Sunday, December 13, 2009
screams "HELLO! HELLO!"
from across a wide Boston
street. He spotted me!
I look up and over to see him
waving frantically, gloved hand
in the air. "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
he yells. "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!"
I cup my hands and return, "HELLO
THERE! BACK ATCHA!"
and my pit is strangely warmed
by this clear recognition
of an unlikely friend across four
lanes of December traffic.
this week, eyes belonging to men
I've known a long time.
One of them sez to me,
"You deserve the best --
you have a great ass and
a great personality and
you need a man who wants you
and only you." I smile
at him, old friend, and say,
"Yes" and "Thank you."
The other eyes just stare
with little to say besides
"Yes" and "Thank you."
Irony is never wasted
on me even though I clamor
for a longer stare into the eyes
of someone who is right,
who wants to look only
into my eyes, like I deserve.
Monday, November 30, 2009
was beside you in a bar
in broad daylight
as we chatted idly
about our lives. God,
were we hung over!
Even so, we were coherent
and in-sync and you looked
into my eyes, I into yours
as you offered up cliché –
“Eyes reveal everything.”
Yours said something about love
and mine acted as mirrors
and this is exactly what
I never knew I needed.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
in 1944, long-gowned and gloved,
blushed cheek rested on a dark wool suited
shoulder, feeling the sway in the syllables,
the syncopation of words sung
to swelling sounds of horn and harp
and string and piano. Transplanted,
my eyes are closed and I am warm and whole in this
period peace where a nobler war was fought
than would ever be fought again.
There is such tranquility in the swishing
of taffeta and lace, a home spun elegance
found more deeply as musical measures
amble by. I want to be in love
in this dance, this era, this chance
at being something as simple
as present in the embrace
of a slow stepped dance.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
under a stark white spot
light; they are dressed in black
and posed close enough to look
uncomfortable. This is a stage.
They are the players. This theatre
is silent so when he speaks,
his voice is a knife severing silence.
“This could be more,” he says.
The woman remains blank
and gives the audience shivers.
“You could be more,” she says
and turns to leave him alone
under that light. This is life.
They are living it. This world
offers nothing as he stands stock still
and the audience mills by, into
the night where she left him.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
down the right side
of my chin, after oozing from my ear,
the quickest drain,
the easiest escape once the matter
has reached its maximum
heat and melted.
This is my lobotomy.
I’ve used my cells for too many
years now and now and now
I barely recall the smell of rain,
the stench of free will,
the overpowering olfactory sensation
of my perceived who what when where.
I am dead. I am no more
the woman you knew before
my essence was baked and reduced
into syrupy nothing. All for what.
I don’t remember anymore, I can’t.
I just nod now. And I smile.
You tell me what for and I will say
yes yes yes yes yes.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Balding under his beret, the man
stood, lofty and leaning, leafing through
cards in plexiglass casing. Off and on
goes the cap and so goes my attitude
about him -- pretension easily added
and subtracted. Then he speaks
to the lady to his left -- Say-la-veeeee --
a thick French drawl. Beret off, pretension
still on. I am strangely dismayed.
Over they come, a curious pair, she, short
and frazzled with a dueling accent
I cannot decipher. The man fans four cards
across my counter and asks, "Way-er kin
I git postcarrrds? She wants 'em." I stare, slightly
stupored, before offering advice that will lead them
out of my store, but only after they give me what
they owe. She starts to dig in her red leather clutch
for what my British tourists call shrapnel, coins
clinking together with unfamiliar clarity.
"They don't take Tuuuurkish money here," he chides
and he winks at me. I take his American
currency and catch a glimpse of his American ID --
California-based. He slides his beret back on
and gives a flick of the wrist wave. "Buh-bye now."
