Saturday, December 3, 2011


O Lord,
Let me not mistake
the blindly groping after a
Candle to shine into the mirror
for Love.

Nor let me think
any consummation
be completion on this
unfinished Earth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gloucester Revisited

We perch on the rocks,
Our feet gentle sparrow claws curled
around the grooves,
In the summer that will not die:
Slanting spear-light on water
Small smooth stones skipping out to sea
As our feet across the stony gaps.
Joyful, free, until in the shade:

A goose, long neck wrapped around its body
At rest, swarmed with flies
Suffering that does not suffer.

Your stones skipping so far
Nimble, precise, 
Past the edge of vision into the sun.
Then, the glistening black otter
Stretched out beneath my feet
Shining, swimming towards a shore
It never knew it reached.

These prophecies of decay, their signs
and symbols, must all come true:
This world will never come again.

Migratory, I return there
to the summer that would not die,
the warm rocks that hold back the sea
and frame the sky's chandelier -
What nature foretold, is realized.
The sun slants over the water
as the evenings grow short
in a rush of wind, the
hushed breath telling me tales,
Winter without your warmth
As the sun slips deeply
and those still-smooth stones grow cool beneath me:
In darkness, loss.

Not long away, perhaps on a day like this
of strange brightness,
I will cede you to the West, while
The tide rises forever and
Joy's long struggle
Washes over all that was a
Warm birdsong of hope,
Freedom of solid ground, and
The patience of a twisted tree.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


she whom we call Mother
destroys us all:
even as we call out her name,
she crushes us.

beneath the sun's broad gaze,
she kills her offspring
if not with time,
with fields of ice,
or hot ravenous tears.

with roaring, rattling bones 
and the red hot blood of her core.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Aftermath

Lying there awake
After, staring up at

I don't know what -
Your arm draped across
Night in the window
Half open, your mouth and
The murmuring breath

- happens or means happiness
Peace comes to those, 

Wondering: if others think all
Rushed and overlapping
part conscious.

- who sing night to themselves.

The cool breeze becomes
Shivering, curling closer
More regular in my ear

My receding visions,
Ceiling drops away
More widely spaced

So heavy and free,
like icebergs newly calved.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


The constancy of regret,
my truest friend
you have the power to keep
the past ever alive,
dancing before me

the warm, sorrowful longing
wells up when i revisit
that youthful faith
or curl up against
the black jersey bedsheets

Friday, August 5, 2011

"If This Should Be, I Say:

You of my heart!"*

I miss you,
the waves crashing
on the backs of our heads...

your blood spilling in the parking lot
racing in circles
of bright drops flying
trying to find the long-beloved,
now-forgotten place

I wrapped you up warm,
said I'd never run away
Even as my feet were already
jumping forth into that autumn.

What will I do when you leave
for all the more beautiful places?
When it all comes again
The price of adventure, solitude
and fulfillment, the fruit of abandonment.
And thus,
the world will avenge.

Then, comes the quiet thought,
of a solution rooted in failure,
and its companion:
abject imprisonment.
But just a thought,
Never a wish.

Outside of myself,
Everywhere is too far away. But yet,
Nothing can be held so tight
without bursting into hundreds,
Thousands of streaking shrapnels.

And so,
I am always letting go.

All life is letting go
Never holding onto anything,
Not even a breath.

* ee cummings. sonnets/unrealities xi

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Moose Mug Misfortune

O moose mug,
My favorite mug!
From your lips I have sipped
O! so sweetly
Tea (and other beverages)

Every morning,
And sometimes in the evening,
I have turned to you
Seeking comfort and warmth
Two long years!
Have we shared in peace
and contentment.

And when you were broken
I could not let you go
No, never
Would I toss you away
Like any ordinary mug!
For I believed that superglue
Could heal all wounds,
And make you whole again.

Your scars barely noticeable,
We carried on as before,
Two counterpart vessels for

Until, alas,
One fateful morning,
I filled you with boiling water, and
Watching it turn a dark Earl Grey,
Grasped your handle, which
Even as I lifted,
Yes, ripped apart that strongest
Of all glues, sending
Fresh tea in a scalding river
Over counter, legs, floor...

O moose mug,
How I grieve at your demise!
As if at the passing of a true, dear
Friend. But,
A large, scalded portion of my leg
Reminds me of the pain
Of our most recent meeting.

