Saturday, November 30, 2013


I am so
that I don't want to get dressed,
that I don't want to take a shower,
that I don't want to eat;
I'd rather sit on the couch and be
the ache on the sides of my head spreading
around and down to my neck, shoulders, back.

I want to scream at someone,
but my throat's not working;
I want to smash a window,
but that wouldn't help me escape.
I want to punch somebody,
but no matter how much force I put into the blow,
it lands too softly
to be felt.

That's the nightmare I have,
over and over--
I can't touch anyone; I can't feel anyone's skin.
I'm trying to hurt people,
but nothing I do reaches them.
And rage builds up inside my face,
and I can feel it shrieking, hear it slamming against my sinuses;
there's no room for more but it keeps

I can't go anywhere
or do

My Mother Wants to Know

My mother wants to know
why I don't have babies yet.
She wants to know
why I don't adopt them,
why I don't select one and bring it home.
My mother wants to know
why I can't be happy,
why I refuse to accept
that life just isn't going to be that great.

But it's not about reproduction;
it's not a matter of He won't sleep with me? No skin
off my back. Who wants to have sex
anyway? I'll just adopt a baby and that
will be all the love I need.
It's a matter of Right and Wrong, as in,
it's wrong to use your kids for that,
wrong to let them watch you live in miserable disappointment,
all the while telling them you want them to be happy
--Do as I say, not as I do--
wrong to to let them think it's normal for parents
not to love each other.

But--says my mother, confused--
people do that to their children all the time.

Uh, yeah. I know they do.


He doesn't care about anything

and I don't care

about him

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zoe is a poet

Zoe is a poet
and she says she isn't
but the lines she pens between
all dashed out breathless
like a child with news of the
stock market crashing, the hospital
falling down; and Mama's
too tall, too all, too forever,
between the
are too full of beauty
for their unintentionality
to make them

Monday, November 04, 2013

Ball Gag

I just want to be in love with someone who comes to me and is like,
There are like three hundred guys out there,
and I'm not gonna have time to commit seppuku,
can you hold them off for a bit?
and I can be like,
No problem, boss. I have GOT THIS.
and then we quote some Buddhist scripture at each other and
I write a tanka or something and head out there
to die fucking gloriously
before the compound goes up in flames.

I wanna be in love with someone who is like,
God dammit, woman, how many times have I told you
not to fucking LOOK at me after nightfall? and I can be like
Well how the fuck else was I going to find out
that you're not ACTUALLY a talking polar bear?
and I can harness the winds until I find
the troll palace and wash the tallow
from his shirt and bring him
back to my castle.

I want to love someone who says to me,
This is a beautiful rondeau--
but I, like Dian, cannot be pierced
by the golden arrows that arc out from Nox's unfathered egg.
and I will say to her, Lady,
here is where they have wounded me,
and maybe she will let me fetch her goblet
and maybe she will touch the top of my head with her fingertips;
maybe she will allow me to drink the wine of oblivion
and watch her dance, beneath the stairs
and past the forests of silver, gold, and diamond.

--and I don't want to be tied up or beaten anymore
or reminded that I'm worthless;
I don't need somebody to tell me when to eat
or what to wear or how
I feel right now--I know how I feel--
and it'd be nice to be given orders,
but only if I knew I wouldn't be asked
to sin against myself and even then
I wouldn't obey if by disobeying I could save my beloved
even a breath's worth of an inconvenience--

but what I do want, and what I think maybe
it's possible to have without also choking
on a ball gag--those things are so gross--
is a slap on the back and a Good job, soldier,
thanks to you I'm no longer
a goddamn talking polar bear, having no thumbs
made it kinda hard
to charm angry ghosts with my biwa,

so I can throw back my shoulders and be like,
No problem, boss. I have GOT THIS,
I have always got
your back.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Rachael

In my head, your voice
is undercut by the tenor line of an old Lutheran hymn,
and dreams that weren't of you
haunt the corners of my mind, blurred by indifferent memory.
Each time I ask, your voice
answers, so sticky I want to lick it,
and I imagine you in the shape of a paper doll,
as the curve of a porcelain cheek,
nothing but cheap nylon lace and ringlets,
and there is no thanking you, and I know
that I am an inconvenience, and I want
to stop asking, but I need
your answers.

Friday, October 18, 2013

To you who are the chirp in my jacket pocket

I felt loved

when I realized how fiercely you protect me
with little words, little ways of manipulating a conversation
to your ends

I was submersed in hot water; I felt myself
cooking, my meat turning from red to gray.
Love drove through my stomach,
a thick, wooden spear
that did not splinter and stayed
there, in me, heavy
and pleasant, enough
to anchor me so I am no longer pulled off course.

