not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

spring, fresh starts

are we beginning now?
oh, we're beginning.


my son sat beside me while i worked on this photograph. 
somehow that just makes sense.
he's stuttering again lately.
stuttered when he was two and went through
a mind shift, a turbulent time of learning.
he's stuttering again. 
i wait patiently.  he's sensitive to change.
the world is moving so quickly by him.
i wait for him to catch up.

"h-hhhow did you get this picture like this?" he asks me.
"i shot through glass.  see this?  it's a streak of light."
"you really know what you're doing mom, don't you?"
"son, i haven't the foggiest.  i just keep trying."


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the room

we fear these things in the distant future
we fear them - rooms that aren't even constructed yet

so i feared it
and now it is here
and i say, well, what now?  what now?

it wasn't anything to fear after all
just something to become accustomed to

doesn't mean i like it
just means i have to learn to live within it

in the room

you slide by me
of a picture
corners of a book
with pencil drawings
i climb in
and climb in again
and find myself
there are children calling
through shallow rooms
and sharks swimming
in hollow waters
you slide you slide you slide by me
of a picture
tabletop mechanics
an apple
where is the once cart
i hear a horse calling through shallow rooms
the sharks hold wide their newspapers
wear spectacles
drink drinks with ice cubes
cast wide stained rings on tabletops
laugh inappropriately
and i climb in
climb in again
and find myself


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

on the river

they emerged from the edge of the city
and slipped into the river
beneath a razor sharp moon
i watched them
they watched the skies
everything delivered

Chicago, 2009

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

what substance, any of us?

i know
in the boat of my belly
i am full of tales

wind whips
and i am but a scrap
in motion in the world

tin cans
ribbons, masticated sugar bags
flutter the crows away

the garden grows
into the day of now
for no reason

Sunday, May 15, 2011

early morning alone

i know you're lost.  i know you're found.  i know you're buoyant upon the waves.  i know you can't breathe beneath water.  i know you're sinking.  i know you're happy.  i know you're dying.  i know you forgot your favorite ball at school.  i know you've lost your father.  i know your dog will run away.  i know you came in first place.  i know you cry while you sleep and i know you forget it all by morning.  i know it niggles you though around your shoulders even while you laugh.  i know you've swollen the word laughter.  i know you've pushed its boundaries and given it new meaning.  i know around that meaning you are bruised.  i know you're hopeful.  i know you need for me to laugh.  i know you need to laugh.  i know your leg aches.  i know you think about extinction.  i know you wonder about war.  i know you like to kill zombies.  i know you watch light.  i know you watch me.  i know you like breasts.  i know you don't know why.  i know you are afraid.  i know you are curious.  i know you are alive and dying.  i know.  i know you love me.  i know you don't know why.  i know you're afraid of me, but only as negation.  don't make mommy mad.  don't make mommy sad.  don't make mommy disappear.  i know, i know you almost don't know this.  you only know it as a shadow.  i know the shadow only happened once or twice.  i know it was the smallest moment.  i know you collect pebbles.  i know how to hide shadows.  i know you know i think that you're the best.  my best.  your best.  i know around this you're lost.  i know around this you're found.  i know you close your eyes and imagine.  i know you don't know what imagine means.  i know that imagining is all you have.  i know you believe in the solidness of trees.  i know hugs heal.  i know silence cuts.  i know, i know you are alive.  i know you'll never lose your father.  i know what it is to lose a father.  i know we don't die.  i know we don't until we do.  i know you are alive.  i am here, right here, here, forever here, as real as any tree is real, imagine me here, your mother.  let's rise.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


grief is a funny room that we must move through whether we want to or not

lots of things die
it's what lives that we should be thinkin' on

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

i am a mother

poem for my children upon their birth

please forgive me for what i am about to do

i am about to live alongside you.

(i am in a place where i don't trust my words right now.  but i do trust this - i am a mother.)

happy mother's day to all mothers~

Friday, May 6, 2011


Will Shatner's  Common People
(with Joe Jackson)

She came from Greece. She had a thirst for knowledge.
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College.
That's where I--caught her eye.
She told me that her dad was loaded.
I said, in that case I'll have a rum and Coca-Cola.
She said fine, and in thirty seconds time she said...
I wanna live like common people.
I wanna do whatever common people do.
I wanna sleep with common people.
I wanna sleep with common people like you.
Well, what else could I do? I said, I'll see what I can do!

I took her to a supermarket.
I don't know why, but I had to start it somewhere.
So it started there!
I said, pretend you've got no money.
She just laughed and said, oh, you're so funny!
I said, yeah? Well I can't see anyone else smiling in here!
Are you sure you want to live like common people?
You want to see whatever common people see?
You want to sleep with common people?
You want to sleep with common people like me?
But she didn't understand...

...she just smiled and held my hands!
Rent a flat above a shop!
Cut your hair and get a job!
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you'll never get it right.
When you're lyin' in bed at night,
Watching roaches climb the wall.
If you call your dad he could stop it all.

You'll never live like common people!
You'll never do whatever common people do!
You'll never fail like common people!
You'll never watch your life slide out of view,
and dance, and drink, and screw!
Because there's nothing else to do!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

little blue flowers

every year
but for a week, maybe two
every year

what resilience it takes of the spirit
what a funnelling of joy
for such a short duration

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

alongside the train

it's only happened once in the last year
that they've left the train cars for me

it's not even the cars themselves
although i love the cars
we walk alongside
my children climb them
jump wide
claim a new kind of ownership
i wonder what memories they will grow with
what they will think, remember

i breathe deeply, say, oh, do you smell that?
they don't
but i go places

Monday, May 2, 2011

being alive, a celebration

like a lover, like a flower, like a bell, like the first time you control your fingers,
like a feather, like a mother's neck, like the page, like the first time you think the word beautiful,
like an acorn with its cap on the trail, like a hawk in the sky, like cool pudding,
like a quiet morning, like the mist, like a hot rock in the summer, and in the shade a snail,
like cedar, like presents, like laughter and no chin, like a nail,
like a hammer and an arm and a sail and a puddle and a day and no clock,
like a sheet, like a thunderstorm, like a ditch and rubber boots and a pail,
like a kiss, like a filament, like almost closed eyes, like light seeping in,
like a tent, like a fire, like frogs in wet ditches, like sleep in the back seat,
like a trail through the forest, like new bare feet, like fresh baked bread, like music,
like the arms of your father, like finding your feet, like running like the wind,
like fresh clean skin, like a scripture, like a truth, like absolution, like being alive,
like this poem.