Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Chapter

To me, he appeared magical in the radiance of the small town's streetlight display. I flicked at a smoldering cigarette in my fingers, glancing at him here and there when I was sure he was looking away. It wasn't the decade which lay quietly behind us that propelled me to stare in his direction. It was the way his gentle eyes told sad stories of the path which he had recently traveled to get here. The way his fancy shoes looked displaced and crunched the northern snow.

His hat and scarf and belt and gloves. His LA style was both foreign and familiar among the hippies that resided here in my town. He couldn’t have just one damn, peaceful afternoon of writing in the coffee shop without some unshaven, pixie-haired, patchouli- drenched swinger trying to get into his pants. That’s what his flask of whiskey was for I suppose- to stifle his good-natured urges to placate small talk. Because, here, you know, small talk will make you the next “new guy in town” victim for some desperately bored local. Not that one would need to be desperate or bored or sex- starved in order to find him both incredibly sexy and affable. He’s certainly the type that women (and men) gravitate towards in a bar or crowd. I, however, never met him in such circumstances. I knew him when we were young and awkward- a time when this now savvy city-trotter was intimidated by my edgy, pre-teen attitude.


The lesbian who lived in the apartment above mine was quite bitter. Well, when it came to matters concerning me anyway. I rarely ever saw or heard her before last October. She kept to herself and her toolbox and her large silver truck. But one night, just before Halloween, I had escaped to the bohemian- infested coffee shop to write. Ideally, I prefer to write at home with a glass of unadulterated whiskey or schnapps, sitting in a computer and candled glow. A little City and Colour. But by time late October rolled around, my unemployed husband and I were so sick of each other that I could not have even drowned my resentment with an entire liter of Jamison.

I primed my small corner table for my ritual of writing preparation. I ordered a mug of spiced chai and carefully doused it with some vanilla schnapps. I was a good two pages in when she approached me.

“Hey, uh, you live downstairs from me, It's Elsie, right?” I unplugged my ears and we both laughed a little as the excessively loud music poured from my headphones. “Whoa, you’re really rockin out” she smirked.

“Well, yeah,” I laughed “I suppose it’s the only way I can think” I said, glancing down at my screen and clicking “save” for the tenth time that minute.

“What are you working on?” She seemed genuinely interested. Normally, I would have just lied and said that I was paying bills, but she pressed on. “You look like you’re writing. Like really writing.”

I smiled and chose to respond truthfully. “Yeah, um, I am.” She gave me a simple, encouraging grin, so I continued despite my wrenching embarrassment. “I just write some things here and there. I was an English major, and my emphasis was in Creative Writing and so I guess I just like to…” I let myself trail off there, as to stop myself from the rambling I was prone to.
She was unmistakably excited. “Wow, I just finished up my MFA in Creative Writing…I had no idea that you were a writer too.”

“Well, I am definitely not” I smirked. Her comment had caught me off guard. “I just mess around with a little poetry sometimes.” She had already positioned herself closer to the extra chair near my small table. I was not really in the mood to offer it up, but she asked before I had a chance to make up an excuse as to why I had to leave. “Oh yeah, totally, sure have a seat,” I managed.

The next half hour’s conversation meandered around topics such as the quality of the coffee, the house we lived in, and of course, academia and writing. She was extremely well- versed and it made me feel young and inexperienced. I think that I should have just come out with it and admitted that I partied too much through college and barely even read half of my assigned books. Maybe it would have been just the turn-off I was looking for. But, I humored the topic and allowed myself to look respectable and educated. She invited me to meet weekly with a small group of writers in the area. It was an extremely temping offer- I had not even considered the possibility that there were more than two talented, let alone educated, people in this miserable hick town.

Hitting the limit of my knowledge of John Donne and Hemmingway, I changed the topic. “Just so you know, my husband is moving out.” The bizarre drink I had mixed and the gravity of my imminent divorce were both suddenly hitting me harder than I had anticipated- so I suppose it was a recipe for a word- vomit cocktail. “He’s leaving this weekend, so you know, like if you see someone moving out. It’s just him,” I laughed. She threw her head back and laughed with me.

“Seems like you’re doing okay with it,” She said, catching her breath.

“Yeah, I am glad to be rid of him,” I stated unsoberly and matter-of- factly.

We talked a little while longer before I decided to lie and leave. The next day I found a Post It stuck to my front door asking me if I wanted to meet up for dinner. She gave me her number, but also reminded me that I could always just “stop up.” That bastard “Dick Proenneke” was leaving the next day and I was dreading being around the apartment while he sulked and played video games. So, later on I went for a run, did a few shots, cleaned the kitchen and called her up.

She went out with me just this once on a chance that she was certainly hoping was a date. I ordered a beer and waited for her at the table (which occurred to me later was decidedly very much for couples). Had I not been a natural blonde and a lightweight drunk, I would have connected the dots. But, I was both of those things and also in a place where I was waiting for my mountain man of an almost "ex" husband get his goddamned yurt out of the livingroom.

When she ordered wine, I knew then that I was in way deeper than a fish sandwich.


We continued our walk down 3rd street. Alcohol always leaves me feeling unsettled and hollow. I had too much to drink that night and so I was restlessly waiting for his touch. I knelt in the snow. It soaked through my jeans and the cold pierced my knees. Bare-handed I grabbed a handful of snow from the curbside. “It’s beautiful, right?!” I said excitedly.

Gazing upward into the black winter sky, I saw delicate sparkles of snow swirling around the streetlights. “Why am I stripped of all my worth?” I asked.

"Well," He said "You aren’t.” He was articulate and soul-bearing like all great writers are. But, at all of the right and wrong times, and certainly at the write times.

He knelt next to me, cupping my chattering chin in his gloved hands and continued, “I can tell you something about the meaning of home, and your sense of worth. You are beautiful." he didn’t smile, but the look on his face was safe and tender. He picked me up from the sidewalk and kissed me slowly on my cold cheek. “I have been where you are now, and I can help carry you through it.”

I stood still, feeling flecks of snowflakes on my face and it glistened in my long hair. The way that he understood me was astounding. I was deeply in love with him. With all the of the ways he understood me, undressed me and then dressed me up again as his girl, I was smitten. Feeling worthy was never a feeling that I was accustomed to. In attempts to be the best and worst versions of myself, I was content to let him in to be both my savior and thief.

I let the weight of his words pound me. I had hung from gallows of adultery and regret, and yet I knew that his journey was not so different from mine. But what does a stubbornly independent woman do when she has discovered the person who not only appreciates but revels in her deep intricacies? Run. That’s was who I was and what I wanted to do, for no rational reason. But he could run with me maybe. He Loved my past and present and my mother and my father and my fantasies and my stinking reality....

Perhaps that was the time to come out with it. To tell him all of it. To shake up this small northern town and then choose to enter a large, startling city.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2007 in bottles

it was a year that did not age well
the summer sweat beads of tears
the wedding was white and dark
wavering flames in the barn fell
casting shadows on the coming years
but we clung to that faint spark

a restless girl, now aging well
red wine in a dusty bottle
i'll toast to the time we shared
i've shed that slow and angry shell
on a beach somewhere as i throttled
the necks of those who never cared

you hung me out to dry, but i aged well
in a wedding dress a size too big
i wore rings that slipped and never fit
i wore emotions on lips, you could't tell
you can't support the holes that i dig
you couldn't stay, I wouldn't commit

I could tell your age well on the phone
your voice was sentimental and pure
and i was hanging onto all of your words
not for my comfort, but because you were alone
you labeled me flighty and unsure
the drapes hung low and i lost my words

these broken bottles line my floor.

