Posts for June 19, 2021


Mao in My Office

Chairman Mao
stayed for two years
courtesy of Charlie

Large canvas above the desk
looms over, stifles the space
Stops people at the door

Red for the Red Army
red for blood
Red Autumn Harvest Uprising
red violent class struggles

Why is that painting there?
     Human rights abuses
How can it hang on that wall?
Founding Father, the People’s Republic

The painting depicts
the Dictator
The color of spilled blood

Contemporary Art
Needs a home

“Politics is war without bloodshed
while war is politics with bloodshed.”

Politics changes



i missed my warm bed with my weighted blanket
and the dog that sleeps there to keep me company
(only to take advantage of the warm bed)

i languish in the feel of my hands on the wheel
and the worn-out leather seats in my own car
(though the rental was very nice for a week)

i haul all my bags inside with brute force
and gently unload the overpacked backpack
(was it work if you enjoyed it?)

i feel wood under my elbows from my desk rubbing them raw
and smell the varnish and pen ink that goes with that
(the bed-writing was calming for a while)

i don’t really mind the dirt on my feet
and the feel of sand has been wiped clean
(although it was easier to get off than the new thing)

i have officially arrived home
and the 12-hour drive was actually worth it
(and hey! you returned!)


thinking about summer in terms of my loneliness

the epicenter of summer
seems to be lost

how, not so long ago,
we’d eat fruit on our front
porch—-a clear, glass bowl
filled with watermelon, strawberries,
cantaloupe, peaches, & pears—-delighting
in the sweetness as our fingers
became more & more sticky

& wasn’t it last summer
that we sipped iced tea
under our back gazebo—-
oh yes, & we talked about
our sadness & your leaving

my mind is haunted
at the image of you
waking up nude
on a stranger’s chest,
bloodied & bruised

our lives are wrecked by tragedy
& now we fill ourselves
with the mortal love
of one-night-stands

& i eat bruised strawberries
straight from the container
all by myself


Oro y Plata, Siete de Enero

Tomorrow, my kitchen will be neroli-adjacent;
tonight, the slicing. Awake
twenty-one hours and counting, I needed
to make something for myself, sing or bring
some good into
this day-passed but still present: 3am.
The sixth is over, but not. Six oranges
are starting transformation
soaking up silky syrup before drying. Oh
that alchemical moment,
sugar and water just bubble and clear.
My vision blurs more, eyes
finally dry but aching. Knife
in sink; sweetness will come.


Solstice Celosia

Today I prepared the last
unplanted place I garden
for my last spring planting.
A gift for commuters who 
slow to look out the window,
for trash collectors, letter
carriers, dog walkers and dogs
alike, whether they like it
or not, and for huddles 
of bumble bees who make
their approval obvious
well into the fall.

On the narrow strip
between sidewalk and curb
a stand of unruly blood-red
Cock’s Comb competing
like eighteenth-century
aristocrats for the most
outlandish plumage.


it’s what turns on the lights

from the valley below
a crow’s fly
      to our shaded road

its stack
      our eye level
its scent
      our baited breath


Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones

I didn’t want to tell you about my mistakes.
They sank like stones in the creek,
Skipping across the surface before that small plunk.
Smooth stones that fit the palm of my hand
Made no splash, sliding below the waters.
With each skip – One, two, three –
Sinking below the currents.  

Mother didn’t let me follow the creek down to the river,
The Little Miami meets the Ohio in unexpected excitement.
Here, between sharp shale walls,
I waded in, built dams with slate slabs and gray clay
that stuck to my hands and hid crawfish
in clouds kicked up by as I shuffled my feet.  

I kissed a boy in that ravine – he kissed me too  

Where the dark water pooled
Below the collapsed culvert.
The smell stuck to my skin, my hair, my nails
Even after the blue bathtub
And my mother’s soaps and laminations .  

I was the girl next door.
We laughed and played children’s games,
Slid down the hill in cardboard boxes.
Summer could not hold us.  

I remember the curl of his lip
And how surprised I was by his gentleness.
The feel of it stayed with me
On my mouth, my cheek, my neck  

Even after the blue bathtub.  


Layette Lament

Something drew me to the Piano Factory today
Baby doll clothes in a basket
$1 each
White Peter Pan collar in orange with gold spots
looking like Halloween, trimmed with black
There was a real baby slip,
a white whisper with tiny blue stitches
on the shoulder, at the button, along the hem
Like Hoffman’s magical books speaking of blue thread
sewn into hems for protection
radiating Take me home 

Another dress is the stage for a carosel

delicate embroidery
baby pony, elephant, duckie
Prim premie mint one
tiny buttons, pretty posies grace the bodice,
a pocket upside down parasol
drifts across the front
The others almost unmentionable except 
sheer white with lace yellow bloomers underneath
light blue white trim jumpsuit
skinny arms, long body, navy with pin dots
long sleeve yellow and white trim bed jacket
bunny with arms up
Hold me
Transparent white, pink scallop edges,
three itty-bitty flowers
all ready for baby



Every city is someone’s city.
Every place on earth,
from the sprawling concrete jungles
to the backroad forest towns,
belongs to the people within it.

They are the people that know 
every crack and every crevice,
which place makes the best burgers
and which roads to avoid in the rain. 

Each city has its landmarks
that ground the citizens 
in their history and heritage-
the things that only they
will ever truly understand.
The things the tourists and outsiders 
pass by without a second thought.

So many untold treasures,
made this way by their
exclusive significance 
to a select few.

When I visit other towns
I look for these things,
these places that blend in
unless you are searching.
I know I’ll never understand these places,
but I smile knowing
that there are people out there that do.



   keeper of treasures
mistress of sky and water 
   dragon boat warrior