Something bout
cutting my grapefruit
with my dull
old curved knife
brings me to your kitchen of
not sharp knives but love.


In the dream, I was walking around at the reunion. Ambling slowly from room to room and house to house, greeting people, shaking hands or maybe a kiss on the cheek, having a glass of wine, helping to accommodate our guests and make them feel welcome. Finding everyone settled and talking with old friends, I wandered outside, in and amongst people playing badminton, picnicking, lying on blankets in the grass under the sun. I headed up a steep hill, toward a sunny meadow at the top. Climbed and climbed. Struggled and slipped a bit at the very top, where it became quite steep and gravelly. A hand grasped mine and pulled me up. It was Jim. I hugged him and looked out over the vista, the people enjoying the reunion, then collapsed on the grass in a patch of sun. Jim walked down the other side of the hill and came back with a glass of wine for me. Lay down next to me with his head on my chest. Long moments passed this way, in the sun. Eventually I raised his head and kissed him strong. He said we should not.



In the dream, I was shopping at the small grocery store in the town here I grew up, where my parents still live. I was buying food to feed my family, not a lot, but staples that we needed. I had no money at all, and was planning to purchase the food with a credit card that was not my own.

When I reached the cashier, we recognized each other from high school. She rang up my groceries and then asked if I wanted to sign up for something. I said sure, and she said just one moment and walked away to get something she needed. I had not yet paid for my groceries. People started lining up behind me with their carts and baskets. It took her a long time to come back. The guy in line behind me became agitated with waiting.

Finally the cashier came back and she took the credit card. She swiped it, still chatting with me about whatever it was I had signed up for. The transaction went through and the receipt began to print out. The cashier walked around her register to give me the receipt. She came very close to me, leaned in and whispered good luck right in my ear.

As I walked through the door of the grocery store, my stomach sank. I knew before I even looked that my car had been stolen. Sure enough, it was not where I had left it. I walked around the parking lot to be sure. But my car was gone.


moon sand

count by five
see how kind i am?

skip and flip
please be my friend.

stay quietly in the zone
and follow the rules

put out your decorative
and disobliging bath towels

that shower curtain 
the light in that bathroom
gives me ideas

there you are.

munchlax is now your friend.


small moments matter

Maybe it's the approaching holidays, or the wistful brevity of daylight, but I am feeling the strong desire to focus inward, on kids, family, light, love, all that. All the good. Here is a poem I wrote a while back for my friend Nichole, as part of her Small Moments Mondays series. I wanted to see it again, to feel it again. So here it is. It's called Small Moments.
regular worries
time well spent
effort expended
are we bright enough
are we bold enough


you say people are horrible
you live in darkness
for me
racing thoughts
fleeting anxieties

give way to small moments
sweetness and light
half full

our daily soundtrack

(an inappropriate tune)

paper dolls meet scenery
with a happy song
fight song
victory song

living in an art house

(never stop drawing)

big words
big ideas
big plans

kiss me
kiss kirby
kiss yoshi
kiss purple lamby
kiss me

butterfly kiss
eskimo kiss
forever kiss
crinkled nose

window silhouettes

(see me)

sharing words
reading aloud
snuggle up
my face entangled
in whisper fine hair
lulled by sweetness
dozing off

you arouse me
your hair in my eyes
i embrace you
hazy dream

little voices
and it begins again

hurt one cries
mama I liked you holding me

you say people are horrible
you dwell in darkness

from my place of light
i can be strong enough
strong for her
strong for them
for you
for us.


low moan

        i want to be


(this poem is partner to this one.)


ah, dammit

this glass tabletop
renders me (unwillingly)
old and (ugh) jowly.

hustle me

we can be shills
looking for an angle
play my confidence game with me
they say
you cannot cheat an honest man
make me an honest girl
i'll be your mark
just ask.


my shramana

i come to you
like a mendicant
on my knees
teach me
heal me
fix me
i am a broken toy
in the corner
to be discarded
so what happened?


musing, also

imagine me
imagining you
fits of happy
dizzy waves
over and over
ah like that
you make me
feel smart.



