Or you could take a tylenol;
it's unlikely to cure you.
Of headaches, of bleeding
through the mouth, of falling
asleep while driving, of praying
for the dead. Painful, useless
yet hopeful. The pounding in
your head will disappear eventually.
Eventually, eternity will kill you.

The Drowning

These are my secrets, my body burning.
My soul, a river strains against its shores.
And who is this drowning, pulled down
into water, into darkness, into a silent
bed of mud?

They found her, floating like a boat,
her wrists were tied, her hair was red.
The sky was filled with clouds & birds.
She was like a sheet of paper, blank,

A Grain

Now I'll say I'm sorry. I never
invited you to my home or broke
the silence with my heart.

The rest of my life has been
an argument of then and now,
good and evil; I never learned to
greet the light with peace or joy.

I'm sorry that I let the mirrors
confuse me, the darkness claim me,
the mysteries of love confine me.

What is now near unrecognizable
is asking, more in sorrow than in
anger, for a single grain of faith.

Like a Father

When I see everyday
angels and devils

and leave my body for
its fragile shadow, I
understand mortality

its winding, unwinding
re-winding nature.

To remove the shape
of what defines us
is to quickly become
the nothing-ness.

Am I afraid to fall
asleep, to pass through
darkness without resisting

Will I return to what
I was before I was or
will someone lying next
to me, remember me?

In the beginning, God
had hoped better for us
like fathers do.

And Then the Rain

What were you in
your previous life?

A lightening bug glowing
through a child's hands
then released back to sky

or an arctic wolf, shaggy
thin hunting through the snow
with bleeding claws. Perhaps

you were a dream in
someone's soul. As for me,
I think I was the rain falling

like a field of dying roses.

Suspension of Dis-Belief

They all came with different missions,
different intentions. If we place
relationships first, it will not save
us. No one is unique if they eventually
die. Although, love can fool us
for awhile.

Ask the Moon

I'm not more beautiful than her,
but I am more fierce. There are
days I fight towards dusk, my life
a killing field. She is far better
dressed, her diamonds and her rings
while I am without jewels or blush
but you should see me dance. A woman
knows the gaudy outward glow can hide a
pale and dry terrain. Just ask the moon.


You can never be sure
who loves you. Someone,
somewhere takes your hand
and leads you to their home.

How then, to keep the heart
alive? Is this my garden,
my soiled hands? And so, one
day, the old oak tree begins to

drop its rotting limbs. See how
frantic the root-worms.

To Bed

Coming in one evening, the odor of
buttercup and iris on my wrists like
a mourner who leaned precipitously over
a fresh-dug grave, I thought I heard
a bell. Not any bell, not a bell
but more a low, deep sigh, perhaps
the wind or some wild animal. A dreadful
sound like thunder in its storm or
heartstrings snapping past their tense,
a tight & ancient drum bouncing off
the palms of natives. I listened
to its rhythm, as it faded, washed
my body, combed my hair, then in utter
silence, darkness went to bed.



Submerged in life, there is no life
or mirrors. The hands that shield
the eyeless face have no purpose.

Yet, here I lie, draped in moonlight,
the stars a million disembodied pearls,
and I can see the strangeness of, the open

universe liver-less, blinded as Prometheus
who gave his flame for love. And was it
you, who held a torch with steady, cold

and eager arm and I vision-less and pure
sacrificed myself so you could watch eagles
climb and circle over some distant, dying fool.

Dark Song

The leaves talk
to the dead and blackbirds
with their hidden ear, mimic
life's motion as shadow.

When I have found
my voice, its quiet self,
I will sing of leaves and birds
from the darkness of my bed.

From there, like wolves
crying through sad, deserted hills,
I'll sing for what I've lost, I'll cry
for you with the mouth of my spirit.


No Hands

Look at the ocean, how
it has no hands, its body
filled with sand and bones.

In two worlds, one dead,
another living, like
an old mother, she raises
and buries her children.

How does she hold them?

By the strength of her arms.

When Shadows Sing

It's difficult
to recognize
a single voice;

a song from
the shadows

or someone screaming
in the night.

It might be me.

No one's senses
are reliable when
there is no one
left to sing to.

In silence,
receding light,
a soundless cello,

its nylon strings
like a woman

hiding her bruised
and sobbing mouth.


Clearing Of

An adrenaline rush,
a quick, deep thought;
my soul unfastened,

the light- a guide.

This is how the morning
greets me, its howling,
sandstorm followed by

a terrible pause.

And of last evening,
plates remain unwashed,
spoons coated with honey;

I knew this loveliness
wouldn't last.

I knew the message in
your eyes when leaving,
was not of staying but

of farewell

and I, still alive,
am strangely resigned

to clearing off the table.


