Monday, December 21, 2009

Reckless knives: a six-part drama

Your word blade cuts my
heart, lips no more to speak, but
I'm sorry, so lost

Shame is a dull blade
sharpen your knife, baby
cut me loose

Sharpen blade, cut
open vein, let truth bleed red:
You're still not here

Spend recklessly, horn
in where you don't belong, leave
footprints on my life

I stare, relentless:
your face – oh, that face – imprints;
can't believe you're here.

I must say something
reckless and pointless and true:
never leave me, please

(The poem above came together as a result of responding to #haikuchallenge and #haikuwordgame prompts on twitter, then piecing them all together. An interesting little experiment in poetic fiction.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Barely aware, we
wait for you like soiled winter
for clean snowcover

Worry, guilt, anger,
distraction: I set aside
and wait. I'm waiting.

Tree of life, light, hope
drops a leaf to spare us all.
Pages bleed story.

It's all about one
death defying act of birth.
Yes, I still believe.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


A mommy-son date:
French fry, salty offering
of companionship
dropped in the void between seats.
"Try again, Mom." Simple faith.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm not (senryu times five)

I want you to know
I'm not brave or strong or sure
and still adore me.

I'm not brave, I just
know how to be, completely
still, waiting, silent.

I'm not strong, I'm just
attached like a barnacle
on wave beaten rock.

I'm not sure, I am
willing you to convince me
to be that woman.

For you I'll become
all you think I am (I'm not)
and prove us both wrong.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In response to Medusa

Doris was black like midnight in December.
She used to have hair like a white girl,
straightened with auburn highlights.
Saw her on a bus one day in Disney World,
of all places, round dark face
somehow brighter with an internal purpose,
her hair gone, cropped close to her crown.

Doris told me how she had wrestled with death
and won – for now – and in so wrestling faced
her true self and saw hate in her eyes,
that by straightening her hair she was hating
how she was born with thick course African hair,
she needed to be who she was to be free from Death,
free to live, while she could live.

In the cutting,
she felt a rush in her spirit,
a rush of life, of truth, of living water.
She drank it down full.
When I last saw her,
on that bus outside of Epcot,
she was a woman who loved herself and life.

My hair is thick and blonde from birth,
turning naturally brunette as I age.
I was raised believing
that over-forty women should keep their hair short,
else they look like they are trying to look young.
Though I believed as taught,
I never knew what that meant.

When I was younger, trying to look older,
I kept my hair shorter.
But as I move well past forty,
myself a mother now and
able to release the instruction of another age,
I’ve let my hair go where it may and grow.
I now recognize it as a gift from my creator.

It is thick and wavy
the envy of my friends.
I can go to sleep with it wet,
and it will obey me most mornings,
and when it has its own will,
it does not embarrass me.

Instead, it slowly, gently helps define me.
As it grows, something in me
lets go of old ideas – each half inch
another release – and embraces
new possibilities,
like the breaking of winter ice,
like redemption,
like Doris.

Written as response to:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rite of passage

When we crossed the creek,
you were nine, I was seven.
You jumped, I followed
in striped snowsuit, fell in, ran
dripping cold all the way home.

Monday, September 28, 2009


We don’t know how to
say goodbye, so we polish
our shoes, trim our nails,
put on our best bowties and
cry without shame, beyond words.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Into the deep

In high school
they envied my words,
pretty little clever things
I tossed around for amusement.
But what are words worth
when you can’t swim?
I wanted in:
Into the pool, the pond,
the lake, the stream,
into someone’s dream
of belonging.

Summer bodies
tanned and toned
dive off the dock
into the deep black
how did they do that,
arched like a knife
between sky and sea.
Never me.

September freshmen
pondering life by the pond
just me and Laura,
and she says, “How about
we swim across?”
A genuine question, not a dare.
Not a trace of ridicule there.
Amazing, she didn’t know
that I was not like that.
So I tried anyway.

Got foot cramp halfway,
nearly drowned with the snapping turtles,
but she dragged me to shore
and we laughed
like Olympians.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Grandma's Dodge Dart

I wrote a few versions of this poem on Twitter, and had differing opinions on the favorite. I actually like them all for different reasons. Which one do you like best?

Haiku 1
Grandma's last car was
my first, a sturdy old dodge dart, wind
resistant like her.

Haiku 2
Grandma's last car was
my first, a sturdy old dodge dart,
wind resistant like her.

Grandma's last car
my first
sturdy Dodge Dart
wind resistant...
like her.


Two-thirty a.m.
ceiling stares down with dead weight,
relentless nothing.
Monsters play at politics
behind eyelids until dawn.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Another masterpiece. For me?

Monet made attempts,
baby steps, really.
But You not only spark
but flame day after day.

World weary, I ask
what is the purpose of
such sweet sensuous
displays of color?
Just more perfume
poured out on dirty feet?
I don’t deserve it.
I rarely even notice it.

I hear you saying to the world:

Pay attention.
This is what my love for you looks like.
I will not keep my mercy in a box.
I pour it out on all creation
with audacious use of color,
texture, height, depth.
I give you skin to feel
wind on your face,
ears to hear crickets,
eyes to see sunsets,
tongue to taste
my outrageous love
for you,
my greatest masterpiece.


How small and crowded we are in this world.

Herds of people, all traveling cattle class;
all wanting to light one candle, to say one prayer,
to be heard.
To find solitude with the Holy Other.
To find sanctuary.

It will make you a believer or an atheist,
the enormity of it all.

We are not left alone,
but we must be alone,
or almost alone –
to embrace the silence, the deep,
the ancient, the holy –
and to be embraced by it.

We find those ancient stone steps,
make our way through the great carved doors,
settle safe in the back pew,
smell the smoke and bees wax,
feel the silence and solitude of a sacred place.
Tangible representation of soul state,
helping us align, this side of eternity,
body and soul, mind and heart.

We need sanctuary.
I do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Late summer paint box

Late summer paint box
spilling messy with yellows:
squash, sea grass, fresh corn,
lost leaf lingering by bark;
showy sunflower, school buses.

Goldenrod runs the
full length of September, while
pale pregnant moon
waits heavily for first frost.
August abandoned in a blaze.