Friday, April 20, 2018


The Doctrine of Inability

Overhead the hem
of a cloud
presses in
uncouth and persistent
like a black lung
black eye
sink hole
or barren eye socket.
If I breathe hard enough
does that mean
I’m forgiven
that the bees will stop dying?
At moments like these
I’m supposed to
call someone
get up
turn on the lights.
But man, these leg irons
are on so tight
I’m seeing split screens.
I’m both here and there
two sides of the same frail ghost.
The air has never
tasted more fraudulent
or pornographic.
Sound of a tree split
of ripping flesh
a child’s frantic scream
crazy mad music
setting this ceiling on fire.
I don’t know what
planet to confiscate.
Everything’s so sticky.
Even the lake looks
anorexic and sickly green
like someone’s faded
sundress torn at the neck.
The little man playing
violin on the edge of
my tongue performs an encore
while my lawn chair teeth
do their best not to collapse
from the weight of nothing.
The lyrics are a mush
of mashed potatoes
and remorseful gravy.
What I hear is--
Where is blue
and where is __________,
and what then, my heart?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


The Back of My Throat

Today I am
for love again,
a toyless toddler,
a junkyard dog
gnawing on its chains.
This sidecar rain wants
no part of me.
The old eagle shivers
in its elevator nest.
The trees sob and moan,
their limbs tight
with arthritis.
I could try talking
to myself,
raise a rifle to the moon,
or stitch up this
seeping wound.
All I need to know
in moments like these
is an answer:
That last kiss—
did you mean to leave
a grenade in the
back of my throat,
or were you just playing
Charades again?

And What About You?

And what about you?
Are the carrion fumes
a little too thick,
a little too sharp and pungent
for your liking?
Hasn’t Tuesday felt like
the fattest day ever?
Was there a crossbow
aimed at the lash-less space
between your eyebrows
when you practiced smiling
in the mirror?
Did that raven spend
the entire night
pecking a hole
through your skull,
and did it have specks
of fool’s gold in its black eye?
No?  Oh, good.
It’s just me then.
I’m glad everything’s
sunny side up there.
But be careful with
that stir stick.
People have been
known to get
those suckers stuck
in their throat.
Some have even died.

I Am Holding You In The Rain

Today a jar of wasps
crawling through the head again,
all that blue confusion and fear
time-stamped your face.
Still I see the young
woman you once were,
everything around you buoyant,
possible and accessible,
a field overrun with poppies,
the moon hanging untouched,
both Kennedys still alive and vying.
The nurses are more worried
than you because they’ve
been here before,
restraints at the ready,
clipboard for a weapon,
sighing like a pair of
exasperated willow trees.
Sis and the others
have stopped coming,
can’t take it,
the vacant shell of you,
the brook of chaos
gurgling behind your eyes.
But you may call me
by any name.
It’s okay. Your mind
has disowned you,
but mother I will not.
Even if you don’t know it,
I am always here,
holding you in the rain.

Monday, April 16, 2018


…Strange morning.  I woke without remembering who I was.  So today I am my own shadow.

…Sometimes it’s as easy as turning on the light, and still, I don’t do it.

…You can only miss someone when they are present to you.

…Always in the back of my mind: I had tried, but had I tried hard enough?

…There are many ways of proceeding, but of course you want the one that is denied to you.

…Knock it off, said my mother.  Stop worrying so much.  The future doesn’t belong to us and we don’t belong to it.

…And what about you?   How have you survived so far?

…Forget it.  It’s okay.  You weren’t listening, even though I really was trying to tell you something important.

…You could say blue forever and not be lying.

...“I wish I could show you when you are lonely the astonishing light of your own being.”  That quote from Shiraz is one of my favorites.

…Whether you know it or not, I’m here holding you in the rain.

…But don’t you think we’re always the same, making the same mistakes, hurting exactly the same way?

…I have tried to live that way, sunny side up, rainbow kitten surprise, everything bouncy like it is on the moon.  It worked for a while, but then gravity came into play.

…Do you make me sad?  Of course not, silly.  Just the opposite.

…People who read this think I’m quite sad.  Other people read it and think I’m a little nuts.  What am I to do?

…I’m not really looking for what makes sense anymore.  The surreal is where it’s at.  I want to live inside a dream with my eyes and mouth wide open, like a child trying to catch hail pellets in her mouth.

…I never understood why people who get drunk-dialed get upset with the caller.  I mean, doesn’t that show you how much they care?

…It wasn’t always going to be like this.  You were going to be a king, outlive everyone, join the family, if you hadn’t already.  Thank God none of that worked out.

…As I’m writing this, Pete the eagle just swooped down and pulled a fish from the lake.  Pretty good theater.  Better than most TV shows anyway.

…It’s funny what people hear when they read something versus what they hear when the same thing is said to them.  Just shows you how important body language is in the scheme of things.

…To know my pain, you have to want what I want but not have it.

…The reality is I came without a warranty.

…The best way to get a jump on the morning is to never fall asleep. Unfortunately, doing that enough is the best way to get a jump on an early death.