The Mansion

An older woman is like
a big ancient mansion,
a wary ghost watching
out a window. And high,
the iron fencing hides
the garden from curious
strangers who dare to
climb it. An older woman,
the retired beauty of
a dry red rose pressed
carefully in a book,
a star that manages to pierce
the blackening distance
over the mansion's roof,
blinks, then fades away.

To My Heart

Stop saying "I love you"
when you mean it. I want
to be cold, unfeeling blue.

The baseline temperature
should be set at zero or
minus degrees. The next time,

you give away my love,
I hope it kills you.

The Opened Door

When they found her,
her eyes were shut
but the door was open,

the keys were missing.

No one knew where
she came from or where
she had been going.

Like a soiled book

with beautiful words,
they threw away
her body.

Quiet Moon

In this noisy world,
today I heard silence
for the first time.

Enormous quiet,
like the moon or
sitting on an iceberg

in a perfect cloudless
sky; and I'm a tiny bird
disappearing in the heights

as if I'd never been
there. Yes, it hurts
even when I cry.


Fire in the Hills

I'm sure you had a heart,
way back then, which is now
an empty bottle, a quiet dog
curled in its corner, the depth
of a fortune cookie note.

Decomposition. Of love. Still
tied with light blue yarn to
your childhood. Light blue,
the color for a newborn boy.
How sad and unpredictable.

Later, in the night, I watch
the fires in the hills. Terribly
consuming what took years to build.


The Seed of Things

Calm yourself; there's more
to this than long, wooden boxes
and prayer. Imagine a chair
that's never been sat in or
a dying bird in a seedless field.
What happens, happens. What doesn't
could be like that nearly
un-noticeable bump that hides
the sprout in the garden.


Tin Men

All the iris, in bloom,
a purple field, a freak
snow blizzard in a town
named TOTO. In a small house,
too little for people,
the girl looks for herself
behind mirrors. For years,
no one has taken the garbage out;
the girl is covered with dust,
wispy, discarded onion skins.
On the wall, a note to herself-
In the darkness, the iris turn black,
the snow quiet and sleeping, the stars
oiling their creaky, silver jackets
like tin men.


Today I will do everything
upside-down. If I make
a mistake, I will stand on
my head till it rights itself.

I will allow the wilting
flower to lift its head,
walk backwards through the
woods, seeing everything

behind me. I will follow
my shadow, eat the blackened
toast, lie facedown in the sand
with my palms facing skyward.

And when I am sad, today,
I will pretend it's yesterday.

Diving Down

Behind the yellow crime scene tape,
is my life. No wonder I have no friends
and visitors keep out. What they remove
methodically from my house is dis-obedience,
stubborn-ness and a nylon bag of rocks
I collected from everywhere I wandered.

They say, you've got to pull yourself
together. This happens to everyone.

Who is everyone and when
will I meet them?

So now, I stay as close to the water
without drowning. I'm a strong swimmer
but it has been awhile since I dove down
to pick up the speckled pebbles the sun
points out.

Vantage Point

We simply don't know
too many things. In broad
daylight, what becomes
clearer can leave us
wishing for blindness.

Right now, I'm taking off
my glasses.

The Rift

Stargazing, whale watching,
scanning the cliffs
for blue hawks. A wolf
playing with its prey while
its wounded, clinging to life.
How blurry the line between
beauty & horror. Some say this
is what separates nature from man.
I agree.

Bitter? Me?

My heart is not broken;
it has exploded. I'll be
mopping up blood for years.
I can only hope, a sharp piece
of shrapnel has mangled
your hypothalamus.

Pretending to Sleep

I, too, will miss the sleep
that wrinkled & narrowed
the bedsheets between us.

The world is a bed and you
have been its mattress. Now,

when I close my eyes, I will
have to make do with clouds.


I am smaller than you,
in so many ways. What hurts
me most, when you try to ignore
this. No one knows humility
like a grain of rice wedged
in a floor crack.

Horror Flick

I'm going to watch
a scarey movie now;
it makes my life seem
less horrifying.

The Crow

I'm not surprised I've grown
tired. That I pause more often
walking up this rocky hill.

An old, black crow has lived
here for years, feeding on
centipedes and spiders. Even he

seems unlikely, now, to rush
into the skies.


Believe it. It's as real
as the crippled, three-legged
dog who runs just as fast
after the rabbit. But,
in the evening, tending
its body, it knows something
is missing.


The Rib

Like cuneiform script, primitive
and crude, we are women, like
arabic text, beautiful yet difficult
to decipher. When a woman accepts
a man, she is cut-in-half, clipped
winged and balding. Her heart becomes
a cigarette, glows brighter, poisoned
with each breath. The proverbial rib
she borrowed is the trigger of a trap,
lured by hunger, at best, she's killed
quickly and bloodless.

