NatPoMo – each day in April, a poem

NatPoMo copy

Day 28


I felt like a teenager
seeing you again
but for the first time
in this way

walking towards me
the forest an orange
blaze behind you
swollen with autumn’s crush

were you angry?
I don’t know but some
passion was moving you
would you open your mouth

to sing or howl?
the hair on your face
and head curling

I remember organizing
the constellations
in notebooks
and I could never remember
red from blue from white
but I told myself
there are two types of stars
ones that sparkle
patterns in the lapis night
and the ones you don’t see
that pull you away


Day 26

write about this
the moment you imagine
far away from philosophies
about moments and whether
we exist or have ever existed
whether a moment is an echo
or a train plowing forward
write it closer to the iron taste
in your mouth, close
to the shiver outlining
your neck and ears

write about that –
the way you always
have to imagine the moment
you weren’t living in
although its significance
dominates your daydreams
your ability to remember him

any other way
like the way he
walked you through
the woods
pointing out
and poppy colored mushrooms
his eyes amethyst at dusk
his hands squaring off
the world in segments
you could digest

write your way back
so you can hold him
as he holds his chest
and falls, knowing
he can’t stop
the cosmic rush
of blood and particle
that he knew he was
the physiology
that we are
a body’s nature
that comes
to claim him
every time


Day 23

Maybe the Green

maybe the green knew you first
maybe you mushroomed out of music
crystallized, swung off tone

and green held your hand
said “this way towards bright
eye-seeded fields, your lime mission.”

on a gold stage, voices jeweled
lovers danced their stub-toe way
arms roped to waists

waists of the ones
your rocketship ones
the kites of their eyes

the brass-green keys to all those green doors
stars tool the sky
past prayer fumes

wonder blasts from each ear
the meaning is incognito
maybe it doesn’t mean a thing

the grass-haired soil
she is your drum
your rhythm grave

flowers, like swing notes
scale your shins
kiss the backs of your knees

this summer, be bold
with leafy promises
promise yourself a new honey

fuel – don’t waste a day
not singing
not burning


Day 22

The Mountains















Modern Medicine





Day 19

The Yoga Spider

Right as I was stepping back
I almost clipped her with my big toe

But she, faster than me, circled in
– what would you call it – fear?

Or skill? No bigger than a lentil
Henna bulbous abdomen, spry eight legs

I think eight limbs of yoga
A philosophy I was taught years ago during

An unwieldy yoga training program
We hoped to braid those eight threads

Create a life walking
On the eight fold path

As a way to end suffering: right view, right effort,
Intension, speech, action, concentration – ugh, that spider

Zigging and zagging my toes, tiny nooses
Around my concentration – quickly

Three times, I flicked her, gently –
Or so I thought –

She fisted her eight legs
And moved no more. I did not intend

To end her. But so I did.
I was waiting for the pony-tailed women

Near me to sigh at my unskillfulness –
As my teacher would have named my actions –

But no one noticed the small incident
Brought down on a small creature.

In my house it is a rule to jar
And place all spiders back into the yard.

Out of context, I had failed you, Spider,
Weaver of the first alphabet, as Native American

Legends place you; Spider, wrapper of flies,
Spinner of geometric patterns that catch sunlight –

I’m sorry. The next forty minutes
As I passed through down dogs and planks

I eyed her body, rationalizing
Perhaps I have ended a distraction and am thus on my path –

But the distraction only deepened to lesson.
Several times the teacher almost squashed

Her with footfalls, but by the end of class
While laying in corpse pose, out of the corner of my eye

At ground level, she seemed to tower
In her kingdom of the floor. What do I know

About this land? Enough to stand above it?
Without eight limbs to navigate

I have only two, making me distant and deadly.
Sister Spider, can I borrow from your memory

silk strategies, eight footed rhythm and kaleidoscopic visions?
After we OM’d and bowed and rolled up our mats

I scooped her in my hand, laid her on the window sill
As I could have done had I the strength to pause.

Do not carry regret for me, she said.
Spit up a web on your page. Practice

Spider Pose

Bend your mind
Make a change.


Day 16

I haven’t bet on your charm
I walking past
we went from sleep
we broke into food
food left us rotting
my love hit the door
my love accused
my love accepted
pilgrams sang open roads
meditation lingered
fresh eggs, fresh news
buckles of belts
buckles of horses
horse feet and goat hoof
back to being a teenager
back to the vintage music
toads on the sofa
wise chips from owls
sentimental for parents
they knew not of emoticons
they knew not of me
they might have guessed
their hands peer out of mine
my doing, my labor
their fastidiousness I can not shed
tomorrow’s hue
let’s not name it to death
how to stay raw
woken crocus
wasn’t there a metal band called “crocus?”
that seems weird
bite open a storm
know that you’re over your head
muscle then let go
practice the let go
know that you have no choice
then chose it
chose it


