Friday, December 11, 2009

Sonnet LXIV

And it's the championship match when I
first realize how much I love this game,
but I have never once been forced to try
with all my heart before for their acclaim

I think I want to maybe win. The shame
would overwhelm me if I lost: I knew,
I know, I lose. And mine is all the blame
I can create; but what is there to do?

And how to try? The methods and the rules--
what are they? How to care? I know I'm cold
Is this what losers feel like? (feel like fools)
If I don't give my everything as told--

I splutter at this incoherent win
I'm not sure I'm ready to give in


This morning, I just kept going,
churning the ink
and pressing the sheets of paper,
the power in me for knowing
secrets, I think;
this morning, I just kept going,
churning the ink,
and wild-running joy kept growing,
just like a drink
of some kind of godly vapor;
this morning, I just kept going,
churning the ink
and pressing the sheets of paper.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

For Dulce


Every moment of my fate
works on me with shame and hate:
this because I did not wait
but accepted second best,
and I hate and thank the trait
that rules of late,
sensible, resigned, unblessed,
that prevents with rapid rate
of verbal freight
all I want at my behest--
and I wanted her to bait
fates and fairies as my mate.
Now I am no longer great,
which I know and have confessed.
Every moment of my fate
works on me with shame and hate:
this because I did not wait
but accepted second best.


Everyone loves to love her;
everyone aims,
frantic, for her attention.
Everyone tries to shove her
into his games--
everyone loves to love her.
Everyone aims
to put themselves above her,
action that names
any I wouldn't mention.
Everyone loves to love her;
everyone aims,
frantic, for her attention.


Everyone knows the blood and heat that tease
under the skin that sheathes her frozen bones.
Everyone knows that I would like to seize
everything my imagined darling owns--
but I would never risk her pouts and moans.
Everyone knows how hard I work to please,
answering strictness with a cheerful fist.
None of my labors can repay my loans;
everyone knows that she does not exist.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sonnet LXIII: Turning Point

We're living in a time of rapid change,
a moment of which we are unaware.
To Grandma, polio would not be strange;
my children will have laser vision care.
And I have seen computers go from things
that awe to things that dangle from the wrist.
Whole languages are changing. Whores and kings
have changed; if we're behind, then we'll be missed.
I could, tomorrow, go to Kathmandu,
or watch, right now, TV from Singapore.
The world is shrinking, not so small that you
are caged just yet, but more and more and more.
I know now how it must have felt to be
with Alexander toward the Outer Sea.


her leg is
shaking and um
and you just
get nervous
watching and numb
and all your
pieces just thrum
in the dust
her leg is
shaking and um
you wonder
is she this dumb
and you must
get nervous
watching and numb
break through the
language and drum
with a thrust
her leg is
shaking and um
you wonder
where is she from
with a gust
get nervous
watching and numb
and ask her
why did you come
don't you trust
her leg is
shaking and um
get nervous
watching and numb

Monday, November 30, 2009

Formes Fixes for Hebe and Ganymède


I love to make love to Hebe,
kissing her skin,
for she is like Ganymède
and ever untouched, as Phoebe.

Starting again,
I love to make love to Hebe.

Kissing her skin
leaves all of her senses sleepy.

That's when I win.

Because I am dead,
I love to make love to Hebe,
kissing her skin,
for she is like Ganymède.


Ganymède lives inside a picture book.
No one could reach to take his outstretched hand.
Even from other novels, heroes shook,
leaving the war campaigns that they had planned,
sighing for his idyllic summer land.
If it is breakable, I'll break it. Look!
I am like Roland; I will be like Zeus.
I am the one to take him where I stand;
I am the one to make his leash a noose.


After I have had a drink
of your dark, untainted ink,
Cupbearer, oh, do you think
there will be enough for more?

Scurry down your kitchen sink
inside the chink:
is there much of it in store?

Will you shrivel up and shrink
or rot and stink
if I drain you to the core?

Give me drafts that won't unkink,
don't run dry, and never blink;
always more--and you're the link,
you're the one whom I adore.

After I have had a drink
of your dark, untainted ink,
Cupbearer, oh, do you think
there will be enough for more?

先輩と [With my older classmate]

I’m happy when we’re huddled
Together on the bed, squealing
With delight, clutching hands and sleeves,
Bouncing and bouncing and
Oh, we’re rooting for you, honey,
With all of our hearts,
At the top of our lungs, we love you,
Go out there and win it for us
‘Cause we wanna watch you represent
Kiss him hard, kick her ass,
Prove yourself ‘cause you’re awesome
You’re gorgeous, yeah
You don’t know how we need it,
The fresh air on top of the world
We’ll never do it for ourselves
But you’re just like us only better


Eyes are black and wide and warm and wet;
skin is clear, embalmed in ribbon, chic;
half a million rushing thoughts, and yet
not a sound, the words that she would speak
left to interested parties' pique.
She, not having any mouth, is mute,
pleading with her eyes against the threat:
Care for me, I'm sweet and young and cute;
give your loyal mercy to the weak.

Lecture Rhythms, Part 2

My teacher is young
and very earnest.
I sit in the back
of class, and maybe,
I think, I'm the one
and only student
who's not a complete
and total moron.
Well, maybe that kid
who sits in front there,
eternally smirking
with snarky comments,
just might have a clue;
he might just know what
he's talking about.
His neighbor doesn't.
I feel very old
and out of place here.

Lecture Rhythms

thea Doption Of
pa'Ticular Languages
as Lingua Francas
is'n'x Ample Of
the Golden Rule:
Those who Have the Gold
Make the Rules.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Iced Tea

In the evening people sitting
on their porches watch and watch and
murmur. There are many acts that
comfort others when they do them
but somehow discomfit me.


the person I know
who pushes the plow
is not a boy;
it is I.

And the joy
that ought to go
thundering through the spray
is still. How
and why?

I want to allow
trees to grow,
but sugars cloy
to the clay
that I ply,

and the koi
that swim by
are gray
instead of gold, now,
and slow.

to the wind, low
so the ploy
on your face is covered; say
the best lie,

and pry
secrets from the coy
water, the way
a vow
seeps into the snow.


A dolly, two cakes, a merry and young, unfaded sweet sleeve--
a weave of folly that wakes the very far-flung, far traded,
and jaded to leave. My Molly, she bakes the dairy that sprung
of young, new-mated, who grieve; the volley that makes the berry
burst carry the tongue is fated to cleave the jolly snowflakes
it takes. But wary, I sung 'til sated the eve of Holly.

Sonnet LXII

Hair is falling in my eyes in dashes
of unpolished tan and gold, and jaded
chocolate green looks through the curls created
by the wind, the sunshine, and its ashes.
I think dreamily of summer splashes,
winter snows that never were, the faded
tangles, round and pink and sweet and mated,
honey brown with flitting, sooty lashes.
Maybe no one else thinks love is summer:
warm and sleepy, sticky-mouthed and sunny,
and by nature instantaneous and strangled,
but, I think, you'll understand the mummer
in the masque can fall in love with honey
and her hair--a boy that's soft and mangled.

Global English

We write in Sand, the poet said,
believing that when he was dead,
the English tongue would change for good--
his lines would not be understood--

and writers, to prevent this curse,
took arms--so I can read his verse--
but such a thing cannot be done
again unless a war's begun:

for English is no more our own
by any reckoning that's known.
The eager multitudes of Earth
adore the tongue which since our birth

we've spoken as our own. They've torn
it from our mouths as we've been born;
each speaker only owns among
the crowds a piece of his own tongue.


I was the last of my kind,
kind of. Latitude
stolen from the brain

gives me the rights to my mind,
so my attitude
can be false and vain,

also, and true. We are blind,
but this platitude
doesn't tell the main:

difference is all that we find.
Hear with gratitude;
sameness isn't sane.

