Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Yearly Christmas Letter (uncencored version)

I was having a conversation with some family while looking at the Christmas cards that were sent to my parents' home this year. A couple of them had the "yearly letter" from people we usually only hear from on the holidays. You know the one. Anyway, I was thinking about what it would be like if people "really" told what was going on with their family. Here's an example:

Dear Friends and Family,
This year has been interesting. I moved in May because I was rejected to 3 PhD programs, and am working at 3 new jobs, and I still don't make enough money to live without support from my parents (at age 35), but at least I have them. My brother has started smoking weed to get through his mental problems. He has had some pretty bad road rage too, but has been working on it. The pot smoking helps, and don't worry... It's okay for him to smoke pot because it's decriminalized where he lives. My sister has had a bunch of health problems but still loves to work on projects around the house all the time. Her partner calls her "the man" in the relationship. They are happy. Mom and Dad are funny. They bicker a lot, like they always did, and dad sleeps in the chair or watches football if he's not working. Mom takes on too many projects, and can't get them all done, and loves to be with the kids of the family. She organizes big get-together's for all of my cousins' kids cause she still doesn't have any grandchildren of her own (though we're all in our 30's). Most of us are in debt up to our eyeballs, and we get depressed a lot, but we have each other.
We hope you had a lovely year, and have an even better New Year!
Merry Christmas,
Love, Us

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

where to begin

at the beginning! oh, god, I can't do anyway, I've been at my folks' house in Alabama...loving the family and friends I've gotten to visit...little time for blogging...
I want y'all to go look at my cousin's's funny! She's a mother of three and workin' her humor on this blog.
Oh Jo thank you!!! She noticed I didn't have a link...such a nerd I am!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dear Christine,

our secret ingredient

we see stars in the landscape
granite in the corners of our eyes
mica sparkles in our pores

we laugh over mountains
giggle with rivers
chuckle through valleys

time stands under a
peach tree, blossoming,
petals floating, waiting

we grow pods from our fingertips
fill our bellies with dirt and sand
water in our nostrils feels right

we keep our hands in the mixture
the dough of life

The gods and grading papers (American sentence for the day)

My friend Anna just told me, while taking a needed break from grading term papers,
"The gods are looking favorably on me; I just won at freecell."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dear Christine,


If only the present
was one, but if it is,
it's got a heavy bow
on days of rock sliding
and molten rivers. I'm

blinded by this elephant
of a mountain
tusks growing at my toes,

ears flapping at this hot
breeze, and the stench of

Lean forward, they say!
I'm almost touching the ground
with my face. I don't need

a trunk, swaying, grazing
the dust.
The thick gray of clouds

incarcerates me on this hill-pile
of days.
Fog grows roots.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dear Christine,

You're unfettered.
I'm unfurled,
open to the wind,

rolled out like a mat
to be trampled, mud and
sand and fiber.

I'm spread out on a table
hungry for the feast,
burning with candles.

I'm released from the
sternum of romantic love
cracked open and falling

out onto the floor
like yards of intestines
stretching snake-like

basking in sunlight.
I'm an uncoiled slinky
no longer slinking.

I'm tentacles flat
on the ocean

This is in response to Christine's poem
"Dear Holly."
: balanced on the edge

Sunday, November 30, 2008

she was just

"the cat lady" to most.

They didn't know her husband
left her when she was pregnant
with their first
and only child, which she
lost a month later.

They didn't know she read a book
a week, kept black swans in a pond
behind her house, cooked for
homebound AIDS patients.

They didn't know she had the longest
legs of any girl in her high school
stockings only reaching to mid-thigh.

They didn't know she had traveled to
twenty-two other countries, and
had lovers in all of them.

They didn't know she was christened
"Liliana Cornsilk Whitfield"

She was just "the cat lady,"
but she didn't mind.
She painted the pictures from her
memories, and kept making more.


First of all, I believe alone is much more a state of mind than a situation. Being by oneself is really quite nice. A person can read, write, pray, go hiking, go to a movie, go out to eat, do yoga, explore their own thoughts and ideas, learn to LOVE THEMSELVES! I believe that God has taken away many things (people) from me that I didn't need, that made me less ME. If I didn't believe this I could go on feeling sorry for myself and living life the way I see so many people live. Sometimes I'm lonely, but it's really not because I'm ALONE. I have some amazing people in my life. I live alone (well, I do have an awesome dog and cat that are great company). Plus, my family ROCKS. Anyway, I know I can still feel sorry for myself, but I'm learning that it is a waste of time to feel alone. Being by myself can be good. I have always known that and felt it. It's part of being a writer (people watching, etc). I have traveled alone to other countries. It was WONDERFUL. I became more me because of it. I am not perfectly happy all the time, but I know I no longer "need" a romantic relationship, or "need" to be around other people all the time.

Secondly, I am tired of watching people move from one relationship to another (You know, the whole flavor of the month thing). It makes me sick. Why? Well, maybe because I'm slightly jealous on some level that people can "get" that many guys or girls, maybe because I was one of those flavors at one point (albeit a radical, outstandingly delicious flavor), but mainly because I think it is SO sad that some people don't know how to be single and happy. I have spent a long time wishing I had a partner and could have a baby and a family. I turn 36 soon, and I kept thinking it would happen. I even did the whole "If I don't have a partner by the time I'm 30, 35, 40, I'll just have a child on my own." I don't NEED someone else (child husband anyone) to make me happy. As much as I would have denied in the past that I thought that way, in some sense I did. I am not giving up, but I'm GIVING IT UP. I believe that God will give me peace. I give it all away, send it up par avion baby!!! I believe I will be a happy person, not because of what or WHO happens to me, but who I am, who God helps me to be. This is about being true to oneself, and to God (since I believe the divine is in all of us).

I have watched my ex-fiance, who decided he wanted to be a "swinger" turn into a lonely, unhappy person. I watched other exes and friends who decided to "move on" from one partner to another, looking for just the right match, fall flat over and over again. I have myself been guilty of "looking," but it is over. I may be an "old maid" a "spinster" a "cat lady," what the fuck ever...but I will be happy because I see the divine in me. I see the divine in life.

Amen brothers and sisters...carry on. I know I will. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago when I first started this blog. The news is old, but the message is relevant every year, so here goes.

Sudan is making some headway with a meeting in Addis Ababa (love the name of this city), Ethiopia trying to get help from the UN for the Darfur region. I had some students in Denver who were from Sudan. I know for sure one was in the Dinka tribe, spoke Dinka...the Lost Boys...If you haven't heard of them, look them up online. One student told me his story in a Narrative Essay. I was given a strong dose of "you don't know jack" from these students, from this story in particular. I will never forget it. When this boy, only 8 or so, was living with his tribe in a small village, extremist Muslims came into the town. They proceeded to bomb, pillage, chop with machetes, rape, etc. Almost his entire family was killed, except for his brother and grandmother. He ended up hiding in a swamp, riddled with mosquitos, being bitten over and over for 2 days with some people in his tribe. When they emerged, the village was virtually destroyed, but he, his grandmother, and his brother, along with other survivors, had a lavish (for them) dinner to celebrate just being alive...
We should all be aware of what we have.
THANKSGIVING is coming up, and whether you celebrate it or not, it is good to be thankful every day. This country lives in unbelievable luxury. A friend of mine made a t-shirt that cracked me up. It said: Freedom is CONvenience. The con was in red, the other letters in blue. Convenience is no longer a luxury, but people in this country think it is a NEED. So ridiculous, really. We lose so much nutrition, literally and figuratively by purchasing such "conveniences" as food and clothes that come ready-made, when we could take the time to cook, sew, create. I am not immune to this either, of course. I bought some earrings yesterday, and I praise myself for recycling, and reusing, and forget about reducing. It's really quite sad. We can all do something.
I have no real answers because we all have our own way of helping, but being aware is important. I want to hear, feel, see, taste, and smell the blessings that are everywhere around me. They are everywhere around us. Be aware of them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

it seems

Like in the poem below, my poetry often reflects the "me" I want to be, or the "me" I think I am somewhere. I sometimes think I'm stronger and have more clarity in my poems than I do in "real life." There is that place. I get to be that person every time I read the poem. Though not all my poems are "about" me, they certainly all reflect me.
I like the way Joan Didion says it: "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see, and what it means."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

child pose

fold of limbs
skin doesn't cover much
of your corners

elbows knees chin
little left of your bones

deteriorating songs
your throat closed

you forget I am stronger
than that
(I almost forget)

and you cry on the floor
knowing I listen

head tucked, you

and I want to weep too
but that time is over

the sun warms my upturned

you hide face down

Sunday, November 16, 2008

response to a poem by Christine

Christine's poem is called "How I Made Friends With Fear"
Her site is: balanced on the edge

A Larger Size

The buttons on my sweater
strain at the thread.

This is partly because I am
growing, but also

because I am scared of moving on
to a larger size.

That big-girl world
runs rampant with responsibility.

To hang from the side of a
skyscraper, cleaning mirror glass,

to stare at myself
rub splotches made by birds

breathe the cold clouds
from my lips.

