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fly-paper sticky grateful

‘Take what you’re given and be grateful,’
came from
small town Miss America
with vases full of flowers and insincere kindness
spoken from the dry-cleaner and banker
who recognized her bearing
and dripped hunger.

Those words were easy
for her,
house built around
gifts from men, married or not.
She tucked away
the small
teal smudge

moving through the day,
a shadow
dodging words and eyes
building castles of garbage
in unfinished basements
that carried half her genes
but none of her natural entitlements.

Words stick, like sickly yellow
fly-paper hanging in the barn door.
You’re not wearing that, are you?
men don’t like smart girls.
maybe if you smiled, stood up straight,
combed your hair, ironed your shirt– if you were different.
Maybe you’ll find the right kind of boy, someday?

The right kind of boy was the goal.
It would have to be a boy selfish for
take what you get grateful
the kind of boy
willing
to trade beauty
for low-expectations.

the kind of boy who would
build his separate life,
on the rounded shoulders of a plain girl
who was trained to hide thoughts and swallow dreams
through insincere smiles from an ironing board.
A smudge who planned and sometimes paid
for separate vacations in quiet resignation.

fly-paper sticky grateful
for a house without flowers
is a hard word to swallow
with a few huge gulps of wine it goes down,
but only on days when castles
are built in imaginary places
while I whisper real hopes to the dogs.

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Visitors

Yesterday, it seems, but maybe years ago,

We sat hand-in-hand

blinded by blue and lust

absent for northern latitudes.

Visitors.

 

On a black night, scented

with tequila and Frangipani

Our taxi driver whispered as I left the car,

she is very beautiful, pausing, in halting Spanish,

you whispered back words not for my ears—si. Si ella es

 

We stayed, long enough for breasts and legs

to brown like copper,

long enough to cement our

attachment to the moment, the sun– to the sea

to define the meaning of summer.

 

But the rush of the airport ruined the spell,

the easy rhythm broke

fear grew larger than lust

without the incantation

of the omniscient taxi driver

 

We forgot the color of blue

and the warmth of radiating body heat.

Cool winds blew over the dark water of the Northern Pacific

and we became absent,

once again, in the northern latitudes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Automeris io

My friend took a photo
of a huge white moth
clinging to her window screen
begging like an addict
for artificial light.
A fucking grinning bat decorated with
soulless black-bead eyes
staring straight through.
In that moment,
I wanted to mention
that moths bring death or ends or heartache
but I didn’t.
I kept the fear inside.

I wanted to tell her I carried a dead
Automeris io
in a Hadensa Piles Ointment tin
when I was small,
before I knew how to say
Automeris io.
The moth and the tin were
given to me.
Handed over, a curiosity,
by my great-grandmother
who had found the moth
on the way to the outhouse
in the Colorado night
after her summer poppies burst.

It turned to dust
after eleven years
of packing up belongings
and starting fresh in
more than fifteen new schools.
each cycle,
death, and rebirth
Wings like that
aren’t designed to be
rattled in a tin made for hemorrhoid cream
and death shouldn’t be captured
and displayed on a whim.
I wanted to tell her,
tell someone,
but the words
were tempered by restraint,
scared of stinging venom
from the uninitiated.

A few hours later,
I watched my old dog seize.
Tongue gray, muscles twisted in loops,
calling out for relief-
golden pelt soiled
with shit
from failing bowels.
I sat with her
both of us stiff
on arthritic hips
waiting
to gain legs–to stand up.

Four hours I remained
muttering endearments
while she pressed against my thigh
for comfort,
cloudy eyes absent and confused.
In the slivers between breaths
I kept returning
to the
the image of that
fucking smiling moth
the tin of dust
my great-grandmother’s poppies.

I pushed hard with
a dark-stone heavy chest
driving fear
down
burying it underneath
whispers of love
away from the reality of impending
inevitable
death
captured in my mind
and forever on
display.

