Wednesday, April 29, 2009

29/30 lord just get me through this

You turned off the alarm and slept as late as you pleased.
When you woke up you didn't shower and had cake for breakfast.
Backed the car out of the driveway and into an oncoming vehicle;
the crash sounded like a symphony. You drove away. Arrived
at the construction site and hammered everything wrong;
picked up the circular saw, ran it along the board and across
all four of your fingers. You never wanted them anyway.
The day you finally did everything you thought about doing,
the day you entertained all of those impulses
you'd been suppressing, you came home and called her,
told her you loved her and then went outside to the rose bush
that had been exploding with three new buds a day, looked
at the way it was bowed over, heavy with blossoms, lifted
your work boots and crushed each one purposefully under your feet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4-28, "I should be studying, I should be studying."

So you file her away, wrap her up and tuck her
in your sock drawer, back in the corner, bury her
underneath the pair with holes in the heels
you can't bring yourself to throw out.

You try not to think about her. She's too pretty,
too popular, too smart, too young, too blond.
She's not your type. She's much too good.
But there comes that time every humid evening

when you lie down, turn on the good music and
take some time for yourself. It's your right
as a single person. You try to think about
that one hot musician. It works for a while,

just long enough to get things going
before you lose the vision. You bring up
the face of that professor, try to imagine
his or her body and it gets you nowhere.

Your hand starts to get tired, you can feel
your wrist getting sore. Picture the comedian,
the actress, the friend of a friend, the one you met
in this bar at that show. You don't want her,

you tell yourself, as you hear a rustling
from the drawer next to the bed. Not a bit,
you whisper, as she climbs out, lands on the floor
and heads your direction. Not me, you yell

as she claws her way up the side of the bed.
You scream, Nooo, a loud wicked howl
as she leans in over your face and you come
and you come and you come and you come.

Monday, April 27, 2009

4/27: who wants to buy momma a new laptop?

I was doing just fine until you second-guessed me.

This afternoon I came home
and I was still fired up.
Looked around for one thing I could control
and settled upon the lawn, the length of the grass.
I dropped off my bag in the house,
unlocked the shed
and brought out the mower.
Filled it up with gas until it overflowed onto the carport
and breathed in deep the smell of it.
I let the dog into the house so he'd stay out of the way,
but only closed the screen door,
so he could watch it all go down. I primed the engine
with three pumps and pulled the throttle. It took two starts
before it would stay on. I mowed down grass
and weeds and wild strawberries
and pretty flowers as tall as my hip. At one point
I looked down at the grass I'd mowed over and saw
some grass still tall, just bent over and right in the middle
a tiny moth, fluttering, hoping. A decision:
save the moth or cut the grass?
But there was no decision to be made. I thought briefly
of your words and pulled the mower back over the grass,
the moth, the sound of your words, the outline of your face.
I mowed on until I finished the lawn but couldn't forget
that fluttering moth, couldn't get
the petroleum taste of your name out of my mouth.

I would have posted but... computer is broke like Michael Jackson, busted like Rihanna's face on Grammy night, crashed like the test dummies.

When I'm dead, don't let them tell you I was kind
without also telling how many people hated me,
how many called me a bitch every day. Don't listen
when they say I was giving and generous and caring
unless they also tell you I refused to marry or
have children because I liked it better when all
of my money, decisions, and time were my own. They might
try to say I was a good writer but for every poem
that might be called decent there are fifty or more
at best suited to be toilet paper. They may talk about
how hard I worked to create social change but there are
so many letters I could have written but did not, so many
calls I only thought about making. When I'm dead,
I hope my eulogy's ugly; if they paint me pretty, they lied.
You kissed me
and I fell so damn hard
that I honestly expected to
find myself, sitting bolt upright in a cold sweat
in my bed.
First, he lost his job.
He persevered, decided to rise above,
committed to the idea so strongly that
when he got evicted it didn't even
phase him. His girlfriend left him; no
big deal. It wasn't until he couldn't get
the stove to light that his best friend found him,
curled up in the kitchen floor, marinating
in a puddle of his own tears.