The Mountaineer

They found his body, cold
kissing Mt. Everest
decades after he failed
to reach the summit.

He chose the dangerous
life, avoided a common death
like pneumonia or cancer.
I'm sure he heard trumpets

and opera music in
the piercing winds,
his whistling, labored
final breathes.

The rocks above him
remained untouched by
his vanity or poignancy.

His corpse became
a history lesson,
his frozen, broken bones
picked clean by hawks

and still, his bootprints
pointing towards the sky,
etched in ice, in some small
way, kept him immortal.

They left him just the way
he died, persistent.


Who does she think
she is- that huge, round
face, golden skin & light?

From another planet, she
would be a tiny speck of fluff,
a bump in the road or
an after-thought.

Still, in her predictable
life, she faithfully migrates
across the sky; imperfectly
perfect and prideful.

A Food Chain Issue

Last night, I watched a sparrow eating
a deer carcass- who knew those sweet,
little birds were carniverous?
I saw the barn owl snatch the sparrow
who still had venison in its mouth.

And so, I thought in sequence:
who eats barn owls?

The Gate

Who are these dark-eyed angels
who gather like wolves around me,

intimate yet wild?

The mind silently counts them
like it counts the hills

that covet the house. Then,

I cried out the three names
of God "save me from myself,

from my sadness, my ruinous life".

From the woods, a claw reached in,
mercifully scooping my heart out.

The last sound I heard in this
world where fog meets light

was the yard gate securely
latching behind me.

Perhaps, I have become the shadows
that haunt us.



What are you doing here?
You don't belong here. You
are a stranger. You will live
alone without the comfort of a goose
or stone. Your inheritance will be weight,
your death heavier still. In the morning,
you will pray for your children; at night,
you will bury them. When you dream,
though you see a beautiful garden,
you will wake up hungry and homeless.

The Existence of Pearls

A tiny bird is waiting
inside every lonely womb.
My child pretends to sleep;
a dark angel watching.

On the other side, a finger
pointing always towards sky;
a solitary ray of light
bends down to meet it.

So the pearl spirals round
its grain of sand and grows
in darkness, an unseen jewel.
The mussel that cradles it,

tightens and chokes it.


If you move or scream, this means
you are among the living. That old,
ungrateful pain in the spine reminds
you, feeling anything is good.

Though loneliness is lonely, this too
can remind you of beauty, of silence,
of thought, of another evening. Possess
yourself before possession overcomes you.

Did you know that shadows imitate life;
that brightness creates shadows behind or beside
a body? For this reason, we bury the dead
and hide them from the sunlight.

A Mother's Voice

Long I have scavenged the seaside
for that one pearly, pink cone.

They say a conch can sing.

I have half-heard the whispering
crabs scuttling back and forth,

the thousand voices of seaweed
rubbing sand, the distant screams

of joy, of whale or dolphin.

Then, the sharp, clear call
of my mother "come in, come in"

and I do.

The Horse

There is a black horse
in the rose garden. I like
the horse; grandmother doesn't.

All she can see are trampled vines,
useless buds, petals eaten by
a disrespectful beast. My eyes

are drawn to the creature's fluid
muscles, graceful neck, the curvature
of its body. Never a rose could compete.

Faux Angel

If I cry for the dead, my body loses
its heat, its water, its salt. Like snow
heaped deeper on the sloped walkway, I lie
impossibly white, impossibly cold & quiet.

How does the door swing open when
we're not looking? Whose heart claws
its way through ice and tiny, bow-shaped
bones driven by love, destroyed by love,
the manner in which it leaves them.

See the boy, his winter coat, his blue
wool gloves, lying down at the end
of his small bootprints to make the faux
impression of a fallen, flapping angel
whose giant wings have trapped him.

Sweet Anonymous

Sweet, song of my sadness!
We kissed in the rain, married
in a storm. My long white fingers
touched your lips like lightening touches
the field and cannot be forgotten.

What accumulates in our hearts
can cause its stillness, heavy like
a rock. Once it's tossed into
the river, it becomes anonymous,
belongs to the wilderness.

On a cloudy day, we layed down
innocent, loving first, then after
the storm, our memories drift away,
a single leaf twirling downstream.

The Sleep of Kings

You are an old man
speaking into wind.
Knowledge is a sickness
of disbelief; it names
its fools. At the moment
of sleep, a man is humbled;
his soot-filled eyes resemble
death. Even the miracle
of his mind ceases to exist;
in an unknown language
his futile dreams attempt
to unravel its origons,
its mysteries. Always,
early in the morning,
a halo of light, again
crowns him king.