Moose mug,
It was not your fault.
I will search the world
For an even stronger glue!
To make you whole again,
For breakfast is become lonely
without you,
O my moose mug.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I, prophetess

a lying bitch from the start
told my mother
it was in their bellies of course
a bit below the mark
smudged stabbing pencil blows
dirtying the white plush
turning it gray
transferring the clench of my
own body, whose purpose
yet unknown but already
complicated, twisted, secretive
pressing me to rest
hours in the basement
hurriedly hide that mirror, and
o! my best friend
sigh at that sweet smoothness even before
life as opposed to non-life
had any meaning but
already a liar

it springs like
mushrooms after rain

Sunday, April 3, 2011

but when I give unto you
freely and with unfettered joy
i grow only broader, deeper like
the river rushing to contribute itself
wholly and without ever a thought
of revisiting the source
to the all-consuming, forgetful
unforgiving depths
of the sea

Monday, February 28, 2011

to put you in your place:
beside the rough oak
in the backyard
who with massive arms
holds back the sun
just as you with the stoic endurance of a thousand years
spread your jaws
to blot out my voice -
would be the work of all my strength

in this shade
with no sense of my own height
i wander gazing upward
at majesty's gentle swaying

i dream of, remember
the time of dreams
knowing that pain was
time itself remembering
no, reminding me of frailty
of the broken fragments
body and life,
forgiveness and freedom

broad sunlit fields
of love.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Secret Garden

I was studying abroad in Germany, in some small Dorf, a cluster of painfully reconstructed medieval buildings and cobblestones, beyond which the A9 sped past through the brilliant yellow potato fields. It was late spring, with the sun pushing on toward summer, but it hardly mattered, as the school was one great labyrinth of classrooms, student apartments, a gym and the cafeteria. There was no need to go outside - the whole world was contained in the institution. And besides, we were there to learn.

Each student had a tiny apartment, equipped with a small stovetop, minifridge, a couple of cabinets, a futon, and a low table. The doors had no locks, in order to foster a community of trust and honesty.

My boyfriend was there was well, and stayed in an apartment down the hall. I had never been to his room; he always visited me in mine. Our relationship was warm and muted, with an intense intimacy that left nothing hidden. Every mundane decision was part of the web, causing and effecting us to grow together, inward upon each other into the rapidly narrowing future.

When not with him, my attention was focused on Mark, another American studying at the institute. Slender and strong, with dark hair and bright secretive eyes, he began to consume my thoughts, my existence. I was in love, though I remained silent on that account, preferring to simply bask in the resonant glow of his eyes passing lightly across my face. But even more than the joy of his presence, I reveled in the fact that now, I had a secret, something of my very own that could not belong to any other. I nurtured it in my heart, letting it grow into a secret garden of dreams. Mark was the opening of a vast new world, unstable and shifting, the intensity and freedom of summer, with the constant threat of terrifying devastation. And, unlike the rest of us, he was not there to learn.

Mark had learned all he wanted to, in discovering who had killed his brother the year before. Pure justice was his goal, and the pursuit of rightful triumph his only one. He had followed the murderer here, a resigned, patient boy who looked to be barely 16. I never was to learn his name, but I will not forget his eyes - dark, tender, deep-set stones that peered into me and knew my thoughts, and my sins. Who knows if he felt any guilt, or if the desire to see into my own deceptive, faithless heart was driven by a need to know that evil was not only in himself. He was the only one who knew I loved Mark, and loved him indiscriminately and thoughtlessly, though I never spoke a word to him.

If he did, in fact, feel any guilt, he did not at all exhibit the fear that usually accompanies such a burden - fear of punishment, or the impossibility of salvation. Rather, he accepted that he was guilty, and that Mark would take his life as the required payment for the one he had taken. Their justice had been privately agreed upon - a simple, elegant, but unsanctioned execution. Mark had asked me to assist him, and I had agreed. What is summer, without love and adventure?

The execution took place in the afternoon free time after classes, in a small storage room at the back of the gymnasium. Several groups of boys were playing basketball as Mark led the convict across the courts to the realm of justice, while I followed a few steps behind. No one seemed to notice our solemn procession, though there was no real reason for them to notice three people passing through the well-populated gym. All was calm and orderly.

The room was mostly filled with sports equipment, and the crates of basketballs cast an orange glow. It was brightly lit, but without windows, and a single wide door opened into it from the gym. Towards the back of the room was a bare ping-pong table missing its net, across which Mark had laid a rope in preparation. After we entered the room, I went to close the door, as seemed appropriate, if only out of respect for the one who would soon be dead. Mark told me to leave it open - it would be less suspicious. But if this was justice, what should we be afraid of? Another secret was embryonic, and my world broadened still more, revealing a bottomless chasm.

