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“You’ve been treating it like a summer home; vacant, drafty, neglected; and yet you expect it to be in top working order whenever you decide to honor it with your presence”, she scolds.

“But I must inhabit the bustling city, my first home, if I am to survive the marathons of days of disembodied vigilance.” I protest. “Why don’t you just leave me alone?”

“You don’t get it,” she expectorates, eyes narrowing and finger wagging.
“I’m just the messenger, telling you something you already know.”

I try pleading.
“Why must you scream so loud? Can’t you give me more time?
Surely we can make a deal.”

“There are no shortcuts,”
she responds, firm yet kind.
“I should know. I’ve traveled all the way from the end of the line, up your nerves and into your synapses. You have no choice but to climb down from your high tower, through your neck, beyond your shoulders, past your liver, kidneys and hips, to fingers, legs, and toes. Be with them, or they will keep sending me after you, as your benevolent warden.”

I blink, pedaling fruitlessly through the couscous
holding back unwanted questions
yet anticipating a Scroogian epiphany

What am I willing to give up
to be rid of her?

Should I offer my ambition as hush money?

Or do the back taxes pour in faster than my legs can kick?
Feb 27 · 125
labels
I refuse to be imprisoned by them;
Formed in a spring of meaning
And specificity;
Then gradually
Sculpted, sanded and smoothed
In the oppressive surf of banality.

Woman. Wife. Mother.
Genius. Fat. Beautiful.
Liberal. Conservative.

I won’t let them
Bend me at the waist
Bow my head
Contort my arms

Define me.

Instead I return to the spring

plunge in

dissolve


emerge



a mist.
Jul 2018 · 164
errands with my love
1.

Clutch sinks to the floor
like a drunk mini skirt under a clever pickup line

1st gear gives way
like an occasional lover

Gas feathers in
a subsonic prelude to a ******

Rolling

2.

down our suburban street
where sidewalks bend at the waist
bowing to cracked driveways

My single-minded objective
upended by his scavenger’s mission

Abrupt left
“we must get that free tub”
he says

On the curb
next to the faded plastic batmobile
a rectangular residue of frayed cobwebs and forlorn leaves
“*******”
dangles from his lips

U-turn

3.

tires crackle over loose asphalt
steering wheel taught

turning down the wrong street
bewilderment derails my one track mind

“lawnmower shop”
he says

I’ve known him long enough
not to ask questions

We have an understanding
without understanding

Sun splatters across my forehead
an uncomfortable hot mess
the cracked window is of little comfort
as I await his return

He holds the door for a dusty landscape artist
pushing an unwieldy grass-cutting machine
purring across the street
late for the day’s rounds

Wordlessly, he returns
landing softly on his leather throne
key sliding, kissing the lock cylinder
willing forth internal combustion

4.

Finally the bike shop
Jul 2018 · 237
magic
I wear my magic like a cloak,
green as Vulcan blood.

It transforms me
into a woman who can command a room.

The muscles in my cheeks,
my brow, my jaw
are enchanted.
They dissolve my resting ***** face
into inviting smiles and encouraging looks.

The canals of my body
become highways.
Words zoom into my ears.
More words whizz from my throat.

When I step out of my magic
it clatters to the floor,
heavy as bronze armor.

I climb in bed,
tomorrow’s mystery on my breath.

Will I have the strength
to wield it again?
Jul 2018 · 171
voice
“You’re too quiet,” you told me.
“Speak up.”
I don’t think you mean it.

All you hear is the buzzing swarm
of words
busy in their work.

You have no patience
for the silky yellow honey
that is my voice.
Jul 2018 · 336
Strange Phenomena
An evening of
slippery solitude flows into a
quick-silvery night.  I feel the
orange regret,

letting it crash with
daring tenacity over a
jagged cliff.  Warm colors blend into
a silent note of confusion, clouding the

red sky, while stale
thoughts still pour in
a lingering
brainstorm.
circa 1997
Jul 2018 · 147
eyes
In your eyes
the night disrobes, and
darkness falls away in
a sheet of burning
color.
circa 1997
Jul 2018 · 161
July
Someone took a pair of shears
and chopped down all the buildings.
Now I must turn my head
to see the whole sky,
splotched with wisps of white
like an old man’s stubble.

Barren hills swell up like blisters
on the smooth flat land,
their windmills slicing the sky
like blunt razors.