This is a balancing act
I'd rather skip out on-

shimmy down the tower and
crawl underground,

allow the buttons to burst
from their holes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

american sentence for the day

Slowly rocking, something cradle-like about a day with Mom's support.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Here are the other poems I made from the work of many many wonderful poets.

the gossamer curtain
divides my soul.
Truth stumbles blindly
bruises and bites.

I go slow because I am
practicing non-attachment, but
pieces of me stick to whoevergetstooclose
& must be surgically removed.

Trees are my main weakness.
They grow into me.
You may have seen me high in the elbow
of an elm,
silhouetted against the night sky.

I find a mate once a year
on the coldest night in January,
& our duet makes even the coyotes
cower in their dens.

We block the fist, ease egos,
broker detente. Bandage
wounds. Tend the bruise,
the insult, the scab. Glue
and mop. Grab our time like
dropped money.

likes chocolate ice cream
her favorite possession a
yellow bike
with a banana seat, plastic basket, streamers gleaming
she reads old men’s minds and chapter books
by judy blume

ribbons of her thoughts
tie her down, sometimes
with meticulous care

strainer of her mind
filters out what ails her
survivor that she is now
but with austerity takes out
the inherent spirit of hers

she stops eating meat
notices the shoes, the belts,
bags made of leather,
feels a shiver when she eyes
the skin stretched
over the couch, the ottoman

skullfingers banjo her ribrattle lids
her barebones grin–

if she carries enough chips
eventually they will become
too heavy to hold or swallow or
chew or lug in a massive bag
she will have to start letting them
fall away

He sits in a corner
like a wombat and watches the flow
of people, the shuffle of feet
with their different sounds
according to the shoe
and to the shape of the person’s face,
to how the line of their lip
curves into the morning

beneath the warm smile
and pleasant gesture the radar eyes
scan the forgotten creases
ruffled hair and smirks
at clandestine getaways

The patrolman’s beam blinds the stars,
in her eyes, his own reflection.
He stands above the mirror
looks down into her pupils.
One of them can learn
a thing or two tonight
but someone must release the light.

One Sunday morning
kids sneak onto the construction site
nothing but a cage of studs & trusses
they play for hours
running from room to imaginary room.

They have layers
and they peel away
all of the layers
thin by thin
skin by skin
and at the core is a hallway with
only open doors.

From my prompt,

over at Read Write Poem, people came up with some great stanzas.
Here's a poem I made from some of them. Others are in the works.

Office Romance

I move through the world
rough as a rope, taut as all
the promises I’ve ever made.

I lean into you, whisper.
You step out from behind
your executive desk, tell me
I smell like oatmeal
And your mother.

We meet for early lunch amidst
the line of white cheese sandwiches.
I interrupt with a warm bowl
perfuming of foreign lands.
I am what I ham what I eat.

Back in my office I leave the door
open for you to peek
over my shoulder, onto
my multicolored screen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm thankful for the people's choice. I love this historic moment. Beautiful.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To All the Stealers of Hearts

Here you go, take it.
This heart is for you.
It's cool. I don't use it anymore.
I grow new ones all the time.
It's too bad you don't.
You could probably use this one anyway.
Try not to lose it.

(in response to a ReadWritePoem prompt)

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This was going to be a rant, but it turned out to be sort of a healing write, as it should be. (I need to let go of my "record of wrongs.")

Now I know I am a sensitive type, and more than way too often, I find myself becoming upset because of others. I am a Christian, and I believe that Jesus' true example, the true meaning of love is what is important..."Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Well, I try to have hope...often put my hope and trust in people I shouldn't...I guess. I mean, what I have really learned in my spiritual life is that I can only truly have faith in God, but I will always love people and have hope for them. I try to not get angry or be envious or proud.
But what gets in my way? What do I LET get in my way? The damn chip on my shoulder. The one that keeps a record of wrongs:

1. You look at me funny because I don't dress like you, I have tattoos, and I'm obviously more liberal than you are. I smile at you and you don't smile back.
2. You think I should dress differently..."wear more tailored clothes and makeup, so you won't look like a kid, like your students-then they will respect you more."
3. You tell me my new blog name is better, so I say, well isn't that a backhanded compliment? kind of an in-your-face kind of laugh, and honky is a word which can certainly have a derogatory meaning to whites...but lordy, I am one, and I think I should be able to laugh at my "whitebread self"...go to
4. You don't talk to me anymore, you 3 or 4 people over the past few months that I thought were my stopped communicating with me...for no apparent reason...I cared about you, but you didn't/don't care about me. wow. I just don't get it.
5. You told me God brought us back together after all of these years. Then you started seeing someone else. I was your whim...not just once, but at least 3 times over the past 14 years.
6. You decided that I must be stupid and racist because I'm from the south.
7. You decided I must be stupid, and a "follower" and a zombie of society that can't think for herself because I'm a Christian.
8. You used/use me because I am someone who is a true blue REAL friend with real belief in your good, and I want to be there for you, and I don't run away...and it takes a lot to make me leave you. I am loyal. You don't get that. Maybe you think I'm "dependent" when I know good and fucking well how independent I am.

But I still get hurt by people, probably way more easily than I should. I guess it's just a part of being sensitive. Friends and family tell me that I can't let people get to me so much, but if I was a more cynical person, less "emotional," less trusting, I wouldn't be me in many ways.

I found a Bible verse years ago after my ex-fiance broke up with me two weeks before our wedding that we had been planning for a year. It is one of the only things that really keeps me going sometimes:
"Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out...For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married...For your Maker is your husband...For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off...with great compassion I will gather you." Isaiah 54:1-7

I look at that passage as a symbol of hope for my future...that I too will "get what I need"...though not necessarily what I want. I am learning the difference. I am seeing it. God is emptying me out. I need it. I can't hold on to all of this hurt, the hurt of this world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

many languages-for Misty

yellow flowers painted on
her heart, she sings songs
in her sleep of pretty birds

plain talk is her favorite
but her abstract mouth blooms
words and pictures we can only dream

she makes rain fly across the yard
one way, then the other
something magic in the

photograph she sees in her mind
Kodak paper that grows tentacles
of light and bright water colors

red for the long way home
yellow for the candlefly fluttering
green for her feet

and in an instant, death comes to
life in a postcard or swimming pool
where steam rises from the warm

water into the cold air
snowflakes melt before
hitting the water

her face is long like a shadow
and we don't know what she is saying

but we still like the way the words and pictures look

Sunday, October 26, 2008

feather bed

she sinks slowly into
her bed of
cancer, ignoring
the pain that is-

looking only at the delicate
feathers wedged
in her organs for protection

white silken plumes
translucent shaft pushing
into tissue

whatever was, isn't now

every day is new

so she can listen
to wind and song
float on the breeze

make dinner for her daughter

even if she has to sit
cutting board on the floor
to chop the vegetables

she knows that now
that's what to do

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

skeleton poem, inspired by Dana and ReadWritePoem


We hear grandfather clocks
chime on eons
take liberties with time
elongate days and pinch nights

in the ass smiling nicely
in circles and lines, hands
drip of hours, faces
of generations.

Today, we ride a second
hand. Tomorrow,
the pendulum jerks, a piece
of creation severs. We sway
in time to the tides.

We're not lost here
in the ocean of mortals,
where fish drown in the sea.

We transcend
the ancient idea, time.
Those damn fools the astronomers
thought they could measure us
with the gauge of orbs.

The mothers and planets
know better.
We transcend the fabric of
home hole
haven and heaven.

I took some liberties with the skeleton.

Monday, October 20, 2008

the truth

it's not written where you
can read it, so stop looking

it's hidden under piles of eggs
a nest no one can find

it's not the appearance of saints
locked in half-witted minds

it's not halos robes angelic
faces without flaws

you can't rescue it from the sand
it's the oil-covered

creatures in distress
laughing at your kindness

it's a lunular anomaly showing
signs of congestive heart failure

it's a place that has feet and hands
paws and claws, canines for biting

it's more unearthly than dreams
that take flight when you wake

it's the white head of a
Mississippi Kite lost in Louisiana

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

drunk tank

a sound that's
hard to ignore

now you're tight in the concrete
screwed in

demolish the glass,
cask, and barrel
smash the flask
jug, and bucket

scaffolding's not permanent
only a maze of metal and wood
volatile steps

the world glares at you
you picked the loudest tool

scream from the driver's seat
forget that there is a world but

hope it won't forget you

fuck you

the world stares you down
and you flee

Monday, October 13, 2008

"What does an alien feel like?"

dad asked this after
I told him I felt like one

they (all the not-me's)
are wearing faces and bleeding

under their noses, red and yellow
sunshine pokes from behind their

clouds on a TV not far from
their faces, eyes dried and frozen

they saw pieces of wood from a half
broken home to make a new one
(makes bedtime easier)

but the not-me's are facing ground
constantly walking deeper into dirt

cutting the limbs they stand on
putting together puzzles on the linoleum
(forcing pieces that don't match)

I want to tell them to look up

Thursday, October 9, 2008

she has layers

lives in a molten place
heartburn infests
her innards

her skin is new and
bright like white-slate

doorways open

scars on her fingers
swell, reek red

face ruddy, black-pored

snakes spiral
up her legs sexy
she steps
into the night

breasts droop
stretch like balloon

she scratches with
remnants of fingernails

is taut
is tired
her eyes dance

she feels the veins
on her neck
caresses them
with nimble fingers

puts the fire out with her
embraces what's

(I guess this blog has become just as much of a need as my have-to's)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

busy busy

Hi folks...
I know you drop by, and I know you have plenty of other work you read on blogs, and I know you will be around until I get back. I want to be producing every day again, but with the amount of work on my plate (5 classes of grading and planning anew), it is just getting to be too much.

