Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

lost in bed

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Some mornings before tea,
Tai Chi, sit-ups or cereal,
the bed reclaims the head,
and the head keeps talking

about novels that seduced
and left you lost, lovers
who once seduced, whom you
left lost, and your head

lost in a labyrinth of sweetgrass
that moved underground and sprung
from where you first planted it
in the wrong bed,  and your own bed

lost for almost a month, your hands
helping your hungry belly remember
this is how he touched  and found
you outside your head.


In the beginning was a school bus

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

From one of its olive green Naugahyde seats
an 11 year old girl’s belly—
while trying to imagine her own
insignificance despite her Christianity—
disappeared into endless space,
into the place that holds all things
but is not held by anything else.

Her eyes fluttered.  Bouncing in the seat
over pot holes brought her belly back,
a nausea. When the bus stopped,
she walked out of its metal walls,
across the street, into the dry-walled walls
of her own home with the hidden key
under the railing. She turned on the tv.


In the beginning was a school bus

From one of its olive green Naugahyde seats

an 11 year old girl’s belly—

while trying to imagine her own

insignificance despite her Christianity—

disappeared into endless space,

into the place that holds all things

but is not held by anything else.

Her eyes fluttered. Bouncing in the seat

over pot holes brought her belly back,

a nausea. When the bus stopped,

she walked out of its metal walls,

across the street, into the dry-walled walls

of her own home with the hidden key

under the railing. She turned on the tv.

How to Herd Moths

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Turn off the ceiling light.
Hold your small bedside lamp
overhead like Lady Liberty.
Lovingly lure them from blinds,
corners, ceiling and walls,
open the window, reach outside,
shake them loose into cool night.

A few may refuse.

Think.  An hour before sleep,
turn off all upstairs lights
except above the bathroom sink.
Leave the door open a crack, a lean beacon.
Wait.  Peek in to see the velvet clicking
herd, mad with their love of light,
whirling dervishes of night.  Breathe.

Minutes before sleep, screech open
the screenless bathroom window, squint
against dozens of diving wings, brush your teeth,
pull the light’s string, close the door:  done.
By morning, the bathroom will be empty.
While we dream, moths free
themselves into rising sun.



Monday, May 17th, 2010

Sit under the full moon
until you are sitting there,

and the week’s riot orchestra
is replaced by crickets,

and crescendos
and is replaced again.

Wind raises skin
and orange moon

brims to white while words
of the busy day grow quiet, replaced

by sky, glinting space.  It may be
morning before the messages

sift through  and out of you, so slow,
though speed has moved such water through

the body to burst, aching diaphragm
a fist.  Unclench, unclench,

the crickets pitch at angles.  And owl
begs its usual who? who? who?

unblinking under moon,
and Oh, mmm,  mmmm.

The chest opens its lid.
Breath joins the gentle wind.

Lidless, you are more
than you, and blissfully less.


in a bardo house

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

you take down the photos
of family and red and gold
smooth paintings of nudes

because the doors
are now open to those
who have made you

want to leave
from the beginning.
now they wander

your halls, the only
place you were
ever yourself

and they become
the critics you
feared, making

you are inappropriate.
you don’t belong here.

so you strip the walls
of anything that will
remind them you will

burn in hell so they will
buy your home
so you can leave

this hell
they’ve made of preparing
for heaven.


Though it really isn’t about mothering after all

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

When I first began thinking about dust
and my life was no longer full of the clutter
of pious Sunday mornings planted
on pews, and I stopped dreaming of being married
for time and all eternity, I became rebelliously content
with the thought of never being a mother.

Of course I didn’t talk to my mother
about this.  She had taken the losing of my dusty
virginity so hard. But I could hardly be content
with what Mormon women were or wanted to be; I decluttered
my mythology of such whitened rooms, no longer married
to the appled serpent of penitent servitude or connubial godhood. I planted

myself in groundlessness, got lost in weeds planted
by Sylvia, Virginia, Kate:  my mothers whom the word “Mother”
could not claim, though it may have killed them, married
to thousands of years of dust.
But they juggled and loved this clutter
into words and women: Edna, Esther, Orlando, me. The content

of our skin no longer content
with the time between dishes, diapers, and planted
petunias. But putting my head in an oven, carrying a clutter
of stones in my pockets and sinking into a river, lake or sea in order to mother
myself into solitude so deep and the artless sleep of dust
seemed a worse fate than being married

to a family’s endless needs.  So:  I dreamed against my foremothers.  If I married
a man, but also myself to myself, mastered the art of being content
with the miraculous mundane, marveled at my children’s skin becoming dust
and wrote or lived epiphanies about the peppermint I planted
going rogue, I could possibly be a bridge mother, a rhizome mother, a mother
who could avoid murderous ovens and water, teach children to turn clutter

into love, teach myself to be a brave, awake mother.  For years this lovely clutter
breathed in wordless poems, fleshy paintings only for me, in awe. But being married!
Oh, we try!  The silent years and midnight longings of exhausted, unearthed mothers,
roots dangling over husbands’ pots, ever resurrecting our wilted desire.  Discontent:
the distant contentment of husbands planted
firmly in the comfortable dust

of us, or who we were supposed to be. Perhaps the dust of husbands is a clutter
I can’t contain, that can’t contain me, like the dandelions no one planted, married
deeply to wind and soil, content, reaching wild through a dark mother.


