Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Words Absent

What do you say to a 14-girl
who lost on of her moms
the Friday after Thanksgiving
when she’d only been “officially” her child
since the 2lst of June.

I’m afraid
they don’t cover
that in honorary auntie school
and even someone who earns
her living making letters fit together
lacks ability.

Lesson Learned from a Bad Week

Theme: Lessons learned

1. Chocolate really does make things better (at least a little bit)
2. Death is often unexpected and random
3. Words, friends, and favorite movies help
4. Take out food and organic pies are comforting
5. Not getting one job doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
6. There is no way a sympathy card can replace a sympathy hug
no matter how much love it’s sent with.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Theme: stairs

Being a wheelchair user
the bane of being,
especially absent accompanying ramp.

Source of only happy bio-dad memory;
he rubs my sore skull in his
lazy weekend morning attire
of maroon silk bathrobe after weak muscles
wouldn’t follow brain’s desire
to pull 50 pound body stair by stair,

The reason Brian
now has a rod in his femur,
necessitating unwelcome break
from basketball and hockey.

Occasional source
of fight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reasons to write

(a list poem)

1. to memorialize
2. to inform self and others
3. to be able to talk to myself without being called crazy
4. to maintain a grip on this thing called sanity
5. for money (I must admit)
6. because spilled ink has always helped create justice
7. because it passes time when waiting for bureaucrats if you have a speaker phone
8. Words last centuries!
9. It’s a better tool for self expression than an Uzi, and more legal.

Super Powers

Theme: rite a "what really happened" poem. Use a real event (or an event from a popular movie) and spin it in another direction

(for Laura Hershey)

People pour out pent up Laura love
in poems, in e-mail. on Facebook,
on blogs, in newspapers,
wherever/however they find the space.

If granted the ability, I’d will
you back among the breathing
to your partner and not so little girl
in less time than it takes to
undergo one of my teacher’s
long, slow yoga breaths.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Upon Learning of Your Passing

(for Laura Hershey)

I stared hard at the computer screen,
trying to decide if this was someone’s idea
of a very sick Facebook joke.

Then I make no sense for a few minutes,
as I tried to find the right number of verys
to express my heart's aching.
“Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, ver…”
until my assistant insists I stop and tell her
exactly what happening.

Suddenly winning Nanowrimo in 3 and a half days
doesn’t seem so important,
especially when my characters mundane, everyday, basic actions
seem to have hit an abrupt pause.

I eat
assistant bought Chinese dinner,
watch Something’s Gotta Give for the thousandth time,
and take a 90 minute nap
after failing to add even on meaningful sentence
to my tale of a young ballerina’s journey
toward self discovery.

I venture to my local mega-grocery
hoping chocolate, which I buy with change only,
will recall the muse to mind.

After one-third of bag of Reese’s
I’m no happier or more motivated
just a little stomach sick.

somehow I find the focus
to write this poem
and decide- perhaps cruelly-
to make one of characters endure
a death, too.

I decide
these are fitting
literary tributes
to a genius lost
even if it's only a rough draft.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nanowrimo Poem II

Today, I worked out my story.
Wrote the ending
in advance,
breaking an unbreakable rule.

Figured out the scenes
and what will happen
when I have the support
necessary needed to spare my wrist
strain it can’t always absorb.

Final research trip is tomorrow,
off to local toy store,
where I will combine
a very cute scene,
that really makes readers believe
in the girl that my character is
with a little real world seasonal shopping.

These 5 scenes will complete
the month long tale in beginning to end
in just over 18,000 words.

because I refuse to abandon
the beloved little ballerina
I created in this month of thanks giving;
it’s into edit mode.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I mourn for the woman
I learned about today
from a friend’s poem.

The women who went to a nursing home
merely because her husband/caretaker died
and had to give up a teaching career she loved.

Perhaps this was in days
before paid assistants.
For myself, get 16 paid hours
in any 24 hours period,
more than enough to insure
survival of both self and cat.

Perhaps, too,
she is from that
older generation of gimps
that don’t understand the value
of accessing the hard one rights
to “I’m the boss PCA services”
and thinks no would come assist
her as arranged.

I can you
from experience,
people will do a lot for $12.48 per hour,
especially in this economy.

But then again,
perhaps she had no one
to teach her about alternatives.

God knows no institution
help enforce the civil rights
we fought for, went to jail defending,
and too often, literally, died for-
because it will cost them one cash cow.

If this woman,
is still among the breathing,
perhaps I will find her
and we will talk options.