Key West Mess

He’s a mess. “A fucking mess most of the time.” Some inherit their father’s eyes or money or religion. I inherited his fucking mess. I say this with the utmost satisfaction. Not that I am necessarily pleased, not exactly that I am skirting my own role in my messiness- but I am certainly not resentful. It causes me to wrestle with predestination and free-will. Not in matters concerning my heavenly Father, but wholly concerning the matters of my unholy father. From the moment his sinning hands held me and gazed into my churning blue eyes, was I fated to mirror him? Like the creases in our thumbs? Faded Levis aren’t my style- hell, I am sure they aren’t his anymore- but I still sport his genes. I wear them like a scarlet letter now.

Every couple years, he shows me a letter that he writes to his siblings. In past cases, I have read these letters the sort of way one might read an instruction manual for a television. Hm, he is saying x. Interesting. Now moving on. There’s a definite sarcasm, and a slight undertone of loathing for those that he writes to. More than skimming, less than analytical, I fuddle through his words. This morning while sipping black coffee and checking my email I saw one such letter in my inbox. It’s been a couple years, it was time I suppose. I’m pretty sure I don’t even like black coffee.

I usually read the middle of a letter, or book, first. Then the ending. Then the beginning. Well, then I read it through the right way. I found myself nodding and thinking, “I don’t go to church, either, Dad.” I imagine him there, seated at the foot of his dinner table, the surface still a little sticky from when his two boys decorated Christmas cookies. It’s one o’clock in the morning, and he’s sipping whiskey. No, I am sipping whiskey. He’s a vodka drinker, I suspect. But, alcohol choices are completely arbitrary- well maybe not. His headphones are in, and he is bent towards the page. He’s always loved a healthy piece of heavy parchment and a Cross pen. Perhaps an onlooker would imagine that this sophisticated attorney is listening to Vivaldi or Hayden. I, of course, know better. Freak folk and metal. Once I had sufficiently conjured up an image of what he probably did not even look like while writing, I was still content to sip my black breakfast and continue reading.

The uncomfortable words that he penned were like potholes on the page. They were real and disheveled. I could see his eyes, ragged and tired. The weary way they used to look in the 80’s. This time, however, they are heavy from the burden of mini vans and nightly dinners, not cocaine. But, I wonder what the exact difference is. Addiction and obligation and fixation and rejection (and an unhealthy fear of all these things). This is what drives the sad and wondering soul. This is what drives him to come clean. What drives me to flee. The things that drive into us like nails, the things that drive us together. There is a sinister irony creeping into the cracks of this dichotomy. Abrasive scriptures and broken philosophy texts have cornered me and forced me to seek out this pairing of right and completely wrong. To seek out where I came from, and subsequently be reminded of whose daughter I am.

I think that I would like to stumble across him at the Green Parrot. The Floridian breezes calming his arthritic aches. I’d smirk, watching him flirt casually with the tanned bartender only two inches taller than me, five years my senior, and a skirt three inches shorter than I would ever wear. He’s not sleazy about it, he’s classy. Maybe he wouldn’t even recognize me as I observe him, as I am nineteen pounds lighter and my hair is seven shades darker than it was last he saw me six years ago. I would be four drinks and one cigarette into my story, ignoring texts from a forty-something, hummer- driving stock broker who is certain he is in love with me.

I was suffocating when I was married. Now that I have escaped, I still can’t really breathe. But, I believe that maybe a few too many drinks and some soul-searching in Key West with the man who passed his messes on to me would be just the sort of breathing I could possibly do.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holidays & Honeymoons- Chapter

fragments of chapters

When the holidays began to feel like prison sentences, I began to feel like my insides were freezing over. One year and then another. That November, when the Midwestern ice sheets began to layer quickly, one on top of another, I could sense it in my fingers. I could also sense that it was the year that I would decide to never have another cup of lukewarm tea in the farmer’s house.

My father- in- law was a quiet and cranky man. A man whose livelihood defined his entire being. Had he planned life more carefully, he would have chosen a small, self-constructed cabin in the seclusion of the north country. However, he found himself more southly in the middle of cow pastures, waking at 4:30am each day to be an udder-wrangler. It’s not that he was looking for anything glamorous, that fictional cabin would not have even possessed running water. Yet, he did find something sad and lowly about being a dairy farmer. It was this dusty cloud of unhappiness that rolled into the forefront of his mind each morning at the buzz of 4:30. The side effects of this cloud are what brought me yearly to his weary, white farmhouse.


That year, I spent Thanksgiving with a bottle of Jameson and a pack of specialty cigarettes. I suppose it was not the most delicate of ways to spend such a lovely sort of holiday. Though my glossy lips and meticulously powdered face suggested otherwise, I was not feeling lovely. I told each circle of family and friends separate stories as to avoid any scrutiny. And when it was all said and done, I was alone with some Jameson and my cat. Feeling thankful, at least, that I did not have to be the main float in their parades this year. I knew Christmas would be a different story, but I reveled in the temporary solitude.


It was nothing new. The snow fell down, inch after inch and he said nothing. Nothing at all. It really was nothing new. He always had the hood of his sweatshirt pulled closely around his face and it was always snowing.

It started as a fine mist, just dusting the top our tent, but now the trees around us were thickly coated with about four inches of white death. I had been watching in silence for hours. I felt as though I was slowly freezing, losing all interest in everything. I closed my eyes and let the dark of my eyelids consume me. It felt nice to see black after all that blazing white. My eyelids blinked as though they were 50 lbs each and I could no longer stay awake. By time he was standing over me, I was already asleep. It was a cold and lonely honeymoon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

lows and loves

bare hearts of three cinquains

your coat. your hands. your heart.
i've loved you since you were small.
caverns in your eyes, onyx worlds apart
so deeply enamored, i missed your fall
i got whiskey hammered and built a wall.

streetlights. empty bottles. alleyways.
(all those ways dirty cities used you)
through the miles, i felt you some days.
like arrows, your tears falling sideways
did you ever feel me? did i come through?

in my soul. in my shower. in my pen.
burrowing through drifts of snow,
we are dusted and white here.
smile, you are losing your fear.
was it hope in your eyes? let it show.

Monday, December 20, 2010

bitter wave (and then breathe)

i wanted to write you off-
or write a nasty letter
erase your chapters
from my story.
but the anger only came
in shaky waves today
receding white foam
(you're so boring)
i'm seeing the light now
as it blinks on, off
on the front porch
(you were mean)
i'm ebbing and flowing,
crying over cat puke
dying to leave now
i'll pack now.
i'll throw your stuff
into the lake tide
watch it freezing
you are fading.

Oh, Otter

streaming upstream, you’re flowing
diamonds in the ripples, waterdrops
silver fishflesh in your mouth, glimmering
smiling through slime of crayfish
we web our feet through the current.
I’ll find you by the river bank
In your eyes, there’s a glowing
Sparking the hope of summertime
nearer to my heart, I cradle you
as curious innocence in your eyes
melts my waxy despair.
I am swept away
Away in your honeyed stare
Your endearing heartbeats
Underneath your wet winter coat
in the icy torrent, we tread
sandy on the river bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

wicked terza rima

The Result of too much Dead Weather

she sees the horizon quickly nearing
dragging slowly on her cigarette
red clouds & smoke in her eyes smearing
her vision and her silhouette

twisting and jerking like a marionette
she's rotten wood wrapped in a musty cloak
a killer draped in sexy strands of brunette
she clenches his rings to make him choke

death tolls on midnight's sudden stroke
wraith- like hovering over his face
her lips are burning in plumes of smoke
and she buries him in the darkest space

a box for his soul and sinking skin
a box for her eyes and stinking sin

Bedside Escape

Waiting for the Wire, 2009

before, all i needed was a drink
and i would sink into the cracks
of the cushions of complacency,
forgetting you.

like a writer on the verge
of thoughts accumulating...
in dense urges of the deep pit
covered in paralyzing sleep,
without a pencil.
you erased me.

