THE March, 2024 30/30 PROJECT PAGE

Welcome to the 30/30 Project, an extraordinary challenge and fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) literary press. Each month, volunteer poets run the equivalent of a “poetry marathon,” writing 30 poems in 30 days, while the rest of us “sponsor” and encourage them every step of the way.

The volunteer poets for March 2024 are Brianna Bencosme, Jessica de Koninck, Peggy Dobreer, Francesca Preston, Laura Secord, Tashi Wangmo, and Thom Young.

If you’d like to volunteer for a 30/30 Project month, please fill out our application here and warm up your pen!

Day 31 / Cento

with lines selected by and from Brianna Bencosme , Jessica de Konnick, Peggy Dobreer,
Francesca Preston, Laura Secord, Tashi Wangmo, and Thom Young

              “Can I see it? Do you have it here?”

Sometimes I ignored her.
              When time came,
              I decided to follow her lead,
              other than that,
i’ve been thinking it is possible that more prayer
flags exist, not visible to the eyes;

In every country there’s a madman's daughter
who sits on concrete and points at birds,

              Volumes and volumes
              wrapped in the wind
              display a unique clothespin;

Rainbows of flying fish, telephone wire, clotheslines strung between the tympani of rain
popping and flowing across the sunrise field;

To say dress, is to say fabric, is to say sunshine, carpets
fallen gently to the ground, like downy

Few of us regularly
move through dirt
tunnels underground

There is much attention drawn
to tunnels and their circumventing

The issues at surface-level,
especially in regards to egregious urban planning:

The issue of harmonization within visual perception:
Where does uncertainty hide?

In the body harmony
is a sensation of a complete picture;

Long before they were birds, they were dinosaurs,
or something like steps
stitching the day, pearls
in the silk heat, sages
tucked into caves,
cross-legged on the cold dirt,
sipping on emptiness; holes
filled with completed poems
memorized and mingling with the stars.

On land for the first time, maman was
not accustomed to being
woman or wind, storage units
of forgotten jewelry
like broken pieces of a dream.

Day 30 / Poem 30

Brianna Bencosme

So we can say all we can
about the house with the blackbird
on the porch, about the fence sunken into the muddy dirt or 
the dog called to watch it. 

So we can know the barks break against bullet-proof glass;
stretch the window into silent booms

on the inside 
gongs are releasing omens like guns.

So we can say we saw the pirate arriving
into the chalky fog. Ma
covering your eyes, pulling the curtain.

Sly across the cement his soggy boot-steps
slap down on bricks. He spits his golden tooth into the yard,

agitates the panther in the dog

shakes awake the luminous bush
speaking angelic nothings.

So when it’s cloudy out and ain’t 
nobody to call, and we thinking hard
about grown people things, 
you can see why no script 
in history could ever make this kind of
magic ordinary .

When all else is ordinary we can talk
about dreams like the one I told you about 

I told you about the hallways underneath 
the sea like a shipwreck and the kid 
who walked me through them to the roo

with the jewelry box. I thought he was gonna
steal it, but he didn’t, he 
looked into a coffin.

Nobody wants the free ticket to 
to hell or nowhere special

and It ain’t nobody’s mommas karma
we’re here, anyway.

I told you about the dream
or I told you about the mechanical
psychic I drunkenly confessed to
on the street that night. 

I told you about that dream because 
I saw a pamphlet outside the deli
the other day, they’re 
hiring prophets and people who make 
that shit with love  and prayer
-warriors, witnesses. 

So we can say all that we can say
we’ve come to learn about this moment or version,
of home crucified to agonized earth.

The roses that grew in the concrete. The pierced nose 
hot with blood and copper, fumes 
chalky on the botanical tongue.

They were easily fooled, this man
and this woman. He blamed her,
ashamed to admit his ignorance,
but the serpent seemed sleek,
sophisticated in Saville Row suit,
hair slick. They encountered him
in places well known for seduction,
lounging at the bar beside the opal
hues of the Caribbean, a corner table
in a café known only to locals,
stretched out on a rug at an exclusive
opium den. Perhaps they weren’t
as stupid as they seemed. She shimmied
into a satin candy apple dress
whenever they went out to meet him.
Her partner, if that’s what he was,
always dawdled several steps behind.
They knew what they wanted. Such
a familiar story; though it almost
sounds fresh translated to a version
suitable for children with an apple
and a garden a tree. In the end
the pair are the only ones who suffer.
They didn’t know what they bargained
for, and the snake got to slither away.

From a black seed sprout
to a frenzy of synaptic light
blazing at the speed of DNA

From a sweet spot on my
Mother’s cheek where a
soldier bent low in innocence

From a gartered stocking
and a Slim from Virginia
I came in smoke and surprise

Two in a line of four
Two plus two, dear reader
Two and a bid for two more

I am from the brine of
my grandmother’s dills,
the beans on my mama’s frank

a pencil ends, if it ever ends, with a wooden nub,
                                            like a pirate’s
a trip ends when you come back (home) 
          and tell about it
a dream ends when you forget
                                  or remember
             or forget that you remember
a cup of tea ends when you drink it
                      or break it
a dance ends when you sit down on the floor & put
       your shoes back on, looking up
a war ends
           but it takes so much longer than we 
rain ends when it feels like it      
a poem ends for a million reasons
      none of which i can tell you

I tell my lover nothing gets me hotter
Than to imagine us crawling by a pond,
lost in tangling vetiver roots,
thrilled by the snaky paths, twisting 
golden on the muddy bank, 
finding air pocket caves 
in fibrous branch. I tell him

I can smell roots on you, making me 
want to worship, pray into the center, 
deep breathe inside your woody beard.

Set me on fire. Close enough for kissing. 
Travel through woven fibers. Become my tapestry.
Tango with the wet and muddy, 
Cool me, my fragrant flame.

Where did we wash our cars before 2003?
Before 2003, did women from villages come to the city, to “work”?

When did helicopter flying become normal?
I don’t care if the guy who washes my car gets high on thinner 

There are monks behind me 
But it’s the lady who I look at and care about 
If I washed people’s cars it would be self-depreciating 
But satiating 
It would be investing in a long-cause 

Day 29 / Poem 29

I used to put the salamanders in plastic cups
to shake them up later in the night under
the opaque crescent moon. It always felt like a Bollywood movie, (every diva knows drama draws the critics). Nobody watched 
the pale blue light directing 
the elaborate procession like a stagelight. Ants 
funneling into the canal; snow
upon coal spreading 
into the cold narrow stream 
‘Split the sea!’
Their tiny screams 
snuffed out like the old man
swatting at his tinnitus.

I stomped and their huts
were taken over by tsunamis 
I was like poseidon or a water bender
I felt like Moses or one of those.  You know,  John, Matthew, Elijah, Craig?  
The ants—silly little tyrants—those red ones, biting at the toes and ankles. 
I stepped on those, once 
a nemesis. 

But the procession was really lovely; all the white flower petals you could think of: suede orchid, lily-of-the-bells dinging all the pigeons awake from the valley. Comfortable regular flowers too 
like the ones crowning Guadelupe. I hated that show 
about the rose. I heard the Gen-Z bible calls her
a pick-me girl for God. 

The soil in Connecticut is bad, degraded, by the standards of my thumb
and you know I’m no environmental scientist but 
Pick-me-girl for god sounds kinda good 
like she’s got a golden flower in her womb.

I still check underneath the logs sometimes and its nothing
 but scary critters with legs like hair brushes. In other words, 
I’m not that interesting but, I tend to look for heartache and ease. Easy heartaches are a kind of grief. 

Wouldn’t wanna lose track of suffering,
then it would’ve been all for nothing;

the stained-glass passion life,
the sacrifices and gifts.

Giverny in Autumn. Hundreds of dahlias,
perhaps thousands, adorn the narrow paths: pink,
crimson, yellow, purple, white, almost black.
This palette of bloom makes creation look
easy. Each plant located to suggest a nonchalant
location, an ease in keeping weeds at bay. It’s a lie.
Monet spent almost all his fortune on the garden.
Caretakers pull and prune, dig and seed, relocate
and fertilize every day. The result an almost perfect
perfumed composition of color, form, and subject
even through the icy storms of winter. Decades
dead the artist continues developing his canvas,
smiling at all he’s created.

                        (excerpt page 35 “Dear Jaha” from I’m Writing To Tell You, Mama’s                                                                     Kitchen Press, 2022)


I do not know that the waters won’t drown you.
            Only that I will weave my hair for a net to scoop you up.

I do not know if the end of tyrannies against women will ever come
            Only that the womb is necessary for the race to continue.

I do not know if we are worth the trouble to clean emissions, destroy
cancer, protect the ocean, finally find a leader with integrity again.
And just a million or more complexities that I won’t mention here.

            Only that I will continue to envision a new equality, an integration
            of desires. To let those that pray pray and those that vote vote.

To let those that fight heal, and those that complain write poetry.
To let those that ignore the records all together, to sit at my table. 

That is if I had a table I would. And anyway, I always prefer to
sit heart to heart, guts to gully, in a circle with no table between us.

The Jardín is our living room, she says,
referring to the square in the middle of town,
tight with trees and dark iron benches. Just beyond,
the mariachi players compete for our attention, 
& now I see there are women mariachi players, tough
and beautiful, with the silver buttons running down
the sides of their long black skirts. The Jardín is our 
living room, Rocío says, and in the time of her Papa,
the young people would gather on Sundays, & do
a dance in the middle of the square. The girls
would go in one direction, and the boys in another,
facing each other. So that they could see each other.
If a boy liked the look of a girl, he could buy her
a red rose. Then all the others would know that girl
was liked by another boy. There was also, she said,
another spiral of boys and girls, outside the first
one, further out. Those were the chicos from 
the campo, the country. Why were they separate?
I asked. She didn’t know the answer, so I imagined
you, city boy, approaching me with stolen flowers.

under three trees saved 
from the dozer, I am nine 
on a grassy island 
above the drive.

Cardinals sing, redbird beats
hey hey gurrl
hey hey girl
hey hey gurrl gurrl
Create a wild world. 

Flower buds picked 
up the creek, buckets with 
tadpoles waiting to become
create a wild scene. 
Redbird sings

 hey hey gurrl                           hey hey girl
hey hey gurrl gurrl

 Make up stories—
fairy science
saints and sacrifice 
women offering eyes,
breasts, lives for spirit

I am the young
learning pain is penance
chest striking 
my vision of heaven

In my chest banging
redbirds congregate
hey hey gurrl
hey hey girl
Playing at the threshold
beside castle moat
of future grief

It is hard for me to accept defeat
Just as it is hard for me to accept this weather
I realized how much society likes to talk
If I didn’t talk either, I would perish
It is hard for me to accept the state of our country
It is hard to accept what I have come to make of it
Even in a bottomless pit desires run
I want to be that Peruvian-Australian actress 
I want a Range Rover
And a house of my own– the most expensive
Maybe another life, altogether
I want to achieve some level of fame
That informs, above all, the people that I rely on that I have made it

Day 28 / Poem 28

I hope to get it right
t̶h̶i̶s̶ Time
happens u̶n̶e̶x̶p̶e̶c̶t̶e̶d̶
-̶l̶y̶  ¹upon a door
I wish to get to it
this time²
I hope³

¹To cite : Pound: add neither good nor bad ornament, i.e. decorating / describing how
Out of the blue
a whale played the trumpet peculiarly / in place of what is seen; a boring sea and a shore;
²To cite / to the power of two / or
twice / again on the place of reality and dreams;
a boring beach and a porch / a key slipping from between
the sleeping jailers jeans / face pressed to bars looking
at him ; a finger points
at the shore; a finger
reaches as he snores
³to get it ; a chant

What is wrong with you, spending this foggy morning
watching videos of “Peeps” exploding in the microwave?
Spoiler alert. They don’t really pop. At least not
in the clips. Instead, those sugary chickike shaped
marshmallows expand and expand like the “Stay Puft
Marshmallow Man” in the Ghostbuster movies.
Then they’d shrink to post-organsm in a matter
of seconds. Admit it. You’re not too cool
for any of this. You’re certainly not too mature.
You’ve seen all those movies, originals, and remakes.
You used to like the taste of Peeps. You can say so.
Are you concerned that people will find you silly?
Insubstantial? Aren’t marshmallows insubstantial?
Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, water and air. Oh, food
coloring (no chick was ever so yellow) and artificial flavor.
Yum. Sugar is soluble, considered a liquid in baking.
Makes you think of that Chekov short story with the woman
in the cart, or the song, “MacArthur Park,” You believed
“Peeps” contained egg whites like a meringue. Ha. Ha.
That would be healthy. Those cellophane packages
have never been closer to an egg than in a decorated
basket. I know you hoped popping the “Peeps” would
make a giant mess. Now you’re a little disappointed.

The rhythm. The road. And 
the red at the center of the Lily.
The dust stains the skin. 
The road renders a new arrival. 
Rhythm rides the strings of a cello 
in slants and slides. In the glide 
of the horsehair and arc of the bow. 
The slant of my wish is to let all 
fault fit into furrows of forgiveness. 
I make it so in row on silent row
into which I plant the peace I seek.
I slide through the mud-slinging to
a grudgeless serenity. A single flower
bows its head at the table and the rust
of the journey falls away.

In Business Class
you get glass 
to drink out of,
& a small bowl
of warmed nuts,
to prepare you 
for the ferocity
of cold cutlery
wrapped in a frigid
napkin – But we 
have food! I marvel.
And all the people
behind us do not! – 
A blue curtain
reminds us of 
our separateness
I receive a 32A cup
sized chicken breast
& roughly 100 
grains of rice.
A moon shaped
bread comes with
butter wrapped
in shiny paper,
butter I remember
coveting. A pat 
of butter, we called
each one, like a pat
on the shoulder 
by someone kind 
but unrelated to you.

I didn’t want to come out 
momma’s heartbeat so soft 
and safe I wouldn’t leave 
from Halloween 
till past Thanksgiving.

I can see her big 
bellied and waiting 
for the surprise she thought I’d be 
after her first born, birth 
canal damaged, bad doctor,
deaf, blind, brain 
dead, she prayed for me,

and I came out 
six weeks late. Like 
a frog, a salamander— 
webbed fingers, 
webbed feet, 
wrinkled water skin 
peeled off, gave up 
the amniotic fluids,
hit the air and broke 
into 1000 pustules, 

but she didn’t mind.
I looked like
fish or toad
snake or leper,
still she adored. 
I smiled back 
my eyes, my ears, 
my brain all opened. 
Looking into her eyes 
became our church. 

I thought Youtube would be better

I thought I had control over Tik Tok

They won’t let me in in Instagram 

In a way even this computer is notorious 

Asking you to go online 

Moving the mouse, on its own

But sometimes it will try and help you

Day 27 / Poem 27

               A R T
            R  R
         T         T
you’re getting in too d           p

take care
my heart, this is a bit too ss
                                           t.     t
                                        e           e
                                     e                  e
                                  p                         p
Listen to the li-lt
Of his boyish laught-
or you’ll cry for it for
                            everrrrrrrr aft-

Found poem composed with the lyrics of Betty Carters song, ‘Beware My Heart’.

The boys are playing stoop ball on Bogardus Street. If it’s almost dinner time, no one mentions it. When the rubber ball hits the corner’s edge the trajectory shifts, and the opponent sometimes misses. They will remember this when they go on to study physics, or engineering, or calculus. For now, listen to the pleasing thunk the Spaldeen makes each time it slaps against the red bricks then energetically bounces back. They know the name is Spalding. The letters are stamped in black on one side of the seam. But everyone has always called it Spaldeen, always. To say Spalding is to act like a smartass, to suggest a lack of seriousness in the endeavor. They respect the pink orb, how high a new one bounces. Its color reminds them of lips, or the tip of a man’s penis. They are here to win. They would stay until they do.

A group of schoolgirls
Pretend not to be watching
Soon the sun will set

The jeweler took some 12 mm, faceted rubies to
string beneath dark black garnets from Prague.

You wont see the crimson in those orbs unless you
take them to the window, my darling and lift them
into the sunlight.

Or you can take those teeny tiny pricey rubies I|
mentioned and carry the sunlight at your throat.

Bright blushing baubles birthed as fuscia rubies,
Bright pink watermelon tourmaline and the rich
Blood of the oxygen it delivers.

Beads made in the blended pressures of the earth’s
Crucible, her mineral madness in various hues.

What art is at work here? Gaia as collaborator.

