Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I am a soggy bitch steeped in wine

i am sour

i like men with rocks in their voices

staring out windows

with cigarettes -- decorations in their fingers

or doing nothing at all while smoke drifts through their hair

they fry eggs in the morning and put on yesterday's clothes

waiting for the slap of a paper against the door

waiting for life

watching coffee steam and boil

and i think to myself, i'll stare out the window

of a tired bar somewhere in a faraway town

this isn't so different

than anywhere

Love, Was That You?

I knew you would never come true

i ran out of things to feed you

Damn to true love anyway

like it comes in a can

like it's on sale or free or falls out of a fortune cookie

Christmas crept in on a creamy sunrise

and I cried at the thought of going out there

where I had left gifts from Santa to myself

where I had to smile because today is a happy day

of wrapping paper and kisses

gift cards and pictures

a glimpse of blue eyes

and what am I talking about anyway?

it's all gonna blow away

Was that you?

i knew you would never come true

nobody could wrap you

no one could give you

to me

The wine tastes like overripe cherries and honey

i look at a song

i watch light wash her cheeks

eyes sunk in shadows

lips glossy red

i don't know if I am ready to hear this

she presses close to a rigid metal microphone

sounds like 1968

we're all free over here

free and dreaming

free to love

is that you?

i knew you could never come true


The following words have nothing to do with anything:

I read a bad poem -- sand in my eyes

and went back to my book in the basement and wine: I love you

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A giant lemon wedge of sun broke the horizon, throwing buttery fire across the dawn.

I have not put words down on my Lily blog in days.

I remember the past year in pieces I will keep, and others, carved more deeply against the bone, that won't wipe clean.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snippets From The Year

Bar lights shimmer -- neon strobes on glassy eyes.

A little powder, mascara, and booze and things will look better.

Perfume stings.

I poured out her drink after she fell against the ladies room door.

Got a drink? she asks.

Got your keys? I answer.

I don't drive.

Ok. I am worried about serving you again.

Arms in her jacket and looking at the door, she reaches for her purse. She is gone.


Months later in the supermarket I saw her setting up mini evergreens with red ribbons. From her apron she pulled labels and added prices to the tags.

She smiled at me but her gaze skipped past.

We are not all the right thing at the right time, but we can try.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things Left Out Of Fortune Cookies

I've got this crawling in my chest

like love with too much garlic and blue eyes

and a buzz in my ear taunting:

better luck next time, kid

but that's just the shit I cry about

after a sad movie and too much wine

and pity when the chocolate runs out

it's love kid, no use feeding it

unless you really want it to come back

sometimes the words run dry

and love's just a short poem on a stranger's face

in the bar sipping wine

with a glint in his eye

or was it mine?

Monday, December 19, 2011

A fuse of fire lit the horizon where December's bare mountains met the sky. A blinding flash of orange. Daybreak.

From my basement barstool I watched the tender peach sky. Slamming my book facedown I was mad because the characters were made of tissue paper, their words already forgotten. I wanted more from them. I wanted more from everything. I needed sleep.

Earlier that night I closed the bar while one last guy finished one last beer. He asked me, so, when you were a kid what did you dream of being when you grew up?

I really didn't dream about that, I said.


I never dreamed that I would be a fireman or a nurse or married with a pretty dress or anything.

Why not?

I was always too worried about something. A test, the bus ride, homework, or getting fat. I never really outgrew my fear of opening the school door and starting first grade.

I don't believe that.

As if belief makes truth, I said.

What? What do you want now?

I want more from myself.

He thought about that. I watched exhaust hit the cold air around my tailpipes, the truck warming outside the front windows.

Got heat in that thing, he asked?


What does that mean?



But some things are not enough. Two weeks from now another year will finish. I ought to change my clothes and get off the barstool for this. I ought to take out the to-do list I have reread so many times it's almost see-through.

I found a little pocket of gold this year and a lesson: don't rip your life apart over the demons kid, they come and go as they please.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Her lips pucker

red waxy smears

stains on a napkin

she is beautiful, drunk, lonely

soul sloshing around

she works on her smile in the mirror

another year is coming

it will find her

she better go fix her hair

you're a mess, says her friend, then slaps her

I was there and saw her face crumple up and fold

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just a thought at 1:20 AM

I know where I've been

behind me is everything

but where do I go

Just passing the time, waiting for words, and watching winter loom...

