Archive for the Poetry Category

Cat Foot

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

I should lay
like a cat,
soaking up
the sun’s energy,
for the buzz
of a mosquito
to open
my triangle eyes
and tempt a swat.

But I am
a biped
who thinks
she has more to accomplish
than a cat,
learning from her lineage
to be a woman
in balance—
a cat on a ledge.

My orange tabby
won’t remember
her Mama.
She has herself,
her right now—
good days
spent on the rug,
in the sun
and the mornings after
street-fight nights
spent underneath the bed
with a bloody tail.

She grooms
although she must be neat
for no one,
using a sandpaper tongue
to keep the wound
from becoming a scar.
Why is it that I,
a biped,
won’t groom
when I’m estranged
from Mother:
the matriarch
who led me
to the ledge,
from my lover:
the man
who drapes me
like silk over our bed.
I sulk
over wounds
long since dried,
peeled and healed,
that scarred
because I wouldn’t stop
scratching at the scab.

I won’t wash;
I won’t treat.
I will lie like prey
succumbing to predator.
I should be so lucky
to suffer
like a cat
who still wants to be clean.

The Coat Room

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

At ten I tongue ambrosia salad on Tilly’s lips;
At twelve I suck
icing off her fingertips.
We escape too late
to a cozy party-going
coats cave.
I hear her mother and mine
laughing like they’re too young for husbands.

Tilly and I won’t giggle like our mothers;
Instead we smirk
at petals peeled back
and rubbed rosy
like criminals at loot.
She wiggles so close,
her breath wet in my ear,
our hair a brown tangle not allowing us to hear

my Mama yelling at our turned up hoop skirts;
Pink and yellow tulle traps us
like mosquito netting.
One shoe gone;
Laces loose on three feet.
Socks a shock—
white ruffles turned down like bed sheets.

Tilly squeezes my ripened hand,
and bites to drink juice.
Mama calls to God,
and Papa peeks at
his daughter writhing
between Tilly and the quiet coats.

College Girl

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

after [                        ] six tequila shots
[                    ] a jaeger bomb [
] a flaming dr. pepper [                  ]
[             ] the boxing match [          ] two best girlfriends
[                          ] gloves, head gear [
] their boyfriends refereed [
] bloody nose [                   ] the slip-n-slide
[                                      ] stripped of wet clothes

[                                                                                          ]
re-dressed by a fuck buddy

after [                               ] porn played [
] in a closet [                            ]
fists beat against walls [           ] found by the
bloodied girlfriend [                 ] sought out a kitchen knife
[                                                                                          ]
the cut [                       ] made a mouth

after [                           ] arm bandaged [
] the fuck buddy [
] no goodbyes [

] sitting on the sidewalk [        ] given a cigarette
[                       ] her back turned [                           ]
[                                                                                        ]
ember-burned hand.

My Best Friend Joins Us

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

At the throat of the bedroom
she listens for moans, knocks lightly
if she hears none; my lover and I

search for tender parts to cover.
She peeks in and we make room
for her, cautious cat. She lies

next to me atop the bedspread.
My best friend joins us on Sunday
mornings with something childlike:

close on the towels during nap time,
supposed to be asleep. Giggling
and awake, we decide on pancakes.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

I want to be captured.
Make no mistake.
And he wants to chase me;
it’s our game. Being bound
to a fire-breathing turtle’s
boat in the sky beats
being bound to a castle full
of toads and plumbers, in which
my cousin is my only friend;
Fair Daisy and her complacency:
she’d never understand my
motivated victimization, or
the freedom of being a captive.

I peer over the air ship’s balcony (it should
be my dungeon) to see the ship’s
shadow sail across seas and rare islands,
giant plants and lava lakes. I am
never chained like a slave, have you
noticed? This is the kingdom (my
kingdom) that I never get to see;
it’s the kingdom that never sees me.

And my hero husband? We’ve never
married; this is my request.
Because what happens when
his nemesis is dead, and the thrilling
chase comes to an end? He’ll be
on to the next blonde baby
that plays princess, needs rescue,
and gives good head.

I’ll Only Keep the Cat

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

Beneath a moonless sky, while
trucks pollute the highway, I’ll skin
the sheets from the mattress we shared.
We divided the animals like children
of divorce: I get the gray cat;
you keep the pit bull.

My summer will be spent
cleaning you from the corners
of my drawers, filling the space on
the half-emptied book shelf.
The grey tabby will still sleep
in my bed until the deep blue dawn
when his paw taps my forehead, he licks
my nose’s tip, and wakes me with your
green eyes in his head, purring like you
would when we made love in the morning.

