close carry

i used to fall asleep in the car,

riding home at night after a

 

long outing. i remember the hum

of the road, the flashing head

 

lamps; i remember the sudden quiet

of the engine cutting off, daddy scooping

 

me up in his arms to carry me in. some

times a shoe would slip, a mumble, a word—

 

a hint that i wasn’t completely asleep;

but he would carry me up the stairs into

 

the house, up the stairs into my bed.

i don’t remember what was said: just

 

the strong arms around me, the

scent of man, of capability, of love.

 

later there would be times i would try

to recreate this safe feeling, this

 

extended touch, this close carry.

but it was never the same.

 

worse for the wear

this is the poem i don’t want to write.

this is the poem that is not beautiful.

 

or maybe it is,

because it is true.

 

the truth is,

i wish she were worse for you.

 

the truth is,

i wish she would just disappear.

 

i wish she were not so much like me.

it would be easier to hate her.

 

for both

of us.

 

the truth is,

she is good for you.

 

the truth is,

she is better for you

 

than i

would be.

 

i try to woo you with

my words, mystery,

 

well-timed

misery;

 

but the truth is,

i’ve never had a healthy

 

relationship.

it feeds the

 

poetry, but not

the living.

 

the truth is,

if she disappeared

 

tomorrow, i would not

know what to do.

 

i would probably

cry for you.

 

and then

for me.

 

i am the one who

should disappear.

 

i am the one who

is worse for the wear.

 

 

 

 

 

of what could not

your whole body lied

to me, for years. and

 

now, my whole body

lies in the quiet, lies in

 

the darkness, lies at

dinner parties—especially

 

because it doesn’t go

to dinner parties: it

 

lies alone in the cool

blue din of the tele-

 

vision; thinking of the

sun on the lake, on the

 

rich red paint, of what

could not have been.

november

i am a sad song

 

but at least i

am singing.

 

i have fallen for my

own despair;

 

but i hate the refrain,

i despise the ending.

 

i miss the joy bursts of chorus:

were they ever really there?

 

…. sailing away like cursive

into the sky….

 

i go to another place

but the mirror brings me back;

 

the looking glass

in reverse.

 

do these words mean

anything to you?

 

i am alone.

 

reflected behind me, an

empty room;

 

within me, a deep

loneliness and a tiny

 

hope.

 

i have nothing to give;

i have every thing to

 

give but no one who

wants it.

 

i am forgetting how to love.

 

anansi

i found a spider on the kitchen

floor: hairy and black.

 

i asked it to let me see my father again.

but first i trapped it under some tupperware

 

(a clear container so i could keep an eye out,

watch it climbing the sides, trying to escape).

 

i apologized for detaining it, until a guy could

come by and set the spider free in the yard.

 

yes, i am afraid of the things i love.

yes, i am in love with the things i fear.

 

it is not above me to ask a man for help;

after all, i brought him into this world.

 

i dreamt of my father that night—and every

night thereafter; like before, only happier:

 

he was himself, mostly whole, mostly

glad to be with us again; longing to stay,

 

but always having to leave by the end.

mornings always bring the farewell.

 

i visit death so often it

has become a furry friend.

 

 

 

smells like chicken

sittin’ outside in

the sweet spot,

 

under the tree in

the parking lot;

 

the dumpster by this

joint smells like

 

chicken. and this is

living, counting coins on

 

a corner, trying to buy a tiny

piece of the power ball.

 

the first words out of her mouth

this morning were mother fucker.

 

they were not literal

:

 

her pelvis is locked up like a fort;

nothing to see here.

 

in order to get this flushed anymore

she has to walk in the night rain,

 

fast, uphill,

thinking, thinking—

 

her head and feet so far apart

they scream.

 

in love with a fantasy:

it sustains her like the whiskey

 

she needs to wash down her bread.

she can’t remember the first

 

words said, or the time be-

fore they met, before they parallel

 

parked their force-fed lives full

of love, war, birth, joy, death.