Archive for September, 2008

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Corner of the Sky

September 27, 2008

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Three Pet Poems from Grad School (1987)

September 27, 2008

Poem 1
Nikki’s Rhyme

Nikki was a stripper.
Nikki hated men.
Nikki wrote her poetry
with calculator and pen.

Nikki ate no red meat.
Nikki was so white.
Nikki hid her money
by investing in the night.

Nikki always chain-smoked.
Nikki wore no rings.
Nikki kept a picture
of her father with her things.

Nikki wore dark glasses.
Nikki slept past noon.
Nikki counted bruises
& heated candy in a spoon.

Nikki rode the subway.
Nikki walked alone.
Nikki made each dancer’s step
as smooth as weathered stone.

Poem 2
Let’s Pretend

Put away your accounting ledger,
my brave knight and I
will be the helpless Indian princess.

We will live in the forest of talking serpents
and listen to them tell lies
about each other.

You will take my feathered secret from me, leaving
your notched sword in its place; half-naked
we will smear war paint
across each other’s mouths.

I will show you how to grow maize
and how to dance with your heart
in a box of hot coals
to make it rain.

You will build a castle in the clearing,
with each stone
so hard-pressed against the other
that even your sword can’t slide between.

My people are hiding in the woods
all around us;
yours are overseas.
There is no such thing
as a telephone.

When the sun sets, I will be rescued and you
will be left here
stomping across a barren courtyard,
dressed in a woman’s finery,
believing you can make it rain.


Poem 3
Rural Benedictions

May the whimpers of your dogs thicken with patience,
becoming the bread on your table.

May the sun fall through your broken window,
pulling blossoms through the hardwood floor.

May your marriage bed be dark and deeply furrowed,
beneath the honey colored moon of isolation.

May the shade tree grow a multitude of calloused hands
to help you with your harvest.

May grasshoppers sleep, forgetting their hunger
in dreams of wire fences.

May water rise in the empty glass
you hold between cracks in the earth.

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These appeared in my SMU graduate thesis, “A Table without Chairs”

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Cave Slayer

September 25, 2008

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Two Vampiric Poems for Late September

September 25, 2008

Poem 1
Bethany*

one spring in Silver Plume
I was a woman

in a gingham dress a brown horse
-hair wig teasing

lonely miners with grime under
scrubbed manners

behind the wash stalls an agreement
on price pay first

it was all good until the preacher
‘s girl found the bodies

Poem 2
Never Enough Rope**

they always get me at night
which suits me just fine
noose me put me on my horse
whack him in the ass and yippy ky-O ky-A!
the mob cheers the bastard swings
and everybody goes home feeling
righteous and safe and cleansed
these parties end too soon
as I always have to cut my own self down
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*Dreams & Nightmares, August 2004, No.67
**Dreams & Nightmares, April 2007, No.76

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From “You Just Can’t Negotiate with the Living Dead” (2007)

September 22, 2008

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Peek-a-Boo

September 16, 2008

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Three Poems About the Boy

September 16, 2008

Poem 1

My Pumpkin Seed*

not every tale begins
once upon a time        occasionally
we hear
of a woman who swallowed a pearl
boxed her books
swaddled her child        and then
claimed her right and left

to roam far and farther
to pitch her tent in the desert
to raise her boy among lanky wolves
among dusty people
this woman plowed and planted
coaxed a cloud to squat
and water her life

so that her boy sprouted green and lovely
taller each season
sky-eyed and straw-haired
lithe as a vine
growing out of her heart
great wilting white flowers
symbols of what-you-will
my son        my pumpkin seed

Poem 2

Lines for My Son**

my tender sprout, my coy inquisitor
legs stretching long into dinosaur bones
mouth full of imaginary shark teeth
scarecrow arms strong as braided wire
torso a thick python writhing into boy-clothes

how I see wet blue worlds in your eyes
how I hear the vibration of fine crystal in your voice
how I feel the future beat in your heart
how intuition understands your uncoiling, your expanding
how green life rises in you, the sun silhouetting mountains

Poem 3

your young son rises from bed
sunlight filters through ferns
even sighs are cool and green

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*This poem originally appeared in Anthology, July/August 2000,Vol.VII,No.4
**This poem originally appeared in Poetry @ the River Annual Review, Vol I, Summer 2008