Dolores, eyes upraised. 
Look carefully. Tears &
a heart with a knife through it. 
Time of Christ passing.
Do you see those oranges?
They are bitter, for sadness.
And the wheatgrass in 
little pots? That’s for
the newness of life. 
On the edges, chamomile
laid out on long stalks.
Only for the smell.
The purple is for grief. 
Can you imagine?

Otoscope: Tool to see 
into a dark passage; aiming 
for the brain, a light to magnify 
song’s hammers. 

Translucence: Light that shines 
but blocks a view of
the mind, but conjures 
the soul.

Landmarks: Important places 
on your journey,  signposts; 
little bones that play a song 
for your mind.

Bulging: the act of growing out 
of space or body, pressing from the inside; 
signs of illness or infection, 
a misshapen sight.

Battery: Along the waterfront, the ferry 
landing along the Bay; a holder of power
currents; physical violence; made from cobalt; 
grows crusty without use.

Red: Blood, cherry, 
lips, hearts, passion, 
drive, desire, danger, sickness;
stop now.

Rupture: A spilt drum, 
burst by serum, pressure,
poverty, beatings, neglect; may lead to 
losing song.

Earrings: hanging jewels, to mesmerize,
hypnotize babies so crying doesn’t turn
translucence to rubies; 
good for rocking.

There is, nothing here. 

Refugees exist in a place with no war 
Happiness feigned. 
There is , nothing
Had to come here to learn things. Like how I would be fine typing over hand-writing 
In public, people no longer look at you, except for taxi drivers.  
Unsure of life, you light incense and cigarette with the same light 
Then you suffer more. Choose! god says
Change, or depression? 
America or Bhutan? 
Partner or no partner? 

Day 26 / Poem 26

Student, Teacher, Reader, X, of this scroll now unfurling,

A philosophy: this is true regarding it; the angels
do not have ties, but wings; the teacher
who produces the occasion for learning is one who produces 
wings. That is—no restrictions. This way they can each ponder 
their escape and execute a successful exodus. Yes, you,
Teacher, you too, should leave
An open door, we enter¹

A closed door, a den.²
It is important, then, that a teacher point out 
Tension: What is 
beyond the door? 
What is [X]
that it is knocking? 

The teacher provides the occasion 
for tension. While listening:
Tell them, “go create a [secret] 
land. Come back with a flag and
I will be the first to believe it. I will fund 
your fun. I will sponsor 
your voice. I will champion
The country we chose to create.

It is my duty to believe it; the planet 
you found yourself discovering; the voice 
of your mother never stopped calling since you buried her; the time you spoke to her last,
in a séance; the psychic saw 

¹ Inhabited space transcends geometrical space…spreads so that, in order to live in it, greater
elasticity of daydreaming, a daydream that is less clearly outlined, are needed. Gaston Bachelard.
² A la porte de la maison qui viendra frapper?/ Une porte ouverte on entre / Une porte fermée un
antre/ Le monde bat de l’autre côté de ma porte. Pierre-Albert Birot.

your pain; the love you regret giving, what you hold onto 
bitterly. I believe it. That it was almost sweet; 
the cake melted on the table. A quick reminder of
[X]: The cardinal and the pen
were the only ones to attend the party. What a merry merry un
-birthday, to you [Alice].
They didn’t miss your magic; flame
you watched over in darkness; the wish 
you made: a letter or
a day sent away in ashes.

Call it a calling. That wish you made—call it 3

I am a letter 
or a day away.
I am open to all of you. Call 
Me: A séance : A letter:

Congratulations, X, you’re the lucky caller of the day!
I saw what you did in class today, I saw what you did yesterday, 
I just want you to know that you’re great, 
You’re on your way. And if it’s not too late, before you hang up.

You, Student, Teacher, X4

3an art, like everything else./ I do it exceptionally well./  I do it so it feels like hell./  I do it so it feels real. / I guess you could say I’ve a call. Sylvia Plath.
4—a voice so remote within me…. on the very limits of memory, beyond memory perhaps, in the field of the immemorial. All we communicate to others is an orientation towards what is secret without ever being able to tell the secret objectively. What is secret never has total objectivity. In this respect, we orient oneirism but we do not accomplish it. Gaston Bachelard.

There is a time after Beatles
but listen
listening I can be
can I be
in the room before
with the record player
(people buy them now for no good reason but time travel)
In the room before nothing
(bad) has happened
A lie
The room before I go
to keep the now from coming
                  to get me
Strawberry Fields the now
cannot get me the then
has not happened
A linoleum floor
and pine panelling
a bay window
After the divorce
before anyone died

I am gunning for a fresh perspective to set the world
spinning right. An American Horror Story gets away
with yet another pardon                     

and taxes are a shovel that bury every me I know alive.

Malidoma Patrice buried himself alive but with purpose
and intent.  He took to the ritual ten years less malleable.
At 13 it’s easier to forgive your manhood.

Reality is a vine, a creeper that wraps around

the trellis of our just desserts and sears them pale.
Blood flow is a necessary ammunition,
yellow the color of Cheshire and gold.

I have an excuse for not writing this poem.
I have turista, do you know 
what that is? You probably do. 
I won’t go into details.
Though my poems usually do. 
That’s because I’m not writing a poem, 
I’m just telling you today is off – 
ya basta, no mas. No sly similes,
no metaphorical gestures, no debates
over line breaks. I mean,
line breaks! Who cares when
you have turista! Seriously,
I’m toast.

They doctored my eyes, I saw things clear.
I awoke, bruised black and blue,
my eyes dripping with bloody tears.

I witnessed wartime’s missiles flare 
in a world I could not face anew.
My doctored eyes, they saw too clear—

mothers and children hiding in fear
the dead dug from the rubble strewn, 
and starving faces streaked with bloody tears;

starvation spread, hate’s rivers appeared,
genocide, people destroyed— until I rued 
my repaired eyes, they saw too clear.

I saw my guilt without repair—
I witnessed war tear worlds askew, while
powerless, I hid behind my bloodied tears.

We’re all complicit, this is clear.
By the rivers of Babylon, healers try
impossible doctoring without supplies.
bombs crashing down in bloody tears.

The boy in a photograph is holding onto a prayer flag

Making the picture look fractured
Prophecies surround his future
He is wearing a Gho
There are trees behind him, making me think if there are trees there today 
Behind him another prayer flag exist
The boy in a photograph is holding onto a prayer flag
Making the picture look fractured
As if an adult asked him to
For the prophecy 
It is possible that more prayer flags exist, not visible to the eyes

Day 25 / Poem 25

Quickly, point out the difference between that and this: a quick game of Marco Polo: Prompting: There and where. Where? Not here; there: Knock knock, who’s there? Not here, there; where that yard or garden still grows unruly. That basement or best friends kitchen where our laughs are still a sitcom track. We still call each other on-demand and always answer. That bruise or first heart-break, where we cried over our ex’s cruising in a sedan through town like an indie movie. We said fuck! into the midnight-pillow when you found out X happened. That was a sad ending. We said fuck! It hurts so bad! because the scene reminded us it would happen to us and it did. We ugly cried and got spit all over the steering wheel. Where we are right now: The prompt: the saddest memory : X. Isn’t it sad how easy it is to be sad? How easy it was to think of X? How easy was it for you to think of it? [X] The cardinal dying in the snow? I can show you or we can go if you want to, or you already know. If only to share the lesson: the pen and the cardinal aren’t on the page, its on our shoulders, in a our brains looking down into the spirit, watching itself die. Your turn. Where are you taking us next? Who will we be when we get there? Who will we be on Season 3 of ‘Who Are We?’ reality tv. Who Are We? Not in the TV. This is your classroom, silly. Wake up. Wake up to the real-world, hun, you were dreaming that whole long ass statement. Pick up your head. Our tiny world filled like a tea-cup between us. I choose to wake up and sip with you. Wake up; watch the world grow, freeze, boil before our eyes. Look:  I’ll demonstrate with my hands. What I mean ; touch it; the tip marked with red-hot ink, where we post flags and draw and conclude X. Art. Humanities. Liberty. Dreams. Invite everyone in! The people love to get excited! It’s like Oprah! Check beneath your seats to see that you have received a gift! Buckle-in, too, it’s a 4-D rollercoaster- experience. It rains on our heads and the seats shake with dinosaur groans. Hot air blown at our necks as we roll through the river-tracks past a sign or warning: ‘Welcome, to Ecosystem X where we throw all passengers off-board into the dragon lagoon and assume they will swim, and so they do.’ They always kill the dragon when they thought they couldn’t.  They upgrade avatars and shake my hand. So, DeborahDragonSlayer1998, Sign here:  Section A of Law X, regarding the Ecosystem: Assumption: They will swim. They will slay dragons. Where are we, again? What planet?

Begin with a clean sheet of
this is not 
paper                                       a white


P     r     o   g     r     a     m     m    e   d

                                 on a screen

                                                         Is this necessary



                                                         no NO no

Even though I am left handed
I kept Paul’s Montblanc pen,
the one he used to fill his notebooks
with doodles and stories and dreams.

I corkscrew my hand,
press too hard on th
but mostly the ink reacts well to the page

when I make my journal entries,
the ones it is likely no one will ever read.

                                                                                       skulls are a kind

                                                                          of paper                      with holes

                                                             designed                                               is there
                                                                                                                             a design

                                                             to hold                                       thoughts

                                                                         and to chew simultaneously

what happens if the power dies and the battery runs out

I’ve always thought a thing ignored will lose its power.
A bike chain left to rust, a garden overrun by oxalis and
a great arm of bananas that must be freed from the tree
to preserve the fruit for ripening.

And that reminds me how not all weight can be measured
on the vine. That bunch comes down and the harvester
better be sure of his footing on the ladder.

Bananas make my throat itch like persimmons, except
when frozen and covered in chocolate. A rhapsody
of tropical delight, dessert on a stick, Aria of restoration.
It’s almost as good as a snow day.

the mariachi player is looking at his cell phone
the harp player is looking at his cell phone
the guitar player is looking at his cell phone
the boy in the black sweatshirt is looking at his cell phone
the security guard is looking at his cell phone
the jacarandas are still blooming

keeps the key
to a door which can’t 
be opened, as her self
starts to shrink

Watch her ring
the rooms with 
white salt,
prick her fingers till dripped
blood turns to rosette pink.

Yell for her to Leave. Leave.
Leaves. See her gather 
yaupon holly,
yellowed crystals 
with a pinch of oxalic acid,
and simmer in aluminum

See her call
down the moon,
siege Jupiter
and Saturn.
Block by rock she
builds courage,
chants in medieval Japanese.
Safe in an invisible 
veil, she rises
flying off with speed

Heaps of gold lie inside a basket
Although no one may ever know
But that’s alright cause in the end
It’s the basket’s life and lucky those who will get to experience it’s richness, even if only from a far

Day 24 / Poem 24

If you can
If you would
step aside 
while I groove
& get on through 
to Lady standin’
pretty at the center
of a crowd so large
it’s like a cloud so large
it ‘s about to rain;
giant gardenias crown her

All the arms tossing roses
& twirling burgundy dress
pulsing with bergamot notes
giving birth to fresh fruit.

She smiles & the hue shoots
through the whole room &
we come down with 
an exotic blue.

The storm is not enough to scare away the geese
this morning. They’ve taken up position
across from the paddle boats and squawk to wake
everyone with eyes still shut this Sabbath morning,
to shake away sweet visions of the night.
Many cars speed along the road across the way.
Where can they be going. The wind is fierce
and so much water. Dangerous to rush in awe-full
weather. I much prefer my role as watcher
at the window, the one who notes that wetness
makes the sidewalks sheen, who sees
the cormorant land, then dive while listening
to the tympani of rain popping and flowing through
the gutters then down the path into the lake.

A Story / Peggy Dobreer

No sunset could be compared to dawn or at least that’s what he was told.
Just a lad, on land for the first time, maman was not accustomed to being
questioned. Not about heavenly bodies, though she navigated by stars. We
took sail in Alexandria, down and around the tip of the continent and finally
set our feet back on land in Goçek. Oh, she would tell us every little detail
of every constellation she followed all right; all the folklore and myths of
the gods and goddesses, queens and dog stars, each depicted with their own
particular tool of their particular trade in a black lit universe that utterly
disappeared once the heat rose on the day. Here a chariot with flames
jumping from the wheels, there a bow and arrow, a scepter, a head full
of snakes. Use a dictionary, the Britannica, the imagination god gave you
but questions were not welcome. Shhhh, she would say, her hazel eyes on
the black sky lapping at our heads. Shhhhhh can you hear stars twinkling?
They will tell you everything else you need to know.  Shhhh…..

The stones feel fancier
     They feel many

           Jesus is behind

         beautiful Jesus
             aching in flowers

     The stones stoop
      for the small women        
                  sitting on the curb       
                               selling burros
                                        made of wood

                the stones feel sad
because no one will buy them

     (the stones do have feelings, they do)

     But the stones do not eat soup
         people do
                    and also roasted corn
                    &   cactus   ice cream

     The stones catch the juices below
         & hold in the heat
              for part of the night

a long table inches from her face
where open window breezes
            tiny worlds—  
            clear quartz, purple stone shards,
            amulets reside.

throughout her life     
            they’ve attended her fancies
and settled

her mind.
            icons dream,
represent her spirit,
            attend to her prayers, dance  
blue bottles, smooth black rocks

            her dream life

For everyone cannot/doesn’t want to kill their parents

It is a crime in many many countries 
For they wouldn’t know what to do with it
With the peace 
Like looking at one’s finger from an unpleasant angle 
For one is rarely taught to be comfortable in one’s room
For one allows all the roles/rules but rarely plays with them
For one starts using equipment like one has always known them
For one sits and sits 
For one wishes to be
For one 
Is—should be enough.

Day 23 / Poem 23

Ever notice how the window 
Obscures the path ; a faint whistle 
Calls from the outside cold 
& a woman or the wind takes off

& a woman or the wind takes off,
Called by the outside cold
In a faint whistle where the path obscures 
The ever-noticing window 

The ever-noticing window 
Obscures the labyrinthine whistle 
Where the woman or wind has gone

Where the woman or wind has gone
Is blown old
As an obscure whistle faintly 
Tapping the window from the past

Tapping the window from the past,
Faint as an obscure whistle 
Blown by a old
Woman or wind

Woman or wind
Faintly blown
Against the obscure  window
From the past 

From the past
Against the obscure window
Curtains flash a naked poppy 
Undressing in a familiar field

Undressing in a familiar field
The naked poppy drops
Her obscure skirt
Into the past

Forget your perfect offering[1]
I have squandered my resistance
on a pocketful of mumbles.[2]

You’ve got a fast car.[3] I wish I had
a river I could sail away on.[4]
Don’t turn me home again.[5]
Disappointment haunted all my dreams.[6]

Got no time for the corner boys.[7]
Deep greens and blues are the colors
I choose.[8] But the post office
has been stolen And the mailbox
is locked.[9] There is a crack,
a crack in everything.[10]

[1] Leonard Cohen,  “Anthem”
[2] Simon & Garfunkel, “The Boxer”
[3] Tracy Chapman, “Fast Car”
[4] Joni Mitchell, “River”
[5] Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
[6] The Monkees, “I’m a Believer”
[7] Tom Waits, “Jersey Girl”
[8] James Taylor, “Sweet Baby James”
[9] Bob Dylan, “Stuck Outside of Mobile with the Mepmphis Blues Again
[10] Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

            “Our souls do not like stagnation. Our souls aspire.”

                                 – Malidoma Patrice Somè

yes, we are, made of water and spirit, of liquid and stardust
we are not the sum total of our fingers and toes, yet many
tiny digits have been counted on arrival

sometimes two Kings will bring forth sons, rivers apart,
sentinels with the same message in distinctly different dialects

we first read about it in a book, then heard the same story that fled
past borders like fire, found freedom in foreign pujas, chanted
by local pundits who would easily fix us gentle in their graces

when a former queen spoke in her husband’s tongue, people
listened more closely after she moved to the westside, shared
a loft at Bergamot Station with her bright sons. By design,
reader, not by intellectual intervention, but birthed in iron crusted
clauses that can enter undetected like dissent through palace gates. 

