Monday, December 12, 2016

On December 4th I had a poetry feature in Dayton at the old Yellow Cab building. This building used to be a cab business for 40+ years—it’s located right on the fringe of downtown with double garage doors that stay up in the warmer months and shut in the colder. There are hints of checkered things, a decent sized stage and free tampons in the womens room. A pretty rad venue.

My set was wedged between the open mic and poetry slam. The Dayton writers are so friendly and welcoming—I was specifically requested back for this feature, which made me feel pretty darn good. To be welcome and wanted is a precious feeling when it comes to doing something so very close to my heart/is my heart. This particular night was a prom themed night, so most people arrived dressed up—swishy hems, high slits, suit jackets, even a cummerbund. When getting ready at home, I realized I had nothing remotely close to prom attire but I pulled on a long skirt and combat boots and called it done. My date surprised me in a button up and tie.

I was fascinated by how many individuals read their poems straight off their phones. Is this me showing my age, being old fashioned? Visually it feels awkward to me, to watch someone read off a device in the palm—I feel like I’m listening to someone relay a text instead of a poem. Maybe I am used to the aesthetic of paper, or hands that are completely empty. Maybe it’s because I see so many people distracted by their phones on a daily basis, looking down instead of at the person across from them/things around them. Maybe this is something not to really care or worry about, but I found it distracting. I couldn’t get over it. Everyone walked onto stage and looked at their phones, then spoke into mic. Is this now the norm? Norm or not, I won’t be reading my work off my cell phone anytime soon. The writing/typing, the printing out of pages, added lines scribbled in the margins…all of that is part of the process, the ritual of what brings breath to a piece of work. For me, at least.

Also the majority of the readers were young. Perhaps I’m finally getting to an age where I FEEL the generation gap. Maybe it’s because I’ve been getting on stages for 16 years now—I remember being that young, I remember my approach to it and I know that approach is quite different than my current one. Age, experience, both—I can feel it, hear it, see it at readings. There is nothing good or bad about this—it simply is. If anything, it’s fascinating. It makes me a little giddy to make note of it. I know I’m getting older(my body for sure knows it first thing in the mornings), but it isn’t until these moments do I really see the path behind me, already ventured down. With poetry and poetry readings this intrigues me because while I can see the difference and know the difference, the subject matter these young folks are speaking on are the same. Universal things. Unrequited love. Busted hearts. Ignorance. There are more mentions of technology methods(so strange to hear facebook brought up in a poem, but I guess that is the world these days) in regards to courtships and endings.

Most of my poems were older ones, and this felt really good to do. I’ve been writing a lot over the past few months, but feeling quite protective with this new material. Much of it isn’t ready to leave the nest just yet. They need to do nothing but simply exist in a space outside of my own head and heart, age in the air a bit. Some are only partially erected buildings, a staircase to nowhere, walls up but no roof. There’s pleasure in this part of it, when something is becoming but not complete.

I cannot ignore that there is home to found in my older work. So much of it has never seen the light of day, outside of a word document tucked away in one of my many files filled with the same. My archives are thick with unidentifieds and not-quite-there-yets and yes-but-forgottens. In an interview once, I remarked on how I had a habit of treating my work like a very bad lover. I loved them but left them, feigning a loss in interest. Moreso than losing interest I think that habit stemmed from being very self-critical, which was rooted in nothing but fear. I’ve been going through the archives, even the slightly ridiculous and/or painful parts, and paying attention. It feels like an opportunity to re-introduce myself, to listen, to understand myself better. For as much as I might have thought the work was garbage or worthless, I must’ve thought something more since I kept nearly all of it.

Friday, November 25, 2016

So, what happens after a post vowing to update more? Nearly another month goes by, naturally. The aftermath of the election destroyed me, I'll admit. The first few days were all shock, and then anger and despair came waltzing in, drudging up all the old feelings I had long ago when Bush was re-elected. But worse. Worse because it is worse, and worse because I'm older and I know a little more. This world right now...I don't know. Overwhelming is too small a word. Overwhelming doesn't span even half of it.

I'm at a coffee shop editing and writing and editing some more. Plus stalling. This post is a stall, you know. I get swallowed by the sheer amount of work I have saved in the archives. It's getting to the point where I frequently come across entire pieces I do not remember writing. There is something slightly frightening about that. I hesitate to delete a word of it. Even in the duplicates, I bite my lip when I hit the "remove" button. Figuring out the proper way to let go...this permeates all parts of my life, even the poetry.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Time, busy-ness, age, change and change and more change--these are some of the things I can point to, easy, that keep me from updating this space as regularly as I would like to. My intentions are good, but the days of this year have run over me, left me in the dust. Sometimes I'm in an all out sprint trying to catch up.

