Poetry blog. This is a space to republish original poems and get them back into circulation, as well as for new observations.


His great-aunt said she understood:

these were mouth-marks the blind angels left,

as they whirred against the walls,

voices stiff as engraving,

unable to evoke a door.  Something opens

with small stings, like the shuttle of glasses.

As if the background of laughter

were painted slap-dash, it becomes

almost obscene, bathes the walls,

a flimsy fog through which anyone

could see, or the slowest asthmatic breathing —


And the search for a break, the leak

 in the lead-lined holding tank of stars —

his skin branded by the angels' impossibility.


Later he searched for evocative headstones,

unequivocal positions for again and O.

Antidotes for claustrophobic jokes, for toasts

to a happiness no one could bear.

Aunt Bell loudly asked, “Is the torture

the laughter, or is it torture to laugh?”


Locked in the coldest room, practicing

its reticence, the glazed look he cannot

fit his face into, he tries to close off

the night's white-washed sobbing, its cries

that convulsed from false renunciation

to delight.  Behind curtains too heavy

to lift, a manic piano won't stop:

its keys strike down like a person

choking, and continuing to choke.


And he dreams of an ocean,

a loud ocean of glasses still empty

and beckoning to be filled with something,

some redness to line what can't be shown,

a tangible poison, a stain.


New Writing: The International Journal of the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing 3:2 (November 2006): 123.




The new hands,

the gold ones, no,

you will not wear them.


The accents ringed through air—


reticence and ice.


We do not twitch

and spoil this:

those imitations, the soft ones,

how they watch.


Two ribbons,

the green one, the black one,

draperies of the omitted.


And I, headless,

my torso

perfect traceless white.


The prisons of jewelry

and the thimble eye.


It is wrong, the wooden

button’s lie, that some day

the limbs will

crease and we will walk.


We shall leave the glare,

The spasm in mirrors.


But part by part.

And the decisive

amputation scissors.


The fingers that withhold.


Envy’s empty boxes,

to discard every piece of them.

And the promise.

The severity.


Five severed lies.


Action, Yes 1:10 (Summer 2009).


He cannot blame it

for the murder, though the story

clings to what he loves

like cancer. Otherwise the

half-eaten legs would bend

beyond what he can bear, he

never tasting the reward.


Does the crime follow

the compass or the minute

hand? The wrong hole,

he knows, has been filled.  This

is how he should live, and

this is how it should end. This is,

the story said, and this and is.


Resolution tightens around

the neck, his mouth no longer

open. Wash the blood off

turning points. But no

twist strangles the disease.


The eye looking back is

a fist that hits nothing. The hand

hides nothing. Blue

lollipops of regret don’t satisfy.


He cannot run without legs.

All lies are made of sugar.

Who believes this is the end?


Trickhouse 9 (Summer 2010).



Pull the stars from their

dead sockets. Not even the least

flicker stays fixed. For every X

on the map marks the burial

site of someone who


lingered too long—this is no

signature. Catch quickly

what stains and folds have not rubbed

out: location is a trap.


What use in a hobby-horse that won’t

move? And if it does, a delight

always to jerk back to the place you

wouldn’t leave, now dizzy because

the circus is just the same.  

Every telephone


pole or grandfather tree offers

another hold for the noose. Some


limbs deserve to be severed.

You cannot stand underneath

forever watching sluggish

constellations repeat.


No destination. Don’t ever sign it. 

For like a yellow yo-yo the sun

dangles from your hand.


Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, 2011.


The eyes don’t focus.

Only the bluish boys, the ones

who never learned to swim, don’t

look back. 


        He disdains

that horizon, because it doesn’t

have a gaze. But blind

to his own reflection, six sharp

colors conceal that he can’t see

through the shimmer, to the dark

outline, those shadows that don’t

belong to him. 


             And the others,

braced with frost, would trick him

without looking. No recognition.


Saddest rainbow.


Bellevue Literary Review 13:2 (Fall 2013): 78.