My foot squishes over a rejected nectarine.
I kick it as I walk, watching it roll unevenly
on the pavement
until it plunges down a gaping storm drain.
written July, 2001
Jul 2018 · 122
candy corn
Comfort is like candy corn.

The first two kernels are delicious:
a gratifying waxy smoosh between your molars;
the orderly bites of first yellow, then orange, then white.

A handful sickens,
sweet lethargy trickling through your insides.

For years, I have been working
so hard for a kernel or two.
To my surprise, I now have a barrel full.

It turns out that I like the idea of candy corn
more than I like having it.
written: July 27, 2012
revised: July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 90
Silence
Silence is where dreams are born.
Where broken hearts clench in agony.
Where gentle breezes lift dandelion seeds from hands of children.

Silence is at the top of rollercoasters.
Where parents gingerly bend over cribs, to set down sleeping babies.
Where forks hover over steaming bowls of home-cooked spaghetti.

Silence is where there’s nothing to breathe but water;
Nothing to see but ghosts;
Nothing to hold but letting go.
written: December 15, 2017
revised: July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 256
Earth
The Earth is hungry.

Down by the train tracks,
her smooth skin ripples and buckles
until her lips part.

She swallows the rusty railroad spikes.
She gobbles up the old rubber tire.
She devours the discarded work boot, ankle first.
She slurps up the dusty cheetah-print blanket like a limp noodle.
Something resembling a flashlight sinks into her gaping maw.
She drinks deeply of the shimmering oily water until her skin cracks.

We proudly call things “man-made.”
Yet we’re just borrowing them.

Despite our arrogant defiance,
they all return one day
to the Earth.
written: June 6, 2017
revised: July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 110
now
now
Why let the choking fear
of what is to come
rob me of the serene solace
of now?
written May 28, 2017
Jul 2018 · 132
Ralph
When I was little, we had a tree.
He carried himself like a social outcast;
spindly protrusions with stubby green needles
trying to pass as branches.

They jutted out,
perpendicular to his wiry trunk;
strategically separated,
like feuding relatives at a wedding reception.

My father named him Ralph.
He was neither tall nor short.

At Christmas time,
he was adorned with colored lights
and bright glass globes.

His wannabe branches drooped
under the comically heavy baubles,
as if decorated by Charlie Brown himself.

In his youth, Ralph’s
modest redwood container
buckled under the force of his ambition.

“I want more,”
he whispered from his suburban cell.
“A land of my own,
where I can stand among giants.”

One day, it became too much.
As hot days stacked
like dry pancakes,
brittle brown cracked through his veins.

Ralph was no more.
But he lived on,
because my father gave him a name.
written May 23, 2017
revised July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 250
Star(ship)
I’d rather be in a starship
Visiting the stars
Than be a star.

Stars cannot retreat to remote asteroids
And turn out the lights.

Stars cannot drift loosely
among the constellations.

Stars cannot drink in
the uncertain darkness.

I gave birth to a star once.

He is a beacon
Attracting other celestial bodies
Into his orbit.

He grows brighter
With each ray
of admiration.

His admirers revel
in his cheery glow.

Sometimes he is blinded
By his own light.

He shrinks away
At the mention of shadows
Which must be eradicated
At all cost.

I offer him my hand,
Beckoning him to join me
In my starship.

He shakes his head, wordlessly.

I let go
And promise to meet him
Wherever he may be.
written: May 5, 2017
revised: July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 124
The Hostage
I met a hostage on the plane.

My gaze brushed his as I glanced up from my reading. Grinning, his ample chin jutted toward the vacant middle seat. Reluctantly, I stepped into the aisle as he jostled his carry-on into the overhead bin.

His glasses, slightly askew, were plotting their escape.
His thin short hairs stood in a half ring around his head, a defeated army ready to surrender to old age.

“You’re the only one here who appears to be thinking”, he proclaimed,
puncturing my last hope of solitude.

For the next four hours, words spilled out of the hostage’s mouth.
Sometimes they gushed and other times they trickled.
I received them with the grace of a child accepting Grandma’s hand-knitted sweater on Christmas morning.

His soliloquy was punctuated only by greedy gulps of premium airline Wifi.
After a few swallows, the stench of Fox News was hot on his breath.

