answered kisses

One of my grandmother's poems for a sultry night.
I thought I'd somehow learned to do without you--
That when we'd meet I'd smile and say some trivial thing,
And that my heart had no more need to love you,
No urgent wish to hold your love,
Or keep your memory pressed away in rose leaves.
But when you came today, you were too real--the You
That I have never ceased to love, I know--
The You who with my every breath have constantly
Been mine without my knowing--
I could not force myself to hide my soul,
I answered every kiss of yours with mine.



the phone call never made
for you to find others
and later
the timing was wrong
please show yourself
a glimmer, a ripple
he loved you
more than you know


backyard haiku

turquoise rectangle
plastic backyard pool beckons
come in and cool off

long grass, saving ants
who come to water to drown
you say, "silly ants."

cool breeze, fighter jets
a duo in formation
misted by the hose

your bathing suit a
bit too big, your hair too long
i could eat you up

sulking, gazing off
hair in eyes, chewing your nails
what are you thinking?

arguing, squabbling
my turn! no, my turn! enough
already, stop that

i would like to read
or write poetry, but you
are far too needy

still, backyard children
laughing, splashing, carrying
on, summer enthralls


circle yes or no

All that I remember about first grade. Sitting behind a girl named Tammy and thinking I wanted to be her friend because she had long hair. Reading aloud from Fun with Dick and Jane. Receiving a valentine from a boy named Rudy. Learning that he was killed when he and his brother were playing with his father's gun.

All that I remember about second grade. Liking my teacher, who had long brown hair and was nice. Looking under the bathroom door when boys went in to see if they stood or sat. Being passed a note in the library: "Will you go with me? Circle YES or NO." Saying yes.


rain on the roof

scene from the bathroom
in my cabin
rain on the roof
drops on the river
concentric circles
outside my window
my houseboat

rain on the roof 
sitting in the bathroom
clawfoot tub
river, raindrops
on the phone
my face in the mirror
old beveled mirror
above old pedestal sink
perched on the toilet
on the phone
my face in the mirror
breaking it off
saying no, no
no, listen

my face in the mirror
on the phone
between no and no
my eyes
my skin
my hair
on the phone
in the mirror
i am beautiful

on the phone
stronger, saying no
i am worth more
i deserve better
no, no
i am beautiful

rain on the roof
reflected in the mirror
lines around my eyes
grey streaks
bad skin 

rain on the roof
in my bathroom
rain on the roof
where babies sleep
i am reminded
of a moment of strength
rain on the roof
and my face
reflected in the mirror

i am beautiful.


billy idol

I'm home! An overnight junket to NYC, good meetings, good food, good company, but of course I am very happy to be home.

My inner high-schooler wrote some haiku on the train. Enjoy.
i don't remember
your name. i do remember
some things about you

you had MTV
you liked sports, you played sports: not
much to talk about

what aroused me was
the billy idol poster
hung above your bed

curious, i thought
what could it mean? erotic
aggression? (shiver)

until you told me
you named your penis igor
then i was all done


valley girl

Clearly, I have a problem. Please, someone stop me. More ridiculous haiku, about... well, you know.

nick cage, i loved you
when you said "that chick julie,
she's truly dazzling"

your punk rock party
i wanted to visit, my
safety pins in ears

and that shopping mall,
like tom petty's free falling
inviting beauty

i'd ride a skateboard
i would have gone with you, but
you loved your julie

a nice girl, julie
totally tubular, but
her friend was hotter

e. g. daily, of
the lovely tits, turns out voiced
babe in the sequel

aloof in high school
your bravado: i would have
fucked you and your friend

oh, nick cage, would there
be someone to think i was
dazzling? i hoped so.

peace sign

I'd say we need more of this, don't you think?


river haiku

Inspired by Nigel's manic river haiku proliferation at Origami Hour with Henry Silva, here are some river haiku snapshots of my own. I could go on all day, but this is probably enough.

kids climb on the bridge
shirtless girl lies, waits for cars
to run her over

living on the crick
kids playing under the bridge
building crayfish homes

family road trip
highway, then river, then stacks
of three mile island

down by the water
to climb the gemini tree
grab branch: ACK! a snake!

the hundred year flood.
i am an island, bobbing
high point on the road

walk with your lover
along monongahela
guy fishing: head cheese

kingfisher shrieking
skinny dipping, red light on:
septic tank is full

In other news, today my little girl referred in conversation to doing something "by myself," instead of her previously preferred "by my own." I caught my breath and had to bite my lip hard to keep from bursting into tears.


whatever you know

(take whatever you know
and hide it far away)

this is my house
and you are lucky to be here

(put your headphones on)

feed my dog
no breakfast for you

(don't invite friends)

your dog? dead
your cat? shot

did you fall?

(get out)

your mother is at work

this is my house

she will not protect you.



old teacher legs

You remember my pal Lizzy Danger and our poetry duets? (You can find our collaborations here, here, and here.) Well, we've done it again! And this time, I suggested the line: "Old teacher legs."

"Old teacher legs" was a search phrase that actually led someone in Italy to this here blog. As did "the lonely doll gets spank." (That was someone in Wisconsin.) A friend (jokingly, I think) confided that he is now weighing both of these phrases as the title of his erotic memoir, moved by their "Henry Miller meets Anaïs Nin meets David Lee Roth" feel.

This erotic association pervaded my thoughts and made it difficult to squeeze a poem out of the line, but it eventually came. (And for the record, my favorite search phrase that led to my blog is "how to use groovy in a sentence." Perfect, huh?)

Here's Lizzy's poem first.


The babbling brook joins the trickling river
and the clouds float by with harmony
while wind rustles through the trees

Golden yellow dandelions
invade the lush greenery of your favorite field
while their musky scent swirls around you

The long branches of the Kentucky Coffee Tree
create dancing shadows under the hot sun
Reminding you of old teacher legs

Floating about you are thick billowy clouds
and as they release their refreshing moisture,
your favorite field is brightened with rainbows

And here is mine.


i still see her
my old teacher, legs bare
gauze skirt and clogs
a braid down her back

at the blackboard, tan arm raised
diagramming sentences
in her loopy script

i know the parts of speech
i make a fancy e
i write

when she arrived on my street
on the neighbor's motorcycle
tan arms
around his teenage chest

i closed my eyes
and turned away