February 20, 2005

Galaxy of Letters v.2

Once, our nimble fingers
reached across reality and space
and tangled
in a landscape of our own making.

Once, the flesh was made word,
and our words made our flesh
tremble for one another's

Once, as we spun our verses,
we spun into one another, and
delighted with our self-generated energy,

we made a galaxy of letters.

Winter 2005.

I wonder how many . . .

I wonder how many people in this city
live in furnished rooms.
Late at night when I look out at the buildings
I swear I see a face in every window
looking back at me
and when I turn away
I wonder how many go back to their desks
and write this down.

- Leonard Cohen

February 19, 2005

Paper Lovers

They live, it seems,
all over the world,
and I am their

They pour their
inside my
Sometimes, I feel
I'm watching the
Pandora story in reverse.

They sprinkle me
with words
and ignorance
and erudition
and always,
always questions.

Oh, I am no prophetess.
I am only
and unashamed of it.

My paper lovers
seek their kind
of nakedness. I give
it to them freely.

They penetrate me
without cocks
or faces,
with only chaste white paper
as a surrogate

for them
for me.

Summer 2003.

February 18, 2005

Galaxy of Letters

Once, as we spun our verses,
we spun into one another, and
delighted with our self-generated energy,

we made a galaxy of letters.

Once, the flesh was made word,
and our words made our flesh
tremble for one another's

Once, our nimble fingers
reached across reality and space
and tangled
in a landscape of our own making.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

But that landscape is gone now,
gone black,
gone white,
just gone,
and I -

I haven't seen the sun in many days.

My eyes are frozen shut,
my hands are numb, my fingers
motionless and silent,

thoroughly tamed,
and I -

I haven't seen you in many days,

because I don't want
you seeing me
like this.

You wouldn't recognize me, anyway.

But sometimes, when I watch
my breaths come out in
labored puffs,
I imagine
they can still
reach you and stir

our galaxy of letters.

Winter 2005.


He says,
"We've got to have a talk."

So I light a cigarette -
a dirty little
nervous habit.

He says
it has been beautiful,

and I smile
because I am an idiot,
and run my tongue across
the menthol tip
of my cigarette.

He says
something about life's paths,
something philosophical,
something that reeks of such bullshit,

I cannot look him in the eye,

so I look instead
at the glowing red tip
of my cigarette,

the tiny red tongue
that licks circles around
the fragile, skin-like paper,
leaving soft gray ash
in its scorched wake.

The ash is like old lace;
it's pretty,
I think irrelevantly,

and he is still talking,
and my cigarette
is still burning down.

He says,
"Things change,
you've changed,
I've changed,"

and I take a gulping drag,
and choke
on the bitter, acrid smoke,

as though it were my first time.

He is talking
about her perfect ass
and perky tits.

he is still talking
about life's paths
(at least, he thinks
I think
he is)

while I contemplate
my cigarette's
scorching red tip
and violence,
which is never the answer.

(What was the question again?)

He says,
"Do you know what I mean?"

Does he know what he means?
Because I sure as hell do,

so I nod,
and he looks so relieved,
so relieved.

My hand moves then, and
the pretty, pretty soft gray ash
lands on the floor.
My cigarette's

tiny red swirling tongue
looks vicious now,
and keeps moving downward.

He says,
"It has been beautiful,
and I will always - "

but my cigarette
has reached
the end of its patience

and its tiny red tongue
has come down to my fingers
and even though I had seen it coming
it hurts.

I let it go
with a little cry.

Winter 2005.


have you seen
how glass is made?

how a mountain dissolves
into sand,
how sand is fired,
and, all liquid heat,
is coaxed
by a skilled mouth
and deft hands
into the shape
a master molds.

malleable, mercurial,
glass is blown
into the most
fantastic forms,

and then,
left to cool,
goes sleek and still,
transparent and fragile,

infinitely breakable.

Fall 2003.


She twists
inside a storm
of her own making.
Her laughter flashes,
her flashing earrings sing,
her singing bracelets beckon
to the unseen spectator,
and her eyes glitter
in the dark.

Her dance
is desperate,
as she stays
a step ahead
of morning,
of another banishment,
another leavetaking.

The fire flashes
on her hair, her skin,
turning her golden
as her bracelets,
backlights the fluid outline
of her body
against her swirling skirt.
She dances.

She leaps,
the fire leaps,
her thoughts leap faster -
and she knows, someday,
the fire will
be gray ash,
and she will wake,
and alone.

Fall 2003.

Love: A Recipe

Physical attraction
Delusions of closeness (can be gotten from experiences culturally
associated with closeness - i.e., star-gazing together, waking up
together, mutual physical gratification)
Guilt about sex and need to justify it with acceptably sentimental emotions
Socio-cultural compatibility
Force of habit

Grind together, while bumping. Add a few tears. Stir in a cauldron.
Let sit, then keep warm. Potion serves two. Garnish with cliches,
premature promises and unfaded flowers. Add salty humor, sour
disposition, sweet nothings and bitter regrets to taste.

Consume. Enjoy. Regurgitate.

Make a new batch.

Fall 2002.

Your Laughter

Your laughter
tumbles up
in lusty, gusty bursts,
deep and rumbling, a little hoarse.
It makes me want
to climb into your chest
and find its very source,
that hidden wellspring of your energy
that I imagine
is as warm and golden
as your skin.

Your laughter
is the sound of life,
from the first
surprised, delighted gasp
to the final, satisfied
little moan.

I love your laughter,
when it trickles
into my ears, and bubbles
down to my throat,
making my fingertips glow transparently
with pure joy,
and spills,
all flushed and joyful
from my lips.

