Monday, November 23, 2009

on the road

all night
i grasped the pillow hard,
my teeth grinding
in my jaw,
i was clutching
the lack of you
wanting only to come home,
and resume
the hold of us,
a molding into my mattress feeling
the grip of you.
or the lack of it, rather
in a hotel bed with scratchy blankets
tossing in the quiet
and solitude.
i am so unused to sleeping alone.
only ten days has me
tossing in my skin,
writhing with your absence,
a decade of days traveling
on the road, my life
packed into my luggage.
i am not running
away from, but toward
you, love.
i am counting days,
holding stock still,
for your touch.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

i write to people who will never read it

how quickly we forget things,
until they spring back to haunt us.
calling you kitten...
trying not to, but
failing miserably.
you leaning into me. the way it feels
to be curled into your chest.
and you,
refusing to let go,
and standing in the doorway eagerly
awaiting the next time
i'll be in your house.
these things should, but don't,
get any easier with time.

next time...
next time i'll have my brother along.
and we won't touch, we will pretend,
like we sometimes do,
that it isn't there.
that we have given up.
and maybe you have, but i doubt it.

i wonder, when i leave this state,
how you will say goodbye to me.
meanwhile you are an itch i
cannot scratch,
a truly terrible idea
someone i should hang in the back of my closet
and let rest
until the idea no longer consumes me

but that isn't how this goes, no
i will court the fire, breathe in flames
until i, too
am burning alongside
what we give up does come back to haunt us.
i wonder what will haunt you, in the end.

meanwhile, i shouldn't give
a shit.
i should be occupied,
not wasting my time dreaming of you
although i don't know how i could stop,
no matter how much i tried
there is no forgetting this, no pushing it aside

so next time, yes, next time
when you stare at me with that
look in your eyes and awkwardly
kiss my cheek
i won't look away, or try to separate
i think what i want is to stay in the
fire - to burn willingly, knowingly,
seeing that no matter what the outcome,
there is this
this burning,
the branding you've made on my skin

and when the time comes
that you will take my naked body
and deliver art into my flesh,
i wonder how hard you will resist
and turn away, or whether
you will break, like time and time again,
give up the resistance,
you forget
that you are trying too hard to quit me,
like i am a drug

and this will not be the end,
or the beginning, just
another chapter to the cycle
you wish you could end,
another captured moment i wish
i could forget

i hold another, now,
in my bed. i should not regret this
but i do,
when near you and all i think about,
despite my labor,
is what you feel like
when you do to me
what [s]he does, what you make
of our patterns,
how we move and trace shapes
in the dark

Saturday, October 10, 2009

we will never run out

you are stoic,
refusing my proffered ice pack and
insisting on walking to the car
on your shattered knee -
stupid man, the kind
that will never admit
how bad it is, even if
it's really awful

so i fuck you instead,
hoping it will make you
more pliable, so that
you might make faces at
my tea,
but drink it anyway

you hobble from bed to couch,
my eye wary on your balance
which is drugged,
and a little bit off - thinking,
i might
love this man, but
i'll never say it -
especially when your pride
is bruised
more than your face,
but i might -
startling as the realization is

so i smooth the stiff stitching
over your brow,
kiss the side of your mouth
that can still smile
and i watch you stand,
awkward and slow, dragging
your leg behind you

we stand, supported by crutches,
and we hold, we just
hang on tightly

Friday, October 9, 2009

a bit less

hello, my body said
pressed against yours,
i was looking for something
on the tip of my tongue
or my finger,
not sure of what to find, or
this is not new, but
age-old -
a click into place, a
sudden peace.
desire does not grow old,
only us -
jaded and a bit less
every time.
i watch us settle in to
each other, adjusting
the fit,
squirming in our own clothing.
instead we writhe into nakedness,
and lay open as this book,
readable in its entirety,
if you just give it
the time.

i don't mind.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ask how that colorblush dark heartmelt looks

when i punched the wall
so fiercely my fist dented the hardwood, i
didn't feel it
only the tingling that presages
that will come only later, when
you are alone.
nor did i bear the ache
of you,
drugs spreading through my limbs
i was finally detached
in my own head with the wraiths
i tried to forget while i was
with you,

my roommate looked at my
swollen knuckles, my
ashen face, said
i think you've finally snapped,
& now i know
what you mean
when you say you're crazy

and i believed it
holding ice to a fist
twice its size,
wanting still
to bruise everything in my path
until the bones of my hand cracked
and split,
staring off
to the side at the electrified air
around me and waiting
for my cracking wall of glass
to shatter down

looking later at the oval mark
my flesh embedded into the
wall, i ran my hand
with the fist i couldn't close
down the boards, stroking
lightly, trying to see
a pattern in the grain.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

if it can't find you, it can't hurt you

all those hours
drinking shitty beer to rid my mouth
of the taste of you
i never got drunk,
simply ill
then lurching about the house, fingers
clenched in my hair,
tugging tightly to stop thinking
i stumbled the staircase,
holding the phone to my chest
with its messages that wouldn't come
at least not when i needed them,
tripping upwards
to lie on a bed that wasn't mine,
mouthing a silent plea
for better reception
some blind line to put some
trust in.
toes throbbing, hand
fisting belly, mouth slack
breathing through a choking nose
with no sympathy
i clutched the hole of you
and the neck of the bottle
and it rose, washing you
down into the bitter pit
of stomach
the cavern of the toilet
as i knelt, preying
upon my roiling mind,
and washing my mouth out
with a swig from the brown glass
i stood,
holding the counter,
met my eyes
which couldn't quite face me
in the cold, predawn
light of the mirror

Saturday, September 19, 2009


it's what makes you hurt
a little harder, every time
it fails to come through

why are the ones
that stain you
always the ones
you can't leave behind?