I took that breath as
air curled into my ears,
breaking through walls and
the buzz of radio stations.
i took my first step
out onto the wire
wavering, smiling, knowing
that i would likely plummet.

always something to hide
i can see it scribbled
on top of an oak desk.
sticky notes of loathing
from the days i saw you often.
the stale safety of this bed
is shadowed by the thrill
i feel as i wait for my wire,
as i wait to tiptoe further...

it is a beautiful step
focusing on everything
and nothing.
the skyline is suspended below now
and soon i will fall away from you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Italian Sonnet for a Traveler

These winter nights can heal your mind
Soothe your bones now brittle and cold
Returning each year until you fold
Away your worries and leave them behind
You can find me in the folds of a scribbled sheet
Where we can ease December’s bite
touching our noses in the candlelight
it is here that our pasts both melt and meet
I’ll stay awake in my wintery gown
Draped in dreams of your endless path
Can you find your way to me when you’re alone?
I’ll stay awake in this sleepy town
While you calculate our star-crossed math
Can you believe that you’re almost home?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

narnia and other thoughts- Chapter segment

The snow fell relentlessly. It was the sort of blizzard when the muffled hum of snowplows was the sole sound and the streetlights looked like a scene from a CS Lewis story. I didn’t want to admit it, but on snowy nights like these, he was all I could think of. Did he dislike the cold? Was he living somewhere warmer? The last time I saw him, he was wearing a scarf. This solitary fact led me to conclusions such as: he did in fact enjoy the icy weather, choosing appropriate attire was something of value to him, and, of course, that green scarves made his eyes glow like emeralds.
I was astounded at all of the musings I could conjure based one just one small detail, but it made me feel weak in more ways than I wanted to admit.

Weakness. The lengths I went to to avoid it. Writing to escape it emotionally. Running to guard my body from it. Leaving people and places to plug up the cracks in my soul.

Friday, December 3, 2010


possibly a chapter in short story

I wanted to run through Grandpa’s garden again that Tuesday morning. I wanted to go on an adventure and wear wings made from Rosie’s clothes. Mostly, I wanted to run. I imagined my thighs gaining 2 millimeters per minute. I had applied extra mascara that morning before heading to the office. Sometimes a little extra makeup can attempt to make up for a relentless, expanding ass. But only sometimes. Sadly, this was not one of those days, so I skipped lunch and swallowed a diet pill.

I listened to the late afternoon chatter of my co-workers and quietly observed them. That’s what we writers do- at least that’s what I do, and I also happen to write. Carolyn was selling her couch on Saturday and making her husband pot roast for dinner tonight. Janet was easily 50 pounds overweight, and yet insisted on keeping a candy bowl on her desk and bags of chips in her drawer. Tyler, metrosexual and moody, was gasping while on the phone with his mother. A few temps sat in a corner cubicle discussing Jocelyn’s new sweater, and probably the fact that I had just left my husband. It was inevitable and so I decided from the start that I wouldn’t give it a second thought once the gossip gears set into motion. I was sure by that point I was most likely in the process of running off with a Jamaican from a cruise ship or had just been diagnosed with something awful. Because that’s why wives leave husbands; they are either horny or insane. That’s a fact. Right?

I looked at my bare ring finger and smiled. I suppressed my laughter as I imagined what would happen if I “accidentally” dropped a condom by the copier or “haphazardly” sent an explicit, extra marital email to “all staff.” The truth of my situation would remain my dirty little secret- which was that, in fact, there was no dirty little secret at all. I chuckled again and although I do not smoke, I went and asked Leon for a cigarette. This turned a few heads, momentarily satisfying my desire to fuck with everyone.

Chapter 1

There’s a more beautiful place to start. Somewhere between where his lips part, where my past and future open wide to meet my mouth. But I will start inside the ugly gaps, inside the crevices of my hardships, because that is where you will see the purpose of my journey. Perhaps if you see the spinning rudder that has propelled me, you will not hate or love me too much for what I have chosen. Possibly, you might come to value the intricacy of love’s fingerprint as I have.

I wanted to run. I ran. Through the rows of trees and over the dusty pebbles, I could feel my feet and pulse pounding in time. I knew I would not be able to find him no matter how fast or far I pushed myself, but it seemed worth a try. Why would he be in these woods? He wouldn’t. I disguised this cardiac circus of mine as something healthy. I also disguised my reality but leaving my wedding band on the bathroom sink.

Here and there when I would stop to wipe the sweat from my hairline, I turned around quickly, stomach lurching- hoping that I would see him behind me. Maybe just this once. But the leaves rustled and the clouds drifted and I was alone. This forest and this path used to comfort me. I stood soaked in sweat, miles from home. It would be miles to get back again. I pictured what I believed his smile looked like now, hypothetically how my hand would fit inside of his. I inhaled and began the tiresome trek back.

The mountains of Tennessee are more depressing than they are beautiful. Of course, when I was a little girl they seemed to glow with the magic of possibility. Undying creatures of Faerie and Middle Earth flitted about in my imagination and also in those smoky, mysterious mountains. I painted my small arms with finger paints and markers; I wore wings made of grandma’s skirts. Large hazel eyes gleamed as I sang my songs of pink horses and frosted cupcakes. In my six year old imagination, I believed that the orange lines on the trees in our backyard were landing sites for small alien ships. Momma told me that they were markers for the tree cutters. I did not conclude that soon our entire wooded yard would be littered with piles of slain fir trees. I supposed that this was something for grownups to consider and continued about my adventures.

The day that my Dad visited my house in the woods, it was mild and breezy. The first rows of the firs had been butchered and I was nestled beside the root cellar. Hugging my knees closely to my chest, rested my head on them, letting my mouth unhinge slightly. I saw Grandma, whom I affectionately referred to as “Rosie”, through the kitchen window, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. Maybe she had been very good friends with that patch of trees I thought. The rumble of tires on gravel and plumes of dust signaled the approach of his black truck. Looking back, it see now that this day held all of the signs of change. But little girls do not understand the gravity of change as it is happening…only much later.

My dad was lean and muscular. He wore a blue bandanna nestled in his long hair, and I found him to be both striking and frightening. I saw him flick the butt of his cigarette into the gravel. When he saw me, tiny and wild, he paused and went to one knee. He winked and gestured for me to come to him. I only knew of his hugs through a handful of other similar experiences. “They are taking our trees away” I said boldly, still beside the root cellar, bare toes planted as little roots. A small patch of prickly grass scratched at my foot, but I overlooked it for the moment. “Did you tell them that they could?”

He smiled in his charming way and laughed genuinely, “No, Els. You’ll have to ask your Grandma why they are cutting down the trees.” I took his laughter as an insult and squeezed my knees closer yet. Admitting his defeat, he got up and came next to me. “You’re a tough one” he said with adoration and pulled my head next to his. My long, unruly hair twisted around in his beard and I could smell the unfamiliar scent of marijuana in his tee shirt. “I’m not going to see you again, little one.”