Ice soaks up starlight

hiding a twinkle till spring

patient like a stone

Monday, December 12, 2011

A passing thought across the water...

Spilled Christmas colors and strands of sparkling white reflect off the river.

I wish I had a wishing penny. I wish I had a wish.

I wish I knew why Nancy died.

Her house was up these valley banks over the Housatonic on a dark hillside.

She drank.

she struggled and hurt and loved.

She brought it to an end.

I was just thinking of you Nancy, and the wild carnival of light in your eyes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Who Is She?

I watched her writhe on a bench

foot on a pedal, fingers in the keys

heavy lids and cherry red lips

teeth flashing, lyrics crying

A song about winter or God or love

or maybe no love

amber hair kinked and flying

head tossed toward the ivory

Her fingers play

I wait for words

my words

Friday, December 9, 2011

The moon hung huge and pink like bubble gum in the early dusk. Darkness waited on the edges to sink in.

I thought about yesterday’s words of acid burns and love stinging my lips. Love’s no boomerang kid. Don’t touch it.

Staring at the moon I thought, I've got something in my eye. Something I used to know.

I am heading to the bar soon, where guys sit on Friday night like a hatching promise, staring at each other’s lives through the glassy rim and knocking back shots like the world is ending, or beginning, or sliding by as they look out at the street.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Love is like acid kid

don’t touch

it burns

What if I want it? I said

it only hurts

if I expect it returned

I looked up through a mesh of tree limbs at the full moon, remembering things that came and went:

I used to know him

big hands everywhere

I knew him

in dreams

in ink

in words

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Christmas Story--

I lost my little wallet at the craft fair. I cried.

A teacher leaned down and asked me what was in it. Paper money, I said.


By the time I was in college I drank my wallet thin and kept my daggers sharp for Karen. She was my roommate, but not a friend. I peeked toward the back steps when I thought the house was falling. In her grip was a huge slab.

Look! she said. Yanking the thing past the front door's crooked shadows I saw a mossy, worn, engraved stone drop at her feet.

A headstone! she said.

I was only 18. I had never called anyone an asshole before, so I said, Karen, that's really bad. Really, really bad.

But a day later in the bar she treated it like a fairy tale and I smiled at her story. It was just a smile, and hardly hit my lips before it crawled off my face. I turned to John next to me. He had an old man's burnt wisdom toward life, and was always stoned. Laughing, he told Karen she was just so out there, I mean, who does that! I mean, it seems so wrong…

He had dimples, blond hair, and smooth white teeth. I did not care that Karen had stolen my seat when I left for the ladies room, but when I came back and found her shoulder-to-shoulder next to John, it made her even shittier. Oh Karen, your ass is a little heavy for those sandals, and you are just so out there, I mean, who does that!

Did she wrap the stone for Christmas that year? I reached for my small leather wallet with its zipper top and could not find it. I had five bucks of paper money inside and I wanted another beer.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Falling in love

is so innocent

like a deep breath or laughter

over a glass of wine


I dug around in my head, scraping out barnacles of shitty things and wondering why I ever went to college in the first place, or drank beer, or drove from bar to bar in a rut after he left me.

I had a few bucks and a banged up Toyota and no reason to sit home when I might find a great guy waiting for me near a jukebox somewhere. He would be next to an empty coaster and dying for someone like me to shove a buck in the box and play Sugaree.

I found a guy alone and should have left him there.

Wanna a drink? he asked.

We drank a few.

Hungry? he asked.

How about a shot? I answered.

Hours later as he leaned inside my driver's door, grabbing for me, I pushed a long, flat-headed screwdriver against his ribs and told him to get out.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Staccato Girl:

The spell broke a few weeks before Christmas when I realized that girls like me carry hope around in our pockets. Hope is such a life-sucking thing; either do, or don't do, but don't bother with hope.


I remembered Long Island and Rex stretched out on the sidewalk, head propped against the building and legs crossed.

You okay? I asked.

Just waiting, relaxing, he said.

He was drunk. Who relaxes on a cold December sidewalk after midnight?

Soon we were all back at the guys' house a few blocks from a beach abandoned in the winter, its cold sunsets as pretty as miracles. Rex cracked a beer. I watched his nose run. Inside, another friend was losing it a little on pills at the head of the table as he petted his straight, long hair and insisted we all call him Alice.

