I thought Paul Lynde’s character was Bartholomew

At downward dog the crow caws, then I pick the cosmos.
Templeton is in the house again;
strange we can’t let mice live in walls.
Instead, we use men as cats, the ones that can
get into small spaces and dig out creatures from
the disco garage.

Fleshy, these little things, with
their little hands and fat bellies
full of cat food and nuts.
I would build tiny picnic tables for them
if it wasn’t for the dog.

Analysis paralysis

Grab the shalt shaker and enjoy a freshly-plucked
beauty from the warmth of the porch.

Let me tell you about the unread books that make me nervous,
friends that linger too long,
and tell too much.

From bestiaries to addicts and the ketchup of
helping the self, too much leads to juicy paralysis.
Ah…there’s the shake.

I looked it up; there’s a nervous book syndrome and
a lost friend disorder, and the meaning of a dream
about a story that eats you alive at night,
its mouthy edges and black teeth saying
there’s more for you to hear.
The sound of pages is deafening.

No confirmation bias in Francis Bacon

I was walking around the death of a Greyhound,
when it came out of nowhere.
No gun, or rape, or tales of abuse, but an arrow pointed
straight between my breasts.
I could see her eyes pulling back like a bow.

Grief is a vanity. No, a conceit.

I stood naked in the escape room,
the arrow dangling from the middle of my breast,
just missing the heart.
Huh.

Wallow. What a pretty word.
Kind of sounds like willow, speaks of water.
Pussy willows in ponds.

The arrow popped out with a sucking sound,
but there was no blood.
Rubbing the spot, I said to Eunice, my drunk inner child,
It’s ok, sweetheart.

9th Grade Lawn

I’ve just been moved from the sun to the clouds,
changed nests and perches, or schools if you like.
I don’t like this one; the ocean stings little toes and there’s
no one to do the splits with or steal a watch from.

There are mean girls on the lawn, and even the ones outside of it
have gone to wearing 501s instead of A-Smiles, and I’m out of my element,
so I settle on ice cream for lunch.

At least in class I win at spelling, and my new friends are
right out of a Farmer Ted script, all dirty retainers and some
short blonde boy named Jesse who loves the girl whose
breath stinks and has dandruff.

But I want at that lawn. I want to be able to walk across it,
sit on it after the rain,
claim I’m someone who can be on lawns.

Then I tell my millionaire lie, and it circulates the inner circle.
It gets back to the principal and his inner circle,
and they form a circle to talk about me.

No one asked me why I lied, there are other lawns.
This is the time, I’m sure, that having a lawn, or even a box, is
favorable to the walk home when you’ve been seen outside the lawn.
No arms around you in the fog, and you can’t get on planes anymore
without getting drunk.

The Crepe Myrtle

The Sycamore grows branches for crows’ nests.
The harvest starts in April, and the hiding not
long after that. The Crepe Myrtle is starting to
blossom honey leaves.

Today I caught an Eastern Grey Squirrel foraging in my lilacs.
I’d like to think it was a stop to smell the roses moment, a
cultured creature admiring the lilac’s fleeting
life and intoxicating fragrance,

like the Star Jasmine I encounter on my walks. I bury my
face in its blossoms, and take a deep breath.

My dog smells the roots of the Sycamore, then makes his mark.

There. There’s another bird song I don’t know.

Some mind field (for B.W.)

I was one of those people willing to learn to love ’til it
became the north star of my life.

I got sidelined by your bromance, and then I
got to thinking Beginnings are like snowstorms. But I
may never see through to you, or you to me.

Then I heard the words, life, my life, and then I saw one of your shadows.

oh, now I see one of you.

Was that you, laughing, impervious to the carnage around you?
I bought you anyway, flipping through, late at night.
I can’t relate. It will be months before I pick you up again.

I turned to the first page, again, and my human castle rises.
I’ve been trying to cut losses for half a century, and an awful man
from Texas could see right through me, and told me I was needy, too.

I just wanted a little more. Why is that so wrong?
Knock knock.