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Another Summer

The smells of baked
hot tempered breeze
and warm pine
rise from asphalt; too early for sagging,
I haul myself by the patch of grass
damp with fishy ditch water
evaporating in waves.
One foot slapping behind the other.

It smells like summer,
another season slipping
away without a flag
on the horizon
to look towards,
or,
perhaps,
just without.

Slumping in the office chair
wrapped in the
anesthesia
of air conditioning
I wait,
desiccating in the manufactured cold,
because I’ve forgotten how to rise, or
perhaps, just live.

The smooth edge of the
oatmeal spoon bites
into the worry spot
I’ve chewed
into my right upper-lip
and my skin looks
yellow
in fluorescence.

Hunger, persistent and
nagging, pokes from beneath
skin with urgency
to plant a flag on the horizon.
But, I’ve forgotten everything
but the biting spoon
and, perhaps,
the unexpected summer cold.

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Neon Grapes

Standing
at the sink,
in a circle
of light

I wash
neon grapes
over
and over.

They slide
out
of my hands
and fall

onto
white porcelain
before swirling
down

the drain,
lime buoys
in an
artificial river.

The responsible part of
my brain
is yelling
to turn

the
rush
of water
down

But hands
keep
moving,
thumbs

rubbing
green skin slick
with water
and bloom.

While I
try
to formulate
reasonable

questions about
inadequacy
that
my tongue
can’t

quite
form–
I look at you,
back-lit,

confessing
words
I don’t want
to hear

over the
thunder
of water
and your shadow

falls
across my
light
pushing

slick bloom
forever
out of
reach.

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Sharp Chip

Last night,
during a perfectly normal
dinner,
I swallowed a sharp chip and it stuck

in my gullet
before cutting
all the way down
from the inside out.

In my space
sharing the same air
you failed
to see the moment of pain.

Reserved,
with a sip of water,
I went on
in silence.

This morning,
during a perfectly normal
cup of coffee,
I grasp

that the cut still aches
along with a thousand other
cuts made from
sharp words

swallowed in silence
that slice
all the way down
from the inside out.

detached,
with a sip of water,
I go on
in quiet.

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Blister

 

Greedy brows of paper, creased and folded,

peer toward the horizon

searching–with habitual acuity

for any sparkle of  promise,

any star to burn thin skin

and blister away

ambivalence

that infects

the unvarying

days.

 

 

 

 

 

Infect

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Third Stream Notes

The third stream notes of Sketches
hang just out of reach

an audible representation of a time
before a world of yesterdays.

A place where the slight air slants,

a quarter to return to
time and again

when the lyrical settles
beyond eager fingertips

and the thin lip of crystal
neglects to discharge

the disquiet of the day.

 
Slight

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As it Should

Proud with vigor,
a symbol of fertility within
this sterile house,
she flaunted fecundity
without shame
–as it should be.
Though the reminder of my failures
hurt sometimes.

Both golden and dark
as the day tilted to her routine
governed by the sliding seasons
Age not marked with lines and wrinkles,
but in reverence
–as it should be.
Though some days the sound
of her easy laugh was provoking.

My chest was not prepared
to feel her kaleidoscope of color
dampened to a dark mass.
Eyes wet and throat tight
I touched a silky wing remembering down
while the evening tilted an apology at the indignity of death
–as it should.

Flaunt

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Rocket Man

The tide rolls in
bliss, eyes closed
soaking up white hot
sun filtering
through the curved windshield.
She is present.

Words to Rocket Man escape
in breathy sighs
blues tinged
and moody
antithetical to Elton John’s
iconic voice.

The moment has been repeated
at least
a thousand times,
uncountable, in her memory.
A meditation.

The word seared in her brain
“burning out his fuse up here alone”
Closest to out-of-body she gets
The heat and the words
opening the gates.

There is beauty here, in her ekistics,
how she’s made a place.
From above she sees the tide rolls out,
and her moment cools and slips
behind the waiting clouds.

