Thursday, December 22, 2011

the weight of the world

i'm feeling tiny tonight.
an eyelash
a grain of sand
a seed
i'm feeling the miles tonight.
the distance wears
and grinds like salt
on snowy tires
and i'm worn away
and cold.
i'm feeling tired tonight.
a runner
a boxer
a blanket
i'm feeling that exhaustion tonight.
the promises fall
and droop
like eyelids
and i'm missing innocence
while i sleep.
i'm feeling irresponsible tonight.
a teenager
a train wreck
some graffiti
the mistakes splatter
and smear like blood
on the floor
and i'm sorry.
and i'm turning it off now.

baggage & boxes

i can't remember how i got here. do you know- were you with me? i must have unpacked those boxes because these are my candles and my nail polishes and my spoons. i must have had a husband because there is a mark around this finger that is less tan and i keep rubbing the smooth area with my thumb. was my wedding beautiful- were you there? i hope that i was beautiful and that i was thin. i must have had a baby once. there is picture of my fingers holding a first response that says that i did. where did she go? i hope that she had my nose and that she knows her way. did we cry? i can't remember. did i have ever have a garden? i hope that i grew peas and flowers and strawberries. i hope that the deer stole some before i shooed them away. did you ever meet my cat? there is a ball with a bell rolling inside my drawer and it must have been his. i hope that he slept on my feet at night and that he grew fat and old but that i never did. did you leave? i hope that i loved you. i must be alone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

what to do when he's been looking for you

you're leaning there against your car.
he pretends that he's not looking at you,
and you pretend that your leg's not shaking.
He's fifteen
and you're sixteen
and it's not your car, it's your mom's four-door
that you stole from the church parking lot.
you wish that your hair was longer
and that your teeth were whiter,
but all he wants to do is kiss you.

you're leaning against your doorway.
you pretend that you're not three shots
past being too drunk and too lonely.
you're married
and he's a nomad in the city
and it's not that you're depressed,
it's that you're tired and confused and drunk
and feeling fat and abandoned and broke.
so maybe you are depressed.
but all he wants is to find you again.

you're leaning against your shovel
in a town that's pretending that it's not still winter.
among people who think that you're insane.
you are insane,
and he's insane.
and it's not that they just think that you are
you are, but it's over and now you don't drink
but you hide and seek and cry
because he's been looking for you again
and all he wants is to be closer.

you're leaning away from his arm.
you pretend that you're just distracted
and he pretends that he doesn't know that
he's right there
and you're over here,
and it's like he knows that you're broken.
you are, and he can't fix it anyway
but he wants to, and so he touches your hand
and this time you let him
because that's what to do when he's been looking for you...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

dear blame

you're the first one in line
being distributed and assigned
a lonely night, an empty glass
a broken window, a kiss in a flash
where are you now?

you're hanging on my rib cage
disjointed words on the page
a hollow pleasure to pass you
hidden next in the queue
what have you done now?

you're slurring with alcohol
dripping from tongues that call
calling for redemption
on the brink of condemnation
where has the judge put you now?

you'll never let us keep sleeping
never sleep until i'm weeping
when he's too tired to remember
when he's trying to love me forever
you've had your way-
will you leave us alone now?

i never wanted you here
i was shaking when i heard him calling
i felt sick when i saw you coming

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

married christmas

In the shadow of a rain cloud
Through the droplets on my window
I'm muted by your buttons
I'm muted by your sorrow
the phone has long ceased ringing
There's nothing else you can know

Through weeks of Christmas raining
The wreaths are caked with mud
Youre waiting for my ringing
And muted by the carol singing
The snow will miss this holiday
There's nothing else you can say

Next to Jesus in a manger
we could pray a little louder
muted by the choir tongues
hushed by a stranger in muted light
you were left on your own last year
There's nothing else you can fear

Thursday, December 8, 2011

gin and tonic

when i'm running from you
it's today.
when it's our time
it's now.
you dressed me a gown
you landed in my town
you mended that dress
i reveled in my mess
that's yesterday.
a drink in the snow
a christmas no-show
it's possible.
when i'm missing you
it's today.
when it's past time
it's now.
i tipped your glass
you watched me pass
you drank it down
i started to drown
it's tomorrow.
i'll stop running
you'll stop sipping
if you'll be my chaser
if i can be your chaser

Thursday, December 1, 2011

dearest vulpecula

you'll die alone in the sky
that flash of cunning in your eyes
won't save you from the night
though you'll gnash and gnaw and bite
your cage and the neck of the goose
you'll never be set loose
from those tragic, starry ties

i'll die alone in the trees
that flash that only god sees
in that prism of northern light
i can't be saved by my sight
though i search the dust for your tracks
your soft black toes padding back
to your den, again
to evade me despite my pleas

we'll die as sketches on the page
that flash of life that we waged
a blue eyed girl, a black eyed beast
alike in our wild mystery, at least
i ate the heart, you ate the goose
you chased your grave, i tied my noose
come,little fox, paws to hands to our grave

chasing Anser through the dark
you burn out like a spark
light years wisping through our fur
to your den, again
to my arms, again

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

outer space

i was a comet once- a burst of light
you watched my tail aglow in the sky
a lighthouse in your stormy night
all at once i faded
all at once you lost sight
alone again under and over the sky

i was a galaxy once- a cluster of stars
you caught the train to my center
into my churning version of mars
a trip into a blackhole
a lifetime in a second
humming again inside and outside time

i was aura borealis once- a wash of color
you painted me with fingers and brushes
a canvas for our crimson flushes
solar winds blew into quiet places
meteor showers washed our faces
tuesdays and sundays didn't mean a thing

i am a constellation- a body with no bones
you connect my shape tonight
invisible lines to my arms and face
a puzzle for your telescope
an answer to your horoscope
you're sitting alone on your porch
while i'm spinning in your outer space
(searching for your inner space)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

don't you

don't you step away tonight
don't you step away the night
won't you sleep instead of dance?
i can see the night's significance
on your face while you're signing
"i love you" with your hands
i don't know how to dance.

don't you brush the hair from my face
don't you dust the shadow from my space
won't you tangle me up and leave a mess?
i can feel the insignificant combing of
your fingers as they make a home
in the paths along on my scalp
i don't know how to brush you.

don't you tell me that i should cry
don't you hold me while i try
won't you? all at once i'm everywhere
i'm a broken bone, a broken home
spin your dance, weave your comb
there's that swelling in your shins
the ache of cleaning with a mop of my hair

i feel the wait now
don't you?

lonely be

it's rather lonely being me
though i'm a little buzzing bee
humming from petal to leaf to tree
seeking out a sweeter honey

long ago i made a hive
a simple place to sleep and hide
with a little hole to peep outside
but the storms tore it open wide

i hummed along beside the lake
in the lupines my nest to make
but in a snowy blast and shake
my warmth was stolen by the flakes

to the hive of the queen mother
seeking the company of my brothers
i tried to land and work with others
but i could only hum and hover

perhaps i'll zip into the raging sea
forsaking flower, nectar and honey
maybe sweetness never will suit me
only to be buzzing and lonely be

