verse occurs

it happens that i am looking at my fingernails,
turning my head around,
humming to myself,
rubbing my hands through my hair and mussing it,
squinting and rubbing my head, urging the headache out,

it happens that i am language-less,
that i am attempting to do what i committed myself to,
but without a map,
without a guide,
and my steps become slow and my lips bitten
in search for a distraction,
for a method of escape

it happens that often there are many other requirements:
pajamas to be pulled on,
teeth brushed,
stories read,
tears wiped and tea made
laundry washed and folded and put away

it happens that there is always something else besides a dedication to writing
there is always work to do
and things to scrub
the poetry can always wait

it happens that in the waiting i live the life i write
and find the words folded amidst the towels
find the alliteration scrubbed in the grout of the bathroom tiles
recover the metaphors in the taking of pills,
the washing of dishes
i need not look around and turn my head too far
to find the meaning i instill in myself
and the method with which to articulate it.



the absurd visits me
in decided non-hilarity
it is unfunny
it sits beside me on the bus,
and sunken-lids
swallows hard with dry mouth
thin frail hands clutch dirty balls of tissues

the absurd talks in cackle voice
of webbed fingers
and dog faced children
whispers curses
and bites off the skin around its nails all the while

the absurd licks the cracked, white-powdered corners of its mouth
talks rapidly and unendingly
fidgets its fingers
rustles its feet
tells stories that sound of graveyards
and empty schoolyards
swings swaying in a late-fall chill like the intro to a horror film

the absurd's stories are filled with dark characters
and tragic characters
pussy stomach tubes
piss-soaked wheelchairs, wheels rusted,
the tenebrosity of old age and illness,

it is the spiral out of youth without the wisdom of age,
meaning never found, few truths uncovered,
it will end as it all began
it is the irrational step of a measured existence,
a futility in bloodflow.


yet to do

lists uncoil
at the touch of my fingertips
and the urge of my memory.
the mind wanders about rooms,
spreads the tongue about the mouth,
licking the lips for the taste of words,
the familiar spurred reminded requirement
eyes flash open,
memory installed,
the spark plugged appropriately,
the outlet let in proper positioning
and all my dreams
reduced to the pathetic eagerness of domestic minutiae.


regarding reiki

the magnet of my memory
pulls hands
toward and out my heart,
thumps trembles, noises,
and adolescent brain-addled endeavors

this moment shudders me,
frees blood for flowing,
the energy courses,
finds the path and plows it open,
something occurs to negate the numbness
something here interrupts the blockage
and i feel again,
sense the texture of my corduroy clothing
palm the ridges
ply the uneven winter woolens

the water poured beneath my skin
plumps it ready for the leveling of postures
prepares me for the regulation of each heartbeat
each moonbeam caught in the glass of my eye
becomes the sudden stillness
that standardizes my thought and action
balances me for new beginnings
rebirths me thinking and feeling,
the hands and body freed
from the constraints of complaint
and time steadily unearthed me
from the ill-kept tempo of circumstance.


painting the living room

the shade of paint he announces
excites me so,
i feel unreasonable
it is rare that something so mundane
as the tone of a pear
would make me smile
and continue to lighten
my face
each time i think of the matter again.


mended skin

the scars on me,
your yellow shine,
expanded and swollen
across the plain pale flesh
that regularly encases me

the scars on my brain and heart,
the imprints and impressions
left behind by arguments
by breakups
by months gone by without illumination,
without even the flash of lightening
to expose a hint of hope amidst the darkness

scars grow up the trunk of me
from my toes to the tip of my crown,
stretch as vines around me,
at moments smothering and overwhelming
sprouted down my throat
and to the pit of my belly

these marks scrawled upon me
smoothed over everything that pained me,
that broke me
and finally healed me,
holding me stiffly in its
husk-hardened embrace.



i can’t dig into the thoughts,
i can’t find the way into myself
to see the words form
across the back of my skull
to feel my mood shift
and the shiver echo over the cold of my skin
i can’t get in
i can’t remember the code
or find the hidden latch
my secret handshake has gone,
escaped the memory of my hands
the thoughts do not form
the words do not fit
my poetry unravels before it’s born
ends abruptly
and doesn’t answer when i call.


writing twenty-eight poems

the subtle churn of monotony
the focus of my symphony,
the mundane transposed against infinity:
the composition of this poetry.


