After the razorBy now, my hair is long again,
and curls around my neck. It has
uncombed itself in grief,
and is thick and slick with oil.
At times, it seems to hiss
from mirrors, or from the edge of sleep.
Such are snakes: Split
from end to end, their tongues
are treacherous and whisper:
"She will be back."
I long for Fakirs, or a flute to soothe and stop
the simple, the snivelling snake. To sing
a song of silence, and of India,
its waters warm and ever-blue - O India!
To be far away, and warm.
I have never been to India, and here
the days are cold. My hair
is all that is here for me to bear.
The snow is cold, and the wind is cold.
From my nose, something presses at my eyes.
Snakeskin is cold, but I will not
go bald. A story is better than none,
a song of sorrow can still be sweet.
Ocean's SongForgive my weakness, woman,Ocean's Song5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and my albatross-hands that roam
from island to island, in search of rest.
Forgive me also
for my fish-school eyes, they dart from side to side
in search of something that glitters - prey
or the great white Kraken, or both:
"I have wrecked too many ships, and seen
them scream, I have held them like a lover;
come, my children," it tempts, and lies
softly at the bottom of the sea, singing.
Forgive my oceanic absence,
and the lapping and the lapses of my tongue;
it writhes in my mouth like the Kraken -
a treacherous, twisted creature
is love, and I do, make no mistake.
Letter to a former loverI wrote you lettersLetter to a former lover2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of these hollow woods,
perhaps your tongue was tied
or planing out your teeth with supple motion
licking forth a better smile
a brighter future, at least
you never answered or gave word
that you had seen the fog riding
from beneath the trees on grey stallions
or that the woods themselves were
leaning out and giving way and
turning grey, mist breeding
hollow spines on brittle branches.
A MeetingYou will notice first, the bone juttingA Meeting3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from my meat, it is called teeth,
These are my lips;
This, like so, is called a smile.
And then there are the fabrications that I wear
The layers of silk, of wool,
of iron air
(indeed there is an air that I am not quite there)
- And feathers I have wrapped into my hair
And Afghan pearls, and finally
My hands, hare-fleet, and meeting
On conversationsIOn conversations3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
have upset the order
of things, birds
fall fast and featherflappingly from
shaken skies, and leaves
curl backwards into trees
from frost in summer, my heart
is a bell that rings until
glass shatters and frost falls
fearful on the ground and I
just do not know how
to tell you.
amphitrite IIif my lip will still be split when the austral summer starts,amphitrite II2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and, all wrapped in rising sun, we're coccooning,
if we're throwing all the good things into a bucket of riverness
(and lawn flowers),
will we want to wake up?
I know I'll want to pour
my slice of eternity into a bottle of coconut essence,
make my foreverafter sweet and tropical,
and if your hands are balsam I can
carve my song in stone,
and I will never die.
But don't you ask yourself
why paper boats always sink, in the end?
I don't think I care.
I think they just sail off to a land without horizon
deep in the underwater of the bathtub.
You'll know when, and
you'll hear me sing a sea shanty, maybe.
I want to take my ship until the end of the river.
I want to see the spring pouring down blossom offerings
into the ritual water, I want
our coast of muck and destruction to be aflame with
I'm a shellfish and my fingernails are painted green,
I'm silent-all-these-years and fallen,
I'm wondering where my watercolor
annabbelle(two ays, two enns, two bees, two ells, to ease)annabbelle4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i met a girl who wanted two
of everything, to
reach out for your hand, so she could have another one, too.
mother, can you mendi.mother, can you mend4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for those freckles to glide down
the bridge of her nose and
into a generation of fresh sunspots,
but the daughters got the sun's affection
through their hair, one wheaten braid
over another, sometimes
under the needle's eye of the wind
and sometimes split ends
were all there was to mend.
