The House of Mirrors





Windows open the flies get in and buzz around occupant ears
and the neighbors see if anyone’s home to borrow a few eggs.
Prying eyes into unshuttered houses make movement cribbed
self-consciously checking on words, their tone and expression
so no one calls the cops when the screaming sounds so loud
that anxious stares cannot bear the cruel curiosity any longer.

Unlocked doors welcome strangers in along with friendly foes
to sit in the kitchen nook to wait for cold beer and sandwiches,
served in feigned welcome smiles wary of wrong impressions.
When doors swing wide the wind bellows loudly, wild howling
that outsiders mistake for babies neglected and other abuses
a lure for authorities of watchful interrogations lying in waiting.

An open house with glass walls like an atrium of family fronds
is a sociological study of disordered habits of broken subjects
where gourds are lasered open with surgical knives illumined
reflecting wide-eyed grimaced faces of fun house mirror halls
that release shrieks of wailing laughter hysterically unleashed
while witnesses nod in knowing affirmation of suspicious spin.

Confessional containers confine the inhabitants in cool cages
bars silvan with tales and typecasts for the people’s comfort,
the rack to rest their hats on in assurances wide in ever after.
“We always knew she was untrustworthy, her nose in the air,
and look at her children’s friends with the pierced nose rings.”
To lay bare what can be seen is like carelessly losing a home.

Felicitations on the Auspicious Occasion of Your Natal Day!

Congratulations to all who have survived another day

Opened their eyes to the sky and the light just to say

Thank you to whomever it pleases for my birth, today.


And in case you didn’t know, here is the skinny on birthday celebration ritual as we know it here in America today.

This is Why You Get to Celebrate Your Birthday Every Year.

  credit: happy birthday mistress 

Wait for the last one on this short video:  it’s worth it.


Love Dance Ritual


Love dance ritual
downright habitual
hello, a kiss
reply, a miss
a mental hiss
Why resist?
the game on
a wink, a stare
returning glare
another beer?
Why not?
It’s clear
you’re here
to pluck my pride
take that ride
think of it now
driving that plow
rich fantasy
in bed with me
skin off my back
oily ass smack
tense smile
stay for awhile?
bar stool bitch
making his pitch
Come play with me?
so good you’ll see.
nothing better for free.
smile in secret
will her submit
what you want
Come on cunt.
Give it up already.
Wait, hold steady.
She’s loosening. 
not leaving
eyeing my crotch?
turn it up a notch
She’s so hot.
need what she’s got
How about dinner
with a winner?
Come on, come on
Let’s get it on.
This play’s too long.
And now she’s gone.
no biggie
She wasn’t pretty.
This one’s hotter
not such a rotter
How ya doin’ tonight?
See the moonlight?
What a great smile.
Been here for awhile?
Buy you a drink?
a leer, a wink
the dating game
just a frame
for the mighty lame
a sad mime
silly rhyme
painted velvet kitch
the love switch
turn me on turn me off
I’ve had enough.

Roses of Song and Myth: the Love Lie


The rose is not flattery, nor flattered can she be.

Her colors never brighten so with admiration.
Her white is white and pink is pink regardless.
Sun is her food, water her delight and nurture
she needs nothing from hands, no clip or two
no more than her nature designed so provides.

A stem releases bloom from inside itself formed
its patterns deep and wide configured long ago
running through time like speed of sound-light.
The evolution of her growth and being precede
all hands that pluck her bloom from bony bush.
She needs no more than nature draws from her.

For when she is clipped, she poses as love sigh
tall, thorny languor along the chilled lip of glass,
a vase for her thoughts to showcase her beauty.
But hollow and thin she starves on water alone
no earth to feed her fibers, her soft petal velvet 
of colors destined to rot, odiferous swill of death.

The rose bleeds not from thorns as do your gods
for she needs protection from prey; all who harm
love in the name of hunger forcefully feed on her.
The host of vines and verdure are not loving kind
but raw and real as the rain that beats her roots, 
suffers her drowned to make her stand woody by.

Patience and virtue and kindness do not clothe her.
She hangs no myrrh between her breasts to lure.
Nature is not a song for her nor an allegory rhyme.
She fails as ideal and lasts only so long as her DNA.
For her name is rose not love by human confusion
and sings a song the words unknown to mankind.

Leave her an earth that grows her feet strong-free
and make her not your words a sign of loving,
for she is not an idea, symbol or object, no agent.
Neither is she subject or lust or desire or longing.
She is not inspiration, romance or pheromone but
life stuff, permeation, breath, not your philosophy. 