I am tired of putting up mediocre work just for the sake of putting something up...I was doing so to get it out, which is good, yes, but I have to slow down for awhile. Doesn't mean I might not be here tomorrow posting something...just means I'm not being able to write as much in this realm right now.

Hope all of you are well, and understand that is why I'm also not reading or commenting on your work as much. I am thinking of you all and your inspiring work. I enjoy reading all of you! I had no idea that blogging would open me up to such a new and huge world of such incredible writers with such overwhelmingly good work!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

American Sentence for the day-on privacy

Kitty nuzzles my leg as I pee, reminds me I don't live alone.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dear Life,

are you trying to scare
cause it's not working

your long sharp claws can
slice and pluck

all my eyes are ready

you don't have a chance next to
my family of trees,
roots and branches stronger
than your brittle lies

dying dying dying
I have the arms of
a mother gorilla

to embrace all death

cause there is laughter
in the afterlife

and I choose to
learn from the dead
how to dance

(love, Holly)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

my muse

uses letters formed from
light paint
to find her
self in a poem room

she figures on yellow scrap paper
scribble scratch cross dot loop
(numbers and letters look the same)

division signs
plus cross
subtract circle
multiply (exes)
equal signs

writes by rote

she punches keys
brightens the room
l e t t e r
at a time

little pleasure

coffee ice cream from the container
scrape around the sides
get the melted part

a glass of water

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

American Sentence for the day

Hurrying makes me a bobble head stuck to a dashboard; shit, hang on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Southern Zen Master

He laughs easily at naysayers
plodding in his cornfield of life

is never concerned with
small-town gossip

brilliantly focuses on

eats collards on Sunday
sees green as green
and red as red

knows his grand-children's
favorite ice cream and
biggest wishes
for Christmas and birthdays

finds pleasure in a green bean
a five-and-dime harmonica
and in helping his wife

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I look at my tummy in the mirror
push it out - suck it in

it's not concave like
the corners of
that thin like wings
fragile girl

my belly is convex but


full of possibility
ripe watermelon
outie belly button
I want to be
heavy with child
knocked up Nelly
fertile Myrtle

I feel empty
and I cry
I'm only full
of pizza

A 27

a twenty-seven: a syllabic count poem invented by a friend in Chicago (see the website below): 5 syllables,4,5,4,4,5 per 6 lines


kinda's one I wrote:

In the heart of my
a century of
butterflies curl.
My pants ripping,
the wings unfold there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

American Sentence for the day

The most southern thing I like to say is "dadgummit!" (and I mean it)

Monday, September 22, 2008

the nature of the mind and body

the majesty of a forest floor hovers
in the brain, thick with vines and fever
bursting from

poison ivy, curling leaves emerge
from the dark breast of loam, while

hallucinations of squirrels and sparrows
push through the unconscious,

scampering, flitting, floating
in the wind of uncertainty

pantomime the words of nature
in an unending song of flailing arms
finger-puppet plays, and toe-sock dances

thrust the body into the motion of a river
splashing foolishly for meaning

moist limbs move slowly
forgetting that they ever fought
for air

This is from the readwritepoem (link to the right) "word fishing" prompt.
It turned out kinda weird, but fun!
Thanks guys!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


My body becomes heavier and heavier
after the 6th nap of the weekend.

My organs push into one another
eyeballs into skull
tongue dead in my mouth.

My intestines heavy rope
sink into the ground of my
mercurial stomach.

I have dirty dishes and unfolded
laundry making my head so
my weak neck won't hold it up.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

someone new already leaving

I woke up in darkness
same as when we went to sleep
looked at you, realized how much
you looked like David Byrne in his
Talking Heads days.

I felt your callused hands,
said in my sleepy voice,
"That must be from plumbing."

Between discussions of Brat Pack
movies and "being in our 30's" stories
we slept, but I kept waking.

I heard your teeth grinding,
something you said you didn't know you did.
Had no one ever slept
that close to your mouth?

When light came, I giggled
told you how you smelled of beer
reminded you, "We were trying to remember
Anthony Michael Hall's name last night."

You said, "It's easy now isn't it?"

I looked at your paintings, stacked
against the bedroom wall, waiting to be packed
in the U-Haul in the front yard,
said,"the depth, the color...I want to
climb inside that one."

A plumber and a painter, I suggested you do
pipe art. You said,
"I was never good at 3-D."


The wind cracks a smile.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Grace eludes us, often hiding
behind the chair of resentment
or under the bed of frets.

She's plain as day, fluttering
wings of light, but plain as day
sometimes seems too bright.

And by the time we realize
we're just ignoring her
she has already given us
her wings.

Thank you, as always, Easystreet, for the inspiration.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

American Sentence for the day

I had a poetic thought, but it went away-hellfire, shit, fuck, damn.

Cento from the good ole poetry collaborative

I talk about them like I've always contributed to their site, :) which is here:

This is a cento, based off of some American Sentences from the above site. They have some wonderful, fabulous, amazing contributors to their site! CK it out, yo.

Sunburnt bliss

a swift fall from the center of the
tallest sunflower
how many ways can my body go wrong
—extract my bones to find out

light is different today, eyes
squint at a sun split
and spilt like fruit

a single noose of unopened morning
glories calls to the mother
behind the dying daisies a survivor
of childbirth picks weeds

cruel fall steals light
from the sunflower, goads hungry birds
to peck its face

midges cloud my head like
thoughts, my hand swats,
sending them spinning away

When I wake up, I will either be myself or someone different.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


papers shuffle themselves

typed words fumble their fingers
leave strange phrases

pens bow their tips to the page
reverent vessels leaking ink

edges tear from notebooks
right along the dotted line
(neatly neatly)

staples remove themselves
freed from the fold

typewriters click jokes into the air
laughing at themselves

word processors choose their own font
something stylish, they say

Sunday, September 14, 2008

for Misty

she finds spiders and birds
in the folds of her heart
waiting for her to pluck them
give them life

she looks into the mirror
sees the eyes of her ancestors
in each pupil, each iris
each flower in her eye

she puts her name in a teapot
letting it steam until
just right for steeping

she finds butterflies behind her
ears, moths in her hair
they wait for her to discover them

in the mason jar of her mind
(holes in the top for air)
where creatures live a happy
never waiting for anything

on a full moon

i can see your face more clearly

the parts i don't want to see

that make this hole, the size of the

full moon

even more obvious

in my yellow room, paper lanterns

on the floor

my chest toward the full moon

i open my ribs to let my heart


i was hoping my heart would


merge with the full moon

make it


Thursday, September 11, 2008

awkward angel

she walks on her too long dress
that pristine white turned brown
by her dirty bare heels

she reads paperbacks alone in her room
tears out the parts she likes
doesn't need to dog-ear

she plays her flute out of tune
peeks from the balcony to watch
the choir and gasps in fear of the
height (though she has wings)

she flies, only half-aware of where she is
or where she is going, stumbles through
clouds, gets soaking wet in them

shaking her drenched head
when she comes out again water
up her nose, rubbing her eyes

she watches me from her rickety bicycle
in the sky, turning the wrong way
at the light at the end of the tunnel
going down a one-way street

and simply smiles

the belly

when we find a piece of our belly
left out in the rain
(the core of a crooked tree
cut through to count the rings)

we look for signs of luck in it
(clovers) and scrub it
with cleaning fluid so it won't

seem as dirty as when we found
it on the sidewalk or
caught that stomach flu from the

laundromat (the place for watching
the tumbling-what it feels like
when we eat our crow)

good acid and good bacteria
churn there
but we want the proper mixture

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

American Sentences, try #2

I am smoldering in your coals, but I don't aim to be re-lit.

He is the vulture, standing over my corpse, picking me with his beak.

The heroine, not dressed in heels, or ready for her role, gnashes them.

Revolution takes wings, balls, hands- climb up the flagpole, rip custom down.

Scotch on his breath, he remembers, laughs at his ugly workday.

This cubicle reeks of burned popcorn, lunch not supposed to be blackened.

Baby blue dress, pantyline showing, I stand in front of the class, aware.

