Friday, December 24, 2010

Why am I so inclined to suffer?
I plug my nose and stuff socks in my mouth so that I cannot breathe
spit them out, panting and gagging
Slicing my shoulders with a razor blade so that no one will see
that I am a coward

I smoke until I vomit
The C-word not applicable anymore
I exorcised that demon and it crawled back inside
but sits in the corner, bored

Why am I so inclined to lose?
I lose everything I have, give it away, even after much thought
I want someone to rip out my insides,
turn me inside out. I see myself on street corners and think this is the only way
I will be happy, with nothing
This is calculated loss

I am in and out of darkness
This is the way it has to be for now

Friday, December 17, 2010


Sometimes my heart is dark as night.  I step out of my body, watching the girl on the bed, pillow over her head, shaking like a bag of bones.
This fear recreates me.
I step outside, feet barely touching the clouds of snow that hang around like thugs on a streetcorner. I am warm but know that I shouldn't be.
This fear recreates me.
I look inside windows and see people staring at televisons. I watch a woman lean over her kitchen sink with her hands full of bubbles, weeping.
This fear recreates me
As I smooth my static, ghostly hair from my face a child plays silently with toys that talk back but don't say the words he wants them to.  He is weeping.
This fear recreates me
And curtains close, and lights shut off and I am born again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

in safeway sometimes the music kills the mood

when i leave my house i am someone else

arms wider, chest open, waiting

captivated by assholes on bikes

breathing the stench of men who don't have to fight to be

choking on words in safeway forgetting

forgetting always forgetting to turn down the music in my ears

people stare

can of coke in my pocket, lungs full of streetnoise

duck down when police roll by

i live here

forget that i live

forget where i am

in safeway sometimes the music kills the mood

i wind down in the fierce cold fucking place where i live

i wonder what is in my throat, talk to my insides

fuck it i say, come up if you have to

i dont know these people

the man in the corner stares at me

i put my hood up

open my eyes a little wider


A Beautiful Gift

He is staring at me. The nicotine stains on my fingers.. my hair, which he finds amusing. I look back at him and wonder how he can wear a wool sweater in this kind of heat. His eyes are gummy, and I ask him if he has been to see a doctor lately.

He coughs long and hard, painfully, clutches his chest and tells me that he hasn't, because he feels like faith healing is the only thing that can help him at this point. He asks me for a cigarette and I pass one to him.

"You've never been hurt," he says, still studying me, and I wait for him to continue but he doesn't. I ask him what he means, and he repeats himself. In my mind I see myself in my bedroom as a child, and even now, rocking back and forth. The eternal me, hurting. I see all of the ways, all of the times that I have been humiliated, abused.

And I smile. "I've been hurt," I say, and want to tell him how but when I see his shaking hands I can't. I lean against the fence.

"... But I'm happy to be alive." He smiles at me and I take a deep breath, because I mean what I said. I let that happiness swell in my chest and feel it for a minute or so while we smoke in silence.

What a beautiful gift.

My own Eyes

"How are you, son?"

The voice was that of an older relative, a man

and I sparkled like a star for a moment

My dad looked at me and shrugged

"This is one of my girls," he answered.

Inside I felt a meteor hit my heart

I was eight years old

My chest still flat, my body long and lanky

my hair licking at my ears in waves that wanted to be.

Later I lay on my back in the grass and looked down at my body

There was a bump there, I saw it for myself

I let the moonlight hit my eyes and carry me away

Still later...

"This is what it feels like to kiss a boy," I told her, and the others stared

when I kissed her on the lips, my eyes closed but twinkling

so soft

When I opened them again the girls looked away and I did too

scuffed my feet against the floor and bit my lip till it bled

I walked home as if in a trance

On the way

A voice came from under my shoe

"But you're not a boy."

My polka-dot blouse giggled nervously

But later on I took them off

threw them in a heap in the corner of my room

I kept my underpants on

grabbed a sock from my drawer and opened up the blinds

My own venetian eyes drank in the stars outside my window

Beautiful Child

Beautiful child,

I tied your umbilical cord with a piece of red yarn

a tiny scarlet bow that was soft,

so soft on your sweet velvet skin

You looked up at me with liquid eyes and I knew that you knew

that my own cord was severed long ago

before I taught myself to breathe.

Beautiful child,

I handed you to your mother as soon as her eyes were open

eyes like yours, only wiser

She played with your toes, watched them turn pink

a technicolour message of hope

I knelt at your feet,

dressed in my finest rags.