Friday, September 18, 2009


i felt cheated,
i mean
when were their eyes on me
any time that i just
fixed something,
or chopped wood
hauled tree limbs, hacked
at your garden beds, when
did they even notice me
unless i was laughing and smiling
in that certain way,
wearing something
cut tight and low
i felt cheated, i mean -
always in the spotlight for the wrong thing,
never for any skill
or even a bit of personality
oh they loved me,
but not
because i opened my mouth
and told the truth
it's all to do
with a certain cock
of the head,
flick of the hair,
the tightness of my jeans

Thursday, September 17, 2009

creation is key

this is how it begins:
a twist
of stomach when we speak
over the phone, and a tingle,
a tightening that descends on my
entire body as i begin the trip
that brings me slowly to you
and to us

my anticipation sick, almost queasy
and you are impatient, always

wanting to know where, how far,
how long?

i sit outside waiting for the train,
wind flipping my pages
and blowing my hair wild
and i'm switching on slowly,
surfacing to awareness, the
resemblance of our bodies
and i know
there is something in this
connection of ours that is
not simple, that will not
flame into ashes
no matter how we burn.
there is more to this, despite
our denials.

you call
and i respond bodily,
so deeply
i have no way of putting this
kind of desire in words.
the need to not leave this behind
and disappear, although
when i plan out my days,
they tend towards running
the want to wander, to
assuage the restless mind.
but i have time
to decide.
and while
i wait, i come to you
when you decide you want me, right now

and damn the consequences
we are intertwined, our lives
mixed and messy and full of life
and anguish
and you roll it around on the planes of your mind

i sit stiffer, straighter when you're
around until you pull me onto
your body and we meld

and the world, for moments, molds
itself around us

so when i'm on the move, heading
your way, this is what i think
about -
the seconds where, when
you touch me
and everything disappears,
and all the other shit
we worry in our teeth
is wholly irrelevant.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

keeping score

i feel empty,
flesh hollowed within my frame,
the peculiar sink of belly
familiar, and intimate
the jaw i clench when no one is
locking my teeth together
for the sake of silence
my tongue tripping and turbid
with the lack
in the cold pre-dawn light
that barely escapes the covered sky
i have solitude.
it holds no solace.

the small rustlings of a house
starting from slumber, jerking
a hand through its hair
and stumbling sleepily
towards the sun, muffled
as it is in its blankets
of cloud
nestling in the sky,
as if
it hides from us
and maybe it does

i hide from it all, don't
step off my porch to
confront the world

not until the softness is
wiped away, and replaced
with unfeeling armor,
until the cracks are soldered
i'll be waiting
for the one who will pull me
from the grave my bed
has become

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


he looked at me
i said
the fuck
are you staring at

i'm not an exhibit,
not yours to gawk at, anymore.
i want to know what you want from me

waiting patiently with the look
that's more intense than you
let on but really
what do you need from me
that i have not already
tried to give, and failed
my delivery
i can't help you
waiting by my side staring
wanting something i can't
fathom, much less define

what do you see
what do you see. what you see
is weary, washed out and barely
transparent, too proud
to speak, too tired
to lie

you see
what i will not bother to
guard of me

Monday, September 14, 2009

the story of you

obsessively chronicling you
on the plane,
i only stopped
to eat their fucking pretzels
and order a vodka,
which i loathe, a
continuance of the earlier mistake
of a drink
wondering, god, wondering where
i was for you,
all this time,
because it wasn't by your side at all

off, too absorbed in the trauma
of my own skin to even see you
but i'm seeing now,
far too late
32,000 feet above
your home,
under the level of the sea
and god, i hope not thinking of me
useless as i am
with the words i never shared
and yours,
that i never read
for years, not until now
flying over the heartland,
to absorb home, the raw concept
of it,
if i could just figure out
who or what or where
it might be, what the definition is

Sunday, September 13, 2009

tail ending winter

a freezing wind
blowing off the river so hard
it bites through jackets
& layers of clothing & i,
dressed for the warm
am huddled behind a pillar
after two hours of riding
a bus, stamping my feet
trying to bring life
to my toes
& thinking
of you, warm as you must be
in the enclosed car you're taking
to where i need to be,

but you
would not ask if there was
room for me,
and i think
that is the only room
i have in your life now -

lunch hour and no space in the
car you're riding in,
to party with
the friends who used to be mine
but no longer invite me -
maybe tiptoeing around
your new girlfriend,
as if
i fucking cared, when all i wanted
was a warm ride
that would not even take half the time
i spent shivering beside a bus stop,
hoping if i paced
and ran
i might warm up

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the opportunity

i just left a note behind, and

if i'm not back in a week, send
a search party

early morning sunshine filtering
through the clouds,
silver and dull
muted, like my own flesh when i
rise, chilled and pebbled in
the cool air, and step in no
particular direction
just gone,
as if i could escape my head
by climbing
a trail to nowhere
clouds overhead dampening the light

Friday, September 11, 2009

don't go crazy... you're already there

go ahead, don't
look back
just examine the moment
you are in.
do not
look forward. exist.
waiting it out
screaming rock through
your headphones
cultivate blank and smooth
maybe willing to change, but
expecting nothing
barring randomness.
just wait it out
cultivate the face
that shows you nothing but a face, staring
right back at whatever
you let your face,

Thursday, September 10, 2009


the nasty sort of flu
is setting claws of panic into
the country, and naturally
i'm rooting for it
thinking of the fat fucks who
block my way while waddling
down the sidewalk,
the brainless public driving
and buying names
to plaster across their bodies
to fit in, to make sure
there is no deviation
from the norm

i sit in my living room room,
sewing my life together
with my hands,
every thread the needle binds.
i have the time.
i patch scraps to make the whole,
and wait
for something to take down
this ridiculous life
the pre-packaged kind,
that will only stop waddling
in the direction of the nearest food
that's fried,
when the world is altered
so i'm rooting for the microbes,
a healthy bit of mayhem
and destruction,
i mean
it's all bound to crumble,
and all we need
is patience enough
to live it out
until we find a fiddler
to play
when it all goes up in flames