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

you should go to church

a clink in the glass
with my icy fingers
she walks away
meditation on the floor
with my prayer hands
he flies to the wind
a bread without flour
for my ragged soul
she sets the table

a bullet to the face
with a cocked smile
alone with my teeth
a flake in the clouds
on salted highways
he shovels out
a page in the hymnal
turning ragged pages
she turns away

a tangle in my hair
with christmas strings
she trims the tree
reflection on the pew
with my prayer hands
we begin to pray
a basket of apples
for my fingers
we went away

Saturday, October 15, 2011

cities fade like silver

i have crept away from the trees
swept away on a concrete breeze
to lands of lights and sounds
where sirens howl like hounds
bloody and shivering
i survive on a breath

i have ripped away my last pages
stripped away my clothes in cages
into mazes of sewers and homes
where screens rattle like bones
sweaty and hollow
i survive on bread

i have forgotten my mother
begotten under a dirty cover
into the black coal and steel
where gears grind and peel
dusty and coiled
i survive in a bowl

i have buried my tarnished things
married my paws to silver rings
into the smut and mounds of trash
where rags and babies thrash
filthy and damp
i survive below

i will flee the rapid bloody hounds
fleeting as jeweled sunset pounds
onto the tender forest floor
where my breath can swell and pour
fresh and clear and wide
i will survive

Friday, October 14, 2011


long ago i wrestled with my sleep,
he was a strong and restless giant.
when you rested deep into my tail,
i told a taller tale of starry eyed
creatures that frightened you.
stay with me.
i'll chase bluefish with my paws
you'll pause to sniff foreign airs
with me, your nest in my tail
we'll nestle down by the silo
in rustling wheats and downs.
stay with me.
our morning births golden hues
winking your blues into the sky
a breath through my teeth sighs
a dewy death for the drops
hush while my crimson cheek
hugs your grey feet, and sleep.
stay with me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

safe in the country

he sat at the end of the drive
2am gravel settling around his shoes
his 2am breath swelling with booze
he sat and waited for her to arrive

his calves hummed on his hog
hot in the sweaty summer air
his jacket made of calves and hair
the hog's thunder woke her dog

her eyes widened inside her head
2am sheets sticky with smoky fear
her 2am sweat swelled with her tears
she laid and waited in her panic bed

she slept to the left of an empty space
closer to the window sill
closer to her gun and will
trembling she crept along to the safe

only the dog was left by her side
since the farmer went away
since the boy did not to stay
since her silky, brown horses died

he left his ride and walked down the way
smiled and lit his cigarette
smiled when he saw her silhouette
the engine's roar slipped farther away

she closed her eyes and tried to dream
ignoring the sinking in her gut
ignoring the stinking, smoky butt
as wisps wafted through her farmhouse screen

she saw the lock's swinging chain
the dog was silent in regret
in the glow of an orange cigarette
in hum of the hog she never breathed again

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

our faults

in the wash of late summer
our mistakes, our eyes
our stars are bright tonight
underneath a slipping sky
it will all come out for us
in the wash

we stand upon a fault line
what was your fault?
what was mine?
the turning leaves deny us
the time to sort out
our dirty laundry

there's a crooked line
on the surface
of your mouth again
i call it a smile
you call it a fracture
you say it's my fault

it is. and i am slipping
looking up to heaven
wishing upon a star
that you would crack
a smile tonight
and let me in

you named me, like stars
bright and shining
i knelt beneath them tonight
a prayer for you to drift
towards the apostles
apart from all of our faults

i will camp here
your restless daughter
upon the footwall
until you return to me
to the cracks of '83
and embrace our fault lines

Thursday, September 29, 2011

floating carnival

red stripes are clearer on a bluer day, illuminating the sky and tent-
today is a gray day
so we can barely spy it and the carnival drifts along the muggy horizon.
clowns' paint is brighter on a fairer day, scaring the weaker goers-
today is sunday
so there is no fair to celebrate and they grin and scream to no one.
our lives are simpler on a slower day, turning the sheets over again-
today is a fast day
so we push our brooms as the carnival grooms the lonely skyline.
sailboats ride smoother on a warmer day, racing along the shoreline-
today is a cold day
so we wait for ice and flakes and forsake their solitary white sails.
the lights and songs are more enchanted in a cloudy castle moat
today is make-believe
so we blink and sing and float high above the salty skyway
wishing for a real day

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

father's treasure

when they heard you say goodbye,
i felt it.
or maybe you didn't exactly say it,
you just meant it.
said or felt or meant, any which way-
you're gone.

you've gone every which way-
a million places.
or maybe you've just been stuck
in one place.
every way, or no way at all-
you're gone.

there's no way at all you're returning,
i know it.
or maybe there's no way that i am-
just saying.
packing your bags to prospect for gold,
you're gone.

your golden prospects are gone now-
only fool's gold.
or maybe you were just a fool,
you know.
whatever you mean, stop your panning-
don't go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

the boar creeps upon winter

i shimmer down to leaves
snows are coalescing flakes
those frozen spies
are shaking winds
down to the boar's spine
a groan and stretch and i'm fine

my peace is shattered down
to pieces in the snowbank
so few dollars and sun shards
but the forest floor is warm
in the mud and bark
shivering the boar's bristles

wild hooves trample far
away from the tiled floors
to gentle needles
smells of pine and health
surging through my lungs
escaping the forked snake

courageous to a fault
the boar speeds ahead
and i can not be still
at all or long enough
to sip the northern sea
saltless and wild and free

when those coalescing spies
the vulnerable boar is on
the mend
looking for that rabbit
noble friend
a glittering refraction
in a flake
breaking the piggybank
two scents
i see that the hooves
are mine
and i step lightly
to the line
of winter
slowly creeping on

Friday, September 9, 2011

fear ii

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." ~ Frank Herbert, Dune

There is little left between my nose and the floor. the mat. a few millimeters maybe. arms shaking. legs gradually succumbing to my own weight. but an easy, undulating breath. later, i will be the same again, as before. i will be weak and childish. puking in the early september heat behind some groomed, suburban shrub. tears from the heaving. profanities towards my immobile feet. but for the moment, i am strong. a mascara-eyed warrior battling her own limbs on a fancy-ass mat made from recycled tires. fixating heavily on a shiny, manicured pinky. one minute. five more seconds. chaturanga dandasana complete. breathe. my heart flutters. swooping in, they descend upon me: eka pada rajakapotasana and svarga dvidasana: the pigeon and the bird of paradise. i tumble down to a unsettled pile of feathers. once i hold them, i will set them free. still afraid that they will return to peck at me. love handles, spiders, bills, republicans, whole milk, clowns, and marathons and...

maggots in my dinner. my mother dying in my arms. toxic water. pitch black. the low growl of unseen trucks and animals. the white backroll of eyes. leave your nets. only you will remain.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a proposition for you, sanity

what would you say to playing?
would you?
carnival rides, blinking nights
caribbean snorkels to the deep
greener hills sprouting sheep
wooded trails, northern lights

what would you say to gardening?
would you?
if the wind was right in weeds
i would be knee deep in herbs
whistling to the lazy birds
and you could rake the leaves

what would you say to napping?
would you?
i could try, too. on the sand
rest these busy blues
on salty afternoons
only if you held my hand

what would you say to tea time?
would you?
if you twirled through the honey
in cups, sweet and spicy kisses
help me dry the dishes
and i'll always call you honey

what would you say to staying?
would you?
when peter the hare has fled
i'm rifling through the trash,
looking for my secret stash
of mystery in the garden shed

so what do you say?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


you shook me once.
i was born a leaf
i became a twig
i am a tree,
rooted yet free.

