Category Archives: Writing

Pacific Rim

Chatter boxing with the waves
(for the first time)
at my feet,

or idly watching cable while
pushing candied chicken on
our plates,

I wonder why I only send you letters
when I’ve been drinking,
gin-kiss you on the cheek
when you’re about to leave.

I like the way I feel –
a lonely poet on a plane –
I am still young.
But I can’t walk alone.

My chest tightens as the towers
appear from the train
crawling out of the tunnel;
you and they just far away enough
to be beautiful.

Nearly-twenty

I was only ever an enduring shoot
but you are a boy who climbs trees
so yes, I am your green-girl
and am as long as you remember:
limbs blooming
my bed botanical: a canopy of ivy
your path to me in white flowers:
myrtle, swollen oleander
your body does not question
your knowing, gardener’s hands

Object Permanence

in spring we come across a peeling house
and fill it with pots and pans.
sometimes I make noise with a wooden spoon.
you fix shingles and leaks,
tinker, turn knobs, use a wrench,
and I leave smooth stones in your pockets.
in theory: majestic, domestic, but whose feet will start to itch?
who will be the first to kick up yellow leaves,
before they are slick with rain?
I could go with no forwarding address
but how can I leave when I find myself
chilled and gasping for air at dawn,
calling you by my own name?
my palms have nails; I found your toolkit.
there are unopened boxes, baggage, dirty dishes,
your briefcase, work in the morning,
but you run the bath and the walls grow damp with steam
I curl up in the tub, you lower in your feet
clawing at my own scalp, staring at your knees.
hair Gordian and snarling.
you wince as you move towards the comb
with gentle hands on my head
and I rip it from you and snap it in two,
spitting acid, crying hot tears:
a potbellied child, naked and shining and wet.
and I clench my wrinkling hands,
bubble underwater, taciturn and red.
carry me to bed;
I am only made of fibers and
my knots are not worthy of your untangling.

(as published in Rushlight, spring 2016)

beneath

(for Kate Gannon)

“most people are not fit to rule themselves” – jenny holzer

a pattern dares not move
but what living grooves are pressed
beneath a stone?
the clamoring worms
surviving death
halved at the child’s trowel
in a fat, peachy hand.

still life of: the pen drying out on my desk
you take the cap, my knife –
scuttling away to drink the wine
lusting at the light on the sill,
the yawning curve of your self-portrait.
you are a love of my life – we are not
sure of ourselves but she is
fairly certain of you.

detailing the pattern,
in the deal of the cards:
eppur si muove. she weeps.
the trumpet of your own aching joy
spreading like moss
under my feet, into the streets.

(as published in Rushlight, spring 2016)

How It Is Broken

 

my hands still smelling of garlic,
I leave early, walking uncertain
on my own two feet

I imagine birds picking at the suet
somewhere else, on a street with
just houses, no bodegas to buy from,
no way for you to punch me in the
mouth with whiskey

ears poking out of our matching hat
I suffer myself as I skate by accident
on the sidewalk past others, undead,
and yet they move with ease

fool half-expects you to run out after
me and apologize for what I never
told you

I have played my hand;
I have sung enough

while the ground begins to thaw
I am just starting to freeze

Ripening

(after 8-bitfiction)

you sink your sensible feet in the dirt
while we talk about the heat
presuming the boundaries of the court
are drawn there like sowed beds,

the summer being safe ground.
a comfortable distance
to dance from, to charm in words.

I thought about you when I felt
my bruise, my tan,
getting up from a sleepless sweat.
wondering if you asked me,
would I have the strength to shatter.

it’s cold in the morning but
in my dream we stand
opposite each other in the desert
waiting to reach out and breathe in.

Analysand

I found your dream journal and
and I remembered I too, am small — as we
curled like the pink inside a shell,
you under the blanket with one foot out
and me stock-still on top of the duvet because my god
you are a hothouse flower, unmoored by winter,
and I like the cold; we puritans burrow in snow,
in April, loving long summer November days,
but today you mentioned the weather after
lighting a candle on the nightstand,
wondering aloud if the world would
erode around us.

It’s been four hours since
you dozed off and thirty minutes
since I got out of bed for water
and found the thing dog-eared
like you were taking notes for a test later,
handwritten like you were asleep.

And you scare yourself –
I did not know how the world held you captive
or that it frightened you,
like it was something you might lose.
Here, I wrote down one of mine for you,
next to the candle, which you forgot
to snuff. “Had dream where all
my teeth fell out,” I write, while I stare
at your split-peach mouth, stammering sleepiness
hoping you will find the dream and won’t tell me,
hoping you won’t notice that the book, or the thermostat,
was nudged a degree.

(written for Poetry Writing: Form and Craft)

Plum Island

squall andrew wyeth

after Andrew Wyeth‘s Squall

the piping plovers hopped
along the time I went
birding, cold and wet

dispositions fret,
slickered yellow hiding behind
dunes pock-marked

by rain, canvas tote bags
dampened, ferried across the bay
to observe

the avian world. mid-june
we’d rather slather in
sunscreen and bake

in the heat but instead we
steep in the weather, peeling
our socks off after the squall.

(written for Poetry Writing: Form and Craft)

The Glass Dog

ade chiricofter Giorgio de Chirico’s I Shall Be There – The Glass Dog

I shall be there
baring the paunch of my stomach
bearing my heart in an open box
as you, cool as loam in the garden last night
lie beside me on the grass not yet wet with dew.

a constellation is a group of stars
that when seen from Earth
form a pattern

You shall be there
out lying with me
outlined by the moon
as I, marble and frozen, neck taut with worry
teach you the shapes of the pinhole stars.

a constellation is lovers intertwined
that when seen from space
forms a star

We shall be there,
wandering eyes,
wondering how
as we learn the contours of the sky
we have not yet touched the ground.