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.