you chased me once.
i started to slow
i became faster
i am the wind,
flying and free.

you caged me once.
i started to cry
i began to scream
i am singing,
unlocked and free.

you mesmerized me once.
i was a pendulum
i became a sundial
i am a mirror,
gazing and free.

you let me go.
i was an egg
i became feathers
i am a dove,
i will not flee.
i am free.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

returning to dream of understanding only to forget

it is my time to return to the mountains.
those winding, unguarded paths sing
like twisted angels or guarded sirens
pulling me back with a tug to my hair
a yank to my soul, back into the mountains.

it is my time to dream of the vineyards.
those lush, trailing fingers curl
like pompous snakes or an infant's tendril
tempting my drying tongue with wine on
lips to the glass and vine, i dream of vineyards.

it is my time to understand the fields.
those undulating, tawny grasses laze
like flossy, yawny lion tails
bedding my bones down to rest a while
on a pillow of breath, i understand the fields.

it is my time to forget the shoreline.
those lapping, crystalline waves dance
like clapping children or drunken sailors
waving farewell to my weak blue eyes and
the last of my tears on the shoreline.

Monday, July 11, 2011

enchantment. relocation.

what is magic, if not fleeting?
when the twirling slows
when the twinkling stars set
when the last tide rolls
i am left in the broken silence
with my flushed heart still beating.

you can not know a breaking soul
until you feel the loss of being whole
as the waves slip from your fingers
as the north star pops and fizzles away
as fairy dust becomes just pebbled sand...
i am a haunted island in this sea

lift me up and toss me away
i'll land here again to nestle
deep within the forest and the bay
when my clock stops counting
when my adventures start waning
when the snow surrenders to melting

this magic is fleeting
my soul is breaking
lift me up and toss me away

Thursday, July 7, 2011

into the fox den

hurry scurry
turvey topsy
Peter the furry
Flopsy, Mopsy-
and what of Cottontail?
sneaking, peeking
magic seeking
speaking namby pamby
and so curious of the den?
it killed the cat
(the fox that is)
and the rabbit is next-
a foxy grin greets
her sallying prey
as he dilly-dallies...
when he prays
she steals his
breath, tongue
but gives them back,
(kisses on his back)
to ensure he sallies back
hurrying scurrying
dilly dallying
sneaking, peeking
hot to (fox) trot
lickity- split
right into the den
again, again
(unless Peter tricks her first)

"Peter never stopped running or looked behind him till he got home to the big fir tree." ~1983

Friday, July 1, 2011

leo the lion

that northern sun was hot today
(sweltering, hazy)
its elusive face hung over the bay
behind a curious summer cloud
(peeking, winking)
through its curious summer shroud.
i didn't drink too much today
i kept those chilled boys at bay
my quiet pen stopped lips too loud
(chattering, kissing)
i scribbled and sang and swam and vowed.
a lazy lion loped along today
(pawing, yawning)
to my clever camp along the bay
napped in my sun though he was not allowed
(tip-toeing, hushing)
in my absence he was anything but proud.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

howling in the buzz of storytime lamplight

this is the fork where we break.
i broke away in a reflection
of the tipping point
but that was four miles ago
in the place you grew up with
a bendy straw in life elixer
bends in a road away from home.
you will touch my small fingers
and i will sprinkle your cheek.
cupped hands and downturned lips
meet the sun's sword unsheathing
on the curve of the our earth.
call it a marriage if you must-
it all cuts and sets in time.
what is this we call our time,
when yours has become mine?
when we've run our course
it was beautiful, of course
(see we are blind, see how we run)
now we finally see it all,
a clarity through your howling.
i'm moving up to the mountain
straw basket on hips, in tow
while you're growing tomatoes
you're grown up and reflecting
starlight onto my mountainside.
the frostkiss burns your harvest
this year earlier than ever
in the valley where your garden
grew with your flourishing manhood
in the shadow of my mountain home.

Monday, June 20, 2011

sticky countertops

dear honesty,
i've hidden you in the cupboard. in the back next to my sugarless cereals, as neither of you have proven to be very sweet. what's left in the kitchen? sticky countertops and stained wine glasses from two weeks ago. when a stranger's strong hands collide with the whole lot of my blonde curls, i'm closing my eyes to forget you. when a playmate's phone calls are silenced with my dirty fingers, i'm opening my eyes to check the time and you are still in the cupboard. four o'clock is a filthy time of morning and then, i am mourning you. i am hoping for breakfast but your face peeks out from behind the boxes and i'd rather starve. i'd rather lay in bed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

of leaving and small magic

in the woods and by the shore i stumbled upon it. that's what we all seek in places- that small magic. to feel something apart from cars and grocery stores. in a field surrounded by puffy dandelions, we are all clinging. about to take flight into that northerly breeze. we can feel the magic, or begin to feel like we know something of it. from mountains to plains to the lake i wandered here and learned of it, though it was small. now i can conjure it when the sun slants this way and the dandelions sway. i can carry it in this small pouch at my hip. i can carry lilacs and paper scraps to help keep it alive. i will beckon to it at the perfect time. here, off of lonely 13 and 2, flapping pigeons and a splintered bench and sweeping sunlight hint at it.

the fat robins remind me that the snow is at bay and the bay reminds me of the day i arrived: small and afraid of the isolation. i skated the icy highways while he was away. while i was left here to make my own heat. in a kitchen too small for my mixer. in a town just vast enough for my footprints. to make it my own was my journey.i wandered to the market for strawberries and to the bench by the bay for sunsets.sunsets and ice roads in turn.

in the light of a sunday June glow i have found my tears. it is magic after all. what canvased my heart is beginning to tear and the skin underneath the artwork is smooth and plain. the indians and ice and insensitivities somehow served me well. housewives pot marigolds and herbs tonight, rushing slightly to keep up with the sinking sun. watching me with my windy hair and concealed stories, they glance my way here and there. their children will dance along with me down the sidewalk. curious as to why i am the same age as their potting mothers, yet spinning to their tune. it is safe here and my path is worn. fate is pushing me to a wider road. sidewalk chalk and spray paint where the grass pushes it's way through the concrete. soon all will be strangers to my feet.

