Tags: poetry


(no subject)

 mid-september apple cider 
union square
a couple speaking their native
slavic tongue hear japanese
for the first time and feel 
frightened and at home 

the former citizens of tent city
set up camp on new wooden 
benches, cassette tapes of the
blues play while they speak in tongues
a young man in a red vest

hands out a packet that reads
prayer changes things, but passes
over the jingling coffee cup
all the while 

a child has climbed
a tree, sits there reading
writing, listening

the city of men and the 
city of god are not such 
distant destinations

prada bags, tibetan bowls,
coin coffee cups, ella fitzgerald
out of a 1986 stereo and the 
mumblings, prophecies of ave b's
evictees play in a cage symphony
   salvation is like luck, 
   dictated by the weather, 
   which ties the hands of god. 


super first draft.
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a man sat down next to me in church, 
said, i don't believe, but i'm still here
i said, we may the same, i like the feel 
of the wood on my knees, it may be 
painful like forgiveness 

he asked me where god was, 
i said, i always thought 
god was in the music and thats
why i became a dancer, i wanted 
to breathe the divine

he said it was a lovely thought, 
god in the music, the madness 
of the abbotts of the 13th century, 
then don't you know the church 
won't have no dancers? its pagan
to dance in the frenzy of the light

awaiting my forgiveness, i told him
thats why i am still kneeling. 


1st draft


after saying i'd leave,
i turn back in the hallway, 
put down my bags and
stand in the doorway as if 
awaiting an earthquake.

i have one more word, 
i think, i know i have more
to say, more inside me than 
the relentless dribble of an argument 
i had just laid out, but wanting to 
preserve the silence, i 
abandon post and make coffee, 
clean dishes. keep quiet.

that night, my hips cracking 
under the weight of his body, i
look over his shoulder, through 
the fog of our panting breaths and 
see myself in the doorway,
watching, seeing what she saw, 
a woman, inciting her own earthquake.


i havent found the wording for the last two lines. hrm. 

(no subject)

To Sir, With Love. 

dear you, 

I. mornings are hardest

  for the past week now
   i rise, make coffee, 
   still in the habit for two, 

  while dressing around 8am 
   i hear a single honk outside
   my street level window
   and believe for a moment 
   that it is you, checking in, 
   that although you normally 
   wouldn't - 
   this is what you have been 
   reduced to - a car horn in
   the morning telling me,
   you're there.

  Often after working late 
    nights it happens. 
  Waiting for the crosstown
     train, ghosts of my exes 
     stand across at the north
     -bound platform. 

    I tell them I miss you. 
     They shake their heads
      remorsefully and say 
      he knows

     Most often though, I think
       I see your car, I count 
       the nison maximas with 
       sunroofs, sitting in harlem
       where I know you have no 
       business, I saw you three 

    After the long day of chasing you
       out of my heart, at my corner
       a gold maxima, sunroof closed
       the light changes, I think

      this is how you see me.

    There are facts i chose along the way 
        not to memorize - your license plate,
        the address of the bar, the cross-
        streets of your chinese food take-
        out, all so i wouldn't find you when
        you left.

    I lied. 
    I sat in the bar waiting
     for you, on business - a
     meeting, some drinks, your
     absence. i wanted your friends
     to see me and wonder. 

   I wanted you to see me 
   walk these streets alone.

   but you didn't. 
     and like I said, I only imagine your car, 
     briefly entertained the reality of you 
     walking into the bar. You've probably
     avoided these streets, saught refuge
     in your living room, knowing better,
     knowing me better, as if seeing me
     might cause you to wonder how i am,
     maybe pull over and ask, maybe even 
     make you want to do this all over again. 


very raw, but i wanted to get it out, up. 

feedback as always. :] 




We were never good with titles ...

His mouth opens, it begins,
slowly at first - he has had
wild dreams of traveling; he thinks
the winters up north are too long,
the time between being away
from here has gotten colder; he has
contemplated moving closer --

more quickly, then, he says
he is seeing a new girl, a
nice girl, a content girl,
they're think in singular plurals,
they're thinking of settling down;
he orders another round.

This is our bi-annual ritual,
we meet at our downtown bar,
a hole in the wall filled
with rock 'n roll, veterns of
the punk scene, and us;
We order our usuals,
too honest for cocktails, too
cold for beer, just something
warm and familiar, whiskey
on the rocks;
We make small talk about his
trip from Schenectady:
the tolls were raised,
the price of gas has
nearly doubled since he started
taking this drive - was it four or
five years ago? You haven't changed
a bit kiddo, another round.

