Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Corporal punishment

We were standing in a row, ordered
to not look at each other. Or pray.
God hates spoiled children.
He would have to wait.
On one hand, I count the number
of hits. The oldest will endure
because the worst punishment is
in witnessing.
Don't pray or look at each other.
I wonder why you never call
now, or if you remember this.
Standing in a row,
hoping someone would come in
and kill him.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Poet

When he says vulnerable, I bite my tongue and imagine
being pinned under a bull, rider going AWOL or
a monkey dancing in a costume. I laugh out loud.

When he says vulnerable, I think of vegetable oil
over wilted lettuce. My legs on either side of a table
and July bearing down on me until little mums
smile from either side of my cavity.

When he says vulnerable, I think I’ll stay awhile.
This should be good. I think of the other girls.
Were they vulnerable? Under the table, the fork
in my ankle – and smile for the camera, girl.

When he says vulnerable, I hate him like rotting
fish hate newspaper. Like the Olsen twins hate each other.
Like rodeo riders and ménage-a-summers –
His costumed monkey dance.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

In our bedroom

Without alcohol, my eyes close, lips part.
My body, stiff and unsurprised.
My mind, anchored in the corner.
No longer tragic or unleashed, I lay my self on the sheets
and wait for the wildness
to enter.
I listen and look at you. You expect a spouse,
an unschooled rival, but I am just here.
Sometimes I come close
to her, the woman I long to be still.
Be still, she says.
Continue. She whispers the word.

Without alcohol, I am the girl
who takes your coat. I float
but only slightly above the dirt.
You can wish for more – be sure,
I am only the one who could not leave or get away.
I am the one who tries,
who gets so close.

You are in the bedroom now, tugging at me.
This void or sleep like a furious stupor.
No longer.
You need me to be present. You whisper the word
like you know how it hurts.

Continue. She is here now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Feeling lonely?

Jason over at The Clarity of the Night has challenged all you writers to a short fiction contest w/ guest author, Anne Frasier.

Your 250 words of genius are due by Tuesday, August 29, 11 pm EST.

Check it out. Comment if the spirit moved you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mostly true

I’m asking myself why
I am looking at the phone as if it will answer

I belong to the bitter –
arms like Hera, making babies and dinner
Pretending the phoenix
is for me

Pretending this is Nebraska
and you are a clothesline

and I am a red tablecloth, pinned

Ask yourself what it will take –
this risk for risk’s sake

Plain language is harsh
I use the wind and the water

flows around your feet
I don’t know how to stop pretending

Forget the pink summertime –
Pretend the pleasure you felt

was a misunderstanding
Pretend you still like me

when I hold you here
and taste

Monday, August 21, 2006

Near miss

He believed he could change her mind if he kept talking
w/out pause or conviction. Maybe she would see things clearly.
Maybe she would un-write the beginning and this time,
he'd be in it – a thick plot full of suspense and lovemaking.

He called her every Wednesday, making plans and breaking them.
He thought if her heart stayed bitter, she’d be butter on bread;
hands on soft lips; his hands on her lips. But she would forget
the engagement, leaving him to solitude.

She thought if he saw the disgrace of time passing and
still nothing, he’d be crisp sheets on a farmer’s bed; the Northern-
facing star over the farm, over the spell of what becomes.
But he did not leave for the field.

He believed she believed he would rescue the ugly story.
She believed he believed she would be beautiful, a porcelain
doll in an old woman’s cabinet. He believed he saw her coming.
She believed the only thing that could happen, did.

Vanilla Sky

Has anyone seen this movie? I have been interested in seeing it, but wonder of I can get past the boner and his bad acting.

One cool thing to note is Josh Rouse on the soundtrack.

by Josh Rouse

Don't like the direction you are going to
Seems to lack the attention that it used to
Stay out all night and get high with your friends
Wonder why you don't get one thing done

Don't like the direction you are going to
Don't like the direction you have come to
Now it has the attention that it used to
Stay home all night with the TV and wife
Comfortable life's not all it's cracked up to be

Don't like the direction you have come to
It's easy to get caught in the weight of the world
It's falling on your face, so unsure that you would

Sunday, August 20, 2006


It’s the night lights that blind us; not the piercing sun-
shine, baby. Lay your hat on the back seat.
I go into cruise and you keep trying to control.
Don’t do it. Stay quiet and let me show you the view.

