Friday, May 31, 2013

the direct quote

yes, i
used my razors on
my arms
but you took yours to my chest
flechettes carving wounds criss-
crossed so deeply
i thought they'd never heal.
and now -
with my clumps of scars
bisecting this purple-red organ
of mine
this insanity of the mind, the
things i accepted from you
as if they were my due, yes

your marks still live here,
much as i camouflage them,
best i can
your fingerprints in my life -
and although incessant ache
has faded into the peculiar
melancholy of memory, still 

sometimes i stare at pictures
of you and wonder
about a parallel life i'll
never live, and the way
life brings us to our knees -

"i want to love somebody else
the way you love me."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


i waited, calling
for the soft, furry body
i knew wouldn't be running to the door,
unlike every morning -
the hesitation of uncertainty
where to look,
who has my cat?

his loss is bigger,
in this household,
than his body.

Friday, January 4, 2013

"why aren't you writing?"

because i'm depressed
because i'm reading - it's like research, okay?
it's too hot 
it's too cold
because poetry doesn't sell well, anyway
i'm too tired
because i have no office space
because it's way too crowded in here
stop hassling me about it
i feel pressured
because i can't figure out what genre i should market it in
i'm busy
because i have nothing to say.

yeah.  that last one.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

i'm disappointed in you

the type of evening when
needing to be
wicked drunk
does not even begin
to cover it

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


bleed it out -
the dregs of your mind,
the thoughts you can't leave
the incessant siren scream of
the clutching impulse -
anything, nothing, give me
something to drown myself in
the thoughts that spin
and clutch your mouth

duck, the next hit's coming
and you have no time
to move - quick -
strike them first
before they can get to you

Friday, April 27, 2012


she reads me
like a book through
a pane of bubbly glass -
the words blur, but
she gets the gist of
the plot
which arcs over our lives
oblivious, uncaring
of the fallout, the
pieces it will leave

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


how much i miss
my solitude -
the daily walk up
to the writer's room, the
silence full of pen scratchings

through the rain i'd run, book
tucked under arm,
hood pulled
low over my eyes.
the alone-ache
blending into something i
could live with - a painful
pins and needles

Monday, March 19, 2012


you left me gasping, body
[clit] still throbbing
aching for completion
as you sank into slumber

and i used my tears to water the bed
because it was the one thing
i'd wanted, in a day filled
with a line of spectacularly
shitty things -
i gave up
left my body huddled, alone
drifting in blankets
that were not warmed
by your sleeping heat -
you could have
not been there at all

Sunday, March 18, 2012


what will we remember, when
these years are through? a
scent of dry grass, the unbearable
heat of a scorching sun -

Saturday, March 17, 2012


my dull, bleeding mouth
chewed in indecision,
the moments
when i bite back
words - the
things i do not say
in my mouth

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a household obscured

languid evening
smoke curling around
the air, hugging
the walls & ceiling
smoke drowning it all -
the noise of tv, the dishwasher's
dull hum
is lost in haze
[a household obscured]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


i wish it would rain
wash away
all my anger -
the resentment i hold close,
the lack of brightness
to my days.
if i am dark, the sky, also
should join the night.
the wet grass, water streaming
from my car as i accelerate, &
the people slouch along, as if
the clouds press them more firmly
to the earth.
i straighten my shoulders, take my place
in my environment.
let the rain fall,
let this all wash away.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

cloud blood

someone (who?)
i don't remember
called it cloud blood and it's true
today, after last night's hail
tapping me to sleep, brittle
against the windows.
they predicted tornadoes
running through the channel
of the city. none came -
my disappointment, instead.
i settle in
for another week in
corporate hell, use
my illicit nail polish
to stain my fingers an
unobtrusive shade, armor
against the constant application
of soap and bleach water.
the chemicals leach into my skin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the shame

i do not
miss you
i wanted to

Monday, February 20, 2012


fits & starts
the ricochet forward, and
backwards, languidly
time lacking
a center to cement to.
the flying - faster,
rushing ache of it -
and the dull backwash
of hours moving sludgelike
in the center.
the years so fast,
this month will never end.
this week can't go by soon enough.
only four hours
before i can go. oh god. four
hours - an eternity -

Sunday, February 12, 2012

[even if i hardly use them]

i've been stockpiling
razors again
it always helps to calm
my mind

Friday, February 10, 2012


the scars keep coming
& the only thing that worries me
is that others might
see these marks i paint
into my flesh
and believe
i'm too crazy to be competent -
i've never worried
about opinions,
but it has occurred to me
that my arms might
paint a picture of a person
far more unstable than
i am today - i don't want
people to see a mental case
i want my arms to testify
to my great will
to survive

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

full time

the concrete floor
presses ache into my spine
pacing the same spot
for hours, giving others
my time
downing the free coffee
to stay awake.
snatched hours of sleep -
never enough to wake in anything
but a panic - the
rushing, rising sun sharp
against my windshield.
they say to take my
piercings out -
of course
i don't comply.
i do not blend here,
the tired girl
rubbing her eyes,
wiping the lack
of sleep on her pants.
latte, mocha,
americano, half-caf -
rinse & repeat -
the code of coffee.