Sonnet LXI

Your given name is lovely on the page,
until a tangled mess of sticky curls,
its perfect imperfection spinning swirls,
goes tumbling through my vision. In the age
that you're away, I never seem to gauge
your picture accurately--it's like pearls
before my eyes--but words I cherish: twirls,
unbounded, tulip, flushing, brownest, sage.
Here, don't you want to sit with me and eat
new butter, cold-clean water, honeyed bread?
And don't you want to giggle in my ear?
So tell me that you want to stay, too sweet
Mignon, because if you attempt to spread
beyond me, I will choose to hold you here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September Twenty-Eighth

Today is the first faultless morning of fall,
cool and keen enough to carry a sweater,
and I, though nearsighted, came naturally to know,
without warning, how much I’d wished for this,
how wantonly I’d been waiting.
While I grasped and grappled the ground
brisk breezes braced my back
and held my hair, hovering,
and senses in my legs sent surges
to suck at my soul.
It startled and stunned my stomach
and hollowed holes in my heart
with shrill shots of sugar,
opening my exhausted eyes
to the energy of the earth.
The width of my windowed gaze widened,
my breaths became more broad
and firmer, fairer, more fulfilling—
how long it’s been since my lungs last
drank light, unleaded air!
Clean, unclouded wind cleared out
the over-used and yellowed air of yesterday
that prodded and pressed us, not protesting:
dead, destructive dew
that daily desecrated summer.
Raw and radiantly I remember,
fast, with a force that fills
nerves, neurons, nematodes,
that I can do any action—
how could I forget this axiom?
How could I, in cold caution,
for a whole hot and heady summer
have lain listless and lifeless
under the overlaid artifice
and the asymmetrical illusion of weakness?


Every moment, I am more aware
of a sense of impending finality;
time is running out,
and the meat and the milk
will go bad if they are not eaten.
My peers are out of sight,
and even children surpass me,
while I stand here,
incapable of motion upwards or forwards.
I am neither climbing
nor expanding in breadth--
I may as well be in an upright grave.
I do not generate wealth enough
to finance my own existence.


Broken clocks,
doors that no longer turn on their hinges,
globes that do not spin

and in the classroom,
the children get older and
they have more discerning minds
and less discerning eyes,

but the desks,
the chairs,
the books never change,
while the chalk breaks down
smaller, smaller
into dust and is wiped away with rags.

Monday, August 31, 2009


People always want to know
what I'm thinking--
or, at least, I want them to want to know

But I can't tell them, because
telling the truth always results in
them attacking.
They're sick of dealing with me,
and that's perfectly reasonable,
but it still smarts a little.

For example, I wrote a long letter
that I'll never give to her,
but having written it, I feel sorry for her,
because I know she'd feel sad if she read it.
It's easier to be nice to her
when I feel sorry for her.

I want to ask
"What is the best way to go about this?"
but I know that no one will tell me the answer:
the thing that I want to do
is a bad, bad thing.

And I know it's wrong to be ashamed
of something that's good enough
for everybody else;
I know it's wrong to hate myself
for being something others aspire to be,

We will never escape from the thing
that is hanging above us.

When I do it, there'll be no
half-hearted, pansy-ass cry-for-help shit.
I'll clean the whole house, put cupcakes
on the table, and take the cat
to the vet; then I'll
make an itemized list of the unpaid bills
and lay it neatly near the place
where they'll find me.
I think I'll put down plastic
to save the furniture.

These are thoughts
I'm not allowed to think.
If I open my mouth to let them out
people scold me for being
inconsiderate, people make a big deal out of them
as if they weren't an everyday occurrence.
People are scared of the stupidest things.

I think they just don't want
to have to feel guilty later,
which they would,
even though my own decisions are my own responsibility,
and have nothing to do with them.
Someday, they're going to read things like this,
and think, "she was crying for help!",
which is stupid.

I don't want help; there's no such thing
anyway. All I want is to be able
to be honest about what I am
without having to backtrack, change
'round what I said to make it less
scary for everyone else, reassure
people who start crying, and defend myself against charges of
attention-whoring and "doing things that I know
will make people upset".

I don't know why I keep trying to express myself
--maybe it's an inborn trait--
when I keep learning, this week and last week and next week,
that nobody really wants to know me.

I don't blame them, though;
I don't really want to know anybody, either.
I just want to be known.


Rising up from the freshly-mown lawn
is the sweet, heavy smell of oppression.
It is late August, and
summer is already too far gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Troubadour Songs IV: Romance

The Dreamer unto Fairest Welcome, whose Two Eyes are Rubies, sends his Greetings.

News has reached us here inside the Battle Haze that as a consequence of Certain Laws ignored and flouted openly, our Foes imprisoned You within the Stony Jaws of a most Formidable Tower: those Unfounded Words from which You cannot seize Escape. This must distress me, coming as it does upon the Heels of Your Kind Gaze, Your Very Gracious Favor toward my Cause and actions toward myself when we took pause to linger in the Garden. Love’s own Views are that there may be Necessary Flaws in any Winning System, but He goes about of late with much less Florid Prose—well, You and I both know the way He is.

I must make Full Repayment on the Dues we owe to Persons Innocent of Guise who may be injured—Love must not excuse us—but especially in Your case: You whose Ways are charming, good, and gentle. Therefore, accept my most Sincere Apologies and please await my Letter and the Keys we leave with the Incompetent Disease that calls herself Your Guardian. (Love pays her bribes and we despise her.) Curb Your sighs; there lie within the details of the Ruse we perpetrate upon the Tower’s Knees and Your Instructions for the night we raze the Castle and effect with Tender Claws the Liberation of Your Rubied Eyes.

We probably shall all be killed; we chose a Dangerous and Complicated Maze of Paths to win You back—You’re worth a Graze or two upon the Shoulder—but it has the Markings of a Long Affair, and Blows will likely lead to Blood. The Eyes I praise may never see the Buds, the Pools, the Trees again, may never Welcome Love or rise to lock with mine if You do not enclose within the Secret Places and the Pews, with Urgency and Cunning, every Phrase—though such is not Your Nature.

Love would tease Your Curls and sport with You once more, He says, and I am ever dreaming of the Breeze that whispers in the Flowers—and the Gauze of clouds that wrap the Garden Wall because Narcissus’ Fountain laughs the way it does—and of the moment when I will enthuse with You about the Rose and Love and His Profound Illusions once again. He knows the Perfect Openness whose Blossom draws Your Face is all I ponder; You may quiz Him on it.

‘Til that Moment, Freedom lies outside our Grasp, and I maintain my Pose as ever, Yours, et cetera, as was and is Amour; we count the Passing Days.

Addendum unto Welcome from the sprays of genuine bemusement that are ties from Love to Earth, with all its fuzz and frizz. A little word as an addition flows as by the hand of Love, with grace and poise, and as by magic, settles, stops, and dries: You might, you silly little child, turn plows with just your goodness, desecrate ships’ prows with just your nature, slip between the glues that hold the cracks together, turn the screws away from where they turn, and move the saws along the boards until the Fountain spews its water through the castle—but this throws the whole of nature off its course; we’d rouse the anger of an older god who slays without regret, so cherish all that glows within your open face, which pales and shies from tricks. We will forgive the boy that stays within his borders—and that shrew who stews and sets her sights on sugared mead that cloys and turns her tongue to rumor and to grouse will find she cannot chew the very pies she bakes in her own oven. So the highs of life will come to he who drops supplies and spies the Garden as the workman mows.


Fair Welcome unto Dreaming Lover: ease your heart. Your soothing words to me are bees that fill my mouth with honey and that buzz their song into my ears, so when the crows croak loudly near my window, I hear coos of doves, because I know I will not lose your favor. Though I know I am unwise enough to welcome anyone who strays too close to me and to the Rose, surprise! you still desire my freedom. And Love grows unhappy when we’re parted; that’s a phase he’s never had before! so there’s a glaze of honor on my capture.

For I laze about and sing and read and lick the fuzz on too-ripe peaches—oh! I have new shoes!—I count the stalks on which the cricket plays and watch at night the pallid moonlit shows of stars and night birds’ babies: so my woes are not so many after all. My sprees of fancy fly in towers, too; the lows of life are merely boredom and goodbyes.