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the divide

i know it,
the taste of blood
the metal tang
of it, the heaviness
on my lips.
i burned for it,
blankly at the sky
gone the dull color of iron
and poised to pour its
own blood upon us,
to woman, woman to soil
the inscrutable look of those
who haven't had the ample
to taste themselves
to lick crimson
from their flesh as if they, too
are cognizant enough to understand
that bleeding is only
a sign that your heart
still beats, that you
are [barely]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


i shouldn't have to tell you i don't
feel like talking,
it is obvious
enough - my headphones loud
to drown your voice,
over my book and glaring out
the window at the rain-soaked
countryside -
i have no mind
for your idle chatter, only time for
myself and the thoughts i tumble
in the early morning hours
where i'm so tired it's almost
as if i haven't yet gone to bed
on a train full of business attire,
highlighted in purple
flaming hair
and layers of hippie skirts and beads braided
in my hair - and i don't care
that they stare,
i'm still wishing
myself back in your bed, warm
against your body.
the rain
pours on. it's finally dawn
even if the sun won't come through
the clouds and all the people
toting umbrellas watch me
hunched under my hood and
shrugging my shawl closer to
my shoulders.
and soon, this time
when i'm let off the crowded
conveyance i will disappear
into the crowds, so much as i
am able,
trying to melt into this city
until there is no one left
to see
what has become of me

Monday, September 7, 2009

if, yes and i mean

when you touched me, i
just instinct cowering
from hurt,

this is what you represent
to me

i am wondering
if, yes and i mean if you even notice,
if it hurts you
to watch me shrink away
from you

as the mouse fears
the cat, as i fear
the empty night sky
with the moon hung full
and high

Sunday, September 6, 2009


he always waits until
i can't stand it anymore,
and move on my own
something i am comfortable with
as i move with anyone else
but then, the others never
change their minds
halfway through they're on me, eager
like me on you, like
our connect when the hesitance
finally leaks away.
we're not, then, so shy and reserved, we
breathe in what comes.

what comes now is the rain, my
morning-after slog to the city
to starve like a proper artist should,
while you teach high school, act properly
and count down the days to summer
more avidly than the kids.

i want you to teach me, or maybe yourself,
more about this - what it boils
down to, our bond
our lack
of letting go, even though
you say we are apart.
i know your
life is insular
and i combine the
aspects of my life in ever-changing
patterns, this person meet this
watch my lovers stumble
through the conversations they
never dreamed of having

and i'm wondering
about you, thinking
when will
you finally come to take your
place in the calm center of my
chaotic storm
and settle the
winds down far enough so i
can see through to the horizon?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

as if a ghost

my body stationary
flying on the highway but my head
is making a to-do list that
morphs, warps as i wrap a
solution around the edges of it,
i'm tightened
quivering and waiting for the chance
to go and change things,
my will.
we run 75, skipping
lines and weaving, waiting,
inside our minds twitching away
as if the concentration might
make idea take form.
i soak it
in, the milling possibilities

Friday, September 4, 2009

still eulogizing you, as little as i want to

going at it in a
stranger's bed, head
smashed against the wall,
still comparing you
to the situation
at hand,
while throwing our clothing
to the floor,
in our rise
and fall,
examining you
in my mind
wondering how much time,
how many pills & drunken nights,
what will release my mind?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

drunk dial

on another round of my father's
wine-in-a-box, which i am ashamed to say
ain't too shabby
though that might be explained
in terms of the sheer volume
i've consumed
waiting for your voice on the line to
make sense out of anything i'm
feeling, right now
at home amidst the familiar clutter
of a house filled with things that
are perpetually for sale, creating
an ever-changing home

my father's home, which isn't mine
but could be, if i could just
summon up the courage to close
my eyes and leave you behind
gathering the pieces of the life i own
and flinging them back across
this continent, fleeing again
what i cannot fix
or alter

Saturday, July 11, 2009


i'm waiting for the day
i'll be able to stand
on my own,
facing you
without thinking of all
the memories i regret,
without still wanting

Thursday, June 25, 2009

as politic

what we will not hear
makes marks upon us
the facts ignored to fit
our picture frames, it's
just how we like it,
there is nothing else

no, nothing but
the emptiness of a room
that swells with silence
and i've had enough
of it,
no desire to wallow in
its hollow symphony.
all i fear
is being left alone
for too long
wanting just to touch
anyone but myself
the body is political
as politic,
none of us will admit it
we all know it is a battleground

Friday, May 15, 2009

city boy

the sheriffs clop by
on horseback and i can't picture you here -
not in the back of the truck
we are driving, or
standing in the fair
watching livestock. you'd
be more horrified by
the horse shit clinging to your boots.
country as you are,
you grew up too much
of a city boy.
no one had you weeding
the gardens,
shucking bushels of corn
in a front porch rocker,
snapping ends off the beans.

that was my life, and it
wasn't even our farm, but the
neighbors' grandparents, who
recruited our wild child energy
and took us home
bursting with vegetables, not
that any of this matters

although i still can't see you
among the 4-H and canning prizes.
when we took in the fair,
you briefly paused for sticky sugar
spun into a cloud
and then we whirled upside-down
for hours, held by
metal bars
and gravity,
shrieking wildly into the night.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


the more i think about it,
the more i have
the feeling
that the first thing
that will touch the next book
will not be words,
but blood
and i am trying to find
a small part of myself
that cares enough to stop
that fact.
but i have become numb enough
that bleeding seems such
a trivial pursuit
worth nothing more than
momentary distraction,
but also
nothing less.
and the only thing
i have the energy for lately
involves forgetting, if
only for a little while -
and if bleeding is
just another thing i can do
to forget you
then i will pull
on that lifeline
as hard as i know how to

Friday, March 27, 2009

for Timothy

the fiddler on the corner takes minor
chords and bends them to his will
as we squint in the sunshine,
he because he makes a living,
and i because the music
is amazing and it's warm
in february
and i must soak in as much
as i can before it flees -

feeling like gypsies, camped out
on the concrete,
listening, watching
the heat and shine
dance off his flashing bow,
and i wonder where
home is, when he goes.
the beer i abducted from
the fridge at work we
split, talking of school
and its hypocritical
the irony
of educating someone
who still cannot make a way
with all their skill.
but it's okay, ale
in the warmth of the sun
cool and delicious contrast
to the stones
of the streets,
the concrete beneath
my feet as i walk away,
a jig
dancing its way into the air

