Friday, September 30, 2016

tattered curtains

how are you, he says
although the saying is torqued into a question
and the question flows like the tributaries of veins
and the veins travel off the precipice of the past
and plummet like a great waterfall

how am i, i wonder
pushing my eye against the glass—
what i see is a frantic moth
fluttering on the other side of the panel
batting to a grace of lace
yet blind

Thursday, September 29, 2016

there is light in a woman's fingers

when the woman 
rings out the laundry
rinses the lettuce
recounts the story
answers the ringing
when the woman
extracts the splinter 
inserts the tokens for the lost tooth
when she wrestles the fever
caresses the violet
wipes puke from the floor
when the woman 
folds her ideas
into the origami swan
and touches her long neck
that woman is making love

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

making things, notes

i'm driving with my son through the dark night to pick up his sister who is working in the glow of the ice-cream counter. we are talking about life. about how to live. we are talking about canada and america. we are talking about him. we are talking about his father. and me, his mother.

my friends from down there are always wondering if i'm coming back.

and what do you tell them?


what if i died, i venture.

that would suck:)

ya. that would suck. but where would you live?

without a beat he says, i'd move in with grandma and poopa (in the nearby town).

he lingers, adding, i lost hair while i was down there...

what a large sensation night is as we travel on.

i am just stunned, i say into the silence. stunned that your father and i are so different. that we managed to get together to make you children. but thank god we did. the best happenings of my life.

ya, he said. different like how he always wanted you to sell your photographs. your writing.

ya, i added. even if i baked something he thought it a right necessary next step to sell the baked goods.


i write an abridged note to my ex-husband (there has been a lot of needless concussive violence). my son has left behind his black winter pea coat. but my ex-husband donated it to charity.

but this isn't what he dwells on. he tells me instead they put on a new eight thousand dollar roof. he tells me instead what they do to earn extra money.

these aren't bad things, exactly.

he asks me how i am. huh.

i write, i am filled with joy. and at times deeply challenged.


i begin to watch Salt of the Earth. SebastiĆ£o Salgado is shooting the gold mines of Serra Palada in Brazil. men have become mechanism(s). there are weighty bags of mud and perhaps gold on their backs. they endlessly climb ladders.

later drought seems to set into the whole world.


i suggest to my son that i might try to put together a book this coming winter. but i want to correct this notation before it might go wrong, but it won't earn anything.

we are together in the cab of the car hurtling through the black distances. so close. breathing.

i know that ice-cream counter that we're traveling toward that his sister attends to, scoop after scoop.

perhaps the three of us will get treats to drive home with after we pick her up.

no, no money, he agrees, but maybe a little recognition.

this has been bothering me for days. there is most assuredly nothing to recognize.

the mother combs the child's lustrous hair

not to adjudge her child
not to behold the mold
but to touch

a good (from our) marriage

that once near Albuquerque - dirt poor
digging beneath the car seats for dimes
to buy two Whoppers - a king's feast

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Great Appraisal

Coming upon Miyoshi's horses
standing in the hushed rain
is jarring, the inverse of motion
in this hurried world.
It feels as though there waits
between the folds of rain
a great grasshopper, 
who watches me,
with lakes for eyes. 


Great Aso by Tatsuji Miyoshi

Horses are standing in rain.
A herd of horses with one or two foals is standing in rain.
In hushed silence rain is falling.
The horses are eating grass.
With tails, and backs too, and manes too, completely
soaking wet
they are eating grass,
eating grass.
Some of them are standing with necks bowed over absent-
mindedly and not eating grass.
Rain is falling and falling in hushed silence.
The mountain is sending up smoke.
The peak of Nakadake is sending up dimly yellowish and
heavily oppressive volcanic smoke, densely, densely.
And rain clouds too all over the sky.
Still they continue without ending.
Horses are eating grass.
On one of the hills of the Thousand-Mile-Shore-of-Grass
they are absorbedly eating blue-green grass.
They are all standing there quietly.
They are quietly gathered in one place forever, dripping
and soaked with rain.
If a hundred years go by in this single moment, there would
be no wonder.
Rain is falling. Rain is falling.
In hushed silence rain is falling.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


i tell my daughter she is beautiful.  she is beautiful.  you are beautiful i say.

she resists my praise by saying controversially, stop being so incestuous.

the boys at school tell me i have a beautiful, mouth beautiful lips.

you have a beautiful mouth, beautiful lips.

licentiously she says again, stop being so incestuous.

is every boy who tells you you have a beautiful mouth, beautiful lips, coming on to you?

yessss, she drawls out, smiling and licking her lips. 

she turns towards me from a distant throne and wrecks me with her beauty.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Still Life With Woman and Her Husband's Fruit

A woman learns in her forties
what Giovanni Ambrogio Figino
was after in his still life with peaches.

