Friday, October 30, 2009

How I've Changed

I play things closer to the heart now,
On guard so that I am maybe even
A little afraid of boats now,
Where it used to be planes--
But my fears are closer to the ground now.
(It is not the height that scares me
But the invisible that hides so near,
In depths I'll never see or know)
And I roll filters into my cigarettes--
The most dangerous bet I place--
But bids? I barely make them,
Although my hands are hidden well and
Flush, though you could never tell.
And it's hell to drive the highway
When top speed is ten below the limit.
Oh well, though. I've changed lanes,
I'd rather go around than through now.
(I've learned to bluff convincingly, too,
Does this sound true to you, now?)

This urge, like most

This urge, like most--
rapacious in appetite,
persistent appeals curling,
coiling hotly inward--
Comes suddenly, silently,
expansive in it's space-filling abilities,
spanning decades to build its arsenal--
Foot soldiers to push forward,
reaching for relief,
rapiers scraping stomach walls,
a gasp, aghast, why wait?--
Unfaltering, soldiers
(and their unfettered companion-swords)
cry havoc!
And I am through.
Caving in, the response?
Indulgence, it is true, feels like
feet freed to heat-seek retrieve,
feels like fate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This White Rabbit

Follow this white rabbit
To the bottom of my stomach,
Where sticks and stones
Will break my bones
But words can truly punish.

Patience while I break this habit;
It cycles like a chorus,
These flats and sharps
That score my heart,
These hearty vines that flourish.

Like vines a house will make decrepit
Old and sad and broken,
The song has roots
That line this chute
Tapping words unspoken.

Unfairly I remain the skeptic
(Your reasoning seems brittle)
A house of cards
Falls in my palm
To show you cared so little.

Like dealers taking bets, expectant,
I'll paint my roses red
The smile remains
To hear my name
Whispered in your bed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Bats outside, leather-flapping with that flag-in-the-wind snap, flutter, fwit-fwit
Like a cotton skirt slapping against two legs, flag to pole
Their cries, two-tone, of a lower pitch and less vulgar (though just as incessant) than that of their feathered--cousins? with wings and voices alike, some distant relative shared--second cousins, fourth removed
The seagull.
Somehow the bats seem frantic, with their flapping and crying, ungainly and uncertain and, well, blind.
A dive, a swoop, a ballgown trailing behind a running woman (she is Cinderella, and her dress will disappear soon, and in any event she's lost a shoe, but it's something of a relief as they were damned uncomfortable), and not a fluid fabric, no silk or satin, but something noisy, thick and with plenty of layers.
They are in a hurry, these bats, but I can't really see the point to their harried, tilted, turbulent flights, chaotic--and I really only hear them moving, in that way aren't I something of a bat myself?--circles, they are tracing circles over a cul de sac.
Circling, swinging, ovoid mobius strips streaming from their wingtips, busy little--
Not bees, kissing this bit, that bit of the lips of sweet orchids
No, bumble is the right first name for bees, honey fits too--slow, they stick to blossom, bramble, and blouse alike
And, well, if a bat landed on your sleeve you'd damn sure scream.
Perhaps, somewhere in that family tree--an uncle divorced, bastard child-of-a-mistress stepson--there's a place for the humble bee, for in their ability to elicit shrieks, bats and bees are quite the team.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chicago 2

Hop on in this fast car
From carnival to graveyard!

We've no memories of time zones
Or of differences in skin tones-
Dodging flocks of helicopters
Moving in formation overhead.
Welcome to the land of the dead.


Have you ever been the worst thing to happen to someone?
I think you might've been and that it was fun, once.

Now I can't forget the way that you talked at a slow clip,
Or the tiny little hairs on your top lip-
Stop it.

I hate to admit
That I hope that this hits
Home and hurts
Like a bitch-
Homegirl, you
Make me sick.
But it's just what I get
Making castles out of shit.

Have you ever thought you loved a stranger?
Well that fleeting thrill of danger
Isn't worth it, I promise.


Smothered love, so nothing to declare
Plain and painted, so nothing left to say
In the park where children-statues play
I never told, and so I left you there.
True love, this kind was never quite so rare.

A slipshod stitch to bind us two to one
Unsteady hands that twitch to miss their mark
Unravel now, let go this tired lark
Confining hems, this needle-loaded gun
A foot apart, pristine, distant, done.

Impatience prowling lion-like for prey
Combatted now with sweet and softest kiss
But though we run, so pursued just as swift
When ending can be no more kept at bay
Painted black, so nothing to display.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I will limp with you, I promised
But the slips and missed-step pitfalls
On this trip are not so simple
And your limbs--surprising, nimble--
Aren't so spry or strong since winter--
Excuse them. They weren't made for this.

Where once I felt a fire, I'll admit
You weren't convinced, but despite
Your crooked spine and spirit
I would take you by the wrists and
Pull you in, and there you fit just fine.
Remember on your hairline,
Where I'd plant a careful kiss.

On the night I left you hid, consistent
With your hatred of goodbyes, high-fives,
I miss you's. I found you sitting
In the dark, silent while I came unhinged.
Lights off, as you wished, but to cover
Such vast ground so quick was
Too great a wish, so like a mother
I couldn't resist my last admission.
And while my voice was once the whipcrack
That whisked you back from oblivion
Your mind may be fixed, and made up,
Dead-set on bliss, and though
I know you no longer glisten,
Pristine, I can still sustain a smile
Just for you.


We tried a new melon at the supermarket
Nestled between crater-surfaced cantaloupes,
The milky full moon honeydews.
Greeny-blue skin, and fitting perfectly in your palm,
We sliced it into two scarlet hemispheres
Dotted with the soft white seeds
That you didn't have to spit out.
"This occasion calls for a melon-baller,"
You laughed, although wedges would have been more summery
And we pressed soft chunks to each other's mouths,
Chins dribbling with the pink runoff
Of our strangely named watermelon.

Chicago Prowlers

We are Chicago prowlers,
Pacing streets on tired feet
And I watch for violet flowers.
Violent splashes, garden gore
I stoop to smell, sugar sweet,
Sure as shit footsore.

Chicago summer, welcome June,
Bring your jacket just in case
And even the sky hides its face
At boring, sunless noon.