The pink prosthesis replaces

a limb

that isn’t missing. 

Would you turn away

if the marks weren’t stamped

on the warm body?  This map

won’t help you discover

hidden treasure.

Bones rot

somewhere, bleached out,



“Peg leg” becomes a term

of endearment.  What relief

to hobble home

to the red city where no one

says your name.  Such hush-hush

lets you spell out, eyes

close to the little hairs,

all the ticklish words, what

you couldn’t lose or give away,

the voices that made

you tremble.


Poetic Diversity (November 2013).


in yellow lines that won’t

dry into symbol, paint


over the appeal for justice, naked limbs

not otherwise obscene, than to service


an abstraction, advertising

frames trimmed


with false gold that enshrines a future

we shouldn’t touch, as if sealed


behind glass, while, headphones

jacked up, the dignified voice


guiding us through the white museum

intones, all virtue


lies in counting, counting

up to virtue, counting up because


a detail means corruption, each particular

only a blotch: but look


how peacefully

the little bodies line up in rows


Poetic Diversity (November 2013).


I was going to tell you the story of a friend who died, but he was not my friend. He wanted to write it in such a way that the grief was your own, your hand wiping his forehead with the soiled handkerchief, your tears the real ones.


He was terrified the lost message was not truly lost, a nightmare refusing to fade at the moment of waking. It was as if he had become human.


You were telling him a story about how the nightingales lost their hands. You said, peace is only the silence between statues. I said, no, peace is the flag of surrender, the place where they buried their dead.


It’s not fair to say he found them. You always knew what they were hiding, but you had to let someone else say it. Quite dirty, but you could see through.


The open windows, bright as oblivion. There was nothing more to cry about. He was going to tell you the story of the day I lost my voice. I felt no grief, because the nightmare ended.


It was as if you had died, your humanity the real one. There was nothing more to write about. I wanted to hold him, but I found I had no hands.


 HIV Here & Now (7 June 2015); Poetic Diversity (April 2013).


The male me, the one with

the bushy blond hair,

swaggers across the sidewalk, bopping to

his huge ear-pad headphones.


Self-satisfaction surrounds him

like a halo.

Anyone could see it.

It’s an automatic thumbs-up.


Just at the right moment,

my female side dances in, from  

the opposite direction,

her healthy chestnut tresses

bouncing to quite a different beat.


She’s American as the Sun Maid raisin girl,

a sweet fib

about backbreaking labor, oblivious

behind her own ear pads, a hymn

to joy.


The collision is destiny, the promise

that mutual attraction

of the approved sort

begins with arbitrary violence. 



it’s a natural process, even if  

initially misunderstood:

“You got

your politics in my poetry!”


“You got your poetry

on my politics!”

Deus ex machina, a shop clerk in an apron

hands the indignant pair

a tasty compromise formation.


You go,

polyglycerol polyricinoleate! 

Let the dance begin, tertiary

butyl hydroquinone!


All this makes 1-800-SueU4Pain superfluous,


thank you for your concern.

Alas, it’s not the 80s anymore.


The tv, flat

as an underwear model’s abdomen,

has burnt through its toxins.

No pain, no gain.


Two great tastes that taste

great together: the bald propaganda

I couldn’t write, muscular, handsome,

so retro in his black Doc Martens,


and a pretty little peanut butter cup,

actually a prophecy, yes, an infinitely gentle,

infinitely suffering thing.


Creative Resistance (March 2014); The Good Men Project (October 2014).


No, it’s not pornography.

The suture hardly holds.

It sags like old glass.


Cut in half,

A smile becomes sellable.


No, not ghosts.

The laundry of the dead,

Listing in the wind.


Stains quiet in early light.

Among the eyeless dolls

And unpriced socks.


Hit with limbo,

The body grows damp.


No, call it a garden,

Where sallow flowers bloom

Like low wattage bulbs.


concīs (Winter 2016); Dark Sky Magazine (March 2010).