Oct 19, 2011

she runs her floured hands over your hair, Hope does.

Hope I 1903 - Gustav KlimtShe speaks with a slow Southern drawl,
Hope does.
Looks at you over her shoulder
With her rolling pin in hand
Telling you to just sit right there.

She moves over nearer you,
Confounding Hope.
In the way of sweet vaporous despair
Standing there hands on hips
Daring you to go around her.

She watches you watching the door,
Vigilant Hope.
Offers you sweet tea
Shows you the basil she’s growing
There on the window sill.

She runs her floured hands over your hair,
Hope does.
Pulls something sweet and new
From the oven
And sets it on the table to cool.

She sits with you, humming something low,
Abiding Hope.
She settles in heavily
To sit at the table next to you
While you wait.

For Jessica Rose, who's biting her toes.

Hope, Gustav Klimpt

May 27, 2011

i wanted a crash with fire. with heat that sizzled the paint off the car and the skin off his hands.

Prompt:  Good, evil, gray

I dreamt of his death. But that didn’t make me the villain in this story. I did, though, long for the phone to ring. For someone to tell me of some terrible accident. A crash, maybe. But not an ordinary crash, I wanted a crash with fire. With heat that sizzled the paint off the car and the skin off his hands. Or a flood. Being swept along for miles, then hanging onto a tree branch, the current pulling relentlessly, remorselessly, his biceps burning, and knowing in that moment that his fingers slipped off, he would drink death.

I became the villain in the moment when I stopped dreaming of his death and began planning his death. The wishing away of someone, that can’t be such a mortal sin, can it? Because that is just a malevolent wish—perhaps that an overlarge boulder should ease itself loose from the edge of the cliff that overhung the road he drove on his way home and that it should happen at exactly the moment that would mean it would fall on him and him alone, with such force that his bones would splinter and pulverize and mix with his blood and skin and lung tissue. And that the ligaments that held his bones to bones, and the tendons adhering muscles to bones, should snap and pop audibly. Snap! Out loud!

But that was just a wish, and mere wishes are not plans, and wishes, especially wishes of such absurd specificity, are neither likely to come to pass, nor punishable, should they come to pass. The worst I would have been accused of, should he become muscle and tendon and bone porridge, was being prescient.

When I began designing ways that my wishes might be brought about, that was the moment I gave over to the darkness and became the fishwife, foul-speaking murder. No longer were these just gruesome and poetic wishes, but instead, they became crude and inelegant plans, as if I were trying to build a life raft from broken kitchen chairs, long braids cut from the heads of little blonde girls, and the damp boxes that lettuce is delivered in. That was when I gave over to the darkness.

Apr 27, 2011

we have had black eyes

You and I, we are not the same
Us and our daughters.
You have yours
A woolly caterpillar curled on your lap
Singing to you about her ladybug friends.

Another, over the fence which splits
Her grass and my gravel.
She has hers
A bright eddy swirling around the sheets
She hangs on the line over the grass.


Me and mine, we are not caterpillars
Or eddies.
Curling and swirling.
We are made of moths and tornadoes.
We have had black eyes.


Image: Black Moth, Kazuya Akimoto

Apr 21, 2011

tucked between the ends of white bread turned upside down

She smells like justice and might.

Her hair smells like light and brilliance
with undertones of jasmine.

When she passes you in the hallway
you smile remembering something
from somewhere
that smelled so good.
And you can't remember what but it makes you think that
Walt Whitman or Margaret Atwood wrote about it.

Sometimes she smells like grilled cheese.
And Campbell's tomato soup.
The grilled cheese my mother made when Megan Swanton was
mean to me.

With a slice and a half of American cheese
tucked between the ends of white bread turned upside down
so I wouldn't know they were the ends.

She smells like peppermint when she's angry.
And eucalyptus when I'm sad.

She smells like teen spirit
and new tennis balls when you first open the can
and like Axe when I miss my son.

She smells like the back of Obi's neck and the top of Levi's head.
And sometimes like the air in the moment after lightening strikes.

Campbell's Soup Can, 1968, Andy Warhol

Apr 3, 2011

they wear their certainty like they wear their freckles

Who are these girls
With their faith and service in Guatemala?
They wear their certainty like they wear their freckles,
Dotted on their noses and cheeks.

Who are these girls
Who keep their hair in fussy ponytails,
Exactly disheveled, and banded with elastics the color of the dresses
Their sisters wore to catechism.

Who are these girls
With their grandmother’s crosses?
They wear them on anklets to the beach on Sunday
And they borrow someone’s sunglasses.

Who are these girls
Dating Jesus and the rowing captain?
Will they make promises under stained glass windows
And then work in real estate?

Who are these girls
With their devotion preprinted on cards?
They carry St. Francis’s prayer in the inside zipper pocket
Of their Tory Burch handbag.

Detail of the Last Supper, Andy Warhol


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