Well, hello Alice, you 25-year-old asshole, I thought. Hanging around a beat-up rental with beer cans piled against the walls and indulging in a game of hide and seek from real life. It's gonna find you worn out and broke in a few years, when us college kids graduate or get a job or move out, or die, I thought. Alice. What an ass.

We stood in the kitchen under a milky bare bulb where he presided over his stupid delusions and drunken disciple friends and I said, he's a mess.

Yup. Rex was slurring everywhere and sort of swayed, but he knew Alice was toast. If you don't call him Alice, he flips out. It's bad, he said.

A few weeks later as I drove through cold, shallow dunes and scrub pines surrounded by the scraps of summer's Rosa Rugosa, I saw a car stopped along the windy beach road that led to a seasonal bar, closed up for the winter.

Alice stood with his hands dropped at his sides and a briny, bitter Southampton sea breeze pushing his hair off his shoulders. I parked behind his car and followed frigid prints in the dusty white sand. Alice? I said.

Sun cut across the bay and skipped into my eyes.


He turned a little. I saw hair blowing. His profile. He said nothing for a few seconds, then turned away.

I remembered Rex saying, he flips out, it's bad.

I am sure that every year, everywhere, some guy somewhere stands with his face in the wind, mind gone, and stares at a future with nothing in it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alone With Her Thoughts

Sitting in a saloon with a beer on a Sunday, she drank and plotted life on a napkin.

Outside, December's bells and song reminded her that she and all the other dirty drinkers were young once, when wishes were as easy as bubble gum.

Christmas: saloon doors swinging behind her she left a coin for the carolers and hummed their song.


I handed out hope in a glass

to trembling hands and cracked lips

parched and parted and grim

limp, overused dollars

watery hopes


I have not seen Santa in a year

a year of hangovers, arguments, love, and burnt dinners

and heartache, stupid as a stone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In his attic apartment with my face in the pillow he whispered from on top of me, I have to call my boss and call out sick.

I propped up on my elbows, but from behind he slipped his arms under mine and flattened me. Pressed against my back he said against my ear, I want to stay here with you.

Let's call your boss I said.


Let's call him right now.


Yes, I said.

He dragged the phone by its cord and dialed.

Give the phone to me, I said.

As the phone rang at the flower shop, I tried to calm my breathing and said, I am sorry, he can't come in today. He is in bed. I don't think he feels well. This is his girlfriend, yes, I said.

A few minutes later he let me up. He lit another cigarette and tossed its ashes in his shoe.

Yesterday we sat at the bar's front window overlooking Southampton in the summer. His lighter snicked and Marlboro smoke curled around his fingers. He blew smoke toward the glass and a woman stopped on the sidewalk to smile at him.

One day I would be a star at something, I thought. Across the street sat my battered old pick-up. I laughed every time I looked at it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I remember Albany like a dirty dream.

All I wanted was sex, but strangers' starved grins cooled me.

I wore the heels off new black cowboy boots while walking around frigid, unfamiliar winter streets. I was in a in a New York city I did not know. Catherine had asked me to visit and with an 18-year-old's thoughtlessness, stupidity, or impulsive abandon, I grabbed a spot on a coach bus with its industrial stink and dirty seats.

We stopped somewhere and I managed to suck down a beer hidden in my bags, then begged a stranger's cigarette.

I did not know yet that youth's whims and the scent of urine in an alley in cold Albany would fade. I did not know that one day I would want to fall in love desperately, as if I could bring my dreams to life, but the guitar strings snapped and the music stopped.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I gave thanks, but that was yesterday...

A bloody sunset stained tissue clouds while I stood at the brink tossing pennies -- wishing, wishing, wishing. The sky’s fiery light dimmed and a bruised darkness came, smudging trees’ silhouettes beneath early stars.

Orion hung in the sky as I rolled an empty trash bin across the lot. Such a poised, crooked, and eternal warrior. Light from the bar’s kitchen door threw a path across littered blacktop as I rushed back inside to sweep and mop a lonely room. Gone were the sharp drinkers’ voices.

I swept crushed things across scuffed slate. I once felt doomed. I once felt haunted. Winter’s chill had settled in. Locking the door and giving the bar back to the spirits, I scraped frost from my windows and shivered.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nothing much tonight other than stray thoughts on my hands:

Small white lights adrift along pale pine trim. A little bar of dusty bottles and dried candle wax. Wet wine glasses glistening like tears.

