Sunday, October 30, 2011


We are young, passionate, and carried by a bass beat booming.
Yet I want to jostle past these gyrating bodies to the chilly damp trash dump for a while, smell the cold stink of waste rather than the too warm, too arousing stink of sweat and breath and human energies. This mobbish delight is blinding. I catch my breath and imprint the quiet on my ears the way I imprinted caught glances on my mind in dancing. 
Makes me want to laugh, the way I try hard to keep myself bound while losing myself to movement, to music. Forget without forgetting the real true pure in the stupid, stupid, stupid. What do I want to prove? That my body can move like anyone's? That I'm not afraid to be wild, to be free, to laugh in a crowd of costumed students shouting "Friday night!"? That I can be free in what may amount to slavery? Truly free to sway/jive/bounce for joy in a dance of sugar-high, this-is-what-fun-is-supposed-to-be?-young-people, dance the dance my little brother taught me, lose sexy to silly and be drawn to raise my hands high, not to celebrate youth but to plead violently, meekly, for Jesus in the dark ceiling untouched by disco lights. 
This makes me smile and press bandages on our arms, when the crowd boom boom booms and takes your money.
I can't stay for the next song. Just let me walk home slowly, letting the sleet beat against my hot face, allowing my numb feet to linger in chilled puddles, to only want to feel that clean sting. 
Can't help murmuring "forgiveness" to the lamp-lit trees overhead. These are they who rejoice in being just what you made.
In a quiet, dim room now, press my lips on those smooth, smooth pages, waiting open on my bed. Egypt was glad when they left. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Is Precious Is Not From Us

What's the trouble with these training wires,
Oh, I want family, inspiration...
These trellis lines, binding into tidy forms to try to bring to life?
Can living come from trying?

These tenderest things you can't truly make, can't create,
Can only be or not be as you are given, as you give.

Can we truly cultivate, or husband this healing flower, this winding vine,
Now strengthen my hands...
Or do our greenest thumbs damage every thing we try to grow?
Can growing come from dying?

Only the brave and gentle know,
If planted seeds can, of the vulnerable kind we sow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Stripe me like a Bengal tiger,
Spread your wet paint brush across my shoulders, down my back.
Stroke your lines in daring arcs, and smack
Your hands in two palm prints against my cheeks.
Your feathered thoughts in plumes of blue,
Beak your way to preen in grease,
Sheathe my arms in papered tubes,
And grow me wings where once my fingers grew.

Wild II
Stripe me like a Bengal tiger,
Spread your wet paintbrush across my shoulders, down my back.
Stroke your lines in daring arcs, and
Smack your hands in two palm prints against my cheeks.
Your feathered thoughts in plumes of blue.
Beak your way to preen in grease,
Sheathe my arms in papered tubes, and
Grow me wings where once my fingers grew.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bruised Leaves


Kneaded, pounded, steamed, thumbed,
Pica for tree bark or the flesh of my arm,

The crackling of oil, the spitting of fat,
The splatter of rain on the tempered glass.

You won't mind my voice if I sing quietly,

Rosemary, laurel, lemon, thyme,
Balsam, yarrow, yew.


I have blistered my arm with my own little mouth,
And left bite-marks along it in childhood.

I have nothing but skin to hold myself in,
At least leaves have release, when they blood.

You won't mind my arms if I hold you lightly,

Rosemary, laurel, lemon, thyme,
Balsam, yarrow, yew.


Tie up my ankles and hang me, after,
I flower, aromatic, from attic rafters.

I've waited two years if I've waited an hour,
To rake where I'll nest, to bring lark song and laughter.

You won't mind my leaves if I love you rightly,

Rosemary, laurel, lemon, thyme,
Balsam, yarrow, yew.


Cockles and mussels, cochlea and muscles, sinews of serpents and the lithe forms of flowers. Sinister spikes at head-height surprise eyes stupefied by color.

A snake I killed myself by accident
On accident,
On Occidental door frames squeezing tight enough to crush its rippling spine, its supple scales, to glaze its eyes for a final shed,
of life.
I placed it, gently, on my window sill, covered it with paper, to think upon the ledge of death and the tender give and sway of life on this iron sphere, this sponge, of earth. 

This world is a warring place
Where which is real? The lullaby or the threat on the other side of the locked door, the folding of family laundry, or the rinsing of blood off the hands?
Press each heat-tossed sock a moment longer to your belly.

What can I offer but one clear bird-call in field where no one stops to hear,
Or in a forest where no one can?

What can a woman do, in the end, against the hardened face of a man?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Remember to Remove Your High Places

If your mother is a priest's daughter, she will lead you well.
But remember to remove your high places.
Remember the distinction in the ooze, and glow, and burn of Fire itself.
Fasten the stones of your brothers to your shoulder blades,
- A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate -
And choose to lay down traces of idolatry in graves.

Do you see, you are the prey of old questions,
Though you deem yourself a different kind of breed.
Are you brave enough to be a child, green?
Clear your dazzled eyes and smooth your pride down,
Smile to show where teeth have not grown in.

Live for when the tocsin and the knell toll death of self,
And where the vines entwine around the tree.
I will move, by grace, from where my fingers linger
To where my ribs cave in, and then bleed free.

The Ends

Sometimes I can trace to the ends of my hair,
To younger years, when I danced with my blanket wrapped around my back,
When I asked for stories from outside bathroom doors.

Today I read aloud from the other side of a shower curtain,
And I danced in the edges of a pond reflecting the moon,
With a shawl around my shoulders, my feet plashing softly.

The shadows of trees tell me I am old,
And the moon tells me more:
I am not wrong to love and be drawn,
Maidenly, to aspire to tender hopes.