April 23, 2009

A Work of Art

A woman’s body is the rent payment. It is a map of the earth.
A woman’s body can be divided into parts which can then

be used in order to name a type of man, as in, a tit man,
a leg man, as opposed to just an ass, man. Commercially,

a woman’s body looks very much like that of a very tall, very thin,
adolescent boy, with tits and no penis. (It would appear).

A woman’s body is found murdered in the undergrowth.
A woman’s body is available on Craig’s List, tattooed scarred,

stolen, unacceptable. Not her, she’s a child, not a woman yet, pal.
A woman’s body is more than you can handle. Is that why you take her

in sections? She is the tunnel from which you emerged. The soft
mountain of your infancy. This is your mother we’re talking about here.

A woman’s body is a place of art, a form of forms, asymmetrical wonder.
Sexually perfect, she belongs to herself like the earth belongs to the earth.

And speaking of the planet on which you stand, that body was fashioned by
the same great Mother who made the work of art that a woman’s body is.

April 16, 2009


Heart's a parasitic twin,
calcified from the wounding.
A missing rhythm, hardened
other, the broken love story
between the warrior girl who
hunts the captor of her heart’s
imagination and the boy
who loves to run his
fingers the length
of her scars.

April 09, 2009

My Own Beloved Child

On April 6, 2009 the body of 8 year old Sandra Cantu was found inside a black suitcase floating in an irrigation pond in Tracy, California. Sandra had been missing since March 27, 2009

My Own Beloved Child

I do not know you but I shall hold you like my own beloved child.
I promise once I’ve cleaned you I will cover you like my own beloved child.

From the black case I lift you and lay your modest form upon a white sheet.
Painstakingly, I comb through your tawny hair, like my own beloved child’s

Gently I hold each hand and scrape foreign matter from under your pink nails
Your tiny breathless nostrils and still breast make me ache for my own beloved child.

I photograph your cuts and bruises, set your twisted limbs aright,
Map every inch of your lovely form as I might my own beloved child’s.

I swab where I must, reassuring you that this will be the last assault upon you.
I eliminate all infection from you as I would from my own beloved child.

Every fiber and hair, is combed from your hello-kitty top and black leggings,
as if I were grooming the lovely angel wings of my own beloved child.

You are clean now, though no amount of wickedness could ever really stain you.
Dearest, you are my angel, my angel; forever my own beloved child.


You turned and walked away from the muddy pond leaving behind what was dirty.
You’ll have to wash your hands a few times more, make sure that they aren’t dirty.

Now you’ve gotten it out of you; drained the sore as you’ve been shown.
It breaks you’re spirit for a time. And for a time you are no longer dirty.

Ashes to ashes, mud to mud. You or her; you had to save yourself .No one defended you. It was her fault; she skipped in such a girlish way. It made you feel dirty

Fold into the 10th dimension, years before a boy is used in such distorted ways,
return and be a different man, leading a girl safely home, shielding her from anything dirty.

Dreams like this, stop with you, as light in a black hole or love in a sociopath.
You buy some candy, lose your dog, take all things sweet and try to make them dirty.

You thought to cleanse filth by sacrificing this tiny unscathed beauty.
Your soul has fled and will not return. You are entirely dark; forever filthy-dirty.

We’re blessed by angels who are unknowing of the existence of such vile beasts. Like the thing that made you dark, beyond all sense of dirty.

Minor angels rise to divinity, to exceed our wanting grasp. They comfort us with profound and graceful wings these beings spared this world, who dwell forever untouched, beyond the realm and awareness of a death which longs to make them, like you, dirty.

April 08, 2009


I first ran away when I was five.
Dad sat on the stoop with a grave goodbye,
respecting my conviction, but sorry to see me go.
I packed my orange and pink flowered suitcase:
underwear, clean shirt, Thumbelina doll.
I hoped Dad understood. I’d no wish to hurt him,
but I’d be moving on.

He watched me brave-faced
treading down Mifflin Avenue,
back straight, terror proudly stifled.
I made it passed Mrs. Easley’s Dwarf Irises.
There was that old black lab Sylvester
in the next yard chewing a tattered
yellow tennis ball, a few more doors
to the mean lady’s house. Now nearly
to the corner of Overton, my heart
raced along with me.