Day 13

Talk to Me, Frank

in the park of strangers
with my pickle and cheese sandwich

I can’t wait to get home tonight and play
that old mixed tape, ska, Talking Heads, Sugarcubes

strangers bloom open spring magazines
flower prints and full page fuchsia reflect off soily faces

the heroin addicts in the drum circle are talented
but still, they are in a drum circle

later, a brass band plays on the subway platform
a steamboat and no one

wants to get off. Enough. It’s spring
let’s all get off. Tough breath

tight hands, sore asses, the forsythia
so yellow and learning for the first time

a bird, we all hear it, somewhere in the station
for a moment, it sounds like a recording

ever so slightly, the chins of the crowd
tilt upward, even you Frank, searching


Day 11

I was a wasted child
I feel the wind kick up my feet
the bells bang at my back
there was no place without the roll of traffic
there was no sun for me
candles burned but did not light me
phones rang but did not call me
plates steamed with untouchable morsels
like these words to your ears
my morsels you will not eat
my song you will not fit into your mouth
I have no sparkling sky
I have a limitless map to wander
I have no milk or blush
I have only heavy pockets of found
tin, books, a can opener just in case
everything on me works, it has to
you can’t carry what’s broken
when you are broken
who will carry me? no one
but I understand you can’t carry
me broken when you are broken
but understanding doesn’t make everything right
it makes something
I don’t know what
here, I’ve read this book
it carries the grace of windstorms
that have torn through seven states
I have read about the hero
and I have wept for the hero
and I have wished I was brave
and I have wished for a blind love
the one that comes when you have given up
when the world has given up
here, this book will never be broken
its words hold reckless winds and lovers
no matter how broken the wind
the chopped up voice skittering over fields
no matter how broken the warm lover
his voice radio static out of a opiate dream
the book has written its own story
its spine will never let them go


Day 8

That shabby coat – is it mine?
Why do I still have it?
Why do I never wear it?

I saw the pack yesterday
All wearing the coat
they turned, looked at me

Eyes gray, watery, as if they knew –
hell, they knew
but I kept walking

I should have tossed it
at my last move
or my last marriage

or some monumental momentous moment
the coat is a mountain in my closet
the coat is growing and growling and I shove it

deeper into the folds
I saw a young one of the pack – coated
she stared into me

feral giggle – she licked her hands
of mud and grass
splayed open her smile

I’m never wearing it again
the last time I did, I curled on my bed
wrapped in its arms and just howled

myself into a trance
back to the blue world
of blood and moon


Day 7

The Day All Clothing Died

it happened at the dark end of the street
at the laundry mat, a radiant ice cube
insides spinning and knocking like a time machine

there was a junkie on the pay phone
leaning on the gum ball machine
always the shiver of his tongue

when Wolf comes out, 3am, cart full
headphones on like a diver’s helmut
old old Fleetwood Mac, before the girls

8 socks in, 7 socks out
junkie hunts for quarters
leaves, comes back, leaves

Wolf shakes pine needles
from his blue jeans
eyes my pinks and oranges

a transistor radio, fully winged
descends, angel of the night songs
Wolf and I bow to its light

all the clothes get up and disco
shake and spin out the door
leaving us golden naked


Day 6

washing clean the morning
squeegee flexed facing dawn reflections
hose jetting off night’s wrappers, condoms, lost hats

washing clean the morning
firm wipe across a child’s smile
and the rest of that sticky silly soul

washing clean the morning
broom and bleach itching the platform
the burn of clean, the violence

washing clean the morning
the ribbons of robin and jay songs
tying back dreams, whipping back nightmares

washing clean the morning
each mouth, each tooth scrubbed
preparing the breath for today’s plates of words

washing clean the morning
shaking out the towel, the mop
taming dust for the dust collectors

washing clean those mornings
with dew, tears, sweat, whatever works
on streaks, stains, gook and webs

washing clean, washing morning
for sun’s grace, sun’s growing gold
shine the lens for today’s show

washing clean this morning
o, street sweeper with your porcupine wheels
flush curb, flush soot, flush habit, flush roads that I must walk


Day 5

Wonder Wheel

Monster Eye, you stare down the Sea’s
criss-cross waves, her flapping hem,
her tender buoyant gulp –

Why not just trust her?  Give up
your mechanics, your sight-to-think cog –
She’s going to win.

Unblinking sphere, seven white cars dangle
like starry charms on your rim
seven tears withheld their rightful pathos.

Inside your orb the frazzled falling
neurons screech on their iron paths
like owls diving for lemmings.

Deathless spinning salt shined iris –
Look at her.
You have borrowed your aqua from her.

Ocean mothers the sand with her shell ears –
Listen.  The message is the infinity of glass.
From your cages, thousands of tiny eyes turn

the kaleidoscope of memories of their mothers
and their many flowered dresses flower and float
into your lens splitting chimeras, starfish, sailors’ brass, mermaids’ mirrors.