come into my bed
fuzzy daughter i did not
hear coming downstairs
mama will hold you
dreamy girl, i am shaking
holy buckling knees.

your letters

My grandmother's poem for a wistful evening.
I wish I'd time to miss you--but my days
Are full of other things.
You thought that when you'd gone,
I'd need you and I'd call you back.
I thought so too. But now it seems
Those things I loved the most--
Your eyes, your voice, your smile--
I still have in your letters
Telling me that it's you
Who take your turn at needing me.


crazy diamond

how does one
string pretty words
when in need of




shine on
ooooh shimmer
make me shine
shine baby




an uneasy
amity, armistice
file under weirdness, it's all we
can do
it's all
i can do, to
keep waiting for you and
again it goes round in my head
your arm
touching your leg
reaching across to reach
but remember, no jake braking
bombazine love
at risk of squattening
we declare fair enough and ride
new day dawns on
another compromise
piling worlds on words and getting
bombazine love
reaching across to reach
again it goes round in my head


spring creek

the hundred year flood
made me an island onto myself

reaching down inside
to retrieve a memory, or a sign
of how to survive

coming up empty

branches, then trees
dog houses, cars, swimming pools
sailing past my island

picking my guitar up off the floor
for when the water rushed in

what else could i do?

alone with the elements
cats looking to me for guidance
but i had none

we had to just wait it out
as the water rose

next morning, ice covered everything
tree roots now exposed

like arms reaching up from the earth
glistening ivory bones
having escaped their imprisonment

as i had escaped mine.


you are my thing.
my pastime, entertain
me as i watch this screen light up.
it's you!

(written for Jingle Poetry's Poetry Potluck 14: Hobbies & Passions, Pastimes & Entertainment.)


horror for the holidays

She could see that tab amidst the chaos on her computer screen, behind emails, spreadsheets, documents. One new gmail message. Click.

Auction ended! Thank you for your purchase of Horror Eyeballs!

That wasn't on the holiday shopping list.

She picked up the phone and dialed her husband. "Did you buy horror eyeballs on Ebay?"

"Oh, yeah," he replied. "I have an idea about sending them to Maryssa for her Christmas present."

"Oh, okay. I was just checking to make sure our Paypal account wasn't hijacked."

"Nah, it's all fine."

"Okay. Is spaghetti okay with you for dinner?"

"Sure, love you."

"Love you back. Talk to you later."

Later, after dinner and pajamas and brushing teeth and stories and bedtime for kids, she reflected on her husband sending horror eyeballs to his online girlfriend in Hollywood for Christmas. The horror eyeballs that look like real eyeballs, ripped out of someone's actual skull.

"So, what's your idea for Maryssa's present?"

"Well, I thought I'd put hooks in them to make them into tree ornaments. Or maybe earrings."

Pause. "You're spending twenty-five bucks on horror eyeballs for Maryssa for Christmas. I wasn't planning to spend twenty-five bucks on you."

"Well, you can't buy just one eyeball."


road trip

windows open
traveling with truckers
solo yet not alone in my


in the hole

me up then down
with you in the trenches
comrade at arms, we fight this war


cinquain for privilege

i want to yell
jesus, what is WRONG with you!
really i mean: is something wrong
with me?



is all right
we are gonna be fine
i am not crazy
and neither are you
let's kiss again
and again
wrap yourself around me
and let's fly
our chariot awaits.



knee socks
hide the damage
why can't i pull them up
high enough to cover my eyes


out damn spot

in the water
watching the blood rise, like
wine pooling in the wee washcloth
spigot wide open, truth rushes
to the surface, a whole
nother reason
to hide.


done talking

to avoid talk that ends like this:
so then i am crazy?
well, i've said that


warbling sweetly
i want to sing with you
soaring above, the fount of my
fairy bluebird just out of reach
flirting, aloof and
like a fireflash


a thousand words

When my grandmother died, I was given her writing desk. It's a small desk, dark wood, with little drawers up top and a wide one below. In the desk was an envelope containing a handful of photos. Among them was what I think is her journalist/photographer file photo, and a wonderful shot of her two daughters and my sister and me. 

