I am testing this to see if I can still actually post something.  This is not actual poetry.  Or, maybe it is.  Who am I to tell you how to intemperate what I say here?


Reading Tonight

(If you’ve seen this shameless plug for myself a million times, please forgive me!)

Tonight: Java Monkey

8:00 excellent open mic for 45-60 minutes.

After open mic, Feature reader: Me

After: another awesome open mic

Hope to see you! Bring a sweater just in case, have some wine/beer/dessert, & I promise to be fun.

New World Order

I, teacher of English,
stand accused:
     slayer of GPAs,
     snake waiting to strike
     mistress of doom
     in my Iron Maiden armor
          deaf to pleas
          of family deaths, broken hearts.
I am matron, gray dressed and cold.
I am the executioner of sentences,
     the warden whipping
     misplaced modifiers
     and fragmented souls
     that run-on and on.
I am the sentinel of tradition
     preaching old fashioned adherence
     when grammar, after all, is now optional.
even “i” no longer needs a capital
the new world sentence moves without diagrams
it does not stop on its axis
even if there is an exclamation point

Little Bo Peep

The man on the couch in the back of the coffee shop—the one with the big ears and long fingers—is the one who blended into the corner of our table on Halloween, his laptop open, eyes on his screen. There were seven us–women–but none of us said anything. We were drunk and dressed like pirates and mechanics, and I was concentrating on her booty and she under my hood pouring wine from small bottles and all of us at the plate glass window seat watching monsters and Siamese twins and Darth Vader, so we hardly noticed him, hardly noticed if he was taking video, didn’t think that he might later take us into his bathroom and pretend he was under the table dressed like Little Bo Peep.

Tending the Grass

When my husband goes out to water the lawn
cigarette dangling from his mouth and shirtless
I’m afraid that the police will show up
and arrest him since the only white guys I see
on “Cops” are tattooed (like my husband)
although usually they have homemade tattoos
which have to be fuzzed out
because they say things like fuck you which,
of course, is too many letters for one hand, one letter
per finger, so you might as well write fuck
on one forearm and you on the other so when
you stand with your hands at your sides,
you can relay a message and this
usually under the name Shirley or Tina
with a heart and maybe a crooked
arrow and shirtless, like I said, or at the very least
wearing a white tank top otherwise known as
a wifebeater, which my husband is not, but nonetheless
they, the cops, might drive by and see that he is
watering even though there is a ban during the summer
because of the drought and then throw him, shirtless,
over the side of the car while he yells something stupid
like “Please just don’t look in that small box
in my family room, the one stacked on top of my
Grateful Dead tapes, just please don’t look there”
at which point they would have to come in and look
and with my luck I’d be braless and barefoot drinking
a can of Schlitz and have to tell the cops that my husband
wasn’t doing anything wrong, I swear, there’s no box
in the family room, but if there was,
it’s our right to have it anyway.

Iconically American

from the photo “Billboard on US Highway 99, 1937” by Dorothea Lange

 In The American Way
In There’s No Way Like
In The World’s Highest Standard of
smiling bodiless faces float   Living
above the dash.
Hands steer one round wheel
and even the Westie smiles from the open window
his ears perked
his tongue pinkly happy
his paws too iconic to jump.

Scene VII: Gentleman

I am in Buffalo. I’ve been dancing with a Merchant Marine,
or so he says. I’m not even sure what this means,
but it sounds tough. Like he’d know how to dance.
Like he could pick me up and throw me around.
When we’re done dancing,
he drops me off at the Pink Flamingo,
a dive bar with hot pink graffiti-ed walls.
My friend is supposed to meet me here at 2am.
She is late.
This is before cell phones.
I do not know her number.
I do not know where she lives.
The bar is closing.
The man sitting next to me takes me to his place.
It is cold in Buffalo in March on the back of a bike.
He puts a pillow on his couch,
hands me a blanket.
Just don’t get up during the night he says.
He doesn’t like it. He points to the wolf sleeping at the front door.
The man walks to his bedroom, turns out his light.
I sleep carefully.

Meanwhile the Eagle

The eagle has landed on Bernice’s kitchen table.
She is nonplussed,
and has turned away from her pans and spoon
to yell over her shoulder
maybe to her kids to keep it down
to her husband to answer the phone.

Meanwhile, the eagle,
          whose wings when stretched
          embrace a country
          whose beak spears flesh,
          crushes bone,
stands on the kitchen table
his beak deep in a mixing bowl
eating Bernice’s batter,
his head bobbing
in tune with her stirring wooden spoon.

from the real photo “Baking Day” by John Drysdale

It Is Impossible to Write a Good Sex Scene, Take 6: She Loved This Night

His hand rests on her hip.
Behind his eyes
colors shine into climbing vines.  
The roses tremble
in red and yellow blooms.

Scene VI: Graduate Housing

You would think that Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
would be a safe place to live,
but ask anyone. It isn’t.
I know this because this is where we live.
A former crack whore shares our duplex.
She works at Krystal now.
She has kicked the habit.
Her 3 children from business transactions visit.
They sleep on her floor.
And the man next door has a large, toothless woman.
She is “slow” and, rumor has it,
he makes her do horrible sex things.
Across the street is a house with a bare dirt yard.
When we come home from a trip
there is yellow tape across the front door
and my jewelry is gone
and we know the people across the street have it.
So I go to work every night
wondering who might be digging through my drawers
looking for something they want.

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