Fertile Earth

Plant me a garden, love
As beautiful as it is useful
Cabbage next to my appendix
Peonies in my chest
A throat full of motherwort and roses
Take the bowl of my pelvis
Wide and empty as a mother
Make it a planter
Spilling ivy over my iliac crests
You will be the tender
This secret blooming at your hands
Braid the vines in my tangled hair
As you promise me your book
My soil is ready
My ribcage on hinges
Ready to open wide
And let your hands find earth


Other life

There is a house somewhere
In some other life
Porcelain sinks filled with herbs
Bougainvillea blooms hanging from the rafters
Patchouli in my hair
Jasmine petals fall from my breasts when i undress
Hands rough from twine
Softened again with oil
And kisses at the roots of my fingernails
You come in carrying baskets of bounty
From twin pear trees behind the clothesline
And old books to read to me
Windows face the moonlight
Old cherry desks
Where you memorialize the smell of my skin
And the twinkling, acoustic flame of my soul
Sheets upon sheets
Of both parchment and linen
Yours, mine, ours.

Astoria Lamplight

The Angels have the Phone box.

This time, you raise the washcloth,
my blood soaks in. You breathe in.
Glamours renew under the light
of streetlamp flames.
Around us, solid objects move,
statues come to life, all flickering.
Freeze. Our hours … stop.

You, smiling, ease the blood
from above my right eye,
back into its torn skin
compartment, flickering.
If, in another time and room,
a flimsy filter were slotted,
red to green to blue, too blue,
we’d see again our eyes change

Well, that’s over…
you say.

And I say, This lamplight
is in my mind’s head. Astoria
fell into the sea….
It’s the salt of cleansing.
It has the feel of red
dead liquid escaping.
This blood, in the flame light,
slows like statues not moving.

This time, you, ringing out
the washcloth, smile flickering–
soak up spilled wine, a red,
from the hotel room
bedside table–and then, you
run a wet
index finger,
over my misbehaving right

You say,
Blink, love, statues don’t move.
Your dream is ending.

We check out early, sun dawning,
and walk alive into Astoria
lamplight, dimming.


Everything that is left out.
Implied. Inferred.

Like the Saddest Story Ever Written,
Often attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
An iceberg tip of six words.

Dive deep down and explore,
That submerged mountain of subtext.

Illuminate the ellipsis.

Or don’t.
You probably don’t want to know,
What’s really under there.


Put your hands under my thigh,

You from the Eastern Peoples,
Come with the Shepherdess you call Rachel and water your sheep,

Sooth your bitter cry, Esau
You who sold your birthright for a bowl of stew,

You are not about to die,

The West’s intention is blacker than your own deceit, come
Mind not the bully with the swastikas painted on his back,

Mind not his girlfriend with the crooked teeth, fear
Not the politician with his fat briefcase,

Eat now you handsome man!
Your whole body like a hairy garment!

The smell of you is like the smell of a field,
So eat now,

Before the Policeman in Arkansas shoots you down.

Daydream Vision


In a hammock, my field of vision marred by crocheted diamonds of white, blue and green twine, only the uniform movements of black ants — busily running errands — kept my mind from fully giving over to despair. Their whole operation in the business of seeking, gathering, transporting, and delivering goods, leveled me emotionally. And the apparent indifference with which they performed their deterministic actions left me thankfully doleful.

February Evening

You climb up on to the couch next to me
Sweetly, gracelessly
Holding onto the same fistful of cookie
You’ve been holding for half an hour
In that comic book shirt and bare feet
You hand me a red book of poetry
And pick up the crumbs

The orchid I planted in the corner of the room
Is dying
Though “planted” is perhaps generous
“Adopted” more like
The leaves fall off
I don’t move them
Some vain hope that I overwatered
And neglect will be the cure

I take a swig of rum from the bottle
Just me in the glow of the fridge
Counting the calories
Weighing the enjoyment
Against the weight
In my warm thighs
The softness of my belly
The soreness of my feet