Also in that desk was the photo I've pasted below. A simple snapshot of me, in the back yard at my parents' house. That's my sister's old dog Bear in the background. The photo is inscribed on the back Marian, May 1990 in my grandmother's handwriting. That means it was taken at a birthday celebration. My birthday is May 29; my cousin was born one day earlier a year later on May 28. And my grandmother's birthday is May 25. So my extended family always celebrated our three birthdays with a party on Memorial Day weekend.

May 1990 was the spring before I went to law school. I was living with my college boyfriend in Pittsburgh. My grandmother liked him; they both liked jazz. We must have gone up to my folks' house for the day or the weekend. I don't remember this photo being taken, or anything else about that particular day. Or even that shirt I am wearing. Or that haircut, either.

But I remember my grandmother. I remember celebrating our birthdays together, year after year. Everything about her is so present and real for me, down to the rooms in her apartment, the placement of her belongings in that space, the smell of her kitchen, the smell of my grandmother. Her voice. I hear her voice.

She kept this photo of me in her desk. It was a gift to me when she died. This simple snapshot. Her care and keeping of it.


in the beginning

it was
your flat stomach
framed in low rise jeans, your
wallet on that chain, your swagger

your style

your voice
megaphonic angel baby
breathy lilting power
said please kiss me

sultry, your hips
forward, hair in your eyes
sullen teenage boy, pink bra strap

you owned the sidewalk and the town
"please meet my lawyah," you
told all who passed

and patti smith
flannery o'connor
foreshadowing, but for this poem,
thank you.

your joss

forging for you
live circuits, you within
  (sadly, easier to know me
cover you with beadboard, china
hazelnut velvet torte
jackhammer love.


fooled me

when you
walked in, dad, and said "trade me seats"
you standing, me sitting
every time, you
got me.

not fooling me

perpendicular on the bed
no pillow, cold, so you
can say you're not


social studies

perched astride a desk
before the class
your cock pressed up against
burnt sienna leisure suit
imploring us to memorize
the gettysburg address
you sold insurance, didn't you?


the last day

cloud factory

cross bridge, up schenley hill
crazy unbridled afternoon
the grass, the clouds, the weed, at night

sculpture, pillar, me, you
hard against me


what i am not

surrounded by admiring fans
purposeful disregard
wink and a nod
oh, you
know more
than you let on
enjoy more than you'll claim
thrive and loathe to disappoint your

what i am

to speak the truth
wanting to speak your name
struggling to make sense of it all
would i have imagined this, now?
surprised, pleased beyond what
i would have thought


on the line

than most, braver
than brave to risk your cool,
your place, yourself, not so often
if i had the strength of ten men
i might not be so brave
as you, whom i

vicious cycle

Staring at the red light
a tumult of storm clouds moved in
my brain, the sky
your words crashing all around
with audible violence.

Jolted by a blare, I pulled ahead
once stopped, twice, gone again
(written by evelyn and marian) 


Evelyn is a wonderful poet and a wonderful friend. I've told you about her before, and her blog, Filling A Hole. If you haven't clicked through to read her stories and poetry, you really should. She is very, very special, brave and beautiful.

Evelyn, too, has been writing cinquains this month, and in fact she's kicking my ass as she's up to 31 compared to my paltry 23. If you think I'm prolific, check her out. She is a writing machine. But, hey, it's less a competition and more about encouraging and inspiring one another to write.

So she had this brilliant idea of writing some poems together, line by line. And we tried it out last week. So far, we've written three poems this way. I'll publish all three, but here is the first:


How fun to be a muse:
posing, twirling
flouty skirt, flaunty walk
because you like to watch.

Appetite to inhale me
calories to burn,
tippy toes, moving prose
when will I learn?

Use my powers for good.

If you be good to me,
I will show you.


something profound

heady need for
constant reassurance
met with plangent call and response
reminding me of my charms and
the strength of what we have
evidenced by
my tears.


driving home

from the city
from the sunset, toward vast
pearl iridescent seashell sky.
red lights
blinking, river flowing, winding
starts and stops, exhaling
turning left on
my street.

