Sunday, December 30, 2012

We were swaying on our feet and holding hands yesterday
my head against your chin

you looked so happy, she said, you really did
then our coffee came and she stirred hers up
started talking about her hair

i am wondering how long it will last
you know, the lightning inside
an early sinking sun caught my eye
cherry red and fading

i set my wishes on a rippling December river washing away
things have stopped making sense to me

a new year and a fresh chance to dream
and i will

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Now And Then

Honey tongue and hungry eyes
carve me
arms wide i am waiting and waiting

scar me 
shooting star on the night

kisses like sunrise stain me

but a banshee wind whips
doubt crashes in while her cold hair flies wild and white
we shattered
again and again and again
over forgotten things 

a cold fireplace
separate chairs
buds that never bloomed


I am just not feeling it lately. But i know the slamming heartbeat and shining eyes. The vibrant stuff of life. 

The realtor couldn't unlock the box. Tired of crunching through the snow, I offered to slip through a window. Slip I did as I pushed feet-first through a missing pane of glass. 

The house immediately lost the appeal I had heaped on it -- a big bright room for a photo studio, stone foundation, rustic woods all around, a beautiful fireplace.

One Internet picture after another drew a pretty scene of a cottage in the woods. The whole thing all together as I wandered from one inexplicable space to another, was a stupid mess. Crunching back to the Bronco I felt my mood crashing. There was no way I could breathe a spec of life into this daydream.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That Telephone I Threw At You Wasn't Fair

I saw the lake's early shine through bare trees.
sunlight on glass
day breaking 

ripples crashing
caramel on water

i sat in a cold basement alone
breath misting
i knew what you meant to me
i'm breaking

glass promises
sticky dreams

you're gone


That telephone I threw at you wasn't fair
i'm sorry
but love, it's on its own ticker
and anger
like sunsets or a shrinking moon
is there
and not always fair


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

He died tonight crossing Main Street
can I fly at the swollen moon
can i smash it

brittle shards slice my feet
sparks of dying light remind me
to regret

the moon hangs full
a boy and the landscape are dead

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just Wind Against The Window

Rustling, shuffling
scrappy little screams

reds to redless
yellow pales 

mean are the winds against Autumn's dying leaves


At 1:37 in the dark early day I can't worry about thoughts or dreams or tomorrow, just a silly little phrase.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It came out in a burst, so I knew it was right.

Just Fragments, Sir

The night was all struby
flekky and cream
with whimmy little barbs

i stayed up late
bellyache all shoovy and mean

i know you thought of me
too zinny and straight
then you forgate

so, so mean
i was a flimsy dream

the night was still struby
zettled by vizzy little jabs
shoovy so cruel

I cry
so crimpy 
you know i love you

(I saw this wonderness at's a Lewis Carroll Jabberwocky thing.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seasons Change

I dug deep
begging for more 

but my flowers died and the trees fell bare
wind rose from nowhere

i wrote your name on my hand
i threw pennies in a fountain
love me?

sugar thoughts of you 

life's bitter and strange 
you're nowhere
i'm on fire

bringing on the downside
clocks stop clocking
love stops loving

it's quiet on the downside
empty kisses on paper lips
i'm feeling tired

another day 
somewhere starts its dawning

i drew hearts in an early snow at sunset 
raging orange plume


Some days I am just worn bare and none of it means a thing anymore. And on other days I throw wishes at the beautiful sky.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Says An Early Storm

I heard this fairytale laughter flying in the wind. Giggles and snowflakes and winter coming early on a November afternoon dropping inches of fluff to snarl ugly traffic.

Life was gentle until I lived it.

I drank too much hoping I would not know you anymore, but instead I was in the gutter and I didn't know my name.

The flowers died after your wedding. Snow fell on brown brittle leaves in early November and that night I opened wine that had turned to vinegar, then stared at my empty shining glass.

I wanted to love you, but it's one of those things that will or won't ever be for you and me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jawin' At The Coffee Shop

They sat in a smoky dusk watching traffic.  Caffeine in their cups and cigarettes jammed between fingers covered in grime and scars. They laughed about anything, just jawing' at the coffee shop.