Then, as the whiskey warms
our bellies, our mouths,
the conversation snowballs, melts,
waterrushes: he wants to know
what would happen to me if
he never came back again, if
he married her and if
they built some small house
with some small fence in
a small town far away from
our bar, our small and large talk,
far away from me.

Conversation, confessions -
i learn these winter nights
that the warmth between bodies is a catalyst:
that friendship is actually a convention of pivoting, a transition from trust to intimacy,
from lust to love, or what appears to be them.

I watch my words, wary not to make promises,
I pull a scarf around my neck, I cover
remaining skin, though I am locked in a sweat
of understanding, a panic of realization,
I am his other.

The snow falls, Sid Vicious calls out for
another revolution, I turn to the bartender,
the night ends in its usual blur of
icicles, cabs, red and green lights. We both know
there is something inherently nostalgic about
what we put ourselves through each winter.

(I want to say)
I don't sleep with him
because I don't love him
(I love him too much).


Feedback would be nice.

(no subject)

Emily Dickinson has made a strong comeback, I mean, I'm back to having pocket-her with me.

Emily, I'm sorry, you reminded me of a boy and it hurt to see your broken punctuation and crazy capitalization. I know you understand, life behind the shelf and all.

Really, though these have been especially present:

Gratitude is not ...

Gratitude is not the mention
Of a Tenderness,
But its still appreciation
Out of Plumb of speech.

When the sea return no Answer
By the Live and Lead
Proves it there's no sea or rather
A remoter Bed?

I could not prove the Years ...

I could not prove the Years had feet -
Yet confident they run
Am I, from symptoms that are past
And Series that are done -

I find my feet have further Goals -
I smile upon the Aims
That felt so ample - Yesterday -
Today's - have vaster claims -

I do not doubt the self I was
Was competent to me -
But something awkward in the fit -
Prove that - outgrown - I see -


I'm really in love with her story - her post-mortum story, I mean. How the great they (those sticky hands that choose the canon) changed her punctuation, her syntax, didn't publish those bold poems of hers, collecting only the proper-femme, "I am Nobody" - twisting even that. Amazing. Made us see her as a meek little hermit. Anything but! Emily pretty much explodes with life and affirmation of an individual self - of being a full entity as a woman, a spiritual explorer, a survivor of the world. Meek woman. What kind of meek woman throws poems out the window to the children below?!(This is a myth I have long admired).

Speaking of poems and fantastic women, I am in Jan Levi's seminar and love her teaching/workshopping style dearly. I feel like I've discovered this wonderful cluster of dynamite poets who are just as dedicated to the education of other poets as they are to (the Wordworthian) poetry itself.

Here's a first draft of something:

it was September
and the leaves were turning
and everyone was in boots
you turned and said

it would be a year
before we understood
where we stood.

failing to see
your metaphorical street
signs, i thought you meant
never or forever
or one of those abstract
terms we often resign
love to.

and i waited.


(this one's also an early draft, a reaction poem - ie react/takea line from one poem and use it)

i know the bottom
she says
and i think
well, the bottom is
a long way down,
toes on the keyboard,
hands sitting on a chair -

i have not yet found
the ground or the language,

the shovels to penetrate,
the knives to sharpen.

the bottom must be
somewhere below my ribcage
somewhere beyond the bodyscape
this black dress (she wove me into)
holds together.

it must be diverting
this body
from the ground.

i know the bottom
she says
and leads me to water

swimming, i feel
no tide, no bottom
shelving, only this
empty vessel
waiting for gravity.


feedback as always, welcomed. i have some ideas of what they are becoming, but you know, i wanna know what you're getting, wanting, etccc

Distance Over Time

So, here are some pieces from the chapbook-in-progress.

Distance Over Time


Sometimes it is where you have been, not how long. These poems are an equation to a traveling factor. So often they find themselves crossing a distance - a road, block, room, consciousness, over an unknown or undistinguishable time. In physics, where you go is placed over the time it took you to get there to measure your velocity, the more space you travel in the smaller amount of time yields a greater velocity. The space between a hand and car radio nob or between dreaming and waking often sits, suspended in living memory or lost consciousness, pressing life in high velocity. Situated in their own spaces, over their own distances, these poems travel through a time better defined as now.