42nd street haiku

paparazzi flash
bryant park zamboni shines
jesus skull tattoo


in the round

kissing you, i fell
into a dizzy abyss
please, please don't save me
soaring on bird wings
i can't recall the seasons
like a jayhawks song
luscious melodies
fast forward and rewinding
dulcet symphony
low ebbing rhythm
teetering blindly, compelled
to kiss your refrain.

could be, who knows

coming, like a sondheim lyric
hurrycane sweeping in
one-handed catch
something great is coming
if only to keep eyes, mind, heart


cinquain for mary ellen

i am awash with gratitude
too plentiful to count
but you, for one
thank you.

santa fe

wanting, loving
years go by not getting
until a window opened and
you flew
wishing wanting growing, and now
your reward: soft landing
nesting, and that


cinquain for embracing imperfection

shorts at the gym
where is the brazen girl
who never wore pants? middle aged
you'd avert your eyes or see me
in half light, but you, here
in day light, you're


cinquain for missing the point

rhythmic poems
reduced by mirthful words
to a jumble of syllables
too bad.

competing interests

weekend morning
not enough sleep
all i want is
greedy love
curl up sleepy
in loving arms
drowsy morning
soaking him in
wrapping me up

two little ones
want me awake
or if not
curl up with me
greedy love
cold feet
mama mama
love you mama

mama's up.



blind confounded fury melts to
armistice, let's make love
and complete the

when we met

any council i assembled
would advise against it
i find myself


breaking down

sets, propping scenes, acting until
as anticipated
world made of words


In the spirit of this weekend's homecoming at Amherst College, here are my grandmother's words on the subject. Tomorrow's forecast is for high blue skies, but last year, the day was not unlike the event she describes here.
Will it be pneumonia or diphtheria or something worse? At any rate, it was worth it. And yet there was nothing about that football game to make us feel that the effort wasn't wasted. The team we were screaming ourselves hoarse for lost the game most ingloriously--or not ingloriously, but at least decidedly--and here we are swathed in blankets with our feet in hot water, wondering what ailment will beset us first.

You see, it rained. Homecoming day for the college--what would homecoming be if rain didn't come home to Meadville too? Rain--a much more frequent visitor than all the alumni together. The field was all one puddle. We were sorry for the team, but oh, so much sorrier for ourselves! We sat in pools of water on those cold cement benches, with icy water trickling off our hat-brims down our backs. For a time we were unconscious of the fact that our shoes were half-filled with water and mud, because they were so numb with cold. The rain gathered in little rivulets in the creases of our slickers and rolled down to form a lake in our laps. By looking cross-eyed, we could see that our noses were as red as cranberries. Our fingers lost all feeling sometime during the first quarter. I think it was in the second quarter that someone waxed restless and poked the point of an umbrella into my eye, but by that time all incidents of that sort were minor.

It was only a form of dogged loyalty that kept us at the field until the whistle blew for the end of the game. I know that none of us could say now how we got home after it was all over. I can remember only the comfort I felt as someone stepped violently on my foot in the rush at the exit, and brought back to it a little feeling of warmth.

And now we are looking forward to the reckoning with mingled feelings of fear and disgust.


constitutional law

awaiting time to speak my truth
your prelection left me
reduced, dismissed


heavy with the weight of your plan
boxcar preparedness
ghost visage in
pink glass.



he replaced my sock
slowly tugging
this side
that side
in small motions
until he found its groove
just below my knee

pulling up the sock
shutting the laptop
closing the door
closing the door.

now to find the door
that has opened.



holding my breath to await the
ineluctable crash
and living on

This poem was inspired by my friend Evelyn, who writes wicked fine poetry and fiction on her truly amazing blog, Filling a Hole. She and I both have cinquain fever! She challenged me to write reverse cinquains (different in form from the ones I have already published here) using some delicious vocabulary words, including "ineluctable." Please go and read Evelyn's. It's called Bill Comes Due. Then stick around and read more of her extremely compelling writing. A couple of my favorites are No Advice (On How To Go) and the short story A Whore Named Pumpkin. Read!