treasure mapped

wilted lenses drip puddles
of hidden agonies
the truth is not here
it rests behind the skin of you
my teeth tightened
my wounds remain raised to the air
flesh peeled back, welcoming
i feel the shudder crept spineward,
unearthed fear and sorrow,
surely thicker than the moonlight.

the joys were not depended
the ordered not accounted
subtle pieces pasted
in obvious retarded kitchen wall glory
the tale of these sins
departed for witness
and all i am
is a faith-based mock-up,
a joke of excerpts and excuses for serendipitous exchanges
my hands emptied of responsibility
from the sum of this existence.


astonishment at the intersection of reality and intention

it seems, at times,
not possible
that i could be responsible for this existence
that i am the adult in this situation

it seems futile to assume
that i would not
should not
be the one screaming my head off,
my emotional well being sprung a leak
and steam pouring through in rageful glaring
and guttural shouting

it seems unreasonable
that i should check myself
become aware of my surroundings
sustain the worldly order
and let the abuses of all others slide
in their forgetful sock-thrown-aside manner
(that that should, in my mind, constitute abuse is equally asinine).

and where do i step over the line between resentment and guilt?
where is it?
i do not ever see it,
yet sense its immenseness in its indistinctness
its significance shadows its slenderness
it is there,
yet immeasurable.

i travel all about
in the emotional war-zones of my house
know not how to handle it
know not how not to.
my mind can see
but my heart is blind
i am selfish
and i wear on everything
leaving the impression of my sighs,
indentations of my rolled eyes and bit lips
in the carpet
and the furniture
and all over the faces of my spouse and children.



my limbs do not lift
my senses fail
my head sits in a cloud,
eyelids sunk

the day is slow-going agony,
no amount of caffeine propels me

the stillness of my body belies the movement of this world
my mind stirs in irritation
frustration with the dumbness of aching hands
that do not do
bloated numb fingers
all thumbs
thick logs attempting needlework

the shudder in me
is a shifting tension,
rising to meet my surfaces,
with no explosion,
no sudden sound,
just a gurgling,
and a growl
announcing this affliction,
this paralysis,
as reasoning enough to leave me be.


knitting sebastian’s scarf

fire twisted round bamboo stakes
tiny v’s unfurling,
lengthening into warmth for baby boy’s throat
a mode to hold the heat in
with all the elements of embers:
red, pink, orange, a sparkling hint of gold
to stave off the icy blue hues of this frozen landscape
to keep out ten below gusts
which shake and shiver him
his pinkened cheeks and nose
dried and dusty
his nostrils swelling watery protection
and mamas hands there to shelter him
when she herself is not.


friday neuromuscular electrical stimulation

electro amputation
muscle re-education
spasm, flex, atrophy
what's the next catastrophe?



your canned salmon stunk up the whole of the kitchen
darling’s veganness could not sustain it
he plugged his nose and clenched his teeth in fury
but luckily settled to leave you with the children
and scuttle up the middle of the icy street
to the japanese restaurant
to devour seaweed salad and miso soup,
sucking down hot tea in ceramic cups
to stave off the frigidness of blizzarded valentine’s.



i have always failed at putting precisely into words the whys and hows of loving you
there are no sounds sprung out my mouth,
no thoughts abuzzing to tell me what
the pages remain ever empty

i know it is there
it beats inside me with my pulse
the blood flowed to meet my cheeks
the scar of you imprinted in me
the scent of you emblazoned in my memory

knowing you has been like knowing myself
yet with mystery
always the mystery
i cannot say it
i know not how to speak it
my hands remain open, waiting for the words of you,

i know only how to love you
it is in my breath
in my every step
in my belly swollen and emptied again
the boys run all about the house,
their faces your face,

i know only your taste,
your touch,
the feel of your skin on my skin,
every moment of our lifetime together,
the sound of you in the kitchen
the murmurs you make in your sleep

i know you
i know you -
and i love you and love you and love you,
without the words, without a sound made or a notion whispered,
it is here, written all over me,
and will last until you and i are but dust,
words no longer necessary.