Thursday, March 19, 2009

february snow

falling so thickly in
large clumps it
would be magical but
the street slushes it
as soon as the flakes
meet pavement.
just a little too warm
on our ground.
so it runs
and drips off the building tops
and down the rails
for the streetcar
in grey ribbons,
which might have once
held a spark of the
mysterious blanketing
power of pure powder like
what trapped us snug
in our houses
for a week in december -
the thirsty old brick
laps it up
like sandstone,
and darkens.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

personals section

and yes,
we really are that lonely
and desperate for connection,
you'll see it in
our faces, smiling too hard in the photographs
and our overly-optimistic words,
knowing even
as we write them
the types who read these ads
for a brief connect of some kind
will be skipping
down the paragraphs to the picture
or the part where i tell you
my bra size
so any person genuine enough to tell me
something that isn't pretty
i will drop a line,
if only to say,
your ad made me smile

the pathetic loneliness that comes
from our insular social patterns - to work,
to bar, to home and from and repeat the
same motions until
all we know
is the constant momentum
and a nagging sense of something
essential missing
when i page through
looking not so much for
someone to date or fuck,
as much as
the hope that someone
who finds me appealing will continue
to do so,
once pixels
become flesh, and blood

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the difference between

outside the snow blankets everything
like a crutch
and it will fade,
by morning,
in our constant rain.
meanwhile, i'm resting my head
against the windowpane, not
as drunk as i could be, and not
as drunk as i ought,
holding the last beer of the carton
and wishing
the snow would cover more
than just the tops of cars, houses
& fences so i could feel justified
in sleeping through the next
few days
without appealing to the excuse
of mental illness
which, at this point
seems a lie
as i can't seem to find
the madder side of me, even with
a little prodding.
can't decide if i miss her more
than dulling myself with medication
is worth, or at this point
whether it matters at all.
so i watch this snow blanket
cover us, it's 3:47 and all
i think is that somehow i must
for surely
everything will face
and i'll be left wondering
if i ever even saw it at all

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

waiting for winter to end

the snow silhouetted in
the streetlamp falls
thickly, but won't stick
so i know
tomorrow will have
only slush
and grey concrete
dingy wet sidewalks made treacherous
by what will soon
turn to rain, or
maybe just fade away.
so i'm waiting for the streetlight
to blink out, and
obscure everything
it might illuminate
in shadow.
and i'm wishing
for the dark to come and cover
what i am sick of seeing.
even the trees bow under
the weight of the wind
that keeps the snow dancing waltzes
in the air as if
when the lights go out
their world, too
will sleep

Monday, March 2, 2009

what lies beneath

i don't break words,
i shatter them
and meld from the shards,
scrape the shrapnel out of my scars
and pile the dented vowels
into a heap of things that could be whole, but

the consonants get left behind,
like younger siblings of famous folks
smug on the rug, smiling nastily
at the vowels trapped in their tower of fragments
they don't try to fuse, anymore
tired of dismemberment, and
the vowels' persistent inability
to commingle

they no longer walk in stride.
disintegrating into the silence
most define their lives by, the
taciturnity that turns
and bites at those who try
to demolish it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


i am 'heart'sick
and cuntsore
of talking about love
so let's look
at what's surrounding
the 'finery'
bearded men on the buses scraggling trash bags
of empties behind them,
beer in incontinent dribbles.
the college-educated
working some deadman job
with holes
in their shoes& knees
of their pants patched
with scraps -
i mean, contrary
to popular belief, this ain't quite
no fashion statement
it's called poverty

around us our neighborhood sports 'storewideclearanceclosing'
signs, yes
and this is what's left
for us.

at the mall a delicious pen shop
houses a man who works
in three-piece suits&
looks like Sinatra did, forty
years ago,
and he remembers my name
every time
i'm by.
i wonder what he is thinking in
that deserted shopfront&if
there's anyone
for him to go home to.
i want to ask him out for drinks sometime, but
maybe that would be creepy,
coming from me, or maybe
desperately lonely, which
i am
and when i smile at strangers on the street,
it's because i'm wishing i
could make some sort of connection with anything,

the bums that root through garbage buckets
for bottles or cans with a 5cent
and i would wonder about where
they go, but
i already know
they huddle neatly in sleeping bags
on burnside
all along its accompanying bridge,
squatting out a life
over a river

Saturday, February 28, 2009

for the poets who wrote in latin

i smell like hot
twat&i like it
a lot, yes
it's delicious
breathing in
the scent of my sex
diffusing through the place
&when i clench into you,
and you
fill my senses
cupcake sweet and tangy,
we reach through the room
with grasping fingers and a sense
of entitlement, yes

this is my body and blood
which has been honed on you
which has been lapped by[&from]
your lips&labia

i think catullus&i think sappho
would have been proud

after all they burned her poems&we're
burning now
she knows what it's like to taste fire

to lick it from the curved lower lip
goosebumps twist my frame
&we roll face-to-face
how is it
i've come to be here,&you
how are you faring
in my precarious bed,
young one?
does the yaw&pitch astonish,
or terrify?

Friday, February 27, 2009

white trash news

it's only monday night,
&a game shop owner's duct-taped
two teenage
would-be thieves into the closet for the cops.
meanwhile, a house has exploded&
no one knows why.
just boom - ashes.
meth-watch watches the
non-profit anti-meth guys go broke,
or maybe
it was a bust, or maybe they busted
the organization, it wasn't clear which -
i really don't care cuz next
it's on to cockfighting!
then later, UFO's in texas,
as small kids
run deranged in tin-foil beanies, like
demented hershey's kisses
i want to hide in my room already,
but wait!
we've still got
octuplets and shortages
on oxycontin, DEA's fuckin
with the street dealer so now
everyone else is paying instead
food poisoning the people, yes
so now just lay off a few thousand more
and goodnight, amerika
watch it spiral
down the drain
and go
we're all going somewhere,

