Thinking about dead lovers and of a woman who did nothing for seventy years

Sometimes when I’m sitting in amber
mood lighting
trying to relate to a tragedy on TV
I feel a sink hole emerging inside of me
Like a helicopter zooming out from the
darkness of the pit
to reveal its size
A seven car pile up near its edge

The six o’clock news

I brush over my chest trying to find out
how a concrete heart could be hollow
What blood moved from it to my feet
to keep me standing

It is not until I am in bed in the dark
that I know it was a past life calling

Next time we are in bed together
and you ask for a secret
I’ll say
I do not belong to the present
Sometimes my eyes are just projector lenses
And I’m screening the past
So how could I belong to you


Please embrace the following:
We are not killing time
We are not linear
Nor are we infinite lines
traveling in the same direction
that never meet

If I had been no where
and done nothing
A brain in a vat
how could we touch

I feel form in my skin
In my arms
The sides of my face
A substance of unknown means
I only know that it grows
as I age
and fills me
gives me a weight you can
feel when I walk into a room
And you will know that is a woman

So hold me
This body that becomes more like the earth
every day


Any Saturday

He tied me to his dirt bike
and tossed it onto his truck

I had my arms
against the silver legs
Waiting for the melt

What do we do now?
We drive really fast
Straighten up, he said
And get her going
I drive one way
You start off the other way
off the back
For a second you’ll be flying
It’ll feel like you’re flying for a long time

This is what he told me
I wanted to believe him

Later when I asked him
about self control
He said we would only have to use it
around each other

A friend once told me:
You take everyone seriously

We mismatched
Trying to compare
old hand me downs of speech
Saw words flying past each other’s heads

Remember once
when you saw me for the first time
and felt like you’ve been
reliving the same day
your whole life

Sometimes forces combine
Growing more metamorphic
every time you try to make love
Misunderstand your strenght
Miscalculate a compliment
as you hope for a fair trade

On Missed Calls

It was the summer
I dyed my hair bright orange
Something about your mom
thinking I was polite because
I took my shoes off the moment
we got in the house
But what I really mean is
I’ve been thinking about us not talking
Over the same thing again

At least half my thoughts
are about progress

Imagine I am on a deserted island
I am all alone
Until a plane crashes
and I wait to see, with anticipation
Who will make it out of the ocean despite injuries
Because I can’t swim
What is opportunity missed
to a skilled person?

The older I become
and try to look for new love
I should be wiser
But really I wonder more and more often
What I am allowed to ask for

I worked in the attic

I worked in the attic
instead of the basement
Because I liked to see the early morning
Or the setting sun
Or the mid day ray
hit the unfinished pieces
Flicker in through an ashy curtain
And land on objects with anonymous determination
as though to give hope to parts
that may never become part
of the final draft

When the phone rang
I would have to come down
to the second level of the house
and I would sit on the edge of the bed
and talk about my struggles
with the work
Instead of recording it by hand
or audio

That was how I knew my piece
had purpose
I was making it for the same reason
I needed a voice on the other line
I needed to hear breath
While I released thoughts
I had already argued over with myself

I have to go back up,
I told my friend
I hear the current starting up.
Be safe, she told me

I ran my fingers
over his skin
Admiring his new shoulders
I had contemplated giving him
A fish tail
So he would always be in agony
Over not being able to make love to me

But you’re past all that?
I had heard my friend’s voice

So I thought what the hell
And gave him a long thick cock
and hoped it would make him
well adjusted

What about his childhood?
How can he be an adult without it?
Have you worked out his memories?
She was eyeing me hard as she said this;
interested though forever disapproving.

Long ago, I said.
I simply gave him ones like mine.

We all think we’re meant
to rule the world,
she laughed.

I have a feeling, I said,
Thinking of how he would always call me
to tell me he made it home,
This one’s gonna be perfect.