Living by the Numbers


I am a woman who wades in numbers,
soak myself in abstract configurations;
I jet-stream massage statistics to know,
find the answers, solve the riddle of it,
the non-numerical, innumerable queries
cried in words, a seemingly literary call,
but responsive to figures and values one
of twenty-four-seven and three-hundred
sixty-four in sixty times fifty-two or so set 
give or take, plus or minus, more or less.

“I’ve got your number,” no one ever said,
but clichés are like that, ubiquitous stain
on creativity’s spine like the cafe au lait 
spot on the leg or neck, a birth mark blot,
red, brown or invisibly zero’d out erased.
Countless ones perched in memory slate
have added up the sum total of me, mine,
all I ever was and will be with smug sure 
black and white like chalk on the boards
while flunking 365 true or false quizzes.

But not you, caresser of amassed details,
not data strokes, the airy waves of ideas
you throat-throw in fast, furious pitches
speeding in, aimed as weapon or homer,
at me batting less than top ranking 1000,
an average way below that .264, a mean,
the high and low of its streak of 9 no-hits;
I can never catch up, analyze every word
to track your wins from losses and defeat
the purpose, our aims on par, hole-in-one. 

We sport and play, linger and dally over
tenderous scars and spots, skin wounds
that narrate each misstep, spill or crash
we each separately, singly, absorbed in
seconds of lost sight, a blink of timeless
clicks of the clock in a silent living room
when we were youth without any history
past an endless future of anything goes.
But now, in lengthening hours, sun light
of sinless spins marks us immeasurably.

When you and I are old enough to know
that the feet we were, those inches along
the road miles we never traveled in truth
did not matter as many or few glimpses, 
insights into the relativity of relationships
fleeting and forever moving us in spaces,
places of perspectival generosity, a glee
of open doors, 1, 2 and 3, any alphabet
of understanding what counts, laughter,
touch, dream, a lantern glow in the mist.

I am a woman who drifts by the numbers,
ten by ten, mostly, often two by two-some,
just to tease the moment with complexity,
a game too many of us weak minded play.
“Age doesn’t matter,” you say, yet it does
to those who count; we count on them too
to whisper wordless songs in even tempo,
carrying the tune of eons engraving aural
flesh in a lilting lullaby, humming mindless
motion that apes the arrows of linear time.     

Ode to a Bailiff


While the others scowled, flared and puffed
in practiced postures of professional despise
you, old and world weary wise, spoke true
chatter from the heart, a human reaching too.
Your limits were, like mine, of love and family
the mystery of marriage and the ache of lonely
failure at being the man of her unmaking sight.
Only your boots were polished and sturdy black
while my socked salmon sandal clotted dust
sliding along the crusted filth of our asphalt path
your cuffs clanking the metal of your burly belt
the ones that shhh-ould be clamping my wrists.

Our bridge was my crumbling past statuesque
in its esteemed alkalized marble cool pin-grey
and the advice from those harrowed halls of din.
“Be steady. She will know. I am sorry. So hard.”
While I slow-death paced back to churlish grins
we exchanged human trade in good will spirits,
you, speaking to me as if I mattered, I listening
as if I could care at that moment juggling misery
and hope and the doom of a mis-pieced puzzle
air born cluttering the fetid air with dizzying spin.

We both, in slow walks of dim bludgeoned halls,
wondered where we went wrong, a confusion’s
connection of human heart sunken inside echo
of conscience in the concrete confines’ meeting.
I loved you then like a mother’s son, my savior
only for your voice, even, pleading, wondrously
unprepossessing, acknowledging me breathing
as a fellow traveler, sharer of one crimson grief
barreled over the tide of ticks scratching at skin
burrowing inside the stream of killing us daily.

In the Center of a Dream

Sitting in the center of a dream

is an endless empty space
a hollow black hole I fill 
with the quadruple rainbow of jellybeans
or the sludge of broken drain pipe leaks.
And when I awaken the day tastes sweet
or salty tears silence the coo of morning dove. 

A candy vendor and a plumber,
I circle the morning mood
and inventory the cracks 
putty the holes with tongue wincing treats,
a nectar for my tea and a fuel for empty.
And when I navigate the world in a day round,
the flavors fade lost in the buzzing of honey bee.

Returning to the hive at night
the piping all but drifted off
to the soundless sea,
the hey-day mist lingers at crenulate margins
of memory leaf strands teased out in ache.
And when I shutter sight again to sleep it out
visions flicker inside the cave to thus prefigure me.      