I Think of Loss

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

Muck gets stuck in his pores. In mine too. I pop all the pimples on his arms and back. Even those unseen under the skin. He flinches, calls me names, laughs. I’ve been a professional pimple popper since puberty: Can you feel them explode? His freckled skin is a Jackson Pollock: Maybe that’s why I’m letting you do it.

This is what I do without him: I wear his socks to warm my cold feet. I’ve always liked lovers who wear black socks. I try on the sandy shorts he draped over the tub to dry, thinking: maybe if I fill the pockets with shed skin he’ll always feel my presence. Perfect fit, except the waist band doesn’t bend to a woman’s body.

When we shower together, I should scrub his back; he should scrub mine. We’d rather roll along the shoreline to exfoliate. As I stand in the shower with my back to him, blood rushes from his hands to his thighs as he follows the curve of my ass. I bend forward, my pussy rosy. Water flows from either side of my rib cliffs. We kiss after we towel dry. I’m glad he stays shirtless.

I think of loss. He lays me down, listens and lets me cry. I explain it to his blue eyes: how I’m nothing but fragments, the shells we found and made pendants of; how every person is a piece of me, especially my lovers; how they live with me, loudly or quietly, in the Victorian house I own in my dreams; how I can see a person’s energy, its color and movement; how his is gold: a sun, the medallion on the chariot of Capricorn; how he does not hold me like my father, but like my mother: the heat of Leo, lion heart, the passion of a million revolutionaries; how, as a child, I cried when my mother sang. She thought I didn’t like her voice, but it was like church bells; how my mother’s singing made me fear her death, but I can only lose myself; how, if I lost him, I’d be a moonless Earth.

He plays a game, won’t let me kiss him until I can smile. As his head hangs over me, his dreads are dune grass blowing across my landscape. I am a planet he inhabits

For Nona

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on February 23, 2010 by bodhitsattva

My mother taught me this is my duty:
to nurse my children until I have run
dry; to mend clothes although I have no skin
on my finger tips; to speak to Mary,
Queen of Heaven and Earth, about every
sin; it’s no crime that I’ve named and raised nine
kids alone. I approach the altar: wives
wonder Did he leave? Their envy-heavy
eyes hang like sleepless summer crescent moons.
He fled to Sicily. My shame be damned:
I will not kneel, abstain from communion,
cry to St. Anthony, or wring my hands.
I have lost nothing but a companion.
I can cut meat, clean house, cook meals unmanned.

Here You Are Not My Mother

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on December 1, 2009 by bodhitsattva

Mama and I uncover her old photos.
I like how they have a frame:
a thin white border
smaller than a Polaroid’s.

“May I have this one?”
She wants to know why.

Because I can tell
you’re in a hotel room,
squash yellow walls
barely lit behind you.
You’re in a hot pink
halter nightie—A-line,
white stripe empire waist.
Sideways on a rumpled bed,
one arm drapes a pear hip,
the other props you up.
I can tell you tried to stick
your knees together with sweat,
but a white triangle is peeking.
They must have been cotton.
I love your pencil-thin brows,
and your eyes lined black
staring at whoever takes the photo—
the bell hop, a 70s prog rock
drummer, a bad boy biker,
a friendless female hitchhiker
you met at the bar downstairs?

Here you smile without wrinkles.

“You were about my age.”

Our Friendship is a Tattoo of Abbey Road

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on December 1, 2009 by bodhitsattva

It’s that long and winding something, oh darling, where we sing and dance in car seats as mechanics change oil around us; remember, that one Sunday, the two of us, a day in the life of God and the barefoot corpse. The year we didn’t speak, I imagined we were Paul and John; that we separated because of squabbles over lovers, Linda’s father, our changing attitudes arguing about happy-go-lucky tunes and pseudo politico lyrics; as if there was no yelling in the hall about adulthood, what it meant to wash my walls where friends had spilled wine and chocolate.

Imagine the band got back together.

We had a reunion show, got stoned afterward. In your studio, Eleanor Rigby and Lovely Rita sniffed out my boy cats on my clothes, and remembered me immediately, meowing and shaking their whiskers. We never missed a note, harmonized like harp strings. We laughed at everything: the Ballyshannon Drive prank war involving a can of tuna and a car seat, Martha’s mutant eye, my drunken belligerence outside Eye Spy on Bungalow Bill’s birthday. You saw my blond, freckled Yoko really loves me; I saw you are not stuck in the early 60s. Now I’ll never be shot outside the Dakota, and you won’t be left alive, just Ringo for company. That’s if we were Beatles.