Category Archives: poetry

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I love you.


This is How We Choose to Spend Our Days

strolling city sidewalks, shoulders trailing
behind us, low and smooth as milk
down marble stairs. This day
the leaves in the trees are scratching
the flaking backs of each – responding
to prompts put forth in parched voice, given
over for intepretation by the breeze. This after
noon, the cars idle by – boy fingers curled
pink and white around the last
inch of open window, studious faces lick lips
in concentration

– a drip of sweat skimming her
sunburned nose like honey.


How Stupidly We Squander

The terror grows larger,
swallows hope
and stars,
as her eyes begin
to bulge, rounded fingers
clutch air unable
to sink claws
into the nothing
her son
has become.
This woman is chasing
self-loathing
with grief, mind
moving far too quickly
toward loss
and resignation.

Having happened
upon her small son,
her two year old,
on the third floor
when the elevator
doors opened
to his what me grin, I got
to be the hero.
I placed her
heart in her hands
still beating
and smelling faintly
of shitty diapers
and fishy
Desitin.

It took
all the will
I had not to sob
with relief
drawn by a wooden
bucket from some
deep well
I still
don’t understand.

For love, you
would pray to a god
in which
you don’t believe
to give you death,
disease, insanity.
For love, you
would travel
to hell for the whatever
wherever, why because,
because, shhh because
it’s okay.
For love,
You would write
their name
one hundred times
on your graphing
calculator.
For love, you
would watch
them leave
and abandon you
as their heart
stopped beating.


Ciao, Bella

This is the island
from where I send out
bottles of an endless
supply found in the ship
of drunks from which I
came to this island
from where I send out
bottles sparkling
crystal green each day
passengers of languid waves
going toward your place.
This is the island
from where I send out
bottles to anyone
who will always be you in which
the messages are varying declarations
of I love you, I still
love you, I will
always love you
or sometimes
merely

S

O

S

This is the island
where you are not now
and will never be
any more than the vampire
I was so sure
would arrive to take me away
on the day of
my thirtieth birthday.


men are

ken doll chests contradicting
themselves with fuzzy
hair and cool, firm clay
to lay your head upon
and close your eyes.

hands shaped from granite, sculpted
by standards, goals,
and expectations
that lose their shape
and become formless
to hurt you
when they’re angry
or yield fingers
to touch
and hold you when
you please them.

plump bottom lips
with tiny lines
that split them while
sleeping or suffer themselves
as tightropes spewing
hurtful things
when they split yours.

adonis thighs,
ice sculpture photographs
of marathon
running – and running
out when you
need them, falling
down stairs
to a busted up tooth,
a broken bank account,
and a sleepless night
watching porn
while you sleep tossing
in the bed you share
alone.


Dexatrim

I remember your body
in slide show, memories
shaped as by too much sun
in my eyes, as if composing
paintings from things seen
with my fingers spread
over my face,
peeking out
from in between.

Don’t look at my fat
you’d say, smiling
mostly serious.
Topless, your nipples
resembled those
on the playtex bottles
you fed us from as babies, dark
and cylindrical
when erect.

What was said
about your body?  Your hands
covered your belly
when naked,
your bra always on,
cross your heart,
no underwire, diaper pins
attached to the straps
long after we’d outgrown
the diapers.

I heard your brother
and his boyfriend
call you
whale on the beach,
the chant we laughed
at while watching
Portland Wrestling.
As a girl, I thought you
both sexless and invincible.
Why did you never
buy yourself new panties?

You Are So Beautiful to Me,
you played the record
over and over
so loud, repeating,
vinyl popping, speakers
overloaded, crackling, distorting.

 


You Are Not Here

My shadow’s shadow skims
fibrous
of my body,
more viola
than violin.


Never Enough

she wasn’t pigeon toed so much
as knock kneed
and I followed behind her
stealthily. I mostly never
wear shoes with soles
that make sound
and I’m constantly sneaking
peeks at myself
reflected in the glass
of the windows
of businesses.

me- I can’t even keep
from losing my glasses, me –
I sit here listening
to the knock – kneed girl talk
about herself
before class. And talk. She
actually won’t stop talking
about how she just missed
the mark
of genius, but how
instead
her little brother got it.
She’s waiting for her
transcripts from Reed. She’s
cross legged, wagging her foot
in a bubble-gum pink
sweater and skinny jeans.
She says she needs
to graduate
for chrissakes.

me – last weekend I went
driving, out to the country
trying to spread grief, longer
and thinner behind me like
not enough mayonnaise
on bread for a sandwich, just far
enough to make it back without
falling asleep.

he – interrupts
to inform me that I don’t
talk enough and I need
to speak more
loudly.

I followed her again
after class through the rain
me – in converse
and no umbrella
hers – black with fish
all over it, salmon
fish swimming
through downtown Portland
and rain boots
with yellow tops
on them.

I stood in the cover
of the parking garage
and watched her disappear, knees
careening off each other
around the corner, her
shape reflected off
the window
of the building.


On a Good Day

His bones twice
the vastness his
chest a bone yard
plucking each
with my finger
print tips next
his beard growing
pepper brush bristles
his voice I can’t touch crystal-
lined by his life cookie
cut by our love
amber bone box resin
made mettle
by us.


January

The snow chalks the slate
blurs the stars soft
and curved, smears silhouettes
of the trash on the street.

While inside this chest
my heart beats strong, violent,
never ceasing blood and heat
repeating without reason.