Blue Philco Radio

her heart packed with songs
waiting for your ear blooms

she’s heard your tune
a code of notes

deciphered through her tubes
low end of the dial whispers

world woes, new news, little wave
magnetic sonar shadows

fizzy sigh
when you turn her on




1)The Artificial Fern

Sub atomically speaking

it’s impossible to tell

exactly what it will do.


2) Invitation

Everyone else brought such wonderful things.

I brought my impostors

and a box of darts that speaks French –

they’ll talk you into anything.


3)Whiskey Night

We ate eggs out of the pan.

We talked about all the bad sex we ever had –

what has it done to us?


Sometimes, I’ve been the leopard skin sweetie;

estrogen frosted sugarplum, butterfly eyes,

not enough smoke to sew up the pieces.


Sometimes, I fall in love with the poison doctor;

his mutton eyes, animal tongue.


Time falls flat behind me –

daisies flicker.

He calls a rabbit to my window.


4) Do you want to kiss a bunny on its nose?

Did you not survive the cruelty of your childhood?

Was it not necessary to snap from the beauty-gush?

The slow peel towards death –

and some flung themselves brightly towards bone.

Was it so cruel; everyone was banished,

arrowhead in ribs. Reach up my shirt,

feel the soft scar surprise.


5)Radio Night

I held down his wrists…

his eyes gone silver…

ain’t no sunshine…


6)At a Small Fire Near the River

I’m having the lover-dreams –

one by one they turn themselves away,

their fruit bodies, out of reach.


It’s not so fierce to say

love will be difficult for me.

With both parents gone,


I feel forever lost on a line

and the expensive love, the fragile love,

love on sale, love made of steam –


dear lover, you’re so young

and have no idea the hunger

when you tell me not to look back.


7)Rain Night

The pear tree’s fragrance.

Quiets my heart.


8)The Artificial Fern’s Lament

When I say I want cake

I mean chocolate hazelnut filling,

Lady Baltimore, triple layered.

I mean butter cream frosting you suck off the fork.

I mean velvet, coconut, carrot – your teeth shiver.

Lemon cheesecake, German, black forest,

saffron, almond, sponge, sheet, fallen.

I mean I’m walking back three blocks to the Lemon-lime

coffee shop where I can put both elbows up

on a milky-green counter, twist my seat

clockwise, counterclockwise.

I’m thinking one moist tall slice laid

on a red-rimmed plate. I’m thinking

someone has to tell me I deserve it – they tell me

get it now, before it’s too late – or

make sure you like his socks,

make sure you can serve it up –

I make a bad cake. I once made a guy such a bad cake,

had to use two hands with the knife –

he didn’t even laugh. Never again.

I want a guy already cake. With brown baked eyes,

tart turnover tongue, and when I say I want him

I mean bring me the special.


9)Ode to Diner Condiments (to jh)

Sweetheart, chrome-haloed,

you’ve eaten two chocolate frosted donuts already.


But a true sign of a vinegar soul:

how you’re deft with salt.


And still, you stir,

the trouble you infatuate.


Pepper, my dear, minced shadow.

Sugar, the snow of your childhood.


10) Blue Faced God Night

I was once an American tailgater;

– a string of bells around my waist.


People can be such heart–cannibals.

How you can stand on a curb, crowdless –

an old afghan smell rummages your hope.


He never ever comes again.

Or reads you the story about nomad rabbits.




Trees on the Moon


they came here years ago

carried by a stray wind

and they don’t miss us


when we climb them

they are pleasingly cold

hell-bent and icy prisms


ghost hand leaves

vein inscriptions

coded with frost


iridescent owls

like dying neon nest

like eager bell hops


open their wings

like accordions

squeeze out radiant tones


now I can’t leave them

roots tentacle my breath

love is pricey, love is guts




The Book of Shadows


He burned for one night –

a steady flame, a wolf tooth.

His mouth, a boat of songs and kisses.

And when he burned, he burned

a doorway of ash.


His shadow crosses my bed

blackberry and thorn marking a short life

a heavy spell on the tongue;

my hands followed his hands

as I wrote the Ode of Roses


in Polaroid.

You can quote me, he warned

but the lighting will change

the food will be gone

the dog will want out


I took that one night –

ink forever ravened

in a constellation of verbs

and a holy mist

of analogous blood.




Wild Crafting


How does it come to this:  culinary school and

you’re choking on a stolen gelatinous disc of marrow

and now you have to Heimlich yourself

because you’re alone in the cooler…


You say to yourself:  How? this sequence of events

floating me.  I’m doing a rain dance

in the middle of a moving constellation

of unreliable factors, nonparallel friendships –


See how they shine?  There were clues

buried in childhood: the same trip

over yourself sensation, all along

the world on vibrate as you stumble


from one anthem to the next.

Last week, you went wild crafting, hunted

uncultivated mushrooms.  Dizzy as you search

for their rouge orange secrets, you lay down,


remember the Japanese movie about Mushroom

People stuck on an island with no choice but to eat

and be overcome.  You plant your cheek to the musky earth

spotted with acorns and rows of fiddle heads, lean question marks…


But right now, above you feet scuff frantic

like steel brushes on the orbit of an all night drum solo –

your fellow students hurry to prepare

tonight’s meal which will be graded –


While you tease salt from the face of death

which is strident and evergreen

youthful and sweet like rum –

baited, you almost swallow…


Why aren’t you ever where you should be?

How do you return from such a long non-linear

phrase?  Thrusting your own fists

guts awaken and breath resentfully takes you back.





My Roommate’s Box of Worms


Urbanites can compost, the directions say.

My roommate feeds them food scraps and strips of newspaper.

They eat through the president’s haircut, last week’s

train crash, Macy’s underwear sale.

They’ve eaten the entire English language

and pooped it back as soil.

The dead worms, eaten.


Sometimes I’ll suddenly remember the box;

silent inside, a squirming dark heat.


Past midnight, I find the cat, Slink, vigilant,

aquiver, sniffing the air holes. This worm business

has him pretty shook up.  They never stop eating.


There must be a point to Brooklyn worms;

I mean, for themselves.  Maybe they have

a higher purpose than soil like… saving us from our rot;

that banana we forgot to eat, blackened,

our magazine fodder, the latest sensations

are now last week’s edition, the images, words –


Words.  They’re eating me.

Aerating my silence.


What’s wrong with the earth?  I asked,

years ago, when my sister argued for the cremation.

            Mom doesn’t want to lay in a box waiting for crawlers.

But it’s the natural cycle, to be born back into mud

the earth wants us back, craves us

            Trust me, Susan – she doesn’t want it.



Slink and I awake with the worms.

Why don’t they sleep, at least, dream

of their life-long shimmy, their one long hole…

I lift the lid (hold the cat back),

a slight musk makes Slink’s tail shiver,

mingle my fingers with their red-brown bodies,

and they are not so cold.




The Small Owls


feathers iridescent knives

sprites of the vortex

they can heat and die


so let them go

the elders’ eyes

darken yellow to flame


we track their starry wings

our clumsy bought

with gravity, a small cry


blazes through frost

we too went rushing

towards night, dove


to love the one

anointed in river

on obscure moonlight


their young ghosts

flurry, promise

when the world turns away


when soil rejects spade

they will come back

with their ice and stories