Day 4

Gush for Boys

you were never doll yourself
you touched your sister’s Barbie
it’s silk gold pelt

but you were never being wanted
so you became collector
your tiny houses, your tiny tables

you chase all those blondes
all those Miami girls
each a four legged high-heeled tumble

come here, I’ll line your eyes
silver lids like Bowie space crafts
and brush your hair out all night long

you’re so beautiful, hurricane boy
let’s put some bells on those lobes of yours
you’re so so fucking beautiful


Day 3

You Wanna Go For a Little Ride?
For Darcie Abbatiello’s drawing of a missing woman, Leichia Reilly, 1985

Turquoise facing North
my birth was dug out
of a gypsy blood line
a relic of night
an heirloom tin whistle echoes
off my new earrings from Merry-Go-Round
Iridescent orange, purple and 80’s teal
Two swishy fishing lures
And they’ve caught his eye

I am from somewhere
I am a “from”
My father’s brooding Black Irish discontent
My grandmother’s coal explosion of hair
The South of me fumes
Studded jeans wrap my hidden smoke
The smoke forms into a stallion
Slick black huffing, hoofing
I leap on

Sister, the East island calls you home
With its Paprika sunrises
She stains her forests and coves
A whiskey peat moss red carpet for your advent
I nest in her rusty oaks and scots pines
You belong here, blushing spindle-tree

Tonight you will fur your body back to mahogany velvet
His hands on your throat, wine bubbling as you choke
Crimson footprints down the front of your grey jumper
He may hold you down in the back of his police car
He may never be cuffed to your crime
But you will catch my snowy silent wing
With your fierce, your bodhran heart
And I will owl-claw open the sun’s shameful exhibit
And I will take you away from this Westward barrens
And I will take you deeper home


Day 2 

the hoola hoop came folded on itself
a shimmery blue crescent
just as I opened its package
a blade of spring
slipped along a draft
a mud smell, a maybe smell

my hands tightened and blushed
fit each segment
listen for the click
of silver button snug in silver hole
pieces bend although tough
building a circle takes tension

the label instructed “go on your journey”
the man in my bed said “if you ever even use it”
the girl in my heart cried “I’m steering this wheel”
the hoop wobbled for a moment
the last link wasn’t going to come easy

I thought of the paths I’ve taken
that have never circled back
I remembered the rings removed
and dreams looped past me
swooped far overhead leaving me
on the ground, one end in my hand

I finally found my inner knees as leverage
and hugged it done with a firm snap
stayed there for a moment
facing the porthole back to swivel
the mirror into where summer brushes out her falling stars
I wriggled free and wriggle through


Day 1

Summer Symphony

what will she bring you?
a small brass cup of cherry wine
cocoanut shavings in the palm of your hand
rain sugaring the ochre
blue green vines twisting in braids
and long maroon bars of the sun’s eye shutting
a beach racing stripe

what will Summer bring?
mushrooms – their blistering occurrence

a forest of days
can we make a forest of your summers?
can we chop and burn one and listen to it whistle and pop all night?

what migration of nostalgia
what thawed river you’ve been afraid to cup your hands and suck from
what brash recline on unknown beds, sleeping bags, mats, floors, moss
what bruising last words that rush out naked carrying too much
what platter of peaches and grapes ripe with bronze shadows

this Summer will ruin your sentences
when the boy you love sings your name
when all you can say is “oh”
when his voice blushes your whole body
his breath shaky down your neck

Summer, don’t spare me this year
bring me high, bring me star shaved sky
bring me this year’s wild grass – timothy, foxtail, blackbent, and redtop
bring me green fisted buds, green clapping leaves and cursive pea shoots
Summer, I’m here for you, unwaltzed and ready
bring back those mushrooms from four stanzas ago
bring me fern, flags of the understory
bring me the hierarchy of mountains
their sapphire lakes and river tresses
their cool wolf toothed caves fur lined into gold veined tunnels

let’s go back to the lakes – let’s not skip their depth
their barking blue plunges
wet worms and snails curled on shorelines
clams flutter, those mud-ears slipping open
to swallow water’s song

let’s go back to the snails, their infinite spirals
O, I will follow their lead inward and outward
the dusty rose lips of their bodies latched
onto the cadet blue of their spacecraft shells
let’s look at the thousands of them all at once
a spinning French horn section of portholes

Summer, I promise:
less cell phone email text tumors
more red shoes
more rescued katydids
more donations to drought lands
more worry for the warred on
more books for the teen library
more hesitation for one-click shopping carts
less concern for my sloppy soul
less rumors, more cinnamon
more radios left on low while drifting on a porch
and thrift store LP’s spinning jangle guitars
more peacock feathered knee socks
less sturdy, more tremble

of frothing jade mountains
blackberry twilight and carnelian kisses
lapis highways and chrome haloed memories
highschool junkers and mystery bells
of songs with wide eyes
blonde ponies tramping up the dawn
and lit window diary nights writing his name

Summer – kingdom of night blooming jasmine
spider web Alahambras
electric blue hammock sex boats
asphalt melting banjos
flash of frog’s emerald parenthesis legs
Coney Island sparrows and swallows
Wonder Wheel fool rolling French kissing
butterscotch lighting, O Summer

once you found me, I was so overdone
I was bit down and wood blooded
why must I try so hard? botched by birth
just polish me with Django steel stringed winds

Summer you’re here
Summer, Witch of the Sun, Voodoo Moon
beat down on my skin
make it shine