Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Inspired by Neruda

Inspired by Neruda

I have caught foreign waters in my net
Seeped into the fibers
Is a place I’ve never been

You ask me what burns when there is nothing left
And all I know
Is that the flames are waiting

The boy will never know that hundreds and hundreds
Of pounds of particles
Float between him and the boy he loves

Our bones are really made of icy steel
Bending us this way and that
Like dolls for a girl with bows in her hair

This world is only a universe
In a grain of sand
Yet we stick, we stick like mud

The lighthouse can only see
What it already knows is there
Yet it turns, it keeps on turning

You ask me what burns when there is nothing left
And all I can say
Is that the embers are still red.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Misplaced Modifiers


Reading the classified ads:

FOR SALE:  Used motorcycle by an honest man with two pistons.

BABYSITTER NEEDED: Young woman who has access to a car with a college degree.
            [Hm, must be a smart car…]

TRUCK DRIVER JOB OPEN: Looking for a hard worker who can apply to drive to California
by tomorrow.
[He’s gonna need that smart car.]

NEW LITTER BORN: Kittens for sale for a loving owner with orange fur.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ferris wheel lights

Ferris Wheel Lights (A Sestina)

Working at the amusement park is a grand old time.

There’s nothing like having to hide
In the ticket booth when you wanna smoke a joint
So your boss doesn’t find out and fire you.
Every ride has bright, multicolored lights
And this is how I waste my time away.

The closest bathroom is half a mile away,
Those Porta-Johns are full all the time
And always smell like Marlboro Lights
It’s where those teen brats like to hide.
A kid always asks for another toy gun from you
And immediately bends it all out of joint.

Jocks, barbies and snotty kids mill around this joint,
Throwing all their money away
Buying more and more tickets from you
Screaming, complaining, cheating all the time
And there’s no good place to hide
With all these obnoxious lights.

They’re poor substitute for big city lights,
They only illuminate this cheesy joint,
Don’t even let dirty gutters hide—
I’m surprised they don’t want to look away.
Cotton candy disappears in your mouth every time,
But you think it’s worth it, don’t you?

The only boy who ever liked you
Works across the park, beyond the lights,
But you miss him waving at you every time
Because some skeez is yelling, “Let’s blow this joint!”
And a mom drags her eight kids away
Screaming, “One more word and I’ll tan your hide!”

Why do the five-year-olds always play hide
And seek in the Fun House? “Hey, you!”
Where the hell are your parents? Go away!”
Finally Anna, who manages mini golf, lights
A gloriously white, papered little joint
And we smoke until closing time.

This is where I hide, and yet these lights
Are poor substitutes you know, for home, the joint
You tried to get away from, before you wasted your time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

how i failed calculus

"How I failed calculus"

The glint
in Miss Jessel’s hair
was so simple, so quick,
that I almost missed it,
like an answer to a riddle.
Suddenly, I cared about derivatives
even less.
So casual, how she tossed her strands,
and yet how cleverly she caught me.
It wrapped me up tight
in a cotton memory
of home, when I was nine,
beneath a fort of pillows
and hiding from the night.
Her glint of blonde hair now
 was the light from my hall then
that peeked through my door
to tuck me in.

My parents’ shadows
walked across my bedroom wall
and I saw them in her hair
now, as if my past were a part of her body.
My father’s silhouette from twelve years ago
snuck in to Miss Jessel’s hair
as if he were going to bed
down the hall
in the nape of my teacher’s neck.

Saturday, April 9, 2011



I live in a box
Full of yellowed papers
And a kitchen half-painted
Viridian green.

My little house
Always smells of your coffee
Because tea for one
Is lonely in the morning.

I draw the curtains sometimes
And crawl in that queen-sized bed,
Confessing all my secrets
Beneath our tent of sheets.

If they could bottle you
I would add a slice of lime
And drink you dry,
My Communion.

I come home each night
Carrying you across the threshold,
And we play hide and seek
From the world outside.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the last cowboy

"The Last Cowboy" 

There's never been a man like Grandpa Hayes
'Cause all the tales about him must be true:
Broke sixteen horses less’n seven days
And stole the Rancher’s girl in only two.
He lived for eighty years ‘cause he was skilled
A wicked shot who never came out worse
His .32 was from a man he killed
The only one who’d ever shot him first.
A family curse what made him ride so fast
‘Cause lightnin struck his daddy graveyard dead--
They say it turned his uncle into ash
And then it got his cousin in the head.
So Grandpa spent his life outrunnin clouds
Just lookin for a truth he never found.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ballet shoes

"Ballet Shoes"

I slip my tender toes into your familiar bind,
your pink laces twist up my legs
and animate me.

En pointe, my toes are perched upon their boxes,
and your silken arms embrace my ankles
as if I walk on nothing.

Fuetes swing you around and I am a circus ride,
turned into painted porcelain,
a spinning doll.

I spend months with you, scuffing your soles, tearing your cloth,
burning your laces, stretching your lips.
We become old.

One day they will put us both in a tiny fabric box,
only to spin when it opens, only to dance
at the soft tinkling of a bell.