Mark was helping his revenge onto the table, informing him quietly that he was to be strangled. I watched in awe at the calm, and the strange tenderness in both their eyes as they regarded each other. The boy lay back, flat on the table, and Mark affixed the rope around his neck, crossing it on the front of his throat so that it could be tightened from either side. He then bent deeply over the alleged murderer, gazing at him strangely with that intent fire usually reserved for love, and said, "Tell me when you are ready." This boy looked back sweetly with his dark eyes, and spoke: "Please, tell my family what I have done, and that I have willingly submitted to justice. And please, forgive me, and stay with me while I die." Mark replied, "I will stay, and I will comfort you. It won't take long, I promise."

I stood mutely, helplessly, to the side of the table, near the boy's head. He nodded to Mark, my beloved, the executioner, and he tightened the rope.

I had seen strangulations before, but this was vastly different from any of them. This was not the bulging veins and wild eyes and contorted mouth - the purple struggle yearning toward collapse. This was calm, peace, redemption. The dying boy made neither sound nor movement, except for the gentle blinking of his eyes as he gazed sorrowfully out of himself. Mark was still bent over him, murmuring to him that it was alright and the pain would soon end. The whispering and crooning continued, and I began to grow impatient. Occasionally, a basketball would bounce dangerously close to the open doorway. We could easily be caught, and there was no hiding the fact that someone was dying in here; I could feel it pounding in my own head.

I began to pace nervously, abstractedly, and every second of the boy's decreasing but clinging life doubled my agony, again and again and again. I stood momentarily by the open door. One of the basketball players dribbled up, and said, "What's going on?" I saw my ruin. "Nothing." Or we could kill him too - kill them all, and keep silence. He shrugged, and dribbled back toward the center of the court. It was so simple, lying. If this boy had been able to lie, maybe he wouldn't be lying choking on a ping pong table.

By this point, it had been a few minutes, and the pain and desperation of fast approaching death were setting in. His legs and hands twitched, and he tried to shake his head back and forth. Impossibly, low moans began to rise from his crushed throat. Mark's comforting refrain pressed on, as did his beautiful, tender hands. "It's almost over now, and then there will be no more pain."

This boy, he was accepting punishment for his sins, but not I. I would carry mine around in a little box for years to come, while all around me, others would willingly die so as to be rid of theirs. Nothing follows in death, not even guilt. But I had my first secret, finally, and I could never expose it! I had never had one before, and the feeling was strange, ecstatic and heavy. It consumed me with its own weight, and made me know: I was a liar, a whore, and a coward. For I could not face death, and preferred the burden of my own self-created horrors. I could not even face this death anymore, happening right outside my eyes. His immanent freedom terrified me, and I crouched to the floor beside the table, sobbing and choking on my guilt, my sorrow.

"It's over," Mark said, quietly. Wordlessly, we prepared to hide the body; we took the precautions of criminals despite our conviction of justice. He looked the same as in life, except his dark eyes were gently closed, and there was a slight raw mark on his neck. We wrapped him in a faded quilt, and carried him nonchalantly through the gym and the winding halls to my apartment. No one looked askance at us, though we passed many familiar faces along the way. We put him under my futon, and a bit of the blanket showed at one end. "No one looks in the obvious places," Mark said. "I'll be back to get him in the morning. And thanks." He left.

I was alone, with a second secret, a cooling body. I must keep this secret, keep it for Mark, and let it grow cold unnoticed while nearby my love for him burns on. And this dead boy, in him was my shame and my cowardice, my perverted justice, but he was also a promise, that Mark would return, and a sign, that he trusted me. A dead murderer, keeping my love alive and making my heart brim with devotion.

I was cooking when my boyfriend came over. Sure and familiar, he watched silently, steadily, as I poured soy sauce into the pan. "I thought you didn't have any left." I shrugged.

We sat on the futon to eat, with the body just inches below us. I was terrified he would notice the end of the blanket sticking out, the edges of my infidelity leading to the unraveling of and entire future, but simultaneously knew he never would. We had no secrets. We talked about class and studying, while I thought about tomorrow morning. What if Mark didn't come? Would I be left to bear the dead alone, to bury my secret? There was already so much guilt and horror, the vast instability of his presence, or absence, had opened up, and his precarious power over life. What would he do with mine?

But inside my heart, deep inside, beyond the place where my secrets had begun to grow and form, I knew they would remain secrets. No matter how they ripped at my imagination and destroyed my peace, I would never expel them, never allow they nausea to rise to vomit, never let them be suffocated. They would form the vibrancy of a vast and unknown future, while out here, the web continued its placid intricacy. He was saying goodnight, and I knew I would be hearing him saying goodnight for the rest of my life.