It is said

by mouths that do not move

it is gauche to write about oneself


and she didn’t always, for the world had so many things to describe

until the sink hole swallowed her breath, tar covered and added feathers

her crimson brand ran like a howl down a deserted one-eyed street

if she were a fish she’d have no scales, and nothing to measure what she lost

nor a compass to find through hooded treeline, her way back to who she’d been before

this is the way of transformation

forced from our stage we are bound and gagged

the way forward obscured like rubbing grease on glass

it hurt to be cut by ice, it stung to know no intuitive language

hands tore at her sides whilst she slept on a brick within a house, held down by gravity

they told her; you will not recover it is time, to put aside hope

along with your beautiful dresses, your long dreams and afternoon sun

she wasn’t ready to lie, like a pin against other cold metal

to be counted and cooked to the marrow, ready for sucking

for she was warm, she was alive, she hadn’t climbed all her life, just to see a cloudy day

it wasn’t her way to admit defeat

as migrating birds returned and sat like tired audience to her calls for help

she knew, a fight is never asked for, it beckons you when you stand on cliffs edge

trying to count the ways you might die

such a sorrow in planning your own end, long before you intended

she still had so much still to do

hair to plait, skirts to hitch, and ride, ride out into the wilderness

where raw bones are the purest listener

they will hear you when you throw yourself down on wet moss and

burying your fevered head in earth, call upon angels

for protection was something she hadn’t thought of

since she was a little kid walking to school alone

and then she had an imaginary horse, and all the years to come

now, the clocks turn back, time rushes forward like an impulsive guest

who has drunk her fill

ransacking light she streaks out into the forest and you cannot follow

because she is quickly absorbed into gesturing evening dusk

perhaps never there at all

that’s how she feels now, half alive, half hanging on

at the witching hour, it is all she can do not to throw herself into the glittering lights of oncoming traffic

for she is not as strong as those who endure like a costume, their own brand of hell

she has only herself and it isn’t enough

so the words come

and they stay loose and unsure upon the page

as if they know her fragility and their own insubstantial compose

if she can stay long enough, maybe she’ll see something new

maintaining equal hope with encroaching dawn

that is when everything from the day before, gathers

turns to dust and we begin over, perhaps better

with every urging push, splitting apart, garnering strength from invisible force

as fierce and distant as a Northern wind

we who know, how to birth life and produce hope

from the fragility of almost nothing


(Inspired by RandomwordsbyRuth who said; “Survival is the highest form of compliment we can give ourselves.’)


Nearing fire

Ophelia_by_EarthDefectShe was not a hunter

She did not compete

There were no hands on the tinder clocks, rebinding feats.

When it rained, she stayed dry

Her hearth and rug, small morsels of comfort clutched

For not venturing out, salved potential for harm.

She grew up on the black hard bread of fear

Of the river breaking its banks and drowning

Those she loved

It was an inherited sense of loss

Passed down through heavy curtains, generations of individuals, feeling cast off

All the instability of fine china, balancing, teetering, turning to shattered lotuses.

She saw what happened when they lied and said she was safe

She could feel the pink welts, smell the violation, as it poured down the road, a torrent of what humanity can do

To a child.

She grew scars as self armor

Moved further to the fireplace to touch the source of its continual scald

When it stormed outside she didn’t join the rushing tide

The pinches, taunts, jostling, glut on perpetual war

Plasma and soldiers, drunk on devouring dear goodness

She stayed listening to the sound of the rasping wind

Beating on the old oak door

As if everything possible came together and fought

To get inside.

She stayed set apart from her given trajectory, a kite who cut her wings

Turning to liquid and back into wax, only to melt, nearing fire

They say fear is an echo, set the trap, watch it snap back

Until, submerged there’s no end, but the point you began, to let it rule.

She watched fear remove, her skin, her sight, and blind with fright, she consumed her own shadow

Till it was the only place to return, and burning into reduction she saw the reflection of someone with nothing to lose.

Expunging soot from her stained lungs, she let herself pass through the cloak of heat, demolishing every trace

Rising from emptiness, becoming ash in air and last dancer of ember, she saw

Hands spin trees into forests, reclaiming what was lost, in hungering inferno.

A girl who closed the door and checked beneath the bed, was gone

In her place the outline of a cowering form, afraid, yet, stepping from

The thin ledge we believe protects us from imagined harm

When all along we torment ourselves with far greater, considered terrors

Better that we face head on, destroy facade, turn to rubble and rebuild

Our resolution for survival, as we will always near, fire.

