Friday, March 14, 2008

this city.

this world flips me upside down,
shakes my ankles with rough hands.

instead of loose change,
I’m full of antique pearl buttons,
red thread, and ticket stubs
for movies I haven’t seen.

I smooth my skirt against my thighs,
right-side-up and red-faced

and want to drift back, slowly,
to the white of what’s left,
the white where it began.

at night, I crawl into bed,
closing the space around me
with blankets-- like petals in reverse.

sometimes all the people are just too much,

a quilt slipping over me
when it’s already too hot to sleep.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I've been writing pages of my idea for my next book, which I hope to be a college memoir in poetry & lyric essay. This is the beginning.

neptune's lips taste like fermented wine

and we've got peppermint schnapps bottles up
to our swollen lips, our freckled faces.

curled under hi-rise beds,
entwined like so many fingers in your hair.

leap into October lake,
slip corduroy pants over slick legs,
no towels packed in backpacks.

it's windows down, radio turned up
after two eggs sunny side up, rye toast
and the endless expanse of grapes on vines
ready to become $7 tastings of ice wine
in the dead of New York winter.

we spend days on the roof, climbing out attic windows,
sitting cross-legged on mighty downward slopes and
stare into the windows of the Dean's house,
wonder if she sees us over her breakfast, lunch, dinner.

two mattresses make a bed, tucked in
low-ceilinged corners of our attic--next to easel,
we're smudged with charcoal, feel the soft burn
of carpet on our backs, pretend like we don't notice.

I hold my toothbrush in my hand and rock
back and forth in the snow.

My fingernails leave indentations in my skin.

I place green bottles on windowsills of white-light
and they make spring appear in my bed,
on my white stomach.

I learn out of windows, take pictures of my freckles,
dyed black hair against the nape of my neck--
try to make myself feel pretty.

We hide the liquor above washer and dryer,
forget about laundry.

I lug home bags of tattered costumes
from the theater, wish my frame fit into
the cylinders of such intricate boning,
minuscule ribcages.

We hang pinatas in our front trees,
smoke cloves from our porch, watch
enticing tight jeans walk by
over our morning coffee.

I wear skirts to ride my bicycle,
lose breaks in the humid morning air,
coast down hills to safety, to identify
mica and fool's gold in class.

We go to the theater, lie on our backs
in the darkness, learn that the ghost light
does not keep any spirits away.

We accidentally spray ourselves in the face
with pepperspray, searching for
the white buds of wisdom teeth.

I stand in the rain and cry when
he tells me I sound too much like Ethel Merman.

He wraps me a love letter out of boxer shorts
and duct tape, attaches it to my door as I sleep,
a borrowed copy of Amelie nestled in the inside.

I dress as Annie Oakley, walk across campus
with a theatrical clicking rifle. I dress as
the Unsinkable Molly Brown and am showered
with honks from passing cars.

Tim and I sleep in Laura's bed, under her
beautiful quilt from Vietnam. In the morning,
my face is dyed a highlighter yellow and
streetlight green.

Scars gained from:
- falling down the hill
on the first day of class
- pumpkin carving knife
- bench fall & flight in Lincoln Center
- dirty London dancefloor

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Into the Day

hanging on by threads, by cloud filament,
I wake and have no desire to go forth into the day.

the backs of my knees ache
for something to wake me up,
pinch my heart back into the way it used to be.

we sing of things like love and lust
and sometimes hope, and the songs are
batted into deep corners under our bed
by an unruly kitten.

this is the way things are supposed to feel, he says.

perhaps it was watching Misery as a child
that made me expect the worst out of those
who come to you with kind hands

I dodge between cars seated at red lights,
hope they don’t suddenly lurch and send bones crashing.

I taunt death with kneecaps, mittened hands,
pills packed in my purse.