Assignment: Write a palindrome

I am glad
I was born
within this body
in the century
I was.

Was I
century the in
body this within?
Born was I.
Glad am I.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turkey Poem II

I have thought
of turkeys differently
since I saw that tom and his hens
out by the Quabbin Reservoir.

if my voice has any sway in the purchasing
of holiday gobblers,
I will advocate
for the buying of a bird
that had a nice life.

Something that died happy
simply tastes better than something
that spent it’s life penned
in an obviously too small cage.

After all, I’m going to have
a creature murdered
merely to grace my holiday plate
I at least what to know
it saw sunshine,
knew grass,
and had sex.

Tell me why

Assignment: write a poem entitled "Tell me Why ___" I took a little freedom and omitted the blank.

(Dedicated to Ahriah)

This is my niece’s favorite question
or it will be in a few months
when her tongue graduates from babyhood
to full on toddler status.

Auntie, why is the sky blue?
Auntie, why do zebras have stripes?
Auntie, why can’t you walk?

These are the questions
I look forward to,
ones that easy to answer
from my own knowledge
or a simple search on Google.

The harder set of questions
will come with adolescence
or earlier- given that she’s related to me,
unless we radically change both ourselves
and our social structures.

Auntie, why can’t any two people who love each other get married?
Auntie, what will happen when we’ve cut down all the trees?
Auntie, why are their still people who think that every girl likes pink?
Auntie, what did you do about it?

I don’t know what I’ll say.
All I know is that I work daily
to create a world
where questions like that
will occur only in history books,
not out of mouths of babes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Transcending Boundaries

In Honor of
-Martina Robinson, 2010

Try to
Resist boxes others
Assign us to with
Self input
Collected or valued. Personal
Negated by hours spent
Identity claims against
Naysayers who often say that
God told them we don’t exist.

Of others
Unduly granted weight by
Nations, government,
Doctors. We must struggle
Always to prove our
Relentless quest to define self
Is a righteous
Endeavor; one they
Should respect!


(Assignment: Unstack objects or tear down the obstacles stacked in your way, etc.)

You and I
Primus and Thisbe
or ,more accurately, Thisbe and Thisbe
kissing through chinks in socially constructed,
sub-culturally enforced, walls.

Every six months or so,
we have one of our marathon,
post-midnight phone conversations
and decide that honoring these
long ago conceived restrictions
is nothing short of stupid.

The morning light will find us
lack to will to pursue
such noble aims.

Monday, November 15, 2010


(assignment: write a just when poem as in "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water" from Jaws)

After a poor night’s sleep
that involved passing urine into bedpan twice
and 1 wicked attack of spasms.

After waking with a headache
that keeps going and going
at a rate the Energizer Bunny would envy
despite downing three Aleve
and half a pipe full of ganja.

After bout of writer’s block
that further delayed the deadlines
I was already behind on

After hours on phone
dealing with various bureaucracies
aiming to get basic medical needs met.

After even more hours discussing
transit, hotel room, and conference registration
and all that intervening issues involved in arranging that
for a body like mine.

After my kitchen sink
over ran it’s boundaries
causing an impromptu flood
that reviled Noah’s in rates of rise
and led to maintenance man invasion
and very freaked out puddy tat.

Just after dinner with my assistant,
a belly full of carnivorous comfort food,
and a shopping trip that yields
both tp and chocolate covered cranberries
has me thinking that this day
just might turn out okay.

I discover
the nasty, irreparable rip
in my trusty, two year old,
Timb0uktu bag.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A New Food Poem

Today, this meat and potatoes
born and bred Pennsylvanian
enjoyed herself eating
vegan antipasto and other cruelty-free treats;
wonders what this says about her evolving culinary palette,
although she suspects her physical body
simply will not allow
a totally flesh free existence,
whatever she might wish.


(theme: intersection)

Two Tuesdays from now
at 10:45 AM
it feels like the amorphous “they”
get to decide the rest of my life.

Attempts to reassure self
that this is that,
but only one in a sting
of opportunities/options
that will present to this body
over lifetime
are proving futile.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What does it mean to hit the wall?

(theme: make any question the title of your poem)

The kind you willing run
full force into
like on some kind
of creativity disciple on LSD
just because it’s November
and you find yourself unable
to say no to any of your friends interesting
creative brainstorms?