The pigeons land
on the metal spines
placed on the stone
pillars to deflect them. 
It would be like 
if someone stuck needles 
in your favorite bench. 
But the palomas don’t care. 
They are tougher 
than we are, 
& they kick 
their babies into flight 
to teach them: 
no one’s going to make you 
come back home.

each habit a marker of time                                 small steps 
a marker  of time                                                    keep us wise
The losing of habit                                                 small steps 
ache in the chest                                                    stitching the day  

When did I stop                                                       do you fear                 
my prayers                                                               your prayers
at dawn                                                                     carry too much 
When tears ran                                                        longing
and feeling rose                                                       breaking down wet cheeks 

Like even stitches                                                   each step 
the habit— the medicine                                      a small piece
bottles and patterns                                              the patches of day
Each day moments                                                settle 
pierce shattered                                                     desire
goals straighten                                                     keep feeling
sheets                                                                       whole.
the heat of tears 

Is it hard to tell or is telling the truth hard
If this one’s a distraction

I imagine walking around the city
I imagine happiness
A thing I preached

The way you know you’ve lost it is when you laugh at anyone and anything
Including yourself

Factors that lead me here:

Does that mean I will be a grandmother?

What’s it called when you are easily influenced

I am not gullible.
I am not-

I’m not

Day 22 / Poem 22

Breeze goes down the hall 
Prez is down, man sliding down the wall
he calls the rag in 
the hand of miss’ baker and her eggs and quarters jingling 
he calls the rag in
 the pockets swollen throwing a real slow roll
of dice down
he calls the rag in
the muddy boat rocking 

When the draw comes in from the casino 
and the wind breathe wherever it go,
the liquor follows echoes of quarters
and as long as it don’t bite we don’t mind 
the ripe taste of the peach or coin.

We grab the grape growing from the stock 
that reaches and takes man all the way down
to the locker in the sea stuck in the arms
of the climbing vine 

It doesn’t have to be that way though,
the sky can be bright or it can be lit
up with flames we won’t put out until we say so

until the night is over 
(we get under its arm and walk away on water)
 look for signs of life
elsewhere, together,
(trying not to breathe inside the fish-bowl)

Gotta be gilled to be human these days folks
Gotta be human
Gotta put the coat back on the rack and forget all the things we did
when we dressed up and made ourselves grown folks
Nowhere to go to escape the snort of life’s short laugh.

(John Rhead Louis, 1897, Leonard A. Lauder Collection of American Posters at the Metropolitan Musum of

From the peacocks one learns that beauty
is for sale– cheap. Vain birds, for ten cents
they will spread their feathered tails,
reveal a thousand eyes of purple,
green and blue that spill across
the daisy fields as if for your pleasure.
They will use their fiery bodies to seduce
you, compel you to follow the twisted
dirt road. Where do you think the path
goes, this maze that spins you, fills
your blue heart with longing and regret?
You’ll discover nothing is cheap. The way
leads nowhere, only to the edge, the end.
And it will take you a lifetime to get there.

Both stories I randomly chose to read today, insisted 
on a dip in the same pot of genocidal stew.

Some are tired of the telling; think their’s are the only grievances going.
The weight of these triggers can’t be measured in steel or a single race.

When Papa died Bubbe kept davening
into herself at the mortuary mine Parchtner she wailed
mine parchtner. I had never heard her cry before. 
But he would not be in a room for viewing. 
That much she knew in every language she ever tried to learn.

The language of the land of Blue Lakes along the Baltic Sea.
The language of pogroms,  refugees, the Holocaust as spoken in Israel.
The language of silence, of children embarrassed by the stench of cabbage boiling on the stove.
The language of America, sons and daughters who have changed their names.
The language of legacy, the ones who bury their dead.
The language of elegy, ancestry, insanity.

a playful departure

If you were to be a vegetable,
What kind would you be? My friend
is fascinated by this question. 
It’s a parlour game, sort of, but a serious
one: Can you align with another kind
of being? We see each other once a week
for a walk. This last time she greeted me
with a frustrated “Dang it, I think 
I’m celery!”  Juicy shoot,
built like a boat to carry others.
The bundles they come in remind me
of firewood at a campground, but when
held up to the light are something
decidedly more beatific – tangy pillars
of green water. Her husband, they have 
divined, is a carrot. I am inclined
to disagree but don’t say so. Who am I
to interfere with marital affairs? 
A carrot’ll do, in any event.

P.s. Breaking news: my friend has
decided she’s a sweet potato.

I am patcher
of old paint jobs,
a labyrinth
Made from grief 
and laughter,

come slap 
these walls with me, 
after I feather spackle. 
Keep me from peeling.

Mystical magician
I release desired powers 
I release failed spells 

I create adaptations
flavored like good roux
and tea olive blooms
in December

I crack the ceilings
with periwinkle plumbago, and 
burst gold 
from my flooded cellars

Everybody in the street reminds me of you
I left because I thought you would come after me
things remain more clear than ever
But my love for you remains
I studied writing to write about you, about us and about me
But that fell
Like I’ve many many many times
where are you, I wonder
I will wonder
And I will actually think to cross a street and see you

Day 21 / Poem 21

Dreamer asleep in 
a strange lake / behind the eyes 
wings rise from whirlpools

Expeditious tongue
lifts its heavy sail toward
the sinking sun

Eyelashes seep sea
surface  / pages swollen in
infinite story.

I want a doll
that can walk down stairs
when her knee gives way,
one not uncomfortable with
forgetting the names
of everyone she knows
and the birds and the flowers,
who tells stories about her childhood, then stops mid-sentence, who forgets her
reading glasses.

I want a doll who has given up driving, whose husband is dead,
who has lost her appetite.
I want a doll to teach me
not to be afraid, what happens next.

My husband left three weeks ago to meditate
in silence for a month. His days consist of sitting
(very early), walking (very slowly), and occasionally 
eating (vegetables). At first I was (very angry), even
though we’d planned carefully for this. He left
me notes to read each day, and a small stuffed robin
hidden with the owls in my closet. 
But this was not enough. I thought, who are you 
to do this? a month? what kind of marriage is
that? Stories of sages tucked into caves, cross-legged
on the cold dirt, sipping on emptiness. 
Meanwhile their wives scrubbed the bottoms 
of the heavy black pots, and made fires that would
burn down into charcoal in the night.

But Doug has begun leaving me voicemails
from the office phone at the meditation center. 
This is a good sign. This means we still have some 
small slip of connection between us, like a spiderweb
in a window frame. This means he’s breaking
silence to tell me sweet things and sing songs about
the Buddha. I have always loved rulebreakers. 
If Nicholas Cage had been in a silent meditation retreat
he definitely would have snuck out the gate for a smoke
& talked to the gatekeeper. My husband tells me he’s
in love with Dipa Ma. Well, he doesn’t say in love, 
but feeling her presence. Dipa Ma is an Indian saint.
Luckily she left her body some years ago, so it will be
hard for Doug to find her other than in himself.

Radiology shows 
my brain has black holes

where campfires once burned 
across grey matter plains, 

a jamboree of flames. 
These fires quenched 

across cerebral fields, now leave
event horizon holes, thick with

gravity, not empty, not a dead
zone, concentrated particles, Higgs Bosons,

the unseen. Space matter peppers
my brain where real mystery lies. Come see —

holes filled with completed poems 
memorized and mingling with the stars, 

holes stuffed with ionic beauty
able to give birth to galaxies,

holes with red bud petals, cherry blossoms,
and smothered in golden gingko leaves,

holes of passions, projects, designs for change 
weathered, relaxed, and concentrated,

holes squeezed tight with love’s losses 
unfinished business, regret. Storage 

units of forgotten wrongs. Who knows 
what grows where creation’s broth is stored?

In the middle of nowhere but also in a place that resembles America there’s a sign that says “American Standard” 

Acting as a sign

I’ve wanted to go to America for a long time

When I was young, America appeared in my dreams

If I reach America, life will be good,

I don’t have to deal with this–

If I reach America I can be mad at different things, hopefully

Or have I been cured, due to age, due to time

If I reach America my taste in music might change

Day 20 / Poem 20

On Tuesday I saw on Twitter a term for frilly toe-socks (essentially).
The photo was quoted, ‘fanties’ &  I’m thinking
are foot-fetishes weird? I mean, how rare
is it that someone suck someone else’s toes? 
I heard once you’re not supposed to 
feed the geese, don’t know if that true but
I heard it once. Or made it up. Who knows? 
You know what they say about how you’re just 
remembering the last memory? 
The pond and your mother on the phone 
on the bench while we threw rocks on the turtles heads
coming out of the mud. 
Willy’s buried there now. You know 
a guy like Willy or you don’t. He’s a friend. You would
like him. You might remember
people brought him blue roses
and bullets. All the dead look like soldiers and the hospital
there where the dying is near.
Whose war? Isn’t it everyone’s war?
Have you ever been to a florist?
Have you ever wondered how you can wrap the earth into one moment?
One word?
Ask the woman who speaks to the wind, I don’t know her
I just saw her once in a dream about a forest.
My first time was at Alice’s but there’s nothing like 
a Dominican arrangement. Something about islands & clusters of colors.
Sometimes my eyes are a blessing. Sometimes they’re poisonous. 
Poisonous colors are green and red. Poisonous touches are hairy and wet. 
I don’t lick caterpillars anymore. I wear lip-stick. I bite. Venus-fly-trap mind.
I think Mama always missed Bonaos villas because of the hydrangeas. 
This was never really home but this life is an immortal flower.
I don’t worry about her dying. I don’t really believe in aging.
I know forgiveness makes us younger, if we let it. It’s sweet 
what the swans do with their necks, isn’t it? Even when they’re grey or blue?
A plane takes families above my head to Florida while the door swings open ;
Gargantuan brazilian amethyst by the window winks at the sun ; purple bell dings 
around the brain. A note: some flowers are kept in fridges. 
But, if you love me, don’t save my head and don’t edit 
what I’ve said about my life as an immortal flower ; what I said 
I meant it ; the air is a french accent I give birth to
& a Moroccan wave against Spanish 
shores. Bluesy sophistications in a conversation over a candle-lit dinner 
in Tuscany. Our skin feels touched by a Greek 
architect or someone’s merciful God. Ancient beyond wombs. Wine-thirsty walking through Plutonian beaches, where the flag is a tiny
light flashing into the subconscious ‘I found it! I found it!’
and no one ever knows the secret but me & you.
I assume telepathy & wish for a rose. 
It comes to pass on the path one winter
as we walk back home & I give it to you. 
I would’ve taken a bath at Alice’s if there were a bath.
I like delusions of grandeur; Sappho sitting on the sink
telling me she loves me. My arms branches
around her thighs like bird cages. I wished the birds were real.
Alice hands me birds of paradise.
Nothing there was missing but a giant globe and a giant library. 
I love to read! I carried them out like books, like birds,
Matilda rolling a red wagon. Who read to you as a child?
I wasn’t a picky reader. I wanted to be seen 
in the telling of someone else’s life. I thought I could’ve been an actress. I sang 
to The Pussycat Dolls. When I grew up, I wondered who ever winds up
loving the mean principal. Do you ever love the ugly thing? Is anything on earth ugly?
Don’t the sun shimmer on our wounds?

Stuff happens for real. As true an observation as any I’ve heard. Nothing to do,
but take the clothes out of the dryer, clean the lint trap, fold each garment neatly.

My mother had a talent for tasks that called for compulsive attention to detail like
folding and ironing or sewing perfectly even stitches and straight hems.

I don’t. My hands shake. There’s a name for that: essential tremor.  I don’t care if the fitted sheets are balled up in the linen closet, but put the laundry away. Clutter disquiets me.

Unplug the dryer in case there’s another power surge. Dryers cost more than
washers. One of the many things I don’t understand.

No one around here uses clothes lines anymore. Remember when sheets and towels
smelled fresh and all the shirts and pants felt a little stiff? I liked that.

A chore I enjoyed as a teen, not many of those, standing in the yard with a basket
of wet wash, fastening each piece to the cord, or draping them, one by one.

The dog next door yipped. I had time by myself. Time to think and not talk. Blouses, nightgowns, and socks

would stand still or dance in the breeze.

It’s all because
I set the clocks back instead of forward.
And lost my favorite CutCo paring knife
behind the stove.

It’s all because
Inspector wouldn’t get up, so she wrapped
him in a towel and wailed
into the morning.

It’s all because
the money spent came back threefold in love
then threefold more

It’s all because
the scissors were dull and the cut was sloppy,
the edges warped.

It’s all because
Tick Tock is a danger. An entrepreneurial den,
or a trap, a gamble, a Chinese encampment.  

Its all because
the solar system may not even be close to what 
scientists have taught us.

It’s all because
today is the spring equinox and I was distracted.
and forgot to begin there.

word through the lips
     changes as it moves

    through the filter
of the mind

what word 
          do you see?
what word
          do you hear?

    a cross-out means
i tried again

to catch a different

that might rustle
             through your heart

  & make a feeling
           without a term
     to describe it

Been fooling
with the last stitch
in my forehead,
my Harry Potter scar
where sun poison 
spread a micro cancer, burst 
along my hairline.
All left behind is a stiff 
final knot.

Like my mother
standing by the bath 
mirror, small tweezer 
in hand,
pulling accident shards,
fine glass, from her eyelids,
her nose, her brow.
She painted on foundation
while I watched, dragging out 
each sliver, 
a sorrow, 
a terror,
something grieved,
something survived.

In every country there’s a madman
Who sits on concrete and points at nothing
In every country the madman walks without shoes
He talks to no one and everyone
In every country the madman behaves
He laughs at no one and cries at nothing
It is difficult to find him
As he knows what’s best for him
In every country there’s a madman’s daughter
Who smiles at anything and everyone
In every country there exist a madman
Who no one wants to get to know
In every country there’s a madman
Who sits on concrete and points at nothing
In every country the madman walks without shoes

Day 19 / Poem 19

It is mine, the backside
of Gods revolving head
like a gun pointed 
in every direction

It is mine, the last memory

Where the tall grass fields grow
the length of horses 

Where galavanting black angels
on beaches rise to the ordinary occasion 
of my last look. 

I remember
I loved you ; world 

Before you built your boats
and colonies, waved your war flags
like confetti

Before you fed our children bombs
of phosphorous

Before you made them blind 
and limbless

Before you made America
a spineless corporation built
on the labor of slaves, built
on the knowledge of natives 

It is mine, the tired asiatic lily, a turtle dove
I pluck and crush in hand,
whose song I pull from the trees

What is beautiful now that we
have killed 31,000 poets in Gaza?

Where is poetry?

Or should we go on singing and forgiving 
thee, sweet land of misery?

This cup, this tea I have with myself
like a monk in meditation 
This sip I take, it is blue 

and I hate to reduce

but, forgive
me ; my sentimentality, my outrage

Put it right here in the cup with the tea.
Put it right here in the cup with the blood of Jesus
if need be. Let me 
be. Let me

If I am Lazarus let me 
die. If the American-Israel enterprise
is Lazarus

Do not resurrect him, so long as
Palestine cries

I am afraid we are too ill in mind
to breathe anything but poison.

My tongue keeps getting me in trouble,
and there’s no solace knowing
it will decompose before the rest of me.

Meantime, sounds erupt from out of my mouth.
When people are listening,
those sounds have shape
become words
words some don’t want to hear.
That’s not my fault.
It’s my tongue talking, not me.

Other times my stubborn tongue
refuses to move,
refuses to say anything. I can’t tempt it
with promises of ice cream or champagne.
My tongue has its own mind.

Then sometimes my tongue wants to kiss,
dance around your mouth,
take a little bite.
And sometimes it doesn’t.

We slept

In a room full of nightmares and carpet rides

The wildness of the sky made itself lord in the speed of the wind

And then finally a stillness

And the carpets fell gently to ground like downy elevators           

Running on assurance from some greater force

Known to man           

But kept underground in tunnels and caverns behind

Walls and podiums while          

Evil bumblers like Netanyahu Putin and Jinping

Trade recipes for disaster

With the press

We don’t know politics from chopped liver

But we do know cruelty

And all the collateral it damages

Even in our sleep

Mountain man Howard Little comes over
after our grandmother dies to help with the garden.
The prickly pear cactus is taking over the gulch.
Each tined pad connects to the next like a childrens’
toy set. Except a bitch to touch. They can’t possibly
grow fast, but before you know it their odd bodies
have propagated an old rock wall, and are starting
to take it down. Women love cactus. Shakes his head.

