Friday, August 16, 2013

while we wait

violently purple, the pages this time.

my pages are prepped for adventure,
my pages are patterned for poetry.
i should have said that before.

the pen + the heart have met, here.
i have been waiting for this moment.
the far-off eye-catch. the initial hello.
it's only a matter of time. let's dance while we wait.

oh, the spin of thought that makes me
has been set free, allowed to play with others,
called on for its opinion. criss-cross the color wires

and i'll have a helping of humble pie,
ankles relaxed into flight
while the hand + the head do the work.


Monday, July 22, 2013

all he is not

the bathroom wall is so receptive
as i ramble aimlessly to no one.
this charade has gone past the breaking point,
i tell myself with an air of dubiety,
trying to convince myself of the opposite
but failing miserably at both
at the same miserable time.
maybe he doesn't, maybe he does
has become a sour mind game
with no clear conclusion or consequence.
maybe he will, i plead with my heart,
knocking halfheartedly on its fragile doors
and knowing it's on the brink of wholly shattering,
leaving me to pick up the pieces
to this glorified mismatch made in haste.
maybe he won't, i advise the realist soul;
we know he's been broken before
and we know he's not been
as diligent as perhaps he should --
and yet his imperfections matter little
when his charms unravel.
the game, the game, it weakens; it unhinges me
from all it made me see
down the street from rationality.
typical or true?
the past makes me wonder
if the present is what he needs
or if it's a consolation to his quest for stability.
the light flickers and so does the clock;
too many nights for him
are probably a good indication
of all he is not.
in too deep now, i wonder, clinging to what i am,
where from here?

such incessant wonderings
keep me awake even more nights.


Friday, July 12, 2013

off the map

i knew a place once; it was wondrous, magical for me, which was most likely enhanced by my youth, but i think if i still knew it today it'd hold the same intrigue.

it was a little Pocono cabin in a concealed corner of the planet more often than not run over with snow, for we only ever frequented it in the winter; it belonged to my grandfather who had in fact built it up himself, rock to wall, as a haven for family and friends of family and their children and sometimes pets. 

no one really could tell what town it was in, but i'm pretty sure it was somewhere between White Haven and Blakeslee, Carbon County, Kidder Township or something. the exact blip on the map was irrelevant; people went there to escape, not to be found.

the street was private, a small development but not like the overdone ones in the Philadelphia suburbs. it was nearly hidden from view just off the exit, past the Ramada and that little restaurant that kept changing every year to something new and odd-sounding like The Fern, as if that would make me want to eat there. down the street from Jack Frost and Big Boulder, the two biggest ski resorts around. adjacent the dam that i so loved to explore but couldn't ever get to because the roads were flooded, as the signs had warned they would be.

so many years i have to remember there.

there was the time when Howard and Kat's dog jumped on my brother when we were kids in the middle of the night and he screamed bloody murder out of fright. then the next day he and i were poking around the bedroom and we found a trapdoor to the basement beneath the floorboards, but it was too dark and cold to bother exploring. we still reveled in the fact that we'd found it, our own paradise lost.

sometimes i got to sleep in the bigger guest room when Howard and Kat weren't up and i felt like a rightful queen with the king-sized bed and the private bathroom with two chambers and the full closets and nightstands with random items in their drawers. i loved that i could stand in the kitchen and the living room at the same time and that we could watch television while we ate, a luxury we never had at home. the fireplace was always roaring and my father delighted in stoking it every half hour or so, a nervous habit.

Mom never came to Big Boulder with us; she wasn't much of an outdoor person. she'd catch up on her reading and Dad would take Tom and i to ski or snow tube, whichever we preferred (and i hated skiing). one time when my cousins were up for the weekend with us we all went tubing (little effort for the fun). Joe went off-course and slammed into a tree but he was fine and it led to uproarious laughter. my dad and his brother and nephews wanted to make it over the big snowbank at the bottom. it was a frigid night and everything was icing over -- just the momentum they needed. they hopped in double-rider tubes and got running starts and raced in adjacent lanes on the way down. and over the top they did go as onlookers stared in awe at a feat not many had accomplished.

i remember watching the Daytona 500 on or around Dad's birthday the year Dale Earnhardt crashed into the wall; we all thought he'd be OK, that it hadn't looked life-threatening on screen. he died, though. i vowed to support his son from then on although i didn't follow NASCAR that closely to begin with.

