Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Hails for a Mary

For whom do those sirens toll for?
asked my friend, a hip girl. She tapped
her ashes in a glass ashtray and
silently mourned someones loss.
Do you do Hail Marys? I asked my
friend. She shook her head.
I wish that made a noise, said my
friend. I'm not a Catholic anymore
That or I just don't give a shit anymore.

I'll pick one for you, I said to my friend.
All right, said my friend. She ground
the butt of her cig and grinned.
Go right on ahead.
I say, it's because you just don't give a
shit anymore.
Why's that? asked my friend.
Because you'll always be a Catholic---No
changing that.
Mmh, said my friend. She sounded
thoughtful, if not hopeful. You mean to
tell me
that that there's a chance I'll start
giving a shit again?

I was thoughtful too, if not hopeful
I think there is no good choice here,
I told my friend.
I wonder for whom those sirens toll for?
With any luck, they might be for
Or me, said my friend
Shall we Hail Mary for it?
I don't give a shit.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm eating cheesecake
I'm washing it down with Earl Grey
I'm listening to Duran Duran
I'm easily waiting to grow up
And in my leisure time
I'm taking timed sophisticated sips
I'm forking down dainty fork-fuls of cake
I'm hitting the bridge with timed precision
Take me home British Pop Sensations
I'm going to gorge myself with time
I'm going to get a stomach ache
I'm going to regress to my former self.
Take off my sunglasses when I wake up.

Are you Mad?

You ill reputed emotion
I can barely harness you
w/o seeming amateurish
I sound shrill not frightening.
I'm disappointed, beat
and torn and waiting to
tell my therapist all about it.
The version I tell her will be
indignant and rational, not
annoying. But it's her job
to sit there and nod thoughtfully.
You're a shoddily used emotion
To stifle myself I'll say nothing.
Being full w/you
is not satisfying.
I turn out only petulant not frightening.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Idle Chatter

I've told a thousand stories, one more mundane than the last. I'm getting responses, mostly laughs, all at my expense. It's expensive and it predictable, but I keep telling them. If I didn't, then I'd have to write them. If I write them, there's a chance that no one will read them. I don't want to tell you about the way oil slicked water runs down a storm sewer. I don't need to tell you that the geese in my front yard are freeloaders looking for scraps of bread. You didn't ask, I know you didn't, but it's my job to tell you anyway. You dig? If I didn't tell you, I might have to write it down and then you'd really miss out. Did I ever tell you about the time I fell down an oil slicked water fall, down a storm sewer and onto the back of a subterranean goose who asked about the pieces of rye toast sticking out of my pocket?
"I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down"

---Johnny Cash

These will last forever
and in the world of flowers
that means
one week. Great.
One more emotionally
and socially and atrociously
misfitted man to avoid.


Are you ready?
For the stations and your children to call
80's and 90's the oldies.
Jesus, my mom is such ROOTP!
(acronym for Really Old and Out of Touch Person)
Spears' burnout will have to compete with Joplin's
and we'll shake our heads and muse: Remember?
Oh yes, we'll say. "Hit me baby, one more time."
Are you prepared? Did you fire up the
teleporter this morning? Do you have pill-form
steaks on sale?

Tour dis Grace

It's too cold to sit outside Target
and wait on the bus.
That's why I'm sitting inside
watching people nosh before noon.
A mother buys her toddler a
cookie, an elderly couple eats
salted buttered pretzals
A young woman walkes in w/o
a purse and immediately our
story takes a turn for the worst.
Immediately, I feel uncomfortable
for her.
Because there is nothing lonelier
than a purseless woman.
Has she nothing to carry but her
plain soul?
Let's try and distract ourselves from
the pretty face and unfortunate body
That will be the last sexist thing
I write.
You're wondering how will I
warm enough to write about the
human experience today?
I want to sit inside and wait for
the bus.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Month

One month?
It made no sense when I first heard it.
There's no way I should feel better in one month.
I thought about you just the other day
and I tried to make myself cry.
I stood still for a moment and crinkled my
face up. Waiting.
Like a sneeze, it felt like it would come
and didn't. I willed salty discharge to
EJECT from my eyes.
I took a breath and tried again.
No go.
I want an iced coffee.
One month? Ridiculous, I first thought.
But it's actually starting to make some

Monday, May 19, 2008

At what age do children know how to use pockets?