My guardian, of course, tries what she tries: she chortles, weeps, and scolds; she spits; she spies; she worries over me; she picks; she gnaws; she forces on my ears a horrid sleaze of stories that were better kept in sties among the putrid public and the fleas—but I can stand it ‘til you come: I bruise too beautifully upon my face and thighs to stop the stinging of the stinging flies, and there are lilac blooms and sweetest peas grown slowly up between the workmen’s hoes to scent the air wherein my tower sways.

I wait upon your letter with the fizz of full enthusiasm from my toes up to my hair. Of all the lucky boys on earth, I am the luckiest: I drowse in peace and wait for you to bring the hues of gem-encrusted glory to the bays of my unbroken windows—and the fees for life in such a place are tiny joys, so do not hurry to the walls that house my captor and myself with sticks and straws.

I hope you find the Rose before she dies, for that’s the most important thing. Your ploys are certain to succeed, however: cows are more observant than this woman. Browse among the lilacs when you come; the cries of all the birds there will recall the noise that so enchanted you when daytime froze beside the bushes. Tell Amour his clues are understood and that I miss his poise and his insane affection for his toys, of which I am but one. And when your crews come finally, whenever, like an ooze of sticky sap that seeps into the clays that hold the house together as it vies to stay upright, the stream of longing slows: I Welcome you; I Welcome all your vows.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Troubadour Songs III: Merciful Object

If I did not feel pity
for the intrepid heart
believing me kind and witty
and bringing its dearest part,
proffering, sweet, a start--

If I could not look kindly
over the open hand
that offered its trust so blindly
and wondered if I had planned
anything bold or grand--
If I would never suffer
arms that would hold me back
and prove that my will is tougher
by staying upon the rack
while threads of my soul grow black,

I would be called too cruel,
and truly I do not mind
disposing of every jewel
--I would not be so unkind--
to those who have begged and pined
for what I do not treasure.
Though I cannot love as they,
I may as well bring them pleasure,
for I cannot find a way
to breathe life into my Play.

All who would take were given
loyalty, hope, support,
attention, caresses, and driven
intensity of the sort
that pierces the inner court,
and I pity that perfect, prone part
--the heart squeezing through the sieve--
but no one can take my own heart
of all of the folk who live,
for I haven't a heart to give.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flight from Houston

I have stared at the sun;
since then, all else is darkness.
The pain in my eyes is the pain of knowing
I can kindle no fire so bright.


A fish inside a poisoned pond--
Orestes, O Orestes, choose!
How meaningless to hold the reins
of one's uncharted destiny
if Earth, on which one rides, is strong
and tilts and turns accordingly,
the subject of an ancient Law,
and gods build mountains at their whims
that split the Earth and Sky in two--
therefore, my choice is not to choose;
I die in water or in air.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sonnet Cycle: Eromenoi


My wish for you is that you would permit
my hands and eyes to show you secret Earth,
that I might watch as you discover birth
is death and learn to take delight in it,
to know again through you the joy of wit,
to take again from learning subtle mirth.
I lead you now to virtue, and the worth
of it will grow in you as you are fit—

but such delights are only in a heart
untouched by any sin that stops a prayer,
and I will never do for any thus,
for what you give me when I play this part
holds much more worth than even twice our share
of pure Philosophia holds for us.


In whatsoever guise you may appear—
a love-struck girl, a scholar, a tattoo,
or the petals, pink and red and clear,
of the magnolia—I long for you.

In whose-so-ever voice you might début—
the novelist’s, the archangel’s, the news’—
I hear but little else; all sounds accrue
your meaning. But forgive me; you suffuse.

As soon as I can grasp the thing you choose
to make your home, you slip away, and I
am left with heaps of pink and clear red bruise,
a silly boy, a stupid girl, all shy,

expecting I’ll uphold the vows I swore
to you in them. It’s you whom I adore.


When I do a thing that’s moral,
I wonder why I do that deed.
Is it for the victor’s laurel,
a morsel thrown to my own creed?
Is it novelty? For kindness
is as new and cruel as blindness.
Or can it be that in my heart
there is an honest urge to start
doing godlike deeds? No, rather,
I think it must be childlike joy
in having weapons to deploy:
favorite rôles of heroes. Gather
and call me cold, for I love best
the faces that I manifest.


Let’s say a man is under such a curse
that he must feed on cherries or receive
a most horrific death—or even worse,
feel pain no kind of doctor can relieve.

And let’s say, too—if this we can conceive—
that there are only two small cherries grown
in all the wicked world. Now, I believe
he’ll eat them, flesh and stem and stone.

If there were only one thing left unknown,
one pure, new thing, I know that I’d consume
it whole. The hunger that I would postpone
does struggle to relent and to resume.

I swallow meats too quickly to condemn;
I never taste the merest scent of them.


Knowledge makes one cease adoring,
for knowing well cuts high from low,
and the stain is past ignoring.
Yet love is the desire to know.
Touching something perfect only
will despoil it, yet the lonely
and sinful heart desires to touch;
it begs for nothing half so much.
Is this paradox too ugly,
too cruel and desperate a sport
for gods in heaven to support?
Yet the gods, who sit so smugly,
are victims of the supple bow
of Love and the Desire to Know.


Is it not right that we desire the Good?
Our souls, made incomplete, beg to be filled.
The Good is True is Beautiful and spilled
on Earth by God, and you, small angel, could
compete with Earth for beauty. If you would,
you might outshine all monuments we build.
And listen: I am true and iron-willed,
the truest you will ever understand.

Then let us blend like watercolor paints
that bleed upon the page—for every hue
is chromaticity of one lone shade—
and let your tutor’s otiose restraints
be thrown away; for all that he may do
will not cause Fortune to be disobeyed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sonnet LX: Discount Retail

Here, the human dregs have settled.
They glisten in florescent light,
slick with scum that rubbed and nettled
'til reek blurred their reflexive sight.
This collection--is it fiction,
accurate in its depiction,
or true in some unmeasured way?
All shame and decent thinking stay
far from here; they flee as quickly
as they appear and leave behind
this debt, this poverty of mind,
shiftless greed that twists the sickly.
This stench would offer rank offense
to souls of any consequence.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sonnet LIX: Nixy

Born guilty, made from time's incipience
to serve as Nature's balance, I breathe free
and empty darkness, pulling down to dense
oblivion the fools I draw to me.

My cold charisma pulls them in; I turn
them into monsters who have guilt and shame
to rival mine, but who cannot discern
the Truth, the Way, the Secrets, or the Name.

My guilt is on me; shame is on me, too,
and endless suffering to me is sent
for what I am compelled to be and do:
I make no choice and yet feel punishment.

I can't complain, though: I enjoy my lust,
and Nature is by definition just.

Sonnet LVIII: Super Lame

It's rare that I don't scold myself or preach:
I did that badly; that was wrong... I'm proud
to an extent that I can speak aloud
my failings anywhere my voice will reach,
but when those people--and I will not teach
you all their names--agree with me and cloud
my true confessing words before the crowd,
I'm angry to the point that brooks no speech.

I think that it's because I know they're glad
of opportunities to give offense;
they're waiting for the chance to hand me shame,
to tell me that I'm wrong or that I 'm bad.
To me, at least, such people make no sense.
They're just pathetic, and that's SUPER LAME.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ballade: What I Did This Summer

Early today, the lesson that I learned
was that the people who are most inclined
toward thinking well of me, if they discerned
the actuality within my mind,
would be disgusted, so I am resigned
never again, for fear of being spurned,
to reveal any of my secret heart,
to reveal any hopes; I am confined
by my own self, secluded and apart.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To My Husband

Lately, the mornings that I wake
safely and pleased with pride to break
fast with the day have been increased
threefold. I think that I’m released
by your concern and for your sake.
I believe that this lack of ache
may be the nearest thing I make
to the unfailing love that ceased,
and I accept.
I am at peace with gold opaque
veiling the red of pain. Remake
colorless, tasteless cake at least
into a bread that has no yeast,
and I accept.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sonnet LVII: Second Place is First Loser

My fingers (limp, forgotten, open wide)
on broken Eden generously pour
from heaven myrrh and honey to each side.
Throughout the world beneath me, with a roar
of desperate desire, the people reach
for Sky, to drink and drown in all that falls
from my unheeded hands, but all their speech
is far-off babbling to my ears, their calls
a clamor, for a hundred thousand times
too small are they for me to heed their noise.
I look above me, whence are poured the limes
and honeyed lemons of the gods (whose poise
does not allow their ears to hear my name),
a million times too large to know my shame.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Each infant that comes
squalling into this world
does so by dragging to the ground
an ancient wonder.
Thus life is nothing
but a series of deaths,
as the old good passes
and makes way for the new good.
You will never hear the same song twice;
all things are merely instantaneous,
whether meticulously planned
or spontaneous and instinctive.