i kissed his face in greeting
glances across the table
bathroom attendant took my hand
and said, here is more
deep inside myself, breath rising
joining the city song below

reading my own words on the train
stunned and sleeping

little bodies wrapped around me
mama's home.


who owns

marks my body
lone scrivener, my tale
written abundantly, tells my


my ideas
abiding playfulness
apocryphal water baby


an accounting
oppressions, injuries
to civil liberties, spirit



you will catch me
delirious and soft
throbby excitement, unbounded

the first

the one
i gave it to
knocked me down, leaving me
like a ripe peach, bruised, savory


cinquain for not there

i had been there
too busy to go home
arrogant in my distraction

being safe

i hold your heart
darkness cannot prehend
for you, my lambent light sparkles


cinquain for what might

other worldly
like wearing a costume
commingling real with chimera


some things about you

you were uncompromising
  about politics (don't bother arguing)
  about religion (always and never)
  about grammar (are you listening, George Will?)

you were passionate
  about baseball (the Pirates)
  about music (real jazz)
  about Lebanon (and war)
  about bridge (and your friends)

you left the kitchen door open for the beer man
you brought me a stuffed bulldog from Copenhagen
  i named it Schmidty, after your beer
you served fancy shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve
  and gave lottery tickets as prizes
you wrote me letters when i went to college
you hoped i would become an ACLU lawyer

you would have claimed Jon Stewart as one of your own
  and been proud to vote for our President
you would have pushed me farther when i faltered
  and loved me harder
you would have adored your great-grandchildren
  and shined your words on them.


rock star

you told me i was a rock star.

i knew i was a rock star
i thought we could hold hands
and fly
and do anything.

because we were rock stars.

but soon enough, i did not please you
i was a disappointment
there was something wrong with me.

why was i not bold?
why did i not soar?
why did i not trust?

who hurt me?

you had my back.

i did not wait for the next question.
i will not entertain you with my tears.

you will not bang your gong
to cheer my conquests.


out of nowhere

So Lizzy Danger showed up last night, with her new groove on, demanding a line. Happy to oblige, I suggested to her: "We can just walk around all day." Here is Lizzy's poem. Glad you are back, Mizz Lizz! She gave me the line, "Her red cheeks made me remember." And you know where I went with that. Enjoy!
out of nowhere
she came into view

i said hello
you okay?
running late she said

nice to see you

flash of memory
her face above me
her hands inside me

nice to see you

out of nowhere
her red cheeks
made me remember.


farm haiku

last farm day, i'll cry
sustenance, community
now what do i do?


fall mood

cold wind
leaves down
month's end

box wine
shirt riding
full belly

autumn red
fading brown
far away



thank you, anita hill

let's talk again
my skirt
my stockings
my hair
my mouth
my tits

i'll get your coffee

you can tell me
raping your wife
your anger
your rage
your violence

let's talk again
my cunt

i'm young
i can take it

i'll take a letter.


gram & ed

an afternoon

i would
bring your tray
with sectioned grapefruit
and a bowl of sugar

we would
watch music videos
and then baseball

i would
ask you
about your children
how it was
why you wrote
what you did

to take away the pain
to protect your children
from the pain

what you did
to protect yourself
from the pain

at four o'clock
i would
bring your beer

we would
toast to the pirates

i would
ask you
about your husband
how you loved him
how he loved you

i would
tell you

i love you
i miss you
i ache for you
i crave you
i would.


your flavor

your flavor


waited for me
to find
within you

your flavor


no longer
on my tongue.

