Monthly Archives: February 2020


How can I begin
Dissecting this complex mass
Of blood and bone and nerves
I am human
My identity is formed
And forming
My refusals shape my abilities
My resistances mold my persistence
Is the past breaking the hull,
Or am I disguising the hole
That’s always been seeping?
Did Ruth betray her family,
Or forsake the godless,
And what’s in a name?
If the golden cow is lifeless,
Can the dances be for Yahweh?
I feel the sin in me
Interrupting the gift,
But is it sin to indulge,
Or sin to flee?
And what if the real sin
Is me avoiding me?
I regret every finger I’ve ever wagged,
But the one pointed at myself.
I feel sincere remorse
For allowing tender hearts
To invest their tenderness in me.
I was bred to disappoint
Anyone foolish enough to care.
I’ve paddled against that tide so long
But my arms are tired-
I can no longer hold them high.
Why did I come home to homelessness?
Was it to be well-behaved,
Or prove I’m from the lawless seed?
There are parts of me
That are fundamentally broken.
I don’t yell at my kids.
I respect my husband,
And I fail.
It does no good to comfort,
To say the abuse was not my fault-
What could it matter now
Whose serve it was,
When the ball falls limp in my court.
I want to speak plainly.
I must speak plainly.
I devolve
And I cannot cry for help,
And no one reads these letters
I throw into the abyss
Like coins in a fountain.
I know
I’ve always known,
If He isn’t real, and strong,
Capable of palpable forgiveness,
And for me-
In His gut, for me-
Then I’m falling backwards
Into the blackest darkness.
I need to weep,
To pound the earth,
And stand up again,
And walk again,
But can I?
Who will scoop me up this time?
Did they entice me,
Guilt me, pull me off course,
Or did I derail the passenger train
For a cigarette?
Did I go all in
For a quiet smoke break?
How do I again focus
On what’s good, and true, and noble,
Even lovely?
Everyone is dying.
Is it my sin,
Or my stubborn empathy
Clinging to my skin
Like smoke from the foregone blaze,
That urges me
To die with them?
I must stand again,
Everyone waits impatiently,
For me to find my legs in the ashes-
But the ashes are my legs.


“He almost killed me!
Left us all to die-
You pine for that monster!
Don’t speak! Don’t sell your lies-
Not here, you never could to me-
He didn’t care for you!
He abandoned you without a blink,
And what do you always do?
Chase after him like a little fool!
I’m the one who slaves,
Who sacrifices- you’re an ingrate
Like your father, selfish, depraved-
Where’s the respect I’m owed?
You’ve never tended my needs,
Never took care of me when
I was literally bleeding
You just flip your hair and flit around
Thinking all the world eats your smiles-
Wake up! You’ve got a shock coming:
No one buys into your wiles.
They’re too polite to say outright
What they’re really thinking-
You miss all the cues!
You keep sinking and sinking
Further into your own humiliation,
But you have no shame!
Your brazen arrogance embarrasses me,
Keep wallowing in the mud with my name
Thinking everyone just beams
And thinks, oh wow, she’s grand,
But they’re horrified by you-
You just cannot understand:
They know exactly what you are.
A mile away, they see the filth you’re made of.
You think you’re so adorable, so special-
You’re impossible to love!
Sit still now, be quiet!
You’ve got me so overworked
With your snide face-
You intentionally drive me berserk.
This will redound on you!
Little Miss Perfect, you’ll see-
You think nothing bad will befall you?
You think you’re immune to tragedy?
Time will teach you- I can’t wait for that day-
I’m through with you- useless- how I tried- sit!
You can’t learn- you’re killing me-
You’re hopeless. Be quiet.”

Cascades and Cacophonies

How calm the river runs,
Smooth like a motionless whisper,
A solid body feeding the banks,
The floating ducks, the fish for
Generations of serenity
Washing the world clean.
Gently it carries its work within itself:
An effortless home to the unseen
Moving forward to the rocky ledge
Gray stones cutting into tranquility
With immovable sharpness
Razor ridges slicing instability,
Chaos, and unrest, forcing commotion
Falling, tumbling, weeping down the face
Of mineral declines, splashing and gasping,
Losing its stillness, finding its place
In turbulent paces somewhere
Beyond the struggle.
Mirror surfaces giving birth
To the waters troubled,

But the ancient stones erect,
Surrounded by their daughters,
Overgrown with algae and inertia,
Purify the troubled waters.