to stay is to plateau. to leave is to grow. i teeter, playing this game, rolling dice of my own desires. swinging madly back and forth in the quiet of June.the jungle is only a playground game for me here and so now i spin atop the merry-go-round and hope to be propelled to greener lawns. it is my turn to leave. i can tell you something of leaving and the nervous un-choices..what stories are they? if not fairytales, they are, at least, my own.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

this is not about you

this story is not about you.
it is quiet and smooth,
like the curve of a shoulder blade.
the painted words
seep deeper into the pavement
like the last moments
of waking or déjà vu
but they are not about you.
i came home
with mint and hot words
on my breath,
to a watering can and a pinecone.
i was not alone.
you're moving back again,
to the seamstress' bench.
you're a hanging button
on a coat sleeve.
i'm dipping into ponds
green like clover in springtime.
artesian kisses
on the brim of the pipe.
this is my signal to leave
and this is not about you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

on the corner of 3rd and st. claire

im not sure who i'll be when the lake winds settle down again. spring sunsets suit me well for now and lake sounds are my only company. i come to this bench every night. in the shadow of our fathers, we are paralyzed and i hear the frog and duck songs. my wings carry me above the clouds and tidal waves. i don't know when i shed those feathers. i was twelve and eager to be older when i saw your first glances. i plucked a few leaves of lamb's ear and let the softness against my cheek cradle me in my fear. i'm near a northern pier and somehow when the waves crash around me i am not afraid. when i lost that small child i was only afraid in the face of commitment and mother's days are hazy now. mothers eclipse fathers in the brightness of sacrifice so i wonder how i would have fared that storm, how i could have stayed afloat. you are a ghost today, as she is and so is he. i drowned each of you while i was braving the waves. maybe you will drown me while you swim in the sheets of another. maybe i will lose my lifesaver. you were here once when the skies were grey and frozen, when we were flurries.i should have prevented that blizzard. caught up on the trail that is 3rd and st. claire i am warm and my toes are safe but i am no saint. i take muffins and tea to the dying couple on 3rd and alley and feel as saintly as i ever will. brain infections and cancers steal their lives and they will be swept away on the northern wind soon while their ashes crash along the shore of the bay. i would bake you pastries if you were well enough to visit my kitchen in your moments of sobriety. but again, it seems i only clap floured hands for the ill. i will clap for your magnum opus. serve your drinks and i will serve my purposes. it will serve us well. maybe i will find you on the corner of 3rd and st. claire in the gentle heat of a distant summer, in the distant heat of our healed hearts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

welcome to waking, earthling

it's a little like falling.
off of a cliff, not out of bed.

heartbeats slow to a line
sons are bleeding,
weeping over their mothers
sheets to bones tomorrow
it's time for dinner.
salted waters sweat
in holes and currents
catheters funnel blood
from vessels to ships together
cracking life from scales
in the wake of dinner.
matadors thrust swords
ribbons to ribs to shreds
160 degrees of comfort.
Garden fingers pull roots
seedling hearts of daughters,
mother's gather dinner.
pastures nod to sunset
calves call again
a splatter in the pan
eyes roll back to head
black to white to red
going home for dinner.
they fall from cliff and bed.

* also, i have just made a short video from this poem. if you would like to watch it:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

razor shoes

for his mother

a run through the dew
misted breath
sopping shoes

mornings are razors
taking breath
stealing shoes

it's too early for wine
and the clock ticks
to the beat of my shoes

Monday, April 18, 2011

dirt to shoulder to horizon

A companion:
Dear Trail,
I wish that you did not terrify me. Though you would not know it by the smooth assurance in my blue eyes, you swell my stomach with aching fear. The path behind me has been demolished and so my trek must be in forward motion. A lonely slow motion. From your head, the cement seeped up and settled hard into my running shoes, laced with anxiety. How far have I come? The meager calculation is sad. How far to go? The vastness of that number is daunting. I can not be sure that my weak breath will float me the distance. Will my mind be able to shed these heavy, cemented doubts (and shoes)? You refuse to carry me.

In bedtime stories I have heard of your end. Velvet moss and gentle leaves. For fleeting, enlightened (or light-headed) moments, drifting to sleep or panting hard, I have seen it clearly and felt that I could be close. In my dreams I am a fox and I elude you and my toes soften and pad underneath my soul- the downy fur becomes real and i step and leap and trot and weave and dance. To your right and left. And your miles are only a game.

Clear-headed or in waking, I am slow and careful. Your curves and slopes are ominous to me and for now, I let my tears splatter on your face. One enchanted evening I will defy your taunting gravel and concrete and sand and dirt while kicking my shoes to your shoulder. I will spy the red sun on your horizon and it will become my home.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

fox in the pantry

when i left you
i left my breath
inside my water glass
i left my arms outside in the snow
where did you go?
i cried behind a tree, chased a mouse
while spring bloomed around me
(you're all around me)
cool rain falls,turns my nose blue
i'll turn around for you
when the galaxy strikes midnight
when spinning away isn't right
when i leave
burnt leaves on cement
to taste snowfall gritty and alone.
a scarlet blur in a gilded field-
i'm a fox in the pantry
breaking up the dishes
should i even love at all?
the waters bleed to skies and melt away
in your hands (sand in your eyes)
i've never breathed, melted or had clue.
strike a match.
i could turn around for you.

Calvino's Wave

waves remain separate
for only so long
whitecaps crash apart
for mere seconds
rolling in as millions
in the black of my eye
so quickly a flash
they crash as one
onto the line of sand
commingled and salty
they become me
they become you

fleeing and receding
fleeting and misleading
the new wave
hikes her skirt
and rushes back to the moon

what is a wave?
is it ever more than Id?
fated to remain
countless, swirling parts,
she is never whole
in the wild peaks roll
part by part
in the final seconds
she succumbs to the sand,
and becomes One again
waving from the open water
she rushes back to the moon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

you're alive. happy birthday.

Dear Daughter,
Happy Birthday.

I do not know who you are or what you have become. I don't know how old you are. Today, you do not exist. In fact, perhaps I should have said "Dear Son." Though, I have a sense that regardless of your existence status, you are a daughter. If I am ever destined to be a mother, I feel as though it will be to a daughter. Whoever you are, I am sure I love you.

Tonight I found myself down by the lake at sunset, eating pretzels alone in the sand. I talked with your grandfather because it was his second non-consecutive set of fifteen years of marriage to his second wife who is not my mother. Love is complicated and I have just wrapped up my first marriage, only three years deep. Relatively unscathed. Sure, I have told you about him by now.

I walked home with my groceries and pretzles and nearly lost my sauce in a wicked splatter on the sidewalk. Tomato sauce and wine were both fine. I live in a small town. Please take a kitchen knife to my right eye if you were A. Born in this town or B. I am still living here or C. Have a go at my left eye as well if both A & B are true.

I am positive that you are beautiful. I have popped plan B's like PEZ. I have laughed in the face of the idea of you. I have prayed that God would assign you to another mother. So, I suspect that if you've made it here, I was desperate for you. If you are reading this, I am happy that I did not miss out on you. I also hope that I don't have stretch marks. Maybe you're from Malawi or Guatemala. Maybe you are a son.

Where ever you came from, you're the song on my lips. The stripes on my Adidas. The missing rhyme in my sonnet.

Chapter- "Manufactured Tails"

He stayed up late into the frosted night, basking in the strange blue glow of his father's computer. He shone in the window, reflecting into the woods. The night noises of the wild valley were muffled. But he knew and felt the reverberations of the wolves' hymn. He used to know the forest well. He sank, foreign in the blue glow of technology. He leaned back further and allowed himself to break. With eyes like icy Norwegian ponds, he wept and stared bitterly at the tragic screen.

He resented the injustices that had clear-cut the wilderness of his once untamed heart. He felt weak in the aftermath of my destruction.

Futilely, he attempted to click the keys. The words would have lept out of his soul and into the realm of thought had he thought to hold a pencil instead...
Had he inhaled the grainy air of an open field...
Had he drenched himself in the damp, misty air of a waterfall...
Had he felt the itch of the hay bales in his grandfather's barn...
Had he heard the quiet chirp of peepers in a country summer...
Had he been enchanted by the glow of fireflies behind his father's shed...
Had he drowned in the mooing of the cows in the valley at dusk...
Had he been himself. The luminous boy from the wooded coulee.

