My Homage to T

after Patricia L. Goodman

You are a test of existence, T

All challenges and hopes fused together in a tight torsion. 

Your presence in time didn’t tell me when to trek those mountains

or wander those twisted trails. 

You are part of what I teach – tall tales about what the world 

was and could be. Tattered promises and gentle lies 

stirred together in a tasty soup. 

For some reason you don’t keep my tires intact for too long.

Tell me it’s to keep me on my toes, to keep me 

from letting everything wear down until it’s too tempestuous 

to keep moving or growing into the hot, twisted mess I need to be.

T, you are the largest molecules that make tears. 

Tumultuously, you are the cross I wear proudly in tantalizing storms.

Happy National Woman’s Day

Girls are not machines

that you put kindness coins into

And sex falls out” — Sylvia Plath

We’re more like the crane games

on a Jersey Shore boardwalk 

Hands maneuver our hands 

towards visible prizes

and treasures hidden in plastic shells. 

If what we have for grabs is too heavy

the plushness slips through fingers, 

weakened and rigged by the deceit of others. 

Still, these hands keep rolling quarters of promises 

into our waiting gaps, 

the lights and sounds fill the quiet, dark 

corners where we like to hide, waiting to see 

how hard this one and that one will try 

to catch our IPod hearts with irascible playlists – 

to win our unicorns stuffed with everything  

nobody else wants to know.

The Others

Believing the voices of others

is like a fatal a accident on the side

of the interstate.

You promise yourself you won’t 

pause and look, but you do it anyway.

Feeling the stare of others on your skin

is an afternoon when you’re body is done with the ocean-

when you’re not sure whether you feel soft, salted,

and cleansed – or weighted, wrinkled, and burned.

Tasting the deception of others 

is like that one deceiving berry,

the one on the bottom that looks as brilliant as all the others,

but when you bite into it, the blandness fails

to satisfy your violent need for sweet half-truths.

touching the hand of another can be the last thing

you want to do if you don’t want to chance

remembering a name – and the only thing 

you want to do, if you want to forget your own for a while.

Being Human

Being human, according to Hinduism, means we have energy wheels, chakras that start at our asses and end in our hopefully enlightened minds, light bursting through our skulls. All of these wheels need to turn with synchronicity in order for us to feel balanced or connected. But humans have been box-centered for so long. Everything is box-shaped – our technology, our desks and tables, the gifts we give and receive. Ladies, even our female parts are called boxes. So maybe our cores look more like long locomotives with square-shaped wheels, just like the train on the Island of Misfit Toys. There’s strength and purpose, we can push ourselves forward, and there will always be at least one person who will love us. But we’re round pegs trying to squeeze into square holes

Driving to the edge of water – part of 10 & 2 – poems about drive

He called me a fucking idiot that night,

And I didn’t start screaming like the day

I told my father I hated him after calling me brain dead

for locking him out of the house.

I vowed that anyone who insulted my intelligence

would be pierced with arrows tipped with a venomous glaze,

never forgiven,

and I didn’t want to forgive my father back then.

I wanted to forgive the man I was about to marry.

And I did.

But not before I drove to nowhere,

debating whether to stay at a hotel

or sit in a bar until anything with a pulse

agreed to take me to more nowheres.

I left my wallet at home.

Could have gone to a friends’ house

and let them see what I refused to look for.

Instead I ended up parking in front of an abandoned pool

on the opposite side of my complex.

Staring at the tufts of grass and weeds breaking through

the concrete, and the chipped, pale blue of the pool’s floor,

I saw a child run then fall and skin her knee.

I saw her dive as if she glided into a life

where algae only grows where you can’t see it,

The water is the right temperature

for the hot or cold of the day,

the concrete leaves your face unscathed

when you swim too far down with eyes closed.

Her eyes closed mine and I wondered

why I stopped diving the way I did.

Why now do I leap head first

into empty pools of shit I’ll never change?

Why do I swan

right into what compassionately turns me

into flayed skin and ashes?

I should have kept driving until I hit the beach,

let the weeds of my mind entwine

with clouds of seafoam freedom.