…Doesn’t it always seem that it’s when you think about it that things go wrong?

…The doctor told me that faults run through all of us, that scars extend far beneath the skin.

...Sticks and stones…That is so not true.

…Must be present to win…Also not true.  Not always, anyway.

…Glorious moments, those are the best.  Be sure to have as many of them as you can.

…Yesterday I saw the most darling little girl, probably two and a half.  She looked like a cherub, like a ghost child.  She was so beautiful and perfect looking it was almost painful.

…Yesterday my depression and I had a good long chat. We were actually honest with each other.  That’s why I have all these bruises this morning.

…I keep re-reading that last note to convince myself that I really meant what I said.

…I’ve got the lights on, but it’s still pretty dark around here.

…I’ve got sixteen days, sixteen of those are nights…

…Keeping that tab open all day is kind of weak, but hey, what’re you gonna do?

…In my mind, I made you failproof, and that was a big mistake.

…Love has made me everything I am--a coward.

…I’m sorry.  Another cabernet?  Some cheese perhaps?  Or mixed nuts?

Friday, April 13, 2018


                       It Could Be Anybody, But It’s Not 

This bartender could be anybody.
But there’s something about the peppercorn brown flecks in his eyes, something about his pinwheel smile and pincushion dimples that remind me of your ex-husband.  
They don’t wear name tags here and so I don’t ask.  Instead, I order another, this time a double.
The guy who could be your ex is slick, alternating between French and Italian accents depending on the babe sitting on the stool.
To the tittering blonde with zombie drool sliding down her shoulder strap he says, Voulez-vou coucher ave moi? (Would you like to sleep with me tonight?) 
Blondie giggles like a drunk duck, flaps her wing and says, You’re funny.
I hang around till closing, when it’s just me, your ex and a dozen women waiting to see who the bartender will choose.
I know he’s not really your ex.  Your ex is in prison for all those girls he chopped up.  But I wonder if your ex operated in a similar fashion as this guy, baiting his victims, bursting with charm and machismo.  I wonder why if, as you say, he was evil incarnate, then why do you still keep his old pictures stored in that shoe box in the closet, and why do you say his name in your sleep. 

                               THE CLOUDS BELOW ME

On the flight, the clouds below keep their distance, treating me like a leper.  I’ve been drinking and have everything slowed down to a dull, repetitive sandpaper mush of white noise.  Even the flight staff move like scarecrows barely bent by a breeze.
So far, I’ve seen God once or twice, but both times he was yawning and a little dyslexic, so sidetracked and strung out on abstinence.
Where I’m going no one looks like me and no one knows my name.  I studied the travel brochure in advance as a pre-caution.  I probably shouldn’t even be taking this trip, but sometimes the best way to torture yourself is avoiding suicide, waking up to another day that hates you as much as you hate yourself.  So why not hate yourself in a foreign land?
The toddler yelping in 12A is just another squalling kid, annoying everyone within earshot.  But I recognize that sound, the ratcheted gulps of air tucked between high-pitched squeals, and I miss it.
You and I and Jamie would have been flying somewhere else right about now, to Disney World perhaps.  Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy—Jamie’s favorites.  Disney World is Vegas for kids, everything exaggerated, on steroids, magical, yes, the happiest place on earth, and that’s where we would have gone.
The flight attendant has a tic in her eye when I order my sixth drink.  She’s a skinny Olive Oyl cartoon, like your sister Jen.  Like Jen, she’s thinking, Shame on you.
You aren’t supposed to outlive your child.  It’s not natural or just.  You’re not supposed to kill your child either, even if it’s an accident and the authorities don’t charge you.  Don’t think I haven’t thought about that everyday this last year and a half.
At baggage claim, the squawking kid from 12A throws a tantrum around the luggage carousel.  It’d be best to ignore it, same as everyone else, but I don’t.
I approach, bend down to her eye-level.  I reach into my duffel and retrieve the stuffed bear Jamie always claimed talked to her, making her giggle so sweetly.
“Here,” I tell the kid, “someone you don’t know really wants you to have this.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2018



…Hello, it’s me again, still trying to sort things out.  (I know: no surprise there.)

…The way a person compliments someone says a lot about the person doing the complimenting.  I mean a compliment can be the opposite of a compliment depending how it’s delivered.

…A reasonable system works because we’re not all crazy on the same day.  But then again, who’s to say what crazy really looks like?

…It’s not our business to judge people, and still we do it all the time.

…Today I kept writing the same poem, over and over, not getting anywhere, until I realized I was writing it with an eraser.

…Back then, most of the neighborhood kids thought I was a ghost, but their parents never stopped staring each time I walked by.  Either way it was creepy.

…If there’s a moment you wish you could return, I’ll take it and give you a full refund.

…All I can say is, thank God I have these stories.

…There are things I thought were horrific that turned out to be blessings instead, and there were blessings that later morphed into horrors I hadn’t expected.

…So why am I so afraid of falling when I mostly avoid going to any heights?

