Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hospital 5

My brother's in isolation again; when we kiss the tattoo
under his eye grows another star. 3 milligrams: pink

and yellow rabbits in red gilded cups. Glittering ladders
emerge from the head of the woman behind the glass

nurses' station. My brother chews his thumbnail
till it bleeds, then pulls my ear and whispers. Glass cases

of pigs under their arms, the interns stalk the narrow
hallways, heavy grunts with each step. Chalk and paper

cuts enter my brother's soft palate. The one-handed
janitor finds razor blades and sky-blue strands of hair

blocking the guts of the sink. White noise heavy
on our eyelids. Tattooed pigs walk barefoot, sideways,

across the flooded bathroom floor. I woke up
with all my gold teeth gone,
my brother tells me,
small dark rooms for my tongue.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Summer Horses

through the screen door
the crunch of gravel as pick-ups roll
into the gas station next door,
the hum of a lawn mower or electric
saw from some other street

the parakeet by the window murmurs
to himself in the mirror, plucking
at a wing, if he picks anymore
he'll have nothing left

the reek of his cage mixes
with the sour scent of our pillows,
your sparse hair sweat-damp,
you pretend to sleep

the horses in the poster above the bed
are turned away, looking up
the faded hill at a fly-specked house

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My Western

my mother forgot the suitcase
with her boots, lost me
among her uncles' houses,
the farms spread out like
fingers, her calls faded
in the falling telephone wires

and the cows shat and shat
and shat in the cinderblock
milking shed, the rooms of
mechanized vats churning
the smell of baby vomit

our hands and Osh-Kosh
overalls sized exactly
the same, we learned how
to use a bullwhip on the new
calves, your older brother

showed me his Harley: we
crashed together in a mucky,
sweet-smelling ditch, the yelping
one-eyed shepherd always behind us
Got new work published in:

The Loch Raven Review

The Holly Rose Review, where I am in the company of Ivy Alvarez and Dorianne Laux.

I also just got a poem accepted by Women's Studies Quarterly. Yay!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the Back Yard, Surrounded by her Laundry

the denim shirt hangs to her knees,

she belts it or wears it open over
a pink dress, the hem scalloped,

the ric-rac abundant and torn --
he stood too close, always, sucking

the oxygen away from her face

it's too early yet for gloves
her woman's hands in water,

sometimes she's washing
something, sometimes
she's washing something off

abandoned pit bulls clamber
into the back yard, surrounded
by her laundry

Wear your coat
(Please don't forget your coat)

she sets the cups on top
of each other, the rims still wet,
her hands cold as earth

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Large Stable of Horses

I can't stop writing without my arm on fire
and then milk. I must be a reincarnation of St. Sophia,
or was that blood and milk.

Her teeth sharp, black, each morning she hands me
my peppermint latte at Dunkin Donuts. In another life,
she was Kali and I, the daughter she killed for singing or weeping.

You send me a postcard of Paris, although you've never
been there and you live in New Jersey. You are probably
a series of polka dots, or that advertisement about condoms in Spanish.

She thinks we are friends on Facebook, but I don't
remember borrowing her pink shoes. She must
be a reincarnated mouse, or some kind of grey machinery.

They whine that the day is too long and the sunset
too orange and short. They are buried Maine Coon cats,
resurrected for my New Year's party or the day after.

We never go in that room any more. We are fleas
without wings, or the lock frightens us -- size
of a baby's head, horrible key-hole and frown.


The Upstairs Neighbor

On a good day, your sweater reeks
of poppies, tree roots and sunburn.

You promise to send me a postcard
from Paris in the springtime, although

you're too old to fly to France and you
live in a four-story walk-up in Jersey City.

