Sunday, September 25, 2005

Star Blanket

My star blanket wooly and studded with light
its fibers smoke-scented across time burned
God is crying
God is dripping round the sides of the bowl
spilling down to me
and I go blank
receiving this channel of snow

Something golden leaves me
with a splash
I move like a giant
across the pastel island
it is only a sliver of star
with a small temple
where we weld these strands
of lucifer
and weave

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Myself from behind, from behind, seated,
a nude, near nude, the sepia of dusk,
dusk, surrounding the bed like a cloud.
A cloud around the vulnerable nape
(impossible to tell how old the face).
The hidden face; the naked back
(impossible to say this woman has had a child).

I peeled away pale camouflage.
I have been through a bone-twisting battle.
This is the silence that straightens me, that comes after.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ten-Year Reunion

If I'd sent an invitation, it could have said,
Dear loss: For ten years you've hovered above me,
tethered by these two twisted filaments of love and guilt,
voiceless as a cloud shifting into the faded blue.
I take the knife from our patient midwife and cut you
loose now, loss. Move on if you must.
I'll never be any readier.

But if you'd read that, you would have remained there floating
in your truth, binding your heart to me stronger.

It could have read,
Dear loss: Life is a dream that seems real as rocks
because we train our attention on it masterfully.
We come here, spirits slipping into flesh, to dream together
one collective dream.

The dream is real, and it matters, like all dreams.
You can break down the false barriers. Waking and dreaming
and waiting: life weaves one seamless cloth of dream.

Love is like this too. I train my attention on you.
Love is energy, like everything else. You let it go
wherever it will go. Love is repetition.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Gray Man

On the flat, hot sandy plot
designated two to five,
I picnicked with a man
not half my size.

And a gray man carefully traced the silver
mesh outline of the park. Patriot buttons
and a U.S. flag studded the band of his pork pie
hat. I meant to say hello, but he never met our eyes.
He stared past everything, at a lonely ocean
island that he alone could make out.
Though I've seen that island, hovering hidden
among streets and swings and endless
foothill conifers.

The gray man sat at a picnic table and drank
something from a canteen. Our busy sounds,
our happy act of sun and love and play, versus
his solitary, measured sipping.

The sun low, I packed up the little man
and strapped him in his stroller.
When I reached the edge of the fence,
the gray man had vanished. I'd expected him
to be there. I saw that island of ours, empty
and swept by blunt waves.

I walked home, pushed the little man
over the big hill of Walsh Street,
and pressed all ten
digits of you. You've become
a gray man too.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

TV Night

Pristine blue ocean of light,
and our squishy beige ship
readies for sailing. The dog
a hot, fat worm buried by your hip.
I skate along slick fir planks
to prepare our rations. Clear wrapper
crackles. Kernels drum on microwave
carousel. I listen for slow popping,
and spaces between green seconds
raindrop navigates years to plop
and dissolve into one wide puddle.

And we. Such a long way from head to
foot, from you to me, as far as from home
to holy land, east to west, sun to sun.
Between, such seas. Whole universes.
Yet I almost see us. Almost comprehend.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Your Own Good

How many times have I trapped you
My too-bright animal
My hurtling star
In metal shopping cages
In plastic bucket prisons
Behind white wooden bars.
I've pinned you, strapped you
And wrapped you. I've squeezed
You to sleep in iron arms.

How often have I frozen you
With no, with stop, with sit
Though you know yourself
In motion--electric
Rush of limb and dendrite.

Your jagged stack of ragged, bitten
Books repeats its themes: submit.
Domesticate. Wall in. I begin
To agree. Yet when you floated
Next to me that first, best night
I told you: You belong
To you. You can become anything
You are.

I love your yes, your flash
Of eyefire, ruddy cheekflush,
Softspun hairlight, all flickering
When you run and run.
You need to burn.
I want to learn
To contain you
Without extinquishing.

