no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but
what would I not
I used to speak French
to protect myself.
impressing those around me
with grammatically incorrect insults
hidden behind a smile
to make them think I just
said something beautiful.
C’est la vie.
My mother lied to me.
My father hid his lie from me.
My brother thought he was lying to
me when he was really
telling me the truth.
I used to draw blood in order
to feel something when in
actuality I was feeling
I have a notebook, a pen
and a bag of pretzels; the
tunnels of light to escape these
A wall I can’t see.
Strangers I don’t trust.
Friends I send away…
Maybe I should have spoken
Spanish, that way more
people would have been
able to call my bluff.
I prefer Spanish food over French.
Save for Wine – Tequila makes me sick.
I hate teenagers.
I’ve discovered this in the past year.
Maybe it’s time to learn a new language.
The smell of Mexican food
compels me up the stairs
despite the fact that I was headed
mingled with pollo
and pico de gallo –
I think it’s comforting.
I peer down the hall
intimidated by its infiniteness.
it would seem wider
were it not for the paintings
covering every inch of wall…
Civil War revolutionaries,
a snowy afternoon,
slaughtered African wildlife
and I’m only at Suite 302.
Maybe I should have entered
through another door –
unless that’s where I exit…
if I even exit at all.
the asking price
out of my range.
Where does this hallway end?
I saw the beginning –
at least I thought it was,
hidden by another staircase.
I’m afraid to stop –
less these dried
color messages wrap me
in the minds of their creators.
I once wrote a poem about
a piece of art…
Deep, thoughtful and questioning
the meaning of life.
I read it to the artist.
They said they were inspired
by pop cans at the grocery store.
My soul shattered that day.
Putting the pieces together in
“When do you feel sexiest?”
kisses liquor-infused whipped cream
and a broken remote.
A new comforter.
red and blue blinds
throbbing beyond my eyelids—
“you’re falling asleep”
no I’m not
Chest hair curlicues
iron on the floor
cement block with contact lenses
and condensation from early morning.
kisses sighs fresh sheets
and a broken remote.
all naked or just a little naked?
new haircut stolen DVD’s kisses
on cocoa butter skin—
where’s the remote?
Legs and diaphragm.
kisses liquor skin wet –
sweat and strawberry flavored love.
A,B,C, or D?
Another movie and a
fresh pair of sheets.
kisses liquor and a
She said she would be willing to get a matching tattoo
with me. A flower permanently imprinted on our skin.
She likes orchids, I like lilies. And even after moving
away she understands my addictions; growing old,
the rain, Team Gibbs, bats, my love for pistachios
and maybe even my need to come back home.
As much as I love Ohio, it’s nice to go home
every once and awhile. Saving up for my tattoo
is not easy when I keep spending my money on M&M’s and pistachios,
especially when my mother isn’t there to pinch my skin
and tell me to put my wallet away. She’s not old—
but I certainly feel like I am when she says she’s moving
away from me. I toss and turn and move
in my sleep thinking about how home
will never be the same without her. The cats are getting old;
their time is coming. Maybe we should get a tattoo
of them instead of flowers—light and dark brown skin
warm and cuddled together, munching on pistachios.
I remember when I first became addicted to pistachios.
It was a church Christmas party and the wine was moving
closer to my hands. Mom said I could, as I felt the buzz of my skin
react to my fourth glass. She shook her head and drove me home
laughing at my sneaky attempts to act sober. A tattoo
was out of the question; what would I think when I got old?
Our relationship now has changed, intimate friends never too old
to dance or talk about our sex lives, throwing pistachios
at each other or plan out our future tattoos.
I am going to miss her, and she me, as she moves
on with her dreams, starting over, building a new home
In a place we’ve never known, but always in the same skin
that I have loved my whole life. A soft, toasted skin
that has been passed down to me for my days of old.
Born, nurtured, taught and loved in my mother’s home;
home-cooked meals that surpass the freshest of pistachios
so I would one day learn how to cook. No matter where she moves,
my mother will remain deep in my heart, my skin—like a tattoo.
She gave me my skin and approved of my tattoo,
provided me with a home complete with pistachios
and an old promise: her heart is unmoving.
as well as a birthday present for my mother :)
I cannot write about it anymore-
How can I tell anyone when my secret lays
crudely hidden inside
the trunk at the foot of
my bed, camouflaged by music
sheets and the dusty Playboys
that my brother passed down to me.
