Friday, December 30, 2011

things will ripen slowly

things will ripen slowly

you are reading this, hello

i am studying variables

we are points on a graph


nature is
not a linear equation

crammed with blazing comets,
staggering, collapsing stars

our separate inverse elements

cause paths that crisscross
effect paths that parallel

scions account for bodies
of water, struck limbs of trees

standing invitations,
ovations, ovulations

come, i see
rhythm, goodness

imagining myself

a closed circuit,
aerial luminous emotion

electricity strikes
i am lightning too

like you, yes
there are sparks

unexpected and undeveloped static
rudimentary incomplete normalcy

intimate magnetic phenomena


not hurdles, this is a cadence
protected by intervals

the nights & days are still between us

hushed with distributed labor
and worries, magnified imperfections

your meridians:
blood & impulse

spacetime & gravity
presence, disappearance

securing & releasing

it's a dance
i'd like to have someday

to pass through into
pull apart into merge

to trace a wholeness
to call upon boundary at will

to let it drop

this wisdom has
a match, the algebra

has been solved
for x, for equals

illusion was once a sticky fruit,
a sweet bait, a decayed deception

i had been swallowing
i had been ill

but! a slip of tongue,
a flip of switch,

a taste of timing,
the right vehicle

now. what is truthful
will have needs:

seasons and grafts,
pruning and pollinators

a mouth to taste complexity,
a willingness to savor

the clean taste of nourishment

you are still reading this

it will give/it will take

it will take/it will give

patience. pleasure.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

a windfall

a windfall

she called it
my face was bright with wine

disguised, the crestfallen
turn to distraction, opportunity

the salvaged paper dolls?
they ignite the kindling
the stones thrown through the windows?
they feed the sweatbath

heat pouring into eyes, closed

i called it out
a salty stream of confessions
could hardly take a breath
we were infinite

then we weren't

i swear she was reading
my cards, she must have been
brilliant, psychic, indifferent
to the steam that rises from this,
my anger.  it will be beautiful,
i know, and still

this complicated gift is
wrapped in shit & sorrow

it doesn't take a feminist
to see


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Friend by Marge Piercy

The Friend
We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
That’s very nice, he said
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the stranger ghost

the stranger ghost

the muscle was death
a heart which was just
a cowbell a snare drum
swallowed in mouthfuls

water instead of air

my whole life for granted
now a flashing whisper
my life no longer a bike pump
now a bumping bassline

i fidget it speeds
i breathe it slows
your skin my skin
it disappears or it fast
breaks out of my chest

you crushed it with a cymbal
crash! goodbye! who would ever
stoop to put the word


before you? your foot
steps trampled my descriptors

it is rush hour
i could have been pushed
in front of the train
people turn their heads
adjust their i-centers
pods and phones
net and e-go there

no, that was a slow but certain
bus driven over my
body with wheels
that broke my bones, my bones

or was it a ship? a whale?

pretend i'm not a ghost
and i'll pretend you're not a stranger

your muscles twitched and spasmed
caught your eyes blazing, the sun of
september, it was evening, you needed
magnesium. instead you chose
an alibi. stop! you stopped holding
and squeezing long ago.

the two-person job was left
to the lifeguards, you quit that
shit, complaining of lousy pay, the sea's
low tides, insecurities with mustaches
and muscles.

the sea was having a normal
day, fully herself, ever-changing.
i sink float sputter swell.
she doesn't


Monday, December 19, 2011



inside the mouth eating up rebuttals
will it be your turn again
while guts defend themselves with teeth
and collarbones it’s the call
out time again and the walk goes
unwalked. goes sat. and in sit
and sudden i am not keeping score
which means up grit smile
defend. against.
these are the final days. hours.

we only have years

behind and ahead
you weep with your face
in sometimes meanness
i grin back guts
turn the hood up to tears
i the armadillo
am not fit to be your axis
i never asked!
choo choose goes the freight
just behind my brain
touchdown goes the comet

spring has broken skin.

look! i’ve become the earth!
all shoulders no hands
keeping it up
no hands
with a shrug
all shoulders


Friday, December 16, 2011

it's a farm potluck!

it's a farm potluck!

