Promise me again

You sat in a hospital bed

Covered in bruises from temple to toe,

Mind still buzzing from the bottle

Filled with your foe.

And you promised you’d never touch that

Devil again. This is the last straw

You said, scared.

Even though I wasn’t there, I see you

Slumped like drunken spaghetti between

The wall you built between us and the step

You refuse to take.

Near death experiences can kick a habit

Faster than a family’s love can.

Today, 3 weeks-almost-sober,

You stand in front of me with that familiar gaze

And I know.

A half second to refresh a scabbing heart.

A slur and sad red puppy dog eyes.

You promised . You lied again.

Should I have said more in the car?

Drove you to help?

Drive you over the edge

I have not changed

I have nothing to apologize for .

Be there for us. We haven’t left you yet.

Don’t keep leaving us.

brown metal staircase and gray painted wall
Photo by Henry & Co. on


Your words trail off the tip of

your swollen, sweetened tongue – repeating

a path over and over and over again until you

give up and blame our incompetence.

Out of that mouth, losersandwitchesandevil

escape and multiply

as the poison in your blood thickens and gurgles through your body,

chokes your gray lungs

the lifeline to you and us

I cut the umbilical cord between your disease and me-

floated you off into space

your eyes are ringed and red, Saturn

as though you emerged from the bottom of a salt bed

only, the look on your face tells me you’d rather be dead.

i am here and willing

but your gait is chilling.

Tell me when, because the weight is killing my shoulders.

Questions and Answers for the 7 Directions

How old are you today?
Do you record the voices of every bird?
Every scream and every laugh?
Where do you want to go?
Do you prefer candles or campfires?
Are you remorseful during lightning strikes?
If you make up 75% of home, why not go all the way?
Do you prefer kitchen faucets or wishing wells?
Do you feel ticklish when the waves roll over you?
Do you feel like you must clean yourself?
How many bones have you swallowed and did you choke?
Which ones were sharpest?
How do you not fall down?
Where do you begin and where do you end?
What do I look like to you?
Do you choke on the bones then spit them out?
What do I look like to you?
Why can’t I see you today; can’t you come out?
Where did this body come from?
That is a question you should never ask
because I never tire
of the whooshing wings and laughing gulls.
They are forever and keep the memory etched in the sky.
For every fire, I see warmth and life,
for even the sky must strike once.
I go everywhere; inside bellies and eyes and chimneys.
There is not enough space for me,
you will understand that even destruction needs a room to stay.
Dirt covers me, I am dirt, holding so much hurt.
Yes, the bones choke me – you shouldn’t have to ask
which ones.
I see you from above, carrying a light on your head
and from below, miles and miles to go.
You will never see me, but you can teach me
to appear from within
where blindness is only a feeling.

Lunatic Belly

My stomach churned at the sight

of the curled wave –

bending to the end of its cold tail.

What does the ocean feel like when it is naked?


Of the curled wave,

pale birds flutter in its wake.

What does the ocean feel like when it is naked?

It is always adorned with buoys, feathers of the worried birds and oil.


Pale birds flutter in its wake.

Salty smudges streak the outside membrane of my belly.

It is always adorned with buoys, feathers of the worried birds and oil.

Even an inky dusk cannot hide the sun’s rim, wired in white.


Salty smudges streak the outside membrane of my belly,

bending to the end of its cold tail.

Even an inky dusk cannot hide the sun’s rim, wired in white.

My stomach churned at the sight of the moon.



Comb Keeper

I recover honey samples from the bright-eyed bees

who hug their hives and kiss the cells with floral lips.

The keeper of the combs will pick scents –

infused with lavender, sage, nutmeg


Sweet, but not impure

Sticky, but not messy

Golden, rich and all of the above.

The keeper of the combs weds himself

to the bees.

He won’t ever lift the veil

until the day is over and the sun drips around the planet

veiling and unveiling dusk.Wallpapers 1366x768 (1)


Green embedded the floor,

a sonic chlorophyll symphony

permitting the sunlight to sweep the immaculate eyes

of saintly columns.

Wet grass sounds like the cadence of caterpillars

who move like butter over leaves.

the rain revives the ground like a fizzing soda down your throat,

and the girl in the black and white dress

takes a picture with her camera necklace.

It is Wednesday and the grass

is cold, but gunshots break the ice.

snowball hole in ice

The Backside of Fear

Phase I

My sign reads, “Closed for business.”

I will reopen after I fight this lineage curse.

If you saw me today, you’d see

worry lines

transposed from paper to palm

dressed in unwritten ink

pressed down on a clean slate and

moving words from wrist to skinny branches.

I have been shutdown. In lockdown

hiding (protecting) creative fears

from a catastrophic letdown.

If you saw me at thirteen, you’d see

passive explosions falling from palm to


blue ink covering black letters.

Soot on a blackboard covering white chalk.

I have been snuffed

by the fingertips of my own fears,

Goals repeat themselves on papers stashed all over –

I am wanting and waiting

to reopen,

to release my fear.

Phase II

I cut carefully along the lines

running parallel to my spine.

At night, I let the pieces mend

without any glue or tape.

When I wake, they fall a part

and lay to the sides

parallel to my vertebra –

child’s play –

those white ivory keys

I cannot touch.

Have I mentioned the wings

I tried to insert inside the space

I cut?

At night, the incision closes around the blades on my back –

in the morning I wake and stand, let the weight sink in –

Wings tucked tight,

White and light.

Yes, wings can look proud and earned.

Only sometimes, the weight of the day is something that must

be learned.

Phase III

Wings. Held in my hands, you are the backbone, the backside of fear.

The longer I hold you, the more I feel

with my muscle


My voice repeats itself, becomes a shadow

(flying wings) on dry garden dirt,

dead kale capillaries and withered bean skins.

Muscle memory. Theirs too,

Repeats itself,

folds in for the long shadow of winter.

To be afraid of dying, or the leash of fear

(don’t be) is not trusting your sown seeds.

Spread them far.

Come in…open your hand.

I see wings

the backside of fear.


Pale Wind 

Once, the fish swam in the night sky –
a galaxy inside her belly.

She bore stars and pushed out tears, recalling

The angry cycle of mourning the living.

I had the chance to talk with her,

a chance to travel around her galaxy.

I saw the cycle churning,

filling and unfilling her fists,

palms milk white.

I felt the pain safely escape away

from her memory, from the dark house.

Although she lost the tears,

the memory of it twinkles.

Dead and alive in her sky.

Astronomers attach no name to that time,

That spiral pattern.

That place ejected from her insides.

I looked at the fish finding his way in the night.

He broke out and fell

into a motion you’ll remember as no accident.

You felt it coming. The pale wind

reaching for him.


Tranquil Champlain

A boat swings like a weather vane

on the flat blue glass. It turns

like a ballerina

dressed in white canvas and

wooden soled shoes.

She tip-toes and etches hull lines

in the glass like smoke

in her wake.

A man sits on an August heated dock,

watches the lake expand from dark blue to white,

from summer to winter

from East to West.

That boat swings like a needle,

’round the compass of his green-gray eyes.