snow buries us
falls in heaps and in mounds,
traps all underneath

the landscape a blank page,
a clean canvas,
so much become nothing

then scribbles and scratches
of passersby and vehicles,
a cacophony amidst the silent whiteness

children bundled
eyeball to toenail
slide down driveways and hillsides

their laughter goes nowhere,
becomes trapped,
no hard surfaces off which to echo

i dig in deeply
in sweater and in blanket
bound home, awaiting the thaw.


psychic powers of the intranet

my computer seems to be keeping track of me
the google bar in firefox knows what i’m about to type
i suspect it also concludes why

the search bar in microsoft
has been alerted to my most recent workings,
citing “monthly news letters”
as the example for what to search for in the
elaborate cyberworld of ms office online templates
it read my brain,
or my type
concluded from just one word,
or perhaps the format of my publisher document
that i was writing the monthly co-op newsletter

i suppose that if i choose to insert a piece of clipart,
the image of a plastic shopping bag would appear,
the binary psychic in my pc tower
having inferred that the article i wrote was about
the toxicity of polyethylene sacks

go away fortune teller,
your powers are undoubtedly but for evil,
you want nothing more than to persuade me to buy something,
i am sure of it.


ode to kai ryssdal

you talk like a game-show host,
you beckon me to take you seriously,
to forget that the whole of your show is merely a vaguely liberal appraisal and applausal of capitalism,
as though America,
its politicians,
its celebrities,
its puppets
weren’t all jizzing all over themselves in celebration of money,
of the products they parrot,
in order to continue the moving of the machine
the march forward,
the growing of pocketbooks under the pressure of
consumption by housewives with amnesia
bratty teenagers with the cash they whined for,
and the hoards of poor
throwing away their lives at wal-mart

you beg me to forgive, turn a blind eye,
you do it with such swagger,
your voice tilted in a smirked grin,
you smarmy whore of a man,
celebrating and selling,
talking about the numbers,
from the frank stanton studios in los angeles
where the cars are always moving,
eating the oil, the fuel of the machine,
smogging the air
and emboldening the chrome dream of all its immigrants,
come to the city of angels
for the hope of a prayer,
searching for salvation in the supermarket,
as a good citizen should.

you let me down, kai,
your machinations are void of meaning
your ken doll voice asks no substantial questions,
seeks no fundamental truth.
you leave me empty,
feeling the hollowness of my bank account,
forgetting the importance of my heart,
as it is,
by family calling me to dinner,
asking me
to shut off the radio.


hormonal imbalance

my moods sway with the breeze
vary slightly, strongly, suddenly
and are never silent
i wear my thoughts out loud
curse and abuse,
applaud and, at exceptional moments, gush.
i laugh loudly,
weep openly,
purse my lips around clenched jaws
with great obviousness and intention
those who piss me off
know it.
i am never one for silence.
i am small and have
likely made up for it
my whole life –
trumpeting my voice like a lion’s roar
for no reason
and with little to say.



hot air burns fossil fuels,
blows across the bed from out the vintage ironwork vent right at head level,
sucks the wet from my open mouth,
turns the corners of my nose at the edges,
curling skin void of moisture into dust.
spinning in the blankets sets off flares in the darkness
the rubbing of sheets against nightclothes
creating static enough to spark starlight against my flesh.

the humidifier sits broken in the corner,
stunk of rose geranium
it may have been the essential oil
that clogged its tubing so no humidity escapes,
the aromatherapy intended to stave off anxiety,
now coating the interior of the tank to a dusty translucence,
so my dream wanderings are in an entirely arid universe,
no burp of steam to transform the desert of the bedroom.

outside the window
nearly waterless snowflakes twirl to the frozen ground,
the wind chills,
leaving the streets bone-dry in their salty glaze.
i wait for spring, for summer,
and long for the moment to declare that
it’s not the heat, but the humidity.


gender variance

you are the universe before the interpretations of science,
static and still
you are unchanging,
as if there were no earthly orbit
and the stars hung suspended
from the black cloak of the sky,
invisible roots in the soil

i miscalculated your silence
assumed your posture was passivity
that there was no progression
no thought marching you forward
in time and in space

i thought my heart broke all on its own
that the responsibility of our mutual endeavors
fell to me
that our existence lay upon my shoulders
to burden us home

the urgency with which i pressed you
eclipsed the truth
that in fact your holy mythologies
carry us in quiet,
though so slowly as to be unseen.