the stone driveway at the cabin, when it wasn't ridden with knee-deep snow, was littered with daddy-long-legs and garter snakes and behind the house were woods with trails as far as the eye could see and i never knew where any of them went.

the thing about living on a private street in the mountains is that when it snows there are natural sledding hills all around you. i was always a bit of a wimp when it came time to do it but the sleds were unsturdy and i didn't know how to steer them and i was afraid of crashing into frozen snowbanks and breaking my arm or worse. but it was good bonding time with my brother.

i always liked when it wasn't that snowy and i could walk down to the private lake -- the one reserved for residents on the private street -- and walk the trail around it where wild blueberries grew; my mother and i would pick them and put them in pancakes the next morning.

there was so much i adored about that little cabin off the map in Pennsylvania and there's so much i miss about it now. before he died my grandfather sold it to a stranger. with it went the magic of my old haven that i would never have again. my heart aches to know that someone else -- and a slew of renters to follow -- is now enjoying my grandfather's handmade refuge and all the wonder it contains.

they will never be able to appreciate it like i have.


Friday, July 5, 2013

like sand

like sand through fingers
i fell from you, not sure yet
if i meant to fall


[written in response to the prompt "Sand" over at Haiku Heights. xo]

Thursday, July 4, 2013

hostage heart

a recluse.
i believe that is the word
you more often than not
choose for me, perhaps
because you don't see my emotion
until you call me one.

a recluse, indeed.
ought it offend
i'd throw it back but
the truth to it is that i do not
share nearly enough of myself with you;
green and gambling on the passing of trains,
that's what you make of
my folly
through a world that will not forgive
should i not dance in its melée.

i have no use for what's written:
i want to break the lines
and make the loudest of waves. and also
i want to give the explosion of love inside
of me

there is a reason you cannot see
my head and my heart: there is
good reason why no one can see.

they are flawed and brimming!
they are mad and forlorn!
they are in sync and evergreen!
it is too much for strangers to handle;
you can't handle them, dear brother.

you must be considerate of
a heart held hostage
and a brain on overdose.

surely your faith must extend beyond
the paper doll girl
to what she is
when she has form
and breath.

you must let the recluse be
a recluse
around you; she doesn't
know you're knocking,
in pursuit of her hostage heart...!


Monday, July 1, 2013

when the makeup and masks are gone

when the makeup and masks are gone
unkempt girl doesn't believe in
the woman everyone tells her she is

unkempt girl
throws salt over her shoulders

and tries again tomorrow


Sunday, June 30, 2013

no one is my warrior

on days like this
the mirror doesn't know what to do with me
and tries not to scream, in fact,
avoiding shattering both of us at the same time. i
wish i'd been born with snakes in
my hands so i'd have an automatic release
from the ugliness of such states of mind.
i'm not anyone's heralded warrior.

i do battle with myself because
no one is my warrior, either.

i think it's somebody's holiday now
but i've been anemic since September
so don't expect my sympathies; i
usually stay in bed after the war:

some days it's entirely too much effort
to put my boots on correctly.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

she knew the city

she knew the city wasn't
actually floating
but that's how it seemed from

the windows

and she liked that best. she
hated the mess.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

live again (Connor's song)

carried on high, the news
of you was a welcome circumstance,
not expected but certainly
not to be denied, for it had been
only years since we'd had anything worth being
remotely elated over.

though you were to be the first of your kind, you
had potential to be the greatest,
or at least unique;
maybe you'd bring some sort of
a new outlook on this life,
something worth hanging around for.

but even the most hyped expectations would
undermine the value you bestowed, and
right on time;
mostly we were just grateful you
arrived and renewed a long-lost zest for life that must have
needed your charms to live again.


Friday, March 15, 2013

something there

hidden from view, her heart was evolving;
what was this feeling here and now?

she didn't believe she could let love in
like this: what else was she to do?

she thieved a glance, peering out at him
unawares: was it supposed to feel so invigorating?

the heart she possessed she knew she could not fool;
how was she to betray it now?

she returned to the comfort of sheltering tree
musing, intrigued; was it she who'd learned to love him?