I opened my mouth to speak

but you reached out your tiny hand to silence me

I didn't have to tell you

about the moment the world turned dark.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

in my dreams

in my dreams i am a mother
in my dreams i am alone
i have no mother
i search in vain for pathways
burnt lines on olive skin
take my first steps
white teeth in  my peripheral vision

in my dreams i am a mother
in my dreams i am alone
i search in vain for a familiar voice
a voice that knows my face by heart
speak my first words
someone laughs, casting light in my direction

in my dreams i am alone
i have no mother
my books are empty pages
chewed at the corners
my face is never clean

in my dreams i am alone
a shiny, opulent version of myself
mouth open, but i have learned no words
i am a mother
a ghost
always looking
watching no one watching me

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

almost love

You saw my higher self, bumbling through the darkness in a cowboy hat
I saw yours
Filling up water bottles in a bathroom stall while I waited beside the forest, hiding from the light that catches your eyes
Eyes catching me
That light loves the nighttime and I recognized your face
The face of someone who loves me, and has loved me since the beginning of time
And so now
I lie in that same darkness, heart beating alongside yours
to the pulse of artificial sunshine that beats it's way through the door
open a crack because we are both afraid

Only it's leaving slowly
and I have never known this same peace

You and I will make something beautiful together
Two broken spirits, resurrected

Saturday, June 19, 2010


This house wraps around me like a moth-eaten scarf. Turning inside out, it has a pulse of it's own. From where I sit I see the chicken leg, the fence of skulls, the woods just beyond this window.

"My Bright Dawn, my Red Sun, and my Dark Midnight."

I see this

Cleverly disguised as the end of a path, the cessation of loneliness that only truly lonely people can see right through. That ancient promise, the one that has us envisioning a life with no pain until you wake up and realize that it's an illusion. Relief from loneliness can happen only where there is surrender.

Take me, I say, and the water I am being swept into is black as night. My eyes are closed and I pray for fearlessness until I sink down into this mattress, further down past the ground and the basement, into the center of the earth, and then into the void.

This seemingly empty space sparkles for me. One second of illumination and I gasp for breath. It is so beautiful, so beautiful, because in this space is held everything without a name, every child, every creature that has never seen light, and thus, never been fearful. Because it is in light that fear is born, not in the darkness; true darkness is beautiful as the Yaga's mysterious home is beautiful.
As we are all beautiful.

I see it right now, in my mind, and I ask that darkness to come to me like a ghost at my bedside. Blindfold me and leave me alone so that I can find my way in the night.

out for a smoke

A man squats in the dead grass in front of his rooming house, digging in the earth and if everything around him falls away I am somewhere warm, in the country that he left to come here. I take a drag of my cigarette and wonder what he thought would be here for him. I wonder if he found it, if his body has forgotten what it is to be hungry, or if he still experiences hunger.

Five minutes later a few old (and seemingly drunk) people ride by on bicycles, laughing. Their matted grey hair trails far behind like a flag of wild poverty, a wolfish gesture aimed at the air around them. Their beards and bosoms sway and pretty soon I am laughing too, listening to them holler at eachother not to get killed, or drop the beer.

Finally there is a man in a wheelchair, moving down the sidewalk as if in a luxury vehicle. His strong brown arms move effortlessly, and there is so much grace that I have to look away, thinking of my own fumblings. His daughter moves in the background like an afterthought, humming a tiny song.

And my connection with fire is satisfied until I am compelled again to sit outside, astounded and bewildered by what it means to be alive in this world.


He is laying in bed and she is laying in bed and we are all laying in bed, alone.
Sometimes I want to close my eyes against all this loneliness
Separate beds and separate cries and separate lives
I watch his eyes on the wall and wait for him to blink but he doesn't
because there are no shadows, everything is a shadow
and when everything is in shadow our souls begin to die
I watch his soul die from the living room sofa and mine dies at the same time
and so does hers
and love hides under the bed, and we are alone
Sometimes I want to close my eyes against all this loneliness
but behind my eyelids I see shadow
more shadow and I am alone

Friday, June 18, 2010

I hold my daughter's hand while she walks, watching as she navigates litter and parts of the sidewalk that are still slippery with ice. She is very careful not to step on cracks, and I ask her why. She slows her pace and looks at me with eyes that hold many layers of darkness.

"Because you're not supposed to," she says, and lets go of my hand. Suddenly I am walking alone, watching her run ahead. I pass a black shoe that someone has discarded or lost, and I look around briefly for the other one, because they are nice. There's only one, so I keep walking.

She is far ahead now, but instead of asking her to slow down, I speed up to meet her pace. I light a cigarette and watch her skipping, listening to her sing songs in a tiny voice. The wind carries her voice to me, and her eyes, inherited from someone I hardly know, glow like fireflies in the shade. Because you're not supposed to, I think, and smile a bit. There is so much magic in a child's world.

I want to paint her in this moment, shining with all the intensity of someone who has been chosen by the sun himself. I could never capture light like hers

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lightening Eyes

A man is in front of me, and he is spinning in circles. It seems he has no control over his body, and before I catch up he crashes into a fence.