I dared not look back, sure my
eagle-eyed father could see me
this far down the avenue. I felt relief
as I made the corner by the
Ritter’s house. Now I could let my
belly full of fear and melancholy
heave through my chest and throat.
I bent over in tears, sad to think
of my mother’s heartbreak when she
discovers me gone. The site of the chain-link
fence around Ruth Ritter’s yard
her father’s vegetable garden,
the swing set, the sandbox still built
with our afternoon imaginings, all this,
filled me with comfort, so that I thought
for a moment to turn down Mifflin alleyway
toward what used to be my backyard.

Instead, I took steely steps down Overton
toward Trenton Avenue and stood on the corner,
doors away from the Caliguri’s on the border
of a dozen strange houses. I ventured on –
a slowed car passed my teary vision
on this strange street, there were fewer trees,
the lawns were bare, the hedges, overgrown.
Aging Victorian homes in need of paint,
their dark-eyed windows, advanced my small
feet. When I reached a familiar house on the corner
of Trenton and Hutchinson. The Bailey sister’s
who sold their homemade cookies
and who I often visited, “Mom says I can’t ask.
But if you offer, I can have a cookie.”
I didn’t know this alternate route
to the Bailey’s. The back of their house
was kitty-corner to my old place. I’d traveled
this long and far, only to find myself
nearly home again.
I felt sure my Dad would laugh
at me when he saw me turn the corner
Of Hutchinson onto Mifflin Avenue.
Instead, he welcomed me as if I was
returned from a long and arduous journey
with hugs and celebration.

The second time I left home
I was 17, pregnant, and upset with my
siblings. They were hassling me
in efforts to influence certain choices
I was about to make. I’d left Mifflin
Avenue in whirl of tears and drama
for the apartment of a public health nurse
who lived in an unfamiliar part of town,
there were tenements, two and three
family homes, parked cars lining the street
curbs and no trees. My father discovered
my whereabouts and called me wanting to
visit for a talk. He was considerate toward
me and respectful in a way that confused me.
I thought he’d be angry with me.
We sat together in the dingy kitchen of
this strange apartment. I cried and so did
my father when he asked me to come home,
assuring me that no one would be bothering
me with opinions about my plans or my baby.

When at eighteen I gave birth to a daughter.
It was dad who was my coach that long
life-altering night. A father of five, he had
never seen a woman in labor. He later told
my mother if he had been with her for one
childbirth, she never would have had a
second child. I am unable to recall his
words when he met his new grandchild
yet more than thirty years later I can
see his blissful face as they wheeled my
swaddled daughter and me on a gurney
from the delivery room to meet him.

On father’s day, just fifteen months later,
I watched dad leave Mifflin Avenue in the
ambulance I’d summoned there. I yelled at
curious neighbors to stop staring and to go
back in their houses. My lately walking
daughter clung to my leg. Here was my remarkable
dad, fallen. I was protective yet helpless to shield
him from his fate. Dad never returned to Mifflin
Avenue and somehow, I too, have been missing since.

April 06, 2009


Landmark is a small college in Putney, Vermont.
The men and women who study there
compare it to a beacon – a sign of land,
after years in a baffling academic sea.
Pedestrian learners aren’t admitted here.

Students bear the badges of ADD/HD,
Aspergers-Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning
Difference and Dyslexia. It’s unfortunate
we commoners can’t share this campus.
We’d likely discover startling things
about learning, the world, and ourselves.

Some travelers view lighthouses as quaint attractions.
My friend collects miniatures, Currituck Beach,
Bloody point, Bodie Island Light, conical replicas of
the seafarer’s solace. Putney is an inland village, but the
Landmark campus draws international travelers, who know,
just as their ancestors once lost at sea knew, they will
find their own way, if given a light to follow ashore.

April 01, 2009


The conditions of a solitary bird are five: First that it flies to the highest point. Second that it does not seek after company; not even its own kind. Third, that it aims its beak to the wind. Fourth, that it has no definite color. Fifth that it sings very sweetly.
(John of the Cross: Sayings of Light and Love)

Clouded Leopard
To begin it was thought she was bird,
raven, or solitary spotted owl.

Next, her tree dwelling ways,
how she slunk under branches,
lunged headlong down tree trunks.
Of this, it was said simply, squirrel.

Perhaps not fauna at all, theories grew.
This coat of gray elliptic shadows
and the sorrow provoked
by her poised against the bluest
afternoon sky. Cloud species: alto-cumulus.

Yet hearing of her saber-ic canines,
the gift of balance, her long tail,
and that she’d gone mad in captivity
first killing, then devouring her young,

prowling the corners of her keep,
disappearing entirely and for days,

and how her mate became aggressive
after sexual encounters.

I recognize, but do not declare,
this cousin of mine.