The Silly Things

Just love me
shells and the sea

damp summer on a bubble gum day
candy in your eyes

love me
yellow petal and a bee

sugar tongue
love me a little

autumn comes
throwing rainbow trees

kiss me
lips like flames
love me

shiny penny moon
snow on the beach
love me
i'm an angel 

i saw you 
i am stuck on 
you saw me too
love me?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thoughts From The Shower

My heart is broken it's like a stone
i tossed it to the sea
watching the rings run

i threw my shredded soul to the sky
watching its ribbon spirit fly
straight to the sun

you never said goodbye to me
you were something, then you were none
i watch the rings run and my soul catch fire in the sun

Monday, October 1, 2012

It Never Ends

I know i've gone too far

so i ask 
what will you do
with the scars i carved on you

you won't tell me how it hurts
you won't tell me that i'm cruel
but i know i've gone too far
every time i look at you

what if i make a promise
a promise that is true
written in love letters i address to you

but i think i've gone too far
silence kills our laughter
what will you do
with the scars i carved on you

tell me that i'm cruel
let those letters burn
just burn the love i wrote to you

can you see a happy ending
do you find me cruel
for the love i took from you


October sends wind to rip colorful leaves from the limbs. I rush through changing woods to find a place among half-buried stone where I watch swirling leaves fall. 

I am riding the dirt bike like a cautious bandit, getting better, bolder, and more secure. Maybe next year I'll wend through rippling autumn on a little motorcycle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Worry Stone

I drew I love you in the sand 
the waves took it away

you're a shadow 
an ache somewhere 

you're a rock in my heart
a stone i should throw

instead, i drew your name in the sand


An icy moon hung above their silhouettes -- black satin lovers punched from a sheet of traffic haze at dinnertime on a Tuesday. They'll go home to bake a chicken, toss butter on baby carrots, and fall asleep wound around one another as if they never intend to let go.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So Says The Sky

As lightning lights and the frightening frights
a storm comes crashing in

on thunder feet and whipping wind
a storm comes whistling in

its wild torrents swelling 
rushing runnels pouring

rain forever whispering
that it's storming once again


Walking through a lingering summer warmth that these days easily fades, I know she's searching for a place to sleep as shadows steal the day away with an eager dusk. Autumn wakes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I've got no name for this

a thousand times i think of you
little rips and tears
but who cares

you had that something
sunlight and diamonds
silver spilling off the moon 

you slipped through my hands
but for a little while i was there

you were something slicing through me
a million spinning blades

never mind this ache
never mind this empty hollow

for a little while i was there
with sunlight and diamonds

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Old Friend

He remembers me like i'm still there
says he feels me near
where summer's candy sunsets bled 
but that was a thousand yesterdays

the rest of it was coming
autumn's cinnamon footsteps creeping
toward bad luck and shattered dreaming
back then, when I was there


Orion fell sideways across a black September sky near dawn, a sign of summer ending.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Never Gone…

That was no gentle love
it hurt me
i keep thinking I gotta forget you
but you tore me inside
you're never gone

you're my cry without echo
a dark love without dawn
i can't forget you
you tore me inside
it's never gone

spent a year without rainbows
couldn't make you come true
you're a song inside
i can't unsing you

you're a bleeding sunset fading
you took something of mine
how can i forget you


Mature oaks already wear the rusty signs of autumn -- their leaves drying while younger bursts of green cling to summer's emerald and jade. 

She lingers a few minutes less each day. Cooling nights push her warmth away. I love her and I'll miss her. Seasons change.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of things I remember for no reason at all

I saw you dancing with her
something broke inside

i should have said i love you
and i do
i do

tell me why my heart breaks
over you

i used to crave your laughter
i still do

were you really with me
or passing through

i think i really loved you
what if i still do
i still do

tell me, are you happy
with someone new

i craved your arms around me
did you really love me
i wish i knew
wish i knew

i caught fire when you kissed me
were you just passing through

tell me that you're happy
but i'm not through
loving you

why does my world break
why does the rain come
when i remember you

now i've got this heartache
tell me why my heart breaks

don't tell me that you're happy
are you happy

i love you
i love you

Monday, August 20, 2012

bye bye

Summer's yawning August days are slowing
the rhythms have snagged

blooming is dying 
daying is nighting


Just a glimpse

The pen must have shook in his old hands. 
In a coffee shop on an unremarkable Monday was a flyer folded and forgotten on a chair. Between coupons for free home security and a community church were cursive words: did you know that I am a very poor man? I didn't see my family, my kids.

Where did he go? Did anyone care or know the old man reading a flyer with a pen in his hand?