I wiped down bottles untouched since this time last year when I had cleaned and cooked and finally sat on my ass with a drink as guests arrived. Tangerine light spilled from the fireplace, painting long shadows across the living room.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, when I throw a party for anyone who wanders up the walkway with a bottle of cabernet. Happy Thanksgiving Eve, when I listen to laughter echo.



I pressed my cheek against a fleeting dream and swayed

and loved


Ticking past Midnight and listening as rain hit the skylight, I tasted plaintive lyrics on my lips -- words, crying to be free.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trying To Catch The Echoes

To fading music under a red neon shine, I swept the floor. Time stole another night and soon the bar's crowded laughter tapered into sighs.

I stood alone after closing time, drying my eyes with a dirty rag. With cupped hands I thought I could catch the echo of beautiful things, but heard only my feet on a dirty floor.


I am tired and Thanksgiving is coming. As late autumn color fades early from the sky and sunsets flare against a looming winter, scents of seasoned firewood drift in the air.

It's a short week because we all need to stuff a turkey.

Just give me a glass of wine and leave me alone to dream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The bay turned to thunder under a sudden rain that soon whispered along drooping Douglas firs. Wind pulled water off drenched Queen Elizabeth roses ringing a stone fountain -- puddles in a cherub's cupped hands shivered.

You've got to love a good, soaking rain, she said. Heavy drops gathered and fell from her brim. it's good for the plants, she said. Around her were bursts of yellow, glossy pink, and sparks of blue. Day lilies, tea roses, and a sea of forget-me-nots drank up from between stones. Pure, undiluted water is good for us too, she said.

I can't think of today and its jumble of confusion, so I think of then -- when I was in Long Island in a summer storm with Patricia. We hurried to pack our edgers and spades, cover the peat moss, and find the last set of shears. My rusty old pick-up was just getting rustier, but it was mine. Every day I dug, planted, watered and watched. Each morning I used my left hand to open the clenched fingers on my right. Hard work made them that way, and I was glad.

The driver's door flew open one day as I made a hard left turn on Sunrise Highway, leaving Southampton in the rear view and heading toward Montauk. With my right hand on the column shift I dragged it into second gear and jammed my knee under the steering wheel. With my left hand briefly free I reach out and yanked the door shut so hard that it never opened again. I spent at least a year hopping in and out of the window, but it was mine and I drove it until the tie rods snapped.

I would get home seconds before dusk's gray smudges in the sky turned black and drag myself and a beer into the crappy plastic shower stall at the cottage I rented. I watched the overhead spray rinse dirt from my skin. I imagined Patricia's voice: it's not dirt, it's soil. If I lit a Marlboro and blew smoke through the Impatiens she would ask, who is smoking that delicious cigarette?

I didn't know what was coming. I couldn't see the future. Had I picked a direction or formed even a tiny plan I might have been better in the end, but in less than two years I would crash. Heartache and sadness were bad enough, but being adrift in life without friends or a clue did me in.

My heartache: I would see him sometimes and wonder why he did not love me anymore. I never waved. I always looked at a shop window, the sunset, my feet, but never at him. I never knew if he saw me. As much as I reinvented and perfected my life in my head, I never gave any thought my life in the world. Goodbye, I should have said to my reflection, because I sank.

I lived by time told on the hands of a wind-up clock. I looked forward to coffee in the morning and a beer before bed. I had no phone and no one to call anyway. I didn't care. I wanted a few bucks for the bar on Friday and enough stashed in the truck's ashtray to buy a few new books by Saturday. I listened to Cat Stevens all summer and must have planted more than a thousand roses, hundreds of hydrangeas, and tore through one old walkway with a pickax because the woman absolutely had to have those aromatic lilacs right there beneath the kitchen window.

I learned to love the rewards of exhausting work that robbed my mind of worry and brought more immediate things into focus, like my shitty boots. These water-bogged things were trash even before I laced them up and ruined them.

I had no demons then. Bad dreams and an invasive sadness were usual, but demons didn't come until later, when I would see myself in my head but the shadow beside me on the ground was not mine. I told a friend months ago that I was haunted, and I meant it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just a few thoughts, and some other things I think:

I want to stand under a streetlight with the wind's echo so beautiful as rain cools my lips.