She smiles, strained, and I wonder if they'll find
the postcards they seek. I'll never know, probably,
and that lingers long enough on my mind to write this down.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
when you looked for me in the plaza
(not the stone cobbled plaza or the tidy brick plaza or
the lazy yawning plaza in the movie about Ripley)
and you found me in pieces,
stretched like a marble unrolled from a sack
(balled up and barking inside
but shiny and brilliant on the out)
I remember you asking me on your way into the atmosphere
if you’d find me unrolled from the sack tomorrow
My answer is yes --
look for me in the plaza
(not the hotel in New York where my boss likes to tell
people she used their toilet)
I’ll be there, the bowling ball with pink and gold lettering
striving to knock down the pins of my foes
and try to delay the premature coming of congested thought
I know when you were here yesterday I smiled a lot
but there’s no saying what tomorrow may bring
Look for me behind glass and seek your reflection
in the palm of my hand -- see your life line? It’s the same as mine
(strange thing to notice
here in the plaza)
You found me again in my usual place
trying desperately to shatter
-- But all I remember is seeing you yesterday
the middle of my goddamn afternoon.
Seems I’ve spent more
pulseless moments pursing lips
and breathing softly
at this vacant hour than
any other, writing poems
about writing poems about writing poems
about writing poems about
writing poems --
And I’m not even a fucking poet.
I wish I could claim
insomnia as the peddler of my wake
but it’s more to do with shifting
siphoned, muddied thoughts of clay
away from the drawbridge
of my brain --
could be sold as collectors’ pieces
to be slung over mantles
as trophies of war.
He says Charlton Heston has
some good points about the 2nd
Amendment: Moses gone mad
should be allowed to assemble
a militia, defend the burning bush.
He tells me he doesn’t have
guns anymore but he knows
how to shoot one,
(even though he won’t gut Bambi,
not even for survival).
Another patron turns and says,
“You never hear about a multiple stabbing,”
while Chad talks about re-loading
his hypothetical shot gun
from atop the library.
if I’d be better off
married to him, stuffed,
housewife-ish, living in my in-
law’s closet, drooping
with children destined to grow up
short with nice teeth
but bad eyes, a boy
named Eddie and a girl
named Lizzie, each chasing
a large, ferociously kind
golden retriever named
Wahoo. Maybe we’d have
season tickets at the Jake.
Maybe I’d make love
to my husband in pitched tent.
Oh, it used to be
what I’d pray for every night.
But it’s not at all
what I’ve got. And I don’t how
how he would have proposed
and I don’t know how complacent
I could become, but I do know
he would have loved me right
and I do know I would have been happy
trapped in his arms.
the shower drain has clogged
and unclogged and clogged again,
light bulbs have twisted in
and out of sockets, baseball
has made you cry and so
have boys. You’ve learned
to play the flute and you’ve learned
to earn your way. Nothing
seems wrong but nothing
seems right and you wonder
what your father has to do
with any of it. So you think
and you write and you want
to go back to sleep because
you’re too anxious, too indifferent
to take it seriously.
You’re tired. He’s been dead
for a long time and you’re not sure
you want to raise him
from his quiet.
But you must. Look: his hand
reaches and begs. If you take it,
you’ll learn to condense time
and trip on ghosts
without disturbing them.
Then with his hand in yours,
with his lifeline wedged
in youthful palm, you could tell him
what he’s missed. Take it.
You want to. He wants
to know. It’s not only the living
who want to reach the dead.
This is the first March
I haven’t fallen in love.
Maybe that’s because
I loved you long before
this month, or maybe
it’s because I’m alone
for the first time in years.
When you call me
my phone blats a circus
theme, um-ba-bop, um-ba-bop,
something your brother whistled
with scowl and harmony
the last time we failed to connect.
What can be made
of dreams, real ones
played through the night?
Will a dream slip into my bed
and grip me, rock me, soothe me?
Will that content you?
I need a voice.
Laugh with your tongue.
Press your fist
in my palm.
I will sigh
and you will need me to.
I love you
out of habit,
out of season.
Love me, too, maybe.
If you get the chance.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
slip through our teeth
as we puzzle over
addresses as phone numbers
and birthdays as graduations
We slap hands down
quicker than the draw
to see who knows what
and at the moment before
silver bullets of numeric logic
we shrug off
the indecision and talk
and it flowed through
Tommy Doyle's in Harvard Square.
Upstairs, our friends' band rocked out covers
while downstairs we shared a booth
with strange connecting genes.
We are like the Human Genome Project.