Tide

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One Thousand Three Hundred and Twelve (NaPoWriMo, Day 30)

Do you know?
Do you know it takes
roughly
one thousand three hundred and twelve
One thousand three hundred and twelve yards or
forty seven thousand two hundred and thirty two
inches
of spun wool
to knit a sweater,
to knit a sweater that serves as daily armor for tender skin.
One thousand three hundred and twelve yards
of spun wool
and roughly forty-two hours
Forty-two hours
of meticulous stitches
designed to keep the cold air
from shocking raw nerves.
The human body
can feel over ninety thousand miles
of sensation.
Ninety thousand miles or
five billion seven hundred two million four hundred thousand inches
of feeling
in one body.
Astonishing.
One body
wrapped in thin wool
to keep from feeling,
feeling
a bit too much.
Do you know
it takes
only five minutes?
Five minutes or
three hundred seconds
to unravel a knit sweater if
you pull
from the right place?
Five minutes.
Five minutes of pulling from the right place
to make the armor
for ninety thousand miles of feeling
in one human body
come

undone.

Astonish

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NaPoWriMo, Day 30.  Today’s Prompt: And for our final (optional) prompt, I’d like you to take your cue from Borges, and write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact. It could be an odd piece of history, an unusual bit of art trivia, or something just plain weird. While I cannot vouch for the actual accuracy of any of the facts presented at the links above (or any other facts you might use as inspiration!), I can tell you that there are definitely some poetic ideas here, just waiting for someone to use them.

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In Response to Plath’s “Contusion” (NaPoWriMo, Day 29)

Black duck egg green surrounded by blush
displayed like a medal of valor
from the weight of her body on cement

In the fissure of night,
stars draw at the edges of black
a waypoint on which the universe twists

An instant of black
the forewarning of rage
crosses his eyes.

The mind shuts, bath water advances
self-reflection becomes shrouded
by the retreat of the moon.

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NaPoWriMo, Day 29 (one day to go)

Prompt: Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. Simply pick a poem from the calendar, and then write a poem that responds or engages with your chosen Plath poem in some way.

Contusion, by Sylvia Plath

Color floods to the spot, dull purple.
The rest of the body is all washed-out,
The color of pearl.

In a pit of a rock
The sea sucks obsessively,
One hollow thw whole sea’s pivot.

The size of a fly,
The doom mark
Crawls down the wall.

The heart shuts,
The sea slides back,
The mirrors are sheeted.

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Black Coffee (NaPoWriMo, Day 28).

Dogs pat around the ordinary kitchen chair. Sounds of morning
push into the growing day where black coffee, steaming and bitter, transports me to uncountable sweet cappuccini and soft summer warmth; my hand in yours, glowing in the bloom of light– firm bodies, firm skin, firm resolve. From that cheap Roman hotel with blue linens, I scribbled a billet-doux on fine florentine stationary, the color of the sea, the sky, the color of your eyes, while he hovered like a warden over my shoulder– I was asking you to wait–Handing my sky-colored affection to the clerk, I said your name like an incantation, the warden’s mouth tightened with envy and mine with resentment, eyes hardened with enmity.
The bite of black coffee, unsoftened with foam.
In an ordinary drawer, on an ordinary morning, in my ordinary house, there’s a half-used box of fine florentine stationary, the color of the sea and sky, the color of your eyes, the color of my– dissent, waiting.

#NaPoWriMo, Day 28.

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Borrowed Light (NaPoWriMo, Day 27)

A reluctant servant to extraneity,
eschewing my place,
eyes raised toward the horizon,
pen pointing towards dirt,
I look to bright reflections
and secrets I can’t speak,
to craft some holy meaning
with hope
and borrowed light.

 

 

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NaPoWriMo Prompt, Day Twenty-Seven:  Following Lauren Hunter’s practice of relying on tarot cards to generate ideas for poems, we challenge you to pick a card (any card) from this online guide to the tarot, and then to write a poem inspired either by the card or by the images or ideas that are associated with it.