Citations:

“I’M A VOICE” from Beau Sia’s Well Played
“Yixing, Heating the Clay Pot” from Peggy Dobreer’s Drop and Dazzle.
“The Potato Eaters” from B.H. Fairchild’s Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
“Letdown” by Sonia Greenfield
“Ode to the Book (II)” by Pablo Neruda

The Aftermath

Written with a line from Anis Mojgani’s In the Pockets of Small Gods

I’m alone in a room and I’ve closed the door on Rosie.
Rosie came bearing news, where’s my money?
G is in the back, sweating in the purple room, eyes black as bowls.

Heart, still, stopped beating? But I can still see, forehead
cracked wide open on nothing. TV’s on, and I
start combing for rocks in the shag.
I don’t belong here, here in the river with all of us
sitting in our boxes, trying to split the dark.

Always decapitate before breakfast

Yesterday, before breakfast, I decapitated a rat.

Rather, I should say, I cut its body from its head.

I guess it was a reverse decapitation.


You see, its head was stuck in a trap on one side of a fence,

and its body was dangling from my side.


I had a boyfriend who looked like a rat and a

rat named Poe, at the same time. He was a fry cook,

and maybe the rat was, too, in his last life.


I used to hold rats gently as a child, the same way I held this one,

when I wrapped its body in a plastic bag. Seeing the tail made me jump.


I walked around the block and told Robert he had a rat head in his trap,

explaining that I had to go all Aron Ralston on it with a pair of dull scissors.

I’m impressed, he said. I smiled and smoothed my hair back, feeling proud.

He asked, did you get a haircut? Yes, but I wanted an a-line.

I made slicing motions in the air to show how

I would have liked it cut.

Leaving the bang-burning house

Shells for ears, whisper deep water tales,
like the way Beetlejuice used to stick her beak in your ear,
click her tongue, waking up stem with I love your

oranges to be peeled, tiny star paw, hamster furry soul.
I will build a ladder for you. Climb out from the green rocks,
out from the cold, into the crook of my arm.

I’ll no longer linger at you from my red velvet throne, instead
you and I will leave Tetris behind, in a game of climb-the-stairs defection.
It’s either up to the hot attic, to the spineless books, or to

the smiling Chow Chow in the filthy yard, drinking cocoa from her cave.
Come, let us all run on campus, off-leash. I’ll put you in the crook of
a tree branch, then help you down again.

Mornings are dreams

I only hear ravens and crows at first light now. Moss has started covering the backyard, like a map of a little forest, sunlight green.

I still get hot flashes, so I roll up my sleeves to release the heat, and it won’t be long before I have to shower the night off me, of sweats and strange dreams and a dog that visits me at 3 am, like clockwork, to crawl under the covers to get warm. I think I smell skunk on his breath, then it passes. We both start running in our sleep.

The day starts easy, with hot water, lemon, and a bit of blinding sun through the window. It seems to always be red. M awakes and goes straight for the espresso, so I close the doors to my cave. I think maybe I’ll fill it with talismans and flowers and more art, then I think not.

My cave is simple: a handful of poetry books, filled journals. My penholder is a small replica of a typewriter, and its one of the only trinkets I like. Above my head is a print of the movie Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock, signed by Kim Novak, the artist and main actress in the film. Kim and her doppelgänger take up the right part of the frame, and one of them holds a bouquet of flowers. The doppelgänger is crying, and looks down and away. The other Kim is looking directly at Alfred Hitchcock, who stares back from the far left of the frame. The espresso machine starts to go. I jump a little. I’ve been doing that a lot, especially at night. At every little sound my center reacts.

In the middle of the print, Jimmy Stewart’s character is gripping the top of a building. He’s about to fall, a look of terror on his face. I like this print very much, it’s filled with rage, sadness, terror, and indifference.

I will move through the day slowly, the sun will be out a bit. Maybe I will read a new poem, or read the same ones that always give me comfort. I pull at my growing bangs. Time to wake up.