Monthly Archives: December 2013


1:31 a.m.

Sleep-awake, conscious of my stomach growling,
I reach for my notebook.
      (keep a pen beside your bed,
       my son,
       for only then will your dreams come alive)
My tears fall
To be gathered like jewels in a paper basket.
I dream-scream
To scare away any vagrant ghosts,
But my words laugh at me.
The jewels glisten back in the darkness.
I am not free to run away.

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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in old discoveries


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Mariah’s Cross

She has carved a cross
Into each of her fingertips
So everything she touches
Is marked by the sacrifice of Jesus.
She believes this makes her holy,
More holy than her history and humanity allow.

When she first scarred herself
She loved to watch her blood drip
Imagining her fingers at Calvary
Wiping Jesus’ forehead.
She could hear Mary weeping
For her pain, too.

And the first things she touched,
The wafer and the chalice,
Truly became the body and blood of Christ
For her.
And then more mundane things,
A table, pair of jeans, toothbrush,
They were touched by her devotion.
They knew the mark of the cross, too.

But now there is no more blood
And she finds she has to press
Harder and harder
To leave the mark of Jesus.
Her human skin has recovered
And there is no more pain.

She knows she has to carve the cross again.
Deeper this time.
Ever deeper.

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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malum                 (new)

an apple

start with the concrete

shape, color, placement
still life
            add effects
light, reflection
fullness, contrasts, crunch, diminishment

not still life
roll, toss, bounce
                 lift and fall

symbolism we can’t escape
Adam, teacher, favored child
    red, it’s red

and then the abstractions
trust            (is there a razor in it?)

the fruit of the Garden of Eden
was probably not an apple
   as we know it

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in new poetry


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While waiting for Chinese food

I’m going to name
Every one of my pores.
This one’s Ted on my arm,
Gloria on the left side of my nose,
Randy oozing sweat
In my armpit.

Is it wrong
To be this familiar with my body?
During sex
Will Amanda behind my right knee
Get jealous and close off?
Will I have to get involved
In their petty squabbles
Like a marriage counselor
Who lives next door
To his clients?

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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in old discoveries


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current dogma              (published in Pegasus, 1998)

sitting out long enough
attracts ants–
first a few,
then a swarm.
After the news spreads
they march in,
a trail followed by scent,
and cover the candy
and steal its sugar on their feet.
they carry the taste to the nest
to share with others.

Soon the sun melts the candy
until all that remains
is a slight sticky colored spot
even the ants forget.

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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in previously published


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Silent Night, 1989

                                Silent night, Holy night

Parking lot gridlock–
Christmas shoppers playing chicken
Over empty spaces,
Inching their cars at leisurely walk pace
Following tired shoppers.

                                All is calm, All is bright

Christmas party
Small talk Hell
Drinking egg nog and wine with strangers.
Introductions dripping incessantly:
Drip–Hi, I’m Tom, Nancy’s husband
Drip–He works at Apple
Drip–You say you’re a teacher?
A holiday jail sentence, once a year.

                                Round yon virgin, Mother and Child

The one woman tank
Rolls through the store
Staring accusingly everywhere
Protecting her purse, packages and self.
Burned once by a thief
She judges everyone guilty.
Safely out, she tells the Salvation Santa
To “bug off.”
Murmuring about con men
She walks, alone, to her car.

                                Holy infant, so tender and mild

The stop Mom dreads–the toy store.
Kids piled in aisles.
Her son squeals and pulls down a GI Joe Action Set
And tugs on Mom’s pants.
“No,” she says, “too expensive.”
The battle begins.
He cries, she yells.
Both leave empty and unhappy.

                                Sleep in heavenly peace

My nephew giggles atop my shoulders
As he perches the star on the tree.
The lights dazzle him
And his whole body smiles.
Before Mom leads him to bed
He hugs me and whispers,
“Santa is coming tomorrow.”
Later I check on him
Clutching his Snoopy doll
And nestled in his reindeer pajamas.

                                Sleep in heavenly peace

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in old discoveries


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Bernini’s Arrow

The angel holds the arrow above my chest–
The arrow I know she will plunge into me
Over and over
Strong with righteousness
And the anger I deserve.

My pain will be as clear and sharp
As my guilt,
My blood dripping
Like my first blood.

And in this instant
This flash between the holding
And the plunging
I am lost in the ecstasy of anticipation—
         the first touching of the tip against my tender skin
         the parting of the flesh
         my blood
         my muscles surrounding the arrow
         as she pushes it in further
         and then the release
         the absence of arrow
         droplets of blood following
         flowing down my sensual skin
         my eyes closed
         knowing she is right
         knowing the arrow is good

I will not defend myself.

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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized


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