I'm going to try to visit this space much more often, and hold myself accountable to the act of typing some shit out if only for the sake of memory and release. Anyone I know will tell you that 2016 has been a strange and difficult year, but there it is and here we are. Surviving it. I came back to the states at the beginning of it in shards. Some of me so busted that they were smooshed to salt. Time did not seem to move. In February I ended up getting 8 stitches in my pinky from a bit of a freak accident at the gym. Aside from the scar, the things from that sticking with me: the calmness with which I asked the gym manager to call someone as blood poured in my palm and down my arm. The crustless pb&j the nurse offered me between numbing shots when I said I was hungry. The sobbing I did when the doctor pulled the stitches out. It was from pain but also circumstance, all of life coming to a head in that office with my hand in his, my desire to assure him it was much much worse than he thought or knew. I will always remember the careful way I pulled my lifting gloves on, the way I bandaged it after and managed to move weights with little finger out for weeks and weeks. And then I healed. Time did her thing.

For six months I worked cleaning houses. Little glimpses into the lives of people I never knew and would never really know--family portraits and toiletries and habits, good and bad. I scrubbed the sinks of dentist offices and dusted countless desks. I now own hoodies and pants stained with bleach. I moved on to a job with a guarantee of more hours and better pay. Things changed, again, as they are certain to do.

I write and get on stages again. This, another miracle. At one point it had been a solid year since I had stepped up to a microphone, and I felt every bit of this absence in my lungs and guts. My first time back was in Pittsburgh and I cried while reading a poem about my failed marriage. My second time was reading with friends I haven't read with in 15 years, and that felt like home. There weren't any tears. The moments are stacking up and I am letting them. I'm writing quite a bit now, and part of that stems from staying quiet for too long--the rest comes from this very real need to tell it now, as much of it as I can. All of it, even. Who else can tell our stories for us? What other voice is there? I posed the question when? And the answer is always now, and I'm sticking to that. It is up to me, and I have no room for fear in that. At first, writing again was difficult and determined my mood for the rest of the day(and sometimes the next). Heavy is heavy. I'm learning how to go there and then how to leave it without all the colors bleeding through to the rest. It is a mixture of practice and trust. A trust in self that I can return.

I rediscovered a great big chunk of my heart that never truly left, and it feels a little like miracle and very much like yes. Something that helped me remember who I am, at the core. Despite all the trajectories, possible veering, blocked paths--there is a matter-of-factness to where I happen to be currently. Things will change inevitably, and I'll do a bit of shifting with them. I have my frustrations, things that could certainly be easier. There are days when I am standing far from optimistic, but I work through it and return. Forward is the direction. Forgiveness is the method.

More soon.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"If you suffer it is because of you, if you feel blissful it is because of you. Nobody else is responsible - only you and you alone. You are your hell and your heaven too." --Osho

Saturday, September 24, 2016

a slew of haiku

may the tongue keep wings
& lash unbashful tumbled
flight from perch, with bite

faceplant and footprint
the ground never looked so good
on our stupid hands

my bed of basil
in a love full of fences
grown coiled diamonds

It is how you can
smell a season. It is what
you tape to the walls.

Hills hides the dancers.
I look up and still myself
to see the clouds move.

Rare these days become--
the ones that threaten time,
the ones that feel like God.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


When you hold your hand up to the sun and it will not grow warm. And when you catch yourself saving tears for the long drives. It's time. Long due. Someone mumbles it or a skywriter catches you absent and spells it out in great chemical loops, or you can't sleep because of the growl in your knuckles where pens slip all slender ghost-like. Or you find it then lose it like thread in the bed covers and you spend all day digging through the soft with all that you've got. Or someone asks you, sweet and easily, when. Have you? Will you? And all the scenery says speak--the city and whip-whirl of ceiling fan. It all echoes have you? Will you?


or something like it (summertime, part two)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

or something like it (summertime, part one)

Summertime galore:
You cannot keep me indoors this time. Work, gym, late nights of youtube back-and-forths on a porch swing. Little things, large. Loud things, soft things. My heart, my anger, my bliss of a back road and bridges and getting my life again and again.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Healing will come.