But he had murdered those memories and he could not find a pencil. So he typed. A Manufactured and mechanical letter. The story of how I left him. A defeated tale of a boy who had lost his fresh air and his purpose- a defeated man in the back pew of the wooden Lutheran church. In shadow of his elderly relatives' successes. A man who drove his mother's station wagon to the nearest town to substitute teach and drop a letter to me at the post office. That was the only letter he ever wrote to me and so I wanted a letter from someone else.

Even when, during our third year of marriage, when he had flown away for the second time into the Norwegian mountains to live in a yurt and eat kale, he sent me no letters.

He missed our cat. In the absence of his near-child and his sought- after children, having the fluffy Fitzgerald was all he knew of fatherhood and so he routinely sent along shiny balls with bells inside and catnip to him in the mail. I felt an awkward jealously, so I proceeded to shop online and send expensive things to myself in the mail. I braided my hair and brushed Fitzgerald's tail.

Flinty Eulogy

yesterday in globed glasses
pouring, drinking
skip the pouring
lovely brims, wine never reaches
lips hug rims
sorrow in globed glasses
(maybe i will die alone)

apologies typed in letters
sinking, mourning
sleep on an inky morning
lonely hearts, never filled to the brim
hands hold pens,
the finality of typed letters
(surely i will die alone)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the middle labels me in the sky

Brothers. Fathers. Uncles. Husbands. Boyfriends. Lovers. One-nighters. Friends. Grandfathers. Ex-husbands. Ex-boyfriends.

(somewhere in the middle)

Letters. Phone calls. Emails. Texts. Visits. Drives. Vacations. Plane rides. Texts. Texts. Texts.

(cannot find a label)

tears. laughter. hugs. punches. kisses. sex. war. peace.


Shallow. Deep. Water. Blood.

(blue skies)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chapter- "Pit Stops"

Stop 5: Bar Stools & the White Haze

He got a whiskey. I got a beer. Then I got my period. It was just barely 11am and we were 75 miles from anywhere that would even have a gas station. But, “luckily” for us, we were flying along highway 2, in the middle of the woods and happened to see what may have at one point in time resembled a bar. I pulled over in the snowy gravel. Upon closer inspection, we decided that yes, it was in fact a bar, and yes, it was in fact open. He had to pee and I was bitchy and bloaty, so we braved it.

His whiskey neat was not neat and my beer was not cold. It was the price we had to pay for not relieving ourselves before we left, or for drinking too much coffee. Either way, we were choking down gross drinks at 11am in the middle of Shitville. To add insult to injury, the bartender (who we decided was probably a woman) kept staring at me and the couple on the other end of the bar was blabbering incessantly about their diabetic dog. I decided that it was no wonder why these people are willingly at a bar at this hour. I accidentally might have given them one of my trademark bitch glances that insinuated something like “Just put that fucking dog out of its misery.” I needed some Advil. But, my snotty sarcasm is rarely the side effect of cramps. A pill could never fix my attitude. My companion gave me a small smile that said just that. He touched my knee and kissed my cheek. He loved me.

We finished our drinks, because Midwesterners always finish their drinks. Even if they are not very good.

I wasn't able to define my feelings on this journey. I was taking him to the airport again. Part of my soul was feeling an elated sense of relief and the other part was a teary, female mess. I tried to blame the latter on my monthly hormonal charade. But, I knew it wasn't the reason, and that led me to feel even more confused. And, subsequently,pissy. He just stared at me as I drove, eyes sparkling. I looked at the road.

I drove. I was just a little lightheaded from the late-morning dosage of pain reliever and beer. I imagined what it would be like when I would return to my apartment without him. I would smile. I would light a few candles. Pour a glass of wine. Revel in the orgasmic solitude. The lack of commitment. The lack of dinner. The lack of companionship. I would lay in the cold,barren sheets. I would realize that I had done it again, and I would let my tears soak into my skin, let them in deeper than I would ever let anyone.

I swerved to miss a lone doe and snapped back into the essence of the car and our trip and the story he was telling me about someone he knew in Los Angeles. I loved to hear his voice. But, my mind was slipping back into the white haze of letting go. I held back my tears, but I knew he could see them dancing near my eyelashes. He had always loved my long eyelashes.

Stop 1: Machine Guns In the Dark
The snowfall was torrential. I was used to these sorts of Northern blizzards. The long, frozen treks through the woods. Coasting along one of only two roads that led to my home. The home I had not wanted or asked for. But, I had come to care for it and so had adopted it. For a time.

The yellow lines of the highway had long since been buried under the packed, white precipitation. It was a pitch black night and I could see the ominous, glowing saucers of animal eyes on either side of the disappearing path. I pretended that I was playing a video game- lighting a cigarette and blasting the panicked, electronic beats of Crystal Castles. I would dodge the rabid zombie- deer and slip and swerve on the haunted ice road. It would be okay. I would make it home to my hot tea and fireplace and Fitzgerald,my own wild beast.

It was the first of many times that I would bring this Lost Boy into my Lost World. Into the woods, into the snow, into my bed, into my organized mess of an existence. The night was cold and dark and exciting and secretive. We had fled the city like two misunderstood refugees. Away from our families and churches and highschool crushes and chain stores and dangerous parties and street signs and engagement rings and missed opportunities- away from our previously known realities. And all we could see around us was white encased in black.

We saw them like two pillars of hope in the distance. Faint globes, but growing more yellow and warm with each spin of the tires. Far north, near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there was a haven in the storm. Though time and distance had swirled away from me in the snowflakes,I realized where we finally were. It was the legendary mafia hide-away, turned crime scene of decades passed. Well, if you want to put it glamorously, that's what it was. It had become a tourist attraction for elderly people who genuinely remembered the name of Johnny Dillinger- and not the imposter Johnny from the movies. But, it was open, albeit empty aside from a few dedicated employees, and we were in need of a place to stop and hide from the raging blizzard. And we needed a drink. Pronto.

Ours was the only vehicle to be seen. We stood in the parking lot, near the edge of the woods. In the light of the lamps and the neon beer signs, he held me close. The snow and wind flew around us, but he kept me in the lining of his coat and I felt small and safe. Before I realized that the cold had grabbed me again, he had taken off. He ran quickly and madly into the woods. I could hear his laugh, and I knew that he could hear mine echoing back. We chased eachother with invisible machine guns until we were snow-soaked and frozen and another inch of snow covered the car.

We walked in through the large, wooden doors, wet and rosy-cheeked. In the reflection of pieced- together shattered glass, we realized how young we looked. We made our way to the bar and began to drink in that romantic room and gazed with glazed eyes at the preserved bullet holes in the walls, and Johhny Depp t-shirts. We smiled in the glow of the roaring fire as we roared with laughter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter- "thaw"

Finally, the breeze was mild. Finally, the sun clung to the skyline for just twelve more minutes than it had the week before. Finally, I could see something resembling grass underneath the lakes of snowmelt in the sideyard. I had never truly experienced the beauty of springtime before 6pm that February evening. Thirty years along a particularly icy road, and there I was all of a sudden, crying and thawing out in the soupy, littered alley.