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Forgive it when it fails at first. Forgive
it when it fails again. Don't fight. Allow
your soul to know it doesn't fully live
here in this disappointing body. How
exquisite is your soul? Look at your kid,
too open and too bright to fit inside
her body, glowing with the thing you hid:
your light. Your inner light. You learned to hide
it when you learned to hate yourself. Who taught
you that? Try self-help books, try seminars,
try meditation--anything that ought
to give you back to you. You came from stars
and back to stars you'll go. And everything
between depends on you remembering.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


They detailed her at Genie Lube before
we left. Her white coat glimmered in the street,
reflecting Austin's August sun and, more
abstractly, hope. We held hands in the heat
and sped toward California with the child
asleep in back, the bug-eyed dog beside
him panting, Why? You drove her with a wild
intensity until we reached the wide
West Texas desert. We were astronauts
escaping boldly from an atmosphere
like glue. My Swedish rocket suffered lots
of damage on reentry, though, and where
she landed, here with me, it's not a place
for elegant, pale ships from outer space.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Those clever little devils tap out words
into their glowing units all across
the USA. They pick like greasy birds
at every hopeful seed I want to toss
into the soil for flowers. Why? Like me,
they love the body more than they love soul.
Instead of letting words dance themselves free,
they make them move from pose to pose. No hole
too deep to fester in. No mask too fierce.
So cold, encoded in a streaming new
facade: let that be me. I'll learn to pierce
you with my wit. I don't, I won't love you.
No way. It's time to make an ordered art
out of my mind and let that stand for heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Brief History

You came to me stoically, all white
turtleneck and boat shoes, ennobled
by real beliefs and crisp logical talk.
You let me be superior to you in
beauty and in mind; I needed that.
Against my cynical backdrop, we
entered love's zone, propelled along
by unseen forces, our bodies turning
in an eerie dance.

After the neutral beauty of lovers,
we became man, wife. Child: he came
later, sealing our transformation.
I do what he demands, what you expect,
what life insists I do. In this old
walled structure, I envy even the dog.
Her brown eyes bulging, she slurps
at the water of freedom. I served
it in her plastic bowl at four o'clock.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

One Thing Right

To dream myself into a purple night
after a torrid, swirling golden day--
I only ever got that one thing right.

The blinds admit a crystalline white light.
I shiver in my new blue bed and stay
to dream myself into a purple night.

I wake up late and mad, and start to fight
about some stupid thing, but mean to say,
I only ever got that one thing right.

I traded gold for gold and breadth for height,
and here I need the spine I let decay
to dream myself into a purple night.

I found my paradise and bred delight
in Austin's sound, its sweet, its sweep, its play--
I only ever got that one thing right.

So now I sprawl here sickened by the blight
of beauty you call California, and I pray
to dream myself into a purple night.
I only ever got that one thing right.

April 7

tulips and phlox
blinded under snow
crust, yellow heads
bent ponderously, purple
buds hidden bewildered
as I am

the fir tree
cautiously waited
to unleaf
but the flowers
rushed into exuberant
blooming; short life
when you're a flower;
less to lose; carpe

I stood before two picture
windows anthropomorphizing
and theorizing
because the past keeps falling
over me out of season

every year not my year;
death hovers, a winter cloud
near my hopeful body

time to get more seeds (pills);
but they only recycle what
exists; they add nothing

I perceived no spirits
animating this still
mixed scene; surely
spirit of snow
spirit of flower
spoke into it

But I'm butterfly
grown old
netted in material
in unexpected
thoughts that freeze

I looked for the easiest
way out when the mesh
enveloped my wings

and wound up dead again

Friday, April 01, 2005


sweet Sublimation, how
I miss You, miss
hovering above my
details, my load,
my loss.

yet this body
remains t/here,

with Child

and Work
(the hunter
my serene

at my commitment).

captured, I am
in three:


Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I bless the blankness--its glow, its yes.
I gaze into space; it erases this mess.
I love the losing, the pattern of holes
that opens my once-solid body like lace,
revealing the lights that inhabit my face.
I'm ripping apart the dark, heavy roles
that someone has spun from old, bad wool
and slung like a habit across a bright fool.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


My son the cartoon man, elf,
doll, funny hot bear cub in
blanket sleeper, but truly
shakes milk from sippy
cup into the sand, bangs pans,
takes kamikaze trike rides,
waddles death-unaware up
and down slick steps and stairs,
throws sand in my face, says
uh-oh, comes to me
growling, with the drippy milk,
drips it deliberately on me.
Tiger never stops
pacing, prowling,
and our home and
my mind
become tangled
jungles half harvested
to build someone's idea of the world.

If Tiger could still
himself, the picture
would stun you--
wet California eden,
fruit trees snowing petals
upon us in a yard full
of petals, and look at
the angel in his raincoat,
yellow, radiant, broiling,

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I Cast a Circle

You croak spitefully,
condemn the infant, make
frogs of men, poison the
apple, sever golden tresses.
You are always Other,
always antagonist,
old, ugly, disposable.
First the church cast
you out. You took refuge
in child stories, and
we learned to fear you.
Later, I stood accused
of being you and felt

Today, I choose you.
I cast a circle and say
to whichever gods will
listen, we are everywhere,
rising always to the surface,
no matter how deep our images
sink. A witch is only a woman
empowered. A woman who knows
how to laugh, feel, and think.