I closed my eyes and let a solitary tear escape through my eyelashes. “I will wait for you to come back” I said firmly. “You will have to forget about me, Elsie” he said through his pursed lips as they kissed my forehead. He looked away suddenly. “They’re going to find me if I come back here for you.”

“Will they come to look for me too?” I wondered aloud. “Are they the ones stealing our trees?” He cupped my small face in his strong hands. “You will be just fine. Someday someone will take care of you. And I will owe them one hundred thank- yous” he said, his voice wavering. I certainly knew that I would rather take my bag of books and candies to live with the fairies the trees before I would need someone to care for me. But, I solemnly nodded my head to console him.
Before he got back into his truck, he stopped and reached into his pocket. I was still at my post beside the cellar, now standing stiffly. “Can you hold onto this for me?” he asked nearly playfully. It was a silver cigarette case. Seeing the look on my face, he knelt once more and put it into my hands. “Don’t open it until later, Els. I love you” And before I could remark, he was gone in a cloud of dust just as he had appeared.

The window had been left open all night, and my throat was stiff and dry in the cold morning air. I searched for my shirt, but could only find one sock. Quietly as possible I grabbed a nearby sweatshirt and slid it on. “Awe, come on “the boy’s voice sighed. I turned sharply and rolled my eyes. “Get over it” I said mildly annoyed. “Fine. Go. But just for the record, I know how old you are. Not bad for fifteen” I decided that this was worth even less of my time that I had even calculated originally. “Yeah, and for the same record, I know that you’re all talk” I said, throwing his stupid boxers at his face.

On my way to school I opened up my silver cigarette case and pulled out a piece of gum. As the raspberry flavor stung my tongue, I let a solitary tear slip through my eyelashes.

Two summers after they cleared away our trees entirely, I spent my time in the garden. My dainty curls bobbed far below the tops of the corn stalks, while I was shrieking at beetles. Although Grandpa John wished that I was a boy, he would still pick me up with one arm and plop me on his lap for a ride on his John Deere tractor. In my mind, I would stare at the small, shiny icon of a jumping deer and think how wonderful it was that my Grandpa had his own tractor named after him.
I would return to the red house, soil- stained, and my grandma Rosie would nearly shed a tear as she saw my long hair knotted and my small pink shoes full of mud. And of course, she was routinely dismayed at the sight of the Crayola graffiti across my face.

She’d let out a long sigh, “I see that you’ve been out adventuring…”
With a thin- lipped smirk, I would give her a very slow, exaggerated wink because, really, I was not very good at winking.

Her kitchen was filled with aromas that made you feel both sleepy and ravenous at once. I would take small licks and tastes of everything she was making, which would always result in being too full for dinner, which would in turn produce another light- hearted scold from my robust grandmother. I hugged her legs as she briskly stirred her sauces and so gently kneaded breads. Her threadbare, patterned aprons smelled of laundry soap and flour. I wish that I could take that smell with me everywhere.

With the dedication of a tiny soldier, I would mechanically set the table. Just perfectly. Two forks, a spoon, two knives, and triangled cloth napkins (which also smelled like Rosie’s aprons). She used her “good china” every day. She would say, “Who is a more honored guest than your family?” Every meal was prepared and served as though we were entertaining Martha Stewart.
Before meals Grandpa would sit at the head of the table and produce his soft, leather Bible. He was so incredibly stern that I would press my thumb into my throat so I would. Not. Even. Cough. He would then pray a long, sad prayer about the elderly, sick people from church; also listing off several frightening things from which we needed God’s “sovereignty and protection.” Finally, we would eat. Many evenings I would imagine droves of hellish devils and sparkling angels as I pushed around peas with my fork or picked at a roll. I always cleared off the dishes alone, contemplating the quandaries of humanity.

I wasn’t even that drunk the night I broke my ankle. My best friend Sam, however, was tripping heavily while braiding my hair. “You should never change, Els! You should always be…beautiful!” she laughed hysterically through her words and yanked with an unknowing force at my hair. I didn’t mind at all. She was all I really had, it seemed.

“So….was he mind- blowing, lovie?” her question was accompanied by a wet kiss on my cheek. I made a sarcastic gagging noise and wiped my face with my sleeve, giggling.

“I didn’t even kiss him!” I squealed with a fabricated tone of insult. Knowing the ridiculous nature of my comment, we looked at each other and laughed until our eyes brimmed with tears. Then, with a sudden tone, so grave I could have intimidated the Pope himself, I put up my hand. “He was all talk. All.” We blurted out again, and she was shaking more than she should have been. I thought she was just laughing.

The hours meandered along like they would on any other of our teenage Saturday nights. Vodka shots, cookie baking, cigarette smoking, doing hair and makeup. All while screaming along to the Pixies or Nada Surf. Fifteen fit us perfectly. Sam’s parents were never home, so it felt as though we had our own house. But, at two o’clock, when the rest of the neighborhood snored evenly, Sam stopped breathing.

I was on the roof smoking an orange- flavored cigarette, feeling sophisticated. I saw her turn her head and her eyes roll to white. She was motionless on the carpet. As I scrambled to get back through the window to her side, I lost my balance and tumbled inside. I couldn’t move, so I just cried.


I breathed the cold city air in so deeply that I could feel it swirling down my throat and dropping into my stomach. This was a frightening place. Expressionless faces passed me. Sometimes taxi headlights illuminated their eyes and still I could see no trace of feeling. I knew nothing of this demanding metropolis. New York. Why had I come here? It was too late to leave and I didn’t trust myself to answer that question honestly anway, so I took a long sip of whiskey and kept walking, continuing the quest for the best lamp lit bench. The spot that I had felt drawn to hours earlier had since been occupied by heavyset man. His beard was massive and rumpled, and I imagined that it was the home to any number of small creatures. Perhaps a tiny hermit crab or an infinitesimal owl. He hacked and coughed to what I thought would surely be his death. I rolled my eyes and cradled my laptop slightly closer to my side.

I wandered the same sidewalks for another hour. Breathing, reflecting. I knew that the words would come to me; that the story’s ending would somehow tie itself together into a perfect bow. I sighed heavily and stopped to look around. Though it was not a bench, not at all what I had been looking for, I knew that this was where I was suppose to finish the book. In the dim, flickering light of a streetlight, there was a small set of wooden stairs. Making my way to them, I crossed the now quiet street and sat down. These steps appeared to lead nowhere. Rickety and cold, they continued up wards to a door. But I remained on the second step, feeling convinced and energized in the blush of the flickering light.