I breathed the newborn spring air so deeply that I was nearly lightheaded. I saw the scattered garbage. I heard the neighbor's baby crying and the scratch of a stray dog's nails on some leftover ice. The feeling wrapped me up so suddenly, it was nearly startling-- it was the temperature and the weight of the atmosphere. It was warmth. I realized it then...

I had survived. The bitter bite of Northern air. The bitter words and bitter alcohol that dripped from my leaky faucet of a tongue all winter. Bitter goodbyes and uncontrolled tears. My unruly, bitter disposition. All that bitterness melted away down into the alleyway potholes and murky puddles. It smelled like rain and I wavered knowing that I had conquered the unlivable winter and that I had made him leave for the last time. I was alone, but I was alive.

I knew that I would never let him return to these sidewalks or to his snowy pulpit to lecture me. My confusion and bitterness were finally slipping away with the winter sludge and I was emerging into the shape of someone else altogether. Someone much more beautiful. Though he had made it back once more to his old doorway via the isolated route on Highway 2 in his uncle’s rusty station wagon, it would be the last time. Despite his pleading and sobbing and promises to reform, I stood like a small statue beneath him, unwavering and quiet. He saw a picture of me kissing the blue-gloved boy and promised me that I would regret it. He promised me that I would be lost without him and I would be ruined if I kept kissing that blue-gloved boy. I could only close my eyes and wait for it to pass and wonder if God agreed with what my husband was saying. I wondered why I felt so peaceful amid the shattered ruins of my marriage. Finally, he sank back into that station wagon and retraced his tracks on Highway 2 and I thanked God (even if he did agree with my husband). I sniffled just once and peeked through the curtains and watched him go and then found myself happily broken in the littered alley. My thaw was beginning and I could feel a new surge of hot blood pumping lightly under my delicate skin.

I stared above at the sky. A transparent moon and companion star were suspended in the fusion of sunset’s crimson and night’s cobalt. I was teetering on the brink of dusk and nighttime, towing the line of adventure and settling. I was exploding and sleeping. My pooling blue eyes blinked in time to the drip of the icicles, smearing the concepts of hope and reality as tears washed the palms of my hands. Cracked wide open and warm. What would I do now?

I walked. When it was always my impulse to run, I decided then to walk. In the last moments of daylight, swept by the temperate air, I walked. I knew that I was finally strong enough to slow down. An elderly Indian woman was walking with a cane, evading puddles as she swayed under the weight of her grocery bags. She smiled knowingly at me from across the street. It was a smile that made me feel feeble and naïve. I could see in her ragged eyes that she had survived many more winters here than I ever would. Perhaps she even thrived in the winters. And there I was parading my ability to claw my way through three inconsequential seasons. But she sensed my victory and silently congratulated me. It was humbling to walk.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It is a chilled and serene hymn that finds me laying here,
Tired and drooping like a birch branch in springtime.
I have played the day gently with steady fingertips,
the ivory and black keys of my heart roll again.
What melody echoes? Who will I play for, and when?
A composer of melancholy songs and unfinished lines,
I have come to ask of mercy from this unhinged work.
Stillness, solitude and reflection mirror in my eyes
as tears of the music passed sings to cradle my soul.
I will hum softly upon the snow to wait for the thaw
Until sorrow melts to the warming bird songs of hope.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Loves I & II

We met on a greening campus lawn
Just once we made love until dawn
We’ve shared a bathroom and a bed
You were in my hands but not my head
You couldn’t bear the cross you wore
On your back, that inky black sore
Scripted vows echoed in a glowing barn
Heart seams stitched with strings and yarn
I jerked us around and you hit the ground
You screamed ‘til I was nowhere to be found
Your anticipated child hung inside my gut
When it slipped away I didn’t give a fuck
Now we’re happily sad and estranged
You’re depressed and I’m deranged
Don’t believe me if I say I never loved you.
Don’t believe me if I say I’ll never forgive you.
I knew love and forgiveness on a campus lawn.

How’d we plunge through those icy crowds?
Painted nails, higher than painted schemes,
We rocked and puffed and hung from clouds.
Black and silver rides drove our rock star dreams
To dark alleys with darker men, we barely escaped.
Though we slept on basement couches and gutters,
Our cunning left us never slapped or raped.
We raised hell with fathers, teachers, mothers.
Do you remember the swings next door?
We flew and screamed and fell away.
Do you remember crawling on the floor?
We shifted and lied and crept away.
You found your love and I found mine
We left them both and found better ones
You live your life and I’ll live mine,
The times we’ve had will lead us to better ones.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's never a good sign when I wake up still spinning. When my eyelashes barely separate enough for me to see anything because my glammed- up mascara from last night is still caked on and the sparkles from my eyelids have fallen into the pooled corners of my puffy tear ducts. And, when I finally do see something, ugh. Three variously full bottles of beer on my cute bedside table, which is entirely too quaint to have un-coastered bottles of beer on it. So, that morning I rolled over, shirtless, and groaned because "I really should have just thrown up last night."

What's was an even worse sign? It was New Year's Day. Nice. Happy "Monumental Rest of My Life Day" to me. I thought, "I'll re-assign this occasion to my birthday this year." Everything seems better in July than it does in January anyhow. "But, wait, it's Thirty this year. Scratch that."

I looked around, as well as I could considering that my frizzed and nappy head was pounding. Where was he? Out for a cigarette? No, the silver case and lighter lay neatly on the desk. In the shower? There was no splattering sound of lukewarm water. I laid back down. Confused and more than likely, still drunk. I closed my once-beautifully made-up eyes and they were thankful for the dark cover. I shivered and suddenly felt as though I would die without his arms. Disgusted, I caught myself wallowing in that that mire of shitty, sappy sentimentality and nearly threw up on my pillow.

There was a faint rustling in the next room. I squirmed and attempted to peel the twisted sheets from my mess of a body. I did and then teetered noiselessly towards the next room. He was there, dressed and i could smell in the air that he had showered. His back to me, he stood over two ominous, gaping suitcases and a pile of mismatched clothes. Then, it all came back to me in a rush of tears and alcohol and wavering words. He was leaving. He turned around to tell me that I was beautiful but I was already crying and puking all over the floor. Beautiful.


When I woke up I could feel that I was warm and clean. I smelled like flowery shampoo and his soft tee shirt was draped over my small frame. My eyes opened easily this time and my head felt light and clear. He sat there quietly, just looking at me with a gentle glimmer in his green eyes. He saw that I was awake, and smiled his gorgeous smile. Brushing the hair from my forehead, he kissed me the way a proud groom kisses his glowing bride- unabashed and tender. “Happy New Year, beautiful.”

I smiled without laughing, without makeup, and without reservation. I wanted to tell him that I loved him. That he had just saved me. Again. I wanted to say thank you. I wanted him to kiss me again. I wanted him to stay there on my bed forever, staring into my eyes through his comforting green halos. But I said nothing while one teardrop tore away from my brimming eyes and slipped down its salty slide to my shoulder. He kissed away the wet streak it left on my cheek and told me that he would always love me. And before I could allow another tear to escape, he did. He was suddenly through the door and I was in his powdery white tee shirt- a small, heartbroken lump of feathers on the bed.


