I am in the kitchen writing out my life
Chopin is in the living room, urging me not to quit
the sadness (over breakfast) and a hurried car ride
heavy and burdensome

I don’t care (I said) because of course
I care more than life itself
but if I have to give up my life
in the process (I don’t care)

Then what is the purpose of living
this strangling, overarching plot
that no one would buy
is dancing in my last nerve

So it is like this. That you will
treat me kindly in the future
and I will continue to write my life
both wonderful and terrible, and
this is the contract I bid you sign


Jesus, you are not a building

A good Friday psalm

You are not a building.
You are not songs, millennia old.
I am yours and you are mine
and that is my joy

Please don’t let me take that for granted
Or stop thanking you–
for you are not a building
or angry mobs, but you are there

You are not this hate-filled debate
but you see it–hear it–and know
what is true–not this circular argument
that breaks our hearts

You are not my race.
You are not my gender.
You are not my house.
But my body is your temple

I beg you to open my eyes
so I see all of the truth.
Is it enough to know that I need you?
I know myself

I am no better or worse
than anyone on my screen, or
on my street, or in that building
that you are not

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)

Monday, Monday (can’t trust that day)

I don’t typically have bad Mondays. To me Mondays have always been a sort of do-over for me, a fresh start to things that are best left to last week. Today felt like all those Mondays. The good news is I did not die when my husband drove nearly 50 in a 30 in the rain in anger when I made him late. In all fairness, we both set our alarm clocks wrong. He set his for Sunday and I set mine for p.m. But my body always wakes me up anyway. So I really have no excuse as I was up in plenty of time but was still eating my (oh so delicious) poppy seed bagel ten minutes before we had to leave. No I was not dressed yet either. So the anger was justified, but I didn’t want to die for it.

The other good news is that we don’t have bad brakes. In the process of loading himself into the car he shifted the emergency brake with his water bottle so the brake light came on. So our little detour to stop and check the brake fluid was not my fault, a minor point at such a moment, but since we are talking, I thought I’d throw myself on the mercy of the court.

This is where my day started to get better.

Continue reading “Monday, Monday (can’t trust that day)”

(any port) in a storm

two fingers of cheap brandy
in Kool-Aid
with a twist and ice
stirred with the lemon knife
seem like a strange way
to say I miss you

but no one is close enough
in this heat
to hear me if I scream
so I swallow
it down
I swallow hard

and you can stay there
you bastard where you roamed

but no one is close enough
in this heat
to hear me if I scream
so I swallow
it down hard
and you can stay there
you bastard
where you roamed

To-write about list


the fancies of my youth
snuffed out by careless usury

books with pictures
pictures of animals
animals that work on farms
and domesticated pets in houses

books full of all the words
every word that would make you stay
every word that would convince you
that what you are doing is hurting me
and the words for extra credit
that would make your mouth open and all the truth come out
so I would finally know and understand