Gratefulness welled up in me,
rose in my throat and burst out;
my head thrown back, I open my eyes to the sky,
and my mouth is pushed wide open, jaw aching,
and it pours out, golden, pours up,
and when it is exhausted, I remember your words
and it wells up again,
throws itself out of me so hard my muscles jerk

I want to
lay on you all this light,
shining like yellow hair, like new money;
to cover you with it,
a shield to warm you

I want to cut open my skin and show you
the spear in my belly,
the glistening of the organs around it,
my liver, my gallbladder, my ovaries--
see how clean they are
when my skin is cut open,
when they touch the light and the air.

I want
to give and give and be empty
and be filled and empty
myself again.
I want to hold myself
up for hours and hours until
my arms give out
But what good would that do you?

It isn't beautiful,
this kind of overwhelming response,
knee-jerk, uncontrollable,
breath-crushingly intense,
and it's so obvious that I
am missing something, that I have not
had enough of Love

and that's--
that's a lot to lay on top of you,
to punish you with when all you did
was love me

so I don't know whether to hope that I
can keep it to myself
or to hope that you
would like me to love you, too

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


October is half-over--
I run my fingertips over the back of my paper-dry hand.
Dusk, like an ever-threatening rainstorm,
encroaches on the edges of the day.

And I can smell, far-off from me,
the charcoal fires
and the girlish squeezes on the bleachers;
sweaters with too-long sleeves fall
like phantoms over my arms,
and I remember

nights with crisp branches and leaves,
the bonfires, the metal scraping
beneath the shoes that let me taste invincibility,
mouth open, waiting,
an unplotted course,
the clock that struck at midnight, and forbidden kisses
in the bare-stripped cornfield beneath the low, low moon:

eagerness and too much energy,
a certainty that the future would be something
and be something to be proud of.

I no longer have a girlfriend to cling to;
there is no boy with carefully sculpted hair
and wounded, liquid eyes.
Still, I would go and watch the game,
look at the girls in their sweaters,
but there are no tickets to sell to me,
no cars I can ride in,
and the taste of beer is even more unpleasant
when I drink alone.

I should have taken more
forbidden kisses; I should have
made my bed every night beneath
the open sky; I should have
clung tighter to her sleeve--

but I did not realize
that there are twelve months in the year,
and only one of them is

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Astraea, Astraea,
warm but never scorching,
like the heaviness of the winter sun through the window when my head spins with alcohol--
how many people live and die
and never feel engulfed by love?

To Astraea

I don't understand
how the universe doesn't
grind to a dead halt
under the measureless weight
of its suffering.
Could there be a counterweight?
And it is just inertia?


I wonder what other people mean when they talk about happiness.
   Do they all mean the same thing?

I don't understand how a feeling could be calm but not sad, or self-empowering but not angry.
Is it what you feel when all the other feelings go away, a nothingness that only exists in absence?
   Or is it a feeling of its own?
Is it like excitement (but without shame)?
   Is it like being loved (but without resignation)?
Is it constructable like self-confidence or involuntary like grief?
What's so great about it?
   Why do people want it so badly?

All I know is:
   there might be people,
   and these people might have happiness,
   and even though they probably can't understand me and I probably can't understand them,
   I think possibly
   that that's a very beautiful thing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I can't believe, but
I want to believe; I want
to, I want to, I
want to, I want so much and
so, so many and
always, and that there is how
I know there is good,
because I want good; I want
to be good, I want
so much and always, and that
is exactly good enough.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Plan

When I was born,
did my mother declare,
"This child
will grow up to be Nothing"?
Was my future shredded
on her wish to a
falling star?
Did God who
knit me together in
her womb have
a plan that I ruined?
Or was there no plan? Or
is this

what he planned for me?

She knew even then that she would not be the one

Shizuka danced
and sang and did not care
what else was taken from her because she had
and her memories were of
her own

When she woke Him in the dark she knew
even then that He would
leave her,
that she would
not be
the one to climb
the mountain paths at His side

And the gods again told her "No",
took from her all
but her
and she held the little body
of sorrow and
spat into the wind.

Stupid Questions

Over and over you ask me
Why don't I want you
Why don't I want you

But you know the answer

You tell me every day
that the parts of me that I hate
are the real me.
When I'm with you
I despise both of us.