Troubadour Songs II: For Parted Lovers

When writing things I know must not be written,
I hide them where no one will think to look:
in public, on the internet, with kitten-
soft metaphors that cleanse and hide my bitten
hands under verbage. No less certain book
was ever made; no more effective mitten
clothed any celebrating hand that shook.

I write of every time that, tired and bitter,
I learned again the lesson of my life:
to give up hope, for all the dreams that flitter
between my hands are gilded air and glitter,
for daydreams only. I became a wife;
I will become a mother, then a quitter
of heaven with the bottle or the knife.

My love song is the sad remainder lying
in shreds from when I last was taught to play
this game by the official rules. I'm trying
to treat you lovingly, to hide my crying
and bouts of crazy laughter, to give way
to you. I'm fond of you. You're kind, and tying
myself to you again is all I may.

Shall I lament stylistically your leaving?
It seems to be the custom. You'll return,
however, so what sense is there in grieving?
I am indifferent. There is no thieving,
small archer who can make me feel the burn
of passion for a thought that isn't weaving
through the abstractions I desire to learn.

So I suppose I want you to be happy.
I know you love as deeply as you can.
I have no feelings, and I squash the sappy,
clichéd, faux sentiments expressed by yappy,
too-old-ish girls and men who call the span
across the hands a mile. You say these flappy
things much more earnestly than any man.

Some say that I am cold, some that I'm driven,
and some that I'm too passionate to live.

Troubadour Songs I: Alba

Hey, get up, stupid fuck. Are you awake?
Get out of here right this minute, or I'll take
my fist to that window. I swear I'll shove it
straight through. The birds began to sing and shake
the branches long ago; their noises make
me flood with rage. The night is gone--you love it,
but I've not slept, nor have I had a break.
Already darkness lifts: the road, the lake,
the trees grow from invisible to take
the forms of shadows. It's for your own sake
that I must rescue you from those who covet
all your virtue--or the appearance of it.

You're not even supposed to be here now.
This idea was so stupid. I bow
to your good sense. And if you don't hustle,
we're all gonna get our asses kicked--ow!--
and I'll hold you responsible. Allow
me to say: It won't be my fault! I rustle
these shades to warn you, just exactly how
you told me. This is risky and lowbrow.
If you don't care about yourself, you cow,
then think of me, with both hands on the plow,
and think of him--his grace, his airs, his muscle,
and of his shame in the ensuing tussle.

I can hear the flame-wheeled chariot rend
the sky as Aurora broaches its end,
echoing through the earth with ringing thunder
like the boots of legions, or like the blend
of softening carpets and the slight bend
of a jealous woman's footfalls to sunder.
I'll go along with you, although you tend
toward eternal punishment; I'm your friend,
your servant, your right hand, sworn to defend,
but I'd rather you had the sense to spend
eternity in that far place of wonder.
So wake up. Or this will be your last blunder.


Living outside
has given me an appreciation
of many things,
including our until-now mysterious (to me)
cultural bias
against rain and rainy days

though personally,
it's not the rain so much as the mud.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Warm Veneer

What's real in us is void, and the warm
veneer of porcelain covering the face
cracks easily, abandoning its form
and falling back inside us, out of grace,
into the void. If you catch a glimpse
of your reflection in a mirror, and
see rosy cheeks and hair that curls and crimps--
the very paints that vivify the bland
and vapid faces gracing all of your
acquaintance--do not be alarmed, for all
is as it must be; for if any store
his face intact 'til other faces fail,
he wins the world and all he sees therein.
Do not allow the anger growing just
beneath the mask to burst and break the skin.
Each tiny crack is a defeat that must
sting dryly to remind you that you've failed;
a fault laid out before your enemy;
the invitation to a feast; a jailed,
unransomed vassal. Do not ever be
convinced to leave that mask; but neither, like
a fool, believe the lie that painted shields
are made of honest human feeling. Strike
decisively and rarely. Weakness yields,
unhesitating, to the flagrant pride
of one who sweetly smiles and won't confess,
who knows the truth: that what is real inside
him is the anger and the emptiness.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Story of My Life

She says, “Hold me,” and I hold her,
and her arms wrap around me like tentacles,
like the coils of a python, and I can’t breathe.

She is crying, and I have no mercy,
can’t summon the mildest twinge of sympathy.
Is she really upset?

A sad person doesn’t squeeze and threaten;
a sad person doesn’t run to my arms
or call me at half past midnight.

She is crying, and I have no mercy,
unable to believe that this is anything but a stunt,
with no faith in anything but the chime of history.

I cannot breathe. I cannot love her.
She runs her fingers over my skin,
looking for an entrance to my self,

looking for a way in so she can insert her feelers,
suck the energy from my soul,
tear my self-respect from me in tiny, precise pulls.

I have no mercy. This is why I hate people;
this is why I fear promises.
They are cages; they are chains.

But how can I turn a suffering person away?
I am impelled to caress her, impelled to say comforting words,
to rape myself like this every time she comes to me.

I mustn’t turn away when she pets my hair.
I mustn’t close my eyes briefly in pain when she tells me
she’ll cure me of my fear of commitment.

I don’t run away, but I have no mercy;
I simply grow colder and colder
and pray she will cease to need me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sonnet LVI

That old-ish man whose voice was cracked like clay
said frankly that he liked the way I smelled
and asked if I had maybe bathed today,
disturbing reservations that I held.

And then he started in on how I looked
just like a high school girl, which, to be fair,
is something I have heard before, and crooked
his finger luridly and sniffed my hair.

But when I caught a whiff of what he'd drunk,
my brain went off and added up the sum:
tomorrow, if he's worked out of his funk,
when he wakes up, he's gonna feel real dumb.

And my compassion's tender to the touch:
I think that I did not dislike him much.

Sonnet LV: Spelling Error

It is a single, small mistake, uncrowned
yet obvious; it doesn't seem so much
a hurried misprint as it does the clutch
of ignorance upon a lazy ground.
I fear the guilty do not fear the sound
of judgment over every subtle touch.
What shame to live in squalid lodgings such
that ignorance is shameless and renowned.

I feel no flush of ugly, self-smug pride
at seeing on another's roof this blight;
it brings to mind instead all of my own
uncharted, inmost shame, which has not died
though I have suffered lifetimes--as is right--
both in the public forums and alone.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sonnet LIV

At times, I'm overcome, and to resist
the world's unspeakable vulgarity
becomes too much, as though I saw the gist
of all that Is in piercing clarity.

I wake in morning's cold austerity
with paling resolution: I conclude
that sleep, like humankind's sincerity,
will never be enough to cure my mood.

I see the end of all things; we've accrued
humiliation only. We invoke
our passions and our efforts, but, reviewed,
they're nothing but the Instigator's joke.

We wish that people cared for us, but none
of us can really care for anyone.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sonnet Cycle: 玄武開伝 [Genbu Kaiden]

[Because I am a huge geek. :D ]

女 [Woman]

So you’re gone at last, completely beyond the stars, beyond my reach, in your father’s homeland, neatly untucked in bed, rewriting speech you believe you should have given. Even if our souls are driven to madness from the parting slap, I’m pushing you across the gap, burning down the bridge that spanned it. I’ve found the reason I was born, and though it hurts to see you scorn (for you cannot understand it) the only gift that I can give, please keep your body whole; please live.