I never asked for them anyway.
safe from the unknowing uncaring
judgmental bloodthirsty oblivious
eyes of Mechanicsville,
Maybe I could catch a horse ‘n buggy
and work my worries away—
they would sense my disease
and throw me to the wild dogs;
more like Labs and Puggles
but who’s keeping track.
I can’t even walk the halls anymore.
Ostentatious girls smiling, winking, tossing
their hair back—
I keep my eyes to the floor.
If I allow myself the luxury
of looking up I might
see their arms…
Firm, rigid with muscle
and that just leads to the shoulders
broad and thick,
trembling with laughter—fear
skin so smooth—kissable—no
eyes back on the floor.
Building Service Workers missed a spot
I say to myself as the
ache below my waist
slowly dulls away.
kickin' back, watchin’ TV with the bro.
Innocent stuff till he channel surfs
and gets called into the kitchen to wash
his dishes just as the vile remote decides
to land on MTV.
His lazy ass better wash
those dishes, cause I am not
about to dry my hands out
for him; lotion’s getting expensive these days.
That man on the screen has a nice one.
shoulders muscle back butt
calves fingers hands arms
neck hair face –
I’m aching again,
Gotta get out of here before my
brother sees me and calls me
a girl for the way I run.
I need to get out of this life—
I requested a single.
Living with another man would be
the death of me.
I spend my weekends with my
iPod in my ears, drowning out
the masculine shouts and laughter
of frat boys playing Ultimate
Frisbee on the Hill.
I do not allow myself the
luxury of looking…
broad necks rippling shoulders
sweaty shirts toned legs
beautiful faces –
I can’t stare or they might
invite me to play.
There are support groups—
safe havens and potential
friends who will understand.
So many men –
understanding smiling beautiful—
I think I’m gonna come back.
He welcomes me.
asks how my first year is going –
I’m not afraid to look at his face.
our fingers touch as we walk back to
—and I don’t feel so isolated.
I can finally throw out those dusty
mance is in the air – or
so they say at this time of year in
the heart of the Thousand Islands.
thing quite welcomes summer
like the morning smell of seaweed fresh-
ly caught on some vacationer’s
pellers - excess water
draining from the boat’s engine, creat-
ing sporadic puddles up the
I see no romance in
Alex Bay – too many tourists; too
old, too young – No young lovers. Not
nough privacy in the
souvenir shops or bustling streets for
young lovers to embrace and watch
sun set or rise off the
Dock of the Bay. Mother duck leading
her ducklings towards the bread crumbs the
er generation has
cast aside for them in the fishy
water. Kids just don’t know what ro-
is anymore. Perhaps
because Spring is ending and not be-
ginning. I must find the romance
these islands. There was a
story passed down through the years of Boldt
and his lady and Hart Island.
re-named it Heart Island
and with his millions he made it just
that. A castle he built her, a
house for the kids. Gardens
and walkways, a Yacht House, a Tower.
All this he built for his love.
you imagine, waking
up every morning to the smell, the
sounds of an island called yours? In
midst of the St. Lawrence,
the freshness, the cool, the sun beating
down on your grass, your estate. How
mantic an idea.
Of the one-thousand, seven-hundred
and ninety-three islands, this one
longs to you and your love.
To travel by Ferry each day to
the Bay, to dine every night at
and Steak. Oh the wonders of Alex
Bay – I found romance after all.
A syllabic poem that evokes the spirit of a particular location.
(1/6/9/8 syllabic meter)
(after Nikki Giovanni)
I tried to love them. Those mag-
gots that kept eating away at me.
They couldn’t wait for me to die,
crawling and chewing like it
wasn’t nobody’s business. They
said why don’t you go ahead and
die, just a waste of sin and liquor
anyway. Shielded by the absence
of light I let myself try,
try an’ love them. But
they crawled and crawled
until my eyes fell out.
Just up and fell out so I
couldn’t cry no more so
I up and let myself go. Those
maggots laughed and
laughed underneath Crocodile tears.
But I couldn’t love them. They
weren’t real people any-
way. Just no good worms
trying to hurt me.
Imitation of Terrance Hayes using 3 characteristics.
She told my legs to take a bound across
the tennis courts. I thought, No problem mom,
and off I went to show them how it’s done.
First right then left but – SHIT! A shooting pain
in my left ankle. Damn! I thought, not now
not here. Another injury this year.
Before it was my knees, and now the day
before a meet my ankle decides to
give out on me. Ma’ Musbach said
to not worry, but knowing me – I did.
The meet, it came and they were all at ease.
While I warmed up the pressure showed but I
needed to push myself so I did not
back down. This challenge with my body scared
the living hell out of me but I’ve done
it all before. They called my name. The air
was still. Breathe; one and two and three – I land.