I don't have much tonight
I am tired as hell
been watching the summer burn out 
dead leaves falling

it goes like that
life and then nothing
laughter to silence
bright pink blooms to black

but we get it all back
this will happen again
it goes like that

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

just a storm

Pretty faces in the dirt
yellow petals shorn
sky above whipping wild

suddenly a thunder storm tore everything from August
cracking supple limbs
bees still sleep in the bouquet

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Alone on the bay on a sallow November day I roamed the sand and stones. I returned to the rutted driveway and shaggy red rug in a cottage over the dunes, lit a fire and waited for the rent to run out.
You're going to get rid of that car, right? the landlord had asked.
You've only got a couple more days.
She was a brisk slap of perfume and gray hair. 

I would slip her tarnished house key beneath the window and drive that green unregistered Dart to Southampton's landfill. Its gates were locked on a Sunday, and I walked away.


Nothing is prettier than Long Island, I told him. Just wait until all the people leave and the beaches -- knotted tight all summer with towels and canvas chairs -- can finally breathe. Wait until the wealthy silhouettes stop clogging the sunset. Wait until you're the only one on the narrow road tracing a thin shoreline,  driving over drifts of sand. Through gaps in the scrub rosa rugosa a warm sunset skips. Wait until the pavement ends and wild dune grass sways. Scramble toward the surf and stand below seagulls bouncing on a current over the endless sea.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August's cool nights 

The moon sits strangely in August's cool nights
its orange slice over shadows fading at dawn

summer is leaving
she is less by the day
her sunsets screaming 


I wanted to make more of summer's end, as if she knew her long, humid days were dwindling. Her sandcastles were crumbling. But she is just like the moon, the tide, the dawn, the night. She is here and gone -- a breeze, a rain storm, a butterfly.

Maybe I will have a little party here to finish the holiday booze and beer forgotten and dusty, and say goodbye.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

He tossed the newspaper next to his beer.
Nice paper, I said.
Don't make fun, he said. 
I am not making fun of it.
My wife died, he said. She was 44. Waving the paper, he said, she's in here. Cancer, he said. It came and went and when it came back this time, we knew. She was so sick at the end.

I later found her on page three.

He asked, don't you ever wonder why people come in here?
Sometimes it's obvious, I said. But you just come in on Thursdays for a couple of beers.
She was so sick, he said. I sometimes needed a beer and an hour or two.
How are you? I asked.
He tapped on the paper beside his glass. 
He said she went quickly at the end, but spent the last year on vacations, going places, She had a good life, but only half.

He walked out with the paper in his hand. The door thumped shut behind him. 
I'll be sad forever over this.


I didn't want to think about the sky or the time flying by above me. I was sad like a sunset. I was waiting for rain. The storm clouds were coming. I heard far-away thunder again, then the dusk and the dark.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It Doesn't Mean Much

I couldn't reach you
under a dying orange sky
ochre and rust and fire and gone

When I saw your laughter, her hair in your hands
I remembered one summer night with $40 bucks on loan 
jamming the jukebox and drinking
they say, you shouldn't drink alone

But it doesn't mean much anymore
anything you said

you won't find me 
under a dying orange sky
beneath untouchable stars alone


Just Something He Said

We were talking about unbearable fame
we were talking about musicians

He asked me, how do you sing?
You open your mouth and let your heart out. 
He smiled at me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

simple words are fine

I'll just sit here dreaming
that I'm in love with you

August's flowers blooming
full moon hanging high
i don't know where I'm going
i'm a rain storm passing by

I sat beside the summer
never asked his name
in his heart he pushed the sun aloft
i should have held his hand

the days are warm but shortening
will he take me with him
where love marks up the sand
perfect impressions on a beach at night
he never held my hand


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I saw two lawn chairs facing a fallow field under an angry sky…

They like to watch the weather

More than forty years, 
side by side under a changing sky
cyan turning gray
they watched storms from folding chairs 


I was happy

I was bouncing off the stars 
but none of this was mine
Everything would wash away
like sunshine does each day
I'd sit down to cry
just counting passing cars

Prop me in a lawn chair
you can walk away
a heavy heart will keep me there
to wait another day

I knew the joy would blow away
I stared at the sky
its staggered moon a-waning
tired from the strain
tired, and so am i

prop me against the sky
where i might blow away
or drag around a heavy heart
that might rise again one day

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Daylilies like flames brighten mid-summer fields while overhead thunder shakes. Raspberries' ruby fruit ripens, coneflowers' petals pinken, and Queen Anne's lace crowds the roadside.