虛 [Void]

Many times, the spears of hated opponents pierced in fierce attack; childhood games have not created the scars upon my arms and back, yet my swift and icy arrows fail to hit their marks. The narrows of mountains thwart me. I am last among a class of heroes cast towering above the cattle, and all my childhood enemies who fled when I began to tease failed to ready me for battle against an army that has wrecked the stars I’m dying to protect.

壁 [Wall]

Thundering, divine, infernal, outgoing as the wintered earth, I take hold of what’s eternal while comprehending all its worth. Thus, the words that never sounded from the stone came forth. They bounded along the mountains, down the path of destiny and silent wrath. Never will I speak, but listen to whispers from the lips of those who trust in me, whose spears and bows can’t without me hold the glisten of starlight, and, without a word, I know that all I say is heard.

室 [Encampment]

With no starlight, silent, freezing, I waited while the heavens shook like a baby, crying, wheezing, a helpless maiden in a book, something lacking any power, locked alone inside my tower—although I was below the ground. I knew that I would not be found, but you found me. Now I’m learning to try to be of use to you; I’m still a nuisance. Take me to my protective shell; I’m turning too slowly into something old enough to stand against the cold.

斗 [Dipper]

Do not think I’ll hear your reason; you’re slavering on stardom now. Your behavior then was treason; you have no claim upon my vow. If it is my whim to save you, you are saved; the grace I gave you was mine to offer you or not. Your cries are nothing; you have bought nothing of me. I remember my younger sister hungry, cold—and she was only five years old. I don’t want to be a member of any people who would hurl those insults at a boy and girl.

[Danger] (2)

If two things against each other are weighed, the heavy one will sink. If two plants grow, one will smother the other, stealing food and drink from its roots. And if a mother bears two sons, the older brother wins favor at his father’s whim, although his brother is to him like a mirror to a mirror. As worthy as I know your cause to be, I choose to follow laws that return the star that’s dearer. Thus I, the second, go to lengths to let the first surpass my strengths.

牛 [Ox]

Once—I don’t remember, really—I may have asked how life was grown. I am no inept or silly stargazer; I have built my own empire on my back, the smelly streets its lowest floor, my belly and thighs its bricks and nails. I rule these countless insects—each a tool—and I feel no shame in saying that I do not rule over kings. And I, who ponder all these things, cannot see myself obeying commands of someone hardly set, who cannot rule her body yet.

[Danger] (1)

I was taught a song, a bother upon my lips, before my birth from the mouths of my grandfather and his grandfather, and the girth, weight, and shape of it is killing, tearing trees from roots and willing the water from the sea; it bars the earth’s embracing of the stars. I continue though I’m dying; I sing though what is mine must die. I sing to tell my heart goodbye. My reflection falters, trying to stop my dazzling sacrifice; my swollen throat is too precise.

Sonnet LIII

The most delicious cup of tea that I ever drank was wetter than all the rain that made a sea of Saint Petersburg--much better than any Earl Grey I had drunk before. The rain had cleansed the gunk from the windows, and the brightly lit café was dry. I lightly stretched out my limbs. The hostel closed, and the train would not come early, and the rain was pouring. Surly baristas clattered cups. I dozed, dreamt of Moscow, città bella, where I left my black umbrella.

Sonnet LII: Foreigner

There is such shame in every word I read,
in every image, each recorded sound.
The others do not understand my need
to wallow in the beauty that I've found,

or if they do, the thought is dipped and drowned
in the deep ugliness that makes its base.
I see it, too--I see it wrap around
the edges, blunting them, smearing the face,

and muddying the paint. And then this place
embarrasses me with its blatant sin,
which isn't mine except I choose to chase
a language not inborn, a foreign skin.

Why couldn't I have loved something innate
instead of pointless daydreams and self-hate?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blood Show

today a book asked me
what does it mean to be American
and all I could think about
was marching on for hours
looking for the entrance to the Moskovskii Zoopark
watching skinny Russians eat pounds and pounds of ice cream
walking for miles, all over the city, in their high-heeled, pointy-toed shoes

and not having any place to sit down
it was a sci-fi world of cement
and there was a blister on my heel

when I took off my shoe
which was pink and had a bow on it
blood spilled out
dripping in little drops onto the sidewalk
and I realized
my foot is bleeding

which reminded me of Cinderella's sisters
and of the Little Mermaid
and appealed to my sense of pride

because feet only bleed if they're sensitive.

how do they walk so far
in more brutal shoes than mine
and never even wince?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Return to a Theme from My Youth

Yellow dandelions and tiny purple flowers--
whose name I do not, of course, know--
have been sprinkled over a green, green lawn.
In the midst of a construction project,
surrounded by gravel and bits of glass,
a small magnolia tree is blooming.
In my ear--and should I really be listening
to my iPod all the time?--Avril Lavigne's voice
sounds exhausted, which is really worrying.
These are all little, common things--
the grass needs mowing;
suddenly, people are outside;
breezes merge with gales--
but to me, they are signposts
of the passage of time:
valuable, important to mark.
Each change is heartbreakingly gorgeous
and beautifully sad;
the Sublime, I find, is in the apple blossom
as completely as in the Great Divide.

Sonnet LI: On Love

A pool in the savanna, black and wet:
here the thirsty people stare in wonder.
Crocodiles wait calmly for our blunder,
the sharp mosquitoes buzz around and fret,
and unseen, tiny creatures dream they met
in our blood and tore our throats asunder.
Drink or not: in either case, the plunder
of living flesh is offered with regret.
But thirst torments the reason: will the sticks
pierce through us as we drink? The water, cool
and very bitter, is entrapped in eye,
esophagus, and stomach with the flicks
of feeble hand because there is no pool
that's clean enough, and either way, we die.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I left the door closed
when I opened the windows.
New books are boring.


Water in the spring
smells like dead fish and old leaves.
Preschool ends today.

Rondeau Redoublé

Today is the last
day the magnolias bloom.
Their petals have massed,
ready to fall to their tomb.

Too many days have brought gloom.
Of all that have passed
out of the silvery womb,
today is the last:

the penitent, fast,
shrinking, and vast
day the magnolias bloom.

The eyes of the blast
sprinkled all over the loom,
uneasy and glassed,
ready to fall to their tomb.

People are driven to groom,
however they're classed,
sweeping them up with the broom.
Wherever they're cast,
their petals have massed.

Rondeau: to my younger sister

Counting over every stone,
I discover I've been shown
all of the world in glowing
shadow and evening, flowing
over earth, and overblown.

An enchanting bud has grown
underneath my sullen throne,
fresh into life and growing
out of my time.

All my muscle, all my bone
balks at giving up its own,
all the while, fully knowing
whispers of age are showing,
and my gift is just a loan
out of my time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I choose to worship in this game of cool
pretensions (to enact this role though I
am strong and thus need no direction; though
inherent worth is found in both of us)
because there is a meaning in this part
(in choosing service, entertaining whims
with nothing but a wry and subtle smile
to indicate that this amuses me),
because it pleases me to witness the
vainglorious delight and triumph that
predictably rewards my efforts: her
uproarious yet understated, poised
and rollicking expression of surprise
and admiration at my best attempts
to craft the world for her amusement and
the cynic gratefulness for me that she
acknowledges in every moment, though
it’s never stated. Easily she stole
my grim demeanor; she is beautiful
when pouting and when serious. I want
to be her second-in-command until
the day I die, for feeling useful lends
compelling satisfaction, even if
I know she doesn’t really need me. That’s
the way I want it. It’s an easy thing
to tolerate her; I don’t run because
I know that I can run at any time.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sonnet L: Anthropology Classroom

Uneasy and embarrassed, Johnny sits
and listens as his self, each living piece,
is sifted, labeled, broken into bits,
condemned, and then discarded 'til they cease,
and at the end, they've rendered him bereft
of all his life and all he knew before.
Just broken pieces of cement are left
that do not fit together anymore.
They say to Johnny, "Build your soul anew,"
and hand to him the mortar, thick and cold,
along with brand-new stones and straw and sticks.
They know today, and yesterday they knew,
that any leftovers he still may hold
will never fit among the square-edged bricks.