The certainty


We may have it the wrong way

intellect being a dirge

for the cat carrying its kittens

does not question or consider

why do I torture the rat and flee the fox?

simply nature propels her onward

no coincidence then

the more we are aware the greater our potential for

grief and a disconsolate ring

with the emptiness perceived

we seek in our fervor

more out of this plain life

standing watching the first seasons’ dragonflies

wishing for meaning or distinction

spelt out in philosophy books empty of bottom line

who made us? why? why?

the infernal hum of internal conflict

I recall a russet haired cousin

born with the mind of a child

never to graduate or spell correctly

her smiles always somehow less


she delighted in as the young foal

spring filled fields of flowers and thick hedgerows

buzzing with honey bee mastering his lust for nectar

not considering all the pain

held in the wetted weight of world

hers inhabited moments

living under sun without query

heart unable to contemplate

greater or sorrowful fates

I dearly envied her that

for every year closer to increasing reason

intellect building artifices as often

as truths

without faith or illusion

clearing our eyes and seeing

the way the nest falls from ash tree

all offspring dying at the hand of passing predator

the way women walk with their

purses clutched to their sides and heavy tread

this is only nature or maybe perversion

yet we grieve attempting

change where none should exist

as well as those never-changing

each generation learning shared impulses

to destroy because they can


I planted a tree once

it grew without question

I married a man twice

he needed no religion to know

the sun would come up the next day

nothing was worth worrying about

when certainty took her carriage across

emblazoning sky with greater things

than our imperfect longing minds

we who fitfully seek

higher elucidation

writing out descriptions of existence

with punctuated heartache

as the blind man must fathom

his colors

we walk in darkness believing

ourselves electric

until the storm wipes out

all trace of our absolve

for we are ink running on a page

leaving time before even the imprint

is deep enough

impermanence our greatest torment

such is the grind of egos want

to matter


we who think and believe we feel

perhaps cursed by too much awareness

ironically know less than less

no more than the rabbit pricks up his ears

thinks he hears a sound, could be all of us

crying out

we cannot follow the wild

for our modern natures are muzzled

behind the weight of thought

as if consciousness were an apple

eaten and consumed behind library books

taking root in liquid storm

Genesis bequeathed us knowledge

to know suffering and our part

in the fragile glittering stage

at cost to inner peace

we search fruitlessly for purpose

whilst those who know less

sit in the sun and feel

the certainty of

nothing’s blessing


(I often want to give-up writing and thinking in favor of life beyond the social spectrum, where we learn to make things again, build and grow in basic and lost terms. Sometimes thinking can be a curse, much as I must covet it, I see the down-side. Moderation must be everything but it is hard, usually we are either thrown over to one side or the other, I have long valued words and reading, but I do see their potential fallacy just as I do, the bliss of unknowing).


under-the-old-appletreeThe Gotan Project

reverberating tangoed reggae

the summer we spilled from the first floor

as steel bands pass by in their smart costumes

shiny buttons gleaming against oiled skin

feathered masks and sarsaparilla staining mouths

learning calypso had been the moment

I slipped from one world to the next

we listen peaceably

I tap the point of my shoe and then my heel

like when I wore coins on my sole

you have an oxygen tube in your nose

the bags beneath your eyes are gathering wool

serving your country leveled your ability

for small talk

but music can make strange bed fellows of us

you say

is this Spanish?

I confess I’m unsure

of the exact ingredient

isn’t that true of so much these days?

you snort and for a moment I worry

your beliefs are in line with segregation

until you unfold the photo

of your curly-haired children

their ebony mother with her muscular neck

crossed with sea pearls and a faraway gaze

salt breeze bleaching the tips of fingers

it’s them that keeps me going

you say and your eyes are veined and bright

for a moment as if you absorbed the joy

of love and it healed you

rising from mirthless wheelchair

we shift dry footed across lino floor

whisking it fast with purpose

I am spilling in scarlet, you in patent tux

your hair a wild brillo sheen

the world of what was and what is

flickering beneath rhythmic eye lids


Make me


Make me

she said

clenched teeth

fists placed outside knuckles or you break a finger

go on then

make me

she’s been practicing her outrage

knelt too long in good manners and stiff skirts

if you come for me

I will respond in kind

they could see in her eyes

she had nothing to lose

it happens like that

they can take you apart piece by piece

until scar tissue fuses

you are a deformed version of yourself

scaled in defiance

so best you stand aside

she’s cutting her way through her own war path

if you play with matches

better know how to extinguish a fire

before it devours

just as goodness is inviolate

until natural order is reversed

then angels become feared

devils lose their advantage

over weak men who would

enslave the future to save themselves

not her

she is clad in the keloid of her injury

teeth clenched, eyes flaming

make me if you can

when there is no high road

to claim your justice

burn burn burn


For Nathalie & Eric.