The Biography of Six

I didn't learn anything in school, surprised?
I need to write this down.
Everything in my life is chance.
I was never brilliant at anything.
I laugh until i get sick.
Always in a state of discomfort.


I'm getting to be that age
where I have to call my mother "Mary"
and not "Mom" in public. If I see her
in the distance and call out "Mom!" she
and a hundred other middle aged women
are going to turn around and say,"What?"
This won't work because I'm not ready
to call her "Mary." Too weird.
I don't think I know her that well to be so

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leaving So Soon?

Lying in the nook that is your arm, I never fell asleep.
I didn't relax either. I stared at the ceiling, the crack
in the wall, that box of something I can't identify. I
wonder when will the time come when you move and
I shift.

I've got a toe cramp or a charlie horse, what do they
call those things? "It really depends on where you're
from in the country." I can find my hair all over the
place and that's the only part of me that stays

There's no other way to take this, or give it. I'm
kind of wrinkled and sort of--- a lot of--- disheveled.
The only way to get out of here is to escape from
your arm. I'm not sure if I'm ready to go
just yet.

Yeah, you're right. I gotta get out of here. The cramp
the horse, I don't know what the fuck it is, is acting
as riotous as my pulse. But not in a sexy way. It's a
way that makes me wonder how much time I've got

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You know that the elastic things
on the bands of your underwear
are flipping hard to pull off
without them bouncing back
and slapping your butt. It stings.

"Get Some Dental Floss!"

The note in my Marble Memo Pad reads as follows:
"Get some dental floss!"
I don't remember writing it and
I don't know what warranted the panic in my tone.
Was I eating steak? Or corn on the cob?
I haven't eaten cobbed corn in several years,
but I know this note isn't that old.
This must have been around the time when
I thought it was fun to walk around Wal-Mart's
health and beauty aisle, throwing toiletries in a
Maybe it's not panic, but sheer delight, in my tone.
I GOTTA "get some dental floss!" ASAP.
But there's still something uncharacteristic about
this note. I wrote it on a slant as well. An upward
slant that seems to shoot for the clouds.
I meant to write more important things in my
Marble Memo Pad. The slant is the growing
disappointment that reminds me of being a girl
who filled her purse with toys before leaving home.
Can't have an empty purse, now can you?
Did I ever "get some dental floss!"?
Only God remembers. I should ask him if I'm
still wanting for an answer.
Written on a slant, filling a whole page like a
teddy bear in a purse, it stands out blatantly.
I couldn't have forgotten this.
But somehow I did, I have blocked it out
and for good reason too.

N. Street

I walked a concrete catwalk
taking in the dragonflies that passed
by. I tried not to flinch.
I was barefooted and it was hot.
Had I more callouses I wouldn't have
felt how glorious the ground was.
I count small miracles as I carry
perfectly fine shoes. How can anything
ever be "perfectly" and "fine" at
the same time?
I carried fine shoes in my right
hand, hooked on two fingers.
Whenever I can, I take them off
and those creepy dragonflies in
without flinching at the warm
rocks I step on or the long stained
glass wings. Have you ever seen
a more perfectly primeval fly?
I have not.

Moby Dick

Did you see how dark it was?
Yes, I felt the impenetrable heaviness.
But did you see what it was wearing?
Twelve white boys drove by
bomblasting the same gangsta trip.
That doesn't seem like a word. Was it as dark as we're used to?
Probably not, but you know darkness.
Yes, I've felt the impenetrable heaviness
All right then.
I saw the blackest eyes make odd
references to old pop.
How old?
Old enough.
How black are we talking?
Black enough. I also want to say something else about the eyes. . .
they mentioned something else.
Something about darkness?
They wouldn't dare. They don't know, not
like you and I do, about how
dark dark is.
Probably not.

I'm Good at This

What response can I give on the
inability to fall in love?
Never a good one, it's always one
that will only pass on basic appearances.

You're the Ben Franklin of love!
If that's what I am, I am.
6 scones and seven T's later
You've found my real aversion.

It's that emotional distance
between the kitchen tiles and
the left-over Lo Mein on the couch
The walk is longer than we think.

Just like I've never finished a
dripping cone---I'm not done
with my pretenses of loving
that boy, that strange one.