You say you hate the word "like"
and we talk for hours about women
you've slept with and men
I've loved. There's so much in the air
to blend us together and we cozy
in a booth and talk about cum.
on a Tuesday night, savoring the last
few swallows around four a.m. We were watching
West Side Story and Tom cried
when Tony fell dead, when Maria stood up
for nonviolence. Whitney said she didn’t
like the movie. As always, I was somewhere
in the middle, content to hum and sing
about love and rumbles and all things passionate.
II. Tom colored the nails on his right hand
black with Whitney’s good Sharpie
and drew symbols of anarchy on his wrist.
While she was in the bathroom, he asked me
what else he should draw. I said a heart.
He put an arrow through it.
III. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said
to me -- “You know, honestly, I have to say, any man
who has even had the chance to touch you
is the luckiest man...” Oh, that Tom,
who told me again that I should call
the lead singer in his band. I balked. Whitney sat
beside the bassist with her arms folded across her chest.
than to lay my head on your chest
and listen, listen to the chaotic
pounding of your doorless heart.
Pressed, my cheeks felt your rhythm.
Closed, my eyes saw lifetimes
of streaming consciousness, an ebb
and flow between two people
who are luckless but in love.
Oh, what a lucky curse!
Nothing should have stopped us.
Not with your slow breathing
and my leaded head bedded down.
another hand and linger there
as if it always had, as if
it were home, as if it made
sense, pressed near another
grove of flesh. Even if
the bodies are foreign
to each other, two hands
can twist and press
and squeeze with the intimacy
of years hung together, traceable
lifelines linked and teasing.
Monday, July 6, 2009
but that’s my usual fare.
I cycle through sickness
with the same drawn out tendencies
aligned with unrequited love:
hot, thick, consuming, spewing,
I have a cure for the common cold:
in lunges, yoga
is what purifies me.
Well, it can certainly help.
Just as it helps
with unrequited love. Outside it is July
in Boston and people hurry through
punishing rain that has dominated
for the last thirty days – what is our crime
already? All I know is I am thirty
years old for as many days as it’s rained,
a real washout so far.
Where is the sun?
Where is the summer?
When will this cough be requited?
Monday, June 29, 2009
than sitting trapped in the second
to last row of an airplane, runway
bound, grounded, delayed due to weather.
I’ve experienced them – hands folded
on sterile laps while doctors smile
politely and say nothing directly –
cheeks blushed red with passion
and fury when love kicks my body,
already humbled, to the ground –
feet fidgeting on the edge
of my father’s grave –
But somehow this delay gives me
an additional pause, an internal hand
pressing me back, an inevitable
shouldaknownthat. Why should I expect
this trip to be any different? No journey
is easy; no flight is on time.
to link them together, succinctly, to tell
the story of our lives. There are so many
ways, so many places to start, to stop,
to skip, to re-tell from different angles,
different voices, different clicks of verbal
cameras. I don’t always tell our story
well. Sometimes it’s too consuming, too vast,
to hard to iron out the complexities.
Where is the line? Verbal misdirection
points one way and slides another
especially on points of pride or love.
I have lost both only to rise back up,
new, refreshed, refined, still myself
but slightly scarred. Now my clever
construction of words requires a shift
in idioms – I don’t know what any of it means
anymore, no matter how I tell it.
at night, losing the hour
I gained in reverse, I wonder
what I’ve sacrificed. Time is
a measure of what happened
when and I think I should start
keeping a minute by minute
mind-time journal of this moment’s
pastpresentfuture. Could I rig
a time zone filter so I could
continually lose and gain
increments of life, measured
by a machine, controlled by lines
of latitude? Would that be
a sanctioned method of living now?
in Chicago than wind
and more revolving doors
than homeless people.
I love the speed of city,
the fast paced rush
of life in real time.
But every time I see
a bay of water majestically
filling the air with controlled
beauty, I pause. We all do.
Something stills the hurry
of humanity. It is important
to pause in the daily spin
of home, less than necessary,
but more than any sanity knows.
“Love is having someone to watch you die.”
death cab for cutie
Some day I will get cancer and die from it
like every other member of my family.
I will shrink to nothing in hospice care
and hollow and whoever makes up
my friends and family will come and murmur
things about me out of earshot. I will choose
not to hear them, anyway, whoever they will be.