Applause. I breathe in deep, astounded by
my luck. I had performed and not just that,
but well! My leg was fine, there was no pain
found anywhere throughout my ankle. And
I was for sure not going to let go
of that ‘First Place’ I had dreamed of for so long.
20 line (at least) iambic pentameter that tells a story.
flying into Chi-town
Altoids of various sizes
litter the scenery.
An artfully constructed
playset thrown off
by the skilled placement
of refreshing breath mints.
Maybe they’re off brand,
or perhaps ecstasy,
though I don’t see any
smiley faces or hearts.
I like to look for high school
tracks as we descend.
Forget the football fields,
they’re far less interesting.
Mostly black, though
sometimes gravel, dirt
or red and even
though not in Chi-town.
The homestretch extending beyond
no hurdles in sight
much less a sand pit.
A mile inland
there is some sort of water.
The body scattered
and split like some
kind of man-made accident.
shallow sand banks
invisible from the ground look
like dead whales.
floating (submersed) there
like lifeless, sandy corpses.
Maybe it’s because of my “Free Willy” spree,
but I see whales.
I’ve never been to Chicago,
only in and out of the airport
and catching glimpses of what I
can see through the windows
My good friend has flown with
me once, but we parted at the
Have you ever wondered why
cities are built like mountains?
the tallest buildings in the
center with everything
else leading up to it?
Kinda like that Verizon commercial
with the magnet and lead…
Maybe I’ll Google it
to find an answer.
There’s a private airport a
(Too good for Southwest to land
there). Private jets and runways
too classy to have a White
Castle across the expressway
They have cornfields.
Even closer now.
The houses larger with matching
sheds and identical roves.
Almost all have pools, makes
sense for a windy city like
Some are covered and
nasty for the impending
winter. Playsets and driveways,
I wonder if the children
ever get scared when
the shadow of a 700 series
darkens their windows and slides.
If they look up and feel warmth
in their Children’s Place pants,
throwing their ice cream to the
wind and catapulting into
the comfort of their father’s
arms and then
write about it 13 years
later after they get off that plane.
“Thank you for flying with us
today, please come back and
see us soon.”
A desperate cry for profit
What is love?
Murasaki would say it was an obligation,
a sort of duty
where the rules
say to bury one’s emotions
and succumb to the overpowering sex.
Mian Mian embraces the sexuality
of her culture. Arguing that love
is the force behind drugs and emotion.
It is not the government’s obligation
to dictate the author’s form of rules
on writing a novel that serves its own duty.
How does Black Jade feel about her duty?
Despite her lover’s sexuality
and his matriarch’s ruling
of marrying well even if he does love
her, the family cares more of their obligation
then of their prized sons emotions.
Coco lived by her emotions.
The sickness of Tian not her duty
as it would have been in the old days. Lui’s obligation
to turn in Shiba overruled by rough sex
and her quest for painful love
in a time that disregards all form of rule.
Peony was one who broke the rules
but was rewarded for it. Unless it’s Peony #2 because her emotions
got the best of her when she fell in love
at the wrong time. It was not her duty
to see the play nor feel anything sexual
in the Three Wives Commentary; this, her obligation.
Was it Abe Sada’s obligation
to castrate her lover and make her own rules?
Madame Mao too knew all about sex
and succumbed to her emotions
when her duty
was no longer to love.
From emotional red chambers with rules
on obligatory sex, the cycle of East Asian
love patterns has yet to fulfill its duty.
Got an A on it btw :)
(also my first Sestina)
A grain of sand.
a lifeless, heartless
insignificant grain of sand.
undisturbed for so many years.
Complacent in its spot
with the others.
A few friends for company,
even a lover for those cold nights.
the ground starts trembling,
monstrous roars of beasts
pierce all complacency.
A stampede and the grain of sand
Where is she?
What does it matter,
she’s still insignificant.
You would think that after
shedding so many tears
and filling so many
notebooks with ink
that the supply would eventually run out.
But that’s life I suppose.
The highs and lows
so artistically placed
so that the other is creeping
right around the bend
when it seems as though
the now will never end.
I would like to say that
I could use a bend right about now…
but I don’t even know what
side I’m on.
Such an extravagant invention.
You press a button,
creating a beckoning sound
in which your host
is obliged to answer.
It’s an attention getter.
Much like a telephone ring.
Someone wants to contact you.
your phone rings,
it is your duty to pick up.
Not unlike a letter in the mail.
Long distance communication.
full of sentiment and longing.