Monday, September 8, 2008

this train

sixty kilometers/hour
I ride this iron, these
silvery tracks that span a continent

electric wires, a swift noise,
whir, click, relax
I hover low in a sleeper car
tucked on the bottom bunk

places I have never been
places with red roofs,
broken castles
and pointed-arch cathedrals

mountains jut into the stars
the canals stink of waste
and I watch you out the

this tiny glassed-in room
in a high-backed,
padded seat, waiting for the trainman
to open the door
and stamp my passport

I watch you in your room,
snorting coke like you used to do
I see us in your bed
I keep riding, through every country, every moment

The trainman turns to leave,
and I have to shut the
curtains just to see my way back into the hour.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


don't act like you don't like that nickname
Helter Skelter and Carl Jung, you understand

there's something about the way you say "Helllo!"
a high-pitched first syllable, low on the "o"

watching the sunset next to your apartment
you give a goat some of your "Granny's"
chocolate chip cookies through the fence

a chef, but you thrive on mac and cheese
Beanie Weenies and milk, always milk
milk with spaghetti, milk with Wendy's food

your lungs grow tight
but the river, gallons of fresh water
flowing through you

makes polished glass and smooth stones
out of your jagged organs,
and no matter how much we joke
you are not emotionally butterfingered

Saturday, September 6, 2008


and you are beginning to forget things.
You call Mom at work, "Where are you?"
She says you always had selective memory, and hearing.
I think this is different.

The financial cement of our family, you still hold us up.
I got a check in the mail with a note: "Doll, we love you."

Light catches the bridge of your porous nose
long gray hairs growing from the outside, the inside.

Purple veins, age spots are on the tops of your hands.
Deep wrinkles are in your loose flesh, but
your eyes are still the same, bright and brown,

and as long as you've lived,
you are still the worrier
the provider, the man of the house

caught between fixing the TV and
sleeping in the LaZBoy

still telling the same jokes,
that still make me giggle:
"Does my hair look pretty?"

I put sunscreen on your bald head,
rub your sore gout-puffy feet.

You get lost, driving in circles,
not remembering where you were 5 minutes ago,
drunken-walk (but you don't drink).


I can't help but think of the bedpan,
you losing lots of weight, like Uncle Brer,
how you might not remember me (the caregiver).

Now, you argue when you forget things
get angry when you can't stand up as quickly,
knees locking:
"Damn, I can't even get up off the floor anymore."

These are the consequences of aging.
You are still here at 70, despite 3 heart attacks.

I'm not ready to trade places.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

American Sentences-my first try...

A praying mantis crooks his arms, a tiny rosary in his claws.

The fan keeps time with the fridge, and I can't help but snooze.

I watch the lamps, myself, the dog, reflections in my broken TV.

Poofs of dog hair blow on the wooden floor, but I don't feel like sweeping.

A basket labeled "Misc." holds paper pictures...almost obsolete.

Whistle a little ditty while you drive me to the airport.

Hoschton, GA made the Guinness Record for the most scarecrows this year.

A boy ten years my junior tells me Footloose is "gay"--arrgh!

When I hang upside down, the world seems right side up.

strength is a cloud

she holds thousands of gallons of water,
rain ready to

she allows weather to emerge
(only when she is ready)

she changes
from wispy and light, transparent
(sometimes we can see inside her)

to opaque, buxom,
ample, heavy,
thick with life

to impenetrable, dark,
(she can hide the stars)

she is daring, bold, even
in the sky

she is gliding, sexy in her
her trans ~ for / ma ) tions `'

and still, she often goes

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


she shells peas every morning after breakfast
they fall in buckets and blue and white bowls
that are cracking from age but the sweet bright peas

yellow-green as those frogs in the south pond
don't care if she drops one or misses her pill
or if she rolls her stockings down around her ankles
or takes them off altogether

because the sound they make as they roll around the bowl
is as old and comforting as she feels at that moment
the same moment every morning
simply shelling peas


This does not seem to let me indent. Anyone know how to do that on blogger?
I'd like to know how for my poems too.
This is for my 1101 students:

Althea is my alter ego. She doesn't come out very often, but when she does, she rages. I have always been sort of afraid of anger (even my own), and usually just cry when I'm mad. I never liked violence, and curled my lip in disgust at the kids in high school who got in fights in the hallway, and the guy at a bar, when I was in college, who pulled out a knife on us because we were rooting for a different football team than he was. They were "lame, petty, stupid." Funny, sometimes judgments come back like our own feet kicking us in our own butts.
As a 35-year-old, I feel I've gotten past a lot of the "immature stuff," but that evening, I was humbled at my lack of maturity when I became angry. At around nine p.m. on a Friday night, I had gone with my friend Anna to see a band we knew. This was the first time I'd been back to North Carolina since I'd moved. We were hanging out on the sidewalk (my friend Anna smoking) near a bench, waiting for the band to play. We petted my dog, Ophelia, who was tied to the bench. I had brought her along on the trip. (Ophelia goes everywhere with me.) As we enjoyed visiting with old friends (Anna too was visiting), we joked about how we were glad we didn't live in that small town anymore.
Anna muttered under her breath,"Wow, these people are drunk. Do they need to be this drunk to have a good time?"
"Shit," I said, "They see the same people every night."
We giggled stealthily, and I looked around. I noticed a young guy, skinny with dark brown hair, standing on the sidewalk holding a can of PBR. I thought, that's not from the bar. He had that "I'm a cute boy and I know it" kind of look--arrogant dark eyes, smurky grin, well-groomed, and on top of that with two model-pretty blonds, one on each arm, literally. He was certainly young, no more than maybe 21, if that. They were, all three, blisteringly drunk, one of the blonds swaying on her 3-inch stilettos and standing directly in front of my dog.
These three were in their own world; that's all I knew. The stiletto blond kept teetering and stepping back, closer and closer to Ophelia. I kept watching, hoping she would take notice, trying to be polite and not interrupt whatever very important conversation they must have been having. Then the blond, laughing loudly, stepped on Ophelia, and she yelped. The blond kept swaying, teetering, laughing. I tapped her on the shoulder, still quite myself at this point, and said, "Hey, would you mind being careful? My dog is behind you. You stepped on her." Well, all hell broke loose after that.
"I didn't step on your fucking dog! She shouldn't be out here anyway!" This language along with a lot of head slinging and arm flailing went on for at least two or three minutes, and even when she sat down on a step to smoke a cigarette, she kept going. I was in awe. I didn't know what to do. There were a lot of people crowded on this sidewalk waiting for the band. They just watched. I could feel myself becoming angry, and all the heat in my body rising to my face. I watched her as she kept going. Finally, I broke.
"All you had to say was, I'm sorry, and leave it at that. I don't know what all this other shit is about." Well, I'm sure she didn't like me speaking to her that way, so she started in again. There were so many expletives, I can't begin to quote them all. Then, to my chagrin, her young guy friend joined in the fun.
He kept saying, "Your fucking dog shouldn't be out here,"and said very ugly things about my dog, as if she had any fault in it at all. He began moving closer and closer to my face. I could see his yellowed teeth from smoking, his hand gripping ever tighter to this aluminum PBR can. He rose at least a foot over me (I'm only 5'1"), and kept moving closer and yelling louder.
I tried to reason with, "My dog has just as much right to be here as you do, and you shouldn't have that beer can out here. I could call the police." Reasoning is not something one should try to do with an inebriated belligerent. A friend stepped in who happened to know this guy. He said, "Mark (or it could have been Ron or Bill, or John...I don't remember to this day), you're being an asshole, man. Chill out."
At this, Mark (or whatever his name was), pushed my friend onto the sidewalk, saying, "What did you call me?" Here is where Althea entered.
She began to curse this guy up and down Main Street, even push him, as he still inched closer. Her face became distorted, unrecognizable to her friends (or so they told her later). Althea kept pushing, and what's-his-name kept insulting her, and her dog.
His last statement was, "and you need to go to Weight-Watchers." Althea, or rather I, have been through a lot when it comes to weight: bulimia, terrible self-esteem, depression. That was it. That was it. There was nothing of me after that, or maybe it was the real me. Sometimes I still wonder.
Althea punched old what's-his-name square in the jaw, a whole foot above her. It wasn't a pretty punch, as forceful or as perfect as she wanted it to be, but it was a punch. The people around her (mostly all friends) stared in disbelief, and one random guy pushed them (us) apart.
Then Althea said through her teeth, "If you say anything else, I'm gonna kick you in the balls." She realized at this point (in a millisecond's worth of time) that she did not have on ball-kicking shoes, but little soft ballet slippers. He said something else. She went for the alternative...grabbing and twisting.
More yelling commenced, but he would not shut up, and she (actually I went back to myself after a few minutes) had to walk away. In the end, I was crying, not proud or feeling bold, but feeling actually, quite weak. My friend Anna comforted me as we walked to the car.
Althea taught me something that day. Friends who have judged me in one way or another for doing what I did that night have their right to do so, absolutely. I was the eldest; I was the mature one; I was the college professor, for God's sake, but even I (someone who is oh-so peace loving) have my limits. When it came right down to it, when I was pushed to a certain point, I lost all sense of good judgment. It happens.

