Saturday, December 21, 2013

My 8 year-old self holds a heart

After scrubbing elbows to nails, Mom gowned
and gloved me. Through swinging doors I saw
every body but his, cloaked in blue. On his back: eyes taped 
shut, penis halo'd in dark hair, the smell of sterility
and iodine, his ribs pried open and inside him-- a hollow
large enough for several sparrows. Just tall enough to see
and reach up, then over, then down into the hollow
with my right hand, his heart slick and pink as the inside
of a swollen cunt. Was his spirit hovering as this child
reached inside him, cupped his heart in her palm to the sound
of Led Zepplin on the radio? Did he wonder, who was this girl-
child hovering, reaching inside him--doing as she was told. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

yes, I love her

There is a pit inside of her:
deeper than she is

able to. Go. I followed her
half-way down, once. She barely

made it. Out. She can not bear
to hear some of the words. I write

and it would be easier to swallow
were she not in my throat, as I wrote,

but the psychic cord was never cut,
though attempted. Her hair was once

long and black reflecting. She
is still innocent and I can't

forget her hands. It is as if she
has died and come back

to life. It is as if I carry
her on my back everywhere.

I go. I could write her
forever. She is my

oldest lover.

From a crow's view

my childhood, blended, would be
the color worn by monks--  color
of ash,
color of wolf,
carved stone,
storm cloud,
color of hair,
dead brain,
aura   of the depressed  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fear 111: my face on a milk carton

A latch key kid I'd head straight for the blinking machine: red:
push play : I'm going to kidnap Sarah became not unusual.  
When my parents got home, my adopted dad would prepare
the gun, teachers were phoned with the secret word--
strawberry, for anyone picking me up from school.
(I can tell you that now.)

At night I'd lock the front door eleven times-- up 
and out of bed: that journey of heart pound 
down stairs again and again: terror plagued
those years, years after we'd left him, changed my name,
never sit with my back to a window.

Sometimes he'd call when we'd be home. 
Mom made me talk to him, though I didn't really 
want to, though he terrified me, though I hated him. 
He'd say, Tell your mom  I love her still. Tell her I love her.
Mom would listen as she stirred a hot pot, I'd wrap phone cord
tighter around my finger till the tip turned white.
Your father loves you, she'd say.

There is no data on how many children were saved by milk cartons,
but as a child the fear welled my face would one day
be on one. I hate/d milk; those faces haunted me. The rows
after rows of children stapled
on Walmart walls still get me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

how the girl became a messenger

hands shape the ground beef into a question-mark patty,
she feeds it to the girl who once grew inside her

girl eats patty, asks why do you
call yourself a whale?  mother feels trapped,

should have served girl a traditional
period-patty, tries to put her feelings

into a mental-meat-grinder till the girl's
question comes out in shreds


the girl begins to study whales in effort to understand her mother--
slippery so she tells no one her mother loves water and whale tongues

weigh as much as an elephant, their hearts as much as a car, so, the girl 
infers her mother feels overwhelmed, but is unable to speak 

the weight of it,
the girl runs baths for her mother, lights candles--

she'll feel most at-home here, she thinks, but she'll be lonely--
(blue whales travel in pairs,) so I'll bathe (blue)

with her   so she's not so alone

next, often, they are two whales in a tub  
girl feels questions in her belly, gathers her body

beneath the faucet, imagines a waterfall-ing
into her open palms  this goes on for years

she wrinkles nightly into thumb tips,
remembers the story of Jonah-- 

swallowed by a whale never named,
inside whom he lived for three days

in acidic darkness, before purged
on shore--forgotten, his skin, hair bleached

white from acid  and the smell
had he doubted before

he was a messenger of God,
he never doubted again  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What she wants (to be continued...)

to be wrapped
in strands of lights-- glow
in the corner of someone's room
to eat batteries and pass
them as a highway from Florida to Nebraska 
delivers a bus full of children
to feel light as a jumping bird
to spin in a field of cotton
without guilt or nausea
to eat it all without being full
to taste like honey suckles smell
to be licked
without disappearing
to know the names of every cloud--
to be one for a day
to pray on her knees
to want
to not eat her chapstick
to have pretty handwriting
to be a monk
to climb Everest
to eat cheese
to swim with seals 
to crack a coconut on her knee
to cum
to peel her lip with her fingers
snow, lots of snow

What roses want

She hides in a garden of angry roses-- red
like the one on her mother's breast

bone, thorns tips like a record's needle, scratching
across skin-- roses want to be remembered

in her dreams, they write-- want to stain 
her permanently

red like love and pain, 
like every month's throwings : petals. She hides

in the garden, a wall surrounds her bones, her nest,
she smells roses with honey-hopes,

forgets not to move  
surrounded in silk and thorn

Catholic School Memory

Hipless and uniformed in plaid 
I hid in the closet with a bully girl
in the hopes shed like me after
we'd undressed, sucked each other's teeth,
shown each other our flat, hairless parts.
Where were the nuns
to finger a cross on my forehead in ash?
We wanted to be glamorous-- rolled
paper into pixi-stick tubes to set on fire, smoked
till our lungs, fingers burned. Her name
was Julia which had to be the prettiest
sounding bully name ever there was. Seems like
she was always wanting
to take me into that closet, I too was wanting
her long brown hair as my own.
I knelt often those years, it felt holy-- even when knees
skinned stuck to the leather kneelers at mass,
the altar boys knocking incense chambers
left to right down the aisle, dressed in white
robes. After school I'd slap-bracelet
my girl-arm, hang upside down
till my head filled with ocean sounds.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I imagined angels because I was alone for so long

