Monday, January 24, 2011

I wore dark glasses
not because you were dead
but because it hurt to look
into the glazed eyes
of my mother, my sister
waiting around
the visiting table: our
three careful smiles.
Of course this
was not the first breath kept waiting
for handsome you
to walk through the door, or on water.
There must be
in every father
an inheritance of love held
back, or drowned like a kitten.
What you gave I took
greedily with an endless stomach
for stone walls
and dark rooms.
I snatched it like money and tucked it
deep. There must be
in every daughter
a treasure chest guarding her
keep, or a hole overflowing with shit.
I wore dark glasses
because you were sleeping
clean-shaven in the asylum,
kept from the world
like a sharp knife in a drawer
I could take in my hand
and polish calmly for hours to see
me reflected
shining jaggedly.
Finally you came into the room
handsome you
electric with new drugs,
smelling of soap and stiff sheets.
There was a round white table between us, or nothing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I cup you in my hands
because you are that small. My heart is a battalion
of aching soldiers. This is my lonely weapon: love. Love
in her deep blue camouflage. I weep and draw a crowd
but no one sees
the numberless bones that poke
from the gutters,
broken. This is war.

Motherhood is a wound.
I hold you and you
are happy.
I am lifted into a different country.
The way I love you is a humid jungle, swaying
in its own haunted silence.
I march to the warcry and thrust into battle,
the lonely burning core.

I am the war,
the hands that seek to touch the warm pride
of your body.
You cannot speak or walk and when you cry
it is not the blind cry of a child but the muttering
of a small mathematician.
You count the bars of your wooden crib.
I lay in the dark and watch your fingers flick
across the ribs
of your bed.
I lay in the dark
and fight for our life.


Splatter Matters: things to do with the painting program when you aren't writing poems.

 I'd bet you ten dollars this applies to you.

Bruised Scorcery
Wizard Gizzards?

City at Night

Sweet chicken, the sky has fallen.

The Sun Rises Like Nuclear Citrus

Suck it Warhol

the temperamental cutting board

Cracked Windows and Blown Gutters

Summer Storm

-Indeed and Amen-


He was easy to find

hanging in his plaid

pj's from a beam in the

livingroom. She'd come to ask him

to make her scrambled eggs. Daddy?

Not horror but a six-year-old’s

solemn wail.

By then she could read

the thin colored veins

of any map--he'd hovered with her

over his bright desk

every night after supper.

He taught her routes and roads,

the endless ways

to all fifty states.

She often remembers

the peculiar loose angle

of his neck,

his face dangling grey

as a burntout bulb---

and the clumsy chair

she climbed to touch

the stubble-line

of his drool-wet jaw.

But mostly she remembers

her father's sure finger

tracing the way

to the edge of the Arctic,

whiskeydeep voice telling

of cold beyond cold,

whisker-close to her face:

In Alaska there are whole nights

of daylight! Honey, can you believe

there's a place you can go

where the night is light as day?

Maybe someday we'll fly there and see.


When you were young and your skinny legs
could run and run there was the ghost

of your father whose image pumped
through the thin pipes of your limbs

and you did move like him,
a flash across the grass under heavy gray skies.

Your eyes were his too,
green most days, sometimes blue.

You were seven when he died,
a pile of cocaine under his nose.

At the funeral they touched your face
said My Land you do look like him, don't you?

That day your mother put you in a little suit.
Little brute in a suit,

scowling at the priest.
The pounding in your chest, the thunder in your belly

was the uprising of your body,
your answer to the polished

brown casket.
The weekend after

the funeral you played kickball
in the street with the other little boys

with fathers, boys whose mothers
brought casseroles to your mother

and didn’t know about the coroner’s report
that said overdose: your father’s heart
had stopped like a clock

Your father's name was your grandfather's name
and you were the third,

the bloodline-end.
You closed off then

and did not understand how he could leave you
in the long day playing ball

casting purple shadows
against the hot streets

of your southern town.
But he left you his shed tools, his Led Zeppelin albums,

his picture.
He left you his picture

and later you blew the roof off the school
with your weird hairdo then left

for someplace he'd never been.
Your eyes green lightning