Here’s the thing about cutting ties with family

He swung from the garage, like some strange racist fruit,
all swollen ankles and kiddie shoes. Red roses are for the deaf, whiffs of
perfume, nothing but lavender and dreams of
watermelons and groves.

He swung from the garage like Bradley Cooper,
cross-eyed. Vomit and urns and tears for
the oil, for the grass. I will always love you.

My face became the moon in procession, and
I leaned into my loneliness. I sang Black Star and became
warrior big wing. I knew our spirit starves until
the dead have been subdued.

I ride a mangled bike, tote a rifle.

I board a train full of catfish on fire.

A line from the poem FEUD by Thomas Roethke was used in this poem.

Of both

Rosalind’s scones are just through the trash.
Here, there are no Hindus with long leather shoes.
You’ll need a bed of geraniums to light up this fog,
like the dog wore pink.

You don’t get my mornings, sleepy with a chance of
warm sand. The sun rises above the planes.
It’s too early for Cooper’s, let their big eyes sleep in.

When I returned the mule was waiting, all
white eyelashes and ivory. That bird makes its bed in
oranges, singing sunny there’s a chance for same.

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.

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.


“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.