In the morning, your teeth sharp and black,
you hand me my peppermint latte from Dunkin

Donuts. In another life, you were Kali
and I, the daughter you smashed for singing

or weeping. I can't stop writing on my arm
about fire and milk. I dream I'm the reincarnation

of St. Sophia while you pretend to run a cosmetics
business from your cellar, and bury the bodies after

hours in the park. We can never go into the room
where we first met. We are tiny, tiny fleas

without wings, and the lock frightens us -- size
of a baby's head, frown and horrible key-hole.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

But I am Working on my Recovery

you tell me you're raising your fee
you tell me to stop glaring
at the other patients in your waiting room
you tell me you're just concerned
about everyone's emotional safety

you tell me this is good for me
as you leave bruises along my jaw,
your grip just a little too tight

you tell me I must separate from my mother
you tell me none of those memories are real
you tell me you won't renew my prescription for xanax

Everyone gets off just a little
on being abused,
you tell me
as you push down on the top
of my head, something I'm getting used to

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Unborn

Tentative, mucky,
very wet, very red,
their fingers

grab our dangling
earrings in our
dreams of drowning.

like distant wars,
like distant animal

ambulances, they paw
through our sock drawers,
our stacks of photographs.

Sticky, miniature-thumbed,
reeking of rose talc
and rancid butter,

they stain our bed posts,
our sheets, our rearview
mirrors. They murmur,

murmur in the corner,
mouthing button bits,
vanishing in vacuum

hoses, in the light
of bright lamps; we shove
them under flower

pots, under swing sets,
under stacks of news-
papers three-months old,

but they return
to breathe their sharp,
unripe breaths,

clutch their half-made
fists, inside our
closing throats.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birds Clearly Don't Understand Glass

we wouldn't admit it,
but in your pocket slept three
baby grackles and a large blacksnake

as you stood near the winter
swimming pool, like a little
mother, but with fur,

a lightweight skeleton,
hollow bones, the age-old bell
on the collar,

your large palms
spread with shelled peanuts,
sunflower seeds, red millet,
white millet

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My therapist tells me we have to work on "my problem
with biting."

1) I wish I could tell you the truth about this; my jaw
has been wired shut more than once.

My boyfriend is bruised and a little embarrassed.

My front tooth is loose and it hurts when I drink
my tea.

The sheets are in the dryer already. No one heard

I give them names. They recede in the light.
I wish I could say I went away, but I was there
the whole time.

I keep forgetting my body has weight.

2) When I was ten I sat on the bottom of my neighbor's
pool for hours, the pressure on my ears beating
like a huge slow wing. The light flickering
in the marred blue like a hand-held sky.

I kept super-gluing my fingers together, then sucking
them clean.

The neighbor boy had webbed feet -- his bike had a big cage
on the back.

We went through the woods on my big wheel.

I was never rescued. I forget what happens next.

Friday, October 09, 2009

White Shirts

While you sleep, I watch a movie. A man bangs his head against a shelf in a library. It's the magazine section: I can almost tell the year of the movie from the magazine titles. I love the image of white shirts hanging on a clothesline, as long as it's not in my backyard.
He picks scabs into the backs of his hands, and tapes old pictures of tigers all over his mirror. He ends up cutting off his fingernails.

When we lived together, I pretended I didn't like cats -- they seemed too sentimental for you, you who read Nietzsche long into the night. We slept on a futon you rolled up against the wall every morning. It was so hot in Portland, the futon stank no matter how many times you washed the sheets.

I used to worry about you burning; your medication made you so vulnerable to light. After the hospital, you moved stiffly, like a dried up robot. The cats didn't recognize you, hissed at you like you were the garbage man. And your tongue rolled out at odd intervals.

Later we decided to pick out a kitten together. You said it was too soon after our first cat died of cancer. I accused you of only caring about the sofa.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


The boy two doors
down likes to bite,
too, but his mother

makes him eat soap
after, and so through
the summer-propped

windows we hear their
struggles in the bathroom,
his shrieks as she grabs

his mouth, the slipping
as he knocks the bright
yellow lozenge from her

hand, and then sobs
for hours, a strangled
sound like a lawnmower

stuck on a plastic toy.
One day there's an ambulance
in their driveway, no one

will tell me why, and a week
later his sister breaks
my 101 Dalmatians record.