So, you agree to write 2 two poems a day,
and keep your job examining two topics,
which are thankfully related,
while blogging for a site you pay to belong to
although you barely cover your membership fee
with the money you earn,
and posting for pennies
on a site you enjoy mostly
because of it’s international flair.

all the while creating a 50,000 word novel,
going to the gym to make sure the 15 pounds
you lost stays lost,
and updating your Facebook status
so no one thinks you died
in what used to be
your spare time.

The Artist

-my Center for New Americans Poem-
(for Ed Rwaitkowski)

I meet a man
who draws or paints
(depending on mood and medium)
with his feet.

His pictures would be the envy
of many able-bodied artists.

I resolve never to complain
about my speech impairment
or typing speed again.

It’s a vow
I hope to keep
for at least 24 hours.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Writer's Dance

I dance…
the dance of hunted…
words pursue like
beast rapid…

I have no time
to enjoy literary triumphs,
rest on laurels,
it’s always on to next
one step follows another
to breathe or turn muse
break into friendly, creative sister
from the banshee
she’s twisted into
in honor of November.

The Look

(theme: forget what they say)
“Look back. Talk back.
I won’t always be around to defend you,”
my mother told me.
Some would call
that strange advice
to give a preschooler with tear filled eyes,
post classmate meanness fest.

Years later,
I would learn to call it wisdom.

the look I give to homophobes
at street corners who dare
call innocent hand holding
a sign of the Antichrist’s arrival
or to people who stare either
too long or lustily at my twisted frame
could, as the girl I love, puts it,
“Freeze water in the middle of Hades.”

No One Wants to Give up Chocolate

(theme: no one wants___)

Even to attain
the ogle-worthy bodies
men, women, or both
depending on preference
find so alluring,

Even though wives tales
say it affects complexion.

Because we all remember
the joy of cookies, fresh baked
after stellar report cards
or basketball court victories,
rewards on a plate.

Because we all
have a memory
of apology chocolate
born by a girlfriend, boyfriend
or relative
after some wrongdoing.

Because in spite of everything,
I’ve learned I still believe
“There’s a smile
in every Hershey bar.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010


(theme: love)

I remember
the post finals December morning
when I was about to have you put
my comfy, maroon turtleneck in suitcase.

I remember
the way your long,
well-kept fingers held the material
and how casually you told me
“I would mind having that while you were gone.”

I remember
knowing from the pitch of your voice
that the request wasn’t so casual
after all.

I remember
trading that keep me
warm in blizzards shirt
for enough kisses
to last me until New Year’s Day,
when I’d receive a fresh supply
and it would be your birthday.


(a pro-Poem)

I’m gut twistingly aware
of every death,
every jail night,
every beating
endured to assure
my access to that ballot box.

I refuse to dishonor
a single martyr’s memory
by declining democratic participation.

A minute to go

(a Center for New Americans Poem)
One minute
to write a poem.
I type
and breathe.

Love Hurts

Agree to disagree
that’s how you and I
negotiate each other
although I’m pleased
with our new way relating.

Soon I hope,
I will learn to stop
aexspecting a falling shoe.

Shouldn't have said yes!

(theme: agreement)
I chase the deadline
like an addict chasing
the mythic dragon.

I keep up,
Don’t slip.
No November frosty face plants
and from imagined balance beams
for this woman,
I’m simply not that kind of girl.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


(an acrostic poem inspired by my 2010 Nanowrimo experience

Seeking to
Transcend self imposed deadlines
Rally exhausted muse to connect
Enough words to reach 50,000
Subplot by

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I woof down a salad.
Forget to by an anniversary card.
Keep typing.
There are deadlines to be chased.
Expectations to honor.

But can I
breathe a minute
before I rejoin the word ratrace?

Looking for the 25th hour

(Poetic Asides: Write a poem entitled Looking for _______)

Looking for the 25th hour

I dislodge myself from the world
of my 12-year-old, overstressed ballerina
and my/her need to craft some sort
of novel draft that makes enough sense
to read a scene from by November 30th.

Leave her and all her adolescent angst
in the world of fiction for the moment,
as I visit the world of verse
seeking to create two non-masterpieces
that will do nothing more than keep me in the games
I’ve elected to play.

After that there’s an article to write
about an awesome event that took
two hours out of my overbooked, overburdened afternoon.

I should blog, too.
People on Blogit worry if I don’t check in.
Called the police once,
much to my embarrassment.

The problem was a misfiring internet connection,
not, as they feared,
some assistant gone psycho.

It’ll be after midnight
when I get back to my story
where my heart truly wants to be.

Unless I find the 25th hour.

