Earth and Alchemy

I think these walls are killing me

in the half-light of the drapery-filtered morning,
breathing is nearly unbearable;
the fan whirs with its white-noised voice,
failing in its attempt at swallowing the stagnancy,
managing only to distribute it in an oscillating,
luke-warm stream that, every few seconds,
blows directly into my face,
making my breath catch in a baby breath gasp,
the unsure gasp of not knowing from where the next will come

I think these walls are killing me

I sit, immobile, acutely aware of my mass,
of the blood begrudgingly pumping its percussive rhythm in my temples,
of the defective dampness emerging on my forehead,
of the ever-growing patches of petechiae-speckled skin,
evidence of an incurable itch that has risen up from the fate that is history-stitched to the soles of my flattened feet

I think these walls are killing me

I long for a singular, bottomless breath,
for the autonomous, unfiltered sunlight and its searing warmth upon my face,
for the forced closure of my eyes,
for the rays’ piercing, pinky-red glow on the backs of my tired eyelids,
and its tender, ruby kiss lingering on the pasty surface of my gossamer cheeks

I long for earth and alchemy

-image via Pixabay



as the morning breeze whispers
the melody we made,
the sting and ache echo
last night’s chorus
with each movement,

the warm sheets still hum
our candlelit din,
a masterpiece composed
over willing skin

-artwork by Egon Schiele

The Ring

A swift blow to the stomach and all the air has vanished; you cannot breathe.
In its painful absence, you are the somber sparrow, the one that travels from someplace far away to sit upon your kitchen windowsill every morning, the one whose voice never fails to grab your attention.
You ask yourself, Where have I gone?,
and open your eyes to snarled lips and clenched teeth, to the rabid growl of spittle-dripped threats that keep you pinned against the wall.
His voice hollows for no one but you.
You hope this round is over, and although you’ve developed thick skin, and you learned early on you could absorb a man’s swing just like you absorb his words, you are desperate to get out of the ring.
In this moment you are certain – you have to fly away.
You will your vernixed wings to spread, but your feet remain planted on the ground.
You beg them to hurry and ripen, to lift you off your feet, for your heavy limbs to at least shield your tender spots as he squares up with you again, hovering.
Because you know what he wants, what he always wants – for you to fall to the floor, so he, like Ali, can scream,
What’s my name?, What’s my name?
You do not waste the sound of this blossoming voice in answer to his fustian phrase; this voice is for flying.

-artwork my Jeremy Paul, found on Pinterest


Sometimes I cannot sleep; my mind is busy noticing things, things that were hidden (buried) in the peripheral throughout the purposeful rigor of the day.
The backs of my eyelids are vivid nightlights, magnifying glasses for the razor-edged Rolodex of things I have meticulously filed away.
I notice all the things I did do and wish I had not, the things I did not do and wish I had.
In the unwanted illumination, my heart reveals a measuring stick that is rigged in someone else’s favor. I notice how I often fall short.
I notice time’s mnemonic remnants: the faint ridges of forgotten fingerprints, the oily glow of haphazard handprints, the glossy shine of a forehead once rested in daydream.
I notice the scattering of chalk outlines, evidence of the versions I had worked so diligently to scour away.

-imagie via Pinterest

Rinse and Repeat

every day I paint it over,
calling red rover,
one stroke, death grip,
then another

cover stick, first,
masquerading bags,
the jet lag,
life at light speed,
so many green flags

then, lining the lids,
tallying bids,
gotta be strong for the kids,
keep up appearances in the social grids

now, time for the mascara,
lengthening lashes,
hiding ashes,
gotta hold back tears,
don’t want to trash it

next, brushing blush on high-boned cheeks,
erasing weeks,
turning pain to rosy peaks

can’t forget the smokey shadow,
shrouding eyes,
masking lies,
for, behind these lids,
the well runs dry

last, bold color on pouty lips,
dripping quips,
blood red smile oozing script

mask complete,
a battle to beat,
costume in place,
emotions to eat

rinse and repeat

-image via Pixabay; older poem given a slight revision


he sat in his partially sunken lounge chair,
transported to 325 different places with the battery-powered click of a button,
drinking another can of Bud Light,
and another

she sat in her earthy-toned, patterned chair,
feet propped up on the ottoman,
legs covered in the brown fuzzy blanket her daughters had bought her for her birthday,
concentrating through a slight opioid-induced haziness,
reading another chapter,
and another

there had been a strange and subtle shifting over the last 20 years,
like the imperceptible movement of tectonic plates,
a millimeter here and centimeter there,
a shifting that left infinitesimal fissures

so they sat without talking,
each doing their own thing,
in their own way exploring the edges of the fractures that had appeared in their lives,
so as not to fall in

and when they did speak,
the words were often sharp,
some unspoken bargain manifested in cruelty;
the pleasure of hurting someone other than oneself

-image via Pixabay


I thought I knew about a lot of things before I met you

but I never knew what slow, deep kisses meant,
or that they could last all night long

I never knew what the smell of the first morning breeze could do as my head lay upon your chest,
or how that breeze could carry me throughout the day

I never knew how my own chest could ache in your absence,
or that I could smile all the way to my fingertips when we joined again

I never knew I could get butterflies deep in my belly every time you kissed my neck,
or that my desire for you could consume me

I never knew that shared laughter could cure almost anything,
and shared tears could say much more than words

I never knew I could feel fire in my veins when you hurt,
or that my heart’s fullness could spill over when you smile

I never knew I could need like this,
that I could feel swaddled by another so completely,
I can finally rest

I thought I knew all about hope before I met you –
but that was before I believed in magic

-Image credit; This is for M, the love of my life!; slightly revised older poem


as a woman,
society tells me I’m supposed to fear getting older,
that I should fight my body’s natural processes,
feel shame for what I am,
and pretend to be someone or something I’m not in order to be in line with some norm or make others feel more comfortable

I am aging – that’s a fact,
and instead of letting a number, a wrinkle, or gray hair be the beginning of some endless battle I won’t win,
or letting it be beginning of my expiry,
I am loving this shit so much

every year,
it becomes clearer that I should never be anything but who I am;
I sink deeper into this place of unapologetic realness,
and it is fucking amazing

I am fatter, saggier, wrinklier,
and salt and peppery

I am stronger, wiser, more patient,
and freer

most importantly, I have lived long enough to have walked the side of sorrow and see the dawn

I have learned that no matter how far I have run,
or how long I have been lost,
it is never too late to be found

-image via Pinterest