Poem inspired by/written for my fellow Toads at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Today’s prompt: “Fireblossom Friday: I Feel the Earth Move.”

The hours between midnight and three

I take you out beneath the icy stars

with me where I see

my breath beneath the

bald street light, casting its white

humming hospital-cold

luminescence across the

cracked faces of the sidewalk.


I find solace in these places.

Stillness in the rustling silence

of November leaves

curled and dead, scuttling

across the black seas of

grass in shadow.


I press play.

…who’s agonized and gnawed through it all/I’m

underneath your tongue…

I’m standing in the street now/and I carry your guitar…”


The strangeness of this one song

I can’t seem to stop playing, the drawn-out

acoustic and monotonous siren of a sax

fill the night around me

or morning,


it doesn’t matter anymore

-the time-

I’ve given up on sleep for some time now.


I wait for the lyric that shows up–

“…to walk aside your favor, I’m an Astuary King…

I’ll keep it in a cave, your comfort and all”


I should be numb.

This is the only place I find you-out in

a deranged landscape that only seems to feel like

the engines of our lonely molecular madness

–how many nights like this

had we spent confessing    —together.

Where one neurological disorder remedied

the other’s.


I miss you.

I am not lost by your absence.

I am, if anything, tossed about–my cheeks

flushed, and the only thing I doubt

is not the you and I and we,

because even if only for a while,

I had found my own

apocalypse that ended something so lonely

and breathed a part of myself back into me I never knew

I ‘d been missing–

camaraderie on this solitaire planet,

desires and secrets in the dark

like ghost stories giggled and whispered

at sleepovers.


I step onto the smooth pavement.

A gust of cold air blows my hair

out of my eyes, and I face that direction,

my body weightless and alone and so small

in this space;

he stole my gravity

and I don’t want it back.


I start walking, probably until just before sunrise.

I don’t know where or when.

Gypsy, Stripped Down

So this version, I came across it tonight and it took my breath away, goosebumps, throat hurt. Because that slow, decided piano with those lyrics, and even that low tone of her voice–

for me this song is me saying goodbye to the child/doll that has haunted me, because she was a piece of me I was terrified of, and I have come to terms with her, I stopped fearing the nightmares of her and so on, and some how, I showed her compassion. She has been quiet. She’s gone, and lovable. Damn, this song.Beautiful.


Gypsy, Stevie Nicks-

So I’m back to the velvet underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was to the gypsy that I was

And it all comes down to you
Well you know that it does, well
Lightning strikes maybe once maybe twice
Oh and it lights up the night
And you see you’re a gypsy
You see you’re a gypsy

To the gypsy
That remains
She faces freedom
With a little fear
Well I have no fear
I have only love
And if I was a child
And the child was enough
Enough for me to love
Enough to love

She is dancing away from you now
She was just a wish
She was just a wish
And her memory is all that is left for you now
You see you’re a gypsy
You see you’re a gypsy

Lightning strikes
Maybe once maybe twice
And it all comes down to you
Oh oh well it all comes down to you
Lightning strikes
Maybe once maybe twice
I still see your bright eyes bright eyes
And I’ve always loved you
And it all comes down to you
It all comes down to you

The Gray Areas


My post after considering “Kerry’s Word Family Post” at Real Toads.

I am going to run with this idea because there are two things I want to write about (and each one is a prompt from someone or someplace else).  I am going with an ambiguous scene between two potential lovers, also using the word family of “Ambiguous.”

here goes, not sure what I’m going to do ….first draft :

We are in that grey area aren’t we, I am asking. In the beginning it was easy-applying the hard fact of you to a tender space in my toughened gut, not as a salve, but as if it had belonged, all along. And I question now if what had belonged all along is really only the part of me you brought out, and I hadn’t seen it. And to resemble what is in your eyes–that is something.

Calculated and cool, punctual and all equations, coming through the theater doors up the aisle from me, I see your dark silhouette from this empty stage with the curtains left open for you  –the dancer sitting at the lip of the stage, shoes off, hair undone, audience dispersed, incandescent lighting turned to the stark overheads that show every blemish, every wrinkle. You see me this way and I hold my breath, the ever-present fear a lover will see nothing and you have made up an illusion, a self-evident pill you must swallow that you may have stopped being honest with yourself. It happens, when you depend on someone to charm you–as you age the real charm is the ambiguity and complexity of being an honest, real, flawed, disordered, loud, quiet self.

I see myself clearly through your eyes, and as I am only learning to love and appreciate what I have become by my hand’s design, you, though have I never admitted, have rendered me speechless and swelling when
you value my worth in comments you do not realize you are making–as if you know deeply that I already know these things–that I am smart, that I understand, that I …am maybe beautiful. We do not question each other, but challenge only ourselves. To be better.

You move toward the stage and then it is not a stage but we are on a steady plane and no one else is there, dropping my notions of romance and love long ago, I merely want to be seen as an equal, exposing every scar, every embarrassment, every vulnerability, every secret of a strength to you. Not for you. To you. And that is the difference–your reactions are yours and I am not to be measured by them. I am not asking you to accept me, I am saying this is me, these are the facts, these are the equivocations of all I’ve been through, all I’ve felt, and beneath those there is much more, as the evidence cannot lie, and maybe


maybe you’d like to see what happens within a mind and body when it decides what to do with all these fragments and parts that make up my mind and heart. Maybe you are curious how I love. You missed the recital. But maybe.

I’ve watched you watch me for a while now. And we still circle the arena, perhaps both a little too cautious for something that feels far too good.  And this distance, and stance, I find I am not pulling myself together because myself is this solid thing now, sutured together at the many people I thought I was. And you’re the first person that sees me. You see me. And it’s enough to catch my breath, knowing I am not invisible. That I am somebody.