It's everywhere, she said, everywhere. 

By noon wild asters sag in the heat. When will summer's lazy breath grow short, stagger, and sigh? When will she sense the fall and hasten her days? When will the humidity and hurting flies let the dogs and I through without breaking skin?

A wall of quiet moonlight broke, shadows rippled, and I thought of you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just A Picture

Just like you on a hungover mid-summer Saturday watching the room rippling while wild flowers bend in the heat, a girl like me has gotta hope.

But I remember your face. You were not thinking about me. Maybe I'll center yesterday's empty wine bottle on the linoleum floor and erase it with a hammer.

Should I do it?
Should I daydream?
In Long Island on a road following the beach and pink sunset on the sand I strolled, stretching my thrift shop jeans.
From a phone booth I called Noah and he picked me up for a fundraiser. Everyone was steeped in wealth. Half of them had AIDS and the music was bad. I didn't mind leaving money in the pot, but I didn't want to stay.

She's creeped out Noah, said his friend, and so am I.

So, what's your name? his friend asked me.
We met that day on the beach. They followed my prints to the water where I was stepping out of the easy bay surf in cut-offs, walking toward my workboots in the sand. Noah had long black tattoos slashing his back and ribs. 

We work for MTV, they told me. Me? I was just looking for something to do.

Seventeen years later I still remember telling Sean that I had lost Noah's number. When Sean came back from the phone booth he handed it to me, but I didn't call again. What would I do with MTV?

The summer stuck like honey. Cool barrooms filled with drinkers in a fishbowl and a girl with sunburn and seasonal rent. I was waiting for September to brush the vacationers away. 
Tomorrow is the first day of school, I said.
It is? asked Will. Well, cheers, he said. 

A few weeks later he would nearly die turning off Sunrise Highway headed for my driveway. A speeding car hit him and knocked him off his motorcycle. I didn't know about it until I overheard his friends asking why I didn't care.
I didn't know! I said.

He rolled over on his stomach on his hospital bed and I counted more than 30 staples along his spine. They put rods in it, he said.

Clubs had rolled up their banners by late August. When I went back to school I bought lunch with couch change and read Baudelaire. Stinginess, sin, stupidity, shall determine our spirits' fashion… and we shall feed on the corpses of our remorses, he said.

Looking backwards nearly twenty years I don't see a stingy girl, or sinful, or stupid. My daydreams had always shaped me, and still do. My spirit lives and dies a hundred times a day based on my hopes and imaginings. I can see where we would feed on remorse -- the one thing left when failure leaves us in the void -- but I am not so sour. I am not there yet.


Just A Thought

I was standing in a bathrobe about to light a fresh cigarette.
He wore fuzzy slippers in the camper doorway.

Maybe he was shooting a movie.
Maybe a makeup man pushed gel through his hair.

Where is he? his beautiful curly co-star would ask.
Drunk, I think.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

After He Left

Small dark hours when longing creeps in
I miss him

as summer's marmalade sky thickens
wild flowers ablaze in blue and white
i wonder, does he think of me?

July's deepening green trembles with heat
an early emerald morning
where is he?

holding my breath in the dawn i wait for dreams to come
or dreams to fade
away by the time a crescent moon
sews its sliver in the sky

with humid thoughts and a crooked heart
i pick through my day
what if i had softened my lips
instead of turning away?


I saw the strike marks on Anne's house where she smashed her cane against tired asbestos shingle.
Help! Help me! she shouted on an early autumn day at 4:30 in the morning. I sat behind her where she lay sprawled on the ground, and propped her against my knees. The police flashlights soon picked us out of the dark. They were good about everything. They called her Ma'am and shined the light in my eyes. 

I live next door, I told them. I heard her yelling. 

Where is my son, Anne asked. Check the car. My grand kids are stuck in the car.

Her children are grown and gone, I told the police. Anne, they're not here, I said.

Then check in the house. Check the bed and see if it's warm where he slept.

I said, no one is here Anne.

Police called for an ambulance.


I had often been to her house where she shuffled through heaps of old, stained, scribbled papers. She was saying, what's your phone number? What if I need to call you?

Flies buzzed over raw trash piled in a small container next to her couch. 

You gotta get me some of that bug spray, she said. Flies are everywhere.

Anne, can we clean out this trash?

