poetry, Uncategorized


you start off predestined
to die. the gods
in your chromosomes
that you shall live
in this body
a certain number
of days and then return
to stardust.

do you know?
there’s something deep
within you
that fears
your judgement day
is coming… soon, you will

apart into a thousand
minute stars.
stars… which burn with fury
though they are
lifeless. stars,
like you,
are set in their days.

each day,
i try
to beat your gods,
to protect you
from dying
like trench soldiers…

by thousands…
by millions…
i hold fast
to your bodies

even as they rot…
you poison new cells
but you’re all
that i know.

i will hold on
as surely

as sun shines
(which is to say




What a thrill –
cried the cat,
his paws
swatting clouds.

His comrade
helped him –
compelled him –
to leap.

If a cat
is a masochist,
a flea
is no parasite.


in winter

vaporized moments
may just condensate into
crystal memories


pretty house

there’s a house on the hill
with gingerbread sides.
it’s got sugarcane windows
and rock-candy bricks.

see candy apple trees
with peppermint bark.
a lifesaver swing
hangs from a red vine.

children always say
“it’s such a pretty house.”
that was the house
where they wanted to play.

grown-ups always say
“it’s such a pretty house.”
on zillow, they estimate it
at 1.1 million.

the house has two stories
and a million more
it could tell –
if it liked talking.

cotton candy
cobwebs deck
the drafty halls.

a gingerbread man
sprawls out
on the sofa,
gobbling up red hots.

obsessively sweeps
powdered sugar
off sticky tiles.

like the house,
the inhabitants
aren’t much
for talking.

they’ve sealed
bedroom doors
with royal icing
over the years.

the chocolate floors
don’t give much
traction. but hey,
they look so sweet.

and even as the chocolate
is melting away,
if you stand on the lawn,
“it’s such a pretty house.”


From the Dock

The clouds have always said I belong to the water –
I can’t help wonder if they may be right –
I remember what it’s like
to run –
eyes closed –
into this very lake
and to feel the water
sneak through cracks in my skin
and slowly replace blood –

I remember what it’s like
to run
out of this very lake –
in sudden, icy sobriety –
and into the snow –
to feel water
crystalize around me –
a cage like a castle –
I ruled from that palace
beneath the cloak of pines
where the clouds couldn’t give me up to the water –

I remember what it’s like
to stare
across the lake
and watch the waves shimmer like tears
and call my name across the snow…
not loud…
just murmurs…
a heartbeat from the depths…
until even echoes dissipated…

I remember what it’s like
to emerge from a cocoon
and to feel the deadness of the winter
descend with the water’s silence…

I remember
as I sit –
waiting –
and sometimes I believe
I hear the waves whisper as they kiss the shore –
but I won’t seek refuge in the snow
anymore –
and I won’t run with closed eyes
like a sleeping child –
this time
I will listen –
listen to the water –
and wait.
I will let one foot
dangle off the edge
until the water pulls me in.

poetry, Uncategorized

Strange Fog

Mute dawn
in supernova glow
again today.

Beneath gray sheets,
our eyes lay
to rays that should blind…

This time, we wish
had lids
instead… for

we hear
of another garden
as offering…

We breathe
sick sacrifice
Some wear masks. Others

evacuate. Then…
come virulent winds
and we know
there’s no other way.

But not you.

You say
it’s “water”… or
“ocean spray”… or
“just fog”…

You close your eyes
to ash
and soak in
sweet toxicity.

You cough more
than you used to…
“that’s just how it is.”

I wonder if
ever known
blue skies…

But you
this strange fog
will pass.

And you won’t leave…
So I’m forced to
you dance…

you dance…
in the acid rain…


*My heart goes out to everyone effected by the NorCal fires.


When Tasked With Reconditioning,

the planner foolishly thought
the brain would be laid out
like the streets –
associations like interchanges –
traumas like stop signs – stop –
then proceed.

the skeptic foolishly believed
poltergeists are as fictional in mind
as in films…
Down haunted halls of the amygdala,
solid phantoms roam and dance and laugh
and kill.

the poet foolishly forced
every memory – every object –
into symbol
so that tree equals him equals
fear equals man equals self
equals pistol.

the addict foolishly strangled
the planner and the skeptic and the poet
so it could
rule the brain as a puppet rules a stage…
Perhaps one day, it could kill the ghosts
for good.



I guess it might be like that,
like the syncopated symphony
that roars in the sky
every Fourth of July.

it’s like the onset,
when the conductor
taps the stand
and the players tune their instruments
and the theater lights dim
And for a moment –
before the first blasts –
the crowd sits
Eyes tilt upward
and filled with only anticipation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the drumbeats
that pulse through the heart like tremors.
wracks the body
as cacophonous colors
explode in the heavens
and each member of the audience
jolts back
as though only now realizing
the irrepressible power
of each detonation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the encore,
when every musician
pounds an instrument at forte
and the sound never breaks
and for a moment
it all might be so very grand
that, like the sun,
it might blind those
who gaze too intently…

Or maybe… maybe
it’s more like the curtain.
when the drumbeat goes silent
and the colors
take their bow,
the impenetrable sulphur shroud
is all that remains.
It descends over the sky and the eyes
and sticks in the hair and the throat
until it’s hard to remember
there was ever a grand orchestra…

it is onset
and drumbeat
and encore
and curtain…
Or maybe
it is just
as it seems,
dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

it is all those things…
But maybe
are none of those things.
Maybe the metaphor
doesn’t do you credit
and maybe
you’re not as simple
as onset
or drumbeat
or encore
or curtain…
you are more
than dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

an orchestra
is just musicians
and fireworks
are just gunpowder…
But maybe,
for a person,
the word “just”
is just not enough.


