Monday, September 28, 2009

Fifteenth Anniversary (Like the Clay IV)


His body is a steam shovel
in the mornings, screeching,
rattling to life, emitting fumes,
waking me at ungodly hours.

My body is a wasteland, or
so he says. I give him
a look, and he is quiet.
Hope has a way with words.

He wants a son, but does not
trust me to give him gifts anymore.
He gave me a crystal crane
two days belated; I love it, but

I cannot help thinking
that before we were glass
we were sand between
someone else's fingers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Like the Clay VI


In the grocery store, I shatter
the purchased jars
of mayonnaise, mustard,
and jam, right there
at the checkout counter.
It has become habit
to bandage my hands.

In the fluorescent aisles,
the bones of my clavicles
show through the skin
like a secret everyone knows,
and inelegant whispers
follow me like cobwebs.

They say I have hope
stored away somewhere.

They are welcome
to come and find it.

(prompt via )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Facets (napowrimo 9)

Paradise is burning,
is setting one's self

Is a poem that you
can walk away from, and know
will stand on its own.

Is a lover's spine, curved
like an archway in Venice,
facing a canal,

and across it, a door
painted a shade
of peeling blue.

There is a little girl,
with bubbles.

She dangles
her feet in the water.

The gondolas
whisper past.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Tongue of an Infant

When learning a language,
everything is simple.

The cities, the churches, the people,
nothing is "astounding" or "breathtaking"

because you don't know how
to say those yet. They are all "beautiful."

The weather is not a furious storm
that washes away the grime from streetcorners

it is "ugly" or "bad" or "raining. a lot."

I have tried to explain this
to my italian family and friends,

why every complex, elegant thing
is simple, pared down, stunted,

but as it is, I only know how to say,
'hello' 'i am sorry' 'it is ugly' 'it is beautiful.'

Friday, September 18, 2009

Love Letters (We Will Catch Flame) (napowrimo 8)

I cannot believe
that I still have them,
buried at the bottom
of a trunk, but I do.

I know they are there,
gossiping, scandalized,
furious, dry, secretly
longing to relive,

as I do, the days
and nights of past note-
worthy encounters.
But we are destined

to be read and remembered
immodestly in shadows,
and then to be hidden away,
hoping to catch flame.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Horizon Sun Mountain

The sun on leaves, and wind
blowing through
the trees says

good morning,
you are holy

How the wind speaks,
I do not

how light or air are certain
I am
is beyond me,

but the sun, a mountain
rising, tells me
it is morning,

and the wind through dry rustling
leaves tells me,
it is autumn.

If all else I am told is true,

how then,
do I doubt?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For the Departed, All

On our backs we used to craft
aerial confections that later
would be caught on our tongues
as snow or rain, a remedy
for any ailment.

Today the plum colored sky
smells of petrichor
and gunpowder,
and the puddles
are filthy and sweet.

(prompt via )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Science Has a Place in Love (napowrimo 5)

"Hippocampus: the elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain, thought to be the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system."

To think of you
fondly, with a rush
of blood to the cheeks,
a prickling on the back
of the neck, a mild
sweat of anticipation,

is as natural as breathing, or
so says my medical textbook.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Air in the Cathedral (napowrimo 4)

You have knelt here before, but not
for years, and you hang
suspended as if by strings,
one hand raised, ready
to complete the cross,
head, heart, holy ghost.

You fold complexly, as a paper crane
might, prostrate in the transept,
and your breathing is a swingset,
pausing weightlessly at either end,
reciting a tiny prayer that this time
you will come full circle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Duomo (napowrimo 2)

the sun splatters
against green white
and pink marble

and glazes the sky
blending us
for a moment

we are brushes
painting frescoes
in still wet plaster

then the sun is a kiln

and we are cracked
thrown pottery

figures circling
the same clay scene
in awkward perspectives

when the stroke
of seven gives
pause to we

who are worshiping
but not worshiping
in its shadow

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Exit (napowrimo 1)

The particle board of the shelf hides
behind a shiny, clean exterior.

The guts of the apple hide
inside its waxy skin.

It is not until we bite down
into the apple, or shatter

the plywood shelf in a fit
of inspiration, that their rough

textured interiors are placed
on display. I shattered

my hand today, in a fit
of inspiration caused

by your exit: the shelves
destroyed, the half eaten apple

staining the wall behind me,
the safe and comfortable skin

of every object stripped, exposing
rough and textured interiors.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


A man on the bus looks out the window
to the sidewalk. He is scowling,
mouthing words to himself, and I wonder
what he is so determined
to frown about.

Perhaps he is plotting
the overthrow of civilization, or
maybe he is trapped, imprisoned
behind the panorama
of the wide bus windows.

However, it is a distinct possibility
that he scowls because he is tracing
the frame of a poem, rolling
potential words around his mouth
like "nascent" and "crystalline,"

and his train of thought is being
constantly derailed by another person
on the bus, frowning, mouthing,
scribbling into a palm-sized notebook,
and glancing up at him now and again.

Holy Mystery

The finely polished
Jesus on the cross
makes me wonder

about the jobs
in each cathedral.

Who removes the coins
from offertory boxes
under the watchful eye
of Mary?

Who brushes away the holy
dust bunnies that congregate
beneath the altar?

Who washes Jesus,
buffing His crown,
occasionally adding
a drop of red paint
to his wounds?


A beetle's meandering path
on the sand reminds me
to never live aimlessly;

the line circles lazily at first,
then frantic, ending abruptly
next to the footprints of a sparrow.


This is a city of faces;
on statues and doorways,
fountains and facades and people,
this is a place of expressions.

The merchant and his masks;

the tourist, torn between offense
and flattery at the first man
to stare like that in years;

the scowling head of a brass lion who,
were he not embedded in a door,
sentenced to gnaw on a ring
for eternity, would burst forth,
disembodied and wild.

Slowly Closing Spirals

Even in the infinite
empty of space,
galaxies often collide.

Some fly straight
through the heart
of another, erupting
outward in one brilliant,
billion-year burst.

Others dance
in slowly closing spirals.

Science cannot tell us what happens
when the infinitely dense core
of one galaxy collides
with another,

but I cannot help thinking
that it is something like
our own collisions.

Some mornings we begin
by devouring breakfast,
then the news, then eachother,
until not even light
can escape us.

Fog 2

It is a foggy morning on the beaches
of Los Angeles. The houses on the hills
cling to the clouds and I have thrown
my windows open to greet the sound
of the waves on a beach that I cannot see.

Though invisible, I know that the fog flows
in through the open window, spilling
onto the floor, rolling through the apartment,
greeting the sleeping cat in the corner
with a wave of a wispy arm.

Leaning out the window
I am embraced by the low hanging clouds,
and the weather threatens
to smother me with its soft affections.