April 29, 2012

The Siren's Lament

The first time I saw you,
they had tied you to the mast,
and you were raving like a sun-struck lunatic.
Your face was red, and you were sweating,
stripped to the waist,
like a lover
or a slave.

I called out to you.
I couldn't help it,
I cried loneliness.
I cried longing.
I cried lust.

I sang,
as though I'd sing you free,
sing you safe,
sing you to me.

You strained against the ropes
like a madman. The ropes knew better, biting
indifferently into your flesh.
I saw the red drops welling up
on your slick, sunburnt skin.
You roared in pain, and frustrated desire
and I was almost close enough to touch you
but I could only watch

from my sexless perch
on the salty cliffs of solitude.

It was not my choice
to sing such deadly love songs,
such final lullabies.

It is not my fault
that I was made this way,
that every time I weep,
or speak a wish,
men die before
I've finished talking.

I'd rather have a conversation
than a conquest.
I'd rather have a courtship
than another corpse.
All those beautiful boys
made beautiful bones,
not one
a proper lover.

I hear you made it home.

I hear your woman wove you back to her
like a patient spider.
I am patient too.
I sit upon my rocky throne.
I braid my hair and unbraid it.
I claim a kill, still,
now and then.

I wait for you
You will return.

Pearl Grotto v. 3

Our mouths are oysters,
pearls growing inside
as quickly as they can drop from our lips,

catching on our clavicles,
nestling in our navels,
pooling in the gully where we join,
studding our sexes sweetly,
as currants in a cake,
richly as jewels encrusting
a sybarite's crown.

We arc against one another
like tangling stalagmites.
We make a grotto
filled with such
dripping extravagance.

The passage is narrow,
but we are swift
silver fishcreatures, streaking,
flicking, slippery slick & silken
bubble-baubled fingerfins
along the louvering quiver
of opening shells.
We reach the mouth,

and I
am a waterfall,
plunging deep,
exploding hard,
swirling mindless, scattering breathless spume,

and you
are a shuddering precipice,
your knees are mountains,
crushing tectonic, crumbling
around me, a howling
apocalypse of triumph
raining rock and sand,

endless grains of sand.
Each one will become a pearl.

April 25, 2012


I think I hoped for absolution
Some kind of last-minute reprieve
A strategy or a solution
An exit sign I hadn't seen

I think I wanted affirmation
Or an irrefutable proof
Of one last glorious ovation
For my version of the truth

I think I needed one more morning
Of glory, triumph and success
Or maybe just a word of warning
That this one was to be my last

It took a smile. It took a whisper.
It all took just under a week.
And it was years ago. It's history.
So tell me why the cut still stings.

April 23, 2012


I bargained with God
once, curled tight
as a bud, on the bottom
bunk of a dorm room.

making an offering
rashly - my voice -
a flailing, flippering fish-girl
begging to get my tail split.

God came through for
a while, for once.
I kept my promise,
kept away from
buzzy mics and vibrating
audition rooms. Anyway,

I tore it all up later,
screaming on floors,
smoking in the dark,
holding my breath.

That was many years ago.
It is springtime.
I've been filling my lungs.

Spring 2010

April 22, 2012

Come to Pass

Things come to pass.

You find yourself grown,
groaning for the wasted time,
the suddenlys, the almosts.

You thumb old diaries,
old aches, old conquests,
old stories, all
fireflies dying in a jar
with only memories of fire.

Things come to pass.

You trade last call
for the smell of his sleeping back.
Secretly, you love
the ball and chain, the simplicity
of grocery lists and laundromats,
chopping vegetables and polishing counters.

You wonder if this is all there is,
or was, and in your coward's heart,
your lover's heart, you choose it.
And you wonder,
what else you might have done,
if you had not.

But everyone wonders. Don't they?

Things come to pass.
It isn't always fun.
It isn't always failure.

Truth in advertising

Some may swear their love by the sun,
the stars, the moon, the earth.
But I have loved enough to know
how little love is worth.

How cleanly fever breaks in time,
how lightly one sleeps off the wine
of passion. And when that day comes,
how clear the morning. "It is done,"

they'll whisper. It's the truth. But more
than that, it will have never happened.
"I have not loved like this before,"
they'll say - and mean it - later.

Others will pledge their heart and soul.
I am not one of those who will.
My heart is muscle, mine alone.
My soul is mortgaged to the gills.

So if I say, "I'll always stay,"
it means, I won't stop trying.
But if I say, "I'll always love,"
you'll know that I am lying.

The Madman In The Eyes

For Pamela and "Amber."

You look the madman in the eyes,
you see the madness there, you hope
he sees the madness in your eyes. You know
there's madness there. You hope

he'll dignify it with his choice. Legitimize
it, like a bastard, with words spoken
out in public. You hope
he'll make it mean something -

the bruising of your hands against a door
that no one else can see, the rage,
the constant loneliness,
the impotence of passing
for sane, for same

as everybody else, who looks
the madman in the eyes
and prays for intercession.
For meaning. For a moment. For attention.

The empty room

In all of us, there was an incompleteness,
a space unfilled, unfinished,
like a room inside a house
that has not yet been painted or furnished.

We closed it up, that room,
we locked it,
folded it into a suitcase
and took it with us.

Some nights, we invited one another in.
Some nights, we only left the door ajar.
Some nights, we were distracted and forgot to lock it.
Some nights, the lock was picked.

We left our traces,
dust, and keepsakes,
and trails of evidence behind,
while we chased a caravan.

We figured, given time,
we'd figure out
how to fill a space
that never stands still.


You were the man, the legend
to my maps.
With you gone, they are

only a collection
of tangled lines & worthless icons.

I shuffle to look busy,
stupefied. I wrote these routes, I
charted the topography,
sprained ankles on the hills,
foundered in the rivers,
found and founded
fortresses and forts and nothing
makes sense anymore.

I'm lost.
The only solution
is to do it all again.

Old Man

His hands on me
were, undeniably,
an old man's hands.

Curious to see that difference,
his hands and my body.
I never thought of my body
as young before.

How old are you? he asked
again. I think he liked the answer
and hated himself liking it.

Well, he'd been kissing
as long as I'd been walking,
so I didn't complain.

And he'd been lying
longer than I'd been talking.
Just one more thing you had on me,
old man.