Monthly Archives: May 2013

chin pu (mimetic consumption), a poem

chin pu mimetic consumption duck stretching on rock

Chin Pu  (Mimetic Consumption)
(originally published in Blue Fifth Review)
The duck on her rock performs a slow dance,
stretching leg and wing she could be flying
but her eyes are steady upon mine.  If I eat

her will I possess her grace?  If I dry her bones,
pound them to powder will I ever be able to fly?
China being the oldest civilization, wouldn’t you think

there is truth in this idea?  Snake blood is the cheapest
aphrodisiac — the glossy firmness of the snake around
my arm makes me remember every time I’ve been

touched.  Panicked by my lust, the snake twists
and defecates, a runny yellow soup emerging
from a shocking red anus which for a moment

seems like blood.  Yet the snake’s eyes never
flinch from mine.  If I roast this body on a wood fire,
will I too be able to penetrate the entire world

with my stare?  Emotions come from an older place
than thoughts — the duck, the snake and I share
more than breath, more than mere life.  We feel,

therefore we are.  It’s not so easy with people.
Even if it weren’t forbidden, could I process
your body for consumption? Could I use all your parts,

not waste a drop?  Aren’t we all waiting to be eaten?
Somewhere, those I love would season me with care,
value my flesh for the qualities they’ve learned to see —

not grace, not smooth strength, but constant
restless longing, the mind completely open,
forever curious.  Don’t hesitate — swallow me whole.


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the boy i never kissed, a poem

the boy i never kissed italian renaissance painting

The Boy I Never Kissed

(originally published in Images Inscript)

Michael’s hands are callused, rough and hard;
their worshiping touch is tender as a mother’s.
His voice is quiet, alto, his eyes dewy, downcast

in shy admiration. A forelock of wavy brown
Italian hair cascades over his high forehead
like a Renaissance crown, but his way of approach

is simply too respectful, too frightening.
I know nothing will come of this attraction,
though we sit talking for endless hours

in his old silver Barracuda after midnight,
the smothering summer darkness pressing
against my skin, raising beads of sweat

which I do not brush away, but allow to roll
slowly down between my breasts, turning my nerves
into taut straining wires. My skin is made of glass,

it will crack any second. He tells me sadly
of his foolish sister, Cherie, how she allows
boys she does not love to touch her. He has tried

to protect her, like the mythical big brother
I always craved. Under the golden streetlights,
in his greasy fry-cook’s uniform, his skin turns dusky,

going beyond olive into the baroque region
of infinite mystery. Then he was too good for me;
too noble to kiss. I made him love me from afar,

pushing the moment past, distancing my heart
from damage, keeping forever safe the memory
of such fragile, old-fashioned courtliness.

Where is the man now? Does he remember me, too,
as something far greater than any realized pleasure;
as a delicate, indelible dream of lost love?


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the conductress of milk, a poem


(originally published in Stirring:  A Literary Collection)


The Conductress of Milk


I am a conduit, pure liquid medium. 

It is like bleeding, I prostrate myself

to her lips, lay low while she sends

eloquent messages with her tiny, velvety hands,


her eyes dreaming, smiling.  At 3 a.m.

she has the strength of a legend. 

She grasps her own thumbs tightly

while she sucks on me.  There is pain,


but not too much.  I hew roads

through this darkness, telling her how one day

we will visit Paris, leaning over the old

sandstone edge of my favorite bridge


across the Seine.  The passage exhausts,

yet chronicles how time can stand still,

how the illusion of eternity creates its own value. 

I feel like an impostor — only the fact I’m lactating


convinces me I’m her mother.  How quickly

she goes from one emotional state to the next —

she can be fussing one second and smiling

to herself the next.  The silkiness of her cheek,


slick with spilt milk, is like angelwings.

She kicks her legs out straight while nursing,

moves her hands and arms like Leonard Bernstein

conducting — she moves her head for emphasis,


sometimes pulling back on the breast,

stretching the nipple.  She smacks her lips,

then pops off and lets go.

She looks up at me, wide-eyed, but soon


drops off into a very pleasant looking

milk-sucking stupor, a milky drunkenness,

a milk-sucking intoxication.  No wonder

we all ache for drugs afterward.


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knitting with dog hair, a poem

Knitting with Dog Hair


 A novice at spinning, I pump

with feet cramping in the arches,

toes splayed within stained

suede sandals, wisps of fur


tearing off, floating through air

made hot, heavy, hard to breathe;

the spindle twitters under my hand

like a dangerous bird; my nose itches


inside; I remember your skin

as I saw it long ago, covered

with a curled, golden down

fine enough to make a baby’s


first blanket.  I took this

hobby up as cheap therapy;

combing the dog, rubbing his pink

belly in reward, watching his


grateful ears rise, then fall…

Soon I will complete my first

garment — draped gracefully

over the shoulders, gathered


at the waist, droopy bell sleeves

in the madrigal fashion.  I shall

strut clothed this way, down your

street, to knock at your door —


wanting more, I know, than you

could ever give.  Smart, witty,

you are never at a loss for words,

except when faced with my designs.


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belladonna (atropa belladonna), a poem

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)Image

(originally published in Poetry SuperHighway)


Italians have known since the beginning

how I can make a woman beautiful —

it’s all in the eyes, they must be receptive,


or impenetrable, they must soothe,

or provoke, they must be wide with innocence,

or with knowledge.  People feel like nothing


unless observed seriously,

by a woman with eyes like black stars;

everyone knows the way children call


Watch me, lady, See what I can do! 

That is why those seeking beauty

dilate their pupils with my sap… 


I was also named for Atropos,

the Fate who severs the thread of life. 

I sever men’s hearts, I am that beautiful lady,


I am atropine — I am stinging red

juice used for the dilating effect. 

When I so desire, I flower singly or in pairs,


nodding, my corolla blue-purple or dull red,

according to my mood, or the soil I twine

my pale roots in.  So who do you think you are,


holding back a polite cough?  Deep down, you know

you fell the second I looked at you, seeing right through

your clothes to the naked body you hold so dear.


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