Monday, September 1, 2008

again, below

a poem in progress below under "see in the dark":
memories like dreams

"door number three, open"

crisis center
a girl pukes after a meal
"bathroom number three, closed"

"door number two, open"
we rinse hands in dirty

I dream a green tornado tries to eat my

"door number five, closed"

same dream- I fall off a cliff over
and over, surprised at the huge hand
catching me

anti-tornado tablet
anti-falling pill

"door number four, open"

we paint water
colors on pads of thick paper,
can only watch PG movies (we laugh)

"door number eight, closed"
watch people go through dt's-
paranoia locked in a bathroom
with him (and those sounds)

pace the hallway, green
carpet, locked doors

"bathroom number six, open"
announced loudly
every time we leave a room,
enter one,
take a piss, a shower

meds twice daily

unfortunately, fluorescents just aren't the same kind of light

Sunday, August 31, 2008

the back

bears the weight of growth
(snowballing snowballing)

things it's not supposed to carry-
elephant-sized loads (metal feelings
tucked inside like lumps of lead)

chainmail thoughts draped
around the shoulders
circle linked to circle
(armor that begins to hurt)

a heart thrust into the neck
asymmetrical muscles
in a knotted mess
(prisoners of a different kind of war)

rain stuck in striations
back full of heavy water
sharp stones in a river
(hard to do the back stroke)

rift in an energy-stagnant mind
brain stem connected to those old bones
(all the flavor boiled out)

back bend or side twist or toe touch
something has to change

Thursday, August 28, 2008

see in the dark

with your twenty eyes, you penetrated my breast
lifted me into oblivion (that intricate pattern)

crawling, you never learned to walk
insect-like, caught in a web,
a sticky silken maze, you struggle near the sky

but now that dark is with you (a cloud of dust risen)
and solitude (my shadowy friend) is
a place on the ground, with maybe a picnic blanket
some paper napkins and plastic wine glasses
waiting for my meal to fill them with color

alone is a special place where the shadows
keep me company, eat with me, hold my hand

memories like dreams, ripped out pages pasted into the present


I remember a red horse that I rode
(but I don't know how to ride a horse)
galloping into the sea, riding to the bottom
an octopus enveloping us with its

flying just above the trees
(realizing I can't fly)
slowly falling, landing on my feet

I was always watching myself, never actually there

we bought milk jugs of beer

they gave me a standing ovation
when I sang my blues song acapella

someone threw pool balls from the table
into the pool, as if that's where they belonged

doctors injected adrenaline into my dad's heart
to save his life

first kiss, at 14, in a boy's locker room
all tongue and spit

I am watching, but still not sure I was there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

look out below

I posted a poem that I started it's back down on Monday, under "unfinished bridges"

ode to a dandelion

you are the weed, not a weed
composed of hundreds of florets
(not just one flower)

each one, a lion's tooth
majestic, without the
bourgeois sentimentality
of the rose

you are a hollow stem, so
some say you have nothing,
but stems connect us to our roots
keep us grounded,
and hollow places have room
to fill

you are a milky sap, some say
but when you are broken
you bleed, like us
only whiter, more pure

you are the piss of a dog
(so the Italians say)
growing in cracks of sidewalks
whenever you please

you are a cluster of love-seeds,
(pappi, for the scientists)
a clump of angel hair
a clutch of feathers
a knot of downy pleasure
a party of delicate snow

you are a clock, hands
blown in all directions
running amok in the air
landing haphazardly
then grabbing,
living in the moment

This is not finished, but I wanted to put it up because I learned so much about dandelions that I want to do a whole series of poems now!
Interesting tidbits...the fluffy white ball of seeds, altogether, is known as a clock. In one Italian dialect, dandelion means, "piss of the dog," and in English (a corruption of French) "lion's tooth." And the translation of the word in many languages is diverse and poem-worthy! (I got this from Wikipedia, under "origin of the name") Check it out. It goes on and on!

Monday, August 25, 2008

God's not-so-subtle way of saying "lighten up, Holly"

orange cones, corn fields
HWY 53, Georgia
and I am stressed

this 2-lane piece of shit
road, but listen,
I am stressed

late to a meeting
don't know my way
small towns every 5 miles
and people going 20
I am stressed

pass some strangely dressed
then some more
that have matching t-shirts

a porch with a whole scare-family
a churchyard with a scare-congregation
pantyhose faces, plastic bucket heads
pinata heads, Mr. Potato Head heads

scare-business-crows in well-tailored suits
scare-cowboys on rearing scare-horses

scare-babies with onesies
scare-grannies with nice scarves around their necks

on every spare piece of land

a whole field of scare-football-players,
in formation, on the 50-yard line
scare-fans in bleachers,
lined up along fences, hats tipped
scare-butts to the road

at this point I'm not only
flummoxed, I'm laughing so hard I
can't see the road

So you know, I couldn't make this up if I was a real place...they're trying to set the world record for most scarecrows in a town, or something?? The name of the town is Hoschton, GA
It's quite surreal!

unfinished bridges

concrete and steel stops
in the middle of the river

I drive off bridges in my dreams
not realizing till it ends
till I'm in the air
that I'm going to die

this re-occurs
but I never land
wake up you sleepy
anxious, caught-in-a-fishingnet
kerfuffle head

take the gauzy bandages off your eyes
and the signs off your forehead
that say, "I don't belong here"

find the peace
in a glass of water
in the light of river glass
in the hum whir bend break of the world
inside both your brains

Sunday, August 24, 2008

the art of dreaming

all day has looked like evening
like it's perpetually getting ready
for dark

black blocks
will soon be placed
(by men on ladders)
over lingering bits of light
until the sky is
totally inky

then we ride up on the moon
and as we dream, we
take our place among

other living rooms play
our own in dreams
other people play
the ones we know

the images here are familiar
(in an unfamiliar sort of way)
draperies open to reveal
our selves

we slide down stairs
on pillows
curtains close and
only our feet stick out

we can conjure ghosts
from the stained-glass ceiling

the paintings on the wall
change shape and color
when we ask them

we walk into a house that
from the outside has only 3 levels
and climb 12 stories of stairs once inside

after leaving the castle
where we had a yard sale
with other witches
we fly to the Lowe's

and hide in the dark corners
in the aisle with the brooms
waiting for the morning

at daybreak we emerge
wondering why we can't fly anymore

I have to say, I had SO much fun writing this. It came from bits and pieces of dreams I've had over the years. I realize how much those affected me, in some strange inadvertent way...I mean, I've remembered them all this time! I'm gonna write more of these. I had always read dream imagery makes for good poetry, so I'm gonna try it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


is heavy on the trees
peaches touch the ground
curving branches

plums gather in purple masses
on the ground bleeding
a rotten crop

she takes towels to bed
to keep blood from getting
on the sheets

but when something is that ripe
that heavy
it will bleed through

and as much as she'd like to forget him
there are stains now

Friday, August 22, 2008

slap it down

flop a word
drop a flow
flail and flounder

fucking slap it down

if you don't find the rhythm
listen to
the woo-woo of a train
marching toward you
and race it
like you're trying hard
to orgasm

and you slap it down

if the words don't come
find them in the tiny wires
of a light-bulb

flip it like a lightswitch
flick it like a lighter
and the bonfire (or the small blaze)
goes out

blow on it
pluck it from the ashes
and relight that

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the throat (revised)

makes lovely sounds:
"pharynx, larynx
esophagus, epiglottis"
let it sing, mi-mi
vibrate, yodel, hold a note
gargle gargle, eat
and vomit

we notice
parts of the body
sometimes only
when they hurt
or swell or both
(fat fat fat fat)
don't let fingers
down those holes
stuff clouds of marshmallows
down that throat
doughboy, doughgirl
to gag is human, to puke
divine (constriction)

lyrics strain at the,
coughs split at the,
water chokes at the
thunder in the
(we lose our voices)

Between Hollywood and War

(a poem I found in an old journal)

dripping espresso machine, 9am
drinking coffee with grounds, 4am

a sunny beach with paparazzi
a shot between the eyes, waterfront

a close up
blood coming out of the nostrils

a martini glass
a Molotov cocktail

An Oscar
A Purple Heart

three stage hands bring only red M&M's
five nurses tend sixty-six soldiers

Again, suggestions? I found this one; it pulled some strings, but I don't know what to do with it.

Almond Butter Breyers

sweet, swollen-swallow

if you had a left tonsil
the size of two hells

it's about all you'd be
able to eat too

sticky keyboard

even ice cream is
I'm too tired for a bowl

forget swallowing pills
shape: OBLONG

they forgot size: WAY too big for someone with swollen tonsils

"highly contagious"
the doctor said

well, at least I can play
sock puppet with the dog

misplaced priorities

the sprinklers in neat rows
spray past the grass
onto the road soaking
a dead raccoon

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

speaking of swallowing my heart

When I try to bite down,
it's all pink
and spittle
and lip.
(Tough to do with no teeth)

Anyway, hearts don't belong
in our bellies, slowly
being digested in acid.
Veins would get tangled
traveling the
switchback intestines.
We couldn't find ropes
or that oxygen line
leading back to the boat
or the balloon strings
that we hold so tightly
(delighted with the floating)
if our heart was digested.
We'd get lost with the anchor,
forget our nearest and dearest aches,
and the worst-

we'd shit out
the remains, the
waste of the heart.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

on your birthday

I would swallow my heart
today if I could-
be your best friend

and make you a strawberry cake
or a chess pie


light your candles
watch you make a wish
(not about me of course)
and blow them out

your lips would be pursed
as you blew
I'd watch them

you'd have a piece of cake in one hand
a glass of whiskey in the other

the lines on your face
would get soft with a grin
and your shoulders would rise

and fall as you'd make
those noises you can't help making
when you laugh

spontaneous sounds
always a crescendo then a decrescendo
part of your symphony that has always
bewitched me

today (on your birthday)
I almost ran off the road looking at
blackbirds flying in a V formation

we were in the blank space
you in the corner of the V
me at the opening

lost boys at the grocery store

In Sudan, we didn't have,
well, any of this.