"You're clearly not dedicated enough"
Bitch, please.
The only thing
that you have done longer
than I have written poetry
is suck.
But what if he was right?
What if I am not dedicated?
What if everything I ever wrote
sounds the same? What if I never said
anything with meaning, anything worthy
of being heard? What if the only thing
I ever loved for any length of time
didn't love me back? What if I never
should have picked up my pen?
I follow my folly minute to minute.
I'll call you, coyly, invite you to visit
when we both know I mean to make out,
because that's what I'm wanting and
I'm honest to a fault. But if you come over
and are awkward, annoying, or otherwise
off-putting, I will turn just like that
from hostess to bouncer. Some semblance
of the kind girl who invited you in
will remain, but only as a formality.
Leave quickly. You won't want to see
what I change into next.

Friday, April 24, 2009

24/30, last minute draft

Here's the thing of it. I don't know how to write a poem about you
without saying Every time I tell you that I love you it's a lie.
Man nor god never invented any word to tell you what I feel and love
feels so cheap it's a curse word in four letters. I want to say:
I remember every day the time we turned that corner and saw
four women praying to end abortion and I said Girl just look down
and we turned in to the lot and walked inside, hand in hand. That's
closer to the kind of love I want to convey I want to say Sister,
remember that time we got in the car and we drove all day to Kentucky
and whether we went so you could see that boy or so I could forget one
doesn't matter anymore all that matters is stopping in Loretta Lynn's
Country Kitchen on the way back for photos. But I'm getting colder.
I try: I'm glad your brilliant academic career fell flat on its face
so I can still see you even if it's only once a month and we can sit
in the sunshine and talk about our lives like that's actually
what we're talking about instead of why on earth they say the Greek
had four words for love and the Eskimos have twenty or so
and I don't have one that can tell you what I mean. Getting warmer.
If I say the word Friend it's a sorry excuse. If I say soulmate it's
trite, overused and Best Friend fits better on a keychain anyway
I'd tattoo you on my heart but no one would be able to see it it's
important to me that everyone see it so I say: No one has ever
made me feel so completely KNOWN I say: Comrades, Cohorts, Compadres,
say: the best day of my life was that day when I called you,
crying on campus because I was afraid you were dead already and you
answered and you cried right back and you'll always be the strongest
woman I've ever known. Say: I want to be you when I grow up, say:
I know you knew all of this before I even wrote it, didn't you?
Say I love you isn't strong enough but I love you anyway.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

day 23 bonus haiku and cinquain

the month is april.
the temperature is ninety.
must be arkansas.


this flip-
flop is rubbing
right on that tick bite and
i wish i had something to rub
you out.

23/30 - one week left :(

The next time that I see you I will make certain
you're asleep. Until then, there are some things
I must learn. The silence of the deepening dusk,
for one, and the stealth a creeping kitten thinks
she has, but does not. Anatomy, amateur surgery,
lightning speed. I want to learn precision
from those men who paint the names on the grains
of rice at the county fair before placing it
in the tiny jar so that when I come to you
I will know exactly how to sneak up without
you waking, how to delicately carve open
the left side of your chest, and mine, how
to swap our hearts and before I close the cavity
I will paint our names on the heart in your chest,
paint "I love you," paint "I miss you," paint
"Where have you been all my life, sister dear?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

22.5/30: the carpenter's daughter cannot cry

I spent so many Saturdays in my father's woodshop
that every Friday night I dream of sawdust.
One learns certain things in a woodshop
that cannot be learned anywhere else in the world.
I forget that some things are not common knowledge,
for example: Water on wood that is in the ground
means life. Water on wood that is not
will ruin everything. I know this as surely as I know
that the sun will rise on Sunday and I'll realize
(with a sadness) I don't have wood glue stuck
to my fingertips, as surely as I know I've loved
my father like trees love the sun.

I fall in love with geographical locations,
with certain songs whose harmonies stroke me,
with dishes of food and colors of sky.
I almost fell in love with a boy once.
I would have given him my love, given him
a fighting chance at staking a flag
on the left side of my chest. Seriously:
he could have been a tattoo. It was like that.