indian summer

In addition to her poems, I am lucky to possess many essays written by my grandmother when she was in college. This one seems to have been written on a day just like today. Enjoy!
We went hiking today--Bill and I. He's such a wonderful companion to hike with--not as good at walking, for he was tired long before I had decided that it was time to turn back, but just right so far as a partner goes. He knows so well that when I'm tramping briskly along with my hands in my pockets and my eyes straight ahead that I don't want him to say anything. He notices the unusual things along the road--I know he does--but he always lets me mention them first; he knows he's helping my pride that way. He understands that I want to be independent--that I don't want to be helped over fences or carried across puddles, but just the same--sometimes--I don't mind if he does give me a little assistance here and there. That's to help his pride, you know.
The woods were so gorgeous this afternoon. We kicked up the soggy brown leaves covering the ground to find half buried acorns, and sank almost knee-deep in the mire as we missed a slippery log stretched across a two-foot stream. Even though the trees were almost leafless, they didn't seem lonely or desolate, but flaunted their bare arms courageously against the bright blue of the sky. I think they were determined to bid a cheerful farewell to Indian summer, in spite of the bleakness of their own outlook.
Away up on the topmost branch of a tall oak tree, we saw a little ball of fur swaying in the breeze. When we had watched it for a while, it resolved itself into a squirrel busily shelling acorns in preparation for the long winter. Below him, a deserted bird's nest drooped raggedly in a crotch of the tree.
When I finally decided that we had walked far enough, and had done justice to all the beauties of this last Indian summer day, we turned and made a new trail back to Meadville and dinner.

me & my gram

This is me with my grandmother, whose words and spirit grace these pages, circa maybe 1985.

small moments

Aw! Friends, I wrote a poem for Nichole over at In These Small Moments, as part of her Small Moments Mondays series. Please take a look. Seriously, I'm all verklempt over here just thinking about it.

My poem is called Small Moments



enter the skinny kid in skinny jeans
puffy silken letter jacket
i laughed out loud

a lens focused to view you

as the afternoon waned and chilled
i began to see you

your eyes
your voice
your laugh
your manner

as i loved you at fourteen

my fierce wish for you

a chaise lounge
a good woman
the warm sea air

your beloved ocean.



erstwhile lover
drive my mother's car
into my dreams
take up residence
behind my eyes
betwixt my ears
between my legs.


three generations

Love, love this photo. That's me on the left, my mom on the right holding my sister's hand. Sister, typically trying to cause some trouble. My aunt with the bandana, my mother's younger sister, for whom I am named. And my grandmother in the background, inside, hands on hips, looking out over us. At a summer rental cabin, I'm guessing 1974.


poem for cindy

(don't swing at me here)

my demons
i feel scared

you are a soft place to land

send me in reverse
to a similar place

this is it

it's what you are

you make people think
and feel
and express

(like me)

(i love you)

the magic
that you have

is miles in the sky.


haiku for free

released from service
suffering differently now
free to get a job

freedom illusion
get up go to work come home
day in and day out

free, do what you want
no restrictions, make mistakes
you'll regret later

free to be you, me
grow up strong, kind, be yourself
don't get beaten down


limerick for technology

I have a hard time with email
Worse is a message in voice mail
If you need to get me
It's better to text me
Or twitter or facebook your details.

limerick for getting older

There once was a woman with crow's feet
Her love found her wrinkles just so sweet
They weren't from crying
But a lifetime of smiling
Evidence that she is complete.

rosebud in meilles

Long day, way too tired to think for myself. Perfect time to share with you this jaunty little number by my grandmother. Enjoy!
There was an old girl in Marseilles
Who said, "I'll go downtown todeilles
To get me a hat
That will knock 'em all flat
For I'll look like a rosebud in Meilles."
(I may even get a toupeilles.)



flashback to another place
a different time
folded into myself
haze of drink
wiping away incredulous tears
what i signed up for

not heard
not touched
not held
not loved


and another time
hot tears on a cold bathroom floor
finding comfort in the tile
millipede undulating on the ceiling


after i read his story
fucking that little girl
little girl on an airplane
little girl

her name doodled in his notebooks

he never touched me
he would not touch me


now, hot tears
recoiled, raging
discontent like a burning smack
how can this be fair
how can this be


in a softer moment
in the light of day
in your arms, tightly
i know
it is not true
it is not true.

i am right here, with you
i am okay
i am not alone.


i found magic

in a magical room
we lay on our backs
your hand on my leg
fingers tapping
keeping time with the fan

i turned to you
pressed my face to your neck
held my breath for a long moment
breathed out and uttered it

you rolled over and kissed me hard
magic fell from the ceiling
and gathered inside of me


vocabulary guide

An interesting thing has begun happening here at the Runaway Sentence this week. Google is sending people over here who are seeking help with word usage. So now, I am getting a lot of traffic here from people who searched for "how to use [blank] in a sentence." In the last two days alone, people from around the world sought help with using the following words in a sentence:
Who knew there was such a great need for vocabulary help? People, I am here for you. If you are here seeking help with using your words, just let me know. I can be your guide.

