poetry

Symbiotic

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.

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poetry

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.

inside,
cotton candy
cobwebs deck
the drafty halls.

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

another
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.”

poetry

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
seems
in supernova glow
again today.

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

This time, we wish
ears
had lids
instead… for

we hear
of another garden
taken
as offering…

We breathe
sick sacrifice
second-hand.
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…
but
“that’s just how it is.”

I wonder if
you’ve
ever known
blue skies…

But you
insist
this strange fog
will pass.

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

you dance…
in the acid rain…

 

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

poetry

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.

poetry

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.

poetry

Crows

They swarmed some morning in January.
It’s hard to remember which morning when
every day, the same ice-plastered sun
rises and falls behind formless gray…

Was I afraid? Perhaps
I should have been,
watching that black cloud descend
and shutter like a school of fish

A few irridescent feathers
grazed like iron against my skin.
One bird perched on my shoulder.
Its talons left tattoos…

Each morning, I listened to the crows
speak in tongues and give me prophecies.
They woke me early to whisper more
until their voices were no longer whispers…

At first, the frozen sun
still pierced their feathers.
Today, they keep their wings
outstretched.

Sometimes, I tell them
“no more.” Their voices like ghosts
chatter and mumble back at me.
No more… nevermore…

So I listen to the crows…
and I’m not afraid. Perhaps
I should be…? But how can I fear
when their sweet voices
sing like swans…

poetry

The Petrified Forest

the excavation began
one make-believe eve
beneath starlight
and black satin sky

they prodded the earth
with little sand shovels
demanded it reveal
its fossilized scandals

the children dug down
all the way to the core
and stumbled upon
the forest beneath

underground
lives eternal autumn
where red trees sing
sweet forlorn spirituals

banded together
petrified pines
beg the children
to please keep quiet

but the trees
remember
when they fled
metallic thunder

they saw brothers
stripped of clothes
replace brothers
ripped from roots

above they still hear
storms slay oak warriors
they can’t find us here…
they won’t want hard wood…

children please say
we are safe below…
but the children
are bigger already

they abandoned the woods
since grown-ups don’t recall
make-believe eves or
laments of last fall

the stone trees weep and
hard leaves rustle in fear
but hush… sing softly…
the thunder might hear…