What is this made of
(picking up a loaf of bread)

note: This is something I need to think about, as I go to the grocery store tonight.

check me out


Monday, August 18, 2008

first day

This is the day that the lawn
begins to grow,

and already she can't find herself
in the tall grass.

Corn grows quickly
in her field.

Her cotton bolls open like hands
revealing white puffs.

Her s e e d s erupt.
She finds sun, drinks water,

grabs soil, her root-fingers
dirt deep under the nails.

This is not slow-motion.
It's the swift burst of life.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lit Up

He is six feet of fire
rising from my roof
match-lit, sizzling,

making me laugh
on Sunday and bawl
(or brawl) on Monday.
I wipe the snot
on my sleeve, breathe

and climb out the window
cause the roof is on fire,
and I am the water, but
I still let him burn.

It's this gnawing
that bites at my butt.

It's a sit-on-a-candle kind of
get-your-ass-up kind of
oh-well, fuckit
kind of love.

another wonderful phrase from Easystreet: gnawing forgiveness

at the circus

they bathe gentle
elephants using

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

(after watching Top Hat)

slide, scritch sand, soar
tap, pat, stomp

movements more seamless
than the modern panty

feathers from her dress
cascade, float and fall gently
onto the dance floor
she falls like a dolly
backwards over his arm

he woos her with only his bouyant feet
and his liquid voice

she easily falls into step with him
leaping, a peek into her flying skirt
yet it's still him chasing her

peach stand

On the side of Hwy 441,
Farmington, GA
I stop by a stand selling produce.

When I ask about business,
the small, smiling woman says,
"How can we compete with supermarkets
selling our imperfect peaches?"
(she means the natural ones
that come off of the trees
like they're supposed to)

"People don't like the way they look."

Her boy plays on a mat
just inside the stand
fans blowing on him
a toy airplane strapped to his arm,
grinning when I tell him his toy
is "cool."

nice little watermelons
local honey
peach butter
peach preserves
and struggling farmers

She says, when ringing up my
six-dollar massive box of
"imperfect" peaches,
"Farmers shouldn't be taxed so much."
I agree with her.

At home, I easily peel,
pull apart, and literally
slurp an imperfect peach,
the juice running from ear to ear.

Friday, August 15, 2008


roaring and fucking tearing the sheets
I jump out of the bed

in which I have (almost) lived
for weeks on end
entangling myself more and more
in the covers
reading, folding laundry,

looking out at the world through
palm leaves
writing, sleeping, dreaming,
letting the violin sounds take hold.

I have been off of him for a full week now,
and there are these limbs growing
out of my eyes and ears and mouth
that are about to bud.

The fences around me begin to teeter and rot
so I make paper from them
and I cut and fold myself into
tinier me's, then get frustrated
balling us up,
tying us in knots,
and then trying to fix us.

Disentangled paper dolls
still crumpled,
but hanging once again

like the ripped sheets,
now tacked to, cascading from
the ceiling.
I walk through them with my arms

I design a garden here,
in this new place-
(out of the bed, into the dirt)
planting myself
so my branches will keep growing,

and I go back to the beginning
back to the all
back to God.

The last stanza comes from Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse,
and this poem was truly inspired by that book

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"the art that remains" by Nathan, Julie, and Holly

Love can have a dumpster aesthetic, scrap feelings flying
past the flap. I'm tasting as I search, trying jaundiced liquor in a jar
under the rumble of bridges, next to smiling billboards where
mini-van drivers become mesmerized by sexy ads and the vibration of it all.

That sanitized art they watch sinks my passion so I'm left to look
at broken glass, factories closed, graffiti of lives left in heaps, unspoken.
The head of a baby doll, marked all over with a pen, my jealous face
both carry the same scrawling message: we've been replaced

by shimmers of heat, by the sparkles of lies whispered in back alleys
by a clean-faced doll. But there is still some gum (with bits of dirt and hair in it)
a shared token, a worry stone, a fossil from the lost world pressed in
my palm.

I cannot escape this loss, this puddled sun, this dumpster of time tossed
like a rotten orange, leaving me with nothing but the death-smell of the empty bin.

Those others can afford their sins. I'll walk their streets, watch them look away.
I'll beg for rusty pennies, rustle through their dumpsters for bits of uneaten life.
And when the moon rises, I will see the shine in the broken bits of glass.
Nothing will pass me by. I'll memorize every piercing odor, each vivid stain.
The grease of evening, the skitter of rats, the smiling doll, the bottle half full.

My sins don't go anywhere...they just stick to the bottom of the bin, and
wait to pull me in. I twist and trim, bend each part together. Find us in the
thing I've made. This is my art.

I am very proud to say that I collaborated on this poem with Nathan (from Exhaust Fumes and French Fries) and Julie (from the Buffaloe Pen). We simply wrote a line, and sent it to the next person, until we felt it was finished. Julie thought of the title. I wrote the first line. Nathan wrote the last 2 lines. We enjoyed ourselves so much doing this, and became closer to one another in the process. It was a truly magical experience. Because we want other writers to experience the joy of collaborating, we are starting a blogsite all about collaboration. We'll tell you more when it is ready!
Also, I used a phrase from an Easystreet prompt in the first line.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

here's the advice I got today

Just buy em some tacos.

distractions, or aaargh

maybe most people can
drag their feet on the carpet and
not feel the sparks

look at the rain but not
hear it splash against the window
or see it beading
on the hoods of cars

maybe most people can
sit on a stool and not
notice their feet dangling

drink coffee and not
feel it going down their throat

not notice that they still call it
"rolling down the windows"

maybe most people can
clear their throat
and not wonder if other people hear

cut fresh celery and not notice
its wet snap

or feel the ludludlud
of their heart
most of the time

maybe most people
don't forget to breathe

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

seasons change

curved black beak
he sips
tits in hands
he milks
head emerges from
between her

her stomach stirs
he still
(stars still linger
after the

wilted August zinnias
no rain

on the mountain
wood stoves

dog in snowdrift
bursts out

shifting of clouds
the face
now the earth
is shifting
in ocean depths
oil is

I smell him
oh joy
he asks, "what?"
I say

Monday, August 11, 2008

silvery ghosts

3 white horses, all white tails,
manes, coats, all white,
as white as the teeth of Hollywood
and prettier than all that plastic,
like the bottom of a baptismal pool--
a hallucination (but I haven't had one of those in years)
spirited there in the beauty of the evening
sun going down in those Georgia fields
grazing on golden-green Georgia grass

and 2 days later
8 white herons in a muddy field
legs buried

I used some of the words from an Easystreet prompt in this.

in that place

(so damned hum-drum)
I eat snow that never melts
climb trees that don't rot

fall into love that never ends
(I'm still wet behind the eyes
in that place)

in that place
twenty-two gazelles
gallop in front of me
and I can keep up

in that place
I never lose my breath
from laughing

but my wildfires
get out of control
in that place

where I froth milk
eat almonds and honey
where silence is like quartz
and mica

I become clenched in that place
buried up to my earlobes in the world

and the mangoes there aren't as good
as the ones in Arizona

I used some of the words from an Easystreet prompt in this also.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mama's Boy cafe

in Athens, GA
ooo-cheese grits
and the best "potato hash"
I've ever had--

eat out front at a picnic table
with your dogs
(I saw a Great Dane on his own
picnic blanket)
or on the back porch
with an umbrella over your head

southern fusion
fried green tomatoes,
coffee in big mugs

light blue and brown wallpaper
swimming on the walls

and other champagne specials
(with strawberry lemonade)
on Sunday mornings

and sweet tea in Mason jars

Saturday, August 9, 2008

my t-shirt would say

front: Why not take all of me?
back: Because you can't handle that much.

This is an inspiration from Easystreet prompts...and when I get a chance, I will write from the original prompt, which was: "the sign on my back would be"

Friday, August 8, 2008

it's time

for the closed-heart surgery

What if this poem isn't about you?

(Well, damnit, it is, but what if it wasn't?)

the thumb gets worn
with too much sucking
(replacement for a mother's tit)

and I am still a thumbsucker
when it comes to you

in my hammock i rock
myself to sleep

because you make me feel invisible
in the nakedest light
not even a shadow left

-come come now
don't be so dramatic-

maybe I would be the woman
to end all girls
(I know I am!)
if I would just leave my skin on

and quit suckling you
as though you will grow it back

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I let my face take risks.