I brought groceries to her. She shouted her list over television noise. We struggled with new phones, threw angry glares at the fuzz on her TV, or tried to work her medical alert button.
You know anything about this? she asked me.

Her house is empty now, and a wreck. The plumbing is bad and social services took back a furnace they lent to her, while her kids had hauled out the wood-burning stove. Looking at Anne a few years ago in her sloppy house dress and combs in her hair -- a small effort to be normal, be pretty, be a woman -- I knew I would be standing in her empty house one day, wondering if I should make an offer to buy it. She has been in Florida with her daughter ever since the ambulance drove her away. Today I stood there, looking at the couch and rug stains, wondering if I should call her. Wondering if I should buy it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I woke up to a meringue sky…

you thought I was your forever girl
but something's awry

I can't see the future anymore
wiped the dreams from my eyes


On a mercury dawn of fluid light, silver filled the almost morning. Seconds before  sunrise sparked on the hills I slipped in the door and you were waiting. Boots on and keys in hand, you were worried, and you were mad.

But it was an old trouble, something awry under a meringue sky.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Six Hours And Six Minutes Ago...

Graduation day:

Dreams are as easy as kites
keep chasing them

whatever you want to be and think and do,
that's you

This week I watched an intern folding pages in his notebook, then glance at people pushing out of the antique General Store.
Excuse me, he said.
They looked.
He paused.
Would you answer a question for me?
I added, we're from the Bee…
What advice would you give to graduating seniors? he asked.
I watched people's eyes search the sky, trace cracks in the ground, then squint at the intern who waited with his pencil touching an empty page.

I did not answer, but I thought: the world sparkles brightest after senior year, burning the last residues of childhood daydreams. Everything is smooth skin and tan lines. Girls glazed in Coppertone doze on the sand chewing gently on recent gossip. Or maybe not. Maybe there are time clocks and supervisors, flat tires and break-ups. Maybe there is rent due and work is scarce.

So, what's my advice? Dreams are as easy as kites … but they'll crash to the ground without us. Open your heart and bleed a little. Do something just to see if you can do it. Learn how to walk away smiling after failing terribly. Don't do what makes sense, do what makes you happy. That last one, that's a toughie, by the way. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Told Me This Was Crazy

I'll tie a ribbon in the storm
wild rain can't erase me
i never believed it was crazy
I'll tie a ribbon in the storm

so save a place for me
when you're somewhere else in love
and truth sits me down hard
save a place for me

If you remember me
remember you're not alone
when summer fades to snow
remember you're not alone 

A little was not enough
i'll save a place for you
a ribbon in the storm
even if you think it's crazy


I usually see her with Dave on Sunday afternoons.
I pour two vodka martinis with a splash. Make them dirty, they say, and they laugh. They split a burger and joke with a man sitting next to them, watching late spring sunlight fade. 
Maybe just a beer now, she'll say. Dave smiles because she smiles.
Me too, just a beer.
Once darkness seeps into the sky they say goodbye. Always on a Sunday.

She arrived amid happy hour on a Friday squeezing between waitresses carrying wings, and groups jostling extra chairs to a table. 
Her eyes shined.
She said, Dave died Wednesday.
I bought her a martini and sat with her while someone in the kitchen prepared a burger for a woman who would take it home and eat it alone.

We were divorced, but we lived together, she said.
I smiled.
We were married years ago, then Trevor was born, she said. When he was seven we divorced. Trevor is 20 now. We got back together when he was 14.
I had boyfriends, but I kept them in the closet. They would ask, when can we meet your son? But they never did.

I couldn't imagine what it would do to Dave, or to Trevor.

Dave, he was like gum on my shoe, she laughed.
Her order came out and she sipped her drink.
She said, he really liked you. So do I. He liked to come here and see you. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Couple Silly Dice In My Hand

Sound flew like razors from the big man
my heart's in ribbons
microphone buried in his grip
sweat and strain and beauty bloomed
the answer is here
somewhere in the crying blues


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Just A Guy

You died in the summer when my roses were blooming
a deep candy scent in the air
your obituary  in my stomach a stone

I put on pretty earrings but you forgot about me
I had perfume and a necklace
and waylaid hopes to make room for you
what a stupid thing to do
you forgot about me

maybe I didn't love you
but I didn't give up
even when your favorite fix was late to the party
and you rode your motorcycle home without me


Sometimes, I have to fill the wine glass and stop thinking about broken things.