You think I'm a bad person
and that thought makes you


Don't ask me
Don't ask me any more
stupid questions

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Product Labels

Meg from Canada loves swing sets.
Meg from Canada can read product labels in French.
Meg from Canada wants us all to go winter camping. In a yurt.
Meg from Canada spent thirty minutes at a party playing with cat toys and refusing to say anything but "meow".
Meg from Canada says that last week she ran out of maple syrup, and she was thirsty so she went to the moose hatchery to get more, but she didn't feel like hitching up her dog sled, so she got out her snowshoes instead.
(That is a joke. Moose hatcheries do not stock maple syrup, only Molson and affordable prescription drugs.)
Meg from Canada says it's okay that I'm bad at driving automatic.
She plays softball and likes marshmallows.
She laughs a lot.
And I'm just like, Universe,
are you serious?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


My womb is dead
and, with it, all the full-figured dreams
that lit my adolescence like Las Vegas signs,
shouting, "This way
to happiness!"

There was never any treasure to be found
beneath the spot marked X;
there was never a mirror,
never a lover,
never even a friend.

The prayers I whispered to Hebe,
she spun into a cotton candy cherub,
and I petted it
until it melted
and hardened and grew small.

This is a blessing to thank
God for. Now I can never
be tempted to plant seeds in the darkness,
where they will struggle and suffocate
and die, blighted.

But I wonder about the ones I wasted,
wrapped up in paper and neatly threw away.
These round half-people--
were their eyes brown-flecked like mine?
were they right-handed? would even one of them have not been

full up with desperation, choking on its mother's

Friday, August 30, 2013


I woke up this morning,
and the sky was blue--

blue like the glittering tarsier eyes
of cornfed princesses lointaines,
bluer than deep breaths
or mountains.

I said, The sky--
has it always been blue?
So this is why
people are always saying it
is blue.
And the grass, I think,
might be a little green,
just at very edges of its sharp blades
and at the tips,
like alien blood on tiny lances.

Blue sky, green grass--
how strange and now
I must learn to live among such things,
learn again to live,
like abandoning a book

And these are lovely--
but I will miss the grass, gray as ashes,
and the hideous beauty
of the blood-red sky.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


In spring, the orchid
spreads out its skirts in defiance
of the seeing sun.
So, too, the lotus turns its face
in summer to God
from the muddy waters.
The chrysanthemum
conquers the eyes in autumn,
bold, indelicate,
settling into its due:
adult confidence.
But I reserve my judgment;
I watch with small hope
to see if in late winter,
at last, the plum tree will bloom.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I do it again
and again and again and
again and this time
like I always have
and like at no other time
I want and don't want to stop
She knows what to do
because somehow she figures
she knows right from wrong
It's really not that simple
It's complicated.
Of course, she doesn't think so--
and fuck, I like that.
Already I choose my words
slowly, already
her firm-formed disapproval
guides my decisions
already her pity calls
for me to serve her
and shames me for serving her
and makes me delight in shame

And so are you

Your voice is so beautiful
Your voice is so beautiful
Your voice is so   beautiful

Friday, August 16, 2013


Inside me, I am,
and I look just the same,
but different,
blurrier, less careful
about the details,
and so, so small.
And there are many hands
that could open me up,
take me apart and scatter me,
in pieces, across
the living room carpet.
So many pieces, and which of them
is me, and where am I

Friday, August 09, 2013


Today's sky is flat;
the clouds lie close, uncurving.
I stare and wonder:
Is it flat for all who see,
or is it only my eyes?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


i cringed
iced myself over against the razor i saw coming
ready to stitch myself back together again

like clenching my fists
or tightening my stomach
would keep my blood from bleeding

like forcing my eyes to stay open
would forbid tears

and i edged around it
clearing away the rubble from everything else
until i had to approach
until there was nothing else left to face

and i don't know why i thought that it is what it isn't

but nothing burst slashing blazing burning
when i looked inside
nothing came back at me but my own

Friday, August 02, 2013


A glacier carves the land,
diverting the paths of rivers,
moving silt from its place of origin.
Mountains stand in sharper relief
than before.
Lakes are left to fill valleys
that weren't there.
New vegetation grows. New animals come
to haunt that vegetation,
and all that is new is beautiful,
and all that is gone is dead,
and the bones of the dead lie in the mountains
and under the silt.
Though the glacier recedes,
the land is changed and cannot revert;
it can be changed again, but the change
cannot be undone,
and all that is gone is dead.
And ten years have passed since you closed your door,
and death still lives in the bones of the mountain.


I open my eyes
and see the creatures in me,
all of us trapped here.
Surely this body is mine,
and surely it is not mine.