Or for that matter, what his mother
was up to in his delicious naming.

Where the circumference of delectable
delight accrues as a bulbous root—

Where a dark one touches light like this,
its pulse so abruptly approbated—

Not in the hand, nor in the eye, the mouth, or mind,
but palpitating behind the pulmonary strobe—!

Friday, September 23, 2016


The nocturnal animal slices slits 
into the amber of his eyes,

tests the tall grasses
as he slithers the Steppe,

scrapes claws against walls,
nibbles plaster.

The nocturnal animal
alone in the bathroom
the shaft 

Stock still, caught by brain in refrigerator light,
he measures fight or flight.

The nocturnal animal is hunting himself,
is hunting himself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

so close i can smell form

it's your salt 
it's your salt i want
it's your winged salt  your soaring salt 

no, your hand along my jaw
grounding me

i am salt
you trace my jaw
i am salt and want i'm want

and what i want is for you to shape me a column

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

bending the arrow

the trick is to create a pot of gold
and to not want it
but also, to want it

mary spends her many days
dusting the ledge
satisfied, but dreaming

this life might stumble into a stinking manger
but will never arrive at jerusalem or new york
however, each poem is a ticket

Monday, September 19, 2016

power, notes

first there was the notice in the mail for the power outage. and so i checked the calendar. and then made plans for work. adjusted schedules. then thought closer to the living facts and planned to make my coffee the night before. one needs coffee before work. closer to the day i planned out the fire for the coffee. and then i began to worry about not sending notes to my lover that morning, everything so connected by power any more. i worried too about the fire. would the tinder be dry enough? and then i realized my fan would turn off through the night. and how would i know the time of day in the morning? i worried. for weeks. and then days. and then the last frazzled minutes i worried some more. and so that night before the power was to be turned off i slept with one eye open. it roved between the turning of the fan and the burning red numbers of the clock. even my sleeping eye sizzled.

when i awoke the power was still on. but could go out any moment. so tired i ran downstairs in my underwear and warmed the coffee i had made the night before not needing the fire. i ran to the screen to write notes to my lover. i opened many pages of poems and then wrote more letters to my lover. i gulped my coffee. i turned on a light even though the day's light was coming. just to keep an eye on the power. coffee and coffee and poems and notes. i had a quick hot shower. i was exhausted. and the power still burned.

one day in taiwan

traveling by bike
over my first earthquake
i didn't notice

thirty days after

cold hard facts
staring at the test results
outside—what bird is that?

knowing nothing
a big dumb grin on my face
knowing nothing

Sunday, September 18, 2016

the map to Where

the heart is an erratic nest
where eggs emerge like flowers

they say that language is a bridge—

so a torn piece of poet paper means
we are both closer& farther

earthly beloved, do me the justice of threading
with your eyes, to my frame, wings 

i want to be a bird, fly—farther, closer

—is there justice?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

diving in, notes on mothers and daughters

in the morning i am in the bathroom cleaning out our long hair entangled in the sink, black and auburn, smiling into the mirror for this ridiculous intimacy robed in spat-out toothpaste. 

remnants of a mother's and a daughter's body...   

i adore my daughter. 

it was a long time coming. neither of us an easy patient to one another.

but oh! - i adore my daughter. 

i press upon this word to recognize it as active. it is. like a dark sludge pumping with sentient presence throughout my entire body. it enters every neither region, every orifice and crevice.

did my mother once adore me like this? i can't. quite. imagine.

i send her a letter. asking her about her own mother.

it is days and days without an answer. 

then we sit at her table and talk.

her eyes are upon a space in front of her. i imagine inside this space her past exists. she hesitates around it. it seems impenetrable.

what can i say about my mother? she stares. the loosened flesh around her face quivers, not in sadness but in incomprehension.

i loved my mother. but my mother was all about religion. religion by rote. and i can not abide empty rituals.

she stops. is stopped. as though a gate has been closed in that space before her.

i think she was used to it being closed.

she starts again.

an example, she manages. one summer there were seven boys at home. they went to the lake. they always went to the lake on summer afternoons to swim.

i imagine the feral forest begging off at the lake's lip. i imagine seven male bodies in graduated sizes, water droplets shining on their skin when they are spent to satisfaction by adventure.

one afternoon i asked to go with my brothers and my mother threw the bible at me. read that! there's more inside that than you'll ever find with boys at a lake!

