Category Archives: poetry

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.


What Hennessey Stole

If you count the taco meat
– and there was lots of extra
taco meat –
even after they’d placed
the tiny food scale,
white with a silver
top and a red indicator needle,
on the disinfected counter
and made her
weigh the tacos
she purposely(!) made
the tacos too
heavy.
So first
there was taco meat.

Then mostly candy
or other small food items.
Milk chocolate bars
three for a dollar,
pixie sticks that burned
her throat
when she swallowed
or Dinty Moore microwave
meals, turkey, potatoes
and gravy but only when
she was very hungry.
Most of the time
she bought it
for fear of the security
guard who would ask
her do you dance
for your boyfriend honey? Show me
how your boyfriend
likes to watch
you dance do you dance
for him
with your clothes off?

But then there was money.
She’d had no idea
until the boy
(he’d slipped up behind her in the aisle
where she marking down
shirts with a wax pen
on the tag and whispered
onto her
neck
I
love
you
and it made
her heart
thump)
taught her how to
hit no sale.
It was easy
When the customers
didn’t speak English.
A couch. Fifty dollars.
A box of diapers. Thirty-four dollars.
A pile of clothes. Forty dollars.
So probably around
five hundred dollars
in all.
And the boy’s heart.
And it was all justified
because the owner
was a volunteer cop.

The next place,
A proto pipe and many
many boxes of
cigarettes.
Ramses II with sweetened
filters and then after
the dope
and the booze
and the coke
and the booze
and the dope
and the dope
and the dope
just plain Marlboro
filtered Reds.

Then just
a mop
and not entirely
on purpose.

Followed by some bowls and unmatched
silverware, clothes if they count
from the lost and found,
some gloves and some mittens
and four heavy metal
trays to put food in
for novelty
for the kids.

And that’s what Hennessey stole.

Each time
making a promise
to no one
that if she
didn’t
get caught
she would never
steal anything
again.