But there is no streetlight or beautiful wind. No echo. No rain. Just thoughts like photos that fade.

Looking through old pictures I found a bride -- her dress draped across her hips like a caress. With a beer in her hand, she laughed. In another room was her husband, nervous despite a fresh cigarette, pressed suit, and friends.

In other photos is a little girl with a dandelion puff held in the wind. Her hair is shadows and sunlight. White wisps of dandelion seeds fly in the late summer breeze.

I remember being happy. I remember floating as I walked and loving everything. That's when life was coated in gold and gravity didn't touch me. I giggled when I spoke and approached most things like I was at a carnival swinging a hammer for a prize. Everything I had went into every swing. Every time. Now I watch my step. I am afraid I will miss. I am afraid.

I don't feel free.

Monday, November 14, 2011

On a warm November day I turned my face toward an overcast sky and wondered how my heart had turned black.

A nun in the grocery store waited behind me with a family-size bag of Cheetos, a coupon, and wilted stockings ringing her ankles. Could she see my black heart inside? Would she give me advice? Would I even listen? Does she really care about the rest of us tarnished souls?

For weeks I have wondered about the patter of souls sagging under heavy hope the size of parade floats, dreams of heaven, endless love, and mountains. I was among them, and I cast the smallest shadow.

I don’t want to die to find heaven. I want to press against endless love and melt, and I want looming mountains to yield — a soft loam beneath my feet.

Who am I if the world changes and all the familiar things turn away in bitterness and hurt, and I am alone?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Walking uphill toward an early sunset I watched drifting clouds blend and part as the day’s last shred of sunlight slipped through.

Comfort has turned to sand and I can’t see the future anymore.

I am lost.

Creamy lavender hues paint the sky behind charcoal trees dressed in black, swaying leaves. The scene is beautiful and cold.

I am lost.

After pouring a glass of wine I rubbed my fingers along the rim and wondered about the weeks as they pass — time flowing along while I crawl around in the dark looking for answers. Where am I?

Demons swirl in my thoughts and I lift my glass to toast, to sip, to taste bitter beautiful flavors on my lips.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am afraid lately, and anxiety is pinging inside. I want so much to lean against something and melt. I want a much greater distance between truth and my big, fat lip.


I drove down a rutted lakeside trail with my heart in my ears, eyes skipping across a tightly packed neighborhood of patios jammed against neighbors' sheds.

Where was the for sale sign?

I wondered if a vacant place would ever feel like home as odd headlight patterns danced on the walls at night. I remembered my apartment in Shelton, and just to test a theory one day I fired a spitball against the house next door.

The for sale sign tilted toward a low stone wall. Traffic buzzed nearby, and through a chain-link fence I saw the highway -- Route 84 slices through town, scarring rural countryside and often tossing its shadow in a thick band across summer picnics and kids in the swimming pool.

What the hell was I doing here anyway? I was a kid in mom's closet trying on high heels. I was an idiot.


Moonlight coated dried leaves with a sterling shine along the path as I hurried inside. The day's warm sunlight died early and by rush hour a heavy moon stretched wide over the road, climbing.


I think I need a glass of wine and time to think about this one. Somewhere some asshole is hoarding all the good answers and people like me sit chewing our fingers and making the best of second guesses.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

For My Brother

Finicky time snicks softly past

giving or taking or forgetting us

yesterday a playful dog slept against a child

but today he did not wake

we'll hear those claws on the floor

and a wet body shake

put down the leash and the stick

and wave goodbye to Rudi


Driving home on election night after watching the Republican blade slaughter its opponents in Newtown, I wondered about the price of a split second's breath that often costs a lifetime. Did one man really call his opponent a snake? Really?

Lifting my camera overhead and sliding sideways through a crowd I glanced outside as a near-full moon poured silver light across the landscape.


I don't know what to say today. The muse has stolen my mind and dashed into dreams where blades stab holes in my thoughts and doubt steps in.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some Things Need To Be Said

These are postings from the dark -- a collection of things I scribbled during the week my power went out and my breath plumed in small pools of candlelight.


Throwing back my head and searching for the Milky Way I said, play me a song. Play me a good song -- something I can press my hips against.