Thursday, February 26, 2009


it really was an accident, this time,
that hardly keeps me from fixating on
the oh-so-minuscule cuts
on my wrist

i dropped my knife while slicing through
plastic packaging and the serrated teeth
tore tiny holes
which transport me back years,
years ago maybe
six-or-seventeen, with my watch
belted tightly to that wrist, hiding
the flow

i've got tattoos now, over most of those scars
but you can still feel them, and now
a hard knot
of scar tissue's raised, again
slight infection resurrecting
the feel of tender tissue
over bone
with those small scratches
i can't stop staring at
flaming triumphantly
next to my tattoo

carpe noctem

and i do

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

foggy and 32 degrees

waiting for an apple breakfast
outside the corner store
fifteen minutes before its opening,
hopping foot to foot
kinetics will involve
heat of some sort
while steam seeps from my mouth
and my wet hair slowly gets
cold enough to freeze
and even when on the bus,
my hands are too cold to touch

just like my feet in their protective layer
of boots as the rest of me
will slowly freeze, the more silent you become
at the other end of the line.
being busy only goes so far as a valid excuse.
meanwhile i am planning
to become as busy as you are, so when
i don't believe you, it's because
i have done what you are doing,
only while working, also

standing outside a co-op waiting
for the doors to open so i can manage a breakfast
from the bruised fruit bin,
there is more to life than poetry,
or homework, or
using the above as any
sort of excuse.

so when i'm worrying
because i'm not bleeding when i should,
and i don't know what to say
about that,
or if it should be
any business of yours,
other than your involvement
in the potential making

so i'm running a test
with the results
i will decide if i should let you see,
and decide
what the fuck we are supposed to do
with this mess,
whatever we are
calling ourselves

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


it's a strong point of mine
i'm waiting for my phone to ring
but it's you,
that means the phone will be in my bed
with the ringer off, and my door
and where i'll be
is the living room, blasting
music loudly -
which means i will finally
call you back around an hour
after you finally managed to dial -

otherwise it would be my hand
fidgeting the phone open&shut,
as if my action could somehow alter
the timeline of your making.
i've learned what enough is, now.

enough is pretending
that you won't call, which
is a pretty safe bet

so if you ever do
come through
i can imagine it
as a pleasant surprise.

Monday, February 23, 2009

at this point

i don't even know if i want you
when drugged the right amount,
and cynical enough i'll admit it
i don't know how i'll fare
with someone so blindsided
by life.

rationally, i mean, there's nothing
i'm really leaving
so it's a pity i've told rationality
to fuck itself, there
is nothing rational
in what lives between us

what with all the ways we've tried
to make it die and
failed, it's fine

although we look haggard
with our shell-shocked mouths,
which still dribble rubble
that means less and less
the more we say it
no matter how many times
it's repeated,
the constancy of assertion
will not bring
any more truth
to your tongue

so let's move on.
we've bombed the place and yet
we linger still.
among the hills are pristine places
and plenty of new spaces

in which, if you really prefer
the chaos,
we could recommence
the countdown

Sunday, February 22, 2009


the bad sign comes
when you stand to leave
and your center of gravity shifts
the bus ride to work's spent
head lolling from your neck against
the back of the seat
because you're too dizzy
to open your eyes
and you realize
how drunk you were the night before,
because it's approximately
how drunk you are still,
so walking straight
is a dicey proposition.
you'll spend the day looking ill
behind your desk, when
you aren't beating a path to the bathroom
to be briefly, professionally ill
hoping no one will walk in halfway
through, and find you crumpled
on the tiles, cheek pressed
to the wall, hoping to absorb
the stillness

Saturday, February 21, 2009

maybe saturday

yeah, of course it's full of maybes, like
maybe you will kiss me
when i walk in the door, this time
or maybe i just won't show up
at all
or maybe i will drag
out of bed early on an unlikely weekend morning
after failing to sleep
and wear a path into my floorboards
until the coffeeshop is finally open,

maybe i will leave before you ask me
to stay, or
maybe you won't ask at all, out of fear
that i might

maybe if you lay out all
of your options you'll be
able to figure out how to focus
instead of wondering blindly because
you don't know
what else to do,

if you weren't so fucking caught up
with what-ifs and you could enjoy our time,
maybe yeah maybe
i'll just
get caught up in this questioning, too
and maybe when you are finally finished
with your dissection of all we do,
maybe there will be
enough of us left
to create something
from our ashes

Friday, February 20, 2009

a little constructive hero worship

we [whee!] sing
i fancy/frisk/frolic/fuck
with words too so you’ll have to
look [LOOK] look!
closer i’m
trying to tell you something

[tell you when my mind is wholly occupied with
beating a path into the pavement
and not breaking my stride, breaking
beating my brain over things
i cannot change i am
slithering down the streets]
tell you
about running rapidly shifting me
non-sequitously when i’m straddling
two worlds where i
don’t want to be

[i mean fence-tops are for alleycats and
the weak ones,
my dear and we
are not part of their number] i

don’t want to be here,
i want there
i want delicious holding arms, yes
[sliding over my face and breasts you, darling
must know all of what lives inside of me
to know how to touch me so


Thursday, February 19, 2009


i'm the youngest person
in the place
& the only one
not clacking at keys.
i wield
my pen with long-practiced ease
long companions,
i and she
not much satisfaction's discovered
with plastic tapping keratin.

i've callouses on my fingers
from my tool,
which will not eat
my words but saves automatically
whatever i am scrawling onto scraps
that will be stuffed in pockets
and hauled out, eventually,
like the days' catch.

i mean peripherally i'll be
mining myself deeply
all day,
to find something worth preserving,
a taste of a frame of mind,
a mindset so thick it molds
between your fingers,
so fresh
it still bleeds when you apply
a bit of pressure on the wound
i'll open to public display,
after all this is what writers are made of,
exhibitionism with eccentricism,
mixed with solipsism,
a pen
full of ink and twitching,
or, i suppose,
if you prefer, the clickity
clack click clackity


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

shakespeare we aren't, thankfully

so many writers in a room
yet only one open notebook

even my lined friend is drowsing on my bedroom floor,
too large and awkward to fit
into my bag
& it's far too cold
to carry things with my frigid hands.