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The Flavor of Dust (NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Six)

Acrid cold pushes the limits of patience,
pink nostrils flair, linings stinging
with each labored breath,
ice forms–

aching joints,
aching teeth,
aching heart.

Half-lidded eyes,
squint against the wind
heavy soles with a quickened pace
recoil, echoing against icy pavement–

aching toes.

A small thread of resolve remains
to remember.
To remember a different place where golden motes ride
invisible currents in oblique light–

Where heat settles
on all sides, a husk,
offering no escape through
shifting weight.

Where fingers are limber,
painless,
where skin pushes back with rills of sweat
sweeping warmth away in drop after trickle.

Freeze here,
just for a moment,
cursing aching fingers,
savoring.

Push forward —
into a fog
of green water and salt,
of cheap cloying sunscreen, of wet cement
whose shadows cling to frigid nerves.

Toes spread with muscle memory
in fine heated dust–
red grit settles in a film
defining tender curves on each ankle.

The air slows, with
tension
of the weight of air on skin
the second before he reaches.

Wind slices–
emphatic percussion
pulling her back
into the biting cold

of now.

aching joints,
aching teeth,
aching toes,

Dismantling with it,
cognizance–
aching fingers,
the moment before the flavor of flint and salt–

aching heart.

The heartbeat before
the flavor of dust
that had settled on the sheen of his flushed skin–
filled her mouth.

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NaPoWriMo Prompt, Day Twenty-six:  “Taking our cue from today’s craft resource, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear”.

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Warning Label (NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Five)

Warning: For use by qualified personnel only.  Unit is sensitive to environmental noise. Crunching, mouth breathing, and gum snapping will result in unit emissions of negative cosmic rays that have yet to be tested in the laboratory for safety; electrical shock hazard may occur. Unit was not designed to function in low fuel mode, continued operation during low-fuel warnings has been known to create erratic results. The unit is comprised of many precise and carefully arranged parts and is detailed and elaborate in design; dissection, either literal or figurative is not suggested. Do not touch unit without express permission. Though, unit has been thoroughly tested for compatibility with alcohol, more than twelve ounces of French wine can result in laughter, which has been observed to devolve into incessant giggling and inappropriate language use. Unit has been known to irritate sensibilities with nattering about poetry, horses, and nihilism. The reset button can be found on the pelt of a friendly dog or at the bottom of an empty wine glass. Use at your own risk. The manufacturer assumes no liability for injury or harm caused by misuse as all claims have been discharged due to parent company’s moral bankruptcy.  A complete list of known issues can be found by reading the unit’s middle finger, when in the upright position.

#NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Five
Elaborate

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What Could Have Been (NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Four)

I can’t remember the exact moment
when I saw you last,
perhaps, it was in the chrome light of a spring,
or maybe it was summer,
or perhaps your silhouette was driving away
in an orange MG,
whose top wouldn’t fasten in the rain–

Or perhaps it was in dappled light
of an open breezeway, sunburned and salt kissed–
a quick hug goodbye
with plans for tomorrow.
That’s the thing with fate.
We don’t get
to mark the exact moment.

Burned permanently,
like a snapshot
is moment we first kissed in the
chrome light of the California afternoon–
with horses and clouds for a backdrop.
But, you left that summer
with bigger future plans that eclipsed kissing.

You returned
with a military regulation haircut
framing blue eyes.
Grown into your limbs–
but your beauty wasn’t clear to me
through the fog of awkward bluster,
I marked that moment with exasperation.

I marked the moment,
at the gas station,
when I handed you the only helmet.
Two-wheels, a short drive, sun-burnt,
and sixteen–
I was,
I am vain.

I also marked the sickening sound
of helmet hitting steel.
After thirty-two years,
I can hear the reverberation through my chest–
I feel the heat-driven adrenaline and unforgiving pavement.
I marked the fear on your face
as we picked each other up off the road.