I Show Myself

I show myself to you
at first in two dimensions;
I am a breathing picture
that looks back, like a
fish from behind glass walls.
And then it falls away:
Fear, worn like
a jacket gone
threadbare, out of style,
outgrown. When I disrobe,
you hear my space echoing
a complete song,
all its notes sounding
at once.

Fear of being seen
means never showing
my essence, the golden
field of my delight.

And withholding myself
means pain:
Unspent coins become
heavy loads on my
light body. This
time, it's time
to let gold fall
like rain.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Life Cycle of a Star

I remember that night
in October 1995, us standing
in the Deep Eddy Bar parking
lot, you pressing my hand between
yours. I see us both from a third
perspective, as if I were a small
star squeezed in the sky corner
and wondering what would happen to us.

We dated, mated, fell apart.
I was satisfied but couldn't
become. Stars change
in size and pressure to burn
new fuel. Now I must be protostar,
making shape from a nebulous past.

I left your orbit long ago, and I think
about that hand press too often. What kept
me there? That ridiculous shine in your eyes:

This is your metaphor, and I never
meant to darken it. Glow on.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Lucy Buckley let her
hair grow longer.
Today in the park
she swept it aside
and said she doesn't go
to mass anymore.
She told my father-
in-law she doesn't
believe half the dogma,
and besides, they want
to own you.
Her girls are grown;
she did her part. All
these years, we assumed
she was devout. The Buckleys
had their own pew.

Lucy surprises me every
time she speaks, and before
I ever met her she surprised
me, when my husband
quoted her perfect New
Jersey stepmother line:
"Why botha? Wih all jus'
waitin-a die." I knew
I would like any woman
who uses death as a rhetorical
strategy, just to get out
of going to the movies.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Competent, Beautiful

Catherine took my baby
today, thank God. I stayed
for an hour and heard her
bell voice ring out Old
McDonald. The sound
stayed in my ears
as I drove away.

Competent, beautiful
mothers are everywhere
I go, performing miracles,
miracles, and they are the
thorn-crowned saviors of
the world. Fathers? Forgive
them; they know not what
they do.

I've flipped
through every image
in my brain, looking
for noncliches about
what motherhood is like.
If spiritual energy
is a fluid, there's
a siphon stuck deep
in my side. I'm so dead
tired, I can't feel
the sweet
wonder, the miracle
of me, anymore.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Dead Lines

These contact lenses scratch against
my corneas, because tears have salted
them too often. The plastic edges begin
curling up, and I don't gaze at anything
too long. Blur--yellow--this is my office.
Everything is overdue in my world.

My mind tapes
whirl decades-old
of not good enough
and why bother and nobody
loves me. And so I have
not tried, not loved. Ooh,
maybe that's where my joy went. I threw
out the wrong album, flung
it through a car window in 1994,
and it lay by the road in a
glistening tangle.

My stories bore me, and they hiss. I recorded
on an outmoded technology.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Only You

If I were a poet,
I could describe you,
the way you were meant
to unfold. I wouldn't
judge you. I'd tell
about your room, your
hair, your breasts,
your smile, and maybe
recount a glowing, drunken
teenage memory or two.
I was in awe, I was your
guardian, and that is
love, better than with
any man. I can tell you
anything, even that you've
rushed like a wave into
sad, loopy madness and
you need to stop
drinking so much.

But I'm no poet, and you're
no object. Some people arrange
themselves, their stuff,
their friends and lovers
as if they were characters
in someone's literature. You're
not like that. There's not
much facade there. You speak
and we hear the thumping
heart of you.

You are a poet. Only you
can describe you.


You didn't answer.
And although
I said you didn't
have to, now I
whether you even
got the e-mail, and
whether I should try
some other way
to find you. I had
imagined what you might say.
Your wife's name, maybe,
and how many kids,
and their names. Or
that you still don't
believe in that stuff,
the trappings, the trap
where romance leads us
all. And I began composing
questions, also, all the things
I was too scared to ask back
then. How could you disbelieve
in love? And how could you
hide behind your science
when women approached, but
talk Spirit when it served
you? You talked about reincarnation,
you talked about the psychic
women in your family, and you
even knew
it was a boy. That deep
well where unknowable
things swim? You looked into
it again, again, but never
saw the love. I can insist
now: Love
there, and I
was choking
on it.