I give him my hand and his is warm like his smile. We walk a few blocks and get him some beer. He holds it to his chest in the same way that I held my babies, and his eyes are happy.

I walk back home with my nine dollars worth of groceries and there is another neighbor. He tells me stories about how his ex-lover beat him for many years. He too has a hard time walking because his leg is badly broken, and there is alcohol on his breath. I get up to give him a seat on my front stoop so that he can rest his leg, and he shakes my hand many times and makes jokes about my hair. His eyes are tired.

Later on there are others and when I go to sleep I dream that I have a see-through fence around my yard and on the grass there are many sleeping bodies, like children at a slumber party. Their yellow fingers clutch the grimy limbs of teddy bears and blankets, and I look out my window, so as not to disturb anyone.

No one can touch these people through my magical fence - they are safe until they can walk and their bodies are able, and when police cars crawl by all the cops can do is stare. I stare back with lightening in my eyes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Gemini nightmare, careening through the clouds toward a door in the West, where I met my ancestors and offered them a rubber bone. It was all I brought with me from where I was, sitting in someone's backyard for seven years. I had stolen a pebble a day from the neighbors, had made something that almost resembled a mountain until I smashed it.

They didn't want my bone, but pointed to the East and shook their heads, walking away. I opened the door and understood but went in, throwing my bone on the ground so I could have both hands free. But there wasn't anything there anyway, just darkness and shale. Over time my eyes became unaccustomed to light, and I lost them. Saint Anthony, I prayed, Come and find me. But he didn't, and I stayed there, pilfering shale from no one until I had another mountain. A Gemini daydream, translucent and becoming, lost in the chaos of reproduction. Some of us were never meant to find our way.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the sun

We face the sun together, all of us who have the mis/fortune of waking, we face the sun together

Me and the guy who picks up the garbage. I watch his muscles ripple under his shirt and I want him to look my way. The people bustling down the street, holding their breath when they pass by the graveyard; I watch their smiles fade under the burst of bright light and I think of Hiroshima.

I am aghast. What the fuck is rising above me? The sun, the one we all turn our heads toward at the very same time.

Multi-coloured children like flowers growing in the grass around me, I wonder which ones have mothers and I mouth prayers with sunburned lips for those that don't. God help us

We face the sun together, even those that have never seen light

The guy at the bus stop yesterday, telling me of his temptation to hurt those he loves. His eyes were confessing a truth that I understand well. He does what he says and they in turn hurt others and so do I and we all face the sun together. God help us

because we hurt

But there is this fucked up kinda hope that comes in the form of a golden sphere, a crystal ball, rising, always, shining on the garbage man and the guy at the bus stop, the children in the grass
and me
and you

God help us
I mean this from the bottom of my heart

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

and i die and you die

And I die and you die

And a baby lies in a plastic cage with a hole cut out for his mother's hand. She does not hear him crying, but sits beside him in a wooden chair, not sleeping, not listening.  It is his own hell until the third day, when he finds the energy to open his eyes and sees the rows of other babies beside him.  All of them are alone, just like him, and his crying stops and he sleeps

And I die and you die

And the earth spins and some of us have trouble getting up in the morning. And this mother visits less often because it is easier to forget and because his skin is so soft, so soft, that if she felt it she would not be able to stop.

And I die and you die

And the baby beside him, when he was born, looked at me and asked me with his mind if I loved him and I nodded and wrapped him tightly in a blanket.  And all around him swirled the voices of his brothers and sisters and his mama moaned with pain and all I could do was nod as his tiny blue lips searched for his own fingers.  He found them, but not his breath, not then.  Not his voice

And I die and you die

Monday, May 17, 2010


A child is born.  And a new mother too.
Last night I watched a mamma find her way.
"I love you," I said to her.  And I did.
I loved her eyes, shining in the candlelight.  Her mouth, open, teaching me a new language.  I loved her body, every part of it.  I witnessed her struggle, it was all hers.
On the other end of the phone connection was a new father,  heard through the noise of the Midway of a carnival, working and crying, loving and listening.
Laundry hummed in the dark of the basement.
Jars of homemade teas glistened and the sweet smell of rosemary rose from the pool in the middle of the room.
And when her baby came, I looked around me and knew that everything in this home was love.  Mother Mary watched from an altar in the corner, eyes watchful and trusting.   Sheets and other cloths hung in the windows, casting a different kind of light.
A child is born.
To be born into love is to be born into light, into hope.  And tonight I pray for all mammas, all women
That we may find our way to the light that strengthens and nourishes
Through all the pain and hopelessness
So that maybe one day our children will be received without fear
Born into light
And we will be born too