And you, dear friend, we've spent so many nights
up until four, doing nothing but laying in bed
cuddling and laughing and talking about this boy
you've loved, that boy I fucked, this girl
we hate and why and where and how many times
and the natures of our beings and what it means
to truly live. I trusted you with everything.
I thought you knew everything I knew.

But you watched over my house while I was away
and you didn't know that thing about water
and wood that is not alive, and you took
the chopsticks that the boy I almost loved
brought me from some small country in Asia
when he went there with the girl who is not me
and traveled for a month and it was the one thing,
the consolation prize I had from our almost-love
and you left them sitting in dishwater in my sink.

They are broken now. I would cry over them,
but tears, as it happens, are made of water, too.

22/30: The man who could rewind time.

The first thing he did
was win a whole bunch of money.
They boys at the track thought he just
"had a knack," a "good picker."
He made sure to lose at the poker tables
just often enough.

The money (it was a surprise
even though he'd heard it
a million times before) did not
buy happiness. So he met a girl.
Learned her habits well enough to rewind
and win her over. Made her love him.
It was easier than picking the
trifecta, the daily double, he knew
everything about her before they'd even met
(for the eighteenth time) and they married,
raised a family, and he did it all
just exactly right. Handled every situation
perfectly (by the eighth or ninth try),
was a model father, a perfect husband and at the end
of it all, as he lay on his deathbed,
he found himself too afraid to die.

So he went back.
Became a bank robber. An astronaut.
A famous country singer. President.
Learned kung fu, calculus, French.
Read all the books he meant to,
He still wasn't happy.

He began inventing favorite ways to die.
Driving off bridges was a fun one,
rewinding just as the front of the car
kissed the water hello. He'd play with time,
see just how far he could push it - how much
carbon monoxide he could breathe and still
go back.

Eventually he started getting confused;
surely you can imagine. When you've lived
a thousand lifetimes it must be hard to tell
which one you're living now.
It wasn't until she saw the girl he'd married
in the grocery, walking alongside another man
(one who'd won her fair and square)
with the same exact two babies they'd borne
that the real, heavy-hitting questions about life
and meaning and the nature of reality wore him down.
He ran up to her, crying, but of course
she did not know him. When he demanded
that the babies were his own, she called for the police.
When he snatched at them, tried to run,
they knocked him down. The report later said
he'd reached into his pocket and they'd thought
he had a gun, so they fired and he clean
There was nothing else to say.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

21/30: TAL#175

Her strictly Catholic mother called her a whore
before she even knew what it meant,
how to spell it even, her mother's eyes
stabbing judgments into her back, so she did
what any kid who wants to survive a parent must do:
she lied.

Their name (she said) was McCreary, a lovely family,
the son six, the daughter five, the wife
just lovely, charming, kind and the husband
busy and important: a secret government agent,
so she couldn't give her mother the phone number,
or the address to the house where she babysat;
it was a matter of government security, of course.

They had a summer home, too, near the lake,
and she had to go with them, and her brother
went too, a good role model for the son, they said.
They spent every weekend out there, all summer long
and her mother was so pleased, her eyes now
clear, now proud, asking the most important question:
"And what do they think of me?"
She gave the only possible reply:
"They think you're wonderful."

Years later, after the McCrearys moved away
and the girl grew up, made her own family,
a real one, she confronted her mother one day,
called her out for all her wrongs, her lies,
each nail she'd hammered in and she broke down,
cried: "I did the best I could."
It was the first truth the girl could remember
being spoken between them.

Monday, April 20, 2009


18 is still under construction. It's proving more difficult than I thought.