wet night dry mouth
takes ten minutes to hike home
chickens closed
chickens closed
chickens sleep sleep
people awake
pass the beer
people pass & giggle

oh the farm with all the people!
fuck or flight, she says
i admit it like a drunken
secret she is
a sailor with a hat
& i farm i do
my job

i'm shaking
the hands of women
who labor the calloused
ridges i recreate

it's a beer in a box & a friend in jail
kids drinking homebrews dog in lap
boots & lights go on & bright
hike hike

in a place like this, far enough from a city
its enough to sit down & sigh
but pick it up the shit is unfortunate
& people are just people
i am just people
this place has so few
people i am
looking for


Saturday, December 10, 2011

a rumi poem

from Muhammad and the Huge Eater

By Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

...Husam, refresh my words, your words.
My words are only a husk to your knowing,
an earth-atmosphere to your enormous spaces.
What I say is meant only to point to that, to You,
so that whoever ever hears these words will not grieve
that they never had a chance to look.
Your Presence draws me out from vanity
and imagination and opinion.
Awe is the salve
that will heal our eyes.
And keen, constant listening.
Stay out in the open like a date palm
lifting its arms. Don't bore mouse-holes
in the ground, arguing inside some
doctrinal labyrinth.
That intellectual warp and woof keeps you wrapped
in blindness. And four other characteristics
keep you from loving. The Qur'an calls them
four birds. Say Bismillah, and chop the heads
off those mischief birds.
The rooster of lust, the peacock of wanting
to be famous, the crow of ownership, and the duck
of urgency, kill them and revive them
in another form, changed and harmless.
There is a duck inside you.
Her bill is never still, searching through dry
and wet alike, like the robber in an empty house
cramming objects in his sack, pearls, chickpeas,
anything. Always thinking, "There's no time!
I won't get another chance!"
A True Person is more calm and deliberate.
He or she doesn't worry about interruptions.
But that duck is so afraid of missing out
that it's lost all generosity, and frighteningly expanded
its capacity to take in food.
A large group of unbelievers
once came to see Muhammad,
knowing he would feed them.
Muhammad told his Friends,
"Divide these guests among you and tend to them.
Since you are all filled with me,
it will be as though I am the host."
Each Friend of Muhammad chose a guest,
but there was one huge person left behind.
he sat in the entrance of the mosque
like thick dregs in a cup.
So Muhammad invited the man to his own household,
where the enormous son of a Ghuzz Turk ate everything,
the milk of seven goats and enough food
for eighteen people!
The others in the house were furious.
When the man went to bed, the maid slammed the door
behind him and chained it shut, out of meanness
and resentment. Around midnight, the man
felt several strong urges at once.
But the door! He works it
puts a blade through the crack. Nothing.
The urgency increases. The room contracts.
He falls back into a confused sleep and dreams
of a desolate place, since he himself is
such a desolate place.
So, dreaming he's by himself,
he squeezes out a huge amount,
and another huge amount.
But he soon becomes conscious enough
to know that the covers he gathers around him
are full of shit. He shakes with spasms of the shame
that usually keeps men from doing such things.
He thinks, "My sleep is worse than my being awake.
The waking is just full of food.
My sleep is all this."
Now he's crying, bitterly embarrassed,
Waiting for dawn and the noise of the door opening,
hoping that somehow he can get out
without anyone seeing him as he is.
I'll shorten it. The door opens. He's saved.
Muhammad comes at dawn. He opens the door
and becomes invisible so the man won't feel ashamed,
so he can escape and wash himself
and not have to face the door-opener.
Someone completely absorbed in Allah like Muhammad
can do this. Muhammad had seen all that went on
in the night, but he held back from letting the man out,
until all happened as it needed to happen.
Many actions which seem cruel
are from a deep Friendship.
Many demolitions are actually renovations.
Later, a meddlesome servant
brought Muhammad the bedclothes.
"Look what your guest has done!"
Muhammad smiles, himself a mercy given to all beings,
"Bring me a bucket of water."
Everyone jumps up, "No! Let us do this.
We live to serve you, and this is the kind of hand-work
we can do. Yours is the inner heart-work."
"I know that, but this is an extraordinary occasion."
A Voice inside him is saying, "There is great wisdom
in washing these bedclothes. Wash them."
Meanwhile, the man who soiled the covers and fled
is returning to Muhammad's house. He has left behind
an amulet that he always carried.
He enters and sees the Hands of God
washing his incredibly dirty linen.
He forgets the amulet. A great love suddenly enters him.
He tears his shirt open. He strikes his head
against the wall and the door. Blood
pours from his nose.
People come from other parts of the house.
He's shrieking, "Stay away!"
He hits his head, "I have no understanding!"
He prostrates himself before Muhammad.
You are the Whole. I am a despicable tiny,
meaningless piece. I can't look at You."
He's quiet and quivering with remorse.
Muhammad bends over and holds him and caresses him
and opens his inner knowing.
The cloud weeps, and then the garden sprouts.
The baby cries, and the mother's milk flows.
The Nurse of Creation has said, Let them cry a lot.
This rain-weeping and sun-burning twine together
to make us grow. Keep your intelligence white-hot
and your grief glistening, so your life will stay fresh.
Cry easily like a little child.
Let body-needs dwindle and soul-decisions increase.
Diminish what you give your physical self.
Your spiritual eye will begin to open.
When the body empties and stays empty,
God fills it with musk and mother-of pearl.
That way a man gives his dung and gets purity.
Listen to the Prophets, not to some adolescent boy.
The foundation and the walls of the spiritual life
are made of self denials and disciplines.
Stay with Friends who support you in these.
Talk with them about sacred texts,
and how you're doing, and how they're doing,
and keep your practices together.
      - Mathnawi, V, 1-149, 163, 167

