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