They followed me for over a decade-- with their wild hair,
shiny broken teeth, lopsided wings. When I really
needed them they twittled my hair around their yellowed
finger tips. Sometimes I saw them in my cigarette smoke--
And I'd hear them in my head, sense
them staring down from the ceiling. --They read every
word I wrote. Once, when I needed to be alone, I put a blanket
over my head and wrote Leave me/Leave me 111 times. I burned
the paper over the bath tub, watched it curl like pubic hairs
before vanishing into a pile of ash I rinsed down the drain.
But they didn't go away. They whispered
is she going to eat. They laughed
too, when I 'd walk into a bed post or trip
over a snail. Though menacing, they were always
on my side-- good angels, and like me --outcasts,
who never knew when to go away.  

Friday, December 13, 2013



We dont have time. Dada
will soon tsunami-crash, pull

us under the sea till we float.
He's coming—quick, we

must go. Your swollen face--
a cracked mirror I see myself

broken inside, his steps
pounding—closer, into my dream-earth.

Run!--we belong nowhere.
We don't have time to belong.

Leave the cat beside the couch,
my beloved best friend-- leave him,

fast forward ourselves to a place
I climb the oak daily with each

scratch, I pray higher
and higher.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Focus on her wild eyes

Navy dress hits my knee,
cherry ringpop, tan 
pantyhose. Bus 189 slows to a stop 
at Kramer and Richmond.
Bye to our driver who looks
like MacGyver. Boys
and I get off and I walk   
home to a bungalow 
with green shutters.

I dont get far-- a blow
from behind sends me  
to ground. The “coolest”
of the bunch sits on top,
5pm sunlight, outside  
the store jolly ranchers cost
three cents. 

You stuff, You stuff he
laughs. The others

For his protection
we'll call him Darrell.
Darrell reaches up navy
dress, gropes new breasts,
grabs handfuls
of leaves, shoves 
into bra. They scratch 
as they break
into pieces.
Dress at waist.

Darrell walks home, hears what
he hears most nights:
plate breaks into shards, father yells/mother
screams/slaps/groans: silence.
Darrell takes apart
his legos, piece
by piece.  Darrell lies
on his back, airplanes 
suspended over his bed.

Fifteen years later. Naked
ribcage, dreams of bloody
bird wings rinsed clean.
Drying off in the dark.

In the blue barn I practice undressing myself.
The mare stares as I pinch a button—recalling,
I imagine my self under warm water, kissing a woman
until I'm airless, until each button—undone.
Focus on the mare's breath hitting the cold. Focus on her wild eyes--
not the Earth-feeling
of nakedness-- the screaming desire to trampoline
out of  body, twist my nipples into stones
to skip across the river.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Here's a story

of a man whose name
you'll never know, whose path
you'll cross only this once.
The ice has turtlenecked his
shopping cart full of cans,
bags. Beside the stoplight,
on a bench where you see
his breath. He asks for nothing
he's monk-still, encapsulated
in the silence of the icey
scene. If he were inside
a snowglobe, he'd be beautiful
and sad and safe to inspect
closely, carefully.
The light turns
a warm green and you
look away. You
look away.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dear fish heartbeat,

Dear fish heartbeat,

I can no longer hear you, though you golden and glimmer, pulse in the low waters of the Kentucky pond, with its frozen lip you have slowed to the turn of a ballerina on her last, toed revolution, have slowed like a forced waltz, a dying hyena beside the river. Dear fish heartbeat I can not feel your beat in my body the way I once could when I passed all the raped-of-tree fields. Dear fish heartbeat, I wail like a pack of wolves whove lost their leader, but, light coming, must go; for they can not carry her in their mouths. Dear fish heartbeat the dog curls warm in my lap; I miss you.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

I wish for a way to say this beautifully.

I was 16.
He was 45.
I was in a chatroom.
So was he.
My mother slept.
He picked me up.
He gave me a drink, started to kiss me.
Please take me home now.
I'll take you home after you do what you came here to do.
It's a school night. My mother might wake up. Please.
I'm not taking you home yet. I promise to take you home after we have sex.
I don't want to. I want to go home.
Not until we have sex.
He came fast. He refused to take me home until the next morning.
I had just enough time to get ready for school.
My mother never noticed I was gone.
I told noone because I had a serious boyfriend.
I didnt know his name.
I didn't know I'd been raped.
I wish for a way to say this beautifully.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I dream Olivia Benson

I sold knives in stranger's homes, diced
carrots on tables. I believed
in their steel-- knew how sharp they were.

The detective told me my rapist's last name
was Justice. The kit wouldn't be back for
at least a year. I didn't have HIV.  

Two days after it happened the hospital called.
My Potassium level was heart-threatened-
low from all the fingers down my throat. A butterfly
needle into my vein, I watched the IV bag empty
itself into me.

The day after it happened they said, pluck
50 pubic hairs. Either you can do it or we can. Gloved doctor
said no bruises, no torn flesh. He hmphed and left,
my shame-- raw,
warm yolk, cracked
over my body.  

19 and you know the story: short skirt it's true
it's trite my cheeks rouged from drink
that night. The house-- a strangers I can't see clearly.
When I woke he was inside me, mermaids
swimming in my mouth.

A cloud of cold deja vu leaves itself
in my eyes, layers over layers--
grape rhymes with drape rhymes
with freight but I must tell it, must tell
the not again of it--why
I don't buy those beautiful
brown pears anymore.