Category Archives: poetry

The Lark Tells Her So


An edifice more terrifying,

than diving deep in the sea

where creatures glow and beam

It holds, composes, creates, affirms

life and darkness, the beautiful and grotesque


She opens her eyes

59,999 miles of human vessels rejoicing,

like the lark awakening the earth

“Arise” the vessels say, “this is your temple.”


She closes her eyes

Feel the skin and know its ancient perception

The embryo spoke first through touch,

most rousing through touch

Take in the contours of your body

Let them speak of a voluptuous, holy



She looks up

And breathes in abundance,

exhales what seeks to flatten and dull

This glorious edifice—

Breathe in enjoyment,

exhale what spoils and ruins

This glorious edifice who

longs to bless and confirm,

Self, God and Creation


This glorious edifice

whom shall be called


Oh sweet,




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(a friend showed this to me whilst on a trip to hopefully see whales)


There is, all around us,
this country
of original fire.
You know what I mean.
The sky, after all, stops at nothing, so something
has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away.

Off Stellwagen
off the Cape,
the humpbacks rise. Carrying their tonnage
of barnacles and joy
they leap through the water, they nuzzle back under it
like children
at play.

They sing, too.
And not for any reason
you can’t imagine.

Three of them
rise to the surface near the bow of the boat,
then dive
deeply, their huge scarred flukes
tipped to the air.
We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash through the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky–
like nothing you’ve ever imagined–
like the myth of the fifth morning galloping
out of darkness, pouring
heavenward, spinning; then

they crash back under those black silks
and we all fall back
together into that wet fire, you
know what I mean.

I know a captain who has seen them
playing with seaweed, swimming
through the green islands, tossing
the slippery branches into the air.
I know a whale that will come to the boat whenever
she can, and nudge it gently along the bow
with her long flipper.
I know several lives worth living.


Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.

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I told him,
I feel my boy
making himself
I try,
to listen
to sense,
to understand his breadth
were not
sought for
when it mattered
droplets tumbled
as I imagined
not seeing
even if he
looked away
or said foolish words.
droplets tumbled over
as I imagined you
lacking language,
other than
your speaking eyes,
in emptiness

Will you accept,
my tears?
Will he?
You leave,
with the wrinkles,
still wrinkled.
Eyes trying,
to not listen,
to not sense,
to not understand your breadth
this becomes my crucible:
to noisily seek and capture,
forcing you to touch my tears
to trust the love I was given
to give and gave,
and wait.

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First Birth, by Sharon Olds

I had thought so little, really, of her,
inside me, all that time, not breathing–
intelligent, maybe curious,
her eyes closed. when the vagina opened,
slowly, from within, from the top, my eyes
rounded in shock and awe, it was like being
entered for the first time, but entered
from the inside, the child coming in
from the other world. Enormous, stately,
she was pressed through the channel, she turned, and rose,
they held her up by a very small ankle,
she dangled indigo and scarlet, and spread
her arms out in this world. Each thing
I did, then, I did for the first
time, touched the flesh of our flesh,
brought the tiny mouth to my breast,
she drew the avalanche of milk
down off the mountain, I felt as if
I was nothing, no one, I was everything to her, I was hers.

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Stiched Hearts, my first performance art piece with child

I heard my heartbeat,

determined and paced

Deep in its contractions,

confident in its expansion

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

The fibers,

fighting against my separation,

fighting against my pain.


I listen to your heartbeat,

elusive and fast

Fledgling in rhythm,

nestled in gestation

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

The fibers,

rebelling against my yielding,

rebelling against my hope.


The fibers,

plead for continuity

and n’er a rupture!

They say, ‘keep them together’

the one behind my breast

with the other beneath my ribs.

With needle and thread I mark the sound

With needle and thread I wound my fingers

Ripping the fibers,

declaring the gift is without tether

Just as I carry in surrender,

I birth in surrender


Ecstasy is knowing,

our hearts held by one body,

our hearts fastened as one

so with needle and thread I mark those sounds

With needle and thread I wound those fingers,

and the healing comes

as I whisper,


‘I’ll hold you close and carry you far,

I’ll mark your heart and follow its sounds,

but I know you’re not mine,

my fingers bleed with this truth,

so be free child and resound all the way through.’

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95 Theses

I’m only hearing

muffles of

weeping or bleeding,

The ducts and lining,



There is an undulation,

a gust of voices,

a screeching of birds

hiding in my midsection

Come up and out of my face or,

push out and through my genitals

But please, please

commence your travels,

for I am your subject

At the mercy of your whims

Or dare I say,

your incomprehensible intelligences

My wits only identify

the tinging of

electricity and water

The gurgling at the center

provides no clear channels,

no clear pathways,

no thesis


Dare I give over

and trust this

unknowable, dark sea?

I must,

otherwise I’ll

take pain meds

and never learn to

sink and then swim

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Where the night sky meets the water,

delicate and assumed

Unfailing in touch,

a good marriage

Even in the shadows


Where the water meets the sand,

eager and shy

Obedient to the moon,

a lover of Mother’s course

Despite the uncalculated undulations

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514 n 86th Street

Once, no twice spoken

The letters wrangled into

clumps of wet, pale flesh

Resting in her body,

And resting in her body.

These words asphyxiated

our surroundings

We became the astronaut’s food

as he leaves the earth,

hard pressed against the plastic

We curled up,

without any need,

to inhale

Death had rung the bell

And rested no,

covered our bodies

She arrived carrying her belated, full boy,

And then, she arrived carrying a vacant burial.

The scaffolding that was her pelvis,


and uterus

forsook her

They confronted us by their

harsh turn,

towards vanity

Trophies of yesterday,

grave markers of today

Gales upon gales of weeping,

wet, pale flesh expunging

sorrow, rage, and broken,



The room,

this coffin,

held our soiled dirge

Hour after hour,

hands grasping for life, for earth

A contemporary Pentecost,

deep, uncivil groans





bloody yet.

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The School Teacher’s Lesson

They scurry to the hackneyed margins

of Her

No one can tell, except,

for the quick, haphazard

gnawing of the bottom lip,

each bucked tooth chewing and chomping

Or the jail-broken laugh,

fleeing recklessly toward the light

All done without manners

All done with stupidity

Embarrassing, exclaims the Woman

who is temporarily housing them

She goes to Her ruler,

swats their hands


Bad, says the Woman

Quiet sobs pummel out every which way,

gripping Her eyes shut

And then she swallows,

rather devours Her proverbial rock

How dare they show up,

yet again.

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The Nervous System

Tiles meet my steps

and sighs of relief

Their cool flat embrace


and steep my denim

until making way,

ah there are my bare thighs

And here are my bare comforts–

stray pubic hair,

lavatory water and

urine stains

More so than an exchange of


I’ve descended to creaturely bent status

This resonant den

provides cerebral warmth

against chilled ceramic safety

An island away

from the rest of the rooms

populated with erect people

making talk,

however small or large

Making attempted love,

however phony or sincere

Making something out of

the (dis)comfort

of being flesh and blood;

jittery and awkward;

alone and surrounded

I make something too

I unfold myself

and the fluorescent bulbs

emit a taint of green

while I look into my eyes,

the first real glance

of tonight

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