“I hated law school”, said the hostage.
“I studied philosophy as an undergrad and absolutely loved it. All this legal stuff is so dry and boring.”

“Then why are you doing it?” I asked, simply.

“Because I’m afraid.”

I stepped off the plane with a silent hope:
that one day, he would be free.
Written: May 5, 2017
Revised: July 8, 2018
Jul 2018 · 786
Ghost of today
I lay in bed
and tell myself how my day went.

Thoughts revolve slowly,
a galaxy
around an emotional black hole.

From the spiral I pluck a thought
and give it a name.

It sprouts wings
and flutters away.

Sooner or later, the lights flicker and dim.

My consciousness slips softly into the night.
written May 5, 2017
revised July 8, 2018
Black. Black. Black.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
OK, now I’m riding ******* on a brown horse,
a kindred spirit,
hugging its mane.
Take me to that meeting tomorrow so that I can
make that guy understand.
After that, I need to work out. Should I go for a run?

No wait.

Black. Black. Black.
I’m floating in black nothingness.
Each muscle relaxes in sequence.
My mind is blank.
I am everything and nothing.
Nothing? Shoot, I forgot to fill out that 401(k) rollover form.
Don’t forget that. Must do.
Man, I’m so glad I don’t work there anymore.
That place was a piece of crap.
Speaking of crap, there’s that presentation I have to do Monday.
I bet there’s a good Dilbert cartoon to illustrate my point.
I should poke around for one.
That reminds me of this funny song by the Lonely Island
that I need to get. I wonder if iTunes has it?
Must check iTunes when I wake up so I can listen to it
on the way to work.

Tunes. Tunes.
OK Enya, do your stuff. Make my mind blank so that I can forget.
How much time do I have for this?
Ugh. 5:30. So just enough time to fall asleep before the alarm.
Since I’m looking at my phone, I might as well see if there are any emails.
Yikes! Stuff is broken.
OK. OK.
People are on it. It’s not my problem.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Jul 2012 · 961
Too Many Open Files
I can be a waste of time,
electrons dripping into my veins
through my eye socket
assaulting my ear canal
directly into my brains.

When my purpose is stretched
between too many ambitions
it is easily punctured
by the buzz of inboxes,
and mindless online exhibitions.

I gorge on useless tips and viral videos
positioning my open mouth
below the gaping search box
as I pull the lever again and again
and my willpower goes south.

Each stray thought, each nagging question
is an excuse to trade concentration
for an immediate rush,
a canonical ******
of electronic validation.

I pull as hard as I can,
interrupting the current
feeding these diversions.
The network inside my brain lights up,
completing my inner circuit.
Jul 2012 · 1.9k
Vase
Each time we were together,
a new piece was added to the
elaborate porcelain vase.

One day, we saw each other no more
and the vase was thrown to the floor.

Pieces scattered in a mushroom cloud
and flew up to mock me in the face.
Silence rained down.

I solemnly took a broom and swept
the pieces into a trash bin,
which I set gently in a seldom-visited corner
of my mind.

Every once-in-a-while,
the trash bin is kicked over
and several pieces skate across
the smooth linoleum.

I pick them up, turning them over in my palm,
examining the memories,
and toss them carelessly back
into the bin.
October 11, 1997
Jul 2012 · 5.2k
Paintbrushes
I love turning pens into paintbrushes,
gliding over the canvas of your mind;
then stepping back to see if there’s a picture,
or only a collection of colored strokes.
January 18, 1999
Jul 2012 · 5.3k
Glass
Some say the glass is half full;
others say it is half empty;
I say it is half full of liquid
and half full of air.
June 10, 1998
Jul 2012 · 851
Lennon
The sheep who adore me
scrape and peel at my lyrics
so I shred some gibberish into a song.
“What does he mean ‘I am the Walrus’?” they ask.

One woman bleats so loud
she doesn’t notice that I’m
politely calling her a “******* pig.”

When I begin wearing
my repulsive glasses,
I see a pair on every face.
Can’t they afford minds of their own?