Friday, November 26, 2010

quiet holiday

snarled locks with a weary onyx curl
a tiny finger curls into my hand.
quiet noises define this little girl
and we're brushing through a magic land
and hair, climbing trees to find repose.
poke the rabbit in the dirty cage
to pass her hours alone i suppose
but the hours play slowly on her stage.
still and sticky- faced she sings to me
twirling around in holey tights-
grateful for an audience, a place to be
i hold her close to erase her plights.
not a boy and never lifted to first
she's far too young to feel the jabs,
too naive to recognize the hurt.
i hope one day she heals the scabs.
i pray for her on this quiet holiday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

...And I'll Turn the Music Up! (The Chicken Rebellion)

I never asked for much,
maybe that wasn't enough.
I listened to Ellipse so loudly
you said that i'd go deaf.
you preferred me quiet and chubby
waiting for you to come home.
you screwed up your face
when i screwed up your dinner.
i knew that it would make you bitter
so i purposefully didn't buy butter
now i spin around in mixing bowls
making many meals of rebellious
chicken and sipping whiskey too.
it shouldn't be so...
i shouldn't count the liters
as my little shoes leave
huge prints all over the globe.
i'll turn up the Cure
and crank the Feist,
have another cosmo and some Cake.
You think I fear the night noises?
I'll tell you, I live for them!
i'll turn up my white noise
to rattle your stingy bones.
You can try to make me sail back...
but I have abandoned your Viking Ship
for a little wooden boat,
And your turbulent, angry waves
for a peaceful cereal sea.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i'll dance if i want to!

there's was a silly little word turning circles in my brain
over and over...i must be going insane.
you explained the broken water glasses in the world
i listened sadly as your truth unfurled.
we walked along the trail, grocery bags swinging
you told me "enough", and i stifled my singing.

a shattered world is no place to be.

i threw an apple across the market square-
you broke me a little with your angry stare.
this big lake has no place for me, the showboat-
not while you're here clicking your remote.
i remember when you ate that smelly fish,
i opened the windows to breathe and wish.

a stinky home is no place to be.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

daylight savings, save me*

what difference does one hour make?
what do you think we could make?
the difference of a lifetime.
we'll make love and fall back on time.
maybe next November.
maybe tomorrow?

i left in the sun
contented to be sleepless
while your eyes were heavy with sleep
what is this,
other than a love letter?
my fragment just turned into a run-on...

another verse in our song
another barricade in our road
i'm ready to write and drive
we'll meet at the church
not for vows-
for the sake of our memory.

i'm always going to leave.
the waking side of morning
agrees with me
but i'll always return to you
to talk of trees and kiss
to see what we've missed.

maybe this time we'll save the day
maybe our daylight has been saved
what do you think we could make?


i think i forgot something
way back
when i was fourteen
way back
when i was foggier
than today
something about
a restaurant and a cigarette
i wasn't supposed to have
i think i forgot to call you

i think i missed my ride
way back
when i was fourteen
way back
when i had that song
stuck in my head
something about
being taken in your
undertow and
a memory of a window?
i don't know

i think about you sometimes
way back
when we were simpler
way back
when you wore your coat and smile
when snow is on lights
and it glows like neon
and you spelled your name
on a copy sign.

Friday, November 5, 2010

the lunatic i missed

in a red house that no longer stands there was a closet full of books and bottles and bones. i had to creep through the attic crawl space to get to the back corner. i was small and eager. he was there, my ghost friend. made only of a clothespin and kleenex, he collected dust and memories. his crayola eyes watched me turn musty pages of equations. i hummed to the tune of loon songs. there is a tune to them.

grandpa had blown up the barn twice. i found photos of the wreckage one afternoon when i retreated to the closet. illegal fireworks and toys of chemists caused the explosions. he disguised himself as a pharmacist. it was a believable pretense. but eventually his insanity became legendary. i love that about him. i missed him by ten years.

the bones were human bones. he had stashed gold along with them in the insulation. before the wrecking ball tore the closet apart, grandma saved the skeleton and coins. the FBI shipped the bones away. grandma did not show them the rifles kept behind the laundry room wall.

someday i will walk the patch of ground where the red house stood. to search for a missing piece of childhood or a clothespin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my fragmented imagination (are you a fragment of my imagination?)

dear fragment,
there are some things that you should know, but i am afraid that i will never have the courage or the time to tell you of them over coffee. in fact, you may be hanging in the tangled connections of the cafe's ethersphere for some time to come. i'm not saying that we have no connection. we do. but, considering that you are a fanciful cocktail mixed by my right hemisphere, i will save myself the embarrassment of taking my clothes off for you.

i chalk it up to a reoccurring mistake when you visit my dreams. my mistake, over-drinking or over-thinking. but when the dreams are reoccurring and i can practically taste you, i doubt your fragmented status. i always worry that i will say your name aloud in the night.

it's possible that i'll always be unhinged. it's also possible that i earn the roll of my husband's eyes. it's additionally possible that i'll burst into flames before he could acknowledge my status. checked out. i made a cake and my tears mixed with the frosting.

next time you rearrange my thoughts, stay a while longer before you evaporate into the exosphere.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fifty Deep, and a New Direction

Dear Vic,
Here we are. We've already burned our 400 calories and have agreed to meet on the page this morning. You've put on your tie and gotten into your yuppie van. Maybe you're tired and speeding on I80. Outside the courtroom, perhaps your client bites his nails while you drink coffee. I've done my makeup and showered my co-workers with a cute sarcasm (when will they learn to stop asking me if I'm voting? I detest November). I wear my $10 mascara here, they're not worthy of my Smashbox lashes. I'm trying to take a turn away from poetry. Thanks for the push.

I've read the letter you wrote to your siblings twice more. Your edges are rough, but in an articulate way. Quentin Tarantino rough. Pulp Fiction. I wish I knew you better. It's nothing glamorous, but I wish you could see me at work. I think that maybe I am like you. Headphones in, smug smile on, only working 60% of the time. Writing. I consider leaving- walking out. I have three exit speeches rehearsed to recite to my co-workers and asshole boss. One such speech involves a story in which I am having an elicit affair with my Chinese case manager. Maybe I even move to Beijing.

Lately writing and running are all that I find satisfaction in. One clears my head and the other clears my arteries. Last month, my doctor told me that my blood pressure is a marvel. I wonder how come my ass still looks enormous in the hallway mirror, then. Another marvel I suppose? I've already given up butter, what more is there to do...? This state kills you slowly. I have seen countless people load up on fried cheese and then scream for hours as Packers throw yet another interception. Bulging stomachs and neck veins- a winning cardiac combination. I've always wanted to move.

Days push along here. I keep my spirits up with spirits and high heels. I might max out a credit card for fun. Soon the snow will be all over me. Snowshoes and hot tea. I'm aiming higher this winter.

Your Distanced Daughter

Monday, November 1, 2010


she's a shadow in the living room
afternoon folds her cool sheets
into evening's snug blankets of repose
mourning the loss of her dreams
she sleeps, breathes, senses
the curtains of afterlife yawn
her shallow breaths are nearly gone

for me she painted a canvas of flowers
strokes of red and orange
like her Monterrey sky
the place that her heart breaks for
the wall clock strokes on the hour
i'll wait for her grace to fall on me
when her sun sets for Heaven to see

Friday, October 29, 2010

History and Anatomy*

every place has a past- 
some older and darker than others.
crumbling headstones 
tell stories of names and numbers
and we are left to guess the rest.
my history entails unrest and the 
moments your glances graced me,
but I could never guess the rest.

every heart has a past.
my veins have each pumped
to the beat of your song
one time or another. 
others have studied me closely,
examining my fingers and lips 
searching for a cure to my indifference. 
they have not read your research, 
so they can never guess rest. 

interdisciplinary studies unite here,
as the past presents itself 
to me in the palm of your hand.  
chapters about love and war,
sickness and health.
though I've studied for years
I can not pass your test,
and I am forced to guess the rest.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