Hopeful for your encouragement,
I marked the moment,
bleary-eyed that I anticipated
your eyes, your knock,
with running shoes in hand.
Breezeway plans were waiting–
They still wait.

I marked the moment of that call,
later in the day,
dialed from a baby-blue push-button phone.
That moment ending in the sound of grief,
reverberating through my chest,
a sound my sixteen-years had never made–
a sound whose repetition I still dread.

I wonder when you made that leap,
If you marked the moment?
Did you know I’d be waiting running-shoes in hand?
Did you think of our first kiss,
or the moments cleared of fog
that could have been–
with horses and clouds as a backdrop?

Now, I mark each moment, small and big–
with allegiance to a name I cannot speak,
still ever wishing for your encouragement.
You taught me to look through the fog for beauty,
to be generous to a fault, and that sometimes duty eclipses kissing.
You taught me to be better, and
that we don’t always get a second chance.

See, that’s the thing with fate–

NaPoWriMo, Day 24 (Hopeful Elegy)

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Just Between (NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Three)

I slide

pearl earrings on

with stiff and thickening fingers

in the morning chill after dressing

each day,

a safe choice,

polished,

without flash, without imagination, without risk,

just between

whispering endearments to the cat

and reaching for a second cup of coffee.

 

 

 

Fingers, mature

with muscle memory

know the size and shape

of these pearls,

they can pick them up blindly,

and fasten them into position.

A force of habit,

they are the repetition of knowing

the feel of your arm when we sleep

just between

warm linen and me.

 

Fingers, practiced,

smart with movement

almost picked up different earrings today,

they are offended with the safety

they are appalled

with the alien pearl they found

on the aching left rib, that’s been protesting

the routine of dressing each day

just between

whispering endearments to the cat

and you and me.

 

#NaPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Three

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Within (NaPoWriMo Day 20)

My beauty isn’t yours to take

with

greedy eyes

unseeing–

bankrupt with avarice.

My voice is not dependent

on what you seek to hear,

nor are the pieces

of my ear

built

to catch

cruel words.

My beauty is

words falling

on paper

in disarray

or order,

authentic words

unbiased

by my face, my breasts, my age.

words

speaking

in a voice

only I can hear

with certainty,

the relaxed laughter of

my child

eyes glowing                                                                                                                         in twilight

touch

only I can offer

with comfort

as a dog stretches down

the arc of my back

with trust

It exists within.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NaPoWriMo
Authentic

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Magpie (Na/GloPoWriMo, Day Nineteen)

Do other people think these thoughts,
decide on shoes,
make mistakes?
Do other people
comprehend,
observe and note?
How do other people get from
A to B?
I am scared to make mistakes–
to think.

Do people
think of other people
in relation,
parallel or incongruent?
How do people decide
how much to spend on shoes,
Do they, too, practice
ethnography of self-preservation
to note, observe, and think,
scared to make mistakes.

I note,
observe,
and think
too much.
Let me be clear,
I cannot decide,
I cannot decide how much to spend.
To be clear
even with the right shoes,
parallel or incongruent
I am scared, I make mistakes.

Day 19 prompt via. Na/GloPoWriMo (link below):
Erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

Source paragraph: Do other people think these thoughts? How do other people get from thought A to thought B? How do people decide how much to spend on shoes? It seems like I devote an inordinate amount of time thinking of how people move through life, parallel or incongruent, where they get the right shoes to move through life, and how they manage to comprehend moving through life. This process is what I call ethnography of self-preservation. I observe and note and think and learn and go back to observation. I think I do this because I am scared to make mistakes. I’m pretty sure it started when I was young… Also, let me be clear, this method does not work. I have made many mistakes.

#NaPoWriMo

Parallel

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Nine Men (NaPoWriMo, Day 17)

My mother.

My mother has married

six men

during my lifetime

or maybe seven.

Maybe seven men?

