the mamas bring the

music and the light,


stroking sweet-

ness into being,


inoculating against

the self-made man.


every where you look

is a circuit board


waiting for



the stars are

still inebriated.


i keep my hands

at 10 and 2


as i measure

you, ride


your war-

torn body


past the banyans

into the sunrise.


— true —

let the pain write

the poem,

let it explode;

stop being careful,

stop caring what

they think:

your mother, the man-

child in the

stroller, the clown

on the corner;

write it all down

— true —

so you can start to live it.



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.




mother meek

For Erleen. May your beautiful mother-soul rest in peace.

it took you two minutes to read me,
to tell me what i sound, smell, taste like;

it took me two centuries to come out of my cave
and play, a web of shining sound hanging

from shaking teeth. i am slave,
manufacturer, warrior, priest, king: all

embodied, poised to inherit the earth.
but it is the minor keys of the mother

being played out in the background—
ever layering, ever loving—

that will win out in the end;
the weak in reverse,

the binaries of her
music box—slight and

strong—turning, bending in
the wind, building the

tender-fierce frame-
work of the world.

the prowler and the prey

some may think me

a hypochondriac.


no, i’ve just had visions of sickness and death

for as long as i can remember;


and, visions of flying and

birthing and being at home


in my new-found skin as a

lion, man, circus performer.


this is the human condition:


to watch for what is coming,

to be both the prowler and the prey.