The Teacher


A soft touch and a hard hand, the teacher speaks in incantations, dronings of esoterica to mystify and satisfy his own urges to expel. Behind office hour doors he is hand full of slick hair clutched at the scalp mummified despair leaving its traces along the spiked tufts that resist gravity’s pull to his ears, one of which is pierced with a diamond stud. Only a knock, a student’s hand, a backward glance or a shy inquiry can shift his mood. His smile smeared on with putty lips, he ogles the words typed for him, pausing long over an improper punctuation or diction switch up. His eyes’ return are shuttered behind thick dark lashes that paint his pupils dark, the velvet of brown specked with black and stroked with soft charcoal malleable leniency and persuasion. The burning does not show. The coursing rage racing up the alleys of his cortisol-laden cerebral landscape, pathways to his libidinal longings for a leg, the hem of a skirt, a bite in the pen cap, tongue caressing the indentation, remains repressed against his spine, thrust shut in his pelvic dance of storming scribblings in marker red, furiously punctilious and benignly compliant. He is grade A swallowed fear in disgust, disguised as propitious transitioning. Everyone passes through and by the teacher while he remains, steady like the axis of a planet, a cross road or dawn’s return.

The Ache of Decay: a Eulogy for a Friend


Though you have softly haunted me in the last 37 years,
your disappearance a mystery and logical consequence 
at the same time, last night you pulled me aground to you
reaching out with a bony grasp I could not escape to run
just as you did on your very last day when evil found you
a fair haired lovely of kind eyes and dulled senses drifting.

Why did no one know your name to pin a tag to your toe?
Where were your broken hearted mother and brothers?
The 70s dichotomy, full of marauding psychotics and love
free spirits and walking malignant tumorous contagion too.
I had seen you last on Venice Beach sidling ocean waves
from a distance as we smoked and sang a freedom song.

All was light then and love searching, seeking–a dreaming.
No one could hold you down but what roots had you then?
Did you have a father and did your mother try to keep you?
I barely knew you as a latecomer to my hey day pre-parting.
Part of my flowering teenage society in full bloom just then,
I had to leave for another coast and on a whim you did too.

I remember you cooked enchiladas in a pan for us one day
and I had never eaten anything called Mexican food before.
My mouth burned, tentative tongue swimming in odd spices.
You brought the sun and a recipe home from your California.
You, who wore brown suede moccasin boots fringed in love,
a traveling spirit of unleashed, unending desire to live freely.

Restless and fiercely unleashed you were locked in impulse
and the lull of hazy high of whatever was passed your way.
No trace of fear or caution, you were a stretch for my wary.
You sat down to pilot life and enjoyed the height of clouds
while I was the lip biting pumping hearted passenger blind.
Like the wind you caught to fly, you passed on through me.

But today you seep in my bones and pinch my thoughts dry.
It could have been me or my daughters or sisters strangled
the hands of murderous savagery abysmally wide tentacled.
Insatiable lust for life you had matched his in mass murders.
A rover like you searching, seeking and finding youth’s sins
road-songs of impenetrable lightness against a dark’s deep.  

No one completes you, a part of the composite space-time.
A forever child will never know the truth of scarred wisdom
the full compendium peace of surrender that is not defeat
like we thought it was burning out not burning through it all.
A chip of the cosmos, all we ever were and will be for now
I know you sign the silent words to me in my restless sleep.

Your human traces tattoo synaptic sheathed memory’s skin
recombinatory particulate ossified bone and detrital kindred
melding in minds where curiosity, fear and mortal angst sit.
Those who carry you bouyant as your spirit ever was and is
float a child’s bay abutting the seas of misfortune and strife
smiling liberation song’s perpetually moving feet of hunger.    

Remains do not matter, mere material remnants of a body,
a shell symbol of connection to a race of radical reactivity.
Bury you deep in soil of your mother that earth never held;
no soul or idea chained you to the moment of your making.
No touch of a hand or kiss on the nape of your neck stilled
spirit so wildly untethered attached only to windless decay.

Held in a life loss unspoken, unnamed too long unknown,
torch carrying family and friends, acquainted to a tragedy,
oh murderous mistress memory mine let her flee binding;
devotional clinging was never hers to believe such perqs.
Only mask rivulet stain of stony faces crusted in creases
wipe ache from ears of those who never heard her cries.

Derek Walcott ‘ s “Love on Love”



The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life