mad mommy

my fiery breath burns at the eyes of my sons
calls out the tears sprung down their cheeks
sends them huddling at my ankles
stabbing guilt into my soul,
yet never managing to puncture
the supreme sense of irritation
to which i feel so righteously entitled

i declare myself an unfit mother,
call friends to bitterly announce the fact,
then impatiently proclaim that without children
i’d be bored and more miserable
stuck yet again in some corporate workplace
with no one’s face to tape to the walls of my cubicle

i prefer, oddly, to emerge as hydra
when fresh urine has soaked my carpet
or hot soup decorated my walls,
with moments of calm in the storm and the pressure of necessity
severing the fork-tongued head lashing out
only for another to spring in its place
when the winds change
when the preeminently imperfect me
spirals out of control,
revealing my own horrifying humanity.

unbearable cute and giggles
try hard and fail
at the permanent amputation of the evil in me.
my heart breaks at my flaws,
but my brain fosters partial appreciation of the villain,
if only to model the grace of apology and acceptance
and the importance of knowing one’s limits.


random synchronicity

i have seen not my life flash before me, but my death
i have crept my toes into the muddy banks of the river styx so many times now
it astonishes me
the screams have risen in my chest
my heart has pounded, leapt to kiss my throat,
my blood flowed cold,
my brain full of the white noise of terror,
my ears sudden vacuums of sound,
my nose and mouth tasted the metallic burn of fear,
and all for naught –
each time, i survive outright and amazingly
death brushes my cheek with his bony fingers
and lets go
leaves me sobbing hysterical on the side of the road, the car crash behind me,
my belly full still of adrenaline soaked baby boy,
leaves me hyperventilating on my mother’s sofa, arm wrapped, hand numb,
the red gash searing upon my wrist,
my children rushed upstairs and the whole family staring dumbly

i have heard the distant sirens ringing, wailing the heroic call of safety,
suffered strapping to boards,
the prick of intravenous needles
morphine drips,
ultrasound and x-ray,
nausea and itching,
watching and stitching,
and the infinite waiting of hospitals,
their cold floors and invisible super-bugs,
the cruelty of nurses and semi-retarded residents, unhearing doctors,
i have cracked jokes at them, cursed at them, complained and whined and pleaded,

i have faced the cool aftermath of feeling pathetic and depressed,
anxiety ever after
the why me wonderings,
the tendons moving slowly and scarring terribly,
and the inevitable mathematics of figuring
the integration of my changed self back into my life,
that disorienting and alarming reentry into reality
wherein i remember and remember and remember
the moment -
realize it was not the stories of my life, not my loved ones,
not all the most precious happenings of my tenure on earth
that flared like lightening in my brain at the instant of impact,
but rather a version of my expiration,
the secret glimpse of what it feels like to end,
and now knowing, i walk around a marked woman,
scarred permanently, irrevocably with the empty wisdom of the touch of nothingness.



you crawled from out the dirt of mississippi,
inbred with perfectly set curls and impoverished but clean and pressed dresses,
gap-toothed and matte-skin, ever smiling,
had all your war babies,
maria in the soft grass and crisp white dressing gown,
maria ever the focus of your prayers,
the name of the virgin goddess,
maria forever frozen, two years old,
the water sucked out of her by the dust

war planes and war marches,
grandfather perpetually overseas,
crawling again in mud
mud of japan,
mud of europe,
mud of korea,
the blood-splattered flag with bullet holes
plastered in his prayers,
the mind full of holes,
eaten away by the terror of having done what no man should do,

coming back, the mind a mess,
full of smoke
and hatred
the anger broke your china and your finger,
francis in the bathtub,
the others huddled in their nightclothes
and every one of them
leaving leaving leaving you
running away and hating you for staying

then another daughter gone,
her darling d's left behind to have their bodies drilled with holes
there are holes in everyone
holes to fill up and always emptying again like a sieve
you filled your holes with prayer,
saying the rosary and reading your prayerbook all day long
in the easy chair
as you decayed
and his mind's holes leaked faster and faster,
growing bigger gaps between knowledge and memory
he died not knowing anything anymore,
not even the burn of war could singe his sallow skin any longer

you coughed and choked,
holes sinking into your throat
catching your words and skewing them

you died on a sunday, a holy day,
prayer bringing you to peace by drifting you off to sleep
and never waking.
they dug a hole to bury you and filled it up up up with mud,
sprayed it with holy water and singing prayers,
keeping you soft and warm,
moist and no longer dry or draining,
the holes of your heart, at least, finally laid to rest.