Walking past my mailbox the next morning there was a morning dove sitting on the rust of my porch railing. It only had one foot. Its balance was impeccable. It wavered just a little when I got closer to inspect its stump. “You okay buddy?” I asked. Without warning, it flew with a coo into the air. Completely gracefully. If I ever lose a foot I can only hope to move that elegantly. It had returned to the same rusty landing when I returned home later that day. This time it just tilted its head as I crept closer. I was pleased that I was allowed such proximity. Closer still. I raised my hand to do god knows what- pet it? Suddenly, its wings arched and it leaned to one side and spiraled to its death in a pile of snow. A lump of feathers in the powdery death.

Monday, January 24, 2011


you say that you miss me terribly, too
but you don't still sleep in that bed
like i do
you've left these warm blankets
for cool sheets
tumbling out of snow embankments
into the hot streets
heaters to fans
blue gloves to bare hands

i say i can't handle the missing
like you do
so i'm smoking again on highway 2
but wild highways don't lead to you
i'll leave snow filled boots
for small bare feet
frozen tears
for love's heat
these plummeting blue eyes
fall for poetry from the skies

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Cleaning Up the Mess: Key Lime Pie

And so I found myself yet again in the middle of my pale blue 6x6 kitchen. Elixirs poised in my hands, the full bottles twirling like loaded pistols. My compadres Jack and Jameson. Mixing bowls shining nobly and Kitchen Aid tilted back rearing like an old trusty steed, preparing for a gallop across my frozen Midwestern countertops.

I'm sure that my Dad was already drunk for the night. Granted, the time difference was on his side. Granted, it was 5:00 not just somewhere, but sixteen after five here, too. So, I cut him some slack. Hell, I would have cut him slack regardless, since I was also pleasantly buzzed. I was home from my afterwork- workout and freshly showered, with a freshly opened bottle of High Life. It had been another eventful trip to the mailbox, which is precisely why I was warming up with a beer and flipping through muffin recipes. Not because I was hungry, of course. I can never eat while my brain is gluttonously consuming the thoughts of the day or the recently opened contents of the letter from my father.

I hadn’t heard from him in a month. Not because he was a jerk, of course. He was in hiding. Again. I was his only confidant, his only daughter, his only source of sympathy. Since he had run away six months prior, I could rely only on my monthly letter. It was more than anyone else he knew received, and so I felt auspiciously smug when I easily slipped my finger through the envelope. Of course because of this, I had become the family’s crisis hotline for those concerned about his health and whereabouts. I never heard much from Wives #2 or #3, naturally. But my mother, Wife #1, did periodically slip in a sly question regarding his wellbeing into our conversations. His mother, brothers, and sister were the most relentless trivia seekers. But, I only shared selective amounts of the Dad Data which I received carefully penned in his letters. Mostly because, as was his notorious custom, he supplied me with very little actual information concerning himself. We limited our correspondence to exchanged fictional stories. I didn’t even know where he was exactly. Somewhere in Florida. I never really ventured to check the postmark. I liked it better that way. Details have always been unimportant in the face of the history and love and enjoyment of being this man’s daughter.

So, when I was finally freshened up and sipping on a beer at 5:16pm, I sat down to read the latest exquisitely told tale from the tired fingers of my Dubious Dad. I was surprised to see only one sheet of paper inside. One sheet of high quality parchment and a plane ticket.

dear distanced daughter,
I have decided that now is as good a time as any. I would like to see you. I am sorry that it has been so long. Well, if “long” is how we would like to define eight years. Incredibly long? Embarrassingly long? That’s more accurate. Also, sorry about your divorce. I have enclosed a plane ticket for you. Sorry I am such a mess. I hope that you come to Key West, regardless. I think I need you and I certainly love you.
Ps: pack your summer clothes. Do you even have summer clothes?

I set his letter on the coffee table and smiled. I glanced towards the north-facing window in my living room and looked at the wild, icy lake. I got up, pulled on my puffy coat, mukluks and wool mittens. In much the same way that I'm always looking for that handbag which will change my life, I was on nearly-as-meticulous hunt for the most idyllic set of key limes.

Therefore, that night at 7:54pm, I was abandoning muffins. “Ed Abby” had been packed and gone for days and I was left blissfully to my own devices (cabinets full of baking supplies, a stocked liquor closet, and a playlist packed with old school hip-hop and punk rock). And it seemed fitting to let the kitchen become a disaster, to let myself become a disaster. To let the flour poof like clouds of magic dust from my carefully manicured and enchanted fingertips. To abandon the Muffin, who had for so long been my Knight in Shining Batter. I no longer needed his security. I was going to attempt to face my arch nemesis: the Pie. Pie is unpredictable and elusive. The various crusts and enumerable filling options. There is no base recipe, so it is an ever-changing list of options. I would whip and stir and splatter while battling my way through the turbulent mêlée with this Key Lime Pie. It would turn out perfectly. I would drink and dance and sing while wrestling with what I would do with the invitation from my father. I prayed that this sloshy, scattered process with the alcohol and the oven would allow enough warmth into my fingers for me to begin to clean up our messes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Alone. The feeling is emancipating. It’s never lonely.

When the weepy August sun smeared across the red walls in my living room, I just breathed. Closed my eyes. Like a penny drop in a well- deep and hollow and beautiful, I just breathed. Somehow I could feel my way through the chaos of the inland humidity and broken manners of lewd, uneducated people. I started to untangle the wadded mass of laughter, manipulation, relaxation, frustration, great sex, awful sex, summer and winter, contentment and the stir crazy rattles- I managed to piece it all together. Just for a few fleeting , courageous moments. This clarity is what I was chasing, but it was always just inches from my trembling fingertips. But that afternoon, it was nearer than ever. I could not allow it to recede again and be swallowed by the frigid northern cavity of desperate waters. I was terrified that, even if I managed to grab it, I would ruin or misplace it.

This was why I had to break the liquor bottles into disarrayed shards on the sidewalk and head back in a blur to the house to quickly pack my bags.

When I walked back through the front door into the living room, he was standing there- fucking up the beautiful red, sundrenched portrait of solace. Ugh, I should not have disposed of all that alcohol. I contemplated heading back out and carefully licking it off of the green and clear glass. I had anticipated that he would have stayed away longer than twenty ridiculous minutes after the enormous, screaming blowout we had just endured between the red walls, hardwood floors, and jittery cats.

I had anticipated being long gone by time he returned. But, there we were. He gave me his disgusted, lip-curled sneer, and a roll of the eyes that said “You are such a lush.” I didn’t want to let him get the first word out. I knew, judging by well-known sneer and the pungent scent kaleidoscope of vodka, coconut rum, Irish whiskey, gin, raspberry brandy, Bailey’s and lemondrop schnapps and god-knows what else. So, I had to say the only thing that I knew would send him directly back through the back door and buy me another twenty minutes. “I didn’t want to have that baby, okay? Just deal with it.” As brutal and grim as it sounded slipping through my uncouth lips, I felt a surge of power going through my cheeks.