A way of speaking
So why aren’t you responding to any?
In the distance
lies a cascade of
blessing all within
Were you to travel up
its rivers and find the source
your feet would grow weary with ache.
For in this story,
the source of this majesty
should not be found.
The travel too long,
too full of history,
twisting and winding
around each jungle
and mountain thrown at it.
This journey has only just begun.
And any brave traveler
would find themselves
too engrossed in the story
to pay attention to the path –
therefore; losing themselves.
Leave the journey to the winds.
Enjoy the scenery.
And keep on traveling
one step at a time.
intertwined in her chords, quite accurate.
overfilled, over colorful,
All these games and movies
foretelling our goals and dreams,
fantasies and fears.
I love to hear my name.
Never forget me,
hold on tight,
the moons are shining bright tonight.
the calm and sultry
yet oh so desired.
tantalizing and methodical,
the smiles and teasing
make one shiver,
at the thought…
slow and melancholy,
uplifting only when it suits…
elegant yet worn.
scarred but not scared.
The song of everlasting…
Are they in love?
and heads sway.
and lovers dance.
as well as the doubts.
at the memory.
An empty park picnic table
cooled by the light,
spotted by the burning
I see us there.
enjoying each others company
in this never-ending summer.
I see myself
dressing up as the wife,
laying out a picnic basket
and table cloth.
Pouring iced tea
into a chilled glass,
Watching the condensation
slide down your fingertips
as your throat
gulps in the refreshment.
I lay a blanket
on the grass,
inviting you to come sit.
And that chuckling breeze
and lifts the whole of
my 1950s homemaker dress.
You smooth it back down,
lowering your hand on my hip.
The wind has stopped,
but you keep smoothing away…
down my thighs,
across my backside,
up my back,
until my head is
cupped in your hands
nearing closer to your face.
I would not call it a kiss,
because a “kiss” is too
short a word, too precise
and too emotionless
to fit this phenomenon.
You embrace me fully
leaving no passion unaccounted for,
no ounce of me left untouched.
I succumb to your embrace
and we start to make love when…
A car horn beeps.
Look around, and remember
that I’m sitting in a
library parking lot
looking at an empty picnic table.
There’s a stain on my lips
and I want to share it with you.
You always said you love wine,
which do you prefer:
Red or White?
Well you’re getting Red tonight.
Come over here
and let me sing to you,
let my lips
brush against your ear,
let my lips seduce you.
I want to feel your heart beat
I’ll let you feel mine.
Come over here and
Taste these lips of wine.
feel the space between us disappear.
Let’s create a space of our own,
our palace, our playground
Come over here and
touch my lipstick stain.
Let your fingers explore,
trembling on my skin.
I kiss them one by one.
How’s that taste?
Let’s do it all
penetrates the air
creeps under the door
settles on the breath
of a witch.
hissing, glaring, staring, kissing
on someone, anyone who walks by.
She spits fury and frustration
in all directions.
slurred words, glazed eyes,
heart of a monster…
I enter the Cave,
ignorant and vulnerable.
Through the dark,
her burning, malignant
eyes seek out a goat.
A blood vessel.
her past victims
scattered in pieces across the
Pulp. Mangles. Tortured. Suffering
from the poison of her bite,
the remorseless dismissal of them just
inches from death.
She wants them to cling on…
I’ve heard stories.
They warned me to stay away,
They call her badger,
They’re convinced no one can survive her bite.
I don’t need liquor to mask my scent
or get blood in my eyes.
I’m from out of town,
and this bitch is about to meet the Wolverine.
I wasn’t vulnerable to you
I wasn’t hypnotized by your eyes
Your smile did not make me swoon
but I was oblivious to your lies
I had just recently thrown out a delicious cake –
only weeks later I am finding tiramisu,
not exactly in a pastry shop…
but nevertheless it was delectable
unbelievably creamy, with just the right amount of espresso to give it a kick.
Oh how I devoured its luscious flavor,
most people say to eat slowly,
take in every aspect and cherish every bite.
Don’t get me wrong – I usually do…
I try to anyway….
if there’s a fresh made dessert,
and if I’m hungry,
I am going to want it.
Only after having eaten this tiramisu
and licked the plate clean,
did I find out that it was made with spoiled crème…
I should have known.
I’m lactose and tolerant anyway.
It was so good –
unlike anything I had ever had before…
You came out of nowhere,
your charm and personality perfected
after hours of practice.
Well I am sorry to say that it worked.
Goddamnit I hate regrets,
but your game is done.
still, it’s gonna be awhile before I’m over this one.