will sacrifice to spare the life?
But then, you call and I relent because your speech
so similar
to mine,
that I ache with the reminder
of an only imagined
Are we really that alone in heart’s desire?
You break in the same places – at the same
places, intone, as I, breathe where I,  and
the thick
pauses cause me stop, to listen
between the lines.
But  then, it is this, also:  the breach of contract. 
My agreement signed at X, contingent
upon my own control. 
And your voice a threat to my self-will. 
There is giving and there is returning
and I have not yet forgiven
the most recent loss, let alone embraced
the consolation of the most recent gift
(I will not call it gain)
and so here I stand,
staring into a realm of worst-case possibilities
Pretending anything
 is rightfully mine
Laying out lines
in eternal sands
that I cannot claim
How dare you, I say,
bite my tongue.  How dare you,
                        I pray.  Repent.
Attempt to center.

What oath or christening stands on earth?
There is brokenness everywhere
gravel in my mouth and yours
and tides of grace, gushing to wash
but I find I cannot even cleanse myself.
I have stretched time to its limit in my mind
while you, cast aside, remain
     in limbic prison
and I dare provide
where, while, when, impaired,
you are deemed incapable.
               Do I hold your limbs now?
                Or your heartbeat?
So, carelessly, hold the left-behind
least of these against my chest,
unaware, and with pure mistaken
Seams wear, relent,
unravel, finally.

How dare I?

Friday, April 4, 2014


If we take to
plain-spoken, open-hearted, capture, wing
and  and
canny to them
(inside) waking
  can initiate a that                     
a trigger-that
  efficacious                                                 into
something something
  of a
  as recognitions  (previously unspecified, unknown)
something valid
   also                                  context
                                               of a terrifying emptiness be all be
                                                 if      if
we are an
emptying like this avail of the                      
  move (remove)
call                emptying
into into
a means

desirable       (enticing)
desirable end

based (loosely) on Wordgathering Prompt 4
Source:  a page from The End of Suffering by Scott Cairns

How Is It Possible

How is it
can                                                                                                      it            be-
done (let justice be done); have happened (casualty-

                                                                   heaped); be true
                                                                  hateful      be the case, something
          no knowledge to the contrary

          this happened – took place; came to pass;
                                          occurred.  Cored.
Came to pass by                             chance- at random?  Occurred without
                                              apparent reason unreason  or
The family                                                                                                    basic
       fundamental                                         social       organized   unit: a quantity chosen
 part- consisting of parents
and their children,
                 considered as a group an instinct.
Whether dwelling together or not,
                 or more
together with the children (playing; happy) they care for-
the children
of one person or one
collectively- forming a whole-
any group of persons closely related by
as parents                    cause,


 children, uncles, aunts,
and cousins-
All those persons-
 of a common

the body (human)
is destroyed- vanquished,
reduced to useless fragments: a part broken off or detached,
a useless
or remains,
                        as if dissolved;
beyond – outside the understanding of -  repair or renewal;
           demolished- unshielded- ruined; annihilated- crushed, murdered,  ended; terminated, concluded, not concluded,
           extinguished; killed;


Based on a prompt from Wordgathering:  Definitional Lit