Just as I had calculated, his face paled and he traced his steps wordlessly towards the backdoor, just barely mumbling, “Bitch” under his defeated breath. Maybe I had wanted that baby. I didn’t care about it right now. He was gone and I was throwing my bag over my shoulder and heading out of the front door and kneeling on the sidewalk searching through the broken pieces for a few drops of relief.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chapter fragment

There are no beautiful sunsets in this season of darkness and greedy chapters. The snow. It hurts the warm soul, causing it to crack and break between the lines of sanity and reason. I felt it's icy sting even more after I kicked my husband out, and sat beside myself trying to soothe it with hot tea.

I had felt it for so long. I began to feel the freezer burn in my throat again once I knew he was feeling it, too.

The week he arrived back to the Midwest he was arrested. There had been an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and they got him right way when he entered the state. After fifteen years, it seemed as though I was just here waiting for his return. Of course he sacrificed and endured arrests and the shit weather and the stains on the front of his coat to be near me. But, he didn’t know that yet- he didn’t know why he was putting up with it all. It was just too damn cold here. Very few can actually say that they enjoy the bitter cold, really. I mean, besides the massive snowmobilers and their fat wives who serve them chips and beer during football Sundays. It was not a place for either of us. But he trudged here unknowingly into my arms, into the snowbanks of this sad town. Despite the snow, stains, and sunless Sundays.

Searching for some semblance of sanity I stepped outside for a cigarette and saw the snow angel in the front yard. He stumbled to that spot in a drunken frenzy the night before. He was gorgeous and awkward in the whiteness, in the glow of the streetlight. There was something more to it and I knew what was next. And it was okay. At that moment I was not what I needed and I was not what he could endure. Not what he needed, either. And that was okay, too.

He required circled sunlight and longer days. I had felt his gravity for all of my adult years and it had gone from me but it returned all at once when I saw that snow angel laying gently on the frozen ground. I was not what he needed- not now. I knew it and said it again and again in my mind. All at once he was just barely more than a blurred photograph on what used to be my husband's bedside table. It’s not always what he would be. He would again be a warm and tangible tee shirt against my bare back.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

observance of a revelation: an anniversary tribute to my journal

Dearest Formulated Love,

I feel as though this is the most intimate and romantic anniversary that I have ever celebrated. Today, as it did exactly one year ago, the ice covers the windows as delicate lace. The sky is cobalt and the light slips wearily into the frigid mouth of the Big Lake. Back then, I felt small and enraptured watching the ancient cycle of night and day, as the pretentious bite of the Bohemian winter nibbled seductively at my ear. But then you arrived. Though I was afraid and reluctant as you approached my fingers, I inhaled and allowed you to move them. With the clicking came liberation and with the liberation came tears and with the tears came a sense of worth. You have given me all of this.

I do not like you every day. But I do love you. You hold me calmly here, whispering songs of my childhood and past loves and doubts and secrets which only you know. And when the clicking ceases, you still love me. You still know me. When the time passes and I do not give you the pleasure of my presence, you wait for the next moment, hour, wait for me to return and pour out the waters of my regrets and triumphs. You float peacefully in the stories that trickle from my fingers and splash from my tears.

One year ago I was broken. Encompassed by thoughts of a far away city and a far away soul. Today, still broken, I am in repair. But the distant city now sleeps atop my mantle and the soul sleeps wrapped in my bedsheets. My stories have sprung to life. My black and white canvases have become brilliant shades of grey and my secrets are no more.

Next year on the sixth of January, I will give you something more than a collection of fragmented poetry and brazen story lines.

Yours Completely,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Almost Alive- chapter

In my winter white ceramic bowl sat absolutely perfect muffin batter. Fluffy yet slightly lumpy. It's a damn shame that it ultimately ended up in a bloody mess all over the front yard.

I am not usually one to accept a compliment. In fact, I have been told that the screwed up look on my face after receiving any sort of praise much resembles the look a baby makes the first time she licks a pickle. However, I can state with complete empiricism that I make excellent muffins. It doesn't even matter what kind, I have perfected my "pinch of this and that" base recipe and the rest falls into place. Even my mother (the Great Queen of Pastries) herself has crowned me the Quickbread Queen. I don't argue. And when someone tries one for the first time, I can tell by their thin- lipped smile that I am indeed gifted.

Over the years that I was married, I used these little breads as a means of stress relief and self-affirmation. Therefore, I developed my own concoctions for catharsis such as: Honey Oatmeal, Tomato Basil, Peach Raspberry, Vanilla Rosemary, Dark Chocolate Cherry, Strawberry Rhubarb, Lemon Mint, Almond Poppyseed, Apple Cinnamon, Rum Raisin, and of course Blueberry and of certainly many more that I haven't yet documented, and definitely many more that have flopped terribly. None of these flops, might I add, have ever occurred while I have been one- handed, toting a glass of whiskey or wine. Well, not until frigid, Northern afternoon, while i was under a deep, drunken spell due simultaneous over-consumption of these two elixirs. Not until I had come home from the gym, collected my mail and opened up the envelope from my attorney. There they were. The signed and finalized divorce papers. I had been expecting them any day. But the hot fuzz in my stomach sunk deeper and I headed for my liquor closet and box of recipes.

Once, I purchased a beautiful little apron for the sole purpose of muffin making. It was completely quaint with ruffles, bows and French scroll pattern. I only used it once, because well, I deemed it too pretty to use. So I would spin around in tiny circles with dashes of salt and sugar in my hair and flour on my un-aproned knees, mixing woes with alcohol in my pretty white mixing bowls.

I loved to tear around my flyspeck kitchen. Even though the lid of the garbage and the top of the refrigerator had to frequently serve as extra counter space. I did let Fitzgerald, my fluffy mutt of a cat, sit on the counter while I cracked eggs and splashed unmeasured amounts of various extracts into flour wells. He would huff and sneeze sometimes when the baking powder plumed like dust from my clapping hands. And, sometimes, I would pretend like I didn't see him lick the gooey spoon. And other times, I had a bit too much wine while whisking around and, I am sure, genuinely oversaw his sneaky spatula licks.

At first I was only trying to smash the unwelcome, grotesque spider as he swayed from the door frame, sneering at me. Taunting me, even. Well, taunting in a three fingers of Irish Whiskey and 3/4 bottle of $35 Cabernet sort of way perhaps. "Get out of here, you bastard," I slurred. "You're not touching these muffins." Like he was going to anyway...

Guarding white bowl of muffin perfection under my arm, I calculated my steps across the minute kitchen. I stood next to my cat, who was now greedily lapping up batter drops from the counter. I stared profoundly into his huge green eyes. "Fitzy. You're the man around here now. Go get that thing. Eat it. Do- whatever." He stared lovingly into my eyes and I could hear small rumblings of a purr and he just laid himself down on the floured surface.

Cat in one arm and precious bowl of Orange Pecan muffins- to- be in the other, I marched gracelessly nearer to the eight-legged terror. I shoved Fitzy's face into the hundreds of swinging eyes. "Get him, babe." The cat just hung there over my arm, purring.

I don't usually eat the muffins. Certainly I follow the Baker's Creed and taste part of one before serving them, but I make a great effort to distribute them to co-workers and friends as quickly as possible before they magically and maliciously float from the tin onto my thighs. But, on that particular snowy afternoon, I did not need to worry about burning the muffins off on the treadmill. I was at least safe from that prospect as I lay there covered in blood and batter and snow in the yard, while Fitzgerald sat staring inquisitively at me through the window.