first memory

At the event when I couldn’t help but stand up and talk too much,

I opened myself up to judgment in order to speak the burning necessity that was bubbling up my throat, determined to be shared.

Taking my seat for the forth or fifth last time, a woman two rows back lifted her head and her hand to get my attention. “Hey”, she said. “We need to talk”, she said. “We’ve met before”, she said. Continue reading “first memory”

To Go Nowhere

I climbed the mountain not to reach the top, but to cross over,
marking each morning with a new little bracelet on my wrist,
with colors of ascending frequency to note the mounting chakras,
simulating an elevated state in the thinning air.
I love me, I want to be me…. but not this way.
This me can’t be alone with herself, this me is flipping through her hair, her phone, a box of cookies to avoid that awkward small-talk with the ignored inner self.
I didn’t listen to her, but I did dress her up, one braided bangle at a time,
with all the attributes of a happy soul,
if not a body to put them in.

Wasn’t it one year ago the stranger gave me that kite?
A symbol of my freedom, she said.
But she didn’t give me the wind, or the way.
And the girl I was rose with the sun in the place where the horizon flexed acute,
lifted her childish pennant and begged the coldest winds of Africa to do for her what that year had not.
And when the flag had failed her, she replaced it with another sorry charm.
From a man to a mountain- the talisman shifts shape
but is always rooted in the same hope: change me, heal me, make me whole.
They have all failed and they always will
unless or until the hope can become the desire to be me, even as I already am
clutching a soggy bracelet of sincere hopes faded in chlorine and concessions.
I don’t feel like swimming any more.
Maybe I want to write-
first draft, fuck it-
and to go nowhere that I am not already.

They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds


Above the land, exposed and hard
they’re aching just for touch.
They chase a thousand beaded dreams
but never have enough.

When aching grows, it overflows-
a sharp and biting cuss,
In our eyes, their reflection,
so, they tried to bury us

Inverted dome, we made it home-
a womb beneath the crust.
We bore so deep, in waking sleep,
like seeds with waterlust.

And when the river didn’t sate
We dug still lower wells,
unbudded branches lay in wait-
those fallow patient cells.

From depth restrained, and dark contained-
no count of nights gone by-
until that time, again we rise
roots first, and then the sky.

This poem is written as a message of solidarity from Detroit to Standing Rock, with particular recognition for the Pueblo Camp who taught me the significance of building shelter underground in the womb of the earth.

Fall Back


Fall back with me
one hour, for free-
season changing, daylight waning-
stay in bed and see.

If you want more
there’s hours galore-
night extended, time suspended-
this is what they’re for.



New York Is

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 11.48.39 AMNew York is a line at the airport taxi-stand, 50 people long, filled with strangers each going somewhere but incapable of considering the prospect of coordinating destinations with the somebodies around them.

New York is a special machine for fixing traffic lights, making its way down 7th Ave.

New York is two homeless people cuddling between a clean-looking sheet on the steps of a church. Fast asleep, at noon.

New York is a large glossy coated dog who represents his owner the way flashy cars do in other urban landscapes.

New York is a mother walking with her son in a stroller that is being pushed by another woman with darker skin.Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.03.31 PM

New York is an entire wall filled with beautiful doughy bagels, nonchalant in the normalcy of abundance.

New York is a group of construction workers watching the final minutes of a Knicks/Heat game through the floor length glass windows of a 24-hour sporting goods store. Continue reading “New York Is”


IMG_1837Some days I wake up to the alarm-
groggy and irritated,
I crack my mind open just enough to unsheath the eraser end of my consciousness,
gruffly scrub out one or two or three of the items on the to-do list that my optimistic prior self had assigned,
and press “snooze.”

Some days I wake up restored-
I turn on all my senses before I lift my head
to the soft filtered light curtaining into the room
on the back of a cucumber breeze sprinkled with birdsong,
to the feel of my hands nested between my thighs, soft-on-soft,
to the awareness of my self,
with gratitude, with peace.

Some days I wake up afraid-
to leave my very bed, the prospect scares me.
I don’t trust myself to get through the day
without bringing harm.
In bed I am safe, out there, I dash my earnest hopes time and time again
with a thoughtless moment that drives others to follow, bringing me deeper underground.
Impulse, indulgence, waste, despair:
it happens to me like the weather,
though it is I who forms the clouds.
I know I can do without it
But I don’t know how.