When I wasn’t ready yet

We were like two thieves that summer
Both with severe tempers
Waiting for something

I watched you
Tie knots on your boat
Swim at night time

You were strong
In the silver water
Leaping like a needlefish

It takes only a thought
To turn the comfort
of the dark water
into an ominous gulf

Swimming faster
My soul in my throat
The squeeze of death coming
I want nothing to touch me

Later looking back
at the calm water
Never quite sure
whether I imagined
it meant to take me

This week

Sitting at a
this week’s anonymous
realizing your strengths
by observing other people
from your fold out metal chair spot

You say
how funny
It is living alone
You never realize
who you are
without comparing yourself

basement in a community building
addicts’ meeting
is the most elation
you’ve felt in a while
And you couldn’t have imagined it

You could rip
into the skin of an orange
with a thick prod of your finger
and be unapproached by the sharp juice
in a paper cut on your hand

No man is an island
Quotes the coke dealer
Hasn’t been for four years

Variables of Cancer

I remember thinking
her husband
was like one of those small yappie dogs
He was a pale, melting, boxy body
Shuffling to his car every morning
The buttons of his shirt
nearly bursting open

She was sometimes
A madonna
Other times
Sleepy, uncombed
Walking across her front yard
in pajamas and big glasses

Our backyards
were separated by a thin
brown picket fence
From the back terrace
I could see her
sunbathing on a lounge chair
Always alone

Legs longer than the Missouri river
To me, she seemed deeper
and more remote than any body of water
Often hidden
As though with a veil
by the sprinklers
that dusted with water their bushes

One day she was going
just twenty miles per hour
At three in the morning; drunk
And she hit a tree beside our house
with her front end
She emerged out of the smoke
Dancing and pointing towards me

My mother banished me to my room
And the rest of that spring
My neighbors were awful quiet
As though swept up by a trade wind
and planted in some other time


The 90’s were back
Everyone was afraid of the matrix again
And being programmed

I was dating a businessman
He had a whole wall
Of tv’s stacked one on top of another
All playing different news channels
At all hours of the day

I dreamt of static

Me in a tube dress
A sweater with bell arms
And he in some suit
too big for him
And like this
we went to the beach

He shined
In the sunlight
Cool and pore-less
Worried and faulty
Like a stainless steel box
with microfibers
all laced over inside

I smiled
I smiled!
I smiled!

I made him a talker


The closet shook me
Like having slipped
Into an enclave

I imagine that instead
Of this white door
Is a chestnut spiral carving
Leading in a dance
Across which I lay my long fingers

Inside, past the ancient wood
Is the memory
Of my every dream

Instead I am standing
For now
Looking at things
I forgot I owned
And what is it
I say to no one
To own
And no one answers


Holding onto the phone
as I lie on the waterbed
I’m rambling about how I saw
The president walking about
in one falsely lavish hotel from the 80’s
Looking like his old self
Sporting a Hamptons ready outfit
A tuft of chest hair sticking out
Like they preserved him
Except he looks soft; natural
Worst he looks at ease
And for a moment I am suspended
in simulacra
floating through liquid
Maybe he’s a time traveler
I’m a time traveler

It’s late
And I already put the kids to bed
She says
Call me in the morning


My friend’s parents
Updated their home
All modern
A hidden away fridge
Minimalist design
Cloud sofa

My parents’ house
is still heavy glass blocks
under brown marble
Fake flowers
Flower sofas
Imitation gold chandelier

There are rubber plants
at the entrance
Make you feel like
The place is about
to have mold growing
under the beige wallpaper
A humidity seems to cover
like taupe plastic sheets
the tv playing
old tapes of us in this house
My parents’ wedding

I’m afraid to knock over
white porcelain cupids
with melting faces


In the closet
is still my mother’s
wedding dress
with the puffy sleeves
and the bejeweled turtle neck

Pictures of us
at five. ten. thirteen.
In kitschy frames

I hate these images of us
More comfortable in a museum
of the late century slump

But I’d rather hide here
than in my new paper house
with wobbly, thin furniture
Where the tv blows it away