20 ft waves and the catnip crazies

kitty, you're running from the storm
looking for a nook that's warm
the wind has tossed your mouse about
now you pace and meow a shout
so I will tuck you in with me
where you were always meant to be

slipping slowly

for Grams
bide your time and i'll spend mine
with you on the faded blue couch.
your needles in the cross-stitch
weave flowers to pass your days.
nodding in and out
sleepy and forgetful,
you slip slowly away.
the hours that used to be ours
now belong to the buzz and sigh.
turquoise and diamonds fall
from your failing fingers so you
smuggle the gems into my hands.
grey- blue, the memory
behind your paling eyes
sparkles a little still
as you tell me i am pretty.
i'll bake you petits fours and
gently powder your cheeks
to remind you of who you were
and of who i am to you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

some day, when i'm awfully low

For Grayson
i wish i could sing to you again, little man.
though now you've grown into your cleats,
and you may not want to cuddle into my arms.
i rocked you slowly, your infancy charmed me-
your even breath on my neck
how i wish that you could remember it, brother.
when your chubby fingers held small cars
we laughed in the sand, you held my hand
and i kissed your flushed cheeks.
now i've missed your milestones
as i sit here alone in my home.
i've prayed for the divide to close
for the miles to melt
for you to hear my voice
clearly and sincerely, without a phone.
i wish i could sing to you again, little man.
beside the rain-spotted window
when things were simple
and we shared the same name.
though i am far and time has stolen away
i still hum our song before i sleep.

losing again*

i know that i lie
i used to know why
but now it's just a game
an attempt to stay sane
you were my first rule
but now i'm a broken fool
making calls in the rain

i had a dream i got through
and i believed what i knew
and the words came on
and on and yet i hadn't won
i can't find rest til i can
and then you'll see me stand
in front of you (then gone)

you're the one who can see
the transparent shame in me
through the lies
right to my demise
you can unseat your kings
and i'll wear my rings
as our last chance dies

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the other side of morning*

it rolls in gently on the heels of
sleepy, atlantic waves
washing up debris of days passed.
the stones and shells of memories
scatter across sands of time,
this side of dawn will not wait
for me to tie my shoes.

early songs of the day are lullabies
for those who chase away the light
and sleep to dream of stars.
but i am far from home,
windswept and cautious
hoping to etch my name on shores
of change.

i washed away,
balancing on the pale thread of
morning's transformation.
i can not feel your waves
and you missed my call.
though we were not meant to share
these hours, we still may.

you roll in on the winds of my regret
tossing my hair and affections
in your untamed breeze of years gone.
you live in these unknown hours
while i sleep on the line of waking.
you could find me here,
i could find you there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


somewhere between the expectations and circumstances
i found myself hollowed
and searching
for what? for whom?
meaningless details.

building dreams from faded smiles and hopes
what i have found
ages me
and for what? for whom?
loveless details.

thieving with sideways glances my heart leaps
finding stories
for my own
forward? backward?
forget details.

the world spins and breathes for the masses
i'll feel it yet
vibrant and new

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

time, again*

when sugar maples glow plum and gold
we breathe this year's ashen breeze
smoky and aged in barrels of promise
we wait for the rush of geese and snow

clouds hang low their woolly manes
soft and grey above autumn's oaks
shaken and windswept, we are crimson-
flushed, gently calling for change

i'll say farewell on the mossy stoop
though it greeted me with colored leaves
on more whimsical afternoons years ago
but now a northern rustling bids me to go.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

sorry sunlight

when the six o'clock sun hits the pantry wall
is it too late then, to undo the day?
or do I have until the moon hangs
above the tree line
to say that i wish i had not?

words, words

mine are said. yours expired on the wall.
and now the sword of sunlight
stabs the countertops
six o' clock
and glowing, sinking

nightfall, moon beams

i see that we have not mended, and will not.
and i wander around my apology-
hanging heavy
in dew drops stepping
through the grassy yard

sorry, sorry

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

fear of aging*

someday the hours won't pass by so quickly
we won't be as fickle or as eager to change
you'll write your stories slowly
i'll match tea cups to saucers
watching the kettle on the stove

something in the library smells of clove
catalogs of recipes and books about gardens
perhaps you'll puff a pipe
and maybe i'll still be singing

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the humorous murder

she laughed while the light slipped away
and tears fell with september raindrops
squirrels on the fence chattered
dropping their acorns, playing tag

the mailman was late and flipped the red flag
the spiders on the mailbox swung about
she smashed them with her glove and smiled
the letters were wet and dark with spider legs

it was a funny light sinking away too quickly
something smart and green hung low, following her
but the Tudor door thudded heavily behind footsteps
and she laughed at the lipstick on her smudgy mouth

the moment when someone leaves and returns: all at once*

you're pulling me up
while i'm falling down
now i'm above it all
(flowers, signs
limbs and cars)
grab me again.
but you're closer now
(close enough)
to save me this time
unchained melody
we hum again
spinning wheels
shiny fixtures
humming again
escape routes are few
(me and you)
check my pulse again
i stopped beating
stopped pumping
while you were away
fingers on the dash
(let's keep driving)
i can't ask again
find your voice to tell me
beat your wings
flutter your eyes
you've only just arrived

Thursday, September 2, 2010

fooling the crowd*

i'm the girl that smiles
i'm the one who loves you
there's bliss in the air
i'm breathing you in
my pulse beats faster
faster than it ever has
i'm the girl counting
seconds years days
paying the toll of waiting
when they see me
they're bewildered by me
spoiled sweetness in the sky
soaring above the sidewalks
I'm the one smiling for you
wings and halos hang tight
in the back of my drawer
later i'll find them there
but tonight i'll smile for you

Saturday, August 28, 2010

for the other girls

pale lips look sad and tired
make them red to be admired

little lashes make you sleepy
waterproof ink won't run leaky

bustier laces coin you trampy
pearls & ribbons shabby campy

sideways glances at the pages
leave you wanting previous ages

doting men kiss taller models
you float inside silver bottles

curly, curly locks of hair
bouncing, bouncing everywhere

straighten out. add some dye
day to day a manicured lie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


For Aaron
cool afternoons found us marching
into the back rooms of grandmother's house
we paged through hours of musty books
and toyed with paint- chipped animals
best friends and makers of mischief
you fell asleep, your head on my lap

snowy holidays found us laughing
about water guns and rusty swings,
when you flipped cards and won games
so we stacked the deck for old times
best friends and makers of mischief
we hugged before driving our highways

icy reunions found us dodging waves
of mixed up, distant relatives
and we laughed in spite of the fighting
while we stole away for a handful
of moments to stack up memories and
deal out the last seconds of childhood.

through flurries of thoughts
hidden dirt roads find me driving
as i leave your doorstep
missing you is a frigid place to be
where scrabble tiles and cards fall
and we run again to grandmother's.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

what you never thought*

did you ever think that you would end up here again?
inside the dusty corridors of my winding mind, i mean.
i suppose that you would blush and turn away
if you knew you never left. that i never did recycle
your heart away along with my old cds. you lingered
much, much longer than the tired music of my youth.
turning up here and there to haunt my relationships.
i laugh, knowing that you are the friendliest of ghost.
you are always welcome in my closet or under my bed,
with the dust and wondering socks. i wish you would.
stay, i mean. under my bed or next to me. you could.
you've spooked my contentment, leaving me afraid of
commitment and i leave the cobwebs on your picture.
i'll keep you here, boyish and full of jokes,
our decades old laughter hanging on the walls.
portraits of wishes and regrets never fading completely.
i'll play the piano again, wearing my grandmother's rings,
clicking on the keys with every note that i play for you.
When you've realized you're still here, you'll come home.