093c3ac60161fdab3e0a048f7e5ccf6cThe day they pricked paint into her back

permanent and violet

she grew a lotus mandala

lending a little stigmata wisdom

to the thin bones of her grow

for she didn’t know that year

whether to follow sharp train tracks and disappear

into the woods not to be discovered

or walk into winter blizzard

feeling her way through to

imposing red bricked hospital

sagging against its frame like

an auburn flame caught in globe

shaken from foothold

placing her wet gloves on chaffing radiator

tell the patient man behind his mahogany desk

littered with prescriptives for disease of the mind

I am not well I am not well I am not well

you must take me from my freedom and tie me up

in a satin bow atop a new gift of hope

somewhere I cannot think or pass

in my mouth the marble and coinage

of my jailer


if she had let herself fall then

with his regard whiskering her lament

and plummet like a fire consumed comet

for the first time without control just

the ember of her flaming skirt searing

a series of interrupted tap dances

spanning shortened  life

in the direction of diminishing

sticky mouthfuls of sweet jam taken in dark

tap tap tap tap

braille, wittled cane, white and wooden

hers was the fear of generations

her grandmother, her grandfather

laid to rest in sweet meadow of

Mont-Ventoux, beyond lavender fields

where their metallurgic table of elements

could rest from unquenched desire to end

take your medicine

euthanize the unrest

let the sleep of the dead

usher silence in prayer robe

when he died

holding his dry paintbrush

when she died

clutching her wet scripture

when their loss mixed in formula

writing her DNA prophecy

she learned to lace up her unease

absenting breath needing not to breathe

not today doctor

not ever

these houses for the poor of heart

medicated, inviscerated, shuffle in

do not come out


she left her gloves on the radiator

followed her tracks back through virgin snow

easier when you cannot really see where you go

somehow standing amidst the roar

sea on dry land, oceans in desert flowers

it might take defying your legacy to survive

it might take not wishing to be the next pin to escape

bowled over by shared cross-stitched disease

even the empty

even the weak


she got a tattoo of a lotus

on the small of her back

where men had whispered hot and slow

you are slender like a branch

I want to bend you in two as green willow

will not snap

supple in bow, play me never

this girl has forged her symphony war

out of rising in morning, ready to give up

she survived percolating tendency

and the ones who thought her lean

pressing her against shiny coffee tables

unbuckling their murmuring distaste

for respect

thinking her a orfice, a receptacle, alabaster secret

and not a girl capable of swallowing fire


they did not believe in signs and wonders

nor warriors who wear no armor

she stands in her diluted ink

she is the beginning, the circular, the ending

of ways we are forced to be

a stain lies on her skin

it feels like an angels imprint

lending courage for the quiet

of soul, who gathers the leftovers

surviving beyond her welt

she is merciful to the meek

as a storm gathering in force, swells against

shore, building momentum

turning the raw belly of sky



picasso-woman-with-fanYour mother would scold you

pick yourself up ugly child

clean your room, scrub and polish

until there is no room for doubt

you may be unloved but

you will keep a straight back and shiny shoes


and you

learned quicker than a mouse

can covet cheese and steal itself a piece

to keep yourself small and burning

for a time to pounce

back under the hot lights of attention

turn this way and that until you are

bronzed like an award you make yourself

for surviving


I am owed

you think as you spit on your reflection with shirt cuff

and shine it brand new

I am owed

for my childhood

all the taint it took, not to reduce to rubble

instead I built myself a fort and became unbreakable


because this world eats the tender-hearted

with morels and mustard for breakfast

crushes underfoot truth in her glass orb

it is better we inherit the sharp cold heart of our destroyers

lift up our skirts and cross the puddles

with insulated rubber boots

than wallow in the frigid water

wondering why

most of what we do and say is

superficial and a lie to

garner peace and stifle the dagger

aimed at our center


all good but for the gentle

soul who can no more hurt than

turn away from need

she who cups water in her hands

to feed the thirsty flower

struggling to grow through concrete

by the side of exhaust-ridden road

what miracles we behold

surviving against the odds

it is this solace

keeps us staying who we are

when the world would pitch fire

extinguishing mercy

leaving battlefields full

for crows to pick through

we endure, laying down our

arms, our faces pointed toward

the clouds and wait

for rain to pour down