Archive for Poetry

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.

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.”

Mama’s Ruby Ring

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2009 by bodhitsattva

At 4, I asked Mama as she washed me if
I could have the ruby ring flowering
diamond petals when she died.
Hushed, she scrubbed and said yes.

Could I have the ruby ring flowering
a blood drop, waved in sweet water?
Hushed, she scrubbed and said yes.
The thought of her ring,

a blood drop waved in sweet water:
the moment I became human.
The thought of her ring
is an anchor to

the moment I became human.
Remembering Mama’s mortality
is an anchor to
personal responsibility.

Remembering her mortality
as she scrubbed my breastless chest—her
personal responsibility—
she was surprised by her baby.

As she scrubbed my breastless chest, her
hands became her mother’s;
Mama’s surprised by her baby
when she tells the story.

Her hands became her mother’s:
the palm lines that tell our future.
When Mama tells the story
the patterns of my fingerprints are

the palm lines that tell our future.
If my hands become unfamiliar,
the patterns of my fingerprints are
lost, and the ruby is just a rock.

My Lover Leaves for the Weekend

Posted in Poetry with tags , on October 2, 2009 by bodhitsattva

He touched me so much
I don’t know my own fingers.
For a few days, I like that he’s gone.
I haven’t soaked since he left.
Deep and oval, my tub is built for two.
When I sit between his legs,
my back against his chest,
we are a perfect fit.

A crinkled, floating hair
sneaks underneath my fingernail
and I’m reminded of his grazing fingers,
idling in thatches, lazing in the brush.
If I cut the grass my oasis will run dry
and the animals will go extinct.

I split at my fault line and burrow
to the center of the earth,
imagining he’s here:
wet dreadlocks like slugs
slide across my shoulders
as he turns his head to kiss
the other side of my neck;
no bites, no blood: thick kisses
made slick with orchid oil.
My slow sigh exhales his image,
fogging over the mirror.
I’ve drenched the empty
bathroom in his memory.
By the time he comes back,
it will have evaporated.