Inside I grabbed a glass of wine and laughed as I stained my lips a deep red. I thought, play me something raw that means everything, but make it small, so I can hold it in my hand. Make it fit. I can't handle too much, just bits and pieces.


The minute I understood I was doomed I looked back and saw my stupid heart a thousand miles behind. Are you coming? I wondered. Hurry.

When I was 18 the world was coated in gold and I was going to touch all of it.

I don't feel so free anymore. I never would have guessed that I would be rumbling along years later in a really old Ford while warm night air coaxed fog from a fluke October snow on the ground, throwing ghosts in front of my headlights.

I had fever dreams and I heard a demon. He told me, you have said things no one has ever said to me before. My friend Tim died about a year ago, but he told me something that just keeps making sense: some things need to be said.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Love, like a breath against my lips, has sunk in. Tears dragged my heart across my cheeks, glistening.


After a heavy snow stole power for days I promised postings from the dark. With a blank notebook and an old pen I understood that a page without words is frightening.

All week I looked up to tall, tapered candles like they held a little bit of sun. I showered from a pasta pot and fell in love with a warm cloth against my skin.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Goop:

I looked up one day and couldn't see the future anymore

i searched my pockets

and finally dug tired fingers through pudding thoughts

looking for sharp edges and hard parts

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things That Go Bump In My Head

Of course I drink as much as possible. What the hell else is booze good for? Well, I used to feel that way. I used to buy big bottles, not necessarily good bottles. The drinker is an old monster, among other haunts…

The truth will set you free? The truth will also knock the wind out of you in a drab living room in Derby where I tried to sleep in a chair once but the sounds of belittlement aimed at me from the guy on the couch kept me awake.

Just another visit…

I had noticed dead foliage crumbling on his porch, falling from flower pots I had planted that spring. I sucked in a desperate breath of cold air and knocked.

He opened the door and stared at me. With glassy eyes and gray wispy hair curling around his ears, his jaw worked nervously -- fingers tapping patterns. He let me in.

We stood in a foyer with a staircase leading to one occupied room in a hall with others that sat preserved under a cloud of dust and neglect, touched only by his contempt for those who had once lived and slept in those other beds.

Downstairs his stuffed chairs and sprawling couch In the living room were all at perfect angles. I watched him brush off a pillow, then stare at the wall.

Where were you? he asked.

Nowhere, I said.

It snowed. Your car at your apartment was never cleaned off. After a few days I went in with the police to look for you. Where were you? he asked.

I wasn't there, I said.

I had split with him and on a whim I went to Daytona Bike Week 2003 with someone I knew only enough to say hello -- because I was free. I had fun and we bitched to one another about exes neither of us knew, drank beer, rode his bike, and I was happy in my sunglasses in Florida where I never expected to be.

Then I came home. I had to go see him. The break was recent and he was worried about me, he said. Come see me, he said. I will always be the biggest fool I have ever known.

Where were you? he shouted at me.

He shoved me against one of the chairs. I got my balance back and he shoved me every time I straightened up. I bounced off the corner chair again and finally decided to stay there. Screaming now, he demanded, where were you?

I went to Florida.

With who!

A friend's roommate.


I told him.

Where does he live?

I don't know.

I was back on my feet and leaving.

That's it, I said.

You tell him, I am really good in the dark.

I imagined him decades ago sitting in the sweaty hell of Vietnam and I thought, maybe you were then, but not now.

Anyway, Halloween is coming, and the monsters are out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, Boo Hoo

Why use a knife when the truth will do?

I've been feeling awful, cursed and hard

like a sinking stone

tied to my heart


Nearing midnight in late October, I waited for Halloween with a glass of Cabernet. I am doomed if I ever run out of this stuff; it gives me something to do with my pursed lips.

I woke up this morning and saw flashes of my troubled mind: I dreamt of chainsaws through a flower garden and handfuls of my hair torn out in my hands.

Once upon a time many Halloweens ago I sat in a friend's seaside apartment where the dirty-salt scent of Long Island Sound mixed with oily factory fumes. Restaurants down the row puffed fryer exhaust into the sky, giving us a taste of a beer battered, overcooked night.

What should we listen to?

Hey, what about Nick Cave's Murder Ballads? I asked. Nick just kills at will and sings with glee about the blood on his hands. I like Halloween. I like its monsters and demons. Some days they are closer closer closer than others. Sometimes they say beautiful things that I crave, and sometimes I am afraid.