the intense painful passion of first love in ultra youth
was replaced by a failure to resolve conflict
and an equally intense method of argument

never wanting to have been a predictable statistic
fighting hard for every breath was necessary
and chewing at the air came naturally

hanging on determinedly
fists clenched around ideals
and never met expectations

dishes piled amidst failures and letdowns
while children circled underfoot
casualties of infinite rays of hope

now squashed by the barrenness of reality-based thinking:
food in bellies and shoes on feet
how to pay this month’s rent with next month’s money

wanting touch to be enough to speak the language of love
aching for deniable truths
and discussion based on real-life needs, understood and appreciated

instead of tilted heads and uneven laughter,
callous unhearing with eyes stuck to televisions
an inability to care the result of abject fear

how do i pay for the sins i’ve committed?
how do i place one foot before the other or breathe the air from out my lungs?
not see your face in all the mirrors, not sense the fingerprints left all over the entirety of my existence?

there are no holes in the scrapbooks
this is the truth of our endeavor:
though the pathways of our lives move in opposite directions, they remain ever and ever intertwined,

we are bound by the youthfulness of our indiscretions
we are tied at the helm of our mutual experiment
we are the parents of our progeny.



poised at cliff’s edge
no adventure to be got
no comfort to be gained
no promise of fortune
no suitcase in hand
no swell of music
no crashing waves
no laughter
no sweetness and starlight
no warm breath
no whispered love
no catch of breath
no burning jealousy or lust or rage

the turned look over the shoulder
reveals only the green of envy
the icy depths are silvery and silent
the flutter is not affection, not anticipation,
only the nervousness of stomach-churning horror
the heart aches with sobs stuck in the throat
all is dark and frigid.
the unknown
ticking clocks, decaying fruit,
the passage of time does not lessen,
but merely intensifies the wide-eyed wait,
filled with fearful blinks
muscles tight as rope,
clenched against bone,
no crescendo
no sudden shift
no end.


sebastian’s scent

munchkin breath,
sugar boot,
my squish,
the smell of you intoxicates me,
i sigh, long for you,
i breathe you in, your hair rising in my nostrils
the plump skin of your cheek
moves forth and back,
ears rising and falling
it does not react to my inhale
your brown eyes stare off
as your fingers twiddle
and legs kick lazily.

you are home as i cannot remember feeling,
my embrace your sacred feeding, weeping, sleeping ground,
soon enough you will outgrow me,
yet i will forever remain open to you,
i will hold you in my lap and breathe you in
when you are twice my size and the weight of you crushes me
when you are a man and have given your heart to someone else
still i will cherish the pheromones seeping from your scalp,
and hope to recognize the bit of you that came from me.


switching sides

baby boy expels the other breast from striped knit v-neck with tiny fat fist
tugs it by its nipple to agape mouth, tongue reaching
fresh milk
for continued sleep, for further dreaming
he flops, rest-deadened limbs hot and heavy across my chest and belly

for three nights straight he pins my left arm so the hand falls to aching numbness
on the third day it does not wake
remains a stranger to objects it touches
like a fellow commuter on the subway,
unknown hips pressed intimately, swaying with the train ride, earphones plugged firmly
never speaking or looking,
my fingers grasp and do not know
the whole of the arm twitches,
trying to shake off the irritation,
tries to wake the radial nerve

on the fourth night i move from the right side
of the bed where i have slept the last eight years,
mostly in rooms where this was furthest from the door,
an odd, unintended feng shui of my marital sheets,
a silent quivering mousy voice that wants the husband to protect me from intruders,
or the voice of my genes that says to last longest, to survive

in the home where this baby was born, the family formed,
the bed angles me closest,
summons my transformation into the mother bear,
putting myself between the nighttime killers and my offspring.

my numb limb forces me to switch sides,
to let the nerve plump again,
forcing the fingers to feel
the husband protects once more from the unseen beyond the door
and my arm straightens to relieve itself

baby boy notices not,
goes on with his constant back and forth dance,
preferring the furthest nipple at all times,
regardless of what it gives

switching sides is his envy of the other,
knowing that it too drops what he desires
his sleepiness craves it, craves me
drinks me in left
and drinks me in right.