My loved ones change as predictably as the seasons
which is less cliché now that global warming
has jilted the ecological forces that spin
this planet. I don’t know who will bother
to hold my hand as I struggle to breathe,
struggle to set myself free from this
terrible earth. Even my best friends
abandon their posts with little notice
every once in awhile and I shrug
my pre-cancerous shoulders
and find new people to share in all
my outrageousness. I am too brash,
perhaps, too demanding, too demeaning, too quick
to turn cold and leave.
What if no one
longs to be near me when the cancer strikes?
What if they all
come back just to let me go again?
Someday when I am diagnosed
with cancer, I will tell no one
so I won’t find out which is true and I won’t
be defeated by another silent night.
to answer, but I do.
This is what I want:
you, nestled chin, locked
on my shoulder. I have tried
to escape, move on, unlock
from you but it always comes
back to this: you call, I answer,
we join. There is no reason except,
lock busted wide open or not,
we’re never alone in this.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
to do this, you know,
easy ways that involve
cliché phrases like
Shut up and kiss me.
We don’t give in to cliché.
Instead we spin and spin and spin
until I become a little tornado,
angry storm that destroys only
when I touch down, while you,
you are like a lightening bolt seen
far far away, rarely striking,
never twice. We are so close
to sharing this dark climate
but still so unable to face
into the wind and admit that we are
more than cliché, more than storm,
that we are what love could be
on a temperate day.
to define love and I don’t
like any of them.
A friend says BE THE OCEAN,
let life happen as an act
of nature. But when I try,
THE OCEAN washes me up
on the same old shore. I’ve examined
this beach before, built a shelter,
scavenged for food, survived
for as long as I could.
As far as I can tell, this survival
is love and Poseidon is cruel.
He finds ways to reinvent me
on the same stretch of sand,
fool me into thinking I’m somewhere
new until the day I stumble
on my own artifacts from the last time
I was here.. It’s all the same mirage,
that’s what I’m getting at, it’s all
the same wave that brings me here.
put your lips on mine and press
with easy pressure, dance tongues
behind teeth, let them push through
to meet with pure satisfaction,
to touch tips and twine together, tongues,
pure sensation, deepening with twists
and spasms of neck and spine. Eyes closed,
you will see me for who I am
deep inside my kiss.
of dark that signals night
to the mind. It’s 3:30
in the afternoon and I feel
like dusk. My mind has been wrapped
in lyrics for days now, well
before this recent bout of early
darkness. It is June and I am thirty
and there are so many places
I wish I could be, destinations for others,
a place for escape, reservations preferred
but walk-ins welcome. Saucy, sad,
and true. I am always in love
with at least two men who don’t want me.
I’m a place they’d like to visit someday, but,
like the Grand Canyon, will always be there,
no need to hurry, the erosion takes time
to show, and that kind of beauty only gets better.
They rush instead to artificial constructions
that demand immediate attention. Not like me,
patient, too patient, and part of the earth.
I stay where I am and hum a few bars
while I wait, songs that tell tales
of unrequited love, the purist form,
especially on a day drawn prematurely dark.
Fenway a place that is ours, complete
with meeting points and staked out vantages,
and we are not having a good time.
It’s Red Sox versus Yankees and this
should mean something. But it means
less than anything and you spend
the evening locked in the story
of another woman. Why did you
bring me here? I stare you down
and you look uncomfortable.
Stop it, you say. I say, No.
You tell me no one you’ve ever dated
has liked The Dave Matthews Band
and I wonder what that has to do
I would imagine that it would be terrifying
to realize you’re a character in my verse,
no longer made of bones and muscle, heart
poundingly accurately alive. You’re my latest
creation. Welcome. I’m still learning
how to master your puppetry, re-create
your lines, pull your strings to determine
how it would feel to be you watching me birthing you
on this page. Don’t worry – I’m a professional
and you’re in good company. I won’t name you
and I won’t label you as anything other than how
I see you. You won’t like any of this
if you figure it out. Here’s the thing, though:
I don’t care. I’ve already put my thumbprint
on you and that will never change.
I will write a smile on your face and tell you
to relax into the paper. It’s easy and it's fun.