Friday, April 10, 2009


April day: how refreshing to be sane,
speaking without the urgency and fear,
walking in sun and wandering in brain.
It is so strange for life to be this clear--
not to persuade or whisper in the ear;
I don't know how to act without that pain.
Bubbling up, the world is flushed and fired,
splashing on me the summer of the year.
What a relief: not to be warm or tired.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sonnet XLIX

I walk out from the tunnel into lights,
through rubber airport gates, and toward the street.
My passport in my hand, I go to meet
a place I've never met, its sounds, its sights,
with nouns and gestures, adjectives and rites,
expecting where I live and what I eat
to be as new to me as Mars. My feet
go hurrying, continuing my flights.

But the first thing that assaults me, plastic
and superb, an English sign displaying,
"WELCOME TO _______!", is coarse and flirty.
Down the street, they're more enthusiastic:
This is just like home, except it's dirty.

Sonnet XLVIII: Oatmeal

Seeds, like grains of sand, are catching
on ridges, soft and solid eggs
slipping down the throat, the retching
esophagus, the hands, the legs,
coating, glopping--globs are dropping--
into stomachs--plop! plop! plopping.
The longer that you put it off,
the colder it will get; you cough,
choking on the solid, slimy,
congealed, and slickened vesicles
that only perseverance pulls
down the gullet, dirty, grimy,
and moving, squirting through the cracks
like babies born in sloppy sacs.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sonnet XLVII

It's certain we don't know what we don't know
and whether we should know it as arranged
is useless as an earnest question, so
don't ask it. We don't know; that can't be changed.
So punish us in justice and in full.
Make ashes of our bodies and our lands,
and give a flash of pain that dyes our wool
with blood and screaming bright inside our hands.
Just kill us; tear our stomachs from our lungs
and hammer, hammer it into our brains
with nails of information; nail our tongues
to our apologies and our remains:
but do it only once (it will suffice)
and not forevermore--not even twice.

Sonnet XLVI

The scent of sandalwood, untraceable,
is here, then gone, then here again. I breathe;
it changes. Sometimes smells and tastes that wreathe
around me fool me; I can't know, can't pull
reality from them. Are others dull
to what I sense? That is, did gods bequeath
to me a gift? Or does confusion seethe
inside my brain, untended, random, null?
Should I believe my eyes, my nose, my ears?
Or do I trust my logic and my thought?
These questions are rhetorical, and so
I leave them with you with your childish fears
and skip away; it's stupid that we fought
for knowledge when we knew we could not know.

Sonnet XLV

When I was searching for domestic bliss,
I thought I wanted someone cute and dumb,
some big-eyed baby I could snuggle, kiss,
and boldly rescue from its native slum.
I pictured admiration, gratitude,
enthusiasm; I could teach, decide,
give presents, answer questions, hand out food,
expect respect, obedience, and pride.
I pictured happy curiosity
and sweetness; I imagined being free
from nagging and accountability,
from punishments and cynical ennui.
I thought I wanted someone cute and dumb.
I got one. Now I wish I had a chum.

Sonnet XLIV

All relationships are squalling
and screaming infants tied around
feet and ankles, tripping, stalling,
and bearing down with weight and sound.
I will feed them in the fountain:
I will drag them up the mountain
and sever every length of cord,
leave them at the summit, board
Hades' boat, and from its railing,
unfettered, fling myself and cry,
"Let them untie themselves or die!
Let them feed themselves, prevailing!"
I, falling, am the bonded slave
to none but gravity and grave.

Formes Fixes

I. Virelai

Irving damn Berlin was right:
the boy I marry must be white
and pink as nurseries and quite
as pure and try as hard to please.
The boy I cradle sharp and tight
within my sight
must be as warm as gentle seas.
His polished nails will shine in light,
his hair full-bright
with flowers from the summer trees.
A doll to carry, soft and slight,
a kitten purring through its fright,
satin, lace, and stars and night:
the boy I marry must be these.
As usual, the man was right:
the boy I marry must be white
and pink as nurseries and quite
as pure and try as hard to please.

II. Rondeau

The boys who are sweet and pretty
he says are lies.
It hurts him, but I still want them.
My insults will draw his pity,
not his disguise.
The boys who are sweet and pretty
he says are lies.
He can't be as smitten, witty,
constant, or wise;
I know, and I hate to flaunt them.
The boys who are sweet and pretty
he says are lies.
It hurts him, but I still want them.

III. Ballade

I cannot answer this in a ballade:
it is like armor on Akhilleus’ heel
(though all the while, he never was a god—
nor was Patroklos, strong as his appeal);
it is like lightless light, insensate feel,
anhydrous water, genuine façade.
And who can say that there was no mistake
in our creation or in our ordeal?
And who can say we will not fall and break?

Sonnet XLIII

It cannot be denied that what we are
is tragedy; we want, imagine, need
what can't exist, though lies are told that bar
our understanding this with hope and greed.
What he wants is not what I am, maybe;
what I want is not what he is, surely.
We expect the happiness, the baby,
as we heard, believed, and trusted purely.
Our speech upholds our dreams, but still we grow
both upward and apart. The things we seek
cannot exist although we need them, so
we seek with hopeless hope and hardly speak.
All the time we're talking, smiling, joking,
we are treading water; we are choking.


Saturday, April
4th at the Fairgrounds
10 to 3
Drag Show at Midnight
Bring ID!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sonnet XLII

If Ganymede and Hebe knelt before
my feet and begged for my protection just
a minute after I'd abused them, thrust
my rage upon them, burned them, printed sore
and bruise upon their bodies, I would pour
my mercy on them, moved by tender trust,
and pull them to myself against the dust
of danger 'til they came to me no more,
and if the mermaid princess followed me
across the stones, and if the monkey king
would wait five hundred years for me in chains,
I, like Titania, would loyally
protect the children other women bring
to Earth, consume them, multiply their pains.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sonnet XLI

I don’t wear shoes because I want to feel
the bounty of the earth: the mud that forms
when rained upon by yester-evening’s storms,
the baby grass, the sticks that pierce my heel,
the bits of gravel on my soles that deal
incisions, concrete, thorny plants, and swarms
of ants: I celebrate all this; it warms
my skin; I hold it close to make it real.

And though my feet are dirty, sometimes bruised
and sometimes bleeding, I will not put on
my shoes. I will go forward, trying not
to be as careful as I want, transfused
with strength as I approach the denouement,
And try to not look down when I am caught.


Everything washes off:
all stains, all disease,
sympathy, passion, time.
Nothing can stick to skin;
the skin from the bone--
everything washes off.
Insight and sin and love,
the dirt of the road,
sympathy, passion, time,
muscle from silky blood,
the self, the beliefs:
everything washes off.
Nothing can stick to us,
for everything falls:
sympathy, passion, time.
Nothing can stick, and so
we're nothing but clean.
Everything washes off:
sympathy, passion, time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


While I watch your back, my power is breaking,
the love and hate in me breaking.
I will demonstrate the shape of my passion
with blood, with bruises and breaking.
I will give to you the heads of your comrades
and hold you down when you're breaking.
You will learn the sacred meaning of Will
within submission; it's breaking.
This will purify your heart and your thinking,
and you will shatter, unbreaking;
you have seen the demon--I will be come it
and glue you up if you're breaking.
For the pleasure of destroying you fully
I scar old skins with new breaking.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sonnet XL

Seven Sins exist.
Oath-Breaking destroys the Word's integrity.
Love of Cruelty is taking a stance against the Body's Free Will.
Injustice kills the holy Mind's integrity and slowly uproots the Soul,
and Disrespect for One's Superiors Elect waits on God and Nature badly.
One's Miserliness robs one of one's Worth,
and Failure to Give Love, Pity, and Protection Gladly
shames one before the Earth, or worse--
but Failure to Forgive's a curse.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sonnet XXXIX

When I read my histories,
I gather that people who successfully brought change to the living world
were either rather inhuman—
stable, solitary, strange—
or associated with collected souls,
bound by unperfected intent and love of purpose,
and I yearn to find my niche in such a group,
to earn their respect,
to gather to me voices and hands that history will soon salute,
to play their songs upon my flute,
see my daughters in among their choices of models,
hear their paeans and their puns caressingly recited by my sons.