The flight was overbooked, so everyone watched,
wondering who would get on, who would get
a hotel room, a later flight, discount vouchers,
hollow apologies. Even after they made it on
one couple was pulled back off to make room for
another two, no explanations given to the rest of them.
They watched as one young man, tall, white, and
handsome, stood waiting with the flight attendants,
effortlessly flirting, natural as a mother tongue.
They watched as the captain (herself a woman,
still, even at 60) was charmed, pulled out
an extra seat in the cockpit, settled him in,
closed that resolute door. Takeoff was messy,
rain pelting the airplane, sounding like marbles
dropped from a great height, Velcro strips pulled painfully
slowly apart. The flight was turbulent and the landing
nerve-wracking and all anyone could think of was
that lucky young man in the cockpit, privy to the magic,
the view of the broad windshield, the technical jargon
on the radio. When it was all over, one hour and
thirty-eight minutes later, they all watched him exit,
slip off first; one woman approached him at the gate,
now silent, asked him, "What did you see up there?" His
unblinking reply fell on all their ears: "Everything."

20/30: "No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be."

Gay America, Miss California thinks your lifestyle is a choice.
"Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose..."
Perez Hilton, sharpen your nails and scratch out her voice.

Can't you see her, growing up, learning waves, smiles and poise?
Her parents changing channels any time she saw the news.
Bi America, Miss California thinks your struggles are your choice.

Fancy dresses, plastic tiaras, and contempt: her childhood toys,
living in a house that hated niggers, spics, and jews.
Dave Sedaris, sharpen your pencil and write out her voice.

An ignorant judgmental attitude is one that only destroys.
Backward teachings and religion are never an excuse.
Trans America, Miss California thinks your suffering's your choice.

Same sex marriage or "opposite marriage?" Her answer just annoys.
" or the other. Um, we live in a land that you can choose."
Elton John, clear your throat and sing out over her voice.

No crown for Carrie Prejean, no trophies or cause to rejoice.
Feel, along with those you've slandered, what it means to lose.
Queer America, Miss California thinks inequality is your choice.
Matthew Shepard, live again and speak some truth over her voice.

Catching up: 16&17/30

16/30: Chocolate Bunnies
Georgia eats the face first.
Out of spite, just to be mean, because she can,
she says, sometimes she jokes: so they won't
be able to scream.

Caroline eats the tail.
Because no one else does, says she likes to be
different, jokes that because this way, they cannot
see her coming, says anyway, who doesn't like
a little tail?

Sheri goes for the ears every time.
Says it's the easiest, the most logical, says it's how
everyone else does it; it's mostly because she remembers
being a child, hidden under sheets, pretending she could
not hear her father and mother, wishing she did not have

Maria eats the feet first.
Says it reminds her of the words her mother so often
repeated, encouraging her to "jump in, baby girl,
feet first." It's really because that way they cannot
run off.

There are flatlands in eastern North Carolina,
low and wet, reed-ridden marshes, split by deep creeks,
occasional peaks of land just dry enough to stand on,
mounded up as if by some childlike god.

Just on the edge of one of those mounds stood
a young couple, new-married, the young man
looking out, eyes bright hope beams, said:
"Here it will all be, love, a house on stilts,
a small fishing boat, a life just there, see, with
two healthy sons and a new baby girl, a wraparound
porch, and you can quilt and can, close your eyes."

and all she could see was the water,
rising, devouring the coastline in a
careless yawn, the waves lapping
at her feet, climbing up her sides,
a bridal veil of seaweed,
children born with fins.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Here I go again...

Back onto another plane, only this time just to North Carolina. I am going camping in the woods, so I will definitely not have access to a computer. I will get back LATE Sunday night and will hopefully have some catchup poems for you Monday. Please don't hate me. If I get any ideas tomorrow morning, I'll try and post one up quick before the plane leaves.

15/30: the collection

See him there, bent low over the glass-top case on the small
wooden desk, lamp-lit with a golden glow as he takes another pin
and, with a surgeon or a sculptor's care, gently presses it through
another specimen, the third in his collection of past loves.
See them there against the cork-board, like so many beetles
or butterflies. See one tear loose, the biggest one, the first;
see it follow him around in his day-to-days, see him feed it,
voluntarily at first, thoughts in the mornings and dreams
in the night. Watch it begin to grow, at first perched
upon his shoulder, watch it grow fat, so fat it's almost
formless, its mouth always open, doing impressions of baby birds,
goldfish out of water. Look now as he is forced to carry her
around on his back, can't bring himself to quit feeding her,
she eats the other past loves and begins to eye the sketches
of the future ones, too. Look - he comes home one day to find her
half the size of the room, his journal open, tearing page
after page, stuffing them into her hungry mouth.

