Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lesson Plan for Small Child

To kill slowly with the hand
first locate
an area that is significant,
such as for breathing.
The nose will do.

Smash upwards
with the heel of the hand.
If done correctly, blood will
thickly flow.

The mouth is hardly worth your time.
Unless you think you can
break teeth.

The throat is better.

Jab with the fingers,
making them a knife.
More than once.
Collapse an Adam's Apple.

Don't consider ribs beneath you.
They don't break easy, but bruise
a treat, and make every breath
a labor.
And the sternum is the seat
of a lot of nerve--
and just at the nib
of the sternum
is the xiphoid process.

A heart punch can be
most artfully done
with a two-knuckled punch
up and aimed in. Causing
extraordinary damage.

I only taught the nephews
how to unlock a wrist hold,
to unhinge a thumb and
make fingers splay
to drop a knife,
the knowledge to do more
quivering in my head.

But they listened as I
splayed their fingers with
my thumb because
I spoke with the knowledge
of other things--

Which one either ought to know,
or needn't and I
can't say which.

They are useful,
and for my part,
I learned them young.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

But it Was Her First

Her skin split,
her eyes wide,
the dreams of possessing
what she lately denied
defied in the moment
of the irrevocable
slide of her body to the ground
where he wanted her
six feet or twelve feet under.

More, he wanted her hurting
longer, but she stopped
short and breathed
her last, accusation on her face
like it always was,
and he wanted that look gone because
that was the look he wanted gone
when he did it.

And her family was next.

His life was spent,
sped out of control,
flung far and fucked-up on a
drum roll to the crash
of his life and he wondered if he could
meet with a knife tonight,

or no, a cop's gun,
or maybe he'd end it himself,
having seen what he wanted, her body

still at last and no
more his than it ever was
but she was the first and

Not the worst moment
to hang a last thought on,
he thought at the last--
a hatred to death.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Like the Dust

The motes glow in
the still humid air
alit with sunlight
like planets falling
in a trajectory to the bed
so near the window
with the sun streaming in,
that I sit here and watch
glowing bodies of light--
only dust,
and they seem as radiant as angels.

And I know I am made of
the things made in stars.
And only one star
serves the planet I live on.

But I see even the stars in the least bit
of dust.

I am Dust! Star Dust!
And the stars spun out of the
beginning with a Bang--and I
am dust and banging along.

And maybe I project a little light?

Shouldn't I?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor is the Curse of the Living Classes

My brother works where people have been shot at.

More than one.

Things happen.
He checks out customers.
He works odd hours.

He sometimes walks home from work,
at any hour. My husband works those odd hours too.

Waking, raising, driving, working--

not even the ass-crack of Dawn,
the small of her back,
where night caresses Her as she sleeps,
and she dreams of makers of doughnuts,
bakers of bread,
counters of tills, and cutters of meat,
all up and at their day
before she arises
rosy fingered
and red-handed
arriving at the scene of a day
already stolen from working people.

I witness her some mornings
as she breaks in a world where I was told to
admire the watchers of the
the new day.
And drive as the sun rises,
and in winter, drive home as the sun sets.

I have seen the sun come and go
from my car window,
my office time artificially lit,
and my life comes and goes with it--
and when homeward bound in winter's dark,
I think my day too short and done,
my best hours consumed
in a lighted yet lightless place.

I work in a neighborhood where
people have been shot.
I work where cars shoot past, drivers needy
to be speedy

to get there at the punch-clock time.

We aren't friends, the people I work with.
They are and they aren't.
I know them, and they know me.

And I think work is
necessary but how necessary
are all the things that come with it--

not the benefits or pay--

just the thing where one lends one's life
out to anything,
anything at all,
so long as bills are paid.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I found it there again
by the blasted fig
under the withered vine,
the bloody ache
called the divine.

In a bombarded hospital,
a blue-skinned savior
draws breath;
while overhead, chronology
is defied,
the fruit flings back
towards a bloom of fire,
and the summer air
darkens with
a pollen of

108 tears of the Buddha
have fallen;
needlessly shed
their compassion cut short.

I can walk in the footsteps
of the cross carriers.

I can't yet bear
the hand the wields the hammer.
But the hammer fits my own.
Perhaps that is where
one starts.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


This tongue I have is a forked gift
as natural to me a fingerprint.
I do not think of the things I lift,
or lilt or trill or drop or crop,
nor seed the already-littered earth with.

My history is this story--
a tongue entwined within several faces
a pastiche of words of many places, yet
my spoken word would leave no doubt
to my geographical redoubt,
indeed some Henry Higgins could
place it within a neighborhood.

The English language built
cathedrals with
the plundered lumber of sunnier
and if my accent drips
with juniper and lines
and a certain bracing tonic,
I can only toast the tongue I
host, and hope my tongue also hosts me
allowing the things I speak to be
as meaning-laden
as I hope they'd be.