You can sit here and discuss
my inability to love or fall in love
What was the question? Whatever
looks best.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Portrait: Jenna

“Oh Mother Millett, give me
A sign,” is her mantra.
But it’s damned hard to hear anything when
Papa Hemingway is in your face.
She’s got a swagger that rivals John
Wayne but she cries about her hairy
Legs. Oh kiddo, no one’s concerned
About your willowy legs or your love
For the girls.
She smiles slyly and says: “Cooool.”
But it might as well be awe and childlike
Wonder that makes her grin. I told her
Repeatedly to go Reckless into that Good
The Jewish girl’s eyes widen and tell
Me I’m crazy. Well
I’m in good company.
I’m over it, says she, the tall drink of water who
Thumbs her nose jewelry.
“I’m going to need the keys to your car,
Papa. I’ve got a tree farm to head to.”
Way to be Gentle, Miss Wayne.

Portrait: Evan

Tell ‘em how it be, C.
The man is black.
I’ve no problem saying such a thing.
Play me something funky and
He does. This kid never asks us for
Anything. Just to bend our ears---
I’ve heard his poetry and yes, we’re
Doing this now. He’s guilty about looking
And sounding like a homeless white man. Not
Homeless, but that hair. . . He’s got handsome
Brows and a silly grin. Poor kid.
He’s going to explode like a dream
Tell ‘em how it be, C.
This man is black and he’s proud.
Now play me something funky, E.

"Cross Road Blues"

Just like Robert Johnson
I wanted to sell my soul to
The devil to return to you.
Well--- not just like Johnson.
I thought if I stood at
Main and Oak and played
The blues, it would lure
The devil and I’d return to
You. Just like Robert Johnson
I waited. Cars passed by and
Some honked. “Take your
Blues somewhere else!” no
One is appreciative of my
Corner quest. Did Johnson
Have to put up with this?
No one, least of all, the
Devil came to return me to
You. I was not asked for my
Soul, though I would have
Given it. If it would return
Me to you.

This is Why You Don’t Workshop with Ernest Hemingway.

He keeps bitching ‘bout my atrocious alliteration
Fuck you, I tell him and then I show
Him my cajones. He’s not impressed.
He says my rhyme and meter are mediocre
That I have no sense of adventure
Or heart. He calls me “girlie” and says something
Else equally sexist. I light a cigar for him
And ask him what to do about my last stanza.
“What would you do?” I ask him and then
Kiss his bearded cheek.

He’s a sucker for a feeble “girlie.”
He says to blow it all to hell and
Stop before it all gets to be too much.
With a flask of Jack in his Dungarees
And a shotgun in hand, he made it sound
Like I had nothing to work with.
Wildly weak with lacking alliteration,
My own flask of Jack was nearly
Empty before I called it quits.
Only then did he cut me some slack.
And I, being the affable girlie I am,
Took it whole-heartedly.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

It was a pre-buttered hand-job that
Went on longer than he bargained for.
In his wallet, there was only a ten spot.
Something that filled his belly would have
Been more practical, but how do you put a
Price on satisfaction?

I Still Want to Live

I never told anyone how much I
Tired of September. I never wanted
To stop living and no one consulted
Me about it. Buildings fell and I
Was suddenly un-American. But I
Already was. People wept and pointed
Fingers; held benefit concerts and waged wars.
I retired to my bedroom and thought about
This poem.

I thought about not writing it
Down that day, but five or six
Years later. By then, more of me
Will have risen to show their
Indifference; such a powerful emotion.
When the dust settles and the flags
Stop waving and the celebrities
Stop singing. When the body count is
Finally tallied and the money is spent
And we’re not distracted any longer.
I will have written this poem and it won’t
Be considered distasteful and insensitive.

I tire of September like you’ll
Never know. I’ve wanted to tell
You for so long. I still want to live.
We never had to stop.