Today everything seems more human--
the sweats sweatier, the hairs hairier,
the fats more lipid and quivering.
The all-seeing sun through the leftover raindrops
steams the oil out of us all,
and it rises, a steady mist of humanity
moving slowly to the sky,
a rich exchange for sunshine.
All is dulled by the tiresome heat,
the tiresome steam, the tiresomeness of humanity--
the sweat, the hair, the fat, the waste,
and age beats down on us like the sun,
But I turn my face against my sleeve
and breathe in the smoke that congregates there,
the smoke that Prometheus gave us
in defiance of the gods.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Knight of Faith

I met a dead man today.
He told me a story about
love and the individual and I said,
I know that story.
I held up my face to him like a mirror,
showed him his messed-up hair and he said,
What's your story? and I said,
I don't know yet but I hope,
I hope it's as good as yours.


On the gravel road,
I thought if I went barefoot,
my feet would callous.
I felt them grow uglier
but stay still tender and bleed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am a beacon,
writing my rage on the sky,
and I am a still,
freezing in the mountain sunshine,
converting fury to tears.


In the yellow field of rapeseed,
I left my lungs
breathing, wet and greedy, in the sun;
and pale-barked trees whose names nobody seemed to know
stood like gateposts, letting all things in.
At the bottom of the slope, the shallow, broad river
lay belly-up to dare the clouds,
and I immersed myself in its thin, brown water,
left my eyes to float on its surface.

When I go home, I will be broad and brown like sunshine,
and missing pieces, empty with happiness.
This clean-through, never-washed country grows, self-driven;
my fingers and toes stick to it,
burs in its hair.

This is what could have been,
what still can be.
And if I swallowed all the river,
it might be sweet; it might go down
like medicine, make me choke and vomit.
But I will never know, because
I cannot drink--my belly
is already full.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


I captured Senex, and I stabbed his heart;
I drove my kitchen knife into his chest.
He isn't dead, but I don't care: the rest
of Regnum Animæ will come apart;
it now belongs to me and by my art
will grow again. And Senex who distressed
Amatus and Licentia is pressed
and pinned to Earth, imprisoned at the start.

Puer Æternus, come at once to me:
put careless feet where I say you must stand.
I want to kiss you where the man can see
and paint his blood upon you with my hand,
to smear it on your cheeks, to show I'm free
to own, to take, to cherish, to command.

Sonnet LXXXV

Anteros answered me:
he poured his weight upon the scales that Aphrodite holds,
and I am rising up;
the world unfolds beneath my long trajectory,
my straight approach to orbit, almost,
to create an arc, horizon-passing;
and the golds that streak the sky are weightless metals,
molds that form my path,
that buoy and elate.

But her he slammed into the iron Earth,
and heavier than osmium she falls,
still lustrous, always lustrous,
but too hard and brittle, useless,
stripped of any worth for molder, forger, god or woman;
crawls in filth
--yet is too precious to discard.


The past does not exist.
There is only now.

Today I am born, fully formed
like Athena, my spear
already in my hand.

I have no need of any shield, for I am
and all my wounds will heal,
clean as morning.

I have nothing to defend.
All things are new to me.
The ancient infrastructure of lies piled on lies
has crumbled into dust.

Here is my starting point:
which doors have been closed to me
and which stand open
has yet to be discovered.

I embrace all people as strangers;
no one has touched me before today.

I expect nothing, and therefore,
I cannot fail.

I am Parthenos,

who fights
in front.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


It's raining So Hard;

the cat's gone running for someplace quiet,
too skinny, with all his hairs vertical and individual;
the thunder snaps across the sky,

the sound of things breaking,
great, heavy things that I thought were strong,
walls and ceilings, sky-scraping sequoias and bone-deep bridges,
chains ripped open at the weak points I didn't know they had,
locked doors torn from their hinges.

Each blast powers a shock up my legs
through the feet I had planted so firmly,
and I leave my mouth open so I don't bite my tongue.

Cascades pour through my open windows
--the carpet squelches under my toes--
but I won't close them.

I'll never close another window.

And someday I will maybe even
go outside.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Black ink, white paper
begging me for my words:
but I have nothing,
overcome by the beauty
of black ink on white paper.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Entering the City

The sun is muted,
smudged over by the gray clouds;
houses huddle close:
piece of dreams of success.
All of these people
have their own destinations;
I do not know them
and am free of their knowing.
This is the city
I have taken to be mine.
Everything in it
is beautiful and unknown
and breathable through each eye.