the coffee is bitter today

I may as well have said
‘go ahead and cut me’
I never said
‘stop it’
I never said
‘don’t do it’
I couldn’t run
like in a dream
when feet
are stuck to the floor.


In the hall

I wait
my breathing shallow
for the footsteps
on the squeaky stair
my lungs feeling empty
lost my voice to the loud
mouth dry
like old air
of that last time
in there
memory fail me now
let’s not remember
brain cells, teach
me how to forget
in the hall
outside the door
at the top of the stairs

in my forest

when I dream
I see what might have been
if Hansel and Gretel’s father
had a change of heart
if he went into that forest
to find them
before they tasted the candy walls

but this life was destined
to be one of dungeons, pitfalls, and swamps
and utterly
uphill only

Monday Random: love

  • It is a hefty challenge to stand up for what you believe without sounding like a pompous ass
  • In I Corinthians 13, Paul says that without love, I am I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal
  • Yikes, so much for thinking well of myself
  • I thought of this one day when I was in a disagreement in Twitter. It was short and sweet and ended well because we both respect one another and wanted it not to explode into worse
  • But even while typing my opinion / belief, I sounded condescending, even to myself
  • I don’t want to be that kind of girl
  • On the other hand, I don’t want to be a weak person that does not stand up for myself or my beliefs
  • Religion–politics–lighted matches in a paper factory
  • sigh

This song is lovely

Continue reading “Monday Random: love”

Hot button



Am I mean? Or merely lost
what do you see when you look into my eyes
does my hair snap at you
when you brush past

(and you take me as I am)

I was never a white wine spritzer
kind of girl–you knew that
my outline was drawn
in pencil on newsprint
smudged and smeared

(you never know what you’re gonna get)
(I am sorry)

Does my voice cause a strain
and my eyes flash lighning bolts–
do my shoes clop like horses’ hooves
shall I come in again–as if
we never said hello a thousand times?

(I tug at you like weights)

That dark baggage came with me
through six states
heavier than a five piece set
of Samsonite
(Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania
New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin)
collecting souvenirs like burs

(and you take me as I am)

My own security team on the ready
when terror strikes–
those days when 1971
is thrown into my face
and gentleness is just a fairy tale

(and you take me as I am)

Sometimes I feel like an orphan

now that Mama has left and Daddy
don’t love me no more
sometimes I feel like an orphan
in the middle of a raging storm

now that I play at grown-up
playing house as if I know what to do
since Daddy stopped loving me at four
since I draw fear from the belt and the door

sometimes I feel like I am orphaned
when he is there and she is no more
but I know you watch me–and I know you care
and when you listen-I am an orphan
(no more)

The usual scars

I tried to be cool about it, no tears
at the start when small losses
left minor marks upon my body
civility insists we do not complain

Who does not have failures? Misfires
we wear like weights from our limbs
that happen once, then dog us.
I am never alone in this muck we tread

When another incident let blood
I was mortified, staying home
to not leave a trail, don’t
upset people. Don’t remind them

But when some flesh was sheared
from the kneecap and an elbow
where I could scarcely afford it
self-pity set in and I wrote about it

Someone called me poet, and
another brought soup for my troubles
we sat and shared a half-pint left over
from the new year celebration

We sang a song–making up verses
about a monkey and a typewriter.
She showed me where she had lost a toe
the year she joined a gym

Our songs reached into the neighborhood
as we walked to the liquor store
well into the night, we listed our losses
and we sang a good deal more

of love and coincidence, of kindness
and bearing each others burdens
falling asleep with our feet in the fountain
where someone had said that we could be healed


Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 (ESV)


sworn to silence

mom said be quiet
some say
I never spoke
back then

don’t tell
months that felt like years
took years
to get over months

is it unbearable
to not be cherished
then try to join the world
aloof, and
scared of shadows

staying mean
to keep the walls standing
in the middle
of the crowd
I screamed
my anguish

one on one
I was sworn to silence

will you let it go

sometimes I write about myself
in third person
so you will never guess
that it is me
that I went through the fire
and came out charred and worn

it is best that you do not know
how often you come to mind
how well I know you
and talk about you to others
it is best you think
about someone else

don’t take this away from me
this safety of darkness
don’t lose the sense of wonder
they beat out of you, in the days
when you were just at the surface
gasping for air–