but that doesn't matter, i've got
scrap paper so
mostly i'm wondering
what the hell's beside the room's solitary notebook
as the owner types blissfully,
ignoring its lines
it's glass of some sort,
the type
that breaks easily
and i would swear
it was a bong, in miniature
if this wasn't the library,
although that's maybe not such a horrible idea,
excepting the inevitable toss-out
that sort of behavior would accrue.

still, the library, any library
is far overdue
for a little mischief.
i'm going to go investigate
the locks
on the bathroom doors.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

when i ask far too many questions

how much of what we see
is lacking the bigger picture?
how many times will we
what will define our future?
i've watched so many times as
friends left what they truly desired
behind them, fled in search of
something with less power to thrill,
or terrify.
it is hard to reconcile the mind.

meanwhile i wonder what
it is i'm running from, this time
my love of women
or whether
i'm just sick of inhabiting
my own mind
and wanting someone else's
to crawl into,
like yours
when you are so far from me
and maybe
that's why i like it

Monday, February 16, 2009

you stand out

the silence
is more comforting, now
than i'd imagined,
the excuse to disappear into my solitude,
presently scarcely occurs as
i'm too busy distracting
myself from what i want my brain to drop
like a chastised dog -
the subject no longer has any meat
left to devour.

best to leave it aside
in the pile of useless things
than continue to worry it so, although
i sometimes wonder what i will discover
if i bite through to the marrow

Sunday, February 15, 2009


is it fighting, the way we hurt
and if so, what or whom
are we battling?
surely there is nothing left worth,
at this point, preserving
but scars that pale in comparison
to the struggle,
paltry marks to prove having
and then finally when
you've almost given up,
thought you've won
the skirmish -

it's taken ten years to realize
the extent of the sickness, how
it burrows, hibernates
until you relax the sentry and
then it bubbles
to the surface, hissing
mine, all mine,
and you let it back in,

i mean,
what else are you going to do really

Saturday, February 14, 2009

pretty girls

slip glances sideways into
the conversation, exist in
the spaces between the words
and wait patiently,
for your gaze to be drawn

Friday, February 13, 2009

this one-horse tavern town

i can feel the twang in my voice
slipping back in
it's been marinating
in old bluegrass, and it's rubbin'
up against the kind of folks
found in trailer parks in small
hick towns
howdy, i'm saying, and the
y'alls are breaking free,
a girl out of the country and she's still
just as country in the city,
no matter
how hard she tries
to homogenize.

fuck it.
i'm repairing the soles on
my well-worn boots, gettin' out
my stetson and the next
dumbass what pokes fun at it
will get whacked
upside the head as hard as
only a southern girl,
who needs the knowledge,
can manage

Thursday, February 12, 2009


this time, i got
photographic proof
perhaps a bit gory, but certainly no more
than the blurred snapshot
i took long ago
of my
bloody wrist accompanied
by a razor
i thought, shame to waste it
took another self-portrait staring
into the mirror unsmiling
blood streaming from my nose
as if it had no time to waste,
running away
from what lives in my head

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

just waiting

the ferocity with which i desire
to be yours terrifies me
how badly i want you to need me
as a constant, not
a flux
i am not, after all, a temporary
you are fluid-like, mercury,
in that you drop and jump
freeze to boil and not much
contains you
but i don't care how hard
you liquefy
sooner or later
you're going to discover

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

refusing to censor

i don't even care
what words come out, anymore
paper or pen
tears on the phone

what i say to you
i no longer guard.
if i'm drunk and
inclined i'll speak
my mind, snipe
as far as i like

i think i deserve these
small and simple pleasures, the
righteous anger
i wield like a shield
against you, for after all
it will not do to
lower my defenses.

you rip to shreds
every tentative bit of trust
i put
in you

Monday, February 9, 2009

general application

to display my worthiness,
they asked for my work
implying my seriousness
would be judged by
my content

so naturally, i sent
the poems i deemed most inflammatory
each word carefully honed,
enough to prove my merit
but snide enough to let on
i was wise
to the game

they didn't take long,
letting me in
handed over the keys,
told me there would be no
time limit - after all,
i was working on it -
evolving into the person i would be soon,
and the new book
that would be placed on the shelf
what we bleed
when left alone
to our own devices.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the ability to create

i always wondered
how we lost it, and
to whom
whether we used ourselves up in
the strengthening
of others
as i watched you submerge yourself
in him, in the stability
he implies

and i wonder
how long it will be
before he sees the selves
you've tried to drown in
your pools of memory, wonder
if you will ever come out
from under cover long enough
to tell me something about you
that doesn't sound like you
rehearsed it
in your room, very late
at night, like you do
when he's sleeping

Saturday, February 7, 2009

trying to leave behind

i wonder how many poems it
will take to make
this volume sink under
its own weight

how many times i'll thumb
through, waiting
for a blank spot to appear
out of the chaos,
how many hours of
i'll eat like oxygen
wanting only
to leave behind the self
i'll entomb into the pages
in ink enough
to contain her

Friday, February 6, 2009

the [learning] curve

i finally learned
to drink myself to sleep after
your leaving
how many beers,
how many glasses
of scotch it took
to lull myself into laughing
a calculated process, involving
no accidents, this is no blind
i wanted to know
what it took to be happy
without you.
the answers to these questions on bottom of page:


Thursday, February 5, 2009


there's a window here through which
you can see no sky,
the skeletal winter branches of an oak
rubbing against the faded paint
of a brick building,
built sometime
before the new deal, but after
the automobile
greening copper on the roof,
starting to moss over
with age
over which a skyscraper looms,
shadowing everything in its path, even

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


thursday night, 10:43 or
somewhere near, around eleven
is when i'll hear
your voice
calling to me, after silence
from sunday night through the week
you're again lonely and
needing me, asking if i'd
like to throw away my weekend
observing you toil
through what will give you
professional papers,
asking me
if i'm willing to come to you
so i can watch you run,
when you've had your fill
of me

