Tuesday, April 18, 2017

After filing my tax return

at midnight,
I keep the light on
and sit staring into space.
It has been a bad day.
“You’re the only person
I know, who categorizes
your days: good and
bad,” they once
told me. I forget
if I told them,
I do it with weeks, too,
with months, years.
(2014 was
written right off.)
“When I’m
in a relationship,
I write it all down,”
I told
my old friend yesterday.
“That way maybe I
can learn something,
later.” We laugh. A joke.
She says it’s the same with
Bad Things, you have to
write them down, so you
can know. I agree.
But at least for me
that’s a joke too. (2014
is scarcely a dozen pages.)
My pen and keys are
speechless for weeks,
because I sit here with
the light on instead,
because I never want to write when
it has been a bad day.

Friday, April 14, 2017

things i'd never say to you

you never talked
to the cops
do you regret
not walking out


i could forgive
you (and maybe
i do) all the
late nights and
safe-kept knives;
i could forgive
you our co-
made mistakes and
i do, already
i could forgive
you if you
couldn’t forgive
me, i’d know
what you mean –
but i don’t
know if i could
you, for saying
his eyes were blue
for saying
he liked to kayak
and even you
knew that
was cruel


i’d never say
to you.


i still imagine
holding you
through the night
holding tight
a small room,
an anchor
constraining and
safe, safe safe
i still remember
when we both thought
i was helping
i still grasp
at that


there are many
many things
i’d never say
to you.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Less a radiance herself than a glinting pane of glass,
She is silvery on winter days and golden in the sun.
So slim she nears translucence, could be thoughtlessly walked past,
But a density of substance makes each eye’s glance feel a tonne.

Her voice could hold a sparrow and her brilliance and my pain,
In an easy gentle offering that enfolds me like sheer lace.
She moves wondrous under snowfall and waits humbly for rain
Acts as shelter for us wanderers who have strayed to her embrace.

Through our briefest over-lappings I can feel down through her layers.
We share roots in cryptic corners, draw our sustenance from soil.
In a language of sheer closeness we could speak all past betrayals
And each in one another find our perfect mirror-made foil.

But somehow, when I’m with her, my fears go unmultiplied.
It’s my strength and perseverance that, instead, I always find.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In Double Beds

The first time, we were
at their family farm, parents on
the other side of the wall.
They laid their arm heavy over my chest:
“Bad memories,” I said, shrugging it off
turning to be held by them instead.

For a semester, every
single every every single night,
we slept that close together.
Our bed was stilted and unfenced on either side
a mattress held precariously in the air.
We gathered to the middle for security
and I held them and I held and held them there.

In the middle of the night, I wake up
in his arms, wrapped around my stomach
and pulling me tightly to his chest.
We are on a farm I’ve never seen, together
for one night; in a loft
but I feel firmly on the ground.
I think I want to hold you, I think To keep you safe,
and he wakes  up as I gently turn around.

Glimpsing Mt. St. Helens

Behind one of the horizon-long clouds
She was hiding, holding the sky
In the bowl of her embrace: Mt. St. Helens.

Two roads lead to Mt. St. Helens
Like the two arms reaching out
To touch me in the dark.

From below the earth Mt. St. Helens
Looks like any other mountain:
Dark piles of rock, timelessness
And light bursting in through the ceiling.

Time turns a kind eye
To Ring Around the Rosie, Columbus and Mt. St. Helens.

We met Mt. St. Helens in
A desert dry with winter,
Now we reacquaint with her
In April wet with snow.

Mt. St. Helens lived in every state
I’d like to live in every state.

I am driving home along the interstate
When I see Mt. St. Helens
Asking where I’ve been
And why I’m leaving her alone.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hungry at the world

Filled with fury at the violence of the world,
I could have shouted down my lover for a touch.
Hunger grew like a beast from my stomach, my womb.
I ate to appease it and its wrath, my wrath, withdrew.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


The picture I send him of my family
and my sister is so beautiful, so
full of life, full of flesh –
years later and her wrist
will fit between my thumb and
forefinger, a tiny circle
that says, this history repeats.

In the bed we share I hold up
that circle for them to see, angry;
so tautly held, I am
untouchable, for I would either
break or break them if I
ever let go.

In this bed which is empty
except in morning fantasy, I
learn how to relax into
the pleasant pain of hunger,
like aching to be touched by him.
I try not to pathologize a
skipped meal or three. I
try not to thumb my fingers,
think this history repeats.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

beach babes

we compare
our parenting
blending sand
beneath bare feet.
now we can
barely stand
on these, it’s
high time
we supply
our expertise
to future lives.
we are children
who start
who before
we’re grown,
first try to raise
our own.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nevada Haibun

In the early afternoon the world is rushing past my windows at 81 miles per hour. Mountains slowly edge their way along the racing grasslands. Nevada lends itself to longing, the cattle swinging their heads up to mark my departure though they never noticed my entrance.
“Technology,” my grandfather’s voice pieces out, “is incredible, lettin’ me talk to you way-“ out in the scrubland, across the country, speeding down a two-lane highway edged with nowhere. The cell towers are weak despite his accolades.
“You’re always on the move, a-“cross states, adding miles, a”-ren’t you?” No, Papa, I am always standing still, it’s just that the road moves too quickly for me to keep up. No, Papa, I am always reaching out to find home, and why won’t it ever stay put? These skies lean down to envelop me, and I must run just to stay on the ground.
The cows have caught my eye for too long. The static stalls us out.
“I think I’d better let you-“

down easy, in on
a little secret,
out of this cage, for I
know, you must

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Thousand Different Skies

I want to pack my life into a car
neatly -- which I'm good at --
and drive across these states in messy and distortionary lines.

I want to see the world from its highways
clear views, of open spaces --
swim in rivers, sleep in canyons,
and look upon a thousand different skies.

I want to be so, singularly alone
to know the crushing solitude of a tent for one, a meal for one, a car for one
walk down forest paths like a Gretel without siblings
and know, that I'll be fine.

Or, I want a partner
a lover who craves loneliness as much as I do,
who points us out above as coupled stars:
which exist only until the light of their destruction arrives.

(We are not pessimists.
We are physicists,
and know the only constant here is time.)

I want to exist in the side country.
To spend hours in the drivers seat and days walking through deserts,
balance my stays in gravel-floored campgrounds
with cold nights on mountain-sides.

I want cities to be an exception
like civilization is just one more biome,
where the grass is blunt-ended and you can't see sunrise.

I'm going to pack my life into a car.
Maybe this year, maybe later.
I'll crank the windows, scan the radio,
push my pedal down, and drive.