“They’re gonna crucify me,” I predict.
Then I tempt fate once more saying “shoot me,”
and one man does.
October 28, 1999
Jul 2012 · 573
Untitled
One hundred
unfamiliar faces
flash through my
mind.  Teasing
characters mock
me.  I am
imprisoned in a
circle of light,
surrounded by
chanting figures.
Forced to give a
speech of body
language for
the immortals
of the underworld.
The last drop of
life is ******
out of my now
meaningless
corpse.  With my
last remaining
strength, I fight
to the end.  My
soul breaks free
from the enslaved
body and washes
ashore the
beach of
heaven.
circa 1993
Written when I was 10 or 11.
Jul 2012 · 1.2k
Nothing Left
Faint songs, riding and twisting on
the wind; distorted melodies ripple in a
pool by the
waterfall.  Musty memories rot in
a forgotten room, as my
heart fills the void.  A
weightless flight, dimming to
the sun, fading like
the moon,
spending one summer,
Alone.
April 23, 1995

I wrote this when I was 12, so go easy on me.
With each step,
blistered skin slaps against my bare foot
like a 3-day-old band-aid.

The glare of passing headlights
blinds me, and for a few seconds,
I’m clinging to this world only
by the bottoms of my feet
and the air, thick with
remnants of the sweltering day.

Every so often, I dip my ear into the music.
Each time, like a forgetful child
touching a hot stove,
I shrink back.
The comforting rush of passing cars
and the buzz of crickets
will by my symphony.

Suddenly, there is a shadow before me;
a sinister outline in an eerie light.
Looking over my shoulder, I see a
UFO, looking for a place to land.
It has a mysterious protrusion

….

that is firmly rooted to the ground.
A lamppost that suddenly flicked on.
The shadow, is mine.
Inspired by my run tonight.
Jul 2012 · 3.4k
#6
#6
These confused thoughts
are pearls
echoing against
the pavement;
where is the idea
that threads them
together?
June 10, 1998
Jul 2012 · 3.2k
#5
#5
All these words  
tile the pool that
floods with meaning.
September 15, 1997
Jul 2012 · 1.1k
Excavation
I start with a backhoe, displacing
brain-sized clumps of earth.
A few fickle particles escape
between the imposing metal teeth.

The mechanized bucket clinks
against a rigid texture.
I grab a shovel, bending my spine
to the task at hand.

Pretty soon the shovel only scoops up
unsatisfying fistfuls of dust.
It is cast aside for the broom,
revealing the smooth shape underneath.

A dingy film is spread around
by the coarse fibers of the broom.
I grab my toothbrush, furiously scrubbing
the chrome-plated formation.

Now all passersby
can bite my shiny metal
victory.
July 10, 2012
Inspired by adopt-a-metaphor experiment (unveil victory)
Jul 2012 · 2.3k
Obsession
I am the fire hose,
spraying with full intensity
at the flames of my current obsession.
Sometimes I can hold myself,
until a meager trickle flows in another direction.
With my free hand, I throw a match.
It's only a matter of time before
the nozzle snaps like a magnet to the new blaze.
Written on my iPhone
July 10, 2012
Jul 2012 · 745
Yesterday's Fear
You twist my face
like the stubborn lid of a
jelly jar, until it distorts
into a Picasso.  
Sorrow and anger weaken
the walls of my external mask;  
burning, until it
drips away like candle wax.  
The ****** of interest strengthens
your indifference, and silently
its hand boulders into
my flesh like a cannonball through paper.

You wring out my heart, letting
the happiness trickle through your
clenched fingers,
into a puddle on the grass.
September 15, 1997
Jul 2012 · 1.1k
WYSIWYG
Edit      -> Copy    your unwavering presence, despite my fears
Insert   -> Link     our friendship across distance and years

Format -> Align   our innermost belief
Insert   -> Break   to strengthen our friendship in grief

Edit      -> Cut       your shallow, self-centered blabber
Format -> Bold     our impulsive, self-inflicted laughter

Edit      -> Undo    all the those hurtful things I said
Insert   -> Image  of endless fun-filled days ahead
July 9, 2012
Inspired by Adopt a Metaphor
[Edit Friendship]
Jul 2012 · 987
Gold Country
After the sun retracts its harsh tentacles,
I leave the field,
dripping with exhaustion.
Gossamer fabric
falls limply about my ankles,
and with it, the weight of sunrise.
New dreams saturate my ambition;
or perhaps they are old ones,
lapping against tonight’s unfamiliar shores.  
My cheek kisses the country cotton sheets,
and I am reminded
that as the past fans out behind me
and the future shrinks ahead,
now is my forever.
Originally composed in April, 1998; revised in July 2012

— The End —