Monday, February 2, 2009

when my roommate asks me why i never follow through

and woman, when
i don't invite you back, and inside,
don't take it personally,
i'm hiding
scared to let you in for fear
i will run just as swiftly
and leave you, devastated,

for i'm no more ready for you
than he for i
nor she for me, back when
i was learning
to touch another woman's body
like a cathedral, as if
something sacred is housed
within the center

Sunday, February 1, 2009


when you are finished
running away
from your own head,
let me know

i won't hold too much
of a grudge,

you get to the point
where you know what you want,
it's not me, and
you remain

Saturday, January 31, 2009

sure you did

you used missing the bus
as an excuse not to come over last night,
and as i looked down at the phone,
seeing red
i realized
it wasn't just a cliche, i
really was,
as my nose ignored
the rules of engagement and broke
the dam, scattering
drops of blood across my book's
wasn't even my book, but
the library's
so i smeared my blood
into the paper
with the side of my hand,
trying to wipe away
the stain your lack
of consideration leaves
on my mind.

it didn't work
i awoke at three, trying
to remember if you called
when you said you would, which
you didn't
and i lay staring
at the ceiling in
the bed you were
supposed to be
warming with me,
wondering why it is
you find it
so fucking hard
to hold me

Friday, January 30, 2009

"i need to be more careful with you."

yes, you do, but
not in the way you're thinking,
in the sense of us both making
decisions we're too smart to,
on taking needless chances
with our bodies

all these things pale in comparison
to the things that live in my head,
what lives between my hesitancy
and your tendency
to run

we should handle like fragile eggs
what we have in the small moments,
what we create at our table,
and savor all our smells combining to say
home, you are home, home
in my arms.
so yes, let's be careful
to preserve
what home we have,
let's not get so caught up
we make mistakes
with the spaces between us,
but don't be careful
with me,
let's just burn

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the exclusive, by permission only, writers' room.

just walking in gives me
the shudders
naturally, it's got to be
stifling in here,
work-strangulating rather
than inspiring, sitting so silently
as if noise can forever interrupt
the sentence you're composing in your head
as if any single thing
could disturb you, the writer,
the special breed.

i write in crowded spaces, compose
in my head beside the copy machine,
crouch in the bathroom stalls to
scribble, it's not
so earthshaking as others
try to make it seem
the best writers go at it
wherever they can, in between
the chaos of their lives
we've all got our own process but
don't think it's brilliance, no
it's obsessively applying ink
to paper, hoping somehow
to capture something in a way
that seems you could almost
reach out and touch it

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

distraction sex

two days ago i lay
naked with a college friend, discussing
the lovers we were attempting
to leave behind,
discussing the futility
of our efforts

i said,
my life now could branch
into a thousand directions, none
of which will involve children, nor
and all of the stability
those things imply

and regardless
i’ll be just fine. but
if these things are
to be, they will be
with you,
my love

my friend said, "i
always wanted to fuck you
to understand
what it’s like to know
what you want so well,
and be unafraid
to reach for it."

it is hardly the absence of fear,
merely the knowledge
that nothing is possible if
i do not open the door, invite
something in, and leave it ajar

hoping, this time
what comes in
will not involve robbery.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

there are worse places to be

in your bed isn’t one of them, although
when not fucking
we spend the time agonizing over where we are
or aren’t going

you spin in circles

i let life take me
where the current flows.

but it’s all too obvious
we’re down the same river – whether
we want or not to tether
together is still unclear, like every decision
we’ll make
in the next year. nothing is static.

this, i know – we are unwillingly magnetized,
polarized, pulling together as we attempt
to separate.

i try, in my way
to leave – i’ve got
my retainer of meaningless people i call
to entertain and distract me,
the ones i trample trying
to forget you,
these small and useless things

much like the open three-pack
of condoms you couldn’t manage
to finish, not even
with that girl you used, again,
as an excuse
to run
from me

she exists
as two
used condoms, two
shitty snapshots
in your photo archive,
a meaningless moment you ran from too,
for running is always simpler than remaining.

your flight pattern straight back
into my bed, asking me,
"tell me what to do,"
as if i could plan your life
for you, as if
i’ve somehow got more of a clue

the five years you’re got on me are as useless
as all your justification
for why i'm not quite 'right'
although when i tried to make you say it,
all you could muster was, "well
i wouldn’t say never."

this does not come
with a consolation prize.
there are no substitutes
this time.

so i’m nursing more beers
than i have the right to drink,
and when i call the next girl
i’ll use as a temporary you
i will be drunk.
otherwise i
will lose my nerve
halfway through her door as she tugs
me by my beltloops

and when she strokes me, when
she makes me come,
the name
i will be repeating over and over
in my head
will be yours.

Monday, January 26, 2009


sometimes i want to obliterate these
pages, the helplessly
hopeful verse,
i want
thick marks obscuring
what i cannot bear to see
without my throat swelling to
the point where
i cannot
even speak

Sunday, January 25, 2009

what sticks in the mind

the nape of your neck is what
i'm remembering, i certainly
stared at it long enough
as you buried your face into my
collarbone, burrowing into my throat
as if searching for something
that cannot be found without
digging underground, without
turning away
from the sun.

i always wondered
what you found that far inside of me
sticking to my flesh as you slept
not beside, but on
sweat gluing us
to the bed.
stretched out side
by side, that was all it took
for you to curl into me,
shove yourself into the hollow
of my neck
and i stared at you, your nape
naked through your thick hair
and i ran my fingers through you
wound my fingers in your hair and
brought your head
to face me

Saturday, January 24, 2009

beginning with someone else

"who breaks the thread, the one who pulls,
the one who holds on?"
- James Richardson

we both break it - pull
so hard it snaps and recoils,
us with the suddenly slack ends
left grasping only a piece,
of many things and beginning
of none
so i drop that cord, leave it
like the gutter refuse it is
and walk on, kicking
at cracks in the sidewalk
i can't ever believe i
thought of telling you even half
of what you know of me,
which is still
hardly the tip
of the iceburg

Friday, January 23, 2009

the stand

and i think
what she wanted
was someone to save her
from her rut,
could take or leave
which is fine, i
took her
and left.