Monday, March 11, 2013

i could get lost


i could get lost in a graveyard,
in the company of
stone sentinels, markers to set each place aside
so that God can distinguish them later
when He summons His souls for their reckoning.
the names carved in
stand for mortal remembrance,
a name, a legacy, a life;
recognition among a sea of thousands,
tombs tumbling and tumbling
into the folly that death affords.
the paths winding through lay themselves out
for me attentively,
enhancing the trance
induced by
such diverse history,
still life upkept
in marbled cherubs and crucifixes
preaching epitaphs
only heard
by those who stop
to care for a stranger
for a minute or so,
breath offered up where it hasn't existed
for years.

i talk to them sometimes,
the graves, the dead,
when no one's around;
less to communicate with a ghost
than just to acknowledge a presence,
to eliminate the eeriness of fatal silence
and to reiterate to myself
that life is short and finite.

it may sound gruesome but
cemeteries are one of my favorite things.


i could get lost in a library
where ink-stained pages beckon,
portals to places that have
in one way or another
from some sort of thought in time
that stuck around long enough
to warrant a permanent remembrance.

a story for the masses, a story for the fantasies,
one for me and one for the next
and always right where i left it;
like the finest of feasts
i sample the menu
and absorb the pages bursting with flavor,
pen strokes washed down
like wine.

it is the most reciprocal relationship,
trading time for a tale or two,
oils from skin transferring into page turns
and dog-eared placeholders.
i'd not dream of defacing
the sacred marginal meadows
as some in academia would advise;
the only words worth their salt
were set, neat with justification,
ordered by author
to remain
so each that comes after me
might have the same fair offering.

in their categorical home
they are so many enigmas
shelved for whenever;
i kidnap a desolate corner
and begin one
without a look back at the world
that's already abandoned me once or twice.

it may sound childish but
libraries are one of my favorite things.


i could get lost in a trainyard,
down on the rails
that make no clickety-clack sound
without an engine to caress them.
my shoes are left to forgotten dirt piles
as bare toes meet iron,
and i could teeter all the way
into the next town
following the one predestined route,
balance beam calisthenics
only for me.

and should a resonating whistle
warn of an oncoming traffic jam
i'd gladly return to rocky terrain,
broken up by wooden planks at intervals
exact and unchanging,
neither threatening speed of passing train
nor conductor's shouts of disapproval
could shake me from gravely ground there alongside;
magnetic, majestic, mine.
i'd watch for the patient panorama at the end --
the serenity of far-off horizon,
steam bellowing from the front,
caboose growing smaller with distance,
postcard perfect
though less chaotic in such regard;
in closer perspective:
hair being tossed about from such velocity,
that old clickety-clack returning
but much louder than remembered,
paired with the roar of engine and wheel,
car after car after car.

then it's long gone
and it's back to
my juvenile reverie,
lonely track welcoming me again,
glad for some in-between company
to pass the time --
both of us there
to pass the time
not doing much of anything.

i hum the rails an easy tune,
a serenade for myself
in a moment when thought gets lost
in reality
as i get lost in dreams.

it may sound lonesome but
railroads are one of my favorite things.

i could get lost.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

exhale my own

muddy-sensed, i try
breathing in through undead eyes;
exhale my own breeze


[written in response to the prompt "Breeze" over at Haiku Heights.]

heart's too big

heart's too big
can't love you
too often stolen
too often held
it's betrayed me
i follow it
knowing it's wrong
can't help that
heart's my life
i'm not bold
just another idiot
caged-up bomb
possibly i'm jaded
self-destruct button
still in tact
do not press
red red red
red blinking red
capital letter words
do not press
but of course
you will press
yes you will
ignore the warning
you'll ignore me
you will press


Wednesday, February 27, 2013


my skeletal feet are still dappled with sand.
the beach wouldn't let me leave it behind
and oh, do i know that feeling,
even too familiar. don't leave me behind,
i'll follow.

it takes awhile for me to bloom,
a corporeal flower arriving late to springtime tea.

with sandy toes i'm knocking; i hope
you don't mind that i've lost my shoes.


Monday, February 25, 2013

sometimes a bit further

when you refrain from wiping the tears away
they drip-drop, soft, down between each breast
and sometimes a bit further if you're lonely.
they'll dry on their own from the heat of the
ache. on chest and cheek
the pain might burst into ugly puddles if you let it
but you can't begin to heal if you won't
let yourself be broken, isn't that
what they always say?
all-right, all-right,
goes the beat-beat of the handsome heart --
he forgot to wear his tails
but you still pine for
him to hear you and maybe
catch those tears for once.
but soaked in salt and simple sickness
your breasts can only heal
and give you back the edge
your eyes have let go of:
be like the wind and know where you're going.
easier said, but those tears
at least will dry on your shirts
or in the naked air, eventual.