Some people don't want the dog
to lick their face...

There's laughter in that tongue,
and butt-licking isn't the worst thing.

What about money?
(now that shit is nasty)

Risk the curl of the tongue,
spontaneous road-trips
and talking to strangers.

Risk living upside down and inside out.

Talk with your mouth full,
swim in a storm,
pop your pimples!

Taste all raw meat.

And go ahead, lick my face;
I'm not afraid of your germs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

love song for lovers who can't be in love

raking the yard of dried maple leaves
sun hiding behind the closed gates
opening, we were gone

pulling out weeds by the roots
(the worst weeds grow upside down in us)
dissatisfied with what was planted

dancing alone, together
two helicopter blades
arms barely missing one another

pushing each other on the swing
until we pinch our hands
in the chains

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

cuddled up with the dirt (after Speed Levitch)

When I really think about it,
I don't know a damn thing.
Yeah, folks have said that shit before,
but I still want to re-write the world
even in its cold banality.

I'd write:
"I am an exhibitionist.
I want to expose myself to the flowers
I want to spoon with the rocks
cuddle up with the dirt
and hump the ocean's leg."

Though the earth knows I'm dumb,
it knows I'm hot too,
and the cacophony of sounds
coming from it,
(a litter of puppies whining,
a homeless man snoring,
a metal fan whirring,
a light buzzing,
tall grass blowing in wind)
makes me feel less alone.

Monday, August 4, 2008


in the afternoon
when things begin to calcify

I sit under the ceiling fan, blinking
at the light bulbs
and my eyes harden too
(I can only stare at you for so long)

it took 3 days for me to breathe you out
wear my shirt right side up again

milk pools in the middle of the saucer
laundry aches on the floor

the cat begs to be let out
and I throw him out the door

heat and summer sun linger
like sweat on my neck
like your kiss
then they

Sunday, August 3, 2008

in the face

there are tears
waiting to surface

pores looking for oil

pimples ready to show
their ugly heads

hair about to grow

lines hoping to crease
(they want you to keep living)

and there is a tiny breath
waiting to be released
from a sensual mouth

Saturday, August 2, 2008

a funny blog to check out...

I, for some silly reason, always fancied myself to be culturally diverse, "down," etc.
This blog made me feel white as hell...It made me feel incredibly predictable and dull...too funny! We gotta be able to laugh at ourselves.

Originally a book, apparently it is becoming a pop sensation:

bound, or I feel like a horny Emily Dickinson

bound feet and bound wrists,
bound to tell a story of lust
carnal birds flying in wet wind

bound to live a story of love
blue rain falling from brown eyes

beyond this place of yard-gnomes and wooden faces
and planters on the porch and blackberry brambles in the backyard

there are pretty meditations of starry places-
a universe where she can fly around the moon
where there are none of her boundaries
(they are hers alone)

invisible as they are, they still exist
like lines drawn between dark and light

like when the noise stops

she is bound to her bedroom,
her pale green walls, and bookshelves
to her soft blue chair,
her paper lamps
her fences
and those words

that do nothing they do nothing
in her head they do nothing-
on the page they do little else
but run around in the circles of o's

because she won't leave the yard
where the blackberries stain her hands
when she could simply open the gate

Friday, August 1, 2008

the lungs

twisted bronchi, tweaked with smoke
from yesterday's yard fire

(we love to burn things in the yard)
as though there are no neighbors

to smell the stench of yard-trash
and soak it into lungs

alveoli wretched, gory gray,
not pink with the oxygen
of prayer

lungs like hands folded in our
chest cringing from
exposure to the living earth

so we consume, and burn
and lungs grow weary
and tighten

rib cage and sternum,
are protection from chest blows
not from
the wind blows

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's a Lion in my Heart

He has ripped a few holes
with his claws
(not on purpose)

but the other side of his paws
have the softest fur,
and as much as I love
beasts, especially the cat,

he is stretching into my arteries
each limb, his strong neck
curving, his back arched.

I have been hoping that I'll be
able to lead him quietly out,
using raw meat or a nice
ball of rope.

But I may need a noose at this point
before he tears me open,
and leaves a gaping hole

so big it'll be hard to repair
and I'll need
closed-heart surgery.

you HAVE to check out this blog

This is a friend of mine that goes to my church. She is 9 years old, and has the COOLEST blog ever! Check it out!!! It's in my list of Neato Blogs and Stuff, and it's called, "If You Give a Kid a Bookie"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

if I could only

get the kind of roadside assistance
that SHE is getting-

she is the one who can run in heels
ride side-saddle with a skirt on

laugh at his not-even-funny jokes
and simply

and others will be in awe of
her beauty

stumble to catch her
twist an ankle on the way

and keep going
light her cigarette

while I am lugging the fucking tire
across the road

with grease smeared across my face
and my flats are hurting my feet

over-dramatized? maybe
but I have to do something

I mean, no matter how hard I try,
lipstick just will not stay
on my lips

another Easystreet prompt...danke!

I have to be empty

before I can be full.

Some things aren't worth cramming
in my top;
they'll just spill over anyway.

I am a trash can, Ziplock bag, mouth, stomach,
file folder, bowl of cereal,
and pot of dirt with too many seeds.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whitman knew better

In this day and age, we have too much to hide behind: the dollhouse, the picture tube, the air-conditioned cabins, the plastic, but too much will become not enough way before we’ve finished. The barren, carpeted, astro-turfed, laser-lighted sun-stricken earth is showing signs of wear and tear. Turning to live with animals will not be an option. Whitman knew even then, we were not so “placid and self-contain’d” as beasts...The nuclear blast may not be a bomb, but a slow, rotting in water, drowning, death.

side note:
This was originally written for 6 Sentences, but I submitted another one to them, so I thought I'd make this one my prose poem. They say it has to be sentences, but that doesn't mean it's not a poem...damn's a prose poem! Form shmorm...If I wanna use form I will, and if I wanna change that form into my own thing, I will. If I wanna call it a poem, I it a marred sonnet, or a smeared rondeau, or a bullet-holed haiku...
For all you poetry Nazis out there...aaarggh! (just had to let that one out...hehe!)

Monday, July 28, 2008

I can't sleep

You know how sometimes you want to go back? You remember how beautiful that place was, and you want to go there so badly you seep the dirt from that place out of all your pores. You remember the smells of the slow-cooked soup you made for him. You remember the taste of his hands. You remember being held so you thought you were inside a cocoon, and it felt perfect, like you never wanted to leave, to grow wings. Like you wanted to be that worm in that shell forever. You remember his laugh, and you remember when that laugh changed. You remember when he stopped. And you know you can't go back but you want to anyway, shit, you can't fucking help it you just do. And he comes back for a while, and he gets right under your feet, like a cat, when you are trying to walk, and tells you how great you are, and you listen, and you hear, and you taste his hands again. But then he stops, and there you are, having forgotten your own flowers all over again. And then comes the familiar ache in your

and the latest news...

"Bush Oks Execution..."
I wonder if he gave a thumbs up when he did...

Headlines (for Linus)

Some wars are unseen
until it is too late.

A 50-something man yelled hateful words
in the sanctuary,
pulled a shotgun out of a guitar case.

Youth were performing a play behind the altar:
“Gunman Opens Fire in Tennessee Church, 2 killed”

Some wars give us the world.

In Iraq, a soldier lost his sight,
shrapnel in his eyes.
“Soldier of the Year, 2007”

As a teacher to boys going overseas
(to war)
his sight is more intact than ever.

Some wars are seen every day, until we
“4 female bombers strike in Iraq, killing 57”

We’ve heard all of these stories before, laid them
to rest under the tree of “that’s life,”
but only because

another Pen Me a Poem prompt...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

and God said,

you should have followed
the dusty sunlight
through the stained glass

looked for dangling legs
followed the razor-winged

whose legs floated far above
your own

you could have caught
them with your tongue

but you chose to rest
when the color of the sky
could have been orange

you were too busy hiding in the clouds
so you couldn't see it

you would have been a good person
if not for the furnace
(something you thought was love)
that burned your face

(then I realized
I was the ventriloquist)

from a couple of old easystreet prompts...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I am

the girl most likely to drink
the pot-liquor from the boiling meat,

or sop it from the plate
with soft bread.

I am the girl most likely to dig
in dirt with my fingernails

rather than use a shovel.

I am the girl most likely to
fall in the hole I just dug.

I am the girl most likely to
spill the pot-liquor on
my boobs.

from an easystreet prompt...gotta love em!

for Buckminster Fuller

Geodesic man, you must have been inspired
by a voluptuous sanctuary,

those domes known
as the Black Mountains.

You created geometric genius
triangles touching triangles

compressed strength
made of fragile pieces
like plastic straws and scotch tape.

The larger the geodesic structure,
the stronger it becomes.

You are an exquisite jungle gym,
an upside down net to
catch the ground.

Friday, July 25, 2008

With numb lips

I lie under a tree
counting its knots
wanting to climb it

but knowing if I do
will win.