Then the whole family
disappears; I never even see
the moving trucks, but things
like that happened on our street.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

See me perform! Kinda purplish with bad hair. Also, what do I keep doing with my mouth?
Roll tape.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Four Dos Equis and his voice a plastic
radio skipping between station

and static, my new friend lays
his hand on my shoulder, his arm

as heavy as the whole weight
of his scarred white body.

Our small table smells
of moldy towel;

he's telling me he likes
being beaten, that he's never

told anyone this, that
he hires a woman to do it.

Beyond the restaurant's open
window, I hear the evening's

last wren call softly
in the chokecherry bush,

dusty leaves stunted by diesel
spatter and constant traffic.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blurred Rose Tattoo

A gold mullet tied back
with a shoestring. Sweeping
our fireplace by getting
inside, soot on her exposed
bra strap. At the kitchen
table with a Sprite, handed
wads of fives for New Year's
because we forgot about Christmas.
Old red Cadillac; parked two
blocks away, or takes the bus.
Her own set of brushes
in a cracked plastic bucket.
The smell of bleach
and earth from her skin.
Hands that grow each week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Black Dog

Head like a gunboat. Blue
eyes: stars constantly
receding. Breath of rotten
Pontiacs, half-buried
in the backyard. Follows

me to the dinner party,
insists on my lap.
He savages the chicken,
the sweet potato. No one
clucks or looks away.

The short woman next
to us, with a sound like
a flattened sparrow, lifts
a chunk of orange
something from her hair.

Dessert is on his tongue,
all over my face and neck.
Mommy, he murmurs into
the puddling ice cream, Mommy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Little Red Pony

and the surgeons stitched you
back, black heavy thread and staples,

so in the tiny bleached bed you
looked like a girl-sewn doll,

your face wrinkling and smoothing
in sleep, your eyes making cursive

beneath their lids: shoulders, ribs
still bruised in boat-shapes from

the instruments, where they tied
you down & little red pony, little heart

galloping, how red their gloves
when they held you and started over

Friday, August 14, 2009

Disaster Porn

He rips the door off the hinges at 4am -- it's not even locked. He stumbles and hits his head on the chair. He lies still, his mouth slightly open. I can smell the piss on his pants -- there's a yellow trail of translucent vomit down one arm. His eyes are so swollen they look like leaking red fruits, as pulpy as plums. He makes himself a bowl of blackberry ice cream and falls asleep. He tips over, wakes up; he steps on the cat's tail, he steps on the cat. He leaves the refrigerator door open, knocks milk all over the red-tiled floor. He turns on the gas stove. He tries to light a cigarette and sets his beard on fire. Milk footprints follow him into the bathroom. He tries to make a knot of the shower curtain and hang himself, he tries to take off his shoes and pants at the same time. He ends up face down in the tub, scrabbling and slipping. He pauses: his breath is wet and heavy. After a moment, he asks for a beer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dopesick Angel

The bedsheets he uses to cover his
windows chatter in the wind, I watch

the stains on their edges move
into formation, grow wings. I imagine

what she saw just before the Mustang
struck her, I see her trying to raise her

hand to cover her eyes. He said he kissed
me because the mole next to my eye

reminded him of her, although she
didn't have any moles, and was much

softer and easier to touch. I touch
his crown as he's sleeping; I rub

the plastic edges, peel the stick-on
bunnies off the inner rim.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ringworm Summer

On the porch that noon, we
share matches, light alcohol
from a blue bottle in our wounds.

Your purple wetsuit mended
with flag material, my mother's
bikini tied and tied again, we

urge our rented ponies into
the surf, into the blue muck
dirtied by Wednesday's rain.