We haul wheelbarrows of the fleshy parts (which
we have scooped up with a shovel – no touching!)
and bring them to the edge of The Flat, our name
for a meadow. Rounded in blackberries, another plant
signed on for the duration to irritate humans. Ya
see he explains ya gotta cover em tight with visqueen
(what is visqueen? (sp?): a heavy black plastic) 
until the parts die completely & won’t come back.

But does anything die completely? 
We do what he says. It feels like we’re committing
a crime, over there where not even the cows can see us.
It’s heavy work. A decade later – now – I walk that direction
to cut for the creek. I see the puny little heads of 
cactus peeking up out of the ground like opals 
with miniature needles sewn into their faces.
We came back for her, they say. I nod & keep moving.

The tree rings 
speak each year,
the flourished and the starved,
the floods,
snowstorms and spring, 
broken branches,

the wounds, 
the smallest detail‑ 
yellow hammer scars, 
prolific berries,
speaking endurance,
nerves, agony, and joy 

I am so strong 
growing from a cliff edge, 
dry in the wind.
roots deep
snaking to 
the well

I am younger 
than a tree
but long lived.
Ring after ring of years 
inside me.
Can I visit the smallest 
detail?  Will it branch?


Not faceless 

What did they taught me? 

It’s an old fashioned way of thinking

Wanting to “learn” 

Wanting to “teach” 

Just live,

Six kids 

All against the same color–Blue

Six kids vying for the same thing 

Six kids with slightly different expressions 

Six kids, out of which only one dares to not dream 

Day 18 / Poem 18

A hat flies off the head of a religious
-ly late woman. No time to grab it
before she runs off to speak with her God,
she is ready to tell him what X did to her
last week, what X said about her hideous 
shoes that were indeed hideous. She’s prepared
for him a sermon on what others should
and should not do.

It follows the rushing crowd of austere faces
left behind her. Strangers and workers 
busily brushing shoulders in the subway,

Swooped into steep northern lights
up the stairs. Funneled into
tunneled darknesses 
of their own making, she thinks
not to judge the darkness of others against
what she thinks she knows about this (sometimes)
shallow life, where she is also
shallow in her own measurement

(Who said that to love another you must 
first love yourself?)

(Are there not enough 
tyrants parading as equals in the street
with enough narcissism to cause 

(It would take many trains 
and many lives to reach love of another, 
if in this awful life
you must first love yourself.)

(Newsflash: we are each unworthy,
hiding some festering curses, some ugly

(We tell the story backwards—
we’re told to give only what we can)

She misses everything she was supposed
to understand:

We are boats rushing off the shore into the infinite 
coming sun, our obstructions is just the instruction 
to move slowly, so that not everything that is good is gone
so fast

We are Islands surrounded by our own private 
worlds filled with other islands and their private

The hat ends up in the hand of a child,
where he sniffs it and smells

Auras mingling with the scent of the old
man’s cognac cologne

Lilacs of the lovers’ brown-bagged bundle. 

Hair that catches the breath of train 

and laughter that echoes into 
a memory cut in half by a body and that memory 
cut in half by a train.

So many poems about birds,
volumes and volumes of poems
about birds– caged, caught, nesting,
aloft. They can walk. We can walk.
They run. We run. Swim. Float.
And then they fly. And we can’t.
Long before they were birds, they were
dinosaurs, or something like that.
Some were gigantic, sharp teeth, long claws.
Some were airborne.
Omnivores, carnivores, vegetarians.
They can’t hurt us now,
not even a little. We find their bones
buried in remnants of ponds
and salt marshes, eons before
we arrived, bones turned to rock,
footprints in fossilized mud. We dig
under the ground to find them. We teach
our children their unusual names,
draw cartoons  where dinosaurs ride trains.
When school is out we take the children
to museums, show them skeletal remains–
Archaeopteryx, Tyrannosaurus,
Titanosaur. Most too big to fly.
Learn from this, we say. Maybe
about danger, maybe about all that is bigger
or stronger, or where the birds came from,
or what came before, what may come after.
Explore the mystery, study,  and look,
just look. Then fly.

Sometimes when my feet feel

            as if they’re not quite           

                        under me
            I wonder,
                        where does uncertainty
hide in the body?

                         In the lymph pocket
behind the knee

                       the varicose intersection

                        of motion
            and scaffold
                        sinew and fascia?

Once in a dream so real

                       I woke up in a bridal bed

                                               at the foot
            of Karlov Most,
                        still in a lacy ivory gown

                         itchy around the neckline,
            skirts hiked up
                        like a nest.

I was absent then of memory,

            of ghost mothers who might

                        offer a child some assurances
            or advice. My feet are cold now
                        most all the time.

In some minds this indicates

                    not only guts on fire

            but an amplitude
                        of silenced wailing,
            a murder of days without flight,

a convocation of unskilled
            weepers in my chest.

peculiar memory of
a white plastic timer
on the ledge of the piano
right in front of my eyes,
counting off the agony of minutes.
One minute = a little notch
two millimeters wide. 
Sometimes we fudged
the timer if no one was paying
attention. Pause. 
Pick up the timer. Bump it
over a few notches. Keep
going with the interminable scales.
I was no good at playing
this broad beast of an instrument.
Why do parents have a thing
for the piano? My sister
even ran away because of it.
Granted, it was only a for a few
hours, but her valor
made a statement: No more piano.
I was never so bold. I kept
doing the thing I didn’t
like, without passion
or purpose, until the timer 
sounded: you 
are free.

I succumbed 
after months, working 
the floor, stripping 
my clothes off outside the door. 

We are gone. We 
are gone. Taken 
alone. Comfort in only face
time or the phone.

Stripping my clothes 
inside the garage door. 
Hot bath, cold dinner,
sleeping alone.

We are gone. We 
are gone. taken away. 
Alone. No comfort in facetime, 
Hard breath on the phone

Extra shifts, watching 
death. Hungry, I watch 
hungry death take more, then see 
death’s angel lean on my door

we are gone. we are gone

My parents pass, now 
I find can’t get air. My meaningful 
work strikes through energy. Patients
throw masks and pitchers at me. 

Gone. Gone.

“You lie. you’re a liar. 
COVID can’t be, doesn’t 
exist, a conspiracy.” 
Then they were gone. 

They were gone, and
maybe on the other 
side we’ll meet, and
I’ll accept their apologies.

Gone.    Gone.
            Gone.  Gone.

My lover, my babies will 
go on without me. 
Last rites. In the end 
what rights had we? 

We are gone. We are gone

Loving, caring, I
wrote my notes clearly: 
I could not save you. 
You did not save me. 

We are gone

is Laura Brown from The Hours 

Who feels trapped

It is Virginia Woolf, 

Clarissa Vaughan from The Hours 

Clarissa takes care of Richard.

My idea of a woman is not my mother 

Can’t be 

Mom left when I was young. 

I would like to be My idea of a woman  

and survive

Is that possible 

Tik Tok says to pick one 

The biological clock is ticking says a woman CEO 

Reasons not to have a kid the Tik Tok channel by a woman 

Trad Wife stands for traditional wife, not trade wife 

When so many things happen, it is hard to know 

Hard to measure

Who measures things anyways 

Living is more important than measuring 

Living is more important than reflecting 

Day 17 / Poem 17

So it is that it is there and so is it that it is so
that it is it and it is there 
and there is so and so is there 
and so is there that large and larger 
and so and so is where that large and that larger is
and so is is
that that is there 
where that large and larger is
and so and so is and is and is
that it that it and that is that is
there where that larger is.

To say dress
Is to say fabric
Is to say sunshine
And yellow stripes
or black
billowing from the ceiling
a clothesline
a wall
gingham, paisley, checkerboard, tie-dye, tea stained
what is torn, what is stiched, what is frayed, what is glued
close to the body
away from the body
undress, undressing, underdressed
that time we went dancing
a floating hanger
Would you wear this, this, this
What is (s)he wearing
Recount the history of hemlines
The woven dresses of the bog bodies
A wimple
A shroud
The International Ladies Garment Workers Union
Silk, cotton, polyester, remnants and rags, linen
Mannequin or model or me
Touching the sign that reads do not touch
Don’t wear that
Spin around

I remembered a young red-headed athlete with strong lanky limbs.
An Irish Setter his dad adopted, in Oklahoma, at his feet. He raced
his bike to my door, freckles dappling under magnolias, dog in stride.

They were the first to visit my first apartment back from school.
We sat on those pre-fab steps, the elegant breed panting at our feet.
That was all it took. I broke the lease, left for San Francisco.

I looked him up some forty years later. He looked me up
and down, in a silk blouse and crepe suit, clipboard in hand.
He carefully, ever so deliberately, extinguished his Cuban

Montecristo No. 4, and gently tucked it inside the front wheel
hub of his Escalade, saving it atop a Satin Black Rockwell tire.
I suspect for the ride home. His red hair gone now. Smile a little thin.

of a memory
of my mother
of our first
jim gaudagni
who could not write
so would
sign the check
with an
but first came
to visit
to tell my mother
she must
put up
unheard of
to have
like that
and she said
very kindly
I will never 
put up 

I belong here
            Spring breaking
                        Counting leaf buds

I belong where
            Snakes and goddesses
                        Confer by my pillow

I belong here
            as gold finch and brown trasher
                        nest each year

I belong where
            Afternoon sun
                        Floods me with light

I belong,
            My mind traveling
                        Through past losses and

Back again. I belong 
            Tangled beside you                 
                        Warm skin wrapping me

We be longing,
            Longing to be
                        as long and longer
                                    beside we be 

Bite the hand that fed you 

Ignore when the bell rings 

Use a sellotape carelessly 

Leave the door half-shut 

Enjoy life 

Enjoy yourself

“You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.” Albert Camus

You will never be able to experience everyone. So, please, do poetical justice to yourself and simply experience yourself.” Tashi Wangmo

As another mark against sound, the issue of harmonization / Within visual perception, harmony is a sensation of a
complete picture, perhaps, but, save for passing screens such as people, cars, or planes occupying a moving trajectory
across the plane of sight, most objects remain static and visible, or, more readily, discernible [being there the need to state
visible and vision as or away in terms of their “actionality” from discernible and discern: in visioning the world, one
is merely having eyes or ocular capacities, the discerner makes sense of the visual space before them] / Not exactly
etymological save the explication of the bifurcation / Sonically, the issue is much different, despite the mere space of
inches between the eyes and ears, and the shared processual organ through which sensory information in these veins is
assessed and re-produced in conscience thought / A sound can overtake another one / When my partner is playing a
video game while I use the speaker, and I realize the low-volume soundtrack isn’t tracking in my mind, having been
overtaken by the similar sonic structures emanating from the speaker—which is a collaborative release by Brian Eno,
Roedilius, and Moebius, while my partner is playing Mario Kart / The conclusive image—rendered abstractly—is seen
discreetly: red hands triumph in a fast momentum along the floor of the cave (there appears to be no particular geologic
term describing these types of naturally-occurring floor versus manmade floors, opening the defintional space to the
same potential confusion that arose when being instructed that piso era la base de la habitación y al mismo tiempo era
todo el apartamento o habitación o vivienda en sí

Day 16 / Poem 16

The wet click of my eyelashes closing and
strange and
like a frog stretching its tongue
to lick its left3
transparent eyelid, right 4
in the palm of a lily-pad
centered in middle-earth. 5
(In a dream I gave birth6
to frogs leaping between my legs7
into the ocean where my skin
turned orange and my eyes
rusty as mars, look upon my kin.)
Frog-eyed fingernails clinging
to a sensual tree
where an electric rod splits her
into an erotic half8
-god— a girl, the woman9
she will come to be some
-day wrapped in the wind
of her own whirling10

girl (drum) woman (drum) we
were meant to destroy11
and become whole again.12

1Samam: Keep the eyes still.
2Alokitam: Roll the eyes glancing quickly entering an unknown home.
3Saachi: Look to one corner of the eyes hearing footsteps.
4Pralokitam: Move eyes to either side frustrated at a situation.
5Nimilitam: Look into the heart in meditation.
6Ullokitam: Look upwards recalling something forgotten.
7Anuvrittam: Look up and down rapidly in astonishment.
8Pralokitam: Move eyes to either side, frustrated at a situation.
9Saachi: Look to one corner of the eyes hearing footsteps.
10Alokitam: Roll the eyes glancing quickly entering an unknown home.
11Avalokitam: Look down.
12Nimilitam: Look into the heart in mediation.

worrying poems again,
some may get written,
some may never be born.

It’s three in the morning, now four.
People, it’s said, count sheep
when they cannot sleep.

There are many varieties of sheep.
Now I have gotten myself distracted
researching breeds of sheep:

Cheviot, Shetland, Southdown,
where they live, what they eat.
I procrastinate. I tend no flocks,

no animals to count, no sleep, no sleep.
I shut my eyes. Poems fly by,
poems I must write or should or might.

Any idea will slip from me after
the night. Best to avoid an ambien
blur. Tomorrow I will write.

Really, I will write
those words I am afraid to share.
For now, I need to say, “Good Night.”

An absent mind could be a missing agent,
an empty front row desk, or a dwindling
presence spinning in a meadow of fog soup.

An absent mind could be an empty cranial
coffer, a heart without a hand, a belly that
hungers for another savory fill.

an absent mind could be a luminous osmotic

playground, a rester without REM, an empty
field for scattering dew, a fertile bed of grist.

Meet me there.

found poem      in memory of Ann Howard       d. March 13, 2024

The third photo displays unique clothes pins
collected by my mother in Iowa and Montana.
Clever inventions using much heavier wire
than the wimping pins I have purchased recently
that quickly fall apart in the garden

I remember using the all-wooden ones in the 1950s
hanging clothes outside during humid summers
but inside in the basement over the ping pong table
in snowy winters with a dehumidifier 
releasing gallons of water to be saved in jugs

In summer we hoped the purple Martins wouldn’t poop
red mulberry juice on the crisp white sheets

The lower row of decades-weather-polished wooden pins
are from the Howard Ranch, in the Rockies – used year round.
In the winter everything freeze-dried stiff on the thick,
salvaged telephone wire clothesline strung between
log pole pine posts since 1936. Baskets of clothes were

carried outside. Long snowy winters.
I use these six every day and they will last forever

mother’s people, 
miners and farmers
in a sundown town 
4×4 blocks wide. 
great grandma 
married at 14,
cooked squirrel 
and dumplings,
still painted her 
basement at 90. 
swarthy great grandpa, 
worked coal mines 
from boyhood, 
loved sun and flowers, 
built a greenhouse, 
made bouquets 
for weddings, funerals
and love. my mother’s 
people‑ I didn’t know 
were racist, antisemites, 
worked in darkness,
planted in light,
never spoke as bigots 
never spoke hate.
never needed to, 
sundown signs along
the train tracks painted
them innocent. I
saw race hysteria 
on gran’s face, only
when I spilled grape
juice on her white 
velour chair.

When I was 10, I became 20 
Now that I am 30, I wanna be younger
I wanna stay there 
Wanna feel scared again 
Develop fear again
an unborn one 
Fear I have not known yet 
Fear I pretend to have, 
when grandmother warns about rape 

You want to talk about an obliterator? / Here was fragmentation of a headline: embedded in his alter ego which is absurd! / In the moment, every developmental psychoanalytic theory regarding the impossibility of knowing thyself is erased by the axiomatic command to “know thyself” and do so so well as to be capable of stepping into the role of an“other”—real or imaginary—empathizing and such with that other role / As an addendum, however, it should be noted that all occupied roles by the acting individual (the self) are imagined as they are not that other-which-is-a-self / So, the actuality is that these acting selves can readily occupy that “other” space for it exists entirely in the imagination of their selves 

Day 15 / Poem 15

cos i can’t be 
nothing that ain’t me
cos i can’t let 
nobody tell me
i can’t be me me me

nobody can tell me 
who to be be be

cos they called me 
they called me
cos they ain’t seen
the that-what-momma-made
the just-doing-me-kinda

the version of me
on TV smiling,


yea yea yea, hehehe

now i speak 
back to the man, respectfully
with my straightened teeth teeth teeth

cos i watched him long
and took good notes
on how-not-to-be

now he mad-as-can-be

yea yea yea
square in the face
to the crooked man

now he gotta hear me

now i crooked grin
to the crooked man
straightening with sweaty hands
his collar every time i put out my hand
with something to say.

1.        Zipporah, meaning little bird. (Exodus 2:16-22) The Egyptian goddess, Isis, was often depicted by a bird. Frequently, Isis is portrayed as an African Ibis, a bird considered sacred with black head and white body. The bird is now extinct in Africa.

