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Maundy Thursday is a field of purple milkvetch blooming beside the freeway

I am a lost boy the poison orchid in my mouth a summons a Cassandra bugle what I’m trying to say is I’ll never fit in what I’m trying to say is history betrays me what I’m trying to say is I’m swallowed by gaping dullness what I’m trying to say is I’m stuck in this pink dress what I’m trying to say is the red stain on my chest is a constant state of failing what I’m trying to say is geese in the yard fall and play dead what I’m trying to say is raccoons dig in trash barrels and stars burn in their hands what I’m trying to say is I’m diving into the lake I’m diving into the pool I’m diving into the bathtub head first as custard drools out on the tip of Mary Berry’s tongue

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To those of you who were loved from birth and therefore missed out

During the final spring, the frostline
crept back down until it dissipated and
salamanders erupted from the mulch.
I often wanted to go back in time to the moment
before anyone had yet ever loved me.

Did everyone have such a moment? No.
I had such a moment, and so was unlucky,
but face it, too, a kind of luck. For when
I was first loved, I was awake and could
think clearly and remember my experiences.

One day when I was sixteen someone loved me
for the first time, and though it doesn’t matter
who it was, and though that love was fleeting
and also fucked up and damaging, that
I felt it at all was quite remarkable.

How few of us knew what it was like
to go from the bare floor to the bed? So.
I went back to the floor, as life blinked
out but slowly, one comfort at a time,
and I was neither surprised nor hopeful.

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Amy’s April 16

NOPE

Not again, she says, when
the game times out, when
the gallon bottoms out, when
the goofy grin shuts down.

Not again–the floorful of nonpareils, staining
my foot blue, green, brightest ochre.

Not again–the faint smell of urine deepens
gets closer the towels hang in the tub

Not again–roll the dice, your turn
don’t waste it–do you even care who wins?

Not again–email the teacher the service coordinator
the doctor the camp director the psychiatrist
the psychologist the parent coordinator the program director

Not again–bundle up the clothes outgrown buy a new
batch a size or two larger remove the name tags
so some smaller girl can use the PJs the Tshirts the yoga pants
the Disney Princess and Snoopy tank tops

Not again–change the sheets, put down absorbent pads meant
to cover a chair and lay it straight across to cover the mattress
in just the right place predict where it will happen

Not again–we took the wrong street and pow we had to do a
three point turn and back out there is no parking there is no
space, no race, twenty minutes late, thirty, forty-five, an hour.

Not again–the fridge is open, crumbs on the floor and empty
takeout containers everywhere toothmarks on the parmesan, the garbage
overflowing, a tub of berries rolling around and squashed

Note again–the ashes the ashes the ashes we all fall down

Not again–the family drawing has four and we are only three

Not again–every notebook, note pad, sketch book, journal,
composition book in sight–even the blank paper from the printer–
taken in possession and covered with spindly-legged dogs

Not again–diaper trod the squish again the smell the smell
the grit wear slippers wear flip flops the floor is covered
again again again

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To that golden hand of our former friend that descends through a sky portal to shoo demons and beckon

Quick to remind us that a moon is any
blunt object orbiting a life-giving
celestial body, indifferent to
that body’s diadem, we soon understood

all was moon, and assembled your moons
but it was your tinders we most regretted
going up in that blaze. It was four-hundred
years of life rooted followed by four-hundred

years of life suspended. Hewn, crafted
on one hand murdered, on the other preserved.

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My lithium darling

I run in my sleep inhale surgical smoke camphor and winter’s stub the prophets say an answer is coming there’s always a prophet in this business one in a suit one in an open dress one in pajamas one with small children who run through the house leave the doors flung so the chimney sparks one in a ditch and all the haha in the hilarious world won’t fix it there’s a gun in my head darling there’s a gun and no end to this story bang bang

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Amy’s April 10

SHELTER IN PLACE

As all vantages, iced with nice, are noosed
loosed random acts of violence and garbage
tied with plastic string – Avoid
microbeads, exfoliate with grit
from spend oyster shells unpearled
split and chowdered, stewed,
bay laurel savory Waverly
Place a hot pizza oven
blast in the back waiting for
my drink, drank, drunk a thunk
a donk a bonk, blameless
boy somebody’s pride and joy
we knew he was different
drive your mama to drink
to the brink tulips waving
in the clink of glasses
girls don’t make passes an art
student splashes ink all around
the temporary tattoo scrapadoo
derring and the mail truck
White Guys on the Lam in Ohio
and no one guns, no one runs
the car is stolen but the bus full of
nuns holding babies in their arms
went off a cliff traps the riff
the rub, 3 men in a tub
again again again the choreography
is not an autobiography nature vs.
biology it’s an organic process
all these dawn hours >> shade receding to your rising blaze

Note: First and last lines borrowed from Manual for Livingby Sharon Dolin

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Picked up with ease by private listeners

As a girl I was effortless in stress now dead of thought a single hoary white hair grows in my left brow oh god I was particle and sun in the forest I was a stolen red purse I left chocolates to melt on your linen I didn’t care now my head is full of rabbits nibbling and fighting do you know I lived in 17th century Vienna died of plague buried in a pauper’s grave my body returns to me at night encased in a block of resin turpentine’s amber cousin rosin shoe nutmeg in my pocket all seeking their source the same bark the parallel tree I stink of elementary vegetables left to rot where vinegar and garbage fuck in alleys stuffed with ghosts I eat Seroquel to sever my visions I give it up ache for filth ache for desire

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The needles were kind

I didn’t venture out I waved at my derelict garden through the window I said fuck you garden I baked wedding cookies for children attended by the fragrant bodies of cats the giant gold dog and the baby with its steel arm and hook sewn to a cloth bunny that swung from the door frame I refuse my ache to travel Paris was a bite of bluegray everyone wealthy and young food too expensive an overabundance of wine drunk at breakfast in a cafe gathering looks as fat men with cigars became puffs of smoke thin men sitting together shoes touching knees touching the dog that was a white wolf I never left I boarded a train that was already moving my greedy face my stone face neon over nothing just another Seattle and Wanda in a chair with a drink her brother stole my purse my plaster jewels I am equal to the right side of a triangle the last flare of a match lighting a cigarette I am equal to a mountain in Croatia I am equal to a panther licking its paw I won’t release my dream the cloth bunny swings and swings today I’ll ride my ribbons

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Amy’s April 6

SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS

for my loss for your loss of my
loss of my sorry card in the
mail late and sorry this is so late
thoughts and prayers your way
sorry this is loss sorry grief
sorry I am losing it again so sorry
everything is lost sorry I can’t
find your address sorry to bother
you during this time sorry
again so sorry for the loss of
your sorry for so sorry
if you need anything sorry
if there is anything I can do
sorry can’t do that again
so sorry losing is the hardest
sorry master letters dropped
off the map sorry for the
late reply sorry you got lot
on the way sorry I can’t
remember how long it has been
since I was not sorry always
sorry so so sorry and the
loss of your sorry is the
hardest time of all sorry
holidays sorry birthdays
sorry sorry anniversary
sorry memories are all so
very sorry when this you see
remember me sorry