a stone is thrown 
it takes generations
for circles to close

what i remember

the monk cookie jar
in my grandparent's kitchen
out back: exposed stone

the good dive

true holiness
is achieved by god's arrow

Friday, September 16, 2016

someone meant to teach me a lesson, notes

on a walk one day in the wilderness, past the primordial affront of swamp, algae scummed and lily ridden, tussled by bleached out windfall creeping from the waters like skeletons (inching forward fingered bones), and over the lovely bridge toward the almond entrance to the cavernous and dark woods, i came upon a wreath hanging on the bridge's banister. a wreath. how immediately my eyes were fascinated by its circle. how my heart recognized itself instantly as completed. it was a scraggly wreath made in haste in the forest, perhaps even naturally, if someone had dared reach in their hand and pull. lovely and delicate. this thing possibly accidental - immediately met my yearning.

i picked up the wreath and considered how i might own it. where i might place it. how i might empty it of the essential, thereby filling myself. if it met me so perfectly, and it did, certainly i was entitled to it.

but as soon as my hands were upon it all power drained out from the hole in its center.

dear universe
i peer into your face
becoming faceless

(at a different beloved swamp on a different beloved day)

a daytrip, one autumn

sprinkling flakes of dried rosemary across a page.
let's call this art.

touching against the rising of the violins.
let's acknowledge this as body.

garlanding each roadside corpse,
porcupine, skunk, raccoon and field mouse, fetal,
an arch of light painted with your name: spirit;

we are a menagerie going nowhere, fast,
but beloved.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

first vehicle

there's a cage
but it's not what you think

sometimes the blue bird sits in the cage
sometimes it can't enter

one might think the blue bird should be free
but what if the blue bird is the soul


the little motor scooter
makes noise and stinks
once the rider kicks its start

thank god for colour


over the hills
and down through the valleys

the sun
as it sets between the rises


little blue bird
stay zipped
inside this leather jacket

we are about to make a break for it
that mark in the distance without form

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I was sitting in a rental house late one night, on the first floor
between the broken dryer and the racks of wet clothes drying wrinkled,
the second floor overtop of me with all its empty dresser drawers
and the basement growing a garden of mushrooms on the underside
of its raised floor, when something occurred to me, some brush of night,
some mental haint calling me to go searching the steps like little Fergus,
and I discovered (or rediscovered, for certainly I once knew)
that Galway Kinnell had died two years before. How sad I became.
No, not sad. How handsome he looked at his typewriter. How lonely
my eyes as I studied his particular and beautiful plain skin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

a good plan

be ok 
having a small mind
losing the race again
losing your way

be ok 
burning your skin 
against leaf tips
almost eating 
the poisonous mushroom

be ok as you are
be ok

Monday, September 12, 2016

something strange, notes, the stairs

the other day i casually made reference to moving up stairs to an attic.

and then a memory came back to me.

except it didn't come back. it percolated up through me. and left me sodden from that which is inside me. suffocating. gulping for breath. inhabited. with a river that continually moves inside me. originates in me. continually. onward and new. moving with fruition in each moment.

the stairs. (even as i write this! i know it! i know it as though my body is moving up those stairs right now! for the first time! for the second! and the third!) the stairs to the attic bedroom on edwin street. in the house while i went to university. the stairs. the stairs. the stairs to my attic bedroom. to the room. with the light through the one distant window. to the cold room. with the metal framed bed. the stairs. warm. wood. stained and worn. the door at the bottom opening. and the still air activated. activated around me. on my arms. near my feet. the stairs. the dust. in my breathing. the climbing. it is all here inside me. current. currently. the stairs. visceral. happening. and the wall. the wall along the stairs. its blemishes. and the climbing. me and the stairs. still.
a small room for one

the future before me 
 are phases of light indifferent?
the past happening

Sunday, September 11, 2016

the wife

i wear a necklace
with two emblems

one is a closed ring
which warns that i am
without a doubt
fully betrothed, married

the other is an invitation
for you, lover
to open yourself
to be fucked and licked and loved
as our intimate other

it is an eye

Saturday, September 10, 2016

not just another pretty face

what is not hot
is two perfected faces
gazing at one another

spiegel im spiegel - flat
symmetrical ad nauseam
infinitely uninterrupted

what is hot
is where values meet
how they hurt one another
excruciating emblazoned arches

when we came together
my husband, then unfamiliar 
touched the cheap hotel bed
and said the word holy

my history bent backwards
how it hurt the pallid structure
to be extended
to be stood upon its head

then we read jaccottet
gilbert, olds
even a little jean-paul sartre
discovered in our darkest nights novalis

each painful bend of mind
crucibled forces
small bits of curved lead

a scattering of chiroptera fled from us
plucking fears and hopes 
wickedly erratic, erotic

Friday, September 9, 2016


How to explain to you the horse joy of this body
But to say - you hear those huskies howling?
Multiply that times ten different kinds of flowers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


they are before me at the cash register. he with his jet black hairs wily out from beneath his black muscle shirt, this emblem that nothing about him can be restrained. she with her wavy unkempt hair and her teeth rotting out of her irrepressible smile. they have four glass bottles of cokes sweating on the counter between us and they are not twist-offs. i offer to pry open two for them. but no, they have a bottle opener. well, they have enough tattoos nearly dripping with sweat their fresh inks between them, i just bet they have an opener handy!