See him take her hand and, crying, lead her out of the house,
outside the city limits, into the forest and the river by the place
where they first made love. Watch him kiss her on her finally
closed mouth, hold her beneath the water until the bubbles stop.
Look as he searches until he finds the biggest, heaviest rock,
places it upon her chest, squeezing out a last bubble that comes up,
pops, and emits one final syllable:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rory Names the Spanish Colors.

Oh, I know this one. Rogue? Rouge. No, Ro--
ro. Rogo. Rojo. I know that one. Gr...
No, bear. Day. Verde. Oh, me! Don't
tell me. That one's azul. Negro. Blanco. A--
Ahm. Am-ee-yo. Ah-ree-yo. Ama. Amarillo.
Can I have the candy now? I can count to ten next.
Oh, that's the hard one. That's. Ah. Ahna.
Ah-rah-do. DON'T TELL ME. I can do it.
Ahna-rah-do. Anaranjado.

And with that, she climbed into my lap
for a hug.

Catching up: Poems 11-13/30

11/30 (GMB Series #2)
She asked "What are you thinking?"

You don't notice, I said, the things that you don't notice
when you're driving until you're not driving. For example.
When I am the passenger I look at each house
for as long as I can before my eyes start to burn
from the straining. I stare into their windows, and if someone
happens to be out in the yard, so much the better. I imagine
their lives, give them names, decide whether or not
they like sauce on their meat, how they like their eggs,
their potatoes, their kisses. Pick out favorite colors,
bands, memories, places they've visited, people they've known
that have died. I watch as they water their lawns,
fold their clothes, hug hello or goodbye or straighten their houses
and lives. So when you're worried, I said, about me not dancing
here at the disco, don't be. I'm noticing the things
I don't notice when I'm partying with my friends. Because
we may be partying, but I'll never count you my friend.

12/30 (GMB series #3)
She asked: "Do you like to trade?"

Well it worked out just fine for Robert Johnson, didn't it?
(Who was he?) He sat down at the crossroads one night until
old Satan himself came strolling by, traded his immortal soul
for some mean guitar skills. And boy could he play.
I'll make you a CD. (So, you do like to trade?) Well look
at dear Martin. He traded his life so his brothers could be
called men, don't you think that was noble? Don't you think
in the end that he made a fair trade? Everyone's got to die
sometime. Might as well make it worthwhile. (Why all these
stories about dying?) Because I can't bring myself to trade
any more of my sanity for your momentary pleasure. I would
rather not take another breath than take another word from you.

13/30 (GMB series #4)

I am sleeping. / I am reading. / I am watching
television. / I am pacing. / I am inventing. / I
am excercising. / I am making love. / I am bathing.
/ I am crying. / I am focusing very determinedly on
what it means to be human. / I am hoping. / I am
dreaming. / I am creating my own future, one idea
at a time. / I am wishing. / I am pretending. /
I am imagining. / I am reflecting, recounting,
remembering. / I am flying. / I am writing. / I am
in child's pose, breathing with the universe. / I
am avoiding thoughts of you. / I am avoiding you.
/ I am repressing. / I am forgetting. / I am some
where else, someone else. / I am unknowing you
and everything about you. / I am healing. / I am
rewriting. / I am trying to name every one
of the stars.

Catching up: Poems 8-10/30

These are all so rough... they're the interpretations of sketches of ideas I jotted down in my tiny notebook while wandering the streets of Barcelona. Maybe at the end of the month they'll tighten up, maybe before then, maybe much later. In the meantime, here they are as they are now.

I didn't think anything when the books began shifting.
Hardly blinked when the shelves
started to sag. When I felt eyes burning
into my back I started to wonder.
When I heard her cough I knew.

