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Category Archives: Poetry

The cheese stands alone
So the story goes
You are one left standing in the middle
The circle you once held together with all of your might
Given away all you’ve reaped
Forgotten how or what to sow
Watching others sell their cows for magic beans
The farmer takes a wife
Magic is a funny thing
It makes things disappear
Leaves you standing alone
Like the cheese

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In secret trust
I gave you a language
Of safe words
In which to confine me
When my tongue first crossed
The boundary of your lips
My mistake made deeper in abusive evaluation
Of cascading moments that had become memories
The scent of your punished body
Sealed and delivered as
Just another round of foreplay
The pain apparent
When any hand touches where you branded me
The pleasure of that memory
So damaged by my scream
For mercy
But you did not stop
And I am bewildered
Having forgotten that I changed the word
And mercy does not work anymore

The Game of Hide and Seek

The block was filled with children
Metal fence pole met the concrete sidewalk
Stood for home
The games began at dusk
Hide and seek until one by one the children let go of the fence pole
And went home

God did me a favor and made you sick that day
Shut up, shut in
You chose to stay inside yourself
Did not come out and play with us
I missed you
I wanted to chase you around the block again
I wanted to find you
Before you found home

Without you I made a new friend
We drew hopscotch circles with pink and blue sidewalk chalk
Tossed stones and stories until we fell to the ground laughing
He asked if he could chase me
I threw another stone instead

You did me a favor and stood motionless
Changed the game to freeze tag
When your favorite was red light green light
Cheating me every time
Desire overwhelming when you yelled green
I did not fathom the distance between us
I thought I could reach you
Before you found home

In spite of you I played along
In plain sight shared our secrets with my new friend
Tossed stones and stories until we fell into each others’ arms
He asked again if he could chase me
I ran away from you instead

I did myself a favor and bought ten red balloons
Lay flat on my back near home
And let them go, one by one
Chanting with each release
He loves me
He loves me not
Understanding the progression and knowing full well the outcome
I needed to let you go
Before you found me
Alone on the sidewalk again
The game of hide and seek finally over

I ran into these ladies this afternoon, when I was taking a break from my day and fishing the Battenkill river. They shared their stories, and invited me to join them another day.

The Salmon Sisters

I want to be one of the Salmon sisters
I want to float in a tube
Down the river all afternoon
Hand in hand
With my sisters of all old ages
After noon when our work is done
Which is different from your work
Dearie
Just housework
I want to be one of the Salmon sisters
I want a man who loves me
Enough to drop me
And my sisters
And our big black tubes
Into the river
And kiss me goodbye like on our first date
And drive bend after bend
After bend
To meet the sisters wet
And ferry us home
Wrapped in terrycloth
I want to be one of the Salmon sisters
Floating down the river together
For over fifty years

Little known fact: I was a twin. My mother miscarried, but I was still there. I’ve always taken this lightly — hey, I’m here, so what’s the big deal? Funny how the body remembers things. Funny how physical experiences trigger body memories. I have always thought that the “me” I have — so strong, so individual, so full — was always “one”. I am just starting to understand this first loss. The loss, however primitive, explains so much of who I am — how I react, how I love, how I touch, how one hand holding mine can touch the core of my being, and mean so very much to me.

Miscarried

Wrapped around each other
Holding hands
Floating together with enough time
And life in us that we had
Fingers
And toes
Moving together
Never more than inches apart
Never fighting for space
Searching for fingers
And toes
Not yet aware of
You
Me
Her
We were something and touching
Always touching
Holding hands
Fitting together perfectly until
You were gone
There was only me
Only me I’ve ever known when thoughts
Were formed only me
So strong
Never giving a second thought to anyone
Else sharing
Any part of my pre-existence
You were gone
Every loss I feel so magnified
By what I never realized until
One day when I was wrapped
Hand in hand around another
Another
Positioned as we were inside her
Only then did I rest
Only then did I cease to exist again
Only then did I remember where I was
Next to you
Inside her
Clear to me now
Why I need to hold another hand
Why I need to hold another close
Why every loss I feel so very deeply
Why I need to save my other twin

Put simply, I took my profile off of the dating sites that I was on. Took myself off the shelf, so to speak. I found what I was looking for. I found myself.

Taken for a Ride

The old boarded up carousel in Asbury Park
Comes back to life
Visions of my father standing on horseback
Up and down
Leaning out and over
Over and over again
Pulling rings from the dispenser
One after another
Never a brass one
I, too, lean out and over
Up and down
Over and over again
Men dispensed
Pulling
One after another
Never a brass one
Too much time
Too much change expended
So we moved on instead
To the fun house
I, too, see myself in many mirrors now

Not careful enough, I ruined my favorite shirt because I forgot to check the label. Made me think about other things I had forgotten to check.

Handled with Care

I tattooed your call letters
On my pale blue forearm
Pierced my aging flesh
With your favorite fishing lure
Sliced my rough heel open on littered glass
While dredging the Hudson river
With the fine mesh stocking
You removed from my fleshy thigh
In careless haste
Then cast aside
Mutilations
Bled all over my favorite clothing
Ruined
Because, of course
I forgot to read the care instructions
I should have known not to wash the open wounds
Together
With the salty tears

Time is a beautiful thing, and now that I have a bit more time, the creative works that have been piling up are coming out in the world. To start, here’s the audio performance of My Sky, the latest on the poetry front. For my sister.

Many thanks, again, to the fly boy.

Many thanks to Professor Eleyni for critiquing, suggesting edits, and encouraging me to go to audio — because he has always loved my performances.


The sky held the dead for me
Souls of men I had loved and lost
Souls of men who had loved me
No heaven or hell in my realm
Just sky
Souls wander without purpose
Without direction

Visualizations oversimplified
Men in trite white gowns
No angel wings, but turn up the audio
Idle chatter, gossip among the gods
Yes, she was beautiful
Yes, she loved me hard
Yes, I loved her above all others

A grandfather who left me
Bewildered and alone
On my toddler’s tricycle
A young lover who hit a land mine
Having tasted me sweet
That same morning
A brother (with severed head)
And nephew who never knew
What hit them or why
A favorite cousin who blew smoke rings
With the cigars I smoke now
To keep the scent of him alive
A father, who taught me how to read the water
Who will never again help me navigate

Because of this
Because of them
I have feared the sky

How can I possibly face the loss
Of my one unconditional love?
Not man, but woman
Closest/dearest/same-as-me/mermaid sister
I will not see my sister in my sky
I swear, I must, I will change my sky
She will not walk with my men

If I have to change the world, I will
If I have to change the way I see the world, I will
I did, with faith and trust in a man
I hardly loved
I challenged the sky
A man with a kind enough heart
To take on my fear without loving me
Without knowing my men, my sky, my stories

He says: Breathe
He says: Look
He says: Let me see your hands
My hands? No
Let me see your sky

The sky holds no ghosts
The clouds are just water
No one walks there

I walk on this earth, with my sister’s hand in mine