I want a classic story. I want it
Old and outdated. I want it
Mildly sexist. There must be
A girl, not a woman. She has to be
Young and pretty---big tits. There must be
Drama and duress. I’m going to want
Quicksand and pit vipers. I want a
A man, not a boy. He has to be
Tall and brunette w/dimples. He should be
Witty and uncivilized. He’s got to be
Obnoxious and thoroughly fuckable. I want
Tension that’s humid. I want some
Near death experiences. I need some
Danger and mosquitoes. Give me a
Friendly token native. There will be
Virgin sacrifices on alters. Therefore
Vine swinging should be used. Give me
Machismo. I want
Helplessness. I need
Predictability. I could use
Tragedy. I would like
Rebirth. I should have


It’s dusk when a girl walks to the bus stop.
Girl, you are beautiful, says a man holding out his hand.
She hadn’t really heard him, just registered his hand.
She laughs with wary eyes. He hasn’t registered either.
What’s yo name, girl?
Before she can make it up, she answers with confidence:
Damn! I could cherish you.
She’s forced to take off her headphones. We’re doing this
I feel like I’ve heard this before, she says as
Condescendingly as she can muster. She pulls her hand
The wrong man has told you that.
She laughs again. She’s tired. Flattered.
My name is Mario. Where you from?
Let me get cho number.
I don’t think so.
I wanna talk to you.
No go, Mario.
I’ll give you my number.
That’s okay.
Her eyes are fastened on an approaching bus.
That’s my ride. Have a good night.
You sure I can’t get your number?


I want your number, but I’m going to forget
To ask you.
I’ve looked at you, spoke to you for---
10 minutes, until my neck hurt and I had to stand.
I laughed several times, maybe six
And my eyes are tired.
Here I am now, but I’ll be there later.
Are you high?
No, a little, I’m just a little drunk.
When I suggest we go have coffee I
Want you to nod and smile
When I walk about politics I
Want you to be thoroughly engrossed
When I walk away I
Want you to watch in wonder.
I forgot to ask you, didn’t I?

Monday, May 5, 2008


It is on Sunday when I pretend to work
I wake up early in the morning and I
compile tasks on paper.
It is to be taken seriously, you know?

After two hours of what started out as
checking the weather reports, the children
of Mtv are finally "Made."
Into what? I ask.

The sun in my room hits the left side
of my face and Eddie Vedder's voice
hits my right ear. I haven't
done a damn thing but turn the radio on.

I wrote six poems, read one guidebook
for Cuba, and cleaned my bookshelf.
I did nothing that merits sweat.
Congratulations to me.

I dove into a lunch time movie starring
Nicholas Cage. I'm not going to Cuba soon
Nor do I have new books for my now
clean bookshelf

But those six poems required something
great. I used the paper, the ink from my
pen, the power from my left hand
to give to those six poems and it's okay.

To create something truly great
some things have to be sacrificed
If all the work of Sunday had to be
let go. . . then so be it.

Old Country

When walking down the unsteady street,
she wore dresses, simple black ones
the kind that shifted with the winds of the east,
alignments of planets, and the eyes of men.

And she led a parade of them without
the use of a piper. All she had to do
was not look and they followed blindly.
Maybe it was the dresses.

Can I buy you some cherries?
Can I walk beside you?
Can I hold your hand and whisper in
your ear?
Can I nuzzle your neck?
Can I slip my hand down the front of
your bodice?

They might have said that, she wasn't sure.
The amorous looks in their eyes suggested
such. Smiling and nodding, clutching her
purse, she walked down the unsteady street

In a simple black dress.
The kind that changed the winds,
aligned the planets and
glazed the eyes of men.


Behind closed eyes, his brain works
It works like a chess playing poet
What's next and what will impress?
His slippery tongue runs over each hole
and snakes across his own lips
The vibrato, the bends, the trills they
come from the bowels of his soul and
they inflict him painfully.

His hands cradle each breath
his fingers move over each piece
What's next?
How will I impress?
The trains, the wahs, the guns they
come from his lungs and he breathes
them like fire

His tongue searches for answers
and his lips make promises
The cupping, the tremors, the blows they
come from his heart and they
destroy him from start to finish
What's next?

Friday, May 2, 2008


I would like some help please.
I can help you.
Thank you for your help.
Can I have your name, please?
Yes, you may have my name, ready?

"D" as in desktop
"E" as in egregious
"S" as in salvaged
"O"as in Oslo
"L" as in leech
"A" as in abracadabra
"T" as in tedium
"E" as in egregious, again

Okay, so that's:
"D" as in delta
"E" as in echo
"S" as in sierra
"O" as in oscar
"L" as in lima
"A" as in alpha
"T" as in tango
"E" as in echo, again

That's right. Can you help me?
I can help you.
Thank you.
Please hold.
Will do.
Thank you.