 

I don’t recall them all, but I see snapshots

in the back of my brain, faded Polaroids,

a disappearing Instagram feed

that refreshes too often to

remember all the names

of the seven men.

 

Of course, there were

other men too.

Men she didn’t marry,

men I cannot quantify.

Men who vaguely occupy

the edges of my consciousness.

 

Before the six men,

or was it seven?

I’m told there was

the perfect man.

The perfect man died too young

in a plane in a war where we shouldn’t have been.

 

Does that make is eight?

We shouldn’t be counting

At least, that’s what I’m told.

I’m also told,  today I should

support politics and wars where I think we shouldn’t be

though, perfect men are dying.

 

Perhaps the number’s too large

and she can’t recall

the perfect man?

The perfect man who died too young

in a plane in a war

where we shouldn’t have been.

 

She married my father

after the lost perfect man.

He makes nine, I think.

Nine men.

She married him

to keep him from the war

 

where we shouldn’t have been,

The war that

birthed her heartache,

who’s twin which she supports

though it cost nine men

and the heart of a child.

 

#NaPoWriMo, Day 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dog Games (NaPoWriMo, Day 16)

It begins with a bow,

front-end deep and low,

with tails

a-wagging a greeting hello.

Then maybe a bark, or a snort, or

a snerf, and a circle of dogs

pile high in the turf.

Though it may look like chaos

to humans, so stiff,

there are strict rules enforced

that commence with a sniff.

The game doesn’t matter

all is takes is a shoe,

or a stick, or ball, or a rope

built for two, or

a ripe piece of garbage

retrieved without care.

Dog games are magic, 

they’re beyond all compare. 

 

 

 

One silly entry for day 16 of  #NaPoWriMo

 

 

 

 

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Measured Step of a Mare, NaPoWriMo, Day 15

Thracian King

Diomedes,  savage hawk, with the legacy of war boiling

from agnatic veins,

Barbarian

could be gentled to dormancy with

the measured step of a

mare.

 

Four strong, in his stable,

he doted.

A loving father in his worst

of days,

manger chains of bronze and

brilliant hours swimming

in the Black Sea.

 

Prowess, personified, in

The Swift,

racing circles in fresh pastures,

throwing her sleek body

into the wind,

dappled flowing

river currents.

 

Intelligence reflected in

The Shining,

affection exposed

in dark soft eyes,

light bouncing from

her glowing pelt

spun from godly bronze.

 

A kings wealth was

The Yellow,

who softly called at dusk,

to her kindred, the setting sun,

while standing watch until

her other sister, Dawn,

returned.

 

His favorite, was

The Terrible,

answering to Id,

storm wild, teeth gnashing lead mare

confidence unrivaled and

devoid of deference,

even to him.

 

Daily, comb in hand,

eternal devotion on kingly lips

a song of everlasting care.

Fighting gods

and mortals both

to keep them

near his breast.

 

In the end, the gods,

held him to his words.

You see,

in brutal rule,

he’d fed them,

not grain or grass

but human brawn.

 

So in his death,

in kismet,

he became not stallion,

but a mare

as they consumed his regal flesh

and begat a wild line of Id,

devoid of deference.

 

 

Song

NaPoWriMo, Day 15

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Dream Dictionary, (NaPoWriMo, Day 14)

To dream of a

teacup

is a bitter draught.

Life immobile

on the tip of a wagging tongue,

where tannin depletes

ability to

form meaningful

words.

 

To dream of a

teacup

is a cloying swallow.

Love overwhelming

in a heart stuck stagnant

where treacle reduces

capacity to

structure

logical thought.

 

To dream of a

teacup

is a diluted solution.

Action arrested in tepid intent

where ambivalence dominates

desire to persist

in full warm vitality

of life and

of love.

 

#NaPoWriMo

Deplete

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Looking Forward

Over a shoulder,

reflected in the

flaking silver

of an aged

mirror,

the reflection of

antagonism,

spittle mouthed,

corrupt with the froth

of acrimony,

begins to

receded.