Friday, January 13, 2012


i think there will be
no part of this life
that will not stain me,
leave me scarred.
my wrists ache in the
morning, now -
another reminder that the
invincibility of youth
inevitably wanes.
i live in the in-between,
the light and dark,
the gloaming
which makes me blurry, indistinct.

Monday, December 19, 2011

to pretend

i met a fellow poet
plying his trade, paid
by the flowing wealth of Big Football,
as we all were,
playing the fantasy of New orleans
for people who have their names
on buildings, faces
on alumni magazines -
the types who never
ended up with their feet
in the gutters, to see
the poets who
perform on the streets.

Monday, November 7, 2011


the coolness of air
poised over a swamp
murky and green
with gators basking
in the remainder of the
heat of the sun.
now the air bites
through my sweater
and i wish for warmer clothing
a jacket, pants.
i'd kill for coffee but settle
for lukewarm water.
i smile when necessary.
sneak away when i can
find the time - i often wonder
how i got here - this place,
town, job - and
i remember there is
no reason, only randomness.
only senselessness.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


the slick needle
slid out of its packaging
i watched her ritual
powder, cotton, water,
syringe.  she did it
i wouldn't let her pierce
my skin.  took the rubber
band, wound it tight
tapped air to the surface
a little squirt, a dribble
of clear.
my veins have always
stood at attention
for me
but especially
this night
waiting for the sting
a raw rush, i
new to this world.
i watched her eyes dilate, beautifully
felt my own respond
in kind
as she kissed the perfect dot of red
left behind.
first try bullseye
and i finally understood
these hows & whys

the second time, i
let her,
fascinated by the intake
of my blood into the
chamber, right before
the plunge.
she held her arm out for me -
and i recall knowing
that she was gentler with me
than my hands could ever be

Friday, August 12, 2011

new city

night -
our walls are strange,
and i am listening
to the trains
as they sing
in harmonies.
we are close
enough that i can hear
the clicking tracks.
day -
i stare at our
inherited patch of grass,
wondering where to plant my trees
that they might root,
i never seem
to know how to do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


make sure to lie,
past your lips
and straight through
your teeth.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

gay as i want to be

my father paved the way:
divorced my mother
and learned
at 54
how to become
what he had always been.
i admired him, mired
as i was
in the dying embers of self-denial
the three years
of running away from pain
encapsulated in the memories
of betrayal.

in that fear
i betrayed myself.

now, my father recommends places
so wonderfully gay
i marvel at the fact that he
ever became this comfortable with himself
at all.

i stepped into this world
wanting so badly
to become a part of something
bigger than myself.
my dad
the unlikely pioneer
in this journey.
i am proud
of us.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

the last

i hold a bandage
over my wrist, obscuring
my tattoo:
same old pattern, new refrain.

the worst part is
the asking -
everyone wants to know
& those who deserve it
are the hardest
of all
to tell.

my tired resignation,
it's really nothing, no
big deal, look drop it
it is unexplainable.
i can't patch this up,
for you, with logic.

meanwhile you shake
your head, look
so dejected
i always wonder why -
it always removes from me
any emotion at all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

tip me, bitches

how ironic, that the man
who would not give me tips,
bought me the button
demanding them

Thursday, April 28, 2011

how vividly

i remember
killing the bird.
it lay on the sidewalk,
lungs fluttering, too
young, quite,
to fly.
thought it was dead
until i stooped to look closer,
lifted it
into my hands

tiny thing, yet it had
the obvious weight
of the living
that indefinable force, a presence
no one can explain.
i held it, broken thing
too fractured to live, but
not soon enough for dying

i carried the sparrow
beneath its oak,
laid it gently on the ground
but couldn’t leave it
to its suffering.

i said, i’m sorry
put the tip of my boot
on its tiny head, and
feeling the inaudible
released my foot

it lay still. i
hefted it once more in my palm
feeling the lightness
utter stillness
and placed it on its bed
of autumn leaves.

this is
death, i thought, the
moment between
and stillness.

i buried its body under the tree.
i walked on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


i did not dream her
completely. she
was real, or
i guess is
although i haven’t seen
her face in years
almost seven, though it
barely seems so long ago.
i guess this is the beginning
of getting older
letting old loves fade,
save in dreams.
i met a girl, yesterday
who reminded me of
the girl in my dream
sweet, a bit reticent,
with shining eyes.
i wonder, sometimes
if i’m trying to
remake my past,
what withered
on the vine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


i crawl into the familiar
accoutrements, high
high heels strapped
to my feet.
on the stage it’s the customers’
fierce stares that strip me,
not of clothing, but
respect. they
show contempt on their faces,
take in the sights but
leave my stage bare, so
i don’t get undressed.
i am already naked –
sure they can feel my
utter loathing
just as surely as i can feel
their condescension
that sense of entitlement
where they believe
my time is not
worthy, as if it is free.
i pay myself in small
revenges, “accidentally”
kick their legs,
when they sit beside me,
trying to
take me in.
at night, i go home
wash the rude eyes
off of me, and remember
the good ones – the
boy who touched me as if
something sacred
and i start to relearn
the goodness of people.
i do.
in the morning, dragging
myself to the shower,
i hold this in my mind.
i go back to the club.
i go inside.