Here’s the lot where I lived. Here’s the care and juxta-
position of then against now. I love that.
Here’s the happy home and the barn where cats
chase mice.

The car rolls over gravel roads. 98
Fahrenheit drags us down; makes us sweat against
leather seats. You open your mouth to an ice cube
and the radio plays lonesome. lonesome. lonesome.

The asphalt smells like burning irony. I am so concerned
with the gas tank. You look nervous. I think of how
you taste like sugar under the blue Indiana.
I look for your eyes' reflection: simple and sudden.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The eyes are there. They are staring.
The eyes on the walls. They are monitoring
every inch of me. The eyes on the bed post. They
are always there. The eyes. They are on the tops of
hills and under the river.They are looking at my skin.
The eyes. They are seeing through to my organs and planting
daisies or killing cells. The eyes are always there.
They are pinpoint perception. They are depth
intervention. They look inward and up at the heavens.
They secretly wish they could hear. The eyes
never blink and follow my steps from one wall
across the room to another wall. They are there when
I hum and when I go to the bathroom.
They are my companion. At night, they watch
over me and record the touch and demons
enter and close the door. They watch me bad
and good. They are always staring. The eyes.
They are always dreading the lights and
the iodine. They saw me enter the world
through the blood canal. They’ll watch me
leave the world in the wormhole.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Their desire to kill or bend

We're different. They won't stop looking
at us. This mess we've made.
But we're different - you and me.
We climb the balcony of ancestry and
nose-dive into the bountiful colors
of the way
they won't stop looking at us. We're different.
We ride the bus different. We cry different.
We eat with wide mouths only
green foods
and spit geranium.
Those vulgar people. How do we live with them?
I'd say they are the silver eye
of the film we are watching.
I'd say they are the fiber's dye, staining
us. Look at them. They want us to give each
other back.
They want me to give you back to the streets;
you give me back to water's
indigo addiction.
And for a moment ... that ugly color.
But look at them looking at us.
They want us apart for what we might do to each other.
They shatter the mirror. They say,
come here for the kill.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What this poem will do

You can make an ending with it.
It is sharp.
It is starved.
It is a performer.
It will let you take your mind
off of this.
It will release your chains

You can make a clean break with it.
It is the pinched nerve
of your damnation.
It is raw.
It will make you sick
and play some Johnny Cash
the morning after.
It is the morning after.

It's not a one night stand
but the one night stand you missed
and regret missing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

singing lessons

open your mouth----like so
orange globe motor oil
lick your lips
don't dry
don't shout
in november you'll learn carols

now it's july
and the tractor drowns out the piano

open your mouth----wider
iowa meadow lima piano
pretend you are kissing
the boy
or the girl
pretend the skirt is your knee is my finger
don't slouch
by this time next year

all the lessons will be forgotten

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nine Years

I am happy here. It doesn't say so but I am sure
it was happiness. The sun shining on our white
skirts and sneakers. Two cats in tow. We always liked dogs
but the cats held secrets. I am smiling like I don't know

what is happening. Behind my head, there's a vague figure of a man
tinkering on a truck. It seems as if he's laughing. I could be wrong
but I am sure it was something like laughing.

The other girl was my sister. She is grown and married now.

She has kids of her own. Between us, two countries
emerge and dissolve. We always liked the country songs
no one sings anymore. We were pretend
Patsy Cline. I am on the phone with her. Now not then. She says
her house is on fire. My hands are made of water.
We are too far apart to combine the two.

Sister, if I knew that age nine was the end of innocence,

what would I have said to you? Could we run out of pictures,
dislodge the bodies? Like the part of us being photographed,
stripped by summer, is here or blown apart. The shoulder.
The skirts. The brown truck and pant legs panting. It connects

the dots, the bones to this, you know, and it is not the happiness
we thought. And it never will be.