Posts for June 14, 2018


used to

i used to be a 

writer now i can’t even 

create a haiku 


in the pines

if i could have five minutes more
with you
i would tell you about my children
and the things i know you would love most
i would surround you with their giggles and love
and watermelon 
and sparklers
and Skippy on the back porch–
black iron table and chairs
rusted swing set
and a red wagon ride

in the pines

i would tell you, i love you
more than words could ever express
love that spans generations to come
love that i only hope i can pass along one day
to my grandchildren 
and i would ask you to sing to us

in the pines

i would look into your sad eyes
as we would have to say goodbye again
knowing you remain strong 
as i break, from the rememberance of losing you 

in the pines

i would draw in deep-
your last breath — “dry up those tears dream boat” —
your words, the strength i would need to carry you on
when i can’t find me

“in the pines, in the pines
where the sun never shines
and you shiver when the cold wind blows..”


The Man Who Wore Our Home

The bicep of the man was covered by black ink
contorted into the markings of my mother’s home.
The spirals of our ancestors,
Our lineage,
Printed and bolded on his forearm 
caused me to stare

Our tatau is on that man

Distance and Time have exiled my mother.
She stays glued to pictures to smell the saltwater.
Relies on Facebook to feel the sand.

You can only handle checking “other” so many times
without seeing another in real life 
before you wonder if you’re the only other out here.

So when we saw this man,
who wears Our history,
Our souls,
Our family on his body
Our hearts wanted to find our identity within his tendons
But our minds had to ask questions.

Where could he have gotten it?
Where was the artist from?
North Carolina
Does he know what it means?
No. It was just a cool pattern.
Your tattoo is polynesian?
Sorry, What did you say?

“It’s okay mum, maybe some Samoans ended up in North Carolina.”
“Maybe the artist knew”
“Or maybe they think we’re just a pattern.”

My mum and I walk away
Feeling just as alien as before
And just a little bit offended.


Old Enough To Die*

at the edge
of life

in a world that
seethes with life

one old enough
to embrace ongoing

songs of the

*a poem found in Barbara Ehrenreich’s NATURAL CAUSES




Dear Kevin, (1952 – 1993)
         I never know to whom I’m going to write until I 
sit down at the computer and begin. So far (except for 
#4: To the Victims of the Parkland Shooting) everyone I’ve
addressed has been a man. I don’t think this will remain
so for the duration, but I have no idea how this project
will unfold. 
         This gender unbalance is because it’s been the men
amoung my family & friends that have been doing the passing
away, not including mom (or Penny as you, the gay son, took 
the privledge of calling her) who at a sprightly 94, didn’t die
but ascended into heaven. 
         When you were born the balance of power in our house
was definitely tilted toward the boys, 4 to 1. When our older
sister, Missy, heard that you were a boy, she threw the phone 
across the room; it was her tenth birthday and she was expecting
a little baby sister.  But it soon became evident that the score
was not what it seemed to be; by the time you were five we had
added two more girls to the mix and you were busy in Missy’s
bedroom closet trying on her dresses and her budding teenage
makeup, then you’d make a grand entrance down the steps into our
Victorian living room whenever we had company.  We started
saying that the Lallys had 3 boys, 3 girls and Kevin. 
         Kevin, do you remember Sister Mary George from fifth grade?
She played basketball with the boys everyday and had suspicions
about your manhood. She came to our house one day and told  
mom & dad that there was something wrong with you and they’d
better fix it.  They told her that, like the flying nun, she should 
take a flying leap. But not to disparage S.M.G. too much,  your 
own brothers were far worse. One of our sisters recently  
told me that you told her that we had once held your head in  
the toilet and flushed it, screaming: “Grow up.” “Stop acting like
a girl.” “Don’t be a sissy.”   I have scant memory of this, but with
Manic Mike leading the way, I’m sure I was capable of such
family facism.  Since I was four years older than you, I can’t 
plead innocent, so belatedly I ask forgiveness.
         Since Mike died in 2015 our family score is now girls ahead
3 to 1. Our sisters are kindly tolerant of such an old curmudgeon
as myself, but I sure miss you guys, even all the craziness that   
mom used to call “knock-down and drag-out.”  I don’t know what
gene caused all four boys to try poetry but it sure has been 
revealatory going through all these old writings. So Kevin, I’ll
end with your words from the pages of a Bay Area Anthology
of poems written by HIV positive people. Mom tore them out
and saved them in that Metaphors(tm) shoe box.  Ha. Ha.

Till next time,

Knowing The Teacher
                                              by Kevin Lally,  June 1993

 Look, look at death.
Touch it, let it touch you,
it is the door to your heart.
Accept, accept death.
Do not fight it, do not pretend that
        it is not there.

Practice, practice death.
Every day, like the piano
                     like your dance lessons
Know, know death.
Know it in all your life
                in all your grasping
                in all your letting go
Open, open to death
like the tree with the soil
                         with the rain
                         with the sun.


bleaching the sky

I dreamt of the boy again
the one that drained my skin
cradling everything in his palm before
smearing me completely 
with his dirt and filth

vivid red tearing through me 
as if I existed to only be taken

eyes skinning me alive
hands cleaning up the mess that was made

I became widowed
from my own body
stuck in a monotonous cycle
of wanting to be reborn.

bleaching everything 
in hopes to start over.

my eyes
in hopes to forget his face.
my hands
that only scratched in vain
my lips
that were too frail to scream
my sky
so I can live in another reality.

To be clean again.


selling rupi kaur poems by the roadside

personal growth.
I haven’t grown since the 8th grade.
I realize now that I am too short to be famous.
I’ve learned that I should milk heartbreak for money and attention. please publish my chapbook
and delete all the negative reviews.


Reminisce, Cerulean L’Aquarelle Sennelier

Aesthetics shiver,
a breeze in Moscow winter
drifts toward Paris

Kolinsky at hand
frozen vision shatters glass
nostalgia awash

Brushwork holds emotion
like Pushkins poem
in liberties hand

A drop of honey
makes the sentiment fluid
upon pale canvas


Broccoli Religion

Broccoli Religion



In memoirs, broccoli become

giant trees and tools for great change.

Broccolites ignore the Neilson Ratings

and request that all pages containing the words

“cheese” “crackers” and “mushroom soup”

be deleted from cookbooks and recipes

that feature broccoli.  Regardless of Bush,

BR claims to be America’s second religion

following on the heels of doubt.  And when

in doubt, eat more broccoli. 




Melva Sue Priddy



Mandarin ducklings

leap from their nest

high in a tree

for the first time

when they are one day old.

The mother duck jumps first

leading the way

then watches
from the ground

and calls to them.

The yellow ducklings

fall through the air— 

their featherless wings

as ineffective as flippers.

The birds bounce
against the forest floor

and wait for the others.

Then the little flock

follows its mother
to the water.


At the park for field day

I watch my son’s class

coming down the sidewalk

like spilled marbles.

Matching blue shirts

follow his teacher

as she walks backward

leading the way.

Her hand is raised

above her head

and her fingers are waving

but I can’t hear

what she says.

Cars settle to a stop

so the kids can cross

and make their way
to Woodland Park

where they join me

and the rest
of the waiting mothers.