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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Arbeit Macht Frei

There's many a metaphor straddling
The continuum of work and death
A slave knows one leads to the other 
And the other is deliverance from hell

We hope we go, when we do, with grace
Die as we live, hard at work, always
That there won't be much room for regret
At the end of a life of constant effort

Still others have made death their work
Diggers of graves, burners of bodies
Butchers, fishermen, farmers and priests
Nurses and caregivers at the hospice

If like me, you're learning-averse 
through work we can know ourselves
While in sickness, the first thing to suffer
Workaholics bring illness to the desk.

When work seems never-ending I play
a trick upon myself and think of death
But when the toiling is itself the reward 
It's a celebration and coping, in the best way

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Not Unraveling

Let me get to the heart
Of the matter at once;
My deepest darkest secret fear
Is that I will let myself down
And crush those that I love,
Through actions that betray
a pathetic lack of courage.

Not uncommon, I know.
Not even unfounded, it’s true.
But the hole in my stomach -
-the dryness of my mouth -
the derailment of thought;
Confer a unique experience
Each time the penny drops

I realized this some time ago,
And that more out of curiosity
About my own internal process
A wonder at my surrender
At my acceptance of paralysis
Will it always be so easy, so familiar
these patterns of failure

I search for my inner Ivanhoe
propelled by a greater fear, of course;
Of time unaccounted; sunken costs –
Standing still – and yet getting lost.
Will I survive not being constantly gratified?
If I split into two, I might see this through

But I can inhabit the future only when it’s now.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Do Not Deny The Wretchedness

When I was a little girl – a tween?

And it rained on lazy evenings

I would run outside in my petticoat

And invite my mom along to play

In the puddles with me – 1, 2, 3.

Somehow she rarely ever joined in these

Trying harder instead to entice me

Into returning inside, to promises,

Of food or some such sundry

Entertainment – a bribe essentially.

I hearken back to this old memory

Because suddenly I feel the itch to be

Standing barefoot, soaking the vitality

Of that moment. The mud, the breeze

The unrelenting patter was, to me, almost therapy.


Ma. I may need some therapy.

Just come feel the earth loosen under your feet.

Do not deny the wretchedness,

Which we blame upon the drought in our hearts;

We all long to be loved, but we need to be free.

Friday, September 11, 2015

why I rejected your friend request

This one is for my friends
Who wonder where i’ve been
Hiding – just out of their sight
Or deep in the funkhouse

I measure my worth like I
Measure my days – sometimes
I don’t fully inhabit the person in
the images I show to the world

On such days when it takes a little more,
I turn to tea or toast or poetry
But sometimes I must sit down and
Confront some dizzying questions

I think my face rather ugly then
I look lost and slow and chubby
So my focus shifts to better expression
As soon as I am reminded of this

It is not for me, not, certainly,
In this lifetime, to live up to your ideals
But maybe once I start controlling
My facial expressions -  I’ll say hello


Wake up calls work for
those who are asleep, and not
for us who keep our eyes closed

wilfully explaining away
every lost opportunity
as one that never was found

what does it mean to
stand up for myself
and discount the doubt for a minute

to take a clean confident plunge
into the unknown depths
it could be beautiful

it could mean wishing i’d
done it sooner and better
it could mean learning a lesson

but what i will never know by crawling
back under my own oppression
i will never know at all.

Too many times

Too many times
It has happened that you overreach
And bring to ruins a carefully
Calibrated reality

It is no longer allowed 
to look the other way
As the constant friction remoulds
your differences into opacity

Surely there's more to understand
Perhaps the hour is not now
Perhaps this is all you will have
And other things may begin to matter.

shed your sticky angst
But before you walk away lighter
put down these words in a cool, dry place

a poem is a safekeeper

Friday, October 11, 2013


I ate half a bird yesterday
and it (the eating, not the bird)
led me to contemplate,
if poems are gentle, compassionate?

Let me explain, I stake
no claim in kindness banks;
but death is not always,
a matter of unkindness

And we are trapped in 
bodies flawed. The goat it
bleats, the cows fidget
And I will never figure out a widget.

Are we vulnerable to precision?
The killing machine is the same for me
and you and all the animals
(do you think they think they're free?)

I've toed the line of agency to 
practice the art of the possible.
Still the world has failed to well show me
how bacon can be the smell of evil.