The bookshelves that had stood, stoic,
so long in the back room without saying a word
began to follow me around the house.
"Pick that up," scolded the mass in a voice
I couldn't place at first. "Your house is a mess."
My life is a mess, I thought, as she stalked me,
like some memory's shadow, breathing
down the back of my neck. Her steps
at first were sluggish but before long
she walked with determination, as if she owned
the rooms, the house, my life, myself.
The more she reminded me of my mother, the more
I wanted her to leave. I never asked
if it was really her. I didn't want to hear
how she'd answer.

I couldn't sleep. She'd rattle off lists
of things I hadn't done, things I'd done wrong,
things I lacked. When I found myself
doubting myself I got out the matches. Lit the house
on fire, locked the doors, walked away
sobbing in tune with the sirens.

9/30 (GMB series #1)
We walked into the wine shop and asked, off-hand:
"Is there anything in these casks?"
I'm just saying there are some things you don't know
unless you ask.

Yes, she said, local wine, what the locals drink
for dinner every night, on the way home they stop in.
She fills a 1.5 liter second-hand water bottle
with their flavor of choice. We asked her to pick one.
She charged two sixty-five. I'm just saying
some of the best things in life are cheap as hell.

The tremors started in the morning
as I was brushing my teeth watching
my reflection in the mirror trying
to convince me I was dancing.
I didn't believe it. Set down the brush
and walked outside to watch
the town's undoing. Cracks in the streets
became crevices, caverns, doorways crumbled,
windows opened, then frowned. Flames licked
up the sides of buildings while mothers,
crying, leaned out of gaps in the walls,
looking for someone to catch their babies.
I kept walking. Walked right into the heart
of the city, right up to the steps
of the cathedral where you and I never kissed,
never traded empty vows, never ran through
those arches while people threw rice,
birdseed, or glitter. I sat on the steps,
just as calm as you please, knowing
I wouldn't be touched.

Well, I'm back...

I'm back in the States... physically. The trip was way more than I bargained for (don't worry, it will show up in the poetry I'm sure) and I'm jetlagged like crazy. I know I'm at least one poem behind, maybe two, but I can't bring myself to post them right now. There'll be work involved in getting them right, and I'm absolutely exhausted. So I have to beg your pardon, and I'll have to do it again this coming weekend when I fly to North Carolina. I'll catch up before I leave, honest... so I can work on catching up all over again when I get back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On the road again.

I may or may not be able to post between now and Sunday. I'll be in Barcelona. I'll keep writing of course. If I can find a computer, I'll upload what I've got. If not, I'll hit you when I get back.


A Little Rock Air Force Base airman admitted
in Pulaski County court Monday that she knew
her husband had been beating her 2-year-old son for months
before the toddler died at the hands
of his stepfather — her husband — in 2007.

There are (at least) one hundred and fifty people
dead in Italy, just because the ground felt
like shaking. I don't understand it. Ten times
that many are wounded, and ten time *that* many
are homeless. I guess God just can't be
everywhere all the time.

In the meantime, some boys calling themselves
Tar Heels are blowing everyone in North Carolina's
minds, racking up points and winning games.
I know these things because I read the newspaper,
you see.

Not so long ago it was that I read a story about
orangutans, and how they're going extinct, probably
in my own lifetime. Read how there was a group of people
out in the wilderness working with the orangutans,
teaching them to fish, to use tools, to hunt. Did you know
orangutans don't know how to swim? I'd had no idea.
But these people were teaching them how so they could learn
to save their own lives.

And I wonder why nobody taught that little two-year-old
baby to swim.

Monday, April 6, 2009

6/30 Interview

What brings you here today?
What experience do you have in the field?
What is your favorite color?
What is your greatest fear?

Do you think freedom is possible?
Do you fancy yourself free?
Do you think love is real?
Do you think life is easier with it or without?

What makes you saddest?
Where do you go when you cry?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
When did you first realize your parents were not gods?

What would you choose for a last meal?
Who would you ask to prepare it?
What do you wish for between sleep and awake?
Where do we go from here?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

5/30: Inventory of Lies

I love you.

This is my first time.
I'd love to go out with you again.
Of course I remember your name.

This is my first time with a boy.
I don't mind if you stay the night.
Why yes, I just love to fall asleep cuddling.
I'll call you again real soon.
That was amazing.