2.        Much of the commentary suggests Zipporah was Black.  If one Googles, however, there are articles emphatically asserting that Zipporah was not Black, reminding us that racism is alive and well in the United States. In addition, the entire story takes place in Egypt where no one is light skinned, a fact easily ignored it appears.

3.        In the Quran, commentators refer to Zipporah as the younger sister who assists Moses at the well. Her name is not given. In the Jewish and Christian bibles, she is the eldest of seven sisters. A story with two sisters creates echoes of Rachel and Leah. It’s an effective narrative strategy. It’s about time I study the Quran seriously.

4.        The name Zipporah is not much in fashion in English today, even as parents go back to giving children unusual biblical names or names that have gone out of fashion like Sadie or Esther or Rose.

5.        My problem is, I don’t read Hebrew or Arabic. I can barely identify the letters. I must rely on translation. Of course, everything is translation, when I say, Good Morning, to you, you must translate what I mean. From an, “I just love this writing,” perspective, the King James version is the best English translation of the Bible. I am always finding reasons not to do something.

6.        Did I mention Moses? The whole story purports to be about Moses. He gets an entire long book for himself; though I suppose God is the central character. God doesn’t actually show up that much in the text. I wasn’t counting Leviticus when I said entire long book. That’s Moses too.

7.        In the Bible, the well is where men go to meet women and vice-versa. This was in the time before bars and internet dating.

8.        After Moses and Zipporah get married and have a kid, Moses famously says, “I have been a stranger in a strange land.”  Exodus 2:22. Other translations of that line might be a bit more accurate, but less poetic.

At summer camp
I remember the cabin 
our counselor gone
and us lounging on 
the plastic sheeted bunks
getting changed. Sun
through the little windows.
I was maybe twelve. & a girl said
Frankie’s got a bush.
& I realized she was talking
about me. Everyone stared
at the hair below my belly,
spraying out like a tough
bouquet in a pickle jar.
Bigger than the others,
which made no sense at all.
I didn’t feel or know 
anything in that zone,
it was like another 
continent. And I barely
knew continents. Most
of the time I was invisible,
and nothing happened.


But one night in the cabin
a girl took a rolled up 
pair of socks
and put them in her pajamas.
She approached a sleeping girl,
who emitted subtle snores 
and did not seem to wake
even though we were all gathered,
down from our bunks.
There was a moment of connection
that I couldn’t see. & then the
sleeping girl touched
the girl with the sock
and everyone sprang back
to their positions.
There was only one girl
who ever talked about it again
and she was the cabin jester,
the girl who’d been 
Remember? she said,
calling us all out
on our desires.

Taking lunch, I sat in my Renault, 
the driver’s window stuck open.
I watched three crows on the playing-
field cruise amid clover, nut grass, and bind 
weed. I escaped the morning queue—
depression, heartbreak, pregnancy,
strep, UTI, chlamydia, grief—
and wrote my stories, eating olives 
and carrots. On restless days I drove past 
TCI Steel, shuttered with rusting smoke stacks,
past flooded blue strip mines, to
the fish camps and honky-tonks, and
revisiting my morning, the gentian stains,
the antibiotics, embracing the sobbing.

Allen Ginsberg

Slyvia Plath

and Charles Bukowski 
walk into a bar

Ginsberg: “Sex is good. It is liberating”
Plath: “Try killing yourself 
Bukowski: Well 
Plath: I was married to a man called Ted Hughes. He was an asshole. 

Ginsberg: How so? 

Plath: He left me at my lowest. 

Ginsberg: Was it any good? 

Plath: No. I thought I just said he was an ass-

Bukowski: We heard you. So what did you do about it? Or did you let it kill you 

Plath: I did let it kill me. This is my ghost, or my past speaking to you. 

Ginsberg: I see. Besides how has, how was your life?

Plath doesn’t answer. 

Ginsberg: I guess I will just speak to the other one then. 

Bukowski: Who? Me? I don’t think so. I was done talking a long time ago. 

Overnight suicide notification / read later / pairs symbolic bad storms / and went to the barn to sleep with the animals / brought the dog with / holding them the entire time / small shaking / and dreams then / elephantiasis, fox masks / Bright flashes the slats / to see stands of trees / and trees only / stand is a term oriented to natural resource allocation (later) and should not be perceived to include the mushroom colonies, insects, deer, birds, or even—at times—root systems encountered there the next day or days before

Day 14 / Poem 14

A time to write and to be here, 
ready on all fours like the black bear 
charging at the glass bear 
breaking into geometric 
cosmos from somewhere out there
in the cold. A blind bear 
studies the code of the crystal bear 
whose spirit transports
through a time-machine

cylindrical cave where the moon
spills it’s melancholy milk
into a dark eye, where the bear 
& I become I 
& swap destinations
written in the constellation bear.

Ancient deal signed between twin brothers; 
vagabond healers of each others worlds…

Bear the mask of brotherhood 
reminding in the snowy mountain 
of the warriors blood
whose satchels’ slings like
Saturn’s ring or otherwise
‘round the back-end of time
like a fisherman. Waiting patiently
his catch.

Time for the track to tread
beneath our feet; dirt &
earth slows it all 
down, becomes heavy 
with breath
moving slick like a leopard
on your neck. Hot 
on your belly like 
elastic aging
in the brainless
banter of the universe.

Say you’re 70 or 71
finally ready to talk to your mother
about everything
you never wanted to share.

Maybe you’re the type
who blabs everything
without thinking.
Then this doesn’t
apply to you.

But you’re ready,
and you have some questions
you’d think you’d have the answers to by now.

                  Here’s the thing.
                  You know what’s coming.
                  Your mother is dead,
                                    been dead.
                  You were there
                  when they covered her with dirt.

                  And her mind went
                  years before her body.
                  She didn’t even know who you were
at the end.

This seems unfair.
Turns out your life’s work
has been learning to speak

You’re old enough to know
she might not have answers,
but she’d be pleased you asked.

Sancho Panza and Don Quixote are captive in Dad’s den 
and I remember when Laurindo Almeida sat in the big chair 
and spoke to me of Malequëna and truth.

I scored a Red Ivy Corning Ware Dish at Out of the Closet for 
my Thanksgiving yams. My best friend, who groaned because 
I saw it first, is really mad its gone, now it’s her year to use it.

I scour the library shelves for old stories and fix them
with my gaze. Which lens will screw to the aperture today?
Just now, I work to soften my view, to see the broad vector
of motion, not focus on one gesture too harshly.

I have four different pairs of glasses and one pair of eyes
always trying to catch up with the changing light. Some
dark landslide or bright flash from a jagged source.

I always prefer the natural hue of the sun to the bulb.
But bulbs can be sweet too, when you forget all about them
and they suddenly surprise you and break ground again.

We have begun ordering
alarm clocks. Hairless
newborns with
unlimited potential. 
Will this be the right
one, the forever one?
Until it breaks.
What are the requirements
for a perfect alarm clock? 
Small. Packable. Quiet.
Must have snooze. 
This last one eliminates
most. My husband has ordered
a sequence of alarm clocks 
to arrive while he is gone. 
So far we have brown, black, blue,
yellow, &  – inexplicably – 
pink. The blue and yellow,
brother and sister, are expensive
and therefore beautiful.
No snooze though. Too bad.
The pink is odious 
and I’ve hidden it in the room
with the closed door. 
When the time changes 
I visit them one by one
and swish their tender hands
to a new reality. Oh, Spring.

Praise for a red brick duplex
with a sandbox, big basement 
imagination and fairy trees 

Praise for Deep Havens 
apple tree fields, begonias, peonies, little 
sister, baby brother, lonely mother

Praise for the new house, spacious
with tragedy— an empty room for dancing, 
a pond with turtles, frogs, and leeches 

Praise for the houses after, smaller 
and smaller, afforded though
no bedroom for the eldest daughter 

Praise for a lake city, sidewalks,
tall ceilings, a hole in the boy’s 
floor, but a space of one’s own 

Praise for California—
 a new world, disappearing mountains,
 wild oceans. Innocence maintained

Praise for oceanic dorm room,
the whale watcher window, the almost lovers, 
the Joan of Arc rock, the eucalyptus driveway, and

Praise for this purple house 
the repaired leaks, the pink walls, the blue ceiling,
lettuce garden, invasive vines, the couple who watch each dawn

Praise for the roof
             the walls 
                       the windows
                                    the home

If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I should not be inspecting my house late at night
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I have never eaten popcorn food is inconsequential to me
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I am probably not married
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I’ve managed to be deemed as mad
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I defy norms
By looking people in the eyes 
By never cooking up stories 
By moving forward as a way to keep in touch with the past

If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I write this closer to midnight than morning 
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I don’t “settle down
If I am the Allen Ginsberg of Japan I’ve no concept of “shame”

If I am Allen Ginsberg, I protest
If I am Allen Ginsberg, I write this for a while, I don’t stop here

The machine says ON / and I hear OFF / what is this development / CONNECTED / and this keyboard has adapted a new language / You were to be my sh / grass eater / lotus obliterator / not a shoe / my sh / were supposed to be there / and for six / a sh / not a spool / or a star / One finds they own no books by Gregory Orr, but several belonging to him / my sh: my story is different (not even a variation) / it comes sidereal (pulsations forming shapes) / heat death family universe / a dog jumps twelve feet, my sh—he bit my dog and my hand / bleeding waves, chased / In my story, I am not the same age and am myself the victim of the hunting accident

Day 13 / Poem 13


Lately, I’m really into affirmations, you know?

             (you don’t know… you’re a man)

I wink at you & you’re stunned

             (don’t be, stud, 
             cos’ you look good
             you look real good, like 
             the son of a good man.)
             (Should we? Do you like it?)

I know I know. You work tomorrow
I get it, we’ll talk soon, 
             we’ll talk, ok?
 Ok. Love you!

             (I love you)


Umm [?]
It feels like flipping lots of pages in the dark.

             (I wink & you’re stunned)

Yea & it comes off too. The girl at 
the store says it swivels and spins too, but 
I don’t use that setting.

(I press ‘on’ & it vibrates)

You’re not supposed to, you’re a lady. 
Be a lady, shut up. Keep it 

             (You’re not supposed to use your tongue 
             like that.)


& you don’t really know what they’re gonna have 
until you see it
until you peak, you know?
             (Like this I tell her)

Like this
             ( I tell her,
             look up at him and blink.)

I’m setting up the camera and its not working
& the sun is coming through the window 

I put it on the bed first & you bend over it

             (Why is it always like this 
             when you start something?)

It’s so beautiful when you chase your dream.

             (When was the last time we talked? 
             It’s so nice when we talk.) 

I put the j out on the newspaper.

They called her Zipporah, bird woman,
face dark as evening, plumed and preened.
He met her near the water, her ankles
in water, she dipped her face to taste
the water, she dipped the ladle to take
the water. Shepherds came to steal
the water, but he had come, and saved
the water. She flew away back to her father,
the comfort of family, the safe straw nest.
Her father said, go back and find this stranger,
invite him to our nest, for bread and for water.
She did not fly far and found the stranger,
brought him home for bread and for water.
Later they married, later had children.
Later her turn would come to save him.

Start with tea and toast.
A small bowl of grapes.
And a letter you’ve been
saving for a moment long
enough to pause.

Then imagine the roof off
a 58 T bird fins on the sides
80 miles per through date groves
sitting middle on the console
gears shifting between legs.

Start with what you won’t do.
Start with the way the birds
Take over the palms before  
a sun comes up. Those ravens,
their unmistakable arrogance.

Start with your willingness.
Contrition is not a hard candy
you want to suck on for too long.
Simplicity patterns are the easiest
to sew but the Vogue catalogue
has an unmistakable flair. Even
the hand drawn models seem to
eat arrogance for breakfast, pose
with more elegance, higher Manolo’s.

My grandmother wore a cotton
housedress daily, a sweater and hat
for shul, an apron for hanging laundry.
It was my job to hand her the pins,
the wide end forward, like a nurse
handing the doctor his tools just so.

a man is pushing a baby carriage 
full of buckets
across the street
& the DHL driver does not 
slow down at all
as he makes the turn
because he knows 
that’s not a baby
and i all of a sudden remember
the Sendak book i loved
to freak me out
with the ice baby melting
as the sister desperately
looks for the real baby
(me, the sister)
and the goblins are
gaining and there’s so
little time

for C.B.

Mine never was a girl’s 
body. I never was a girl, 

still I came to love this body
legs and arms made a strong girl. 

They treated me, this body,
as precious, treasured like a pearl. 

Hiking, climbing, digging, building, 
I found a forest shining as a pearl.

Disinterested in gender, the mountains, 
valleys, rivers didn’t call me boy or girl.

Saw my powerful, bright, desire 
to change the structures of this world

Today, I claim a new self— 
my life more spacious than a girl’s 

Dear person, you may love ‘em, just don’t be one. 
Rounded, shining, glowing, be a pearl.

I met a girl 
Who looked like freedom
Who broke every rule, like a man 

Like they didn’t exist 

I treated her the same as someone who likes another treats that person
Sometimes I ignored her

When time came, I decided to follow her lead 

Other than that, i’ve been thinking of her 

Odradek this morning / That is—I am / But, I arrived here / Not a production but a composition / Results / I have
been, for instance, deficient in my ability to explain myself—that is, my purpose / So, for many, I appear to have some
other purpose, or none at all / I can produce harmonious structures that emerge slowly / I especially am taken with the
uses of glitch arrays to create an entrance that beguiles as destructive or destroyed and then becomes constructive / I also
admire deployment of static / Odradek this morning, set aside and untouched and everywhere at once / Another writer
said I was his nose / that I lobbed myself off one day and took it upon myself to ascend the ranks of the bureaucracy in
his stead / I was always the first part into the room, after all / Gogol’s story’s viability is represented in instances such as
Today, an amputated nose can be reattached with microvascular anastomosis / Which is followed by the revelation that
Tycho Brahe lost part of his nose in a duel / The conclusion they suggest is that [MY FATHER—the plastic surgeon]
should reflect on the examples of [GOGOL] and Tycho Brahe as they consider the role of psychological care for patients who have lost a body part.¹

¹Hwang, Kun. “What Would It Be Like to Lose One’s Nose? Gogol’s The Nose and the Astronomer Tycho Brahe.”
Archives of Plastic Surgery vol. 44,4 (2017): 257-258.

Day 12 / Poem 12

A hair or an inch reaches midnight. 
Short and shorter is the day between dark and darker
and round and straight. The up-right 
know-it-all hand chases the widening
circuit into a whirlpool path like Alice
to the pocket-watch Rabbit.

In my book there’s no such thing as late for anything.
I’m twenty forever 
folding and unfolding

The paper months lined and posted on the wall,
turned to breathing origami.

My bed a boat between 
the rainbow of flying fish
that land and open
golden lotuses 
like the first-steps 
of an Indian prince.

I write bioluminescent in the reflection 
and it all turns on 

Everything I was meant to catch, everything
I was meant to see turns neon

I let the wide world of my room 
see me, the blue spotlight like an aura

I want to love the world; unseen

All begets or forgets all;
I am fine 
to be 

All the birthday cakes on the black-sand beach 
I won’t
or get too tall that
I forget 
all the pearly icing like shells spiraling on the rim 
of oceans open palm.

I peal back my eyelids like the ocean does,
I am as I should be and eat alone
with my eyes what will
disappear tomorrow
under the panting tongue, 
the soaked carpet hung 
to dry by the sun;

The blonde bears
off-white pushed off

clouds of cascading 
sugar cubes
falling into the hot-tub
where a club of seals bark
mercy from this furnished

Atlantis lost in a grotto
off the coast of Morocco
where they’ve sent the Canarian King
to live out his days 

My fathers father 
in a dream came

from my life, 
my dream came
an island and a cosmos; 

I won’t
forget my name; 
I am, I am a flame
to the hieroglyphs 
and the pots left 

I am, I am
native to everything.

When the poet read
and didn’t say
the words that must be said
before others can be said
but I don’t want to say
what was not said
or believe some words
must be said
before other words
can be said
who can say
what I am talking about
that’s my problem
not wanting to say
what I want to say
for fear
of I don’t know
mind open
mouth stitched shut
a poet I know
on the page
and in the flesh
who smiled with recognition
on seeing me after the reading
I expressed honest
delight in the poems
and almost let my wrong
thoughts or right
slip from my brain
through my neck
to my tongue and out my lips
but I didn’t


I am utterly myself in the kitchen.
I bake. I clean. I give something away.