You will not outrun the weather. Nor the grey hairs that bloom in heats of four on your head, who call to mind phone cord and minute hand. Part the mess anywhere and you will find a streak screaming. Familiar bark slowly begone.

You will not stay the same, and you shouldn't anyway.

You will not have the courtesy of linear, or name, or latch. It will be and that is that.

You will write. You will find the words even if it means digging to core of the earth. You will share it and you won't. Every line pulls a splinter.

You will get angry. So angry that vision leaves you and ground turns blue and bodies around you beet red-red-red. So you learn to be and let go, until the release outweighs the need and the red runs to pink then pale then dry and a thousand shades of green takes its place.

And you will be different and you will be you. Again and again. Every day a little more lung, more pulse. More stretched apart fingers and more to pass through them. You will not need something shut to prove it. Instead, you will riot the windows up. The ground away, roof too. Unclose it all, let's say.

Heal until you forget how the bones felt unfused.

Now, on your feet. On your toes. On your mend on your mind on your very last swig of sorry. No more sorry. On your word. On it all, on it none.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

lucille clifton

wishes for sons
by Lucille Clifton

i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
I wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes
and clots like you
wouldn't believe. let the
flashes come when they
meet someone special.
let the clots come
when they want to.

let them think they have accepted
arrogance in the universe,
then bring them to gynecologists
not unlike themselves.

― Lucille Clifton

Monday, March 28, 2016


and in the distance, lightning

after losing all meat beneath both wrists,
she sends me gloves, a zippo, pairs of needles(both hollow &

dang. and here i thought bar cruel, her stool
the only flat on tilted salt lick floor;
a man and his horn, shoulder blades in neon light
the cross-stitch click of glass and ice.

that night. know better. without my fists i cannot shake you.
telephone pole licorice and piled cumulous, illuminate.
i sit a curled brick, passenger seat. moon wants in, her gold teeth
putting waves in the river.

let it all.

Friday, March 18, 2016

poem by Franz Wright

To Myself

You are riding the bus again
burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80,
the sole passenger

with an overhead light on.
And I am with you.
I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,

the little lights off in the distance
(in one of those rooms we are
living) and I am the rain

and the others all
around you, and the loneliness you love,
and the universe that loves you specifically, maybe,

and the catastrophic dawn,
the nicotine crawling on your skin—
and when you begin

to cough I won’t cover my face,
and if you vomit this time I will hold you:
everything’s going to be fine

I will whisper.
It won’t always be like this.
I am going to buy you a sandwich.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

back when the lopside of bricks went noticed
& puddles mere pools for kicks--
us a group of kids playing grown
posed over rippled reflections, arms slung
with hair juts and hip thrust
sneers that shook our cheeks
teeth still years from busted--

double zero summer sweat funk
wake up bare mattress
sunk couch coffee-slopped kiss
the square at lunch where we'd sit
buzzcut and sick to hear free noon music
viceroy breath between brown-bagged
business suits
and your laugh, the devil
and that heart, a murder

up late to hear so-and-so beat guitar
back to bark
sliding notebooks through condensation
one hand on center of gravity
other courting pen

clear liquor seat punch
an evening that slips egg yolk
down back of car as we
blow the pop stand and blame the muse--
i've gotta go get this down
before it gets gone on me

pocketknives and rooftops dug at flesh
before city burned our ears to the rind

when the best beds were front yards
tilt back necks
we ate


them stars

Monday, February 29, 2016

heartache will take your sense of taste. sense of time, switch hot and cold, put food's rot on speed dial. the terms heart and ache are troublesome themselves--there is also a roar in the head, along achilles and on the cliff of wrist. knuckles start to look dumb, but you find yourself staring at them often. those and palms and thinking of all the things. a night's ceiling also gets the fixed eye, a blank reel. eyelash or fissure.

a pendulum stuck in a body. swing low, swing often. swing into flame. feel blood actual boil. stop in random parking lots to breathe fire. forget ground and sky and aim to walk the middle. one foot in front of other. some days are sifted down to this obnoxious trajectory. find absolutely no meaning in silence. build a boat and cry until land appears again. it will, even with warped oar and busted binocular. it will, even if you will it to never. it will, even though.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

little bit

Little interview with my good friend/fellow writer Dan Shapiro:

click here

More words to come.

Friday, January 22, 2016

a break and a beautiful.

Life is trying right now. Pardon the absence of updating.

I will leave this here until I feel up to posting again. One of the most beautiful things:

B&A HAKA from Westone Productions on Vimeo.