I think you're my soulmate.
I'll wait for you.
It really is a good size.
Of course your religion won't be a problem.
I've only been with five people.
Don't worry, it's my first time with a girl, too.
I don't mind that you have a wife.
I don't mind if we date other people.
I'm really happy for you both.
I do.

Don't worry, it happens to all kinds of guys.
I want to grow old with you, too.
No, I would never tell my friends.
I only want to make out.
It's okay, we have an open relationship.
Of course I'm over him/her/them.
I love you.

I'm sorry.
All we did was kiss.
We've stopped seeing each other already.
I never thought you'd get hurt.
I love you.
I mean it.

It's not his fault he gets angry.
It doesn't hurt as bad as it looks.
I don't mind if you do a little coke now and then.
Haven't thought of her much lately.
No no, I'm not falling in love.

I promise, I'll call you next week.
I love you.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

4/30: Pinnochio Growed Up

So it's the 30/30 challenge - April is National Poetry Month, so write a poem a day for 30 days... NaPoWriMo gives you 30 rough drafts. Today is extra rough, still just an idea in my head. Check back from time to time if you're so inclined to see how the poems of the past days have changed, reshaped, words exchanged, ideas rearranged... as in, today I'm not proud of but it might be better in a few days...

He told the lie quite by accident,
the first in twenty-some years.
It was simple, and painless, the waitress asked
if he wanted cream with his coffee,
and his hasty reply was:
"No. I mean... yes."
And there it was, just like that. And because
he was a real boy now, he found, his nose
didn't budge an inch. He tried it again
later, on the subway. Leaned over
to a complete stranger and said,
"I *love* that tie." Just to get
the feel of the lie in his mouth,
oil-slick and metallic tasting. Over the next
five years, he married for money, took a mistress,
made her his second wife, took a third, traded stocks
with insider info, told his children he loved them
even on the days when he didn't. When he realized
he could no longer understand the crickets' song,
the weight of it all became too much to bear.
He went to the old home where his father still lived,
still carved, still sang in the mornings and told him
everything. Something changed in Gepetto's eyes.
He sat down his knife and after a six-foot silence sighed:
"I never should have wished you
down off those strings."

Friday, April 3, 2009


In the dream you were a coal-dust kitten, tiny beetles for eyes,
sitting on the corner, crying, each mew another spider falling
out of your mouth and onto the floor. You clung so quickly
with those tiny new claws. When I brought you water, you
asked me for whiskey. When I poured it,
it turned into blood in the bowl.

I made you a bed and fed you love songs for dinner until
one morning you woke up, rubbed your eyes, and called me
(accidentally) "mother." I drove you out to the country. Left you
at the first farmhouse I found, only glanced in the rearview

Thursday, April 2, 2009

30/30 challenge, day 2: astronomy class invades my poetry

You awake every day to a drum,
the persistent pounding
of so many tiny planets on your pillow,
their determined orbits blocked
until you lift your proud, growling head
and they sigh with relief, once again able
to complete their circular devotions.

You tug cobweb nebulas out of your locks,
rub protostars from the corners of your eyes,
and later, as you slip into an elevator at
the very last moment, nearly lose two satellites
to the closing doors.

So you see I can't help it if I find my thoughts
revolving around you. Give me a name
befitting a moon. Tell me again,
Apollo, what my eyes remind you of.
Tell me once more, sweet Ra, about clouds
of carbon atoms in space, the brilliance of
supernovae exploding, the oceans that cover
that tiny third planet which has always
been your favorite.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 30/30 Challenge: Day 1

There is another world in which,
when he told you he wanted you
all to himself, you (so like the night sky)
threw back your head and laughed an
aurora borealis in his face. You didn't mean
to be rude. When you came to me later,
(you, so like the ocean, making waves
all through my house) and told me about it,

we marveled at the impossibility of you
belonging to one person as we pictured the poor boy
standing on the beach trying frantically to scoop
all of its sand into his arms. Then we kissed,
soft like breezing, and you tied one of your shells
into my hair. And dusk fell. And the tide came in.