but the funny thing is we don't drink, the woman laughs, tossing back her lanky unbanged hair. well, now we don't, the bearish man offers. at this they laugh together.

they are entangled in one another. can't keep their hands clear for even this abrupt transaction. as coins move i try to sort out this heat, this love between them.

then they turn to go and i wonder if they'll make it to the car with their tongues encased in each their own mouths. certainly, this close, they are about to go at it.

until they move further from the counter and i notice.

with each step his left side settles down a foot beneath his left shoulder. and with each step her shoulder responds. her hands moving his left leg forward with each step. her hands having to do this. this gravity and hoist held so lightly between the two of them. this gravity of work as they move forward.

no matter the start
right damnable happenings
a bridge

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

because god is not quite possible

I don't want to be rich.
I want gilt asparagus,
or mushrooming pureness.
What I want is mouth garbless.

So I tell the children, 
if we win the lottery...
If we win the lottery, I say,
we'll live in a bigger house;

You may have a dog;
You may stay out late;
And each star will have a silver clasp
to save each tremulous experience.

If we win the lottery 
I'll write a book
and that book will state precisely 
what it is I can't tell you.

Lemons on maple slab,
it will begin with; 
Attic stairs 
with saddlebags of movement
it will carry as its body.

Its quivering denouement -
I am singing into your hair.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

the palpita flegia eats the void perfectly

beautiful white clothing lying upon the slat back's of black chairs
insatiable black openings consuming satin white moth wings

dear god, why don't you come down to accomplish all things?
or is it only that your timeline is more extended?

Monday, September 5, 2016


my head desires a white page with an insect crawling over it

my body wants great sands with an arroyo cut and threading through it

my soul longs for an atomic bomb which detonates with the scent of flowers 

colours will hang about like iridescent earrings in the treetops as dappled and embodied as discarded clothes

Sunday, September 4, 2016

For Instance, Sailboats Are Seminal, Later Lite-Brites, The Goonies

This time lives in us and always lives in us.
It comes in a bundle of nine sticks latched by one more.

Your pockets are full of stones which act like tickets.
Between one and nine a bicycle conveys you.

Or feet. Feet are certainly involved. Or a boat.
But that would mean you're dreaming. You are dreaming.

It is often associated with the smell of wood, pie, or mothers.
Some fashion determines its place in history.

Like length of the peak of cap, or length of trouser leg.
Nights are long but belong to you and your window.

Just as your elbow belongs to the length of your arm.
Perhaps too to a novel, Robinson Crusoe, or a tv show,

Or the promenade of the notes coaxed out of the piano.
Days are little eternities proven by butterflies

And the sternness of the time it takes to churn cream into butter.
A bosom means only the softness of breath.

And swelling means only your eyes upon the rise
Of this miraculous world. Whose horizon will one day be breached.

Just like your childhood.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

gorilla glue, notes

we go to the hardware store for glue. the woman who has known us on and off for over ten years asks if we are moving. we are not. my son is now taller than me. did you like america, she asks him. no, he answers firmly, not at all. we take our glue and go home to repair things.

you are the source of the image
the 49th parallel is a mirror
the heart is a country

Friday, September 2, 2016

the green mind hurts and clarifies the bones beneath, notes

there is a chasm cut through stone in the woods. i enter it for the first time in years. move my fingers along the cold density coated in green.

above the chasm a fall wind is taking the place of the oppressive summer. it is lifting the leaves upward like little bowls, eager. they are, for now,  green too and it feels as though they must be happy.

but that is not them. that's me.

in the chasm a whispering is trailing along through my mind informing me that things are different. that the whole world has been remade from years and months and moments before.

but the stone is firm. and the chasm does not grow or shrink.

that's me again. only me.

immense structure
hinging lithospheric plates
breezes above

Thursday, September 1, 2016

together at fall's hearth, notes

my ex-husband hates me. and i all but hate him. it's only i am missing the element of blame, so let's say dislike, or don't know at all instead. but it is autumn and so the world's distance is falling away, the great beast drawing nearer, the chimera in his hoary cloak becoming a little stiller for the moment. its heartbeat rises off from his stink into our ears, lit red paper lanterns sent out through the night veins of our dreaming.

i receive an e-mail from the man who swore to never speak with me again -

explaining to me the pH balance of lemons and limes in salsa. he counts off all his quarts.  he warns of spoilage. thrilling at potential in his larder.

how we feel about one another is inapposite. we demianimals with eyes can't help but revere the beast's blood burning. need it to see and eat from.

a ripe tomato
fills the hand
mind finds its own measure