It isn't too hard to become the king
of four or five or twenty thousand men;
I have the skill set to impress you when
I speak aloud or scream in pain or sing.
There is a place for everyone; we bring
all talents to be seen and shared and then
acknowledge each one, if the king has been
attentive or aware of anything.
There are too many people here, and none
can see or hear me, so I have no chance
of greatness, and my words will fade,
forgotten, while the deeds that I have done
will crumble, though my hands are torn and slants
of dusty light fall over what I've made.

Sonnet Sequence: Новогиреево

Tops of gray-white stone are islands
above the green, green sea of trees,
and beneath these man-made highlands
the children swing and skin their knees,
pensioners sweep up the gravel
in the streets with brooms that travel
along the gutters with the scrape
of sticks with ropes to give them shape,
and a dove rebukes and grumbles.
I only see the clouds above;
below, I see the leaves, the dove,
and my feet on iron that crumbles
from ancient fire escapes to fall
and consequently poison all.

This is not a world of playing,
of sweeping or rebuking birds,
but a sanctum for obeying
the soul’s most edifying words.
Though I see that in our cities,
salary men and committees
are working without knowing why,
the money doesn’t come this high,
and the crumbling, old constructions
are fading dreams that used to mean
an often-echoed style machine
stuttered out its cheap productions.
In Moscow, only silence stays
above the trees on summer days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Black and purple like the water from ocean's bottom,
like the end of the evening,
like the daughter of coal-mine kings,
a heated blend of elusive, bitter flavors--

And the moon--
your skin--
it wavers with cold,
too pale,
but with the glow of life,
soft like snow--

All your beauty,
as I reckon,
is in the contrasts.
I adore what injures you;
it gives you your form and shape.
Your traumas beckon me out to taste them,
to abuse,
to worship every cut and bruise.

Sonnet XXXVI

When I see your little, grinning and smarmy face
with victory smug and insolent and spinning around your finger,
hear the key of your voice's taunts and whining,
I find my control declining,
I want to shove you to the wall and smack you loudly,
make you call out and bite your lip,
look fearful--
and when I've made you realize how small and weak are boasts and lies,
I will kiss you,
watch your tearful eyes widen,
hear you sigh and mewl,
caress your bruises,
but rule.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sonnet XXXV

I'm seeking the most beautiful of men.
I look and listen only in my mind,
and always, over and again I find
him looking past his shoulder, turning when
I call him, waiting for me, smiling, then
as I reach out to him, becoming blind
and crying for me, and a sudden bind
entraps me in a steel-and-crystal pen.

I know that never, never will I reach
the man I love; of course I understand
that this results in stabs of pain I mask,
confusion, and destruction--but to teach
my soul to stop itself from wanting grand
and gorgeous things is such a hopeless task.

Formes Fixes

I. Ballade

Since, in a way, he always will be mine,
and in another, he can never be,
I have been watching him across this line
with fascination that becomes the key
that can transcend the lock forbidding me
from the perfection that infects my spine
with heated shivers; but his soft allure
must be resisted--if my soul were free,
then maybe I would find he were not pure.

II. Virelai

I know my beloved though
we have never met below
daylight's canopy; I know
how my soul goes out to him.
I hear every catch to slow
his voice's flow,
feel the trembling of each limb,
see the way his pupils grow
as daydreams glow,
know the story of each whim,
follow the uncertain blow
mixed with passion in a show
of bravado, let him go
slack against me, yielding, slim--
I know my beloved though
we have never met below
daylight's canopy; I know
how my soul goes out to him.

III. Rondeau

No matter how much I would, I
don't stay my hand,
can't stop my desire to haunt him.
I want what is good. How could I
leave it unplanned?
No matter how much I would, I
can't stop my desire to haunt him.
If all that exists is good, I
can't understand
why I am wrong to want him.
No matter how much I would, I
don't stay my hand,
can't stop my desire to haunt him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sonnet XXXIV

On days when sunshine glances off the creek,
and bluebirds sing, and all the mud half-dries,
and everyone has springtime in his eyes,
I get so angry, I can hardly speak.
I want to swallow up the Earth, to squeak
and stamp my foot as if I'd lost my prize
like Rumpelstiltskin who was over-wise
and rip myself in pieces with a shriek.

Like him, I stole from life a squalling child,
and sodden, shiny springtime steals it back.
The instant I believed that I was strong,
it showed me that the concepts in my mind
were false, that I am helpless in the black
eternity for which I used to long.


Come, let me comfort you
with gentle arms.
Don't touch me; go away.
I must not abandon you whom I loved.
Come, let me comfort you.
I cannot breathe or drink;
you are too much.
Don't touch me; go away.
As I pull back, you push
up against me.
Come, let me comfort you.
You say you anchor me:
you tie me down.
Don't touch me; go away.
Will it hurt you too much
to know the truth?
Come, let me comfort you.
Don't touch me; go away.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sonnet XXXIII: For Kirsten Refsing

It's true that twenty years are very much:
long and short, informative and blinding.
When this cheerful book received its binding,
these facts were new enough to clutch
with hunger. In my mind, I see her touch
elderly informants gently, minding
carefully her tape recorder, finding
the task she does may soon bring aid to such.

Thus, she has done her work, and it is done,
and nobody, especially not I,
may seek the answer to that question still.
Therefore, what question may I ask that none
has answered? In what corner of the sky
may I begin to work and share my skill?

The Nixy

I. Ballade

I can feel everything there is to feel:
slow-moving waves within the weedy pond,
hands brushing, soft against my wrist and heel,
graspings and snatchings of determined frond;
sympathy, guilt, and joy make me respond.
All of the pain you shared with me was real:
do not forget how I returned your cry.
Do not forget the forging of our bond.
Do not dismiss me; do not pass me by.

II. Rondeau

Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on,
too powerless just to take you.
I cannot reach out to hold you
while you are gone.
Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on.
Will you not do what I told you
when you were drawn
from waters that tried to break you?
Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on,
too powerless just to take you.

III. Virelai

They cannot release their sighs
where the soundless water lies,
but their cold and lifeless eyes
still reproach each time I kill.
I would like to leave this guise.
Stop me and rise
if you have a sturdy will!
Yet another victim dies,
soul-pillaged, wise,
and I watch him in the chill,
but the ruling still applies,
given me by Nature's ties.
I endure their frightened cries
and am punished for it still.
They cannot release their sighs
where the soundless water lies,
but their cold and lifeless eyes
still reproach each time I kill.

IV. Villanelle

Cum fossa et furca they fall.
I watch them drown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl,
for I am the undertow’s doll.
I force them down.
Cum fossa et furca they fall.
The cold slows their hearts to a crawl.
I kiss each frown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.
The world is increasingly small,
a silent town.
Cum fossa et furca they fall.
They swallow and try to recall
their old renown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.
They struggle to try to forestall
the pond-scum crown.
Cum fossa et furca they fall,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sonnet XXXII

The brown and ivory were swiftly fanned
across my pillow, mixed with blue and pink,
in hair and skin as soft as liquid ink
beneath my touch, beneath my gentle hand
and rough and questing teeth and tongue that spanned
across the taste of milk with tea--I think--
a little sweet and not too hot to drink,
and sugar-dusted cookies, warm and bland.

It is too strong to stay unspoken long,
too secret and too personal to share,
and too innately felt to run away.
I keep the tastes and colors--is that wrong?--
awash along my teeth with fragile care
and running through my fingers while I pray.

February 25

It is the first day people go outside,
when the warm breezes first begin to float
over the fields that springtime sun has dried,
when the fall leaves work free of winter bloat.
It is too hot to wear my heavy coat.
I, in my sweater, do my best to hide;
I, with each stockinged foot within its sheath,
panting and sweating, try to take no note.
Clothes must stay on--I'm ugly underneath.