Summer 2004.


"writers are desperate people and when they stop
being desperate they stop being

- Charles Bukowski

February 17, 2005

Creation of a Poem

To mix the ink,
I'll take a little spittle,
a little blood, drained from a paper cut,
I'll add a tear or two (probably more),
and from my linens, a few drops of sweat.

To make the quill,
I'll find an extra bone
(the way God did, that time he wrote HIS poem),
I'll hone it gently to a sharpened point,
whittling it with teeth and fingernails.

To make a parchment,
I will only need to strip
down to my naked self. And then,
once I'll have written all of this upon my skin,
there'll be no nakedness, no shame - only a poem.

Summer 2003.


that I were good
and wouldn’t
think these thoughts,
and would
occupy myself
with productive endeavors
and healthy relationships.

that I were good
and would
keep my eyes,
my hands,
my craziness
to myself.

that I were good
and wouldn’t
live inside my head
and would
live fully, richly
and limitedly.

Ah, would
I be as good
if I wouldn’t
be like this?

Fall 2003.

Feminine Advice

(after 'Seventeen Warnings in Search of a Feminist Poem')

"Beware of the man who . . ." - Erica Jong

Beware of the man on the way down
who knows he is on the way down;

when his quiet desperation
grows in volume till it fills his ears
he will grope for your love
like an addict in the dark
gropes through a medicine cabinet,
finding nothing to stop the tremors,
but smashing all he comes across.

You will have to clean the mess.

Beware of the man who is damaged;
he will want to break you down for parts
to mend himself with.

Beware of the man who warns you about himself;
he is only being honest.

Fall 2004.

The Last Time

"Donne-moi ton corps une dernière fois encore." - Gildas Arzel (performed by Garou)

You taste like too much wine
and too many cigarettes

Your hands are shaking again,
and again, you're mumbling
"one last time,
one last time."

The room is tilting again
and I'll have rug burns again tomorrow
because I'm as hopeless as you,
as lonely as you,
as desperate as you,
without you.

And again, I tell myself,
"this is the last time,
the last time."

Tomorrow, I'll return to my other life
Tomorrow, you'll start drowning yourself

And in a week or two, you'll call
and I'll come again
and again
and again,

because, for us,
every time is

the last time.

Winter/Spring 2005.

Travels in the Evening

After a conversation with an artist.

Last night, I dreamt
I swam through rings of smoke
and fire,
brushed aside some cobwebs
and a padlock,
and ended up
where Alice feared to tread.

The scent of dust was strong
there, and the scent of lilies
stronger, and stronger still
the scent of burning rosebushes
and dried out riverbeds.

Stories were written on the walls
of alchemists who had no use for gold,
of artists who had no love for beauty,
of great inventors who found no joy
in their own great inventions.

Shapes moved in corners,
sounds shifted in the viscous dark,
and I was afraid.

But gleaming
at the farthest ends
of this place I had entered
uninvited and unseen,
upon an easel made of ancient bones
a painting stood,
still-wet and fragile.

And coming closer,
for a moment,
I thought I recognized

Winter 2006.

This Silence

This silence
drips from our lips
like wax from a forgotten candle
left to burn - dangerously - alone,

pooling somewhere below
our line of sight.

At first, it is warm and soft -
I absently knead it with my fingers
until it cools and hardens
and turns to dirt.
This silence
swallows up all the words
we ever said to one another.

This silence
is our final conversation.

Summer 2004.

Unbuttoning You

in a perfectly
straight row
a perfectly
starched shirt;
an assertive tone,
an aloof demeanor -


I am
unbuttoning you,
peeling away
the power
blue shirt,
the coolness,
the formalities.

And you
who speak so clearly
and so confidently,
are groaning wordlessly
and shuddering
in my arms.

you dress
and we notice
one of your
is missing.

Fall 2003.

Love Poem: To Nihilism and Back

The pillars of reality
will crumble,
and render
me ageless,
you homeless,
and our bodies free
to meet and meld
and melt

into nothing,
and render
me fleshless,
you boneless,
and our souls free
to brightly burn

into a fine, pale ash -
it will write our song
with tiny particles on the wind,
me wordless,
you voiceless,

to be carried, trembling

into the minds of
a homebound one,
an aging other,


Summer 2004.

Rhythms of the Sun

Last night, I dreamt
that I'd gone back
to where I'd come from,

Where the pulsing of the earth
was clear and strong beneath my feet,
and found its answer in the pulsing of my blood,

Where life was motion, measured
in the beats of my heart
against the wind.

Last night, I dreamt
that you came back for me,
and that together,
we rode bareback on the evening,

and with arms grown long as the road,
we plucked stars out of the sky
and fed them to one another.

Last night, I danced
on a forgotten beach,
my body twisting like a tongue of fire in the dark,
until I found the rhythms of the sun
and fell across the broken strings of your guitar.

When I awoke, there was sand in my hair
and salt on my lips,
and my hands were reaching
for home.

Winter/Spring 2005.

Black Spaghetti

Determined to create something
sophisticated and exotic
and adult,

we filled the kitchen
with dirty pots
and dirty jokes,

with the sharp, strong scent of spices,
and the sharp, strong sense of intimacy

of the sort that can only live
in the kitchen.

We chopped onions
(seasoning them with the inevitable tears),
and shared tomato sauce-smeared kisses,
and licked olive oil
(extra virgin)
off one another's fingers.

Later, tasting
the fruits of our rambunctious labors,
we could not stop smiling,

the night sliding away
between our lips
like black spaghetti.

Winter 2005.