and mother tried to reteach
her Indian braids unity
on young heads,
she tried to get her worn moccasins
to move too-small feet into dance,
but they ran through rivers
rather than around them
and too often had they sinned
before the hands
trampled azaleas under bare soles
and petals between toes
but sometimes the land
was all there was to mend
and truthfully, Mother was
afraid of crossing bridges,
in her hand-me-down car
or on her own two feet.
she told them,
don't you ever lead traffic over
quiet water. You'll startle our world
into a change.
last time she had,
the current came in alto
with a dirge of capsized trout
and for once the surrounding willows
dove in after something
Your Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local PapersBut listen to me: I will tell youYour Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local Papers2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
how to love a bedspread;
a car seat; a sun dress
that you cleaned two months ago.
and should they find her
in the breast of a riverbank
or a cabinet,
I will tell you
facts about scavenger birds;
kettles, wakes and how to chair a committee
with a body on your desk,
as scavenger birds do.
BrackishAfter the wet season, beforeBrackish4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the midsummer night's drought,
I flight for the floodplains, where
the northern downpour bleeds out
and sweeps its love to the mouth
of my lungs. I sleep in the crux
of an oxbow, let my dreams flux
and flow fractured, deltaic. For this
is the way I piece myself apart,
a resolution, my absolution
in a new avulsion.
During the day, I move south
towards the river mouth, picking
pebbles, coral fangs from the riverbed.
A loose tooth is a common truth
in these parts. Bones are febrile,
eyelashes are made of chalk, salt.
Tears turn brackish. They cake
and crack on the flats of my hands.
This is my Pangaea,
this swollen geography,
this slacken land.
The point of no return.
Here, all else ends.
By dusk I meet the saltmarsh
and dehusk, grow halophytic
in the nightlight. I pull out
my hair, my fingernails, and
fill the gaps in my spine
with reed rhythms, saline.
The final rite: turning flesh to grass.
Tomorrow, morning mist
will drag the whitewash back,
ashes to ash.
AlterAllow me just this:Alter4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I fell into a deep forest. My femur
put forth roots. I did not say: oh Lord,
take me from here
like Rebekah, this is another
My mouth remained resolutely
closed. The moss
grew over me,
Oh Lord, I am scared.
Mother is reading, brows
at half mast. In the kitchen,
Father organizes sardines
on crackers. Home means
this soft quietude.
Five thousand six hundred
miles away, I am watching a donkey.
It stumbles on three legs; the fourth
is loosely curled, like a child's fist.
There are wild dogs in the fields beyond,
waiting. I am a dog, waiting.
The wind settles down
into the moor. The purple heather
lowers its head, then forgets.
It seems natural, as if the wind
was always there.
My neck bent,
I am lost in this.
Wandering, my hands
abandon their shape.
Rock Meautumn blunders in, clumsyRock Me4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
stiff fingers frosted still
by early winds, rocking trees
back and forth
red leaves splatter the ground
paint drops, hanging from drooping
branches, rotten fruit still litters the sidewalks
i head south for the fall with the ducks.
the train creaks like aching joints
there's a crow on
my windowsill, ruffling his feathers
the trees flash by
my ticket's got a hole in the middle
from being folded over and over
the crow says "summer ain't that great, Peach Girl."
i watch the sky and ignore his clicking black beak
"the autumn's gonna follow
right behind ya
'n turn the whole world red-yellow-red
at yer heels."
i know in a week
the only green left will be my sweater
holes in the elbows, stringy cuffs
but i waddle like a duck
towards the leftover southern summer.
"i'm not ready for jack frost yet."
i tell him.
"get ready. the autumn storms are a-comin'
an' there ain't nothin' on heaven or earth to stop 'em."