Coral the color of an old scar
tears a smile into your arm;
fish, sharp paparazzi, gather to lick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shattered Fetlock

My uncle tells me not to
touch the tiny blue eggs
nested in the oleander bush

outside his front door.
His doorbell sounds
like a fading ice-cream

truck. Robins congregate
on his lawn, singing a Beatle's
album in reverse. On the front

steps I wear heavy gloves
meant for a much larger
man, but everything is breaking,
opening its yellow eyes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

3 dreams

It is winter and we are skiing. I am not burning as quickly as usual. You put your hand over my eyes as if to shield me from the sun.

It is winter, but at the carnival everyone is wearing shorts and pink tank tops. I wonder if I'm the only one who can feel the cold. I watch a girl watch her snow cone drip onto her toes. Her toes turn blue and start to expand.

It is not winter, or it is winter, but not very cold. The sun is missing from the sky; everything is a sort of swirled elephant or donkey gray. You are holding a sleeping cat on a park bench. The cat's head droops over your arm as if he has no muscles, or is made of rubber. Somewhere in a tree a bird makes a sound like a small cat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Used to Live, II

the smear I drew with off-pink
lipstick on the flocked wallpaper

the torn underside of the mattress
the odd-smelling crease where
the dresser and floor meet, left side

my brother in the backseat, staring
out the window at nothing

the bed of a yellow pick-up truck,
night time

tucking your head under my chin
clock gears hidden under the sofa

cushions, sunburnt square of skin
between my shoulders

Monday, July 13, 2009

here's a happy (er) poem and pic from the state fair.

Your Tenth Birthday

clamor, bells, ringing that
sounds like the radio's voice,

awakened from your nap
by your own light, your flesh

glows a little, you leave traces
on the curtains when you sigh;

outside in the warm evening streets,
people leave their cars at stoplights,

move onto our lawn, hold their breath
at our picture window, all of us waiting

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Idaho, 1972

A fly the size of a diamond
ring lays eggs in the bay
mare's wounds, deep red

holes near her withers.
The horse flicks (right, left,
left) her velvet pocketbook

ears, nibbles the yellow
stubble smearing the roots
of the dogwood; the dogwood's

scars are closing
over our names. If you
put your hands together,

you can help me
up onto her back.
Thumbs in her rubies,

we fly around the yard,
wind ripping dirty fingers
through our pony tails.


Hello, world.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks to all who commented! I got some insights. However, sorry, publisher didn't any as is. She sorta a little liked the middle one, if I retool it.

So here's a new painting. Has nothing to do with a cover.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ideas for new covers. (All previous were rejected.)


Roman Numeral V)


You know the drill. Please vote please please.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hannah and the Ill-fitting Wig

Hannah has dirty
I tell you through

the open window. She is
a dirty blonde.

shake your head at me,
pushing your shopping

cart as your yellow
lab trudges ahead,

his heavy belly
bobbing from side

to side. You start
to sing about the flag

again, adjusting your
flowered hat, leaving

paper petals with
every unsteady step.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sometimes I feel Nostalgia
for Places I was Miserable

Everyone operates out of fear. With her
hands, she opens up a hole in the earth

near the roots of the big maple. She lays
a silent bluebird in the hole, pats it.

In the movie version, she places a dried
geranium over the bird's eye -- its head

is tipped to one side, so only the left
eye is showing. Are you feeling

especially needy today?
She brushes
leaves over the hole, then rubs

her palms on the thighs of her jeans.
In the movie version, she's wearing

a patchwork skirt. Does this mean
everyone should be forgiven?

Above, the fabulous Bob (not me) at Bowery Poetry.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Cold

The virus traveled to her blood
after her fingertips brushed the hem

of his coat, he was leaving again
in the middle of the night, the baby

crying, the heat turned off a week ago –
she had collected matches, tried

to empty the throat of the fireplace,
tried to take out the bricks blocking

the chimney with her sewing scissors
and a butter knife so she could pile

a chair or two, perhaps some of his
books, into the fat black mouth
unhinging its jaw like a cartoon snake.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Finally, a new poem in the dry desert of nonpoetry

Learn the Language of Your Meat

Go into the weeds. Find the cow
lying there, open her mouth.