 

Stored affronts

feeding the brute

diminish.

Once fiery words

diluted with the

fat of time

become

A spoon of

pablum, which

can sustain

no one

indefinitely.

 

Atrophied muscles

ache

with effort to turn

forward.

Eyes dilated,

flood fresh

in cobalt air

and blinding sky,

squinting anew,

battling to

leave sustained

darkness.

 

#NaPoWriMo

via Daily Prompt: Froth

Froth

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Sunday Math

Rhythm, one–andtwo, one–andtwo echoing from the vacuum,
scattering dogs and dust in the wake of its voice.
One. hour. eight. minutes. on Sunday mornings.
my voice hums along, choking on errant debris and resentment.

Tallying time in my head.
one. hour. eight. minutes. times 52 weeks is fifty-six hours and sixteen minutes. one–andtwo, one–andtwo echoing from the vacuum, more time than I take for vacation in a year.

Mopping makes a different cadence, onetwo, onetwo, onetwo.
much quicker. splash-wring, quiet, swish
erasing history from the week written on the floors.
onetwo, onetwo is condensed to forty-one minutes.

The mop propels me forward, into what should be rather than is.
Searching nooks and crannies for hiding dirt and memories
of my mother doing housework. onetwo, onetwo
They’re missing.

Too much effort. Back to math. One hour, forty-nine-minutes
times 52 weeks. Two times nine carry the one…
seventy seven hours 48 minutes times 10 years, divided by 24 hours
thirty-two full days and seven hours rounding up. Lost.

Picking up the dust rag and banishing the math
I know I can expect at least three more hours of work,
before he arrives home from golf with the cursory questions
of what’s for dinner and how was my day.

And I will lose the words, and math, that form the rhythm of my Sunday
and tuck away, until next week,
the ninety-seven days, or three and a quarter months,
I have spent scrubbing, to remove the detritus that bitters our daily lives.

#NaPoWriMo

#30Poems30Days

Featured

Hymn

Spiritual gospel folk
harmony melody meter,

it matters not
which.

Words
rush
from a mouth by rote

dirty,
as you would say,
with disbelief.

Resonance arrangement accompaniment
her clear voice
calls the river

borne of suffering
to travel deeper
through ears mind heart,

it matters not
which

dirty,
as you would say,
with atheism.

#NaPoWriMo

#30Poems30Days

Rush

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Shift

Calla Lilies used to grow

from the light within her eyes

but fast-moving clouds swallowed the sun,

they shriveled.

 

In their place,

responsibility sprouts

in dark heavy groves,

demanding and dense.

 

Where, water is sparse,

remaining patches of

barren soil cry, with pain,

abraded by daily wind.

 

But there are days,

from time-to-time

where the moon

shines luminous.

 

Peering from windows,

blurred with hot steam

from pots thick soup and children’s’ breath,

she can see

 

the specter of lilies

emerge from icy ground

surrounded by towers

of sugared evergreen.

 

In that brief moment

they all feel a shift,

and for one small second,

the sun is restored.

 

#NaPoWriMo

#30Poems30Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Riposte

I had the drowning dream again.

Black tepid water,

lung-aching, eye-bulging, head-crushing

pressure

building

until the very

last breath.

 

The rush of cold air,

as I sit up startled clawing for light,

hits my body

dripping

from either

psychic water or terror

sweat.

 

In the logic of the morning

light

I wonder

why the shock of hitting water

never wakes my

sleeping

brain;

 

but, the

act of swallowing

my last breath

prompts

my psyche

into

riposte.

 

#NaPoWriMo

#30Poems30Days

 

 

 

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Disorderly Words

Jeering and disorderly, adolescent words tumble about in incoherence; ambivalent, they care not about the exertion it takes to groom them into orderly thoughts. They are strong enough to stand alone, unlike me, as the added value of expanded meaning is only peripheral to their existence.