And the dance of words begins, every secret we tell is behind the letters–hidden in word placement in the sentence, in the alliteration and roots, in the tone of voice, in the cadence, in the best words not chosen so as not to reveal too much.

I cannot tell where these conversations stop and I start; I cannot tell if you worded my mind into collective adjectives or if I want to kiss you.



White Spaces

The space between
faith and falling—as thin
as my grandmother’s sheets

my mother told me that before you died
you used to go to the church
when it was empty at 6 a.m.
and pray for me

she whispered to blessed wombs
I mouthed the words to myself:
“don’t die”

in the hospital I imagined you

Me & Grams

on your knees in the pew,
fingering the sacred beads
your whisper, your serious face–
like when you had
inspected my wounds over the years,
that serious look you had
when you healed things you could heal,
your hands starting to gnarl from arthritis,
working out the sliver

her repetition of deliverance to
painted saints chipping off the walls
as I plea further to nothing but
my own will and hospital sheets:
“don’t die”

the focus in your eyes—intent
on faith healing wounds you
couldn’t touch;
the focus in mine—the
machinery of my mind,
synaptic failure between
iron gears closing their teeth Read More

A Moment with Grams

My Grams w/ Emma
My Grams w/ Emma

It was a late Spring afternoon.  Mike and I sat across from grandma on the back porch in the shade, the hanging baskets of mixed pansies   fragrant on a gentle breeze.  I remember it so clear–she was wearing her light blue jeans and her pastel yellow, short-sleeved blouse with the white flower basket across the front, a lace collar.  We were enjoying the moment I remember, it was quiet between us–a gentle kind as sweet as Spring.  And then she said something to both of us that I’ll never forget.

lostinthevalleygrandma“I want you two to know something, what happened to you–it wasn’t your fault.  Neither of you.”

It was quiet.  I choked up.  She’d never brought it up before.  And I wanted her to hold me and say it again and again, yet the one time was enough for a lifetime.

Mike, my cousin and best friend my entire life, has Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Bad.  He’s 34 and has had his shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles replaced.  He’s a fighter.  He obviously cannot work and he fills his time with creation, and discovered he’s one hell of a sculptor–he is self-taught, and his work is incredible.  (Here’s his blog: Chicks Dig Scars).  If you’d like to read my essay all about Mike it’s HERE.  Ok, one more–my interview on him for his blog is HERE. Read More

Some Love Poems


You bought my illusion at first, didn’t you

as if Lady Day had kissed my skin and I sang–

how I sang to you–my idea

of love a passing summer’s day.

You wouldn’t go away–so serious

of the illusion you bought

or so I thought–No, I’d tell you

when you slept

No, I’m too much for you

and time slips

and it turns to

No, I’m not enough for you

while I thought you were dreaming;

but you knew, didn’t you? the inner

cycles in my matter,

you knew before I did

that I loved you

only you were too shy to say so, too shy Read More

NaNoWriMo Day 1 final “Small Parts”

word count: 2,382


I sneak up on him, crawling across the nappy green carpet in my scratchy nightgown.  Sometimes staples stick up from hidden ridges and prick my knees.  The carpet is smooshed like fields after a storm, with mysterious, stitched rivers dividing the landmasses.  I crawl to the end of the dull and sticky table.  Two owls with glassy, yellow eyes sit on their perch, holding up the dingy lampshade.  A glass ashtray reflects golden light.  I watch his profile as he smiles and talks with his brother—my new uncle—who sits among empty beer cans on the other side of the dark living room.  They’re talking with words I don’t quite understand yet.  He laughs, so I laugh.  I like his dimples.  I like everything about this strange character.  My sisters and I are learning how to spell his last name.  He wants us. Read More


I hate how you’re always

in my way

bent over in the hallway

as I carry all the laundry

I hate how you’re always

in my way

legs splayed across the bed

sound asleep as I twist

I hate how you’re always

in my way

like when I dance

you get too close

I hate how you’re always

in my way

leaning for a kiss

when I’m trying to write

I hate how you’re always


I hate that you’re gone

I hate that I never leaned in,

I hate how I never make room

Habit of Silence

In the mornings, it was excused for sleepiness.  We’d pass each other in our own floor patterns and habits, maybe say good morning.,  My cigarette smoke leaked into the morning yellow on the back deck where I’d wake and listen.  Birds and wind and traffic and exhalations.  Then my brain would squeeze as the sun rose higher and the dreams cleared, knowing it was time for the day to begin, wondering how it would go, if it would last, if we’d changed.

We dressed at different hours–I, with the comfort of time suspended, unable to work and trying to heal–and he, in the rut of unemployment and agitated fingers buttoning his shirt.  The hush of clothes as we passed in the hallway to the bedroom, maybe a polite ‘excuse me’ to break the air.  I sought space at this time, for meditation and thought and perspective.  He sought with hot flesh and prodding fingers and a tired way to love me.  I couldn’t be touched.  The possibility of my lover touching me quite thin, as my skin was too awake and afraid.  I wondered if we had anything else to give–what was left to receive from each other when we needed such different things?  One day I had said “space, Justin, space…I need to be alone because I’m broken.  I need to take care of this mind”  and I could never tell him how my soul wept for him in loneliness.  I could never tell him he could have my soul if he tried to take it.

The year before, when I was healthy, he proposed through a poem he had written, down on one knee, his hands shaking.  I cried the moment I understood, and the ring glittered like snow; I was really loved.  We’d lay in silence together be and making love, our minds lax and limbs jello.  How I could love him then, in the floating hours of the day, and I told him through my fingertips how I loved him.  We’d laugh and touch our lips together.  We’d flirt with argument.  Later, in the kitchen Read More