Friday, January 25, 2013


i met him unexpectedly
someplace we both wanted to be.
he claimed to be a friend
of a friend
but turned out to be much more in the end.
his face could erase
all the empty space
in my head
and replace it all with humility instead.

i didn't like what he did to me,
or maybe i did;
it was too early to tell
and i was sometimes independent,
but my heart knew me well.
i found myself stumbling over him,
dangling from him,
and soon it became clear
i was into his ways,
and so went the days
as i took it all in stride
and for once, vowed not to hide.

he didn't require words
to dutifully inquire;
just needed a beat
and a place for hire,
a full-blown choir.
he struck my every chord
and i'd beg someone's holy lord
to keep him in my weary life,
by His will or by his own accord.

a long time ago
i cared for one so
but he turned out to be
naught more than shadow.
he haunted my nights
and it took an end-all plea
before i could break free.

this one knew the time
and without reason or rhyme
was nothing with which to compare
the desperations of despair,
for he knew me and although
i couldn't really say
i was his favorite show,
it wasn't hopeless as long ago.

he brought me to my knees
with the greatest of ease
and still i was unsure
if maybe i was tangled in something
more than my heart could handle
or just kindling a new candle
of adventurous aspiration.
could be my damnation
or my salvation.

come what may,
he was perfection
and his aura in its reflection
told me not to fret,
that he wouldn't sell his soul
for anything alive
or objectified.
he made a vow
and i didn't understand
but i know it now --
he won't drag me down,
make me cry, steal my crown.
he'll be
an honest accessory
and i shall then be
valiant exclusively.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

checkerboard friends

red and black, checkerboard friends.
here we go.
i'll be light and you'll be dark
like our souls
and the first move will be mine
because you always prefer to have the last word.
diagonal pawn
i am
calculating my next move
and then it's all mind games and ticking off turns.
back and forth
on the fence and on the move.

the shape of an L for
the nobleman that you are
but you can't fool me.
i'll take the straight line to the end
to get a piece of myself back.
you'll return it because you have to.
those are the rules.

the king seems to have all the power
but his moves are limited,
and therein lies your mistake.
it's truly the queen,
who has all the power,
command of the board now.

watch me as i defeat you
thought by thought
word for word
piece by piece,
fluidly through the madness
across numbers and squares
and the awesome force of your hand
can't do a thing
because the control paradigm has shifted;
i had to crouch to your level and
play this despicable game with you,
a game you've gotten good at over the years
but haven't quite perfected.

off you go to a comfortable corner
where hiding has become a futile excuse
to all you are,
but laid out here in front of me
in plain view --
checkerboard friends,
checkerboard life --
i can see your thoughts
before you can voice them,
what otherwise might evolve into insult or injury.
and for the first time
the flaws in your thinking are apparent, too,
the flaws in the righteousness you claim,
the flaw in the plan
and now you'll offer a waltz for peace,
ample chance to trip me up
and then make your final kill.

but if you'd been anything close to sincere
you'd have seen
the trap i've been setting for you
from the get-go.
i'm here and you're over there,
hand outstretched for a dance
but in the midst of your inaugural bow the queen has triumphed.
ivory over ebony,
good over evil,
woman over monster.

a whispered farewell now
for you
and some sort of closure now for me
in the form of

here we go, here
we go.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

at nineteen

well, well
it's a fine time for rustling up feelings
of dogwood summers
i left behind for you
back when i was wide-eyed enough to do
such a thing. and
i left a lot behind for you.
but we're not untouchables.
i laugh that we were ever considered so
in such web-crossed minds as
ours at nineteen.
i didn't quite know what to make of you.

i chose my wave not knowing
it would turn me black and blue
and drain me of the rest of my color,
transfused into your veins
when you were finished with me
(so you could go on living
and i could become parasitic, pathetic).

how i tripped over you.
your play-thirsty lips were begging
to be slaked
and i did not want
to leave them parched
but i did
and immediately wished i hadn't
for i lost you then
right then.

ignorance is not any sort of bliss
when it comes to you and me;
i spent months as your shadow,
dumb and matching your moves
but always a minute behind. when
i let my voice mix with your broken harmony
i also found that i was jaded.
how does it feel, i wonder
to know that you're the one who jaded me.
i have known many versions of love
but yours was by far
the most brutal.

i want back, if anything
except time and some tears,
the faith in love i abandoned
to breathe to your