Sonnet XXXI: Bells

When I hear the timepiece clicking and echoing along my walk, I am lost in thought and, flicking away the present, start to talk of the ears who heard the sounding years before we did.

The pounding of time inside my fragile skull drives down, and its uncaring pull is persistent.

Situations of our invention make us hear the past; the whispers of the dear children in the long lost nations are telling me the pealing haze that kept them fed throughout their days.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I have not forgotten him
singing among the stones
though the words are growing dim
and each graceful, well-formed limb
dwindles to ghostly bones.

I have not forgotten him--
his expression, sweet but grim--
numinous, precious drones--
though the words are growing dim
with the days and months that skim
over abandoned thrones.

I have not forgotten him.

Every note that built his hymn
presses and softly groans,
though the words are growing dim.

Not with any passing whim
will I forget his moans:
I have not forgotten him
though the words are growing dim.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sonnet XXX: To Senex

Senex, take your lawful glances
and go away; your watchful run
spoils my appetite and chances
and frightens my beloved one.
I must feed before his shading--
flowers are already fading;
the plum will rot and fall, too sweet
for my discerning tongue to eat.
Looking to me, wildly begging
for death, he wishes to be culled
before he has his senses dulled
by experiences pegging
him into holes. We must preserve
his beauty on its upward curve.

Sonnet XXIX: Apples

debauched on knowing apples,
move little and despise my soul,
groaning as the Angel grapples my body.

Pieces of me,
whole in themselves,
fall over railings,
advertising tiny failings that build up into larger sins.

I cannot act;
the Angel wins by default.

The apples flower above me,
whispering to me about their strength,
and I can see how they make me sick;
their power,
is the food I need to eat to learn,
to know,
to lead.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sonnet XXVIII: Crowd

I like being in a crowded and busy place,
yet all alone,
recognized by no one,
shrouded by anonymity,

Seeing people in their pleasure or their pain
brings me a measure of peace;
because they are not mine,
I am detached.

It is a sign of our liberty
that strangers talk freely
where my ears may hear.

I joy in it;
I have no fear here.

It is at home that dangers are everywhere
and people know the ways
my thoughts and feelings go.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sonnet XXVII: Restless

Say, what shall I do tomorrow?
Shall I explore? Or shall I die?
Shall I live, drink deep on sorrow,
pass out, exhausted, where I lie?
Shall I wander through Earth’s corners,
flushed and jostling all the mourners
around the Unmoved Mover’s grave,
and ask them for the truth he gave?
Or shall I give birth, elated,
and love upon the baby’s blood,
before I bathe him with a flood
of saliva I created?
What shall I do today? Forgive?
Shall I encircle? Shall I live?


I. Rondeau

She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
so faithful and so unknowing,
and she doesn't see she's dying
(hasn't she been?).
She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
but I know that I'm not lying
(are we but men?)
when taking her hand and showing.
She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
so faithful and so unknowing.

II. Virelai

Beautiful, exciting, dead:
pangs of hunger, pangs of dread,
when I think pollute my head
with the things I think I did

when I pinned her to the bed--
the way she pled
for the secrets that I hid

on her body; when I said
how I have bled
in the darkness; when I rid

all my soul of words that sped,
understood by her; I led
her to warmth, and then I fed
on her heart as I was bid.

Beautiful, exciting, dead:
pangs of hunger, pangs of dread,
when I think pollute my head
with the things I think I did.

III. Ballade

I do not know what violence to do
to ever pay for all that I have done.
I cannot speak; I could not punish you
as I exposed my secrets to the sun,
running as far as ever I could run.
Shall I cut deeply, splitting into two?
Shall I expose my heart and hands to pain?
I have lost everything that I have won;
now I must offer everything I gain.

Sonnet XXVI: My Anthropology

My weary brain was frustrated by rules,
Yet suddenly I found in all I own:
A subject is a universe alone,
Not linked, a game that uses its own tools.
This world and that world and their separate schools
Have different logics laid upon the throne,
Returning each the unconnected drone
Of sacrifice to unacquainted ghouls.
Perhaps all worlds are thus--they intersect
On points but do not intermingle. I
L'istesso tempo play each piece anew,
Overtly speak its laws, each game perfect,
Go on as it requires. I see the lie,
Yet hold their contradictions all as true.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sonnet Cycle


There is a rugged apex where one turns
from gazing at a withheld thing with lust
to finding that it fills one with disgust.
The tongue is bitten hard; the stomach churns.
And I have been too hungry with concerns
for far too long; I’ve learned to stay robust
by eating only atmosphere and dust.
I marvel as the flesh no longer burns.

For I no longer wish to share my soul
with you or any other I revile,
and I no longer wish to desecrate
myself by knowing you in part or whole.
So your forlorn attempt to reconcile
is simply meaningless; it comes too late.


I’m sickened by my own debauchery,
but I must never stop allowing drink
to pass my sated lips, must never think,
for pain is in my eyelids, and I see
that glee and self-indulgent revelry
are opiates that keep me from the brink
of memory and tutor me to blink
when bitterness becomes too real to me.

If manufactured meaninglessness roils
around me in a sleepless, soothing balm,
then everything that wants to hurt my heart—
that outside meaninglessness that despoils
my sanity—can’t get me. Never calm,
I tear another fiction-world apart.


You may laugh your laughter of derision
at my well-constructed affectation
of dependent, yielding adoration—
when the time is full, whose cold decision
tells you to go home, girl, with a vision
toward protecting your untainted station,
warning you to take your sweet elation
and get out with terrible precision?

I’m the one who keeps the midnight watches,
half an eye turned toward the unseen Bible,
tempering my joyfulness, critiquing
any peg that slips too many notches,
guarding well my charge against their libel.
See—I know the enemy is seeking.


I trust nobody with my soul, for none
who cares for me is strong enough to fight—
here only I am strong, and my poor might
is far too weak to see the task is done.
The heated onslaught has again begun
before our souls were ready, and despite
my efforts to protect our souls last night,
the enemy inside us almost won.

So rest and I are strangers as I do
what no one else around me ever can:
protect your heart and mine until they’re gone.
And all the while I long to run to you,
to hide inside your arms, to let you span
that distance—but you’re weaker; I go on.


I know what I am doing very well—
exactly what I’m doing—that is why
I pull my hand away, define, deny.
She knows the motions, the advance, the swell,
instinctively as far as I can tell,
but meanings are a mystery; they sigh
and whisper in her ear the ancient lie:
there is no danger—but I know; I fell.

Although I long to throw my knowledge down
and follow as she leads into the dark,
descending with delight into the myrrh
of newborn joy, I will resist her frown
and pull my hand away and not embark,
because I am, in truth, in love with her.

I do not think my husband really heard
when I confessed my feelings for my friend.
I was unclear—I don’t think I intend
for him to ever know—because I’m blurred
by wonder, half-enraptured by a word
of secret joy. Enamored, I transcend
the earth, and telling anyone would end
the secret, make my love absurd.

Besides, I didn’t know if I should stress
the guilt (I’m married, and the girl is young)
or innocence, because it’s not my fault,
entirely, anyway, for my distress
was great, and I was powerless among
the soft effusions of her fierce assault.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Two moments will live forever:
art and the grave.
I long to preserve your beauty,
to freeze it in whatsoever
form I can save.
Two moments will live forever,
art and the grave:
my brush and my knife's endeavor.
Now is your wave
of apex. I know my duty.
Two moments will live forever:
art and the grave.
I long to preserve your beauty.

Sonnet XXV: Try It

Well, how d’you know you won’t enjoy it then?
I asked. You’ve never tried it. And he said,
I’ve never aimed a bullet at my head—
I know I wouldn’t like that, either, when
my brain blew out in pieces. No amen
could I attempt to volunteer; instead
I closed my mouth. He might as well be dead
as think that—could I make him live again?

How wrong! How is it possible to know
one wouldn’t like a new thing? To refrain
from newness proves one weak and childish; though
I’ve cowered many times from foreign grain
and meat, it is my hope soon to outgrow
all fear—to laugh with joy while learning pain.