Excerpt from "Delicious Laughter, Rambunctious Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi" by Coleman Barks. 

Friday, December 9, 2011



steamy and backbroken
the leaf her fruit
danger tickles
stings and in the beginning
i snap
each one and in the middle
i cut
each one and in the finale
she flowers
stripped and frosted
i stomp


Thursday, December 8, 2011

to save anyone else

to save anyone else

lost, she took the sun
and swam farther than sagittarius
dropped a whisker before
setting out at sundown

trees dropped their leaves
in her wake, the nests
of grownup birds
revealed themselves

signs got stapled to poles
messages were sent out like prayers on water
nails got bitten back further & creases
entered an aging forehead

the moon caught you afar
in capricorn at last
not a feather ruffled
not one concern shaken out

we, the family, already
understood your absence
long ago, this quiet translates,
something has been ignored

meanwhile the nights pull furry
creatures from their dwellings
and regret from bedtime wishes
she found the trap

nobody is coming back


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

no one's somebody

no one's somebody

try describing the day without walking
on tiptoes without fielding
dismissals at every opening
of this mouth
this tongue doesn't crouch down like
a dog, lying

this breath isn't as cool
as some pretend it might be

but what about the lips
this voice what about
the teeth?

someone smiled in an empty room

someone took a typewriter to an open wound

someone clanged a key on a piano, it was sharp

how does the shape of someone's hands
compare to the contour of another's face?
i've been asking this question for years
and still, people are afraid
of low blue lights, people are
frightened by familiar touch, moving slow.
people are devastated by the tomorrows stacked
like loose pennies in a shot glass

nobody here is a gambler anymore

someone still tries to define the physics of touch
without geometry or psychic calculations.
she could delineate the economics of skin and
quantum nature of puddles. the largest organ
feels on the inside, this touch
is a challenge. i sense
a worthy teammate,
a matched opponent.

hypothetically, no one is coming
on their own anymore. and in theory
we're all whole until halved. yet

science and method have proved
nonsense, i have no needs.
this fascinating experiment
has concluded. someone

is out of a job

must take off a coat

someone will lose. and nobody

will find the cure

nobody can keep a secret. except
that somebody. who does.


Friday, December 2, 2011

a duet of owls

the dreams were really clear & strong last night... 

i boarded this small plane with other folks to fly to izzi's birthday. (which is- in waking life- tomorrow). there were other friends who got on a second small plane. we take off & start flying through trees and zipping around, pretty low to the ground, alongside rivers.  it's daytime.  the wings are different, i think they're moving slightly. they have some strange coating on them. oh actually, i think i'm looking at wings covered in feathers. then i realize that WE ARE IN A GIANT OWL. i can see what it looks like from the outside because the “plane” we're following is also an owl. 

we are flying and diving and darting one after the other, it's like a playful game. what started off a little strange for a plane ride became super fun & exhilarating. when we reached our destination, i went to the front to meet the womyn pilot.  she didn't have a front window, like airplanes do. instead, there was a built-in small colorful stage. she told me that people who fly on/in the owls are encouraged to create performances while flying, then present them to the other passengers. i'll remember this for next time, i thought.

trying to find an appropriate image for this dream, i began looking up owl photos.  the many types of owls look distinctly different from one another.  i settled on the short-eared owl, since it looked most like my dream & also flies during the day.  photos of dueling short-eared owls