Because I am corralled

Friday, May 7th, 2010

What I thought were my boy’s sour socks
were not.  This feedlot town was seeping through
the cracks of my house, its dark whispers and sorry cows.

And the dog looked as sad as I am, so we went out
unleashed to walk in it, and pray, and then forget
to pray, because the moon came up an egg,

because there was breath and wind even in this stench,
and sky wider than this place.  And though I want to race
from here like wild eyed, shit smeared steers,

here I must stay, until the watery ears
of Crestone Creek hear the words of my leaf
tossed in toward the sea, whispering, away, away.


How to make her talk

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Word loves to make love
to watch the angles his
chin makes
thrown back into shadow
through dim light drawing lines
over his
gently closed lids and plucking
lips, pulling fruit from limbs
and standing ridges of skin

Word knows she was made flesh
for good reason, that she, that his, is
the finest
flesh there is, giving shape to love,
giving hands and wide silken curves
to sound,
so round here, word
leaning into word.

Their bodied words, after one week
of silence and August lead
become the breath
of interspiraled, ribboned speech,
juicy peaches in teeth, dripping
chins of abc’s, grinning spins
toward what is,
and what silence can never be


Anne Waldman made me do it

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Because I was a hungry spiral
Because I was worried I’d die a curve bruised by a square
Because I was fingers spread too wide for a narrow palm

I was a silent woman.
I was a white lying woman.
I was a halflight woman.
I was a sleep on my side of the bed woman.
I was a true love is bullshit woman.

Because I didn’t have the courage to spring on my own
Because I needed someone to pull me spinning out of the mud
Because smiling crooked teeth and wide warm hands smoothed my angled heart beat

Now I’m a singing galaxy woman.
Now I’m a rainbow truth woman.
Now I’m a ten thousand suns woman.
Now I’m a dream of the one I’m with woman.
Now I’m a no shit it’s true love woman.


Reluctant Sonnet While Drinking Microbrewed Beer in Boulder

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

My mouth has been a cobwebbed house for
days. This limping heart:  iambic, pacing
halls of broken words, then quickly racing
to thesaurus’ closed red doors.
I’ve never felt so linguistically poor,
searching pockets bare so I may sing
of scribbled on receipts that may ring
true, not leave me searching more.

It’s this damn Petrarchan sonnet!
Snotty tyrant dictating my rebel day
into perfect stanzas, rhythm, rhyme.
Only brew has helped me force the form upon it.
Screw this puzzle! I’ve got more to say
than can be squeezed into this fourteenth line.


Meditation on white until the waiter dropped a saucy fork

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I never wear white or when I
do, it is with vigilant
suspicion of small

hands smeared
with jelly, paint or random
child-loved condiments.

I erased white
from my wardrobe
when I gave birth.

Nearly fifteen years
of colored clothing and
lately, mostly brown

and black. Why?
What turn has brought
me down

to muted hue,
or hue’s lack?
But today—divorce,

fathers far away,
three children gone
for days—has brought me

white!  All day in white!
Woven light
cool cotton blouse,

buttoned bright summer, sheer
over flesh and self-conscious
underthings.  White

as baptism for the living
and dead, white as a virgin’s wedding
gown, white as a sadhu’s ash-

smeared head. O! The righteousness
of white! The innocence!  I feel
reborn!  Until

now:  two
hours from midnight,
my short shoulder sleeve splashed

red.  Red!  My mother always
said it was my true


Earth holding earth

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

My young daughter asked me on a cliff edge
what happens when we die. People believe
many things, I said. That we fly off as spirits
to God, or are reborn to live a new life,
but the only thing I know for sure
is that we go back to the earth,
like the log we found becoming dirt,
like the little trees sprouting from its core.
I don’t want to become leaves and soil, she cried.
And I cried, rocking her in my arms, earth already falling through.


When I sit quietly and you

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

When I sit quietly and you
aren’t there so rush in suddenly, more,
nothing is quiet in my heart, or the quiet is so large

it pushes water from me
in a resounding wave of joy:  I won’t
tell you.  It is mine. Telling sucks the wave back to sea.

I would rather feed you
what the wave does to me. Kiss it
upon your shoulder in a grocery store, share it

in the larger bite,
breathe it upon your cheek at night
this wave that carries me always to your shore.


Dedication Prayer

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

~with thanks to T.W.R., who taught me

May any good that walks
through the three
doors of me

walk toward
your three doors.
And yours.  And yours.

Once we leap over
stones of who we were,
are, or could be,

burn through clouds
of clench, shove and sleep,
may we quickly wake

the inter-nestled light
of our three prism bodies
where we are less than one,

more than three.


Pronunciation and Conjugation Lesson

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Volver means to return,
to come back.

Don’t drawl it with an American v:
vawl-ver, like revolver.

Or the Hungarian v:
Wole-wear, though this makes me kiss you.

The v is a soft, almost b,
the love child of b and v.

Top teeth on lower lip,
yet lips together,

say it: bowl-bear,
soft bowl, soft bear with a rolled r.

means you (formal) return,
or yearns: (beloved, please) return.

Say bwail-bay, bwhale-bay
Go easy on the (wh)y.

Vuelve , mi amor.
Vuelve the way you do.

Vuelve, vuelve,
with your eyes

like a starved bear’s
looking for spilled seeds,

licking them from
the soft bowl of me,


May 2009