Take out her small voice, stuff
her whispers in your pocket.

Slap her hollowed-out rump
with the flat of your palm,

slap until the dust flies, until
she rises. Lay in the crushed

circle of grass. Put your ear
to the earth, hear the bees

burrowing there. Make your lips
form those shapes, your

tongue an engine of blood
revving against your teeth.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sorry I've been so absent. I'm moving from Queens to Brooklyn, into a wonderful new apartment and (hopefully) wonderful new life. I've been able to scribble a few drafts of poems here and there, but nothing postworthy, not until, at least, the bedroom is painted and the furniture assembled.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Aubade on Avenue D

Brick, Brick, Brick and
Shingle. Asphalt, pot-hole
of dense, mud-rich water,
torn paper cup, floating,
red plastic lid to a tylenol
bottle, strands of synthetic doll
hair. Iron pole, wire, light
smeared on the side
of a telephone pole. Staples.
Wet paper flapping. Xeroxed
words melting to gibberish.
Hysterical sparrow on top
of a soggy corn muffin.
Bicycle chained with a heavy
chain. Bright shards of yellow
plastic from a broken head
light. Cigarette butts. Smashed
gold lipstick case. Black
plastic grocery bag, trapped
and fluttering, on a chainlink fence.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reunion, II
after Kiki Smith

all ooze and whimper, they smile
with broken teeth and ask to hold

our hands, they sprout wings and
descend from trees, spiral pencil

marks ascending their necks,
long nails elaborate as jewelry;

in our pocket books, in our rearview
mirrors, they meet our eyes, one pupil

one degree off, one pupil a drowsy
cat's; their souls pour onto paper

like spilt tea onto napkins; as they
claw beneath our collars in some

strange neighbor's kitchen, we are so
embarrassed, we apologize, apologize

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Little Pony

and I float through the open
door, crash into the river

a mouthful of bright noise
and slaughter

the fisherman have brand new
blue nylon nets and they

throw us back once
they realize we don’t have

pearls tucked in our cheeks
or taped between our toes

we are entirely without jewels,
featherless as a newborn pig

I’ve taught him to canter
in five different languages

but something’s changing
in our headwounds, new
growth, sharp teeth

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spontaneous Generation

Ginger tea, scraped from some
humming clump at the bottom

of a glass jar. Hot. Yellow.
Toothy. It stings the palate,

tastes of matted weeds and honey.
An exotic frog could emerge

from such muck, sticking toe
by tentative toe to cardboard

in a humid pet store. Or some-
thing the color of a jewel,

sticky, brightly four-eyed,
beating against the glass

like a drunken engine, some
shining, six-legged god.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Stars are Yellow, Surrounded by Black

At 6am, I splay my tender feet
on cold pink tile, pretending

I can't remember your name. House
in the palm of my hand. Stink beetle

nestling in my ear, whispering, this
is the way we wash our hands.

color was always SALMON PINK, like
this sky. My families were never

big enough, floated off to one side.
You have to use the whole page,

the teacher said as she gave me a fresh
box of wax. The blues didn't taste

as good as they smelled. When she
asked me to make a face, I drew

your mouth in black, a place
like a locked door, and me
on the wrong side, or under it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Doe Star Angel

Doe Star Angel,
he said to her after
he was done, his hands
finally tired, one nail ripped.
That's what she heard.
Then he said, don't start,
and she realized
he was worried she might
cry, but she was just hungry
and thinking of the bagel
shop, the one on the corner
with the torn awning,
the windows always steamed
blank, the display cases always
full of pink sweets and flies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Baby Brother