The Silkworm

Follow your instincts. They

tell you to eat. So eat.

They tell you to weave. So

weave. They tell you to eat.

Tell you to weave. Tell you

to eat to weave to eat.

Instincts don’t fail. So

when they tell you to weave

a fortress around you,

you do as they say

and believe you are safe

in this new silken cage

that protects you from man.

Perhaps, one day, you will

claw your way out. Perhaps,

on that day, you will spread

the new wings you worked hard

to grow and discover

just how heavy they are.


Into the Pines (Part 1)

Her name was Jude, thank you very much. No, not Judy, like Auntie Sherri insisted on calling her, and certainly not Judith, like her mother called her when she was angry. Just Jude, plain and simple. Yes, Jude like the boy’s name; yes, Jude like one of those obscure books in the Bible that no one but a preacher had ever read.

Well, at least it was easy to spell.

She pulled on her Yukon hat and took a moment to marvel at herself in the mirror… or what she could see of herself. The hat covered the top half of her eyes but she smiled proudly anyway. Dad had been looking for his trusty Yukon hat for awhile and Jude had found it covered in dirt and worms after their massive golden retriever, Bear, buried it in the garden. She was going to give it back. Eventually.

“Come on, Bear. It’s time to get going.” He was still fast asleep on her bed. He opened one eye and let out a massive yawn before flopping over onto his back.

“Get up, you lazy dog! We gotta get going!” When he simply huffed, she grabbed at his collar. He cried like he was in pain, but Jude rolled her eyes. She knew just as well as Bear did that he was perfectly fine and just being difficult. At last, the annoyance of having a collar dig into his neck seemed to overtake his desire to keep sleeping, so he rolled off the bed, his slobbery face grazing Jude’s leg. And with mixed fear and excitement, she grabbed the satchel she had packed the night before, drew open the window, pushed Bear’s gangly body through, and jumped out behind him.

As she stepped out, she knew it wasn’t quite cold enough for a fur hat. But today, she needed it. Because today, she was going to the Pines.

Mom’s voice echoed in her mind as she walked sheepishly towards the edge of town: The Pines are no place for a little girl. The Pines are no place for a little girl. Jude ignored the voice but held just a little tighter to Bear anyway.

“It’s okay, Bear. We’ll find it. It’s out there somewhere” she whispered, much more to herself than to Bear.

It was Mom’s cardinal rule: never, ever go to the Pines. It was every Hedgegrove resident’s cardinal rule. Of course, the Pines were just pine trees. It was just a deep, thick forest, nothing more or less. One might get lost… one might meet pirates… one might run into a bear…  But at their core, each resident felt something more than that… a strange, inexplicable, but utterly undeniable feeling that they were not welcome there, that to leave the village might upset a kind of fragile alliance with the forest.

The people of Hedgegrove did all that they could to hold the ancient empire at bay. But every now and then, roots would pop up in the street or snake through cracks in building floors and shake foundations. Sometimes, it seemed less as though they grew over time and more like that sprouted ferociously out of the ground over night as the Hedgegrovers slept, just so that the village folk knew they were still quite at the mercy of the trees.

Jude stood at the edge of Hedgegrove and looked up at the trees which seemed to stretch all the way to the clouds. Until now, she had not noticed how far her feet had carried her. She had been too preoccupied with her mission to notice. But she stood, frozen at the edge of the Pines in the one opening in the hedge, letting the grandness wash over her.

And for the first time, she began to understand why the Hedgegrovers so deeply feared the forest. The branches were woven so tightly they appeared like clasped hands which might grab her. The forest had a silence to it which was never truly silent, peppered with the chirps of unknown birds and insects… occasional ominous growls… surely, that strange cry was just an animal and not a banshee…

Bear nuzzled closer to her and Jude patted his head in reassurance.

“We need to do this, Bear,” She said with resolve. “If it’s really out there, we need it.”

There were whispers… whispers of a pond with water that could heal any illness. And if there was any chance that the pond was real, Jude was going to find it.

There were also rumors of ominous forces and faerie life… Those few brave enough to enter the Pines, they said, never returned the same. They kept silent about their ventures. Rumors had it that… strange fates befell those who dared brave the embrace of the thickets. Odd accidents, early deaths, curious behaviors… some even said they went mad.

But those were just rumors…

And before she could hear another ominous shriek, Jude grabbed tight to Bear’s collar and tore through the first rows of thickets. The pine needles and thorns pressed into her skin, but she blazed on anyway. And when at last she found herself and Bear in a clear spot, the thickets behind her seemed entirely untouched, as though they had closed behind her.

She opened up her satchel and pulled out the knife and slipped it into her belt. Bear gave her a nervous look, but she scratched his chin.

“It’ll just make it easier to get through the thickets.” This seemed to do little to ease Bear and he nuzzled even closer to her with a little cry. Jude tried to keep confidence. But it began to dawn on her that she had no idea which direction to turn or how thick the forest was or if the pond was even real. But as she thought of the Amalia… laying in bed, pale and silent… Jude picked a direction and began walking and Bear kept alert, clearly afraid but determined not to leave Jude’s side. She needed him to be brave right now.

It’s okay, Amalia… she thought. I’ll find it… If the doctors can’t make you better, I will… I promise.