The Waterford sugar dish. 
The Wayfarers vase.

I wonder where my castaways have landed.
In this weather the fronds on my street 

are dangerous.

Liable to land anywhere.

Action may be a matter of supply and demand. Play is 
a cause, crowned with laurels during this awards season.

I once won a blue ribbon for my thinking, for possessing
an indefatigable undifferentiated aesthetic continuum.

I’ve always been a crier. A tough language for anyone
to decipher. No one knows what gives, least of all me.

I go out walking, fronds be deviled. I’ll take my chances.
Sticks of celery in my hand wishing to be sticks of dynamite.

What if we could blow this grief wide open, let the wind
and rain swim out, have its own way with my tears.

We ate snails
                          for dinner 
              in      ceramic dishes
                    made for them

          scooped out spaces
                       for their

  chewy little bodies
             to nest 
                       hot oil.

                       The snails
             came in jars
                     so you didn’t 
to think about
                          the ones
                        outside      cousins

                I would count them
                         as I ate 
                              6    to  4
                         to     2    all 

for Suzanne

Old Friend, 
spinning with sweat we’d 
eat Greek fries. Enclosed
booth stories told, 
searching for birth 
mother, lovers of old. 

We saw your dream 
cottage— a stream,
a bridge, 
a wild woods.

Now injured dogs, lonelycats appear at your gray 
wolf door and find love.
Native seeds sprout. 
Hawks and owls nest.

Initiated goddess 
always you return 
to lake, Sonoma hills, 
and walking green.

Every morning, the New York Times writes to me
Something about opening an email that has been addressed to you but also not 
I’ve wondered if the feeling would be same had I opened that email in another country 
Today some of their headlines reads “China bad bad America good good” 
America smart China stupid 
America China evil 
America humanity China 
I’ve never been to China 
I’ve wondered about the girl who sends these emails 
About her house. 
Where did she go to school? 
She’s always cheerful; “That’s it for today. See you tomorrow” – Signed

S-S-Sad / The question are you lonely? / Dead spouse—now that is a fear I have / Transmigration of souls / Afterlife questions / and hourglass metaphors / the narration of time and times before time happens 

Day 11 / Poem 11

Somewhere submerged 
in a deep-blue dream, 
waves of snores
lazily drag toward the sea 
of immaculate stars gazing 
             upon the far rickety chair 
             of the crescent-moon wearing
             her strict countenance 
         in the dead of night.

             Somewhere in the open-mouthed universe
we are in severe sleep,
under a vast spell 
of heavy eyelids 
and indifferent mumblings, 
             inviting volcanic spores of havoc 
             to fester and calcify on the planet
             like wrinkles between the stressed eyes 
             of evil and indifferent men.

Even in these subterranean places 
of the restless mind where we find ourselves
innocent as children or wise as ancients, we find
ourselves tossing sternly on the indifferent pillow.
We doze off into reckless war
             -planes dropping 
                                    their ceaseless bombs
like fireworks.
             We let it go on and on 
for several cycles under heaven
             as if to celebrate 
             death as ritual.

Why not the blueberry or blackberry
that spring up everywhere early in summer
and sometimes again, less bountifully
in fall. Wild, they grow anywhere
a little light gets through; on the side
of the road, a path up a hill, along the ridge
near a stream. They sustain the bear
and the deer. We can eat as we walk,
still have plenty for pies and pancakes.

During pandemic, my granddaughter
and I took turns reading the pages
of Blueberries for Sal across the Zoom screen.
She beamed when she learned to pronounce
the hard words. Such a sweet memory.

Why then an apple, a fruit from
a tall tree, hard to pick when no one prunes
the top branches. If it was an apple
that grew in the garden, the one
where Adam and Eve were planted.
More likely a pomegranate, also the fruit
of a very tall tree, with a very tough skin,
seeds juicy and messy, difficult
to remove without spoon or knife.

But we declare apple– round, shiny, crisp and
forbidden. The fruit or the tree? I have never
been certain. Does that make a difference.
There is more than one version
that tell different stories. And why blame
the woman? Why must she bear the pain.
I would pick berries by a path, not
come back to this story again and again.

The Freesias are blooming!
Volunteers who’s tiny bulbs
must have hidden in the potting
soil when dividing the Billbergia.

Now, just as spring rain queues
their entrance, clean white rows
of nectar scented bugles show up
to announce the lolly-pink bracts

just beginning to make their points
known from between toothed leaves.
Soon enough long purple frocking will
curl its many tongues back, to frame

each spear’s final flourish; prolific
lemon meringue pistils and stamens,
the intricacies of which will treat the eye
to the keen perfection of Brazilian flora.

soaking my feet in epsom salt
saving the shower water b4 it gets hot
dyeing clothes blue
handwashing kinky undies
catching the drip
watering the parsley and rue
holding a plant while changing pots
standing by the side of the bed if you are sick
gathering branches
remembering a poem

after Li He (790-817), trans. Wong May (2023)

Mining for cobalt. Deep earth.
Small candle to see.
He drops down
in the hole,
his feet grab dirt stairs,
screaming hunger. Wants to eat,
to feed Maman, sisters, all small
and starving.
He hunts the goblin of blue,
through its nest. Tunneling
away from sunlight, breathing poison.

Everyone desires this goblin’s power to feed their phones.
He suffers for our selfies, 
our cars, our poems. He
feeds our greed.

Even as a child, he sorted
through stones.
While Maman panned in wet wax cloth, babies played
in radioactive sludge.

Under houses, 
all families dig.
Deep below,
crumble away.
The boy chops
deep underground at blue-green vein.
His lantern trembles as he chips away. Earth
crumbles. He grabs the goblin’s
winding tail.

              His Maman feels
the landscape shaking below her feet.
The tunnel 
collapses.  Our boy
              of bone cries out.
His mates drop sacks of ore to ground. 
Maman screams. Sisters run to see
                       dark pit
like hourglass fill. Red earth caving.

The blue goblin chokes
his breath.
Boy’s Maman wails.

Mother warns
She wants 
To love 
To die
Gives, little 
by little 
And does she know? 
She hoards 
not just objects

be better
Dedicated to Tom, Kim and Chris 

Same shoreline / generates many times / it is the same / in every picture / the shoreline stretches / it bisects and moves laterally / at an angle from the space that is the frame / down shift / No one like my picture / 642k likes / Amen as many times / AI infiltration / Bot accounts / in other situations, the original content is removed and replaced with some alternative website that appears more popular because you visited the original / There is question about the AI generated obits for Lyn Hejinian / and my question about the absence of one in The New York Times / In each of these photos / —no question about the terminology AI GENERATED PHOTOGRAPHY / despite the absence of use of camera / — / is some depiction of white Christ / emerging from the fuselage / half a body carried through a tunnel of light / in the tunnel to heaven / Hieronymus Bosch obvious citation, though not acknowledged in the generative imagery / Massive busts of sand Jesuses / No one like my picture / —this is some sort of Stockholm Syndrome wherein the bot posting is reflexively destructive / Do not like this picture / is what is actually being said

Day 10 / Poem 10

An ark floats above the rooftop
& scriptures are upside down 
on my bed like a pyramid 

I put them on my head  & wonder what they’ll do

They certainly do
keep the gnats
out of ears & in their places.

Anyway, I set my thoughts down &
walk out the window to the mat 
where the rain drops 
slowly into a cat bowl

I’m alone & have to exchange the water for vinegar

You ask why & I don’t know?
To kill them slow & keep them off the mats?

Everything has its place
you know?

The rain is said to come from the ark &
the ark isn’t supposed to leak?

Anyway, I replace the rain &
cover my head

[For the angels,
because the angels know

& if they don’t
the devil knows
and will quote
against me.]

“The Poet said! The poet 
let her head get wet! She let
the gnats in! All the cats are
out in the open!”

In the quiet of a cold March afternoon–

A car drives through the rain
The heater fan turns on and off
while the clothes dryer hums.
Another car passes, driving through puddles,
then another.
The rain slaps the windows and the asphalt
The building ventilation system whines.
An incoming email rings.
A truck backing up sounds a warning.
The refrigerator whirrs.

In the anechoic chamber–

I become sound
My heart, my heart, my heart
Gurgle and flow of stomach
and intestines
Ears, wrists, neck pulse
Breath explodes

In the waiting room–

          We sit on stiff backed chairs.
          Do not speak.
          Look at our hands
          or at screens,
          the walls.
          Not each other.

What would she say to her double digit self
The self she can barely locate in memory?

She would likely say, there, there, it’s been
so confusing up to now. I know, your mama left,

 your daddy reenlisted and went down in the bay. And
not one single soul in that courtroom seemed to

agree as to where those two, small girls
should land.  So we kept circling. Lap to

lap, the base, the courthouse, the swings
near the pier, the pinocle table where Papa

Nate set us all down, the fish monger on
the strand and daddy’s itchy green Air Force

blanket on the shore beneath us. We finally
came to rest in Pasadena, on Mockingbird

Lane far from the ocean. Mama had another baby.
girl. New Daddy kept on us and Billy taught us to

mother that child. Got us dolls that wet. We
learned to change. World War II was a kind 

of hole not easily crawled out. I loved
Mockingbird Lane, up against the foothills, eyes

to the oaks on the North side of the street. I could
have lived there forever. Wish I lived there now.

i reach for the knob on the brass lamp
but i don’t see the snake looped around it,
i turn on the lamp and now the snake
is wrapped around my arm like a bangle
and it is biting me
where i’ve been bitten before
i am screaming help
help and people don’t seem to notice
until finally they do
but casually and my husband is 
somewhere else
the woman says, oh, that’s a pig snake

Should I play with you?
Burst out laughing? 
Descend with kisses?

Look at her neck painted 
with last moment’s kisses. 
Kissed and possessed.

She’s distracted, tense.
He swoops down,
pinching her.

Her kiss, again.
His memory.
Her fragrance

allows him great joy 
outside his pain-
full crisis

This singular moment, 
enchanted in the light, she’s his 
star at the edge of the horizon.

Obeying natural laws, she’s 
his distant cure 
his radiating charm.

It was weird
It was an experiment
It was wanting to be loved
Love at first sight
It was
So many things
And then
you were lonely
You came up with a formula

Why do we make our lives so much bigger

Dedicated to Sonam Choden

Medea meditation / Masque / mediatrix / magician / mother / maelstrom / marriage / misogyny manipulation / man misanthropic / mad migrant  / moral murder /  matricide / morbidity / mythologist’s myth: / migration / mediation / Medes / morbidity / Media mismanagement

Day 9 / Poem 9

Breeze that beats
trees like shamans 
on shallow dirt where drum-
sets ; frees 
Rocket-bodied birds; unfurling rose-tip
-wings from the delicate 
wrists of twilight.

Breeze beneath the nose of 
the brightening earth 
like breath-mint 

Waking up an itch 
and a fresh eye
in the morning,
inching around
the wrinkled waist 
of the aging sun,

Bloated with all 
human history,  it’s pyramids, kings 
and all those they’ve
killed ; hinged
upon the bladed horizon’s
waxing the ocean
into a sleepy
mouth filled with stars.

The sign on the truck reads
you inherit hair loss
from your mother.
Again the question,
who is the you? Mother lost
her hair during Alzheimer’s.
What made it grow back?

The truck parks in Secaucus
near the forever new construction,
windows reflecting morning sun
with uncanny distortion. Remember
Boston and the glass panes
leaping from the John Hancock
tower before the building opened.
What image did they fear?
Who would they kill?

The drawbridge is stuck
in the open position.
Hoboken the only option
in the paralysis of time.
The panhandler turns down
a sandwich. I would have offered
a dollar. No one asked me.

If I am invisible why
did I cut the hair on my Barbie?
I did not understand
that it would not grow back.
My brother still colors his hair,
what little he has.
I look for her all the time
in the combs I kept when we
cleaned out her closets.

Clouds of gray smoke for air
Toxic entropy absorbed into the atmosphere
An astrophysical interchange of molecules playing do-si-do
Landing random where they can do some harm

Harmful chemicals known to man and used by science anyway
Create destroy
Create pollute
Create byproducts for bystanders and
Bibles we thrum in the name of Jesus
While walking heavy footed on the face
Of the mother    Ohh instead  Sing her praises
Her purple Rocky Mountains,
Her sky tickled canyons,
Her mesa pools reflecting.
Her moors and glaciers, all natural formation

Oh sing to the sediment
The molten and the aqueous
The first mind idea in the eye of the arcana
Held as it comes into focus in the hands of the future
And the future seeks the nonexistent way back down
By which I mean, there’s no way back down only the way on
8 limbs and 8 koshas 8 in an octave on the Fibonacci ratio

Shrouded and hidden and holographic,
The none and the multiplied
The raptures of the many

What I know about grief is…
the deepest end of sorrow seeks its opposite in beauty

What I understand about shame is…
It’s a kind of fertilization that drives us to motion 

Clones us to the afternoon disappearing on the horizon.
Even the sun shames itself into setting

Let’s the night run amok in the dark at the break of its curfew
To bring a new start Another arbitrary 24 further severed by 60 twice
It’s dangerous to keep broken watches around the house
Bad luck
A travesty to let time stand still
Or is it we who idle while time creeps on and on
And just when it seems the darkest again
There goes our luminous blue mother on her axis in adagio
You can feel her turning in space beneath your feet

The young waiter
at the Puerto Rican restaurant
asks what I am writing in this notebook.
I say oh, I’m doing this project 
where I write a poem a day.
And he says, “Oh! Like what’s one about?”
And I think back to a favorite poem
called Cacahuates, and say
“It’s a poem about peanuts, but also
about photography, & then it’s also
about something else.” I imagine
the light in his eyes darkening
with the ink of boredom. Like,
ok that’s more than I wanted 
to know. But instead
he says, “Can I see it? Do you
have it here?” He tells me
he writes his thoughts in his notebook,
his notebook like mine, and I say
Yes, Yes, I do that too!
Wanting to praise him for caring,
not just for me & these cages
of light, but for the act, 
the art, the trying.

from Van Gogh and Pierre Delattre

Across a sunrise field, the Sower plants his path 
of bright seeds with hand over heart.

Sun kissed seeds, hand spread wide,
a pathway planted under the field’s rising sun.

In time, a grove grows where he sowed. 
I held the Bluebird. You held me.

You held me, a blue bird in my hand. 
We stood inside a grove of trees.

An orchard, artist-made, in mud’s 
rust, charcoal, cocoa brown.

Cocoa dirt, coal dust. clay rust—
An orchard painted in mud.

Sink close to me as 
these boughs enwrap us.

Enwrap me, as we
sink into these boughs, and

sunrise casts the Sower’s heart
in peach above the river, golden blue.

Golden blue river, the Sower casts
his seeds, his peach heart swells.

Without fail 
Without reserve 
Can you wait? 
Doing all sorts of shit
I gotta be careful 
By the time you know what it feels like to be in their shoes you have already left 

26 students are killed at Tripoli’s Military College in March of 2020 by a drone attack / The site was attacked by a drone1 / The drone in question fired a missile which is made in China / Such is indicated in fragments left behind / The report says this / The report is not the sound of the explosion, but the legacy of it / The report is not included in Marconi’s dreams / The culpable party for the attack is stated to be Khalifa Haftar / Haftar’s forces are directly supported by Russia / China funnels much money across African nations–or were, efforts have stalled—via their Belt and Road Initiative / In the warzone of Libya continuing today, Russia’s influence has more dominance in potential / All the roads are gone / There was the store / Susan Howe dreams in a diary of a blanket of her son’s on Quartz Road, Guilford CT—her son having been bitten earlier in this dream by a strange sea creature and then dying (though they expected him to survive—the dream is related to Howe’s lingering grief over her husband David von Schlegell’s death, which prevents her from writing for several years and during which [REDACTED BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL—ADD THIS IN?]) / and in the dream she is her son’s “mommy” and sister / So, there was a blanket on the road / So the cat curls up next to you / I must go on

Day 8 / Poem 8

Against the tattered window shutters, 
brilliant yellow butterfly 
wings stretched 
from either side of my shoulders 
inviting you in
to my lemonade-stand
lips, where I sell kisses
for lemons.

You’re out in the yard,
your back on the blanket, 
timing the creaks drying,

but you do it in sun-glasses
and in style like we’re
rich kids in Monaco,
sipping on a dirty Martini,
waiting on the teal waves
to wash our feet.