Friday, November 5, 2010


(written for the Center for New Americans fundraiser)

Little, spastic girls
shouldn’t walk alone
in the autumn darkness
to library programs
designed to make them
pass urine into library floors
or fear things that go bump
in the night.

And afterward said little girl
definitely shouldn’t spend
the rest of the evening
watching Supernatural
as she attempts to write
the great American novel
in 30 days.


(theme: metamorphosis for poetic asides)

The pumpkin-
palm of hand sized,
not good for pie baking,
as are her weightier siblings-
now sits in window,
all dolled up
with purple googly eyes,
a silver pipe cleaner smile,
and crazy Afrocentric curls,
capped with turquoise feather;
She’s transformed from vegetable
to stand in for novel main character
in the space of a Halloween party.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The muse, interrupted

(a diseased haiku)

Plans for poetic
morning interface with art
disrupted by germs

Been There, Done That

(a containment poem for poet asides day 4)

I never met you,
but your friend
(who has by now mentioned me, perhaps)
talked to me after I spoke
to her personal health class
but you’ve been occupying
my mind like a bad hang nail
ever since.

I know
you are tired
of residing in space
made for clothes
as opposed to souls.

I remember
my own weariness
when I was you 15 years ago.

I recall the agony
that made bad spasm days seem
like a Central Park stroll in June.

How does the lying start?


Of loss,
Of being abandoned
to manage this body
you can’t control independently.

You promise yourself
it’s only until you get
your own bank account,
your own home,
your own services.

After a briefer time than you imagine
the falsehoods become a habit you don’t desire
like smoking or injecting heroin.
Maintained for the illusions of ease and safety.

You bare the gut twisting.
Learn not to taste each untruth
like two days unbrushed teeth.

You get very good-
smile on cue,
swallow always present sobs.

My experience-
all I can offer you-
is to beware
of the lie’s seduction
and the illusion offered.

One day you’ll
snap and blurt out
the actual reality
of your existence
and that’s better done
with just a little planning,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poetic Asides November Poem a Day 3

(Theme: location)

The Road

I must cross Route 9
where there’s no crosswalk.
Only a two lane highway,
between the bus stop and the gym-
my final destination.

I turn the chair to maximum
and bolt across the road,
worn tires squealing
across macadam at a momentary break
in the endless traffic onslaught.

I think,
“Is risking my life
really worth saving

You'll live...

I don’t know her-
but her story is related
by a friend,
who’s class I’ve come to speak to-
I’ve been there
where she must live
for now.

That crazy place
between out and in
of closet, disclosure/non-disclosure,
the struggle to meet both
the needs of your queer soul
and your disabled body.

Who to tell what and when and why.
I give the friend my card
and pray she calls me,
so I can be there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poetic Asides November Poem a Day 2

It's Two option Tuesday. Themes are "Ready" & "Not Ready"


I think I’m ready to start
becoming the person
she saw in flashes
a decade and a half of nights ago
who she decided love
in spite of muscle twitches
and frequent retreats into
behavior she thought childish.

For myself,
I have never met
the woman she sees
behind eyes in most evolved moments.

just sometimes, though,
I look into mirrors
and wonder if the she
looking back at me
is really that long lost woman
and not me.


The Messenger

I am not ready
to give up, give in, give over
control of self or life
to anyone who isn’t me
despite the seductive ease
that relinquishing sometimes
seems to offer.

I vote in every election,
beat on power’s very door,
chain myself to things, as required.

I teach others
to not be ready,
to not accept,
to not surrender.
To demand
to exceed,
to be.

Thanksgiving Poem 1

(my thirty poems in thirty days fundraiser poem)

My housemate announces-
she who used to be he-
and in another version of life
and perhaps still is,
in some parallel universe
beyond our vision,
will not help eat the Pumpkin pie
I planned to order

in an attempt to bring just a bit of tradition
to out very non-traditional household
come Turkey day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here we go again

Your smile
will always make heart skip beat
or three-

has ever since that too cold January day
when gimps gathered to confront Kevorkian
and I decide to yield to six months
of pent up desire
that I am nearly too naive
to comprehend.

Despite how well this round us
is going, for now,
I can’t help waiting
for the other shoe.


(Dedicated to Kandace)

I endure almost assistantless day,
making a valiant effort not to contract
to the bug that wrapping them
each around pincher fingers in turn
and squeezing human insides
until they vomit or crap on themselves.

Only later,
do I realize
it’s also a day when
the writer gets to organize
the organizer gets to dance,
and the dancer gets to write,
and my whole self gets to remember
rainbows are hidden behind clouds.