On these days, I regard the ground warily,
still until..
the inevitable rise.
And face whatever the day may bring



Here you are right at my feet
you’re unassuming solid sweet
You fit so tight and so complete
That I forget the void beneath

From where I stand I can’t quite seem
to get a glimpse of  underneath
the better then, to paint you with
an easel to support my myth

You lay there still but still I slip
You look like someplace I could trip
We met and then I lost my grip
Look out below- manhole- I flip.

I’d like to take your picture  and then put it in a frame
I’ll like to show my mother and imagine our last name
I’ll smooth out all your edges like a giant lucky dime.
you’re nice in two dimensions and I’d like to make you mine

Here you are right at my feet
you’re unassuming solid sweet
You fit so tight and so complete
that I forget the void beneath-
oh what is the unknown degree
to which you twist your depths to reach?
what sewer line or power cord
are you designed to feed the world?

You make me nervous
shiny surface hidden purpose
Look out below. Manhole. I flip.

It Takes a Flint

When it started hard to say

Couple hundred yesterdays

Simple system growing cracks

Auto business, off the tracks


Getting mine means getting gone

Whites flight from the red line zone

Money tighter, feel the strain

Pull the plug, choke the drain


Safety net becomes swiss cheese

poor is spreading like disease

Trickle down aint spreading shit

No more flow from the faucet


Do you want a drink today

Or would you prefer to stay?

Pauper’s prison, in your home

Only choice is move along


In the country, people know

How to build a fire, slow

Let the wood get nice and dry

Kindling on the underside

Stack it up, support the beams

Maybe squirt some gasoline

But if flame’s what you desire-

It takes a Flint to start a fire

How to Get There

IMG_2310 (2)

Get in your car. Wait for it to warm up, like he would do.

When your impatience catches up to you, 20 seconds later, put the gear in drive and head onto the highway, north. Pass the 7-mile and 8-mile and 11-mile exits and the accompanying suburbs thereafter. Don’t check your phone or pick at your hair or worry about how long it will take. Listen to public radio and hear what they have to say, or put on the same CD that’s been in your console for two years and sing along to Ella Fitzgerald, or turn everything off altogether and see what your brain turns the silence into. Pass the outlet malls and fast food signs and let the hotheads of the leftmost lane pass you. Think about what you will do when you arrive.

Turn off the highway and take a right. Pass the final gasp of the commercial uniformity and pass the turn-off for the landfill/skihill and pass the Springfield Inn and the empty restaurant with the baldly desperate sign that says “Eat Here or We’ll Both Starve!” Take a right again. Drive down the one-lane road beyond the mustard yellow house and the fake pond and the lonely-seeming houses on what some living memories knew as farmland. Take a left. Watch out for the pothole and go down the final stretch, maybe sneak a look at yourself in the rearview mirror and decide what song you want to end your drive on. Right where the road splits, don’t take either fork but a hard left up a dirt road that is actually a driveway. Curve up past houses that are almost-but-not-quite it and park your car at the gate by the 60-foot pine-tree. Get your bags out of your car, straddle-step over the fence– careful not to rip your pants– and walk the path in the snow to the front door that you have always felt comfortable letting yourself into without knocking.

There he is.

He may patiently wait while you take off your shoes and greet the dogs and set down your things. He may listen as you comment on his beard or lack of beard or work coveralls or t-shirt– in this weather? Or he may stride past the frenzied pets to your watchful side and hold you so long and so sweet that you almost cry even though you’re not sure why.

You made it. Here is this man, tucked away in the woods even though they said all the good ones were taken. Here he is and you have found him. Let him make you coffee and put some logs on the fire. Let him spread some of his peace onto your heart and, for god’s sake if you’re smart, let him love you.

The Lee of The Stone

IMG_0600I love chaos
I thrive in it
I create it
and then I hide in it.

I ride the tide of the rapids, edging the hazards in a wall of sound echoing so loud that there’s no room to wonder
or What Else
or At What Cost?

When the big day is over
and the phone stops ringing,
the backwaters eddy in the lee of the stone,
the silence has its own echoes.
I am alone.