Monday, August 23, 2010


how long could our love last?
not forever, you've said.
nothing lasts forever, you said.
then, i knew we wouldn't last.

you're taking to long to think.
i'm leaving you, i've said.
and i spoke what shouldn't be said.
you never wonder what i think.

i'm braver in my wishes.
do you think i could make it?
without you, i think i can make it.
i am too distant from my wishes.

the seaside is a haunting place
with shores of wanting.
it leaves me hollow and wanting,
looking to sleep and fill your place.

revisit this doorstep in five years.
the empty knocking on my heart
and the regrets of following my heart
will find me missing out on happy years.

where does the highway end?*

at the end of the highway
you'll find me spinning
on the back of a pickup
a rudder in a lake breeze
full of weeds and desires
where we merge to one lane
and you keep me turning

wipe away the grease spots
over the grey film of my eyes
illuminating headlights flash
across the faded yellow lines
where highways end and endless
loves merge into faded lines
you'll find me spinning

Friday, August 20, 2010

technological breakdown

you found me here clicking, clicking
under the glow of the screen
in sync we lay down ticking, ticking
i wonder what it could mean

i am making pictures, cutting, pasting
you've left the door ajar
to stay connected to my linking, wasting
i'm dreaming of things afar

drowning in the blue of background
we've lost our voices
swimming the tides of background
i've made my choices

see me blurred and fading
losing connection
tired from the wading

shutting down

Friday, August 6, 2010

love renovation

you say that i am a renovator
the builder of your dreams
giving your heart a make-over
sewing you up at the seams

i reconstructed an old laughter
in your eyes and on your lips
a room for our past-time chatter
and a place your hands on my hips

the highest towers of circumstances
i'm constructing our fate
the floorboards creak with chances
hideaways are worth the wait

can i craft something to last forever
if it rests on quicksand?
a refurbished miracle keeps us together
don't give me your heart- only your hand.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

crisis of character

in only one second
beating hearts
distant castles
i let you in
and taken
you were right there

quiet drives
summer nights
watching your hand
lonely on the wheel
can i save you?
would you have me?
sunsetting on fields
changing loves

one choice reacts
to one situation
one day i wake
to find i have changed
myths of contentment
fool my hands
and now they search
for yours

this happened before
i thought i could
stop it
but i could never
stop it
my choices are my own
i let you in
i wish you were right here

one choice reacts
to one situation
in only one second
i let you in
who am i now?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

alternate ending

two cigarettes were burning slowly and i prayed that they would never die down. orange tips glowing in the woods. we stood still as statues on the outside but trembling jericho walls on the inside. you caught me staring into your eyes. you just caught me. we said we could have been forever. we said that we didn't care what they thought. guns and distances tore away our time before, but now it would take the world to burrow through us like weeds in concrete. it would take rings and whispers. and even then, maybe we would fight for it. our words. they hung like street lights on shadowy nights. they hang on my heart tonight. what does your intuition tell you? it told me to follow you down the highway. it told me to run through the rain towards you. teenage dreams unfolded there, and again. you remembered my clothes. how did you? you loved me. how could you? i am glad that you did. endless summer nights. how i wish they were. alternate endings, cosmic twists of fate. we were standing alone again. realizing how lucky we used to be, how close we were to another lifetime. my psychobabble made sense to you. it made sense to kiss your cheeck and say goodbye. close your eyes, because next time we'll choose this.

wish for an adventure

another dream about the Shire finds me with open eyes and one sock on the floor. my hometown is thousands of miles away. my mossy hideaways and cloud creatures have floated to another girl's backyard. age fades me some days, but i am still river riding barrels beneath Lonely Mountain and riddling in the dark. you try to hold me here but i am lost most of the time. losing sleep and writing tales. searching for a map to Rivendell. something about wine from the bottle and unnecessary candlelight lulls me, and i hear an ancient song. where is my pillowcase of treasures? tinkerbell lipstick and mother's german coins. i would have ventured to Middle Earth and back with just these tokens. inside invisible elven cloaks, i'm hiding here tonight.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

for one night*

last night we went to the fair
lights and songs in the rain
smoke and cheap beer everywhere
bobbing, weaving was our own game

ten years lurking behind us
it was worth the downpour,
the highway robbery, the fuss
i wanted you, nothing more

it was necessary to see you
to by sure the glow was still there
be sure your love for me was true
it was. and we hugged at the fair

i felt your warm stare fall on my face
ten times as i drank from plastic cups
i blushed, you beamed, love was everyplace
striped tents leaked as yellow lights lit up

i was the happiest refugee, in your arms
for one night i was nowhere to be found.
only you. only me. sneaking into your arms
the warm rain kept falling on the ground.

maybe you could have stayed above
maybe we would have stayed safe
maybe i should have chosen your love
(maybe it would have rained everyplace)

you still want me
in your heart
i still want you
rain, rain
soaks my heart

Friday, July 30, 2010

go to bed, kitty

silly kitty i can sing you a funny tune
make you scuffle and dance about the room
find your little jingle bell
cast your little kitty spell


the darkness inside of me is spilling like
scalding coffee and burning the last
parts of you that are still hanging onto
the light while my blackness steals your
breath and strangles your trust. don't
pretend that you don't read my letters.

the secret parts of me that you thought
you knew are twisting labyrinths of secrecy
and my desires are climbing higher than
the stairways you build to my heart.
suddenly i am sinking into stinking piles
of laundry and the darkness feels right.

the darkness of a warm summer night is
Shakespearean and romantic, cloaking
lovers in secrecy. but my darkness is
like the bottom of a deep ocean cave-
lifeless, loveless. you'll drown before
i love you and i'll leave before you know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


If I knew you, Anne Frank
there's no time left. here. grab your scarf.
urgency and the pain of farewell are illuminated
by the way you lean against the window
by the way the stained lace curtain hangs
(reminding me of mother's floured apron).
there is danger here in the light of the slivered,
crescent moon and you must grab your coat.

creaking hinges. rusty skeleton keyhole. photos rest now.
cupboards and closets house our memories and lifetimes
and the love we shared on christmas morning,
cider and cookies hang on my mind like a spicy fog.
but it's true that we might die in the street
tonight. the rattle of keys and the shuffle of feet
send me flying and send you to find your breath.

your mitten lays for years on the wooden floor
after you've dropped it, long after you you've vanished
from this place. when i see sparkled sun across the river
i see shards of broken hazel in your sparkling eyes.
i see your tiny face light up as you opened your present.
beautiful refugee. in my dreams, you escaped every time.

bad behavior*

stealing away out the side door
looking for muddied knees
a childhood breeze
and unprocessed sunlight
stepping around soda cans
to leave unnoticed again

i'll drink down a stale day
searching for waterfalls
and the sound of whispering
ferns, exhaling deeply
the leftover shadows of noon
carving your name in tree trunks

standing tall, i am still small
beside the weary cedars
ashes strip down to nothing.
i ignore his call into the wind
losing my grace with every step
i'm on a path to darker woods

i'll slip back in through a cracked
window try to hide my dusty feet,
deny the flush in my cheeks.
he holds me like i'm a child
smelling the open air and grass
in my hair. i'll stay here tonight.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


why does it have to be that
i have to drink so much
before i can think straight?
before i can stop looking
for you here and there
i checked six times
and there was still nothing
there to wait for but
i waited anyway.
you were out there living
singing songs in the street
and twisting pepper shakers.
are you worth the wait?
are you worth the jingling tips
in your thought jar?
another pissed off letter
i should have mailed to you
sat in my car for weeks.
not a day goes by
(floating or speeding)
that i don't hear you
talking about cities
or building mountains
you can stay or go
but don't forget
to check unnecessarily for me
the way i do for you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

sweep me*

sweep me off my feet
i am very sad inside
i am very terrified
we have to meet

don't sweep me away
under the rug or
deny me your hug
i'm slipping today

you could sweep through
the town where i live
you have love to give
i tick, waiting for you

drink up and sweep me up
forget what's behind
look ahead and find
me and sweep me up