At times, I miss the days before
your birth, the short cotton dresses

made from pillowcases, stained
ric-rac around the neck and hem,

the powdered hot chocolate I strew
across the counter each morning,

my time on the basement floor
with the fat grumpy cat and Sesame

Street, the way my skin constantly
burst into red when I banged it against

the world. A week after your arrival,
I tried to cover your noisy face in hot

sheets from the dryer. I thought you
would disappear once the fabric was
pulled back; a magic trick I saw on TV.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Big Rewrite

At the Museum of Fire

you stretch arms made of styrofoam
and snow around me

you offer to take my pain away,
quick as a methadone-flavored gumdrop

you whisper into my neck, Don't
worry, nothing's really on fire

as I touch the painted flames along your
knees, I wonder if the guard can hear us

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Go to sleep, I whisper to my brother next to me
in the hammock, go to sleep. He keeps jerking

and fussing; he whines ants are crawling in his ears.
I pinch him again. His legs against mine feel sticky

and hot, like he's covered in piss-scented honey.
He rolls over onto my hair, his mouth full of

small sleeping moans. I twist my head away.
I put my fingers over the nape of his small brown

neck and hum, waiting to pinch -- sometimes,
I just like the sound of his shriek. Every few

minutes, branches break in the distance, as if
something heavy is falling and picking itself up.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I can see my breath.
No windows.

Everything not moving
is painted white. Here,

in your mother's basement,
I lie back on the bed

tucked under silver ducts,
offering the whole mottled

bag of me on these
delicately stained sheets,
bleached and bleached.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Collage

I had to rush it for a deadline, but it turned out better than I expected.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am almost recovered from the AWP fever or plague -- sniffles and a general feeling of discontent. Here it is:

Home Surgery

he climbed into the sink, small fists in the tangle
of silverware, the messy oatmeal muck, while
she banged on the window beside the feeder,

creamy wax stuffed with tiny yellow pellets
and sunflower seeds, laughed as the cardinals
startled, filled the yard with flying red and husks:

the bleach bottle under the sink hidden by fake
yellow carnations, thread tangled in their dusty
stems, and how should she hold the needle,

watch Sammie like a hawk, she had said,
her mother, who had taught her to knot
the thread three times and bite instead of cut

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'll be at AWP until Saturday afternoon. Feel free to hunt me down and tell me all the things you always wanted to say.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

City Under the Stairs

Fake wood paneling, blue and white wallpaper
where the ceiling slopes to the floor, around
the edges of the door frame. A musty smell.
The urge to sneeze. A string leading to
an empty light socket, dangling from the ceiling.
A tiny army man on his belly under your shoe.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

We were asked to write a poem inspired by a well-known movie, so I chose The Big Heat.  I focused on all the smells left out of the movie -- or the most important smells.

The Big Heat  

Burn ointment, after it's sat for a day
on her cheek. The reek of  stolen
steak coming from the oven, constant
cigar smoke. Cordite on her thumb
from shooting her sister . Hot coffee,
dripping into the neck of her silver
dress.  Mint, faintly, around the rim
of her mouth in the morgue, and
hairspray. Black velvet gloves,
once they absorb the scent of violet

hand cream, of spilled high balls.
The smoke of a wife's burning hair

as the car flames, how the cotton back
of a sofa smells after it's been shot.

The duck pajama pants of a daughter scared
to get out of bed once it's dark.  Gardenia
perfume like the bottom of a dancer's shoe.
Gin slowly breathing in a jam jar. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

I saw this poet read tonight. Cynthia Cruz. I've been carrying Ruin in my pocketbook for the last six months, reading and rereading it. Her new poems were just as numinous and fantastic. I think she was a little overwhelmed by the way I slobbered over her when I met her... Oh, well. I can never act cool when I admire someone so much. I least I got a book signed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Wedding Night

My husband walks in, his hand
on the back of a fox, kicking

the door shut behind him with his heel,
and he says.  Staring at my neck

with the eyes of Mary after she found
the lamb.  As he fingers his long braid,
smelling of jasmine and bone dust.  