I had a double chocolate stout
float with vanilla ice cream
(a beer float is not such a great idea)
two glasses of red wine
and a vodka cranberry.

side note: I had "lay" in the first I don't do well with the lay/lie thing, and drunken poetry lends itself to bad spelling and grammar. (no excuses, just an excuse, eh?) I still have to look it up sometimes when editing students' papers. Oh,'s part of being human I guess! hehe! and I didn't even realize until 2 days later...jolly jolly good stuff...I do love mistakes...they are!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You told me

what you wanted to say to your mom
(10 years later, and
you still haven't spoken to her):
"Take your juju guilt trip
and stick that voodoo pen up your ass."

God, that made me laugh.

And that is important, laughing

because the lines on your face
lead to little known facts
about you.

You said you tell me things you don't tell
I know this is true.

Like that your mom told you
she prayed to God to get pregnant,
and she didn't,
so she prayed to Satan, and you
are what came out.

The laughing
most definitely
comes from the breaking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

movie night (after "My Fair Lady")

Dancing and singing
(like that is normal)
on a whim
to keep the plot moving-

She was the hellcat
left in the cold,

and he waved his wand
putting spells on her

as though the snow
would melt at his touch.

I wanted her to sing alone.
I mean, she could have danced
all night without him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I always wanted to be

Lydia, the tattoo lady,
but my hips don't hold that kind of
his-story (like those ships).

I have been penned and needled
so I am no longer "natural,"

but ink is my lover,
and that pain is familiar,
true to me

in ways he never was.

Love is inked on my right arm,
and at least it

This is my her-story
and the ships on my hips
are emblazoned with

How's that for a sideshow?

another inspiration of easystreet prompts...danke!

Monday, July 21, 2008

our neighborhood was still being constructed

we built one of the first houses on our street

looked at stars,

skipped stones on the lake,

ate banana and peanut butter sandwiches,

rode bikes around the neighborhood
and over the "dirt hills,"

had boxing matches with pillows on the bed,

played in the flooded ditches
in front of the house using
makeshift boats with Barbies in them

sledded down the "big hill" on
the other side of the neighborhood
and found snow day friends
(the ones that went to private schools)

ran the hose over the swingset to
wash our hair outside

took the dinghy to the baseball field
when it flooded
"Look! A floating base!"

played house in the empty frames

lost the house to bankruptcy
screamed at each other
and heard later there are houses built
all around ours
even where we once camped in the thick woods

I haven't played house in years

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wow, I think my umbilical cord

is still attached.
It's not about me

and my inability
to keep my idealistic
(still pretty much in the womb,
why aren't you happy)

to myself.

I scrape the crud from the bottom
of the coffee cup (as though
I could reuse the placenta)

and I want to help you to be
(God is certainly laughing)

when I cannot even
keep up with
my (wipe my own butt)

This is written from a prompt on Pen Me a on this page...thanks Edward!

my mom gave me:

a vintage photo of Mae West (in a vintage frame)
a whole box of vintage children's books for the class I'm gonna be teaching-
Judy Blume, Richard Scarry, etc!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sloss Furnace, Birmingham, Alabama

produced iron for 90 years

with over-whel-ming ge-o-met-ry
and color:

circles inside squares
circles inside circles
pipes big enough to walk through
rust: purples reds oranges
gears, handles, valves

the sound of a blue train
engine whistle.

In unbearable heat,
workers cast iron
from rivers of molten


furnaces blew steam,
ran gargantuan machines.

The men who died there
were slag to the wayside.


i don't feel big enough
to help

but when it's time to ride into the dark
with someone looking over my shoulder

it just feels wrong

i would rather help fill the ocean
help man find peace
child find color
woman find rhythm
dog find water
and moon find light

but those are things
that don't need my help

Friday, July 18, 2008

he ain't heavy

he's my brother

and the family plays games
on the living room carpet

laughing at each other

little light in the
big world

we hold time here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

grape, peach, strawberry

Today is a day when even jars
of jelly don't seem happy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

it is not indigenous

This is a reaction to "the Man with the Beautiful Eyes," by Bukowski, a part of a
Poetry Challenge on the blog Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers.

My friend Ace told me he was afraid
for the first time in his life.

I said, "Welcome to the world."

There we were, me with my heart
(every day severed)
a fear
of losing wild, overgrown beauty.

And him, wanting to tame the bamboo,
thinking it would make him brave.

Bamboo grows everywhere,
especially in areas its not supposed to grow.
It is not indigenous around here.

But that doesn't stop it from being beautiful.
And I told him that maybe being afraid

is okay.

But he said he wanted to burn
the bamboo forest.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I am a cornucopia.

You are calorically challenged, and if you think your tiny legs that you can fold ten times around your body make you some kind of goddess...think again. You use your sanctimonious "thin" talk as though I never thought of walking. And then you think I'm pregnant and say so...oh the gall. I have hips that sway into the night moon and push you out of my way. I am bountiful, rich, and have enough to give away. I have breasts that move into your space, and now it is mine because I will it so, and the goddess wears curves.

Honestly, this poem is a paradox, as I realize how easily my ego is bruised these days. There's a topic to write about...
Also, this is another poem from the easystreet prompts...good stuff those prompts!

Monday, July 14, 2008

You'll recognize me

I'm the angel

with fire coming out of my hands.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

my ears are ringing

I don't know whether to bang
on the pots and pans

or wear them on my head...
(that's what happens when I feel like a child again)

saying I am an ocean
probably sounds ridiculous to you

but you won't think so when the tide
comes in and drowns you

because when you pull
me under, and the pressure
becomes too much

I have to de-com-press

and that requires being naked
letting pieces fall off

letting my ears and eyes
and lungs
come back to a normal
and a normal pace

inspired by another easystreet prompt (see widget)

for Becca

An owl is perched
outside your window

and it is the same one that
sat outside of mine when I lived
in the mountains, and was
grieving a loss

and now that you have lost
something big

we bring violets
the owl and I bring them

from under the bushes
from the darkest dirt
from the wet soil

and place them
in your hands

our talons let go of the purples
and yellows and blues

so that you can grow them
in your own living heart

"we bring violets" is a quote from the H.D. poem, "Sea Gods"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

women's work

mending quilted pieces tattered
edges hammering metal

sweat in the lines of her neck
hair pulled back
eyes watering

pushing more pricks
her finger bends
at the waist

lover, mother, muscle she keeps
sewing, bending, biting

and she need not lie to herself
because pain is the easy, easy,

inspired by the easystreet prompts (now a link on my site)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ophelia poems

This form comes from the mind of Cynthia, on Epiphany.

This form made me very happy, for many reasons, one being that my dog's name is Ophelia...hehe.

I have been trying little bits and pieces. The form is 7-14 words, 2 lines, the first line shorter. The theme is romance, erotic, love, melancholia, a slightly dark edge....mine are all on the subject of temptation, which I thought was appropriate with the theme...

Whisper to her,
for she has a devilish light.

You are on the cusp
of thigh and abyss; she melts you.

Curl of root,
she breaks you with her arms.

Moss and blood
are in her mouth today.

She bends his breath
with her forked tongue.

Dirty and wet,
she plays in the shadow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

back porch, 1am

a beetle bugs me
in his place on the deck

and it is his place
though I sit bothered by his presence

and maybe he by mine

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

raw honey

in folds of my skin

my fingers explore
the soft innards of the comb

i taste you

i walk through a hall
made of beeswax, a smell
that will last for decades

now i hurt all the way to my

the color of the pollen
in a white room
bright piles of
sunflower, dandelion, milkweed,

your face in my mind

and the st-ick sti-ck s-t-i-cky
until hot water rinses it away

or it turns (in the cold) to a

heavy sugar

inspired by a Wolfgang Laib art exhibit

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

the skin

I live with my skin turned
inside out,
burning and chafing on life,

my ink, decoration
for my insides
living on the outside.

Our pores hold water,
and bear light of sun,
vitamins of life, but

people don't admit their own
(as if their clothes are hiding
their faces).

Our skin breathes,
and sometimes we
let it breathe
someone else's breath...aaaarrrgh!
and we are smothered

the salve:


ps...This is a mix of words from old journals, and new thoughts/words...pieced together. I'm working on a series of body part poems, so this will go with them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

looked through old journals...

words I found in my old journals...just recently looked through them again:

We like the idea of white, like
white room neverending.
We are in contrast.
We are alone.
We hear nothing.

We sing songs of the ocean,
songs from the plucked strings
of a violin.

The kite took off,
and we like to control the flight
of its fragile cord, but it
will not be tamed, and large blue
birds will fly alongside
their long beaks pecking
for a bite.

Consumed in our own
veins, the day is through with us.

The noses of black-eyed susans shoot
to the sky sniffing the air--
and they can see
we are all infinite,

like light, that journeys
from here and never stops
(as far as we know)

It began when we were children.

Air is the cut
the clean
the filthy
the Christmas smell

don't make me take your tongue
and wrap it around your throat
for I have words that I've
built like towers

my fingers are fat like

my fountainhead spurts arches
and I live within the vocabulary
of my heart

this is my Scream

More to come, as I discover random words of the past...