sweating bullets

anxiety comes in waves
the twitched and upturned palm
the frenzied rush through rooms
heartbeat all a'quiver
darting eyes and too lax limbs
the cornea cascading over everything
the brain a disaster
for anything but unease
there lurks no quietude or unsensed calm
just frozen flames
licking neural pathways
clogged with thought
and all becomes but
a head turned over shoulders,
searching for an answer
not knowing the question.


the violence of history

i measure my life by my traumas,
by the lines wrought on my face
by sudden tragedy
and everlasting
it is the story that tells me
and in many ways
forgets the telling
of in-between stuff
the filling of contentment
accounting for happiness
the dramatic bliss
of everyday
is not enough to stir me
it is always the struggle
and the intermittent
negotiations of imminent survival.


don't despair, organize

my notebooks lay splayed on the table,
baring lists of words in no particular order,
and dates numbered and forgotten.
as much as i long
to check things off
and write out every endeavor,
i have not set down
so much as a syllable
in days.
i have been having to forgive myself
my slow return to normalcy
from a suspended state
wherein it was necessary,
for a time,
to not do.

now the blank eyes
of my daily planner
stare at me
longing for the stroke of my hand
lifting the page,
for the saturation of ink
that spells the future
like a destiny
rather than a dream.


dammed mind

i am so very far behind
i have not yet found
that sweet spot
from which words flow
like so much water.
i cannot seem to settle
down into the parts of my brain
that clear and focus,
block out all sounds,
and form thoughts in brief,
alliterate words,
succinct and properly patterned.
i cannot seem to write.
and every day that
i do not do,
i wish to even less.


the agony of weather

the snow melts
weeping rivers
whose serpentine gutterflow
is determined by gum wrappers
and piles of exhaust-soaked slush.

the sun sets,
dropped degrees,
the waste water of so many tears
freezing over.
the sky clouds,
dropping new flakes
and starts to work
rebuilding the glacial shapes
of each city sidewalk.

it is a repetitive process,
this winter.
over and over again
the air warms
then freezes
we nearly lose jackets
then pile them on once more.

in february,
with all this teasing back-and-forth,
the shortest month
quickly stacks against us
to seem, in fact,
the longest.


inadequacy atoned

i must flagellate myself
i must agonize the show,
endure the ending
create the wicked bits of me anew
and exhibit this
the wrought faces,
the scrawled lips,
crooked cat-slit eyes and
askew tombstone teeth.
the punishment is
for naught -
i fail and fail again,
do not brace myself for failing
and must scrape
my melted skin and charred bones
off the floor
in the morning.


being done

the daily endeavor
occupies all
the brain ticks
and itches
full with lists for doing
provokes the motions
of laundering and dusting
scrubbing and scratching
and i try
hard as i might
to sense the poetry
in all this doing,
but the lens self-focused
cannot seem
to extract the words
from me
even in slow motion
on treads tight as tendrils
or sinewy ribbons pulled by inches
from out my mouth and eyes
my fingers sense no vacancy
fit for the literary occupant
they flinch and flail
the monday through friday
and a life full of traffic
and conversations full of pretext
of unwritten rules
and the under-written
of this modern life


fourth movement

the lines of motion
follow hands and arms
in intricate geometric patterns
which form history
the symphonic interplay
of the rubbing
of bristle against grout,
the rush of water,
the stroke of sponge on porcelain,
the shifting of feet softly upon tile,
it is the orchestral accompaniment
of this ballet -
the hand up and down,
side and forth,
back and fro,
thither and so on,
each gentle movement
that rustles fabric
or tilts the head
creates this rising and falling
civilization of domesticity.


month of poetry

everything is coming out all hideous -
gap-toothed smiles
and shrieking laughter
my quivering throat
in the face of expectation
draws vacant breaths.
and listless limbs
the subtle flinch
the chin points down
leading the face over the shoulder
such embarrassment.
this exercise
does not achieve
the desired outcome
the fear, the self-obsession,
the inner though
pulled out,
brought forth into
blinding birthing light -
the sub-consciousness exorcised
and slain for show.


the pregnant pause

every dream
grows red with
meaty blood,
full up in
miscarried globules
and heart-shaped placenta

the belly ballooned
steadily by degrees
up and up
fingers feel into flesh
the firm, rounded edge
which writes the shapes of
knees and backs and rounded crown

the babe blossoms
in my brain,
slowly unfurled
from tadpole
to floppy limbs
and too-flexible joints.

