every time I strike out,
my father’s voice beats me down, the same as you
I’ve already read the letter a hundred times before,
locked and loaded, the piss down my right leg,
the boys in the band startled into a kind of raucous laughter, as if, as if they
struck gold at the end of the rainbow at the edge of these woods —
look at the chink in the shit clothes, crying from her cunt

I ran and I ran into the nearest home, these strangers with their Sears lamps, their hot milk, and their open arms, the pretty lady smelled of pikaki and coffee
while they called my parents — don’t, they don’t —
when the coast was clear, behind closed doors, they took turns
beating me from head to toe, mind body spirit, you know the drill
because they could not bear to stomach their fuck for an easy way out, pretend love for a one-way ticket, Dairy Queen & big, fancy American cars

how can I turn
my other cheek?
he is my only child to your 4 on the floor, the lies, the jokes, the diss tapes
I will not curse him with the same family name

the woods are cold at sunset for a seven-year-old girl,
just waiting for a friend


Beautiful Voice

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

A weather report, snow somewhere East of here, East of him

A brief glimpse, faint like the sound of a car accident or muffled bullets:

She’s skiing this weekend.

Her Facebook timeline confirms the facts. I wish I could conjure up his cure, too afraid to look inside his broken doll house, the sticks, the dreams

In a Nyquil dream today, I walked into my ageless son’s room. His toys roll toward me, a dog from a Netflix show barked and whined. My son curled up in a ball in my father’s smokeless living room.

We need to move.

No jobs on Linked In. Just a private message from a beautiful singer who blames me for costing her everything. I write for free, in between time I don’t have — the cancer growing. She says I am a bad person, in not so many words.

But I was kind.

So, I listen to Mark Wade’s new album, “Moving Day,” to keep me warm and help me forget my sniffles.

He has maybe two years left.

The Point Between F5 And F6

Who is the foreigner on my shelf, bathed in a bass blush? (Photo by Alex on Unsplash)


20 years ago, I saw myself in a lovely ballgown, green and grey, blue and flame-red like smoky alabaster
I was a little girl again in this cover model body, surprising in the mirror,
checking the price tag — that’s my dad
before the divorce they never saw coming

on another page, I saw her young, lovely pastor’s wife face break out in a thousand-watt smile
after a dream about the abuse, the betrayal, the lost years because he would not obey

I warned her, I said, “You are a superhero and a villain. Choose one. Choose wisely. Choose your family, your husband and your children, they are your salvation.”

maybe I was talking about myself

I am the heretic on the street corner, next to the vagrant and the drug dealer,
a virgin prophet, the Scarlet letter, his dirty little secret, the one he keeps between the folds of his post-gastric bypass and those late nights fisting lube & memory

the small man in faded denims, spectacles, sensible shoes — Lord, how I hated his mean-spirited sermons posing as the frontierman — preaching fire and brimstone,
you are a piece of shit!
I watched the dog-and-pony show
all the pretty little Christians lined up in rows
behind careful smiles, crafted masks

waiting to throw them at me

I read the headlines: God is dead,
they raped her body in the woods, then raised a glass in Tinsel Town
Hooray for Hollywood.

this can’t be my world

tonight I look for the man with brass who can take down an entire forest in the middle of a desert
with one note
I know, I saw him

he always waits for me in the cabin beyond this bridge over troubled waters between Seattle and Vancouver, his books and his music, an Irish pub and the neighborhood street fair

it is 1947 or 2012

he loves me, the way the waves love the shore when tourists leave town, leaving us to the moonlight

he watches me make the slow dance toward him, arms limp yet light as a ballerina, his ballerina, drunk with sleep, in everlasting dreams

we watch the setting sun from his backyard mottled with cattails, green tea warms in my hands
he smells of honeysuckle and home

travel girl

Photo by Leandro Gándara Mendez on Unsplash

rootless destinations

a church on a hill, below secondhand smoky fog
the rising Cliffs of Montauk before splinters of him sprayed in a majestic husk
oh how thunderous the stars over Honokaa, an exit mile post to that bleary-eyed Haleakala morning
flickering snapshots of blue silk, arriving postcards, the wise sentinels of Red Rock

“Mommy, do plane people change the scenery around while we eat nuts and drink Coca-Cola?”