or rather
she did, tiptoeing out
of my bedroom
the morning after

Thursday, January 22, 2009


when we wrap ourselves
into the cloth of our beds, i wonder
how many hours
you spend
just like me, how many times
you've wanted to call, but didn't

i wonder how many years it will take
for the memory of the way
my body feels
to ease into the back
of your mind

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


i want to know
your expectations.
you are here, eyes heavy and purple
head sagging towards the table,
staring at me, always
into me.
i want to know what
you are doing here, why
you still insist
on paying for the dinner
i do not want
that you desire
i order
you gaze
intently as if expecting
some performance
don't know what you find, don't
see in my mirror where
your fascination lies.

my face pale
and drawn, stoic and lined,
my mind
too tired to try
for polite conversation.
is nothing left to say
between us.
we let silence ring heavy
in the air and
you stare.
what the fuck
are you expecting?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


i will run
far enough to get
shot of you

but until i
become that cold, i'm
apologizing to my roommate
i'm crying passing out
from my dinner of beer
into your bed

what do you have to be sorry for,
he says, and
i think,

there is not a moment
of the past year
i do not wish away

Monday, January 19, 2009

chaos coinciding

winter cold
the stench of the city streaming
through my bones,
diesel trucks
clouds of smoke spewing
from the smokers loitering
on every corner,
men with
nauseating cologne
applied so thickly i can taste it
when i walk past
the smell of ozone
in the rain, wet concrete
the constant clatter of well-heeled shoes
burnt espresso wafting combining
with greasy restaurant exhaust vents
i am
surrounded by stupidity so thick
i feel like gasping for air
stuttering, strolling
shitfaced drunks,
demanding dollars as if
i had anything
to give

Sunday, January 18, 2009


say i'm sitting
at a cafe and you trip over me
maybe you work up to it after
watching me on the bus
for days
maybe i step on your foot
in some inane line or i
talk to you
when you're trying to read
on the train
and you humor me

and then again maybe
you don't exist
yeah maybe the next time
i'm staring at you, i'll
find myself
looking through you like
a foggy windowpane -
image shaken, but
still recognizable

Saturday, January 17, 2009

who would you like me to be?

with you, i say my lines perfectly
as if i were winning awards
on a stage

i give you a nice, ironic one-liner
the last word
is always mine.

you, staring after me
with that look on your face i
can't quite place
into the way you say
you feel for me
like you're expecting something
around the bend that doesn't come
so intently

you read like an open,
well-worn book with the spine
at a favorite place

Friday, January 16, 2009

an unnamed, unspoken thing

strangers on the train, trying
to avert their gaze
the tension that ripples between them
the fascinated examination of the floor
which is streaked with rainwater,
and dingy grey bootprints
the pure blackness of night outside
the windows
reflecting only the distorted image
of myself.
i keep hoping if i stare
long enough, everything
will dissolve into patterns
without coherence or order -
the image i imagined looked blank
i stared out the window, but
it's more like feral,
so no one meets my eyes.
i do not mind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

they called me 'scary'

if i saw myself
on the street, i
wouldn't talk to me

all flapping long leather
trenchcoat and boots
to the knee, black
head to toe,
frozenfaced in permascowl

i understand now
why people are afraid of me

when i walk i move
like i have somewhere to go,
which i do
i go deliberately, placing precisely
thumping pavement with my long stride
peering out of my uniform noir
at the suspicious world, as if
i don't like
what i see.

i would be wary of me.
those who ask me why
i'm not afraid of walking alone
in the dark night
have not seen the apparition i become
when stalking the streets.

"a woman like that is not a woman, quite."
- Anne Sexton

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

this bitter winter

you hug me so tightly like
it's hard to let go
i lean stiffly into you, reminding myself
to put my arms around you
i'm supposed to do),
i'm too tired
to get closer, i won't invest.

you look older, sadder. i look like
a tragedy mask
from a play,
into my role.

you move closer to my side, bumping me
as we walk,
i'm trying hard not to touch you
too raw, too much
after the sensory deprivation.

months ago we lay face
to collarbone, hips, knees and
legs intertwined.
these months i've spent in my bed, holding
my pillow.
no one touches
my skin and if they
move toward me, i flinch away
it's too much to want something
so fiercely that you cannot,
will not have.

you soak my touch like a sponge
and i cringe away,
so you don't notice
when i put a few more feet
of distance
between us

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

take nothing personally

you sometimes don't, and
sometimes do
leave a mark.

so i'll be in the bathroom now,
washing the scent
of your fuck-and-run
off my body.

Monday, January 12, 2009

red velvet

for a week, i drove
past the armadillo's armored body,
back & forth,
to and from
the obedient girl i was imitating,
the diamonds on my left hand.
every time i passed his still form,
i thought
about the red velvet cakes they'd make
for the grooms' cakes at weddings,
grey frosting caked
into the armor of an armadillo.
the idea
was for the cake to resemble
the roadkill.

this road armadillo resembled
the cake at first, lying
on the center yellow lines
as if sleeping off
a night of rooting. i skirted him carefully.
when he split open
in two days, his red velvet insides
peeking at my headlights,
i rubbernecked past
the hit & run, staring into his center.

three more days transformed him
into a lump, small pieces flung
across the highway
and as he worked into a smear, i swerved
to avoid him
and thought about my own wedding:
when i saw my fiance's roadkill cake
would i disappear as swiftly
as my dead friend on the road?
my young stomach churned on it.

on the seventh day, as i drove
after canceling my marriage, i
let my gaze slip to my bare left hand,
my own empty body, and i hit
the armadillo, tires thumping over
the greasy lump that had once been
a grey thing, and then pink, and later brown
and as i struck him
i imagined the heap of flesh against the wheels,
my mind saying,
"ugh. guts
on my tires."
but when i looked
the thing had left no mark
of its body.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

on being spokesman

we don't have to dig down
far, to find the selves
we used to embody
we still store them beneath the skin, or
in my case on,
visible within the dermis and
for acknowledgment.
marks holding their silence
in patient anticipation
and yes
one day i'll be dealing with this
more publicly than really anyone
deserves to display
telling them not to tread down my path,
and knowing
i'm far too late
for the ones who really
need to hear it