Saturday, July 17, 2010

bay area morning

bluesky treelines hanging on birdsongs
it's a tricky time of day
borderline sleeping, waking, breathing
toasters popping in a quiet town
it's a tricky place to be

lakesongs wavering along shorelines
no one's really awake here
dividinglines crashing, blurring, breathing
baitshops opening in a laketown
no one's really alive here

headphones humming into brainwaves
the cashier knows me
drivinglanes swerving, speeding, passing
fisherman swearing in line
cashiers work til 8 here

Thursday, July 15, 2010

planet song

the end of the universe
clouds and stars
earth and mars
retrograde motion
waves on the ocean
celestial galaxy
creation fallacy
calvino's cosmocomics
robots and electronics
moon's beating heart
glowing, falling apart
spinning constellations
infinite contemplations
sensuous solar winds
spiraling static sins
saturn and venus
planting female genius
inside supernova fire
exploding heavenly desire
sing a song into the onyx
sing now to avoid the end

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


someone stayed up late into the orange- mooned night waiting for me.
one lamp shining in the dark a cup of cooled tea on the counter.
book pages turning slowly plots with solemn endings and holidays.
wallclock ticking and resounding inside someone's messy thoughts.

i was blundering breaking down doors breaking into hearts.
door knobs and splinters incriminating me as my past faded.
low harvest moon illuminating tea cups and bloody hands.
trust in the hands of a judas and someone will cry for help.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


you can have her.
heavy metal. violent rap beats.
she's got black fingernails and a sexy smile.
rocking out with hands down the guys' pants.
you've gotten her this far. now watch her go.

i'll be fine here.
quiet beam. 1, 2, 3, 4.
i'm winter white mittens and pink lipped smiles.
gentle whispers of syncopated sounds and verses.
you left me long ago. don't act dejected or forgotten.

take her out. give her love.

don't you miss me at all?

Monday, July 12, 2010

stale marlboros and dad's pickup

you'll catch a plane
just to get lost
but you'll still
carry a stick of
your brother's favorite
gum, it's somehow safe.

you'll catch a fever
when she makes you hot
when you're not thinking
clearly, but you'll feel
the sinking tomorrow
over diner coffee.

catch your breath.
you'll be running forever
so for now just stop.
and read this.
but hold tight
to your ticket.

you'll never catch me.
i've found the keys
to your pickup and
i'm lighting up
your smokes, though
they're tired and stale.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

lightning dream*

our cheeks
flushed like
pink clouds aglow
with sultry lightning
passionate and
unfolding our tragedy

i need you
with the
electric energy
flaring blue
and white hot
in sinful bed
of heavy clouds

billowing castles
of our desire
light up the
churning expanse
of heaven
and we ascend
just for tonight

a rush of
panicked salty
hands and
leaves me
burned and hollow
and we go up in flames

Monday, July 5, 2010

mississippi flyway

cobalt summer sky drowns
in night
hanging on
losing light.
autumn is in motion
skirting the shores
of summer
like waves on the ocean.
mothers and babies
have no map or direction
but they prepare
for a journey...
uncharted perfection.
singing along a path
of anscestors
and legends
beating wings speed
driven by forces of
primal need.
unaware of
inevitable mouring.
death crouches in
the waves,
the inky stains of
diaster wait in the
light of morning.
pink skies drown
in the black
and the mothers sink
like stones.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

long years, empty hallways*

i was in my white tee shirt
nothing beautiful
got my feelings hurt
but it was musical
you could take off
my tee shirt
it would be beautiful
waiting in a hallway
mascara and headphones
a time too far away
to taste now
but i still hear
the thudding grunge music
felt my heart breaking
to the tune of your smile
i should have taken off
my teeshirt
and watched your face
it would have been beautiful
it's easier to dream
and wish
than to face the memories
and the music
easier than seeing your face

Thursday, July 1, 2010

concerning your alcoholic aunt

someone should tell you
that she's tripping
all over her wheels
and losing all your cash
she's sipping away your trust
laughing and crying, prying
into her secret stash

she's never been late
she always sopping wet
brimming up to her eyes
soaking up your words
and leaking out her
chances on a risky bet

a little while later

you could lace her
lover with sedatives
and drive her crazy
drive her away
into her cool glass
while she mumbles
something sad
and lazy

someone should tell you
she died a long time ago
in her main st apartment
windows closed
closets open
but no one wants
to admit that
they know


he's a stranger in a city
someplace where
it's muggy and damp
and he's writing
letters home

driving miles

driving miles on the highway
going easy 62
nodding flowers by the highway
speckled green in blue
the sax inky black on the highway
feelin' kind of blue
'round midnight on the highway
i want all of you

Monday, June 21, 2010


(Grandpa's Garden)
high in this tree
i'm sitting pretty
looking down on
gardens he grew
full of weeds and wildflowers
nodding in the afternoon sun
the wind shakes my
branches and i'm humming
something old and dusty
into the leaves
and he leaves

midwestern afternoons full of
ice or tornadoes
landing here like clockwork
but today is
green and hushed
in a rush of beauty and smoke
i was wrong and i'm
turning, turning, falling
landing like dove feathers
or autumn leaves
and he leaves

Sunday, June 20, 2010


in another time
on another shore
he fought
and died
against the tide
that swept through
his soul
and now he wonders
where to go

he stands alone
against the bricks
feeling for his
but it is
and he is

the timeless sounds
of mourning
dance in rays of sun
and he wakes
to find his
are gone
and he opens
his eyes
to find a hopeful


The last birds of evening
The amber clouds of sunset
The answers to their echoes
The mountains call back

Catching glimpses of the shadows’
And reaching for silence’s
Deep and hollow. we fall into the
Searching for a calm that

Friday, January 8, 2010


snow fall
small white sparks
of ice
firey sweet on lips
of the sky
jump through
and burn

beautiful snapshots
in mountains of slumber
of ancient memories
and frozen tears
tumble down
the moutainside

one chance
dig out
snowdrifts gaining
strength and
the sun is setting
on youth
northern lights

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

starting over

2004, Leaving You

sometimes it’s easy
but tonight i’m thinking that
it’s impossible
and maybe tomorrow
it’ll be over

i see the sign
over the door that says
and i'm drawn to the
red glow
there's something jazzy
about the song playing
out in the alley

i'm looking
you want to touch me
and you think i'm easy
but i just kissed
a stranger
and i hate that
shirt you're wearing

i’m laughing at the way
the door swings
and slams closed
when you’re
following me
stumbling out
dropping your stuff

it's sad you never knew

move to the city*

my sky isn’t like your sky
the clouds here are white
i can touch the blue and feel
but you are bricked away
behind concrete faces
and i wonder how you breathe there

my waves are colder and they crash
harder against my fingertips
harder and colder than any of the
waves you feel
how can you keep from drowning?
and why can’t i save you today?

my sun is a wild and white
never setting
and it’s glow could set you free
if you let it
but now you’re fading slowly
while the shadows kiss your lips

my rain is warmer than rain you drink
when you’re slipping away
if you could stay here
we could stand on the sidewalk
as drops hit heavy on our eyelashes
we’ll fall into the dark

wishes and memories

This is a little collection of my poetry. Just for the few of you I have decided to show. Thanks for the glance :)