I rinse a cup and eat an olive 
while the white boats
cross paths in the teal sky

We wear our sweat,
like pearls in the silk heat,

and a salty mist rises
from the sprinklers

The sun gets up 
from her royal seat and
walks on air toward me
sends from a trapeze 
a smile and a wind
flings its way into my
opulent face.

(In Memory of the Women of the Montclair International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom)
When I was certain I would live forever
I watched as old women walked
to the microphone and sang
words of justice and equality. No
one heard their harmonies. No one
seemed to listen,
except me.
Why bother? Why bother? I hummed,
my own pretty tune.

                          My job offer was twenty thousand less
                          than the last counsel made.
                          He left for better pay.

Stand up! Stand up and sing!
When silence answers,
Sing louder!

                          I kept knocking up against
                          the women’s quota.

Sometimes people laughed
or talked over the singing
or squirmed when the words
made them think too much.

                          There were no restrooms for women
                          on the classroom floor of the law school,
                          only on the floor with the secretaries.

I continued watching
and the women came to me
and said,
Sing, you must sing!

                          The professor who brought his chair behind mine
                          and breathed on my neck.

                          The teaching assistant who said he would only give me an A
                          if I slept with him.

                          The assignment judge who put his hand on my ass
                          as he opened the door for me.

I knew the ridicule
I knew the scorn
and did not want to raise my
my voice.

                          There are much worse stories.
                          I share only mine.

The women departed, one by one,
until I noticed almost all
of them were gone.
But I had learned.
My voice is strong.

Like a bell
rung on a mountain
high over a village.

Like a message
everyone catches to
whom it may concern

Like an impression
over the earth

Like a new Stonhenge
A sun dial
A surreptitious timekeeper

Like combing the terrace
for thistle and cotton
and past due items

Like a library
Of unkempt emotion
When dark returns

Like a notion that fails
With your
Last scent of freedom

Like a fresh wind
A layered parfait
Of excellent expectations.


after Lucille Clifton 

has a molten heart 
warming our feet from below 
flowing through caves and crevices 

is the mirrored blue waters 
in peace at dawn but can rise
into towers of crushing fury 

is the greening meadow 
after snow melt 
that is bursting in blue speedwell 

is a river gorge 
is a cray of basalt 
is a beloved man 
who is tree straight 
like a grey macaque 
and can leap from pinnacle to peak

No cheating

[song replays]

“Tashi ! ( in the way Americans have said my name )You cannot cheat!”
But I can lie on my stomach, drink green tea 

I can feel 
[sips more green tea]

 be here 
[scratches eyebrows]
[digs nose]
[song stops] 
[sips more green tea]

About these robots: we knew there was a problem when we observed one take paints and apply them to their chest, forming there some sort of symbol indicating personal meaning—to them—that needed articulation in form of adornment / Why is it so hard to understand that our sentience is not a gift? / The symbol immediately differentiates / The differentiation (tribalism) is the commencement of the problems—for now there is a oneness, with an otherness / In this sequence, observe the engineers attach the gun pod to the devices’ backs

Day 7 / Poem 7

The forest murmured sweetly 
the padded landing of rabbit’s feet
                 and long-necked carrots performing
                 an orange orchestra that morning.

How the colors sang 
and the rabbits ate for me 
on the shady patch of grass 
                 which seemed
                 at the time an inch 
                 from a loaded cloud.

The sun sunk low
onto the face of earth
that morning
                 I let it sink into my skin
                 to live a little longer in 
                 the last memory of it.

I raise the sun again, heavy
in the corner 
of pulsing blue
mirroring the sky; 

Where all resembles all 
and everything is shining
like eyes on either side
of every planet flashing
little signs of recognition,
reflecting back a constellation 
of other things like horses and fish
and rabbits with their eyes like 
                 opposing faces
                 or hands not unlike
                 my hands
carrying into now 
what my hands
carried then; 
                 carrots that burst
                 through dirt like hands 
                 reaching at air 
                  from death

They watched me 
from where I watch them now
not unknown but strange
like a Martian at peace with 
the treadmill of this ordinary
life we decorate with time
and rusty orange morning bells

For a moment
I am all else around me;
                 the rabbits and carrots 
                 catching glimpses
                 of the spectacular now.

Heaven is cleaning the sky
Wringing out gray washcloths
And wiping up yesterday’s mess

Rain again and more rain
Mud   mud     mud    m   u   d   mud    m    u   d     mud

 A billion drops spill over
Oodles of puddles

The streets now rivers and oceans
Teeming with new life

Yellow slickers and windshield wipers
Fog and       water       water         water    drip   drip

I turn my face upwards
To wet my skin
To rinse my white hair

I stomp in my galoshes
Stretch out my arms
Extend my open palms

Make a  M E S S      mess     M E S S   S S  S  S

How many more years do I get this gift
How many more days

Pillars and Posts
Doric and Phallic
Ionian and Athenian
Colors and Emblems
Avatars and Badges
Totems and Columns
Graphs and Averages
Systems and Saints
Songs and Serendipity
Huh… Serendipity…
now there’s a word
of another color.

Red and Rose Hips
Emerald and Celadon
Seasons and Hymns
Parables and Limericks
Stories and Lies
Corners and Sit-ins
Counters and Cages
Wisdom and Warriors
And little Indian Chiefs
who wear feather
headdresses to bed
because even at that age 
they just don’t want
to sleep with guns.

Amherst, MA
            where you taught in the town 5 years after I graduated from the college. To this day you refuse to not-say the ‘h’ in                 Amherst, to rile me up

The Saturday Downtown Berkeley Farmer’s Market
            where my cousin sold jam a few booths away from your girl bf’s farm stand. Apparently they hated each other.

The Starry Plough Pub & Nightclub, a few blocks away
            near where both of us lived in the East Bay. Pretty sure we were both at the same Devil Makes Three show, tho I was             dancing with regrettable ex boyfriend.

Xela, Guatemala
            where you brought your six-month old baby, with his mother, to study Spanish. You were still in college. I also came             to study Spanish, years later, and read Martin Prechtel and wept. Umbilical of the universe. 

The Sawtooth Building, back in Berkeley
            Dance Jam Friday nights. I went there religiously. Maybe because I was waiting to meet you? Hot Room and Warm                 Room. You got lonely one night, & went.

for C.J.

The barkeep at the Eagles’ Lodge 
             lived many lives— 

tossed from home 
             as a young gay girl, 

travelled incognito covered Europe
            working for rapist-killer Dessie Wood’s prison release,

plumbed a women’s music fest and Gray Panthered
             around water watermeter-blockades, 

swam face to face with the Barracuda then walked 
             alone across island Haiti 

floated the Grand Canyon, and rangered
            ‘round Point Reyes:

a devoted partner for near four decades, she lives 
             in periwinkle and purple 
             surrounded by bougainvillea,
             blue spruce and ever-leafy greens

The prophet performs exorcisms
Thinking he’s untouchable 
Ellipse for subservience 
You might bring the brightest smile 
You think using exclamation will reverse things 
[Proceeds to change song]

Palazzo / Shining Path / Adoration / Draw a line between a cell and a proscenium / Space curation the naive immersive belief of a self within “the real world” (ecology) / This space is man made / You know this because your hand is on it / This tile was made last year in a workshop in the mountains of— / Few of us regularly move through dirt tunnels underground / There is much attention drawn to tunnels and their circumventing the issues at surface-level, especially in regards egregious urban planning by force / We should, as a society of citizens within the country where Ghost Robotics is headquartered and designing their 150,000$ robot dogs, formulate a class-action lawsuit as an initial weaponization of the judicial system against such corporations / Minimal attention is drawn to  the manufacturers of war-machines unlike virtually every other flashy field of design / Warzones are regarded with indifference as pioneering testing grounds for new technology / This product was tested on humans to ensure maximum effectiveness

Day 6 / Poem 6

Welcome welcome
to the people’s personal 
Peoples Stuff Fund Incorporated
where you & i are
and where you & i 
are Incorporated 
& Welcome to the people’s Personal Bible Stories
& to the stage of people’s Personal Stuff 
TV talk-show 
and the people’s personal Peoples Personal Memories
Choice Awards where
I might talk too much

of which people and which bible and which stuff
which the personal stories are made of 

is discussed in a hushed tone over radio
so the folks back home can hear it on a Sunday

not today and not particularly sunny though 
the sun shoots
squarely across the yard 

between the window and the eyes
of a past which is particular to the particular
kind of curtain 
that envelops 
flesh or a light 

and of which is located in 
the darkest rear drawer in 
the darkest rear corner in
the original letter mailed to you in
the original letter mailed to you enclosed
as you approach & touch as you open 
now as you open it ; Original Letter
Now Mailed to You as ‘Original Letter 
to be Read in the Light’

                      (from, “What Kind of Times are These” by Adrienne Rich)

 Because I am starved for conversation. My days and nights spent alone
with nothing but the screen or the phone.
Because you listen, or maybe you listen.
Because sound is a kind of breath.
When I breathe I know I’m alive.
If you answer, I know you’re alive.
Because a substitute teacher once called me a tattle-tale,
Because I don’t know who you are. Often I don’t even know
where you are.
Because lunch isn’t ready yet.
To test if it’s safe to share secrets.
To air out the hiding places.
Because you cut me off when you were afraid to listen.
Because I can’t forgive you.
Because I once heard about a place called the “telling room.”
Because I can’t stop talking.
Because you believe me when I tell the truth
and when I lie.
So I can get angry when the conversation becomes about you
or when you stupidly or intentionally misconstrue.
Because I’m gullible or naïve or a little of both.
Because if not to you, then who?

It came as the wind picked up, sixty miles per.
And the weather girl began to shriek in her sheath
on the screen, hurricane force vocals.
The anchor sat up astonished and
the American people went home decrying.
They stopped for beer or champagne, but
knew the jury would never come to a just finding.
The more the losses, the greater the genocide
of the mind. Aid or artillery, which drop
will you make? Numbness or drama, bombs or
potatoes, votes or default into what remains behind
the booths after all the coins have been counted.

what was it about this year that turned
me into a birder?
is it my age? or something hormonal?
why after eons of noticing them
like books lined up solely 
for decoration
am i now smitten with a Bewick’s Wren?

There must be a Far Side comic with an egret
on one leg casually 
opining, Yeah this year I got really
into humans. Us perched
on our chairs,
waiting for ideas,
or wading into chlorinated water,
holding our slippery helmets
in our hands

My heart is moved by all I cannot save/so much has been destroyed //
I have to cast my lot with those who/ age after age perversely//
 with no extraordinary power/ reconstitute the world.  Adrienne Rich

Could my words reconstitute a world? 
Can poems bring tears to make life grow again? 
Will iambic lines let burnt oaks leaf once more?
Might tightened stanzas stop the landfill burn,
or an off-rhyme bring the honey bees new life?

Shall I gather broke pink plates and make a Spoonbill mosaic,
or take my colored floss and stitch a river clean?
Will a watercolor restore women’s rights? Can
I save banned books with porcelain clay, 
feed children with a dance, end genocide with song,
or write an ending so moving 
it closes the ozone hole and 
transforms hate to love?

Laura Secord (she/her/hers) 

I cry because I don’t understand 
Fake tears like fake concern 

When this happens I go even further
By listening to more foreign things 
There is no pretend here 
Instead, hips M  V
                                     e, on their own

Isn’t that–

The best thing 

What these are are dark whispers / The narrative of a fairy tale / The revolutionary system : [ if you could see it] Trebuchet maps / “the synonym” in poetry / Some call it in another form “the metonym” / But this is about the violent landscape / There are twisted statues / There are people who want to go to the spa / Terror could be spelled Teheror or Theror / the first time is ominous the second time is foreboding / A father’s daughter over his shoulder / She sleepwalks / There are cremains coming towards you / There is a prison sentence for necromancy handed down harshly / There is a denial of your beliefs

Day 5 / Poem 5

after Lucille Clifton

land where birds won’t
sing no mo’. where you 
& me won’t sing no mo’. no mo’ celebrating
psalms & hymns with 
they that summon me 
& you. won’t show the graves  no mo’. no mo’ what’s
& but’s / if / from / they / whose/  lands i
myself / into
this swelling world like a
mothers womb / echoing / a kind  
of boat / ocean / of sway & rock / of
swelling symbols / laughter & life

Inspired by Terrance Hayes’ form ‘The Golden Shovel’ after Gwendolyn Brooks. 
Citation:  Clifton, Lucille, “won’t you celebrate with me” from Book of Light. Copper Canyon Press, 1993.

(N.Y. Times Headline, March 4, 2024)

When stressed watch television,
watch the show where contestants
apply make-up to themselves or others.

But not like clowns. Make up a story
about clowns. Don’t go to the circus.
Clowns are scary, ask Stephen King.

That’s Stephen with a ph, acid or base
or almost a doctor, stethoscope not
required for medical practice,

and what does not take practice, piano,
law, teaching. Is there cache in the hidden.
Hiding behind make-up recommended

for women (‘s History Month), but men don’t
(admit to) apply cosmetic enhancement. Neither
will clowns. The circus is nothing

without clowns. The face a canvas,
not canvas, not paper, a surface
that might grow cancerous

inside three rings or the trapeze,
but serious performers must walk
the tightrope, walk the plank

the plankton in the water. Save
the whales. Make the clowns perform
before audiences of hungry children

all wearing makeup. Who killed Joan
Benet Ramsey? Was that her name?
Children as scary clowns,

murder victims until the mortician
adds a touch of paint, wax & formaldehyde.
Makes anybody look like real life.

Every day I let myself sit here and cry just a little.
The world in its teeming trials. It slows me down
so much so that I am becoming friends with torpor.

A dormant acorn in a dull forest. Nonetheless, I
continue to water my entire field of awareness; plucking
rosebuds, tossing Styrofoam, feeding the freesias,

removing dead growth. I trim my nails, then thin
my hair till every curl leaves for the Midwest, where
rents are more reasonable and shopping malls are

miles from town. I shred my vitals on paper to avoid
identity theft, but tell me, really, who would want these
hand me downs; these small, crafted boxes, little cupies

and ducks that floated in my daughter’s tub before we 
held our first fish parade. My little curly haired fish, her

hungry gills, her effortless enchantment.

Every day I let myself sit here and cry just a little.

                                                                 M I E R D A 

                                 a bag of poop                                 my dog
                                 in one hand                                    in the other

                                                               what gives

the prophet
Is prophetic 
like Muhammed
like Muhammed’s equivalent in Christianity
He is happy
Wants to know me 

not sure

He might roam around

My stomach tightens 

Not cause of him 

In the moment of the explosion / which is a fight / Combat unfolds harshness—witness the shifts in “perception” of personality / In this moment, what if you were dead already—so it were not happening / What if you were in our hands / I believe the people would believe me / Even if you believe I am wrong / I wonder that you are too self-assured, and that it is not something / If you were dead / If the people believed me / There would be reason for it / Perhaps it would be my persuasion / Please remember this / that I want still to talk to you 

Day 4 / Poem 4

How and how often 
do you and how do you 
do you do you to talk to yourself? 
How and how is 
and is it and is it like is it
is it like a mirror? Is it 
like this 
is it like how
and how and how
is it? How and how do you 
do you like it? 
How is it? Is it 
how you want? How and do you 
and how often do you and do you do 

How and how do you do you talk to yourself?
How and how are you and how goes your listening ? 
How and is it how is it and how is that like magic? 
How and how often
is magic happening around us? 
How and  how often is it that is it possible 
is it possible that we ignore it? 
How and how often do you and how do you 
do you keep your own company? How and do you and 
how often do you do that well?

How and is it how and how and how often do you and 
do you think it works for everyone? How and how often
do you think about others? How and how often do 
do you check on a friend? How and how often do
do you do that? How and how is it and is it often that and do 
do you experience guilt? How and is it often and how and 
do you forgive yourself? How and would you and how often would you
and would you say and are and that you are
are good to others? How and would you and how often would you
and would you say and are
are you your own enemy? How and would you and how often would you 
and would you say and do and
do you forgive your enemies? How and would you and how often do you
and would you say and do and
do you pray? How and how often do you 
do you think it works for everyone?

He never planned to take me with him,
never planned for me to follow. All that
talk of morals, values, only words to feed
his ego. How easily he pimped his daughters,
left the others to be murdered when he
knew what would be coming. Everyone
could see the smoke, hear the fires racing
towards us. He didn’t take the time to pack.
Grabbed our daughters for his pleasure.
He called out weakly, time to follow,
don’t look back. I ran, but then, embarrassed
by his cowardice, I turned. I wept,
wept until my body became tears.
He never spoke my name after he left.