As my dryer cranks a warm, cottony scent into the night my fingers wrap around a wine glass.

The days and nights at home are tough lately, but sincere. What can I do with feelings in my hands like marbles of blown glass?

What I want most in the world is to sit in a corner alone and feel relief, sometimes. Isn't that kind of abandoning everyone and everything?

A psychologist told me years ago that I just don't cope. Kendra, you have no coping skills, she said.

Well, isn't that the perfect way around everything? I thought.

Just An Autumn Day

Skipping through naked tree limbs, autumn's early sunlight shines brighter on my cheeks -- finally free of a damp, heavy summer. The air is powdered with brittle leaves as it tugs my hair. I wonder about love, like satin. I wonder about freedom, like a dream.

We can't hold everything in our hands all at once. I am back to the bits and pieces. Treat love gently, because it is raw and fierce and knows only elation or heartache. Chase freedom carefully because it is buoyant and impossible to grab.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on scraps of paper in my purse:

He doled out time like ribbon candy, sweet and brittle and sticky on my teeth.

I laughed, but should not have laughed. I was sobbing -- little feelings dried up in damp tissues on the floor while I cried until I couldn't breath.

At the bar at night-into-morning I listened to Bob Dylan, drank a wine, and wondered over and over about the difference between selfish and wrong.


Halloween when I was a girl…

Night settled with crisp sounds of leaves in a lazy breeze and my imagination ran ahead on light feet.

I was a girl, a cat, a ballerina, a witch. I was alive and dreaming and racing for candy with my neighbors, faces painted in false red grins or masked like death or terror, lining up behind me as I pressed the glowing bell.

My haunts were not real yet. As I tugged a pillowcase full of candy through a cool autumn night I did not know that I would walk heart first into a hungry demon.


So much on my mind…so much.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just A Glimpse

The phone just rang and I considered smashing it. Instead I said, Newtown Bee…

A woman spoke and each word came with difficulty. I strained to understand. She made the phone call for her mother, who did not recall a bill they received from our newspaper.

I imagined an adult child with a disability who lived at home with a mom who probably needed her. I wanted to give her everything I had. I wanted her speech — just for a moment — to flow with beautiful sounds from lips shaped like cherry candy, sharing thoughts and laughter that came without effort.

I wished too, as I replaced the phone, that I could make their bill go away and their lives easier.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh, Just Imagine...

In a bar with lights a pale butter yellow

he sits with eyes sparks of blue

She says, I have such a crush on you

dance with me, he answers

The bits and pieces feel a little better

pressed together for a minute

They fill gaps perfectly

where nothing else would fit

I sit here with nothing to write about while I wait for Halloween.

A few of the haunts are early, straws dug into my god damn bleeding heart.

Wine is the wrong answer for this. A fast dose of Cabernet at noon may be a good balm for brunch and baby showers, but how can I soothe the heavy things that make me cry? I was swirling morning coffee in a paper cup today when someone reached past me for the sugar. Tears were dripping down my cheek.


I tell Jerry, I don't feel right; something is wrong. I have so many things on my mind, I tell him. He stares at me and knows that either nothing, or something really ugly is coming, and hides his head under his shirt. Laughing, I wipe tears away again. I tell him a bunch of other stuff that just leaves blood on my hands, so I won't repeat it.

Remembering my apartment and Ani DeFranco on the CD, I miss being alone. I have told him so many times how much I miss it. How can I say things that hurt you? I ask.


With my coffee ready, I give the girl two bucks. She hands me 50 cents before I squeeze outside where pick-up trucks line the lot.

Can I go back and edit things so all the edges are rough? So nothing is comfortable to hold or read or pass along? That's good stuff. Tailored beautiful things are perfect until you lean on them a little, and they tend to hit my last screaming nerve. I guess I have monsters of my own that live in my head. What a bitch.

I want to sink my fingers into something firm and press my teeth against its shoulder and stay there. Just stay there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A mid-October Menace, But So What

I had something raw in my hands

like clay

like the edge of your shirt

like your hair in my fingers

like love

Words in my ears

i wanted more

but fear like stage fright

and claws in my chest

and a fool’s desire

stole my breath

You’re intense you’re on fire

you’re in front of me

you’ll burn me

you’re perfect

you’re a demon too big for the room

you’re my poem

don’t disappear