Monday, March 21, 2011

What Happens When I Knock on a Friend's Door

On her open porch
I like the sound of
the wood when I step
with my heavy boots
and I like the chairs

chipped white with leaning
backs and then that one
lonely metal chair

that stands straight up with
the greatest posture,
attentive like a
Buddhist monk and I

on the glass pane of
the solid door. I
am peeking in when

I see my friend's shoes
in the entry way--
red clogs that remind
me of another
friend who shared her dream

with me about how
she magically leapt
from a window to

a tree and landed
straight down to the ground
right snug into her
comfortable red
clogs just like these ones.

We are surrounded
by triggers that lead
us inside ourselves.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

David the Gnome

my sister sits in the recliner
I am on the end of the couch and
James Bond is on TV
interrupting our conversation
and keeping us only to our short memories.
She says I should write a poem
about David the Gnome,
a show we watched when we were little,
she laughs that she doesn't remember it much
just that she loved it oh so much.

but what's strange is my memories
of it are lonely
but I don't say so, though
I can still feel
the rough carpet on my stomach
my elbows pressed to the floor
so long I'd get a pink print
of its texture on my skin
like the grass would give me
on my knees when we'd play
doggies out on the lawn.
I remember the babysitter would be
way back behind me on the
brown and orange plaid couch
that somehow reminded me of the sea
she'd be clutching the remote
while burping a baby dressed in blue
and she'd have me watch soap operas
with her while the other kids were napping
and it was only during the commercials
that she'd put on David the Gnome
and for a swift moment
I'd stop wishing so hard
that my little sister might wake up
so we could play again on the kitchen  floor
with those big colorful Lego blocks that
we didn't have at home.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Watching and Thinking and Staring

Such a serious year it was
with Babbette dying
and all those holidays
without her sitting there
in her chair. The one
my brother sat in
on non-holiday meals of
scrambled hamburger or
shake-n-bake pork chops with
rice-a-roni or pizza porcupine patties.
She wouldn't say much,
just sit there watching
and thinking and staring
like she'd do alone in
her tiny apartment for days
with the TV turned on--though
she couldn't see it those
last few years--But
it was different, the watching
and thinking, the staring;
when it was in that chair surrounded
by her family waiting
for the turkey to come out of the oven
and drinking a 4oz. can of
ginger ale or diet coke sometimes
listening to the common disagreements
between her children, grown up now
still living nearby.
how long she had been with herself
and her curiosities, memories,
concentrations and questions
and had time for them too
whether she wanted it or not
there was always time alone
to scare herself and discover herself
over and again
in that cramped apartment
dingy yellow light
buzzing locks and a big phone
with blinking red lights, the plastic
dancing figurine of Satchmo
by the door, the
dripping faucet, the smell
of nothing ever been cooked,
a staleness, and the red bread box
with the lid that swung down
like a garage door, the window with
the flower print curtains, a dark white
in shadow and below it, that desk
with drawers full of mail and playing cards.
I learned to shuffle a deck of cards
while sitting on the carpet at her house
on the second floor
back when I was little
and she still lived on Eldridge St.
in between games of tic tac toe
and staring at her albums of old pictures
in black and white and some in color.

Christmas night I dreamed
a volcano erupted in my hometown
and I had to commandeer a four wheeler
from a maze of a chicken coop
to get to her,
and when I did I had to let her die
and watch her bloated in the face
not herself
speak morphined nonsense

Monday, December 20, 2010

Night of the Lunar Eclipse

I am lucky
to be sitting here
on this green love seat
alone for the evening
listening to the soft whispering
of boiling water(trying to tell me
secrets?)--the humidifier
that sits
atop the woodstove.

Its cast iron shape is
that of a kettle
but tonight in this light, from this
angle, in my current
it is the shape of
both baby chick
and ancient tortoise
complete with a curled handle;
a piggy's tail.

And I am reminded of children's books
and the many animal characters
I have met.
I always Loved
the Three Little Pigs.
Three siblings
of the same blood,
and each of them have
a drastically different idea
of what makes a home.

Where I am the fires go out and
the fossit never stops dripping.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Root Beer and Tea

I'll have a can of root beer
over a cup of tea
today and I will regret it
a few sips in, not because of guilt
over the high fructose corn syrup or
the calories or the fat, but simply
because I should know better.

Tea would calm my mind and body,
send a soothing settlement down
my throat and it might pool in
my belly like an undisturbed pond
or the glass of water that sits
on the nightstand in our room
while we sleep in bed.

Root beer does the opposite.

But I will finish the root beer now,
make the tea later
after I come home safe
tonight off the icy roads and back
in my warm living room
where I'll rekindle the fire,
turn on my favorite lamp,
plug in the Christmas tree lights
so he can see them through the window
when he gets home late.
That's when I'll boil the water
for my tea, perhaps it will be

And I will be sure
to take the time to watch
its steam rise becoming invisible
and I will let it watch
me from above like a spirit who watches
over loved ones with a
lingering jealousy
of the life behind their eyes, the
automatic beating


especially while they sleep
unaware and dreaming in other worlds
where men paint their faces blue
and aliens come to get them
and they get initiated by witches.
If they only knew the truth...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Will She Become?

Before she can talk
they’ve got her stuck in
pink dresses, in cribs
with dolls and hearts and
flowers surround her
and even before

she can read, she’s learned
to walk in high-heels
and leopard-skin skirts.
They’re preparing her
for the eyes of men,
showing her what she

should be for them. No
hips yet, soon enough
though she will get them
along with early
breasts and her monthly
rushing of blood (her

connection to women everywhere,
her source for power)
which she’ll be told to
hide, despise, disguise
with PMS pills
and individually

wrapped tubes of scented
bleached cotton that come
in pink boxes on
shelves at the grocery
store. The same place where
her mother will buy

her magazines, when
she is just barely
thirteen, full of half-
naked women—
Beautiful. Confident. Thin.
She will believe those

women are real and                                        
she’ll trust them as her
mentors when they say
they know 10 things a
guy really wants. And
she decides it must

be that which she is
missing: a guy. So,
she sets out to find
him the only way
she has been shown. She’ll
stop eating cake at

birthday parties, she
will start eating pills
instead of food. She
will fall for the cool
athletic boy in
school, the one who would,

in Kindergarten,
pretend to shoot her,
the one who calls her
a chick, the other
guys fags, her friend fat.
The one who’s father

spanked him for playing
with his sister’s great
Barbie collection.
The one who is so
dreadfully sad, but
would rather die than

share it. And she will
devote herself to
him, believing she
can save him, she can
be pretty for him.
She’ll cover her face

each day with products
tested on rats and
unknowingly, she’ll
be hiding behind
all that lip gloss and
mascara and blush

like the child who’s been
forgotten during
a game of Hide-and-Seek
still there waiting to
be found beneath the
covers of her bed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Can't get myself to write about
what my sister might have said ten years ago
or how often Dad took us out for pizza
only about the teapot on the stove
and its soft whistle of "hellow,
yes, I am boiling now, um if you
wouldn't mind, just pop my bum off
the top-o-this flame here" and how I do
turn it off absentmindedly while deciding
which kind,
too late
and I rush to fill the cup
and watch it change color in the leaking
pluming intercourse
of hot water and herb.
I drink it and feel devine.