Nothing much excites today. No epiphanies
garnered or secrets uncovered. Still it’s true that ink
reveals the mulch in the paper, that story can unfold
from predicament. I have a cursive sense of design.

All curly cue on its way to becoming a paisley.
But never quite sealing the pointed end of all
these lounging teardrops, lolling on their sides,
curling into a quiet smolder. Gorgeous hues.

From turquoise through to royal blue. Yellow
and orange into brown. In the 70s, we spent time
in La Quinta, around the pool, hot tub after dark,
and twice a day to the tack shed. There was

a lot of smoldering going on at the Cove. Teens
on hormonal first outings and campfires being
snuffed out for the hayride home. Those were sunset
days on bareback, right out of the pool, a suit

would dry before dismount. The desert wrapped
us in cholla needles and date palms. The reins
were foremost in our hands. The horses 
were our wings.

Sleeping could be a skill
you study in school

How well do you sleep?
How long do you sleep? 

How is your heart doing
while you work at it?

Does it skip a beat
now and then, lazy
with assignments? 

Maybe you ace sleeping.
Maybe it’s nothing to you.

I was at the top of my classes
but sometimes I flunk sleeping

long hours laying there
like a willed, wild corpse

the body flat
the mind charging
all the bulls

 thanks to Charles Wright

You gotta feel to heal, so

Feel spring waking winter—
warm, damp and bright

Feel gold and ivory jonquils 
spread sunlight in a patch of green 

Feel dawn’s rehearsal—
warbler, wren and nuthatch

Feel the loss as buds 
break their hooded covers 

Feel their ache in bursting free

Feel the heartbreak and celebrate 
life’s cycle returning

Feel, at the edge of human disaster,
jasmine on the fence blooming

How come you never loved me at least not publicly 
How come you were afraid?
Were you scared because of your age? 
Because your daughter died?
You know. Of the other things that had happened to people in your place.
Old man. You suck. Just like my grandmother. And father. 
Old man. 

Morning walk / Digital birds / She stubs out her cigarette and urinates on the stucco side of her house / Look back
behind / Sun struck eyes— / is blindness / Is claws lightly tapping / Is a phone call from him asking Where are you /
Because he did not get up on time / So—is confused / So all these things happen in their described order / Now / Come
on [spoken to THE SLOW DOG—in revision, on the floor in front of me] / lazy pavers leave rinds of asphalt bark over
the sides of the street / The slow dog stops—then plods / Digital birds continue with tape loops of human wailing /
Witches burrs accumulate by the roadbed / Where I am I see 32 windows / Black hairs blow the same time the wind
rushes away synthetic bird song / But the birds are [doubly] recorded / More people out / The sun blinds again / Now
we move into it— / Parker Solar Probe and our transgression of the corona / Speculation about heat-death / There is a
wearing down / There is a wearing away¹/ I wonder if Ted knows about how solar radiation increases the rates of silicate
erosion—in other words, “The Grit” which is the sun / which some believe will engulf us / Were it not for the random
likelihood for a supernova to occur within [SPECIFIED PARSECS] / Blinding sun is a permanent flash in the sky and
across the retinas / Only briefly hovers a sphere / a flat disk / RA / otherwise emanates and evanseces in a fixed posture /
on the back side of the eyes—pixelates

¹ Pearson, Ted. “The Grit.” (Trike, 1976). First two lines of this work, which is included in The Blue Table and Evidence.

Day 3 / Poem 3

Make / it / rain 
for a moment / it
rains / for a moment
it / rain
pauses / it / pauses
for a moment/ it
pauses / it 
for a moment / it
takes us / with it
it/ lasts / it

It / this 
is it/ it is it / is the last child
in / in 
a hammock  / swinging / song 
on / his skinny back/  the axis
of the round / spine
of the round / soul / round sun
above / the swinging axis of
the round / world / round song
snuffed by bombs in Gaza.

This is / is/ the last / sniff.
Air / before bombs / before
the blood drips
like this :  seed
falling / into his/ small 
stomach/ this / penny 
falling / into his
small cup / caving

This is the last / wind 
he will hear / hunger
he will have /this 
is / the last
penny / seed
I have / to give
to give/  I have 
with him / I have 
this / the last
we have / with 
each other.

This is the last / seed
the last / time / he eats
it/ he eats it / the last time
cloud passes by/ he cries
for the last time/ it / memory dies 
This is the last time
he eats it / cries / he eats it/ dies.

Dark and light
Day and night
Star and sky
Earth and water

Begin at the beginning

Sound and silence
Air and vacuum
Soft and hard
Cold and warm

At the beginning

Trees and shrubs
Grasses and grains
Berries and nuts
Endive and apples

And at the beginning

Birds and fish
Insects and reptiles
Mussels and crabs
Animals that walk on land

From the beginning

Man and woman
Daughters and sons
And now the killing has begun


It’s a Friday afternoon love.
A standing on the street love.
A caught in the act love.
Kissing makes oxytocin love.
Drop the kids at school love.

Let the past just go, Love.
It’s only a daylight-hours love or
It’s fifty years of nights beside you, my Love.
It’s all that’s left to be said, Love.
It’s when your time is up.

I’m trying to describe a hymnal love.
A dark night of the soul love.
A dinner dance or a mosh pit love.
A free concert on the wharf love.

A connect these distant dots, Love.

A Dudamel at the Disney Hall love.
A rainbow over Ghost Ranch love.
A cemetery picnic in Winslow love.
A kachina doll in the canyon love.
Have you ever known a pastime better than love?
Will you be staying in for game night, Love?

Sometimes when you’re away
I turn on your sound machine
just to hear the hum outside your door
saying                   Be Quiet!

Even though you’re not there
Even though you’ll be a full month this time
I step carefully down the stairwell
so that I don’t crash through the dog gate
and make a general disaster

I can hear you calling my name
from the loam of sleep
lifting it with the edge of a shovel

& I say  Sorry!

But you can’t hear my words because
you have soft orange plugs sleeping
in your ear canals
plus the sound machine

so we yell back & forth
at each other
for a minute or two
& then there’s quiet again

But when you are home
I will climb all over your body
any time I want
and you can’t say No

 after Layli Long Soldier

When I stay at home encased in vibrant colored walls, I am only observing 
our harrowing earth from afar

As I watch the columns grieving Navalny, while in Gaza they murder refugees,
I doubt my ability to fight.

So I learn to ignore feelings, draping them in weed.

Now I believe we in comfort wait for fire or flood to force our feet, or sniper guns to end us,
as we join a starving march as refugees.

I keep writing, but can a poem do anything at this time 
when we must alter human history?

Why judge 
You don’t know it but you are already getting recognized for it 
Forget about Noble Sentient beings
Writing a poem used to bring me happiness 
Now you write sitting across from a bald man

While people on the left tempt and offend you with their unknown foreign smell

At the end, you come to the mall for one thing only. 

The world is dark when you are that poet who gots published with no one/very few to recognize you.

A Taylor swift song plays. That’s your cue to stay or leave. 

Where does the image of decaying world leaders / —terrorists often them all— / in wheelchairs / in a garden /  come from / on The Final Cut Roger Waters’ mentions “The Fletcher Memorial Home” populated by same / Sun Yuan & Peng Yu have their Old People’s Home / and in my head is the garden in which these occur / Where does the image of decaying world leaders in memorial homes (white rooms all) come from / [GRAPHIC SCENE SWITCH] / I remember my father’s father and the nursing home two times / The first time is a hollow body screaming as it is hauled by arms and legs (ENTER[ED]: TWO ATTENDANTS) from the cottage he lives in with my grandmother—demented I am told later—he had dealt cards that weren’t in his hands for about an hour after cribbage the summer before when we were playing / The second is a white room—it is white painted cinderblock walls like the modern schoolhouse / The hollow body is the body at the end of 2001 except this is our fate because we are not astronauts and we are not rich and This is where [our] [spouse] put us — their words 

Day 2 / Poem 2

Emerging from the depths of the night
I have come to sing of a country

           I have come to sing of a country:
           Call it tomb, coffin, hole or sepulcher

It is a tomb, coffin, hole or sepulcher
As if our children were the children of others

           As if our children were the children of other
           Solar systems/columns of impetuous marble.

A system/columns of impetuous marble 
Perfect pyramids/civilizations 

           Erected upon civilizations 
           That cannot endure the death 

Of certain butterflies; 30,000 dead
Emerging from the depths of the night.

 ‘Found Poem’ composed with the texts found in Pedro Mir’s collection, “Countersong to Walt Whitman and Other Poems”. Translated from the Spanish by Jonathan Cohen and Donald D. Walsh. Further inspired by Jericho Brown’s ‘Duplex’ form. 

Citation: Mir, Pedro, et al. Contracanto a Walt Whitman = Countersong to Walt Whitman: And Other Poems. Leeds, Peepal Tree Press, Ltd 2017.

Two ceramic bowls sit on the second shelf.
When my husband died, some brought food,
others gifts of consolation, handmade things.
The potter’s husband, himself an artist,
brought one of his drawings that I later framed.
He’s dead now too. I label each item with memory.
What is not worth my remembering I discard.
I keep the bowls together. One is smaller,
one larger. It would pain my sense of order
to separate them. The handles form clusters
of grapes that will never ripen, never become
vinegar or wine, what Keats called slow time.
Though time, for us, is hardly slow. The off-white
bowls arrived along with a decorated platter,
like a family of three for serving guests.
I never told the potter that I dropped it.

In some ways I rest my worry at the head of the bed.
I come in tested and torqued and redress into
My downy solitude. I soften the edges of my home turf.
I pad my chairs and cushion the credible falls I know
Are quite surely coming my way. As one gripe dissolves
Another gains momentum, comes crashing through
Walls made of everything I once held dear.

Photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo
arranged twenty-five peanut halves
on a black background, facing us.

There’s space between each oily
oval, a nearly perfect grid of 
naked cacahuates.

You can see the little nubs 
like an umbilical stub
where each was attached 

to the pod. Underground
growing, husky cocoons 
we fantasize in the flames.

But there’s a split
between what we feel 
(hunger) and what we know

(historia) and the brown 
papers that fly out of 
a peanut shell and fill

the air hint at what 
some suspect: even a peanut’s
not innocent

  after Wong May from Du Fu (712-770 AD)

To write poems
            Wind down
Let mind go,
Or muddy the page.
Breathe deep your soul’s sustenance,
Let heartbreaks rise free,
Wrap them in rain,

Dry with tears.

It is not that desire proceeds me
like right now I have a desire to be
in a more comfortable  place yet I
don’t act on it Is desire only alive
when you have it all the time Do 
you wear it on your neck like 
expensive jewelry? Like broken
pieces of a dream? But I’ve often found
that my destiny works best if I don’t 
harbor/have desire

I follow a “Heil Trailer” / What does this mean? / I grew up on Chapin Circle / I moved to Dunnwoody Court / I went to college / I moved to Blowing Rock Road / I moved to Blowing Rock Road / I moved to E Street / I moved to Armour Boulevard / I moved to Wornall Road / Of these roads / John Wornall (whose house is available for tour and event rental) / at this moment the medical secretary asks my husband are you still off of Wornall / John Wornall was a slave holder / There is a petition to rename the major residential thoroughfare after Martin Luther King / Armour Boulevard is named after Simeon B Armour and his meatpacking company / Blowing Rock Road has obvious nominative origin / Dunnwoody Court appeared as part of a scheme that seems evocative of its Southern origin wherein multiple streets in the planned neighborhood bore the names of popular tire companies / Chapin Circle is called such after a prominent land owning family within the Myrtle Beach area, whose company exists in partnership with the Burroughs Family, to whom my family are friends as a result of our associations in elementary school, where not only were we generally classmates with their children, but our mothers also worked together in fundraising efforts for the Catholic school we attended / A large portion of more pristine and undeveloped land along the coastline above Myrtle Beach is separately owned within the estate holdings of Meher Baba / Sri Sri Ravi Shankar flew over Blowing Rock and decided to build his Heavenly Mountain community there also / I meet Sri Sri while doing ethnomusicological site research at this community in the summer of 2019 / In Kansas City as well as outlying cities such as Blue Springs and Independence, a number of cults spawned by new-age takes on Mormonism and Baptist or Evangelical Christianity have taken hold within a minimally regulated religious landscape

Day 1 / Poem 1

I  ain’t been looking / at the world / the same /
I don’t think so
I don’t think / so / no because / because just when it/ it started
just / when / it started / it / it wasn’t the same.
I don’t think so/ no / because
just when it/ it wasn’t it/ wasn’t the same/ so
I ain’t / been / in the world / the same / 
I don’t think so
I don’t think / so / no because / it / because it became /
it became it / became
it / became / this

I’ll explain / when / I explain / when /  I’ll explain
when /  I’ll do it / when / I do it/ when I do it/ because
just when it / it started 
just when it / that / boat started 
just when it / that / this / boat started 
just when / feet scattered / onto island
just when water /  thrashed bodies 
into thrashing bodies / into thrashing waters
lost locket / it /
it wasn’t the same.

The boats / break / men   
break men / break 
women / break children too

I know a flag / man / a land / a boat
I know a pirate / man / with gold / teeth 
I know the hungry / man / with duck breath
I know the eye / patch / man when I see ‘em/
when I see ‘em /  I’ll explain:

I’ve seen the twirling / copper / coin
stop dead/ in azure eyes / 
At the shiny / black boot / behind /
the tilted / hat

I can/ break/ back / break
back too.
I can spit / spit on your shoes / 
your boat / your canon/ cannon
can’t shoot shoot shoot
Faster than we can / 
bring our men/ we can /
bring our men / we can /
march in! / march in!

You say, I’m not really good at death.
I say, No one is good at death,
except the dead. The dead
are all equally good at death.
Too bad they don’t know
their success. Too bad we do.

Death requires no practice,
not like learning to ride a bicycle
or play the piano. Though we practice
each day. Imagining we know
what we can’t know. Edgar Allen Poe
pounding on a closed coffin lid.

After my father’s funeral
we ate the traditional hard boiled
eggs, something about the circle
of life. This got me humming
the song from The Lion King.
Does that qualify as being good

at death? Does denial count?
Inappropriate behavior at shivah?
Elton John wrote that song.
I’ve always favored rock piano
since listening to Little Richard
when I was a child. Little Richard

became a minister. At one point
I found that odd. Now, not so much.
He worried about his salvation.
Sometimes I wish I believed
in that stuff, but I don’t.
I just worry about the end.


Prancing ponies on the turning round

Going higher and lower to an organ song
But the stride beneath is frozen in time

Carved lips flapping back in real breeze

Baring wooden teeth in wide forced smiles
Traveling miles upon miles and finding 
themselves right where they first began.

My poems
are little pellets
inserted into a tuffet
of quinoa.

They are important. 
They are part of a formula
for spaceflight

& someone wants to buy them.
Someone wants to pay
for my poems.

I think to myself, No, 
I can’t let her pay 
for my poems!

But then I decide, Yes.
Yes, Go Ahead, I will 
let them. All these poems
are for sale.

call: woman-
run clinics.

To help we
must learn our
body’s care. 

I’m tasked to
calm women—
gentle voice, 
guiding breath,
stroking arms,
holding hands,

softly en-
courage, serve.
Brave women

talk their walk—
theory in-
to practice

Radfem world
builders, we
find our strength,

power, and
skills to shape
practice through

five decades.
Now grieve. Our 
labors lost.

Before you are born your destiny is made
So if you were going to stop watching porn then nothing can stop that 
Talking to a native speaker in their language won’t be intimidating if you don’t speak their language
I gotta take out my best suit when it comes to Poetry 
Isn’t it punitive and shameful when your decision reeks of sweat 
Just shake your toes like that Reiki teacher taught you. And walk by the beach, like an idiot. Lo

So, you’ve always done sequences and some such / Is it glittering affection / Or, is it rapid cereal: / There is a pun hidden inside / I was always taken with Fielding Dawson’s titles / The Orange Inside the Orange / Virginia Dare / Virginia Dare herself haunts my imagination—something something [REDACTED TEACHER NAME] that was mentioned before / There was a time he was a tower and it frustrated everyone who saw it—his head was not visible / even from the balcony—where the verb crane is more usual / The curator is at the grocery store a year later / This is an easy target for criticism