#30Poems30Days

#NaPoWriMo

 

 

 

Featured

Daily Prompt: Churn

Well-behaved numbers march across

the screen day-after-day

in boxes, in rows, in columns, in lines,

conjuring the impossible.

In their daily parade,

yearning recurs;

it’s a longing

for the comfort of discipline

who promises

to administer

this ordered alchemy to the

churning, chaotic, disheveled state

of my very ordinary being.

via Daily Prompt: Churn

Churn

#30Poems30Days

#NaPoWriMo

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Hers

Her hands,

once small

and warm, sometimes sticky,

used to puzzle-piece fit

into my palm with ease.

Large exploring eyes

looked to me

for obscure answers to the

difficult question of

why?

But hothouse flowers

in the hot prairie sun

mine wither,

these

hand and eyes.

Hers grow

early summer pumpkin vine

strong,

to create green

outside my repertoire of answers.

Explore

#30Poems30Days

#NaPoWriMo

Featured

After We Speak

Air prickles,

electric with dread,

a forced conversation

each week, for eternity,

accompanied, always,

by a sinking heart.

 

I carry a wrap of stars

and mask of indifference

for protection.

 

You pretend to be big,

you surround yourself

with a guise

of artificial

magnanimity and

fabricated importance.

 

But the universe

reverberates

with truth.

 

The smallness

of you

is divulged, without fail,

from bitterness

spat religiously

into the cosmos.

 

 

After we speak.

 

 

#30Poems30Days

#NaPoWriMo

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Daily Prompt: Foreign

A lifetime ago, I was the touchstone, the canon,

the North Star.

We were bound by conductivity,

visible to the multitudes in orbit.

 

My name once became

Beautiful

on your lips.  We touched too briefly,

fulmination during an impossible time.

 

But parabolic paths create unfathomable distances,

where bodies become exempt from the celestial pull,

breaking bonds of vested intimacy

to create strange and foreign hurtful worlds.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Foreign

Foreign

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Daily Prompt: Invisible

The second

a first child

inhales her first breath, or the

hours of sobbing helplessness

while watching her fever spike to 103,

tiny body ravaged by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

 

At age 42 or 50,

or earlier, or later depending

on the genetic stew

that simmered before

my first

real heartbeat.

 

 

The night, of turning quietly to

a left shoulder to sleep,

too fatigued to fight,

or even cry, about the

office blonde

who is less than 40 and childless

 

These seconds, or moments, or days

are not marked

with reminders

on pink calendars or

celebrated with gifts

or cake,

 

but are rather, the defining moments

where

I can slip

quietly into obscurity,

finally relieved

that my body is becoming.

 

Invisible.

 

#WorldPoetryDay

via Daily Prompt: Invisible

Invisible

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Daily Prompt: Blush

The prickle of

capillaries

boiling with blood

mimic red wine

running through

pale fabric.

 

One breath,

One hard swallow.

 

Pushing my chin in the air,

narrowing wide eyes,

muscles tighten and pull

across strong shoulder blades

to shroud

outrage.

 

One breath,

One hard swallow.

 

The air is motionless.

Silence explodes.

I become

stolid and still except

for the traitorous

blush.

 

via Daily Prompt: Blush

Blush

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Wrinkle: Daily Prompt

My grandfather’s legacy of

a vertical wrinkle

deeply etched

occupies the space

between two arched

inquisitive brows.

 

An arroyo

on the

flat prairie

of my

facade.

 

 

This furrow

and the ones on my hands

are my monument.

An ever-present marker of erosion,

earned from the abrasion

of a life spent

trying.

via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle

Wrinkle

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Daily Prompt: Wonder

I see Emotion

galloping North.

The wind

from her passing

wraps the low

winter sage

in cold gusts.

 

My fingers are

too dull to grasp

her knotted hair.

 

Watching her dissolve

over the horizon,

I wonder,

if my words

carried with her

will evaporate

with her distance.

 

Or, will I find

the required stillness

to ask for her return.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Wonder

Wonder