…Did I mention I’m bad at math, science, mechanics, cooking and a whole host of other things?

…I’ve been asked stranger things, but yes, my mother wanted a girl instead.

…Tonight, I’m on a raft to Mauritius.  The sky is new, the wind feels like a hug and I’m not even halfway there yet.

…Who hasn’t followed some invisible magic at one time or another?  Even children know the importance of that.  Especially children.   

…When you’re not the favorite and it’s made very apparent that you’re not, it’s easy to think you’ll never be anyone’s favorite, to shrink and shrink until you’re the size of a very puny jawbreaker.

…Even now, I am a sound that does not stop.  I say, “I can’t, I need, I want," and “Is there a god? And “Yes there is, but he’s just not listening right now.”  

…We all have our make or break moments.  Some of us end up taking home shiny new packages, while others of us take home a bag of shards.

…There are days when I feel braver than others, and it has nothing to do with rainfall and the direction of the wind.

…The days may be slow, but make no mistake: they’re following you.

…But you never know, people win the lottery all the time, babies are born every two seconds, and I once twirled in a hail storm without any shoes or socks on.

…Fire has a lot meaning for me.  The smell of it, how destructive it can be.  Sometimes fire is the answer even when it shouldn’t be.

…What if we traced the path of that boy all the way to adulthood?  Would we intervene?  Would we say, “Oh no, not that.  This.  This is what you should chose.”

…I have no doubt there are many days when my body would like to tell me to go to hell.

…The mountains don’t care about their names, nor do the rivers or lakes or oceans.  Why then are we so particular?

…Each night a little piece of me got filched, but little by little I’ve been sewing myself back together, and since I don’t sew, that’s why I walk somewhat stilted.

…Blame can be placed wherever, but it’s not going to change anything.  What happened, happened.  End of story.

…What’s it feel like to have everything inside you intact?  Just give me a picture of that, please.

…Liar moon, you with your severed head.  You ask but never answer.  How fair is that?

…We always find something to give us the impression we exist.

…Sometimes the net that keeps me from plummeting starts to fray and sag and there’s not much I can do about it.

…Here’s one of life’s most important questions that doesn’t get answered enough: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”

…Sometimes wanting to help is really just the sunny side of control.

…When they tell you it’s a small world, don’t believe them.  Most of the time, it’s the biggest thing out there.

…Nothing in the world sounds like crushed ice.  Nothing in the world is the pink color of that drink you were holding.

…Light is bad at changing its mind, so it continues to tumble in the same direction, the way I continue to pummel this keyboard.

…There’s so much to be afraid of, so much to gaze at and be wrong about.

…I’m never capable of holding onto the very things that could save me.

…Tonight, I’m betting on Cabernet again.

…Dear God,
If you have a bored angel sitting around somewhere with nothing to do, would you mind sending them here?
Thank you.

Monday, April 9, 2018


…If you could trace my life backwards from today, you’d arrive in a world much colder and thinner.  The younger version of me is a boy who speaks very little.  He’s in fourth grade.  That kid is wary of the other kids, but drawn to the teacher—a woman who reads stories to the class to end every afternoon.  Watch how she reads.  What flies from those pages, if not some kind of sparks?

…Stay silent, stay alive, was the motto back then, and it mostly worked.

…The thing is, it didn’t look like what it felt like on the inside.

…Maybe it’s God I’m wrestling with, or maybe a python has me in its jaws.

…I’m every car that’s ever been idled, a motorcycle gulping its own exhaust, lurching toward open road.

…Some people like a little danger with their tea.  I just prefer it hot.

…If you’re so happy, why do I hear you pacing across your room, night after night?

…The frustrating thing about cages is that you’re trapped but you can see exactly what you want.  You can reach out from the cage, but only so far.

…Sometimes you’ve just got to wake the fuck up, you know?

…When a poem is doing its job, something bends inside you.

…Please give me a listening face. 

…I love being a witness more than a perpetrator.

…The why of things is often complicated and a little slippery.

…Babies are cute because they’re pretty helpless.  You have to love them through their helplessness.

…It is a hell of a thing to miss somebody and to have them miss you back.

…All things considered, I have a reasonable sense of humor in the right circumstances.

…Whoever told you not to look at this is hiding something, because the world is beautiful, haunted, and begging you to receive its offering.

…I knew I was like the other kids until my best friend said, “No, you’re not.”

…Sometimes when a wave of energy is interrupted, it reverses its direction, hits a wall, and turns back with nothing. 

…I am one-half something.  One part stained glass window.  One part waterfall.

…Where’s a nail gun when you need one?

…I, too, have a hand that pushes against a wall, that searches for a seam.

…Yes, I know the Lord’s Prayer, how to change a tire if I have to, how to disappear.

…Everyone knows gears are supposed to turn, but we forget their teeth, that to pull they must bite into each other.

…Sometimes, regardless of your circumstances, you’ve got to say, Hallelujah anyway.

…I know the math, and that’s why I’m always holding onto the hope of tomorrow.