so it is a strange revelation -
this empty womb,
its depths feel too hollow
and too small
it is vacant
and lacking in space
for any sort of fullness.
nothing here.

and yet i rub
the skin below
the navel,
searching out the origin,
finding no one home but me.


a few weeks ago, i caught the baby of a doula client in the car on the way to the hospital. it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. since then, i have read jennifer block's pushed, and have spent far too much time thinking about babies. i don't know what it is i want. part of me wants to catch babies, part of me wants to advocate for women, change the world, and another part of me wants to have babies. i look at pictures of people who are pregnant, hear their stories, sense the hope that gets poured into reproducing - and want so badly to participate in it. at the same time, i'm gritting my teeth at the yeast devouring my breasts and at the way my son nurses. i can't keep my cool or my house or make dinner. i go out too much. i've been smoking again. there are so many things wrong with me and nothing is focusing me. i have not enough time in the day to accomplish everything and at the moment, not even the inclination. i feel, at times, so bad at this. i am starting my own business and that is slow-going and all the things i need to do for it are more than i want at any given moment to actually do. i commit myself to things that i'm not certain i want to enact. i may go to key west for a few days in march, but i'm terrified of what leaving my kids for that long will mean or how it will go. i'm trying to participate in so much. maybe it's too much. maybe i don't really want any of the things i seek to involve myself in. maybe it's a delusion i've crafted - that i can do all of these things and feel somehow like a whole person, tied to nothing and everything in particular. why can i not simply dedicate time to doing one thing and doing it well? why must my interests be so varied and chaotic and so decidedly not simple. my kids watch movies and play video games and eat junk. i sit in front of the computer and sleep until noon. i unleash fury towards bastian at my breast. i have a headache. i do and i do and i do and i know not why. i don't even feel like i am trying anymore. i feel at a complete loss. i have to go do more laundry. i have not gotten dressed today. that is not really unusual.

the smallish moment
halved and pruned
to nearly nothing
in a space for being
so minuscule
as to be obsolete,
no room for a squeak
the head of a pin
wedged in this crevice of time
cannot fraction even a sliver

so to you i exhale
all hope
from out my crushed interior
as it languishes and evaporates
into the emptiness
between the emptiness
where the fullness of love cannot permeate
where the starness does not shine
where the heavens expire
and the dust of dreams
can neither surge nor settle

it is here, in nothing,
where i will await the dance
on rims of black holes,
looking outward
as time shifts
the subliminal backwards drawl
illuminating for noneyes
the history of the universe:
columns of nebulaic planetary rubble
galaxies of triumphant moons
and witness as the sun swallows
my precious earth.


the heart wants and wants
and in wanting
forges patterns,
in the daily existence,
and follows them
again and again.
self-awareness occurs
and the question
why did this happen?
what was all this wanting for?
the head shakes,
the jaw slackened,
i do not know.
and do not know.


ground zero

the couch exploded
cross the living room
lies mangled,
the cushions strewn
by soft galloping bodies
tumbled from the arms
to the seat,
tossed about between
the back and its pillows
then the foam and cotton
brick for sitting
unzipped slowly
by fat two-year-old fingers
bursting out the entrails
from its cesarean wound
the belly bared.
they bore a hole
in the fabric lining the springs,
straight through
the muslin
covering the base
drop bits of
dirt, food,
matchbox cars
at times including
musical instruments
and rubber snakes,
five incarnations of
anakin skywalker
shining in plastic
with missing bits:
hands and helmets,
chewbacca's arm.
this all pools toward
the center,
in the fibrous
intestines of the sofa,
dangling haphazardly
amidst the wire frame,
its coils
suspending vader
and the others
like webbed flies awaiting eating.


hot geek love

hot geek
in search of
soul mate
must love star wars
differentiate between
hoth and tattoine
without question
carry 20-sided die
understand muggles
interested in anarcho-syndicalist philosophy
follower of chomsky
admirer of winona laduke
has tried
fabric arts
and web design
writes poetry
but not too much
love history
and herstory too
reads graphic novels
makes yummy samosas
knows a good ethiopian restaurant
and a good wine
enjoys astronomy
and sagan
the pixies
and the clash
especially the clash
celebrates national talk like a pirate day
and can make me laugh.
i await your email.