And now that you are here, please stay a while. Browse around. Lots of interesting reading and word choices here. Much raucous exuberance. Misgivings, sometimes. All in service of writing and language. All good.


you are my heart

bright star
tomorrow's promise
pages turned

harvest moon
shining moment
lessons learned

almond eyes to swim or drown in
ripe morning breath to inhale as my own
my face in your hair
a hand to hold
i wrap my arms around you and hold tight

breathe you in

make a wish
to keep you close

you are my heart.



high on new connection
intoxicated by unfamiliarity
sharing anecdotes
finding parallels
an opportunity to re-create
pure anticipation
touching hands
choosing to share
choosing to be someone.


grown up haiku

the kids are asleep
get me to our bed, and quick
let's fuck while we can

you have been so good
i want to do tricks for you
get the camera

from this vantage point
your skinny legs sticking out
wrap them around me

your hands on my ass
pushing, kneading, your big hands
will not fit inside

now we are finished
kiss me, kiss me, i am yours
for all eternity


rock paper scissors

two strong women
full of bravado
seeing ourselves in the other

paper covers rock

we are not vulnerable
we are unassailable
adversity makes us strong

raucous, dynamic
requiring periodic charging
playful, jocular
increasingly dangerous

found a line and crossed it

scissors cut paper
rock smashes scissors

violence begets violence
words spoken in anger
from a place of hurt and pain

overtaken by words of love
through the hurt
through the pain
speaking the truth

and the truth is
i see you
you see me

i love you.



staying on campus to study
holed up in a classroom
$2.99 pizza and a michelob forty

equal protection

distracted, predictably
by the redolence of your hair
and the allure of the cold, hard table

classroom after classroom
i learned to advocate
i never sought habeas corpus

i studied you.


unstoppable love haiku

at last our embrace
crazy beautiful succeeds
red stubborn aching

window flung open
unleashing nascent desire
to bring me to you

in the mist, hair wet
across drowning eyes, kiss me
harder, yes right there

unstoppable love
unafraid, unrepentant
finally arrived

a note of sadness

A poem by my grandmother. Written in 1928, when she was 18 years old.
I love you, dear, as they alone can love 
Who know that just around the corner of a smile
Lie tears; and just beyond the sunshine of a glance
Wait pain and bitter disappointment;
And in the sweetest passage of a song
There lurks a note of sadness.


peas in a pod

peas in a pod

hearts carrying hearts

squirming wriggling
wrestling giggling

proclaiming victory
inventing history

under the covers
us against the world

ketchup earth

beautiful fire.


the weight

you drove away
with your bureau and that cat

i do not like all cats.

some entrance
hitting town
station wagon heavy
the weight of your possessions
and your choices

why did you take all the rice?


sleepy girl haiku

"mama, rub my back"
i lie with you, noticing
the curve of your hip

imagine you grown
a woman, loving someone
a hand down your spine

brushing back your hair
kissing your little girl cheek
guarding over you

strength, grace, self knowledge
i want for you, and i will
fiercely protect you


memory of chaos

fancy lawyers
first amendment rights
and bad moral character

were nothing, compared to
a twisted bicycle
rain on hot pavement
sending you careening
into a group of children

that child. that mother.

that child.

i had run away
down south

away from you and your needs
silver bells and bare shoulders
country music and truck drivers
nesting on arrival

i sought the ocean
an expanse of pure, unobstructed shore
for healing

on the ferry, a little boy
not unlike you
demanded every attention
all eyes on the boy
all efforts for the boy
i hated that boy.

the sunset erased all memory of chaos
the adirondack chair cradled my back
the shooting stars absorbed my tears
the wine drowned the noise

for a night. for one night.

in the morning, my obligation
headed north
to care for you.