Untitled Until You Call

that night it wasn’t raining
but it should have been,
when I called him,
something momentous should have happened,
but it didn’t.

instead I ran to the window,
believing maybe that angels
get their wings with every telephone
ring - with no affirmation to this,
god climbed in my window,

as he asked - what could be
so goddamed important to
call me at this hour?

and god in his own deft
grace, shrugged and settled
into my desk chair.

the tight corset city air then
wrapped around my ribs,
constricting my breath, I said,
dear lord, can you just stay
with me, be strong for me

I only asked him once,
I only asked god once,
and that was the last
time I asked any of us

and he just said,
my faith in the miles between
us should be enough,
I can’t budge, not for anything.

he kept saying that,
faith, and I turned
to god who pointed to the cloudy
sky that refused to rain.

In Real Time

He would appear
in my dreams
when I was most satisfied,
when I had finished telling myself,
in some new man’s arms,
after drinking some new wine,
that this was what I had been
looking for.

The only thing he remained true to, coming
and leaving. The only thing
he remained true to, hitting
and running. In my dreams
he dances with a stranger,
blaming me for the change
in scene, leaving me
uncoupled. He looks at me
as if I have told his darkest
secret, releases us, the stranger
and I, leaving (again and again).

All I have left,

some dreams and a hangover,
a stranger clinging to me.

Collapse )

(no subject)

surely i have paid the price for love
(what love?)
looking at my unfamiliar self in the mirror
(i ask myself) -
what i really want to do is
ask eve
about that apple
and what the serpent really did to her.

the story never made
all that much sense to me;
if adam really loved her
would his finger go to her
is it just me or do
adam and the serpent resemble each other
just a little ?

so eve, about that apple,
did it taste just as good as adam's?
did you name yourself everywoman
in that instant, did you know
you'd birth a civilization of
sorry serpent men
and the women who crumble
underneath them?
(did anyone ever ask you
what you thought?)
- and please tell me, eve,
that the apple was
red delicious,
that you'd wouldn't go back
to paradise,
not for all the adams
and apples in the world -
i'll swallow my pride
as you did yours,
choke down these apples
and walk away from my home,
with man, his hissing
fingers leading.


Very raw. Have a couple of tangents in my first draft that I cut out, can't really feel out where the focus is yet, I think, but would adore some feedback, as always. Also needs a title.


Touch me where I'm rusting, let me stain your hands ...

i give it three drinks
before the conversation
becomes confessions

the penance here
will simply be
the morning after,
a vauge recollection
of what was said
and (not) done.

friendship is actually
a convention of pivoting,
a transition from trust
to intimacy, from lust
to love, or what appears
to be them.

when his mouth opens,
and it begins, first
with those mumbles of her,
the other,
i become
that girl
to anyone who overhears and
doesn't stick around.
i'm not.

quickly, the truths
snowball, melt, waterrush
and standing sober,
steadfast, i'm
that my words not make
too many promises.


(i want to say)
i don't sleep with him
because i don't love him
(because i love him too much)

[i had another stanza and i forgot it]

some stones are never meant to be cast.


very in progress, it took me over a week to get this out, needs a lot of work, but some initial feedback would be great.


(no subject)

Introductions, or Upon Meeting

when he puts out
his hand,
you retrieve as
such -
you want to shake firmly
but not too firmly,
you out not frighten him
you want to shake softly,
but not too softly,
as you want it to be known
you stand your ground
despite your high heels.

this is how you make
a first impression,
balance your truths
with white mysteries,
(don't call them lies
until you have deleted
the ifs and the coulds,
the woulds and the maybes
from the conversations
you haven't had yet).

this is how you slide
smoothly through the
first moments,
knowing you are
smarter and paid less
or better read
and underrated.

don't mention your published
unless cosmo has deemed it
mind your lipstick prints
and nail shape,
don't let on that you
secretly enjoy power-
tools in your hands,
gas petals beneath
your feet -

hands are for rings,
feet are for heels.

this is how you
master the initial
moments -
don't worry about
the game or what time
the library closed,
certainly not about the
or the courts final ruling.
assure yourself that
those things will pass
like sand through your fingers,
hold tighter instead to the
solid ivory tower and be sure
to cross your ankles.


i want to lose the library line, replace it with something with a little more weight or sting ... hmmm this needs some work, but has some potential methinks.
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