31:12N, 121:30Emy Dear i just noticed31:12N, 121:30E3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my balcony is shaped
and the wind is billowing
the moon up, up to-night
in her dusty purple garb
and i think
no Dear i do not want
to leave here: where men
build bridges over oceans
and live inside of mountains
like river dragons
where the sun shines
not at all at noon but gleams
like an orange at sundown
where the moon walks home
surefooted to where my neck
confessions of a misguided poetcertain things in my mindconfessions of a misguided poet2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
would be better left unsaid,
i. how I stared at a bottle of pills
for an hour as if they would slide down
my throat on their own.
ii. when I stepped out of the shower
with bloody knees and didn't bother
to put a band aid over them.
iii. why I can't keep a smile long
enough for someone to take
iv. who I wanted to be when I was
a little girl and who I am
right here and now.
v. where I tried to jump off a
bridge and landed in water
deep enough for me to swim in.
vi. what I wanted to scream at
you that day but I just stayed
silent and hoped you would forget.
no more pretty words and
today; just life,
the truth, and everything
that I never want to tell
The Opus Of The Everythingthe ocean floor, the twisted sea andThe Opus Of The Everything4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
all the flying jacket bees, and all
the flying birds and he, the one who
caught the glint of spring, who laid
it on the downy dew, the crispy green
of May fescue, who saw the plans of built
up lights that burn to light a thousand
pools of dripping rain and puddles lay
on any given night or day, the brick by
brick, the mortar spread, the snap of sugar
sweetly felt, the brine that made it
through the cloud, the opus of the
everything, the great and wide, the heat
of flame, the sun in cold but sunny sky,
the sound of when a child laughs,
the opus of the everything
the hanged manThis little red book you call the human body:the hanged man4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
take it up and shake it. Shake the flaking pages
out of it, shake it from endpaper to endpaper
until the last of the phrases are gone; shake it
until it's aching and empty, the soul of a bird.
I will give you new words.
I was Eros once.I stuffed my throat,I was Eros once.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and pockets full of roses.
I tied myself up with heartstrings.
I set myself on fire.
the first day of springyou are new in the way flowers are new:the first day of spring2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
brilliant green, soft purple,
the good smell of rain and soil.
let the miserable winter wind
chase its own tail for a while;
there’s something beautifulwonderfulmine
at the end of a sunlit driveway.
lemonwe walk down the streetslemon2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of a city named after the last thousand years.
a breeze floats by
and for a moment your hair lifts off your shoulder.
the way it doesn't touch you,
i want to touch you.
there are traces of lemon in your light,
a vague sense of mint on your fingertips.
the way honey tastes
drifts inside your shirt.
entering the city
walking calmly while the light falls
is like listening to your voice,
like waiting at the bell by the river
for a clamoring to do justice
to the patterns on the water.
the way the bells never end
i want to brush my hand against yours.
the way you drop lemon into your water
i want to live.
having been a babyI am wine driedhaving been a baby3 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
on empty cups, made drunk by
what place the light has ever slept,
ever nestled my hand
as an instrument
in your hand, I can not sleep through a second language
I can not
limit the truth of expanding, of feeling like
the room is happy
SpringtimeIt is winter on my breastbone,Springtime6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Across my nose,
Down my arms,
Snowbanks of pale skin
At my shoulders, elbows, knees.
But a sudden spring emerges on my hipbone,
A rioting vibrant mass
Brought on not by the warming of the weather,
Or a gentle rain,
But by a forceful collision with a table.
This bloom will wither soon,
Just like the real daffodils and irises.
The colors will fade,
And my skin will return to the tundra.
It's not Rocket Science a poem for Jack ParsonsIt's not Rocket Science3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Lucifer took a hit, landed
face-down & flat-broke
back in the 40s
out on the West Coast
eyes the colour of Swarfega
teeth rotting, shoes worn through,
and dying for another high
too early for acid he takes
the mescaline trail
down into the Mojave
where the rattlesnakes are
locked in their kundalini and the
stillness flickers like god
across a lizard's eye
Lucifer hitched a ride
over to Pasadena
to see Jack and the Rocket Boys
see what they can do
to put him back in heaven
too long in the desert
Jack's already on the last reel