The tears welled up behind
eyes viewing images of death,
destruction, chaos, and despair

But it wasn't until the comedian
shouted, "LAUGH"
that they finally fell.

New Things

All the new things I've been doing
all the changes I have made confuse
the pattern I've been cutting along
for decades.

I can feel as the muscle breaks and
rebuilds. Something is wholly right
while something else

Building a person from a mind
which has only recently been explored
serves to remind me of tens of mantras
about change.

Around my visible options
and all these new things
live overused metaphors
saturated with sudden meaning like

a caterpillar becoming a butterfly or
a heart pumping blood through
the body or a hole mended or--
my life.

I do believe this is natural.
It is beautiful. It is difficult
but that only means it is alright
to look back even if only
for a moment or two.

Freeze Frame

We call each other “sir” or “miss.”
We are actors and actresses-iss-iss.
Underneath the tattoo of a heart

are layers of skin and blood and bones
compatible with a real and beating
t-ta-ta-ticker, but this design

is beautiful.
It rises and falls with an inhale and, phew,
an exhale. A puff of gray lingers

in the air while a mile away
at the local gym, forty-two people sculpt
in a common medium. Some

have their own tattoos. Others, their own scars.
They speak and they sing songs of this.
They are actors and actresses.

(org. 3/18/07 rev. 2/11/09)

A Balancing Act

You’ve been cheated by artificial
colored-in, old black and white movies
and that forgetful part of yourself
that left your bag on the public bus
to travel without your guidance.

Though somehow while purging
in every other area of your life,
from keepsakes to long-time friends,
you managed with food to only binge.
Then each night while sleeping,

surrounded by household pets
and flattened pillows, comes the same dream
in which you have never been anything
but elegant. Waltzing though grayscale
crowds until each member’s cheeks

are flushed with rosy tones and their eyes
sparkle for being allowed to be in your
presence. You are young and vital,
without blemish or scar. Your clothes, a second
skin against your being. No thoughts

of binge nor purge, only a balance in an even split
and a perfect three-step. Suddenly the band
throws down some jazz so you switch
to tap in shiny shoes. Your clothes change
to cool tones and the cool cats stare. But

when the next song blasts its beats
Booming. Booming. Booming
from every direction, you awaken
from a dreamworld startled to find that you’ve left
the entirety of your music library

to find its way through shuffle mode as you look
around your ordinary bedroom through
blurry, blinking vision, the strongest feeling
flowing through you is your terrible worldly craving
for cookie dough and the entertainment network.


My mom has a disease.
My dad has a disease.
My gums, they are diseased.
My retainers hug my teeth.

All of my aunts and all
of my uncles tease and reflect
until the whole family has turned
into a century’s old inside joke
that I’m not privy to.

The boys are chasing bad guys
And laughing at slurs.
With a scowl I sit and I stare
and think how immature.

My intense unhappiness scares
them away or at least this will be the case
if they pass me up for a hug again
but when we return home, eight messages wait

for us--from my grandmother
on the family's other side. She has some news
to share. And I’m sure that has to mean
that someone
has died.

Comforting Stranger

A little old lady waiting for the bus saw my hair was going wild in the wind and my cheeks were pink with cold. I thought I’d be polite so I paused my music, took off my headphones, and asked about her day. She says she has a granddaughter who’s a spoiled brat, an only child who gets whatever she wants. “You remind me of my Natalie,” she says, “but not spoiled. You don’t look spoiled.” I thanked her with a warm smile prompting her to take a step towards me to pull my hood up around my ears and we waited peacefully for the 115.


White Chocolate Mocha

Driving quickly with quick stops
In the passenger’s seat I sit, sipping
a white mocha --bought with blood money--
between moments of panic.

“Thur are a lot of idiots on the road,”
he says with a slur. “Having a bad day,
late for something or other, a few too
many drinks… I’m just saying, thur are

a lot of idiots out there, so pay attention.”
As he swerves to avoid a vehicle in the
next lane over, I take another sip. At home,
wondering how I could possibly still be living,

all that my dog wants to do is play. And all
that my cat wants to do is watch the birds
outside and all that my little sister wants
to do is sleep until noon.

And I hate this delicious cup of coffee.



Apocalyptic snowfall

paints the road

of our cul-de-sac

with tragedy and logic

A delicate brushstroke

paints my toenails

so I can stare at them

between chapters

In the morning

I forget to breathe

cream cheese paints a bagel

with flavor and texture

“The world is ending”

Belts over the phone

I take care to smile

At least one honest smile

An open package

covers the carpet

with packaging peanuts

waiting to be tossed

As the radio

reveals a guilty pleasure

I wiggle rose-colored toenails

and swallow the last bite of bagel