Posts for June 6, 2021


Grad Party

I’m at a graduation party
the mother of the grad is proud, boastful, weepy
kissing every flower sewn into her daughter’s crown
praising each petal lauding her achievement
—grateful they aren’t gracing her headstone—
inked into black vines and red rose tattoos she hates
that’s what she said over the mic, through the speakers,
that they’ll talk later about the permanent stains
they’re reminders to keep the crucifix close
and daughters’ bodies like Venus de Milo
alluring enough to make you forget the amputations
until she reminds the room
her gorgeous grad was depressed, suicidal
willing to take the efemera of this celebration from her
since she inspired her expectations with a full womb cradle
and overexposed visions now revisited under her inundated eyelids
before the clouds stop wringing themselves out
the sun slithers back into the room
and her rambles trip over the Bible in her throat
thanking God for their trooper
that galvanized her to recommit to her M.A. in Theology and Music
and carve out her shift on the throne of gradulatory success
patting the heads of the family and prayers that lifted her there
her and her grad share the mic for a song on overcoming
in her second speech she laments the grad’s absent voice teacher
his grandfather’s funeral kept him from attending
even though she invited him despite her dislike of his sexual preference.
Does her throat hurt yet?



Present here and present there
Is there enough of me to go around?
I’m physically present here
Virtually present there
Zooming into a gathering with audio and video
        lets me see and hear that
       Yes! We are yet alive to see each other’s faces!
With no physial travel, just a press of a single key
     We can go in an instatnt, to the places we want to be.
Clothed in formal attire, or Tshirt and jeans, 
We can come together just as we are
    to be virtually and actually present with one another.
So I ZOOM in with video and join the connection! 
I am there to participate and engage in moments of community!
I want to be fully present in the moment!
To actually be there I must be present through
     the giving of invisible parts of me
     that the video doesn’t show.
Actual presence requires my time and full attention, 
     and concern for the others I will meet.
ZOOMing is a new reality that makes
       virtual and actual presence possible.
It’s good to be together!
To laugh and chat for a while. 
However, ZOOMing can’t provide, 
     the thing I miss the most
           the warmth of  actual human touch
                  and comfort of a gentle hug
                       that goes with the sweet smile. 


Cry Baby

It all came back with the birth 
of my boy
while zipping him into 
his snuggly soft cotton one…
the feel of a sleeper
my own,
pilled polyester
legs kicking
toes pressing
into the footies
crying out loud in ’68
Dad called me Razehell.
Today a librarian,
still emotional,
called an old ass 
cry baby
I prefer quinquagenarian,
just to be clear.


My Muse

I’ll use that one spoon for my sugar,
the one you thought Pops might have liberated from a flight,
and think of all the questions I should have asked while I have my coffee.

I’ll save the wine for when things are settled; I will toast you and pretend to like it more than I do, and think of all of the answers I did get.

The tea cup will be for when I just want to be with you at the kitchen table, watching the birds, planning my day, putting together my life.


basement couch

i have him memorized by now
the back of his neck is tan 

recently cut dark brown hair 
i run my fingers back and forth 
back and forth 

episodes and episodes go by 
yet i have no clue what’s happening 
in the show 
not because we do anything wrong
we do nothing at all

nothing except lay there 
stomachs touching and heart beats
falling into the same rhythm 
you’re so warm, he says 
a gentle kiss on
the back of his neck

in that moment i realize 
with a sigh of pure relief 
love is not a rush of adrenaline 
love is not a rollercoaster 

love is not being scared 
of the one who’s with you 
but being scared of 
the shattering of your heart
that would follow if 
you never got to kiss 
the back of their neck again 



i wish i thought this
was enough sin to leave
you in shame. but you’re
just a girl
like me, twenty –
something and committed
prematurely. i get it i say

i’m as much a coward,
a loser, a dreamer, an idiot,
a romantic for new romantics. 
but hey, at least i’m not married. 



I stopped telling the truth
when I realized

you thought I was too much
in a not enough kind of way.

Please don’t be angry.
I love you.


afterwards – a haiku

the eerie soft glow
of photoluminescence
can’t quite imply the danger


kentucky dam lake

i’m writing this in the bathroom
so that i don’t come across as rude
or “always on her phone, kids these days”
because she’s right
this is exactly like my family vacations
and her’s would never say that me
but mine would.

all their conversations are about cousins
that they half-heartedly give me context about
or about themselves and their new home renovation projects
or how it was “a god-thing”
that they didn’t leave their suitcase at home
or how their pastor said
star trek vs. star wars
doesn’t really matter
because we’re all people,
and we’re allowed to have our different opinions
(which i guess is how
they feel about being republicans)
or about how they brought skinny pop
and the serving size is a half cup right?
how many calories is that, jeez?
wow! you ate that much already?
well you know how hard it is to keep that weight off as you get older,
but look at you two,
you tiny things.

they’ve already had two conversations
about how short she is
and her uncle reminds me of mine
in his mannerisms
and some kind of awkward energy i can’t quite place
and i feel sorry for her brother
only because he reminds me of my own
and her mom wants so badly
to win this game
that she makes it everybody’s fault
but her own
and i really do feel at home.

the second she stepped out of the car
i heard her dissociate
and hope that her edible would kick in soon
and i felt bad
for pulling out my thermos of wine
so early in the night
but after the first conversation
i didn’t feel so bad about it anymore
and a thermos of wine later
i don’t feel bad at all
about being secretly drunk at someone else’s family vacation
because after all the shit we’ve been through
we fucking deserve this.


There are no words.

How do you find the words
to embrace the boy
at the end of the phone line
7 miles away
whose world has just been shattered
by a purpled face, flashing lights, and a flat line?

There are no words.
There are no words.
There are no words.

He tells you to hold your family close
to never take anything for granted
and you want to wipe the tears from his eyes
because suddenly
your family of four went from normal
to a  luxury item he’s lost and can’t replace

There are no words.
There are no words.
There are no words.

I’m so sorry.
I’m here if you need me.
Let me know if you need anything.

There are no words.
There are no words.
There are no words.