I’ve never been closer
To breaking my pen
And swallowing the ink forever,
To drink my chagrin,
She broke us again and again
Whenever she was in the mood
She fed us poisoned contempt
Curses folded in baby food
Whispering, “I love you most,
I alone, only I will love you,”
Ungrateful crying babies-
She broke us in plain view
Exposed, embarrased, nude
Reaching out to build our jury
In some kind of desperate tenderness
But no bond withstood her fury
And the rulings became permanent
When we came of age:
Our crime, our trial, our punishment,
Existed in her rage.
I never received a pardon,
I fled with open fingertips
Clawing at the right to work,
The hidden, bagless, moonlit trip
To stand in line, submitting to
Strangers agreeing in back rooms
Managers of flesh and shame
Who sometimes train as they groom-
No one loves like she does.
In the entirety of sacrifice
Her whole life among the stars
Her future a veritable paradise-
From such adoring heights,
For us, magnanimously she fell
Disassembling her heaven,
To build the furnace of our hell.
No one loves us like she does,
Whose able hands
Tore apart every gentle thing
Solely so I could understand
Nothing gentle can stand,
If it doesn’t bite you, best beware,
It’s too weak to bear you-
Every tender thing will tear.
In the abundance of her words
I lose all the years between
These tender bonds I’ve tried to build,
Seem make-believe, a lucid dream,
I wait for her to appear
With her trusty can of gasoline
And the fire in her soul:
The toll I have foreseen.

And if I survive,
I may never tell my story again.

Fall Back

When the winter breaks the bleakest
And the petals fled long lost
When the waves cut crisp with ice
And the froth is gone to frost
I cross the old, familiar bridge
From whence my friend was tossed.

How cheerfully he smiles at me
Some hidden mischief in his grin
As within my memories
We laugh at local whims
But the picture freezes as the tide
When I remember once again

It really wasn’t long since past
We breathed the outdoor air
All our roads stetched ahead;
He was here, and I was there
To witness the shiny moments
Belaboring the beware.

But how the autumn weather warmed
The community gossiped idly
Politics and society,
And things we widely
Found amusing and a little useless
Evidenced in our wit, albeit ever snidely.

I find myself these days
Thinking about his fall
Did the air shock his lungs?
Did he take a breath at all
Before breathing his last
Did the idea lose its thrall?

So many goodbyes I have known,
And so many more to know.
We thought the world would be so kind
Those many years ago,
It quiets me, confounded time,
To realize he was first to go,

By his own hand.
What else has mother fate planned?

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Does all the good we do,
Every tender song of altruism
Or shared laughter taking flight
Mingling with another towards the skies
Fall dead to earth
In the rotted husk of the lies
We sold for goods?

Are the dishonored vessels
Crafted by hand?
Is there any way to change
A shattered destiny?
Are lovely moments of kindness
Scattered like paper debris
In the roaring downpour?

If I ignore her faults,
I peddle the costly lies for which
With their lives
Her crushed little ones still pay,
But if I keep accounts,
How can I ever be saved?
Who can be saved?

Under the heavy conundrum,
Like a slow-moving millstone
Spinning in circles as it is
Until suddenly breaking the grain heads,
I grow accustomed to the weight,
Immobilized by the dread
Of the rejected fate.

What It Takes to Tango

I brushed my hair today.
I went out into the world of chatter-
I talked to people I care for,
About subjects that matter-
I laughed with my children.
I ran errands overdue
I ate only good foods.
Underneath and out of view,
I wept.

I felt so awful, I didn’t know how
To travel into the next heartbeat.
But on I forged in caravan
Of breath, and will, and fumbling feet,
And some kind of social gravity,
Like chaotic steps emblazoned on a dance floor
I fumble through graceless
Stomping feet, unsure
If it constitutes a dance.

Knowing You are leading,
And I’m in Your hands.


What is the substance of a soul
That it may groan and crack
Like the hull of a ship
Squeezed by heavy stacks,
Exposure wreaking corrosion
Throughout what once stood intact.

What comprises a soul’s DNA?
That it remain pliable under grief,
Capable of being wrung repeatedly
Shaken in its basic self-beliefs,
Bruised like the hopeful face
Full-moon smiling with no relief

Under the blow by blow.
What is the substance of soul,
And what good would it be to know?

Quick Inventory

My fear for 303:
No achievable speed of repair
Can outrun the dilapidation
We’re alone there
But for God’s ministration.

My fear for me:
About the same.


I sometimes wonder
At human affection:
A gap in proximity,
A few steps in the other direction,
And we all fall silent.

People orbit,
Even compound,
Where there is some mutual benefit,
Some stake in the ground,
But who lifts up the useless?