Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Freshman English

Image from de.wikipedia.org

Robert Frost, I stopped loving you when I started hating him—
the professor who wore the same polyester slacks to every class,
and ranted about his stepmother and dot matrix printers
(he loathed them both in equal measure),
who said listen here missy when he didn’t like my questions,
and collected our papers but never returned them,
who dismissed Dickinson as useless,
and found shampoo pointless—
It was all his fault. He filtered all your images
through the pool of sweat on his upper lip
and the green stuff stuck between his bottom teeth,
leaving only snow and bugs
and cows with shriveled udders
and boys who have no business using buzz saws
and middle-aged men who wander in the woods
worrying about walls and whining about apples.
I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let him sully
your pristine New England verses. But I was too tender.
I was only eighteen. And you seemed so old.
And he was so mean.

Friday, April 24, 2015

On the Table

For you it was never
in the cards it has always
been too hard to keep them
straight or find them flush
the strain can be too much when
you are more likely to blush
than bluff even when you
played poker for pennies
with your grandma and
all the cousins seemed to
be having fun you shifted
in your seat at the intensity
and wished for go fish
a game of polite requests where
no one tells you to up your
ante and in the end
everything is paired up and tidy
and though you now see
the value in stashing an
extra one up your sleeve
when your only aim is
to please it can be so hard to
choose so you wind up feeling
like you are just shuffling the deck
chairs on the Titanic
trying to remember the
words of that damn Kenny Rogers
song praying to get to the part
where you can walk away
or please God
maybe even run

Venus of the Little Spokane

Sculpture by Rick Davis
Image by Jesse Swanson

You may think you can
Ride her or
Float on her surface
But she rises
From the river
Flips your kayak
Right over
And laughs
At your plans.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


photo credit:gizmodo

Beyond the wood
an elderly woman
seems to seek a son
killed in the battles.
Down the street
the men dig,
remove the cloth,
Among ordinary things,
she becomes
an emblem, takes


NaPoWriMo prompt for day 21: Write an erasure poem. I took mine from Virgina Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. The original text is below. Rather than hold the non-erased words in place, I chose to move them around and re-arrange them a bit:

Such are the visions.  The solitary traveller is soon beyond the wood; and there, coming to the door with shaded eyes, possibly to look for his return, with hands raised, with white apron blowing, is an elderly woman who seems (so powerful is this infirmity) to seek, over a desert, a lost son; to search for a rider destroyed; to be the figure of the mother whose sons have been killed in the battles of the world. So, as the solitary traveler advances down the village street where the women stand knitting and the men dig in the garden, the evening seems ominous; the figures still; as if some august fate, known to them, awaited without fear, were about to sweep them into complete annihiliation.

                Indoors among ordinary things, the cupboard, the table, the window-sill with its geraniums, suddenly the outline of the landlady, bending to remove the cloth, becomes soft with light, an adorable emblem which only the recollection of cold human contacts forbids us to embrace. She takes the marmalade; she shuts it in the cupboard.
“There is nothing more to-night, sir?”

Gem State

Child support goes unpaid. Baby sleeps
safe from Sharia law, fills her belly with freedom.


For context, click here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


He brings her buds that have barely bloomed
She sees how tight they sit in his fist and is afraid