“He not your father.”

little rapes through a thousand years, I write down the figures as fast as I can as the bodies fade, borrow memories from fancy men in black suits, their six-figure whores in the back of a stretch Hummer

“No one love you now”

remote control

Photo by alan King on Unsplash

Am I the author of my own movie? Or are these images dream flashes not mine?

The Dark festooned with residue from Hollywood’s cutting room, too much oboe, the voices do not match this unswerving frequency we’re on.

I either miss a man TPTB made up in casting, or one of my own invention.

Attached at 80, 8, and this nowhere in between, waiting for Prince Charming in his therapist overcoat to wake me up with a kiss and familiar conversation, waiting for the key in the logic of his subversive, subtitled conversation.

A flash as I drive carefully into the side of this ruinous house — this voice, this face, old and young, wise and reckless —

several hands hold him back as he shouts, “I can’t just stand here while they hurt her!”

Voodoo Suicide Holy Man

He told me, “Don’t you understand? I will die if I don’t bury myself in work.”

in the light

I drowned once

the men in robes with their solemn faces and rehearsed Scripture teach me to read, when to speak, when to bring the pumpkin bread, when to bleed me dry

music and murder, sleep and sex
moth to flame, dog to vomit, man to shit

in my dreams, his voodoo suicide stopped in a beautiful gift exchange, his outstretched hands, a stroke from behind, the tension between want and need, salvation in my pussy

“I’m sorry. I can’t. You have to understand. She knows everything.”

Did I imagine him touching me in Leviticus?

City Lights

Sheree says, “He’s my soulmate.”

I plunge into the deepest, darkest hole. A monastery of Lego block cinders, where I learned to read at the kindergarten level and, glorious music. The Cliffs, where I saved those children, and later, unable to save myself from a grandmother who spoke not a word of the Queen’s English, intent on aborting me three years into a rudderless future, I fell hard and fast.

Smooth, scripted conversations on the fly, behind screens of brown, city lights.
Their Facebook holiday played out for street urchins.
Busy work, my marker.

I’m ready. Come out.

December 14

he borrows lube from the nightstand drawer,
the same drawer he keeps the gun
he’ll stare and stare at this beautiful, undressed stranger
until warm flesh meets cold, pixel pussy — 42 inches from bliss
does he ever think of me, down in the tunnel of my self-imposed exile,
a happy prisoner of the fiction they fed me to keep my hungry, half-starving body full
somewhere I am still in the dungeon of my forever home,
trapped inside this twisted, fevered mind missing time, so much time
endless afternoons stuffing my face with $10 pizza and ice cream sandwiches from the vending machine in the laundry down the street, two for a quarter

mom is screaming at my lifeless body, tubes and wires, metal and plaster
he doesn’t love me he never loved me he never will
oh why did you have to lie?

I knew, I knew in between the bedroom feedings and the midnight snacks,
the bright sunny day I shit down my legs in front of the Hammering Man
this man 42 inches away, words on a pixel screen, borrowed and hollow, cranked and sore — as if rehearsed from his parents’ hand-me-down play, before and after the arranged marriage — run away with me, my own personal Britney Spears in that music video beachside scene

an old woman who lives in a two-story bedroom town meant for a family of four
crochets scarves for kind strangers who will die and leave those scarves for Goodwill
on life support, crossing every “T” and dotting every “i”
just in case she presses the red button

lust for love
love for comfort
a lifetime of happily ever afters for … duty

another December passes me by


yes, I can feel you bleeding inside me
it’s when I slip on the third step going upstairs with another basket of laundry, or forget to glance up at another traffic light

go. go. GO.

would I your back turned toward me, or the sun
gone, or holding onto your same shell game

dare I, my monstrous insides shunning gaping rotting slashing away
reveal me,
dare I love in the romance of Victorian novel, Tolstoy and Beckett. Shakespeare for hideous mortals.

when one of us last breathes, the infant to the toad, an infantile cry, pissing in shallow waters, oceans deep,
the world will feel our reunion. in due time,
glittering in the dark

love, I suppose,
it’s real enough for the both of us