The Friends (Bird and Hand)

February 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Another man his age with this power might use it
but he said he was tired, looked down, walked
to the car and drove home again toward the sea,
legs open as he shifted, right outer thigh just
brushing against the clutch

He’d left her after an hour of standing
in the doorway, talking about the secret lives
of birds and insects, turned over a rock by her
front door to show her the unseen worlds
right below the earth’s surface

And she – she lay awake after he left, staring at the cei-
ling, thinking about the bugs in her front yard,
bird food, how that time in the woods he’d held
out his hand and a swallow landed in it, then as now
her core a wide spanned ache, round as the world,
open as an unfinished sentence, cavernous
as an unanswered question


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A Friend Who Needs It

August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Put your arms down and close your mouth. Don’t
look at me like that. I’m not a bowl of pitless cherries.
I’m not a slice of pie, a piece of something, or worse,
a friend who needs it.

Look again. My eyes are the same. My hair is tied
up with no intention. My unclenched hands are empty,
true, but they are only left free to unlock the door,
let you go, and close it gently behind you.

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Even Feline, Incompatible

August 11, 2010 at 9:10 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

With me you are like the cat buttoned up tight in a miniature three piece suit.
You have no idea how you ended up here like this.
You are nearly hysterical, twisting and clawing your furry way
out of your tiny pin-striped vest, jacket and pants*.

* Unlike the cat, you want out for all the wrong reasons.

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Walking Home from School in a Sympathetic Winter Scene

February 28, 2009 at 12:20 am (A Catalogue of the Lost, Poems, Small Observations, The 90s)

The low clouds muffle the sound of snow
about to fall and land
on this ground already covered

I circle the frozen lake alone

If you were here
(the dead always know more than the living)
we could hear what no one else
has ever heard in this muted silence –
the crystalized molecules rapidly
skating into each other
just above my head

I’m sure I can hear
the snow about to fall:
it’s the sound of a child’s mobile
made of a hundred small icicles
or a seamstress’s wind chime
strung with twenty tiny needles

I can hear all this in my head
as I walk home alone
in this stone deaf February afternoon

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Falling Out the Window

August 27, 2008 at 4:23 am (Poems, The 90s)

I can’t see the stars

It’s winter.  I wish anyway –

if I can’t have you

entirely, I want what you

will give.  I blow more smoke.

The ashes look like snow

flakes in the west coast

rain.  Your arms would feel


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The Party – March 6, 1999

August 27, 2008 at 4:19 am (Poems, The 90s)


I found one steady friend

in the wall outside and

showed him the stains

your skin left on my hands


Minutes palpitated and

I began to argue

but the smoke and liquor

choked me to the ground


I threw it all out

I threw it all out

All I could say when I found you was

I threw it all out


Someone claimed me and

jammed toast in my mouth

I asked the sink for support and

she said she’d be still


I returned to the room and collapsed

beside you – wet, pale and spent

If I stained Dan’s sheets

with my tattooed heart

he hasn’t discovered it yet

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The 90s

August 26, 2008 at 5:53 am (Poems, The 90s)

wasn’t that us in the ravine behind the school thick stumps streams skunk cabbage
damp earth, everything above us green, do you remember it was always raining,
the scent in that leafy depth always the same, dank, like caked mud on hands
and the hems of jeans

your room the blue mystery, you wrapping the coil of the phone around two fingers of your left hand, staring at the ceiling from your waterbed, your mother heard faintly through the line from your house to mine, a sea-length away, shouting at you to get off the phone, can’t you hear the storm

you’ll both be killed

me swimming alone in my aunt’s pool at night with the lights out, lightning, jagged veins on the wrists of a young summer sky, wet above, wet below, every word you’d say a penny in a small glass that girl was holding as she swam until the glass filled with copper and water

magazines beneath you, your image of me all strands of hair, seaweed, my eyes open shells, my mouth open, my shell a round open-mouthed vase in a cabinet behind glass, my soaked lotus heart unable to ask: wasn’t that you drenched through on the gulley floor

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