My husband says.  

My husband with the crooked crown,
with the half-seeing eye.  
With the thumb that wanders while he sleeps.  

My husband limps to the fireplace,
trailed by the bespectacled dog and bear;

my husband lifts the lid. To the murmuring,
bubbling, black-bellied pot.  The pot says,

get your filthy feet off my new red carpet,
before my husband.

Tips the bitter soup into the fire.  As the fire dies,
cursing and spitting.

He says, Don't.  My husband says, Don't let
your fairytales get in the way of my mouth.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Okay, I know you're dying for it. I'm jumping on the bandwagon and giving my two cents about Elizabeth Alexander's poem. First off, the blog I link to discusses it a lot more coherently, but here's my try. I like the beginning. I like the plain speech -- as those of you know who've been following my blog, I use it quite a bit myself. I enjoy the repetition, the way the poem starts off slow and unassuming. I think there's a clear and deliberate contrast with the gravity of the situation, and the plain-ness of the poem, and I like it. I like the details, the proletarian focus (which one commentator said meant it was only meant for a black audience; as if there weren't poor whites, or people with poor white ancestors who worked in the fields, like ME). I liked it up until the word, "Begin." To me, it should have ended there. It wouldn't have been an inaugural poem then, but it would have worked a lot better. After the "begin", the poem gets sticky and tries so hard to be lofty. By the time she gets to the word "love", the poem is completely gone.

Some suggest that the last 6 stanzas should stand on their own, and I agree -- they are really part of a different poem. That second poem is not so hot.

And her delivery: horrid, horrid, horrid. Made it much worse than it was. She gave almost the same emphasis to every word -- sounded preachy.

That is my two pennies. Feel free to yell in response.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From a series I'm working on:

And from ANOTHER series I'm working on, Called Border Songs:

At the Gate

At the gate, we remove our shoes.
We take off our belts.  We give

short men our keys and our keys
are held in grimy red baskets.

We don't talk; we don't look
at each other. The room is filled

with the smell of diesel fuel
and nervous sweat.  The boat
engine rumbles in the distance.
It sounds as if it is arriving; as if

it is leaving. The floor shudders
with the force of it. We hear

splashing, but we cannot see
the water.

Monday, January 19, 2009

As some of you may know, since I've been shouting it from the rooftops, I got a book accepted by Plain View Press.  So of course I've been frantically putting together covers, cause people judge books by their covers, you know.  Please vote for the one you like bestest.




Vote in the comments, or notes, or on the wall.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Didi painted a picture of me!

and I wrote a poem, again. I should show you the first draft -- it's so different, it's amazing. My mind tends to wander and things get weirder and weirder.
It's for a homework assignment for Joanna Furman's class -- a poem in one sentence. I actually did two of these.

At the Second Accident

I leave the engine running, the driver's
side door open, and I don't float --

I sink, the water not as cold
as I imagined, but brown and golden

underneath, filled with specks and slow
moving leaves and things that sparkle

and dart and I hear shouting and I'm
lifted by my ponytail and I'm out

of the water and you have your arms
and a blanket draped around me

and I think we're alone, but flashbulbs
keep going off, and I'm apologizing for

something I can't remember, and
you say, it's alright, that's what
credit cards are for, anyway.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Waiting Room, Mercy Hospital

Visiting hours are about to begin.
We all smell the same -- like vinegar,
coffee and rotten bananas, like sadness
held for a long time. The man
in the corner nods over his brown

paperbag. In an hour, a nurse will tell
him again to leave. Along the wall,

a girl on a boy's lap hooks her fingers
through his belt loops, he caresses
her ears; they moan and weep about
Markie. A blessing, an old woman
in a housecoat says as she opens
the door to the street.  Someone
has gotten better or she has given
up. A blessing, she says, as rain
slams into the sidewalk. When
the door closes again I can hear
myself  breath. Behind me, someone
whispers on their cell, I'll be there,
stop it already.