doing dishes as matter of reciprocity

the math of the moment
loses me
in calculation
the act itself
but a figure
to be
accounted for
in the
ledger of this life.


yeastie beasties

i have no discipline.

i consume what i desire
asking no questions
and giving no answers
i care not if my veins are
primed with lard,
if my lungs blacken
if my breasts catch on fire
and tiny organisms eat me
from the inside out.

let the tissue and muscle
fall off
in huge bloodied chunks,
my meaty insides
rotted green and weeping
flesh oozing pus

let my brain fall to pieces
my wisdom and
ability to reason
drained away.
let me be
lost for logic

what is here for disintegration
does not amount
to much anyway
the body is
so small
and so frail
and so
designed for this destruction.
i am made for mangling.

nothing heaves and sighs
or wears out
it is the twig made for snapping
and so it would seem
that even the most
microscopic of villains
is able
to exact
this execution.


nur ow

all night long
we roll in opposite directions,
his hands grope
open, shut, pull
in half-sleep
he whines, whimpers
tries again
cries out.

deep within my dream
i hear the tug
on my arm,
tightly turn away into bedding
my pinkened nipples
from his torturous sigh

we are both
pulled far enough
from sleep
that i bitterly roll over,
gasp at touches,
grit teeth,
growl at him
as he rubs his eyes,
his frown opened with a wail
then part my shirt
and pull out the
lesser of two burned breasts.


my overtired limbs
lay limp at my side
the list-making and
frantic rush for
dominion over dirt
have exhausted me.

my cheeks hang sallow
at the sides of my frown
the eyes drip

the hand slows
the movement of words
across pages,
coming finally
at the period,
to a rest.


super fantastic huge-ass tuesday

I stroke the pots,
scrub the ladle,
watch the shine
the hot water swirl
white with suds

it is a meditation-
the ceaseless

quietude lurks in
the rush of water
and the heat
steamed up the kitchen

there is space enough
for hiding
within the fog
of domesticity
where I needn’t bother
being anyone
to anyone

I can drift
and stand
and pretend
for a moment
that I am elsewhere.


home is where the horror is

there exists a movement
in this house
between the things
in the air
a fluctuation
of goodvibe badvibe

the heebeejeebees
inspire shivers down spines
and general fear-stricken
moments of paralysis
nothing moves at all.

I wish I could say
it were different
but truth
knots my stomach
and churns my bile

the heating ducts
blow dry
to curl skin up at its edges
creasing every fault line
deeply embedded in knuckles
it gusts the stale stench
of land-locked negotiations
so each moment of despair
leads each moment of happiness
along by the teeth

it is an unsteady existence
marred by the perpetual
wavering of design and objective
and held uncertainly
by fools.


"flames, on the side of my face"

i am pulled under,
pushed into tight boxes,
rooms crowded full of darkness, nothing,
aching bones and singed tissue
bridges collapse
beneath crashing fists
i move forward and on,
healing not

i become lost for words
can only slam doors.
there is no reason to it
your academic prowess
withers in the face of
seething, frothing vitriol
there is no debate
there is only the notion
of shattered glass
and great, echoing silences.


the birth

the thing to do
the fury of rubber and asphalt hum
rocking stirring
going -
it is all finite within the abyss
while out the navel springs the universe,
its stars suspended light in blue eyes
its scope immense and holy
the heart cannot beat its rhythm any better
than first kisses
and your tiny body bathed in moonlight
I can only walk each step and breathe each sigh
and live with hope
gifted me by babies
and sunshine burst from out the clouds.

I can only carry the weight of so much life
breaking from somewhere beyond me,
glowing your skull like a halo,
the sheer mass of so much bliss
is too much to bear,
it blinds me
creases the folds of my cheeks
well past their usual span,
crushes my hands to my chest in exultation

the ecstasy of your borning
is the obvious outcome written on your face
it is beyond plans fulfilled
and lists checked -
it is the purity of having done
and being not bound by earth
and its foolish gravity.



there is no warbling birdsong
from ‘neath the long grasses
of these subtly sloped mountaintops
unless it is a microscopic hum
that bacteria make while chewing
inaudible to this ear
and the deep painful drinking
of the two year old nearing sleep

we rise and fall our breaths
slowly and unknowing
of what munches just below the surface

these peaks are ablaze
the rivers are burning
and slowly spinning single cells
are consuming milk
and spraying ethyl alcohol
on the fire.