january 2010

nine inch tableau

mother wound gaping
wide in starvation,
she writhes amid red
satin sheets, winding
wicked like ancient songs

through shivering hands
slick with sweat, while from
lips pursed ’round midnight
depths issue insects
in nightmarish lines,
decorating skin.


–but i’m not a whore.

i have the feeling that
i am becoming a maelstrom
a whirlpool a tropical depression
a hurricane,
snatching every semblance
of home within reach but
i am too big to fit inside
and i destroy them all so
quickly it’s like they were
never there.

old piano, three

i have swaddled this song in velvet cloth
and the diaphonous gauze of memory;
the ash that marks its brow is soft

on my palms as i carry it out to sea.
the early morning sun ascends
and hovers over me–

the current upon which my mission depends
washes warm about my feet
i stretch my arms, say a prayer: “defend

this division from suffering repeat.”
i lower my bundle to the water,
watch it drift out– relinquish its heat

to that of the ocean as it moves, father
with arms aloft to receive his son.
here i kneel, whisper to the sand: “daughter

of eve, broken angel, you’ve won.”
you have torn this song’s shelter from my shoulders,
wrapped it round your own. i have nowhere to run.

and my bare skin smolders
from this song’s last melodious kiss,
but the day has grown colder

and now approaches wide arms– mist,
encroaching as my bundle moves out of sight
now i am without music, and this

storm brandishes threats to muffle the light.
you have torn this song from me. weightless,
i move into the wind, am blown away as a kite.

consider yourself warned.

give not what cannot be returned;
i will take everything i find–
i will pillage your village, leave it burned,

scraped hollow like obsolete mines–
i will raise cupped hands, like the twist child,
to demand more. my eyes are wide,

and my hunger is wild.
do not offer your gentle heart.
do not make clear whatever mild

notions you may entertain. i have made an art
of destroying greater men than you,
and i have no qualms about tearing you apart

as well. i am warning: this is what I do.
give not what cannot be returned, and please
don’t whimper when I run you through.

if i tell you

for months now, i have been aware
that it is past time to gather every page of myself–
of my memory
my notebooks
every sheet of my bed
every leaf of the tree
which with our roots we became
(you remember that song?)

to drop at my feet,
and set them all afire.

in anticipation of this epiphany
i burned every match in my possession.

me blesse

presently i am quite content,
learning to exist without the co- and
experience the pleasures of one: not
alone, but without others.
silence does not frighten me anymore.
evenings are no longer agony.

collections of memory
occupy drawers of my brain, tucked away,
making room for new adventures– new people.
every day, i am making progress toward a life without you, toward

beginnings of my own making rather than of ours.
at times it is difficult. but i am strong.
casting off all that you burdened me with, i stand on the shores of this new sea. i
kiss the waves and spread my arms to take it in.