Friday, October 20, 2006

Skimming Stones

Skimming Stones

She feels the cool against her palm,
The weight upon her fingertips.
Somewhere a leaf falls.

Her foot breaks
The fragile leaves beneath her,
fracturing dried veins,
crushing soft pine needles.
The crack and snap
Echo through the trees
Reaching through the air.
Wind envelopes the newly fallen reds
And oranges, bearing
Them through the maze of brambles and branches.

Her hair cuts
Across her forehead and cheek,
Now pink with surfacing blood vessels.
She pulls the flannel around her,
The red plaid melting
with her surroundings, enclosing her like a sunset
Glowing on the horizon.

The water runs
Slowly gurgling and bubbling
Across gravel and sand,
Leaking into the lake: a crudely cut
Shelf of glass.

Flicking her wrist, she releases
The stone.
It slides through her fingers
That twitch to cling
To the smooth, cold surface
As if it carries her life.
It breaks the glass,
splintering the smooth surface.

The wind picks up.

Somewhere a leaf falls.

*Note: This image was taken from*

My Love for Dance


Thump gathump thump
Heartbeat pounds against my chest,
Ready to shatter my ribs
And I fear I may
Curled in fetal position on the cold
Black floor
Hair falling around my face like water.

Shrung, karung, shrung
The curtain slides across the metal rungs
And our souls lie on the glowing stage.
The speakers crackle
And our bodies rise slowly
Like Goddesses emerging from the earth.

We sauté from stage left
Our skirts like rain in the wind,
Shifting from side to side
As our legs relevé, carrying us through space
Arms like tree branches [insert pine/ash]
Caressed by the wind,
Lightly treading upon air
Drawing ripples in the atoms
Infiltrating the ominous, judging audience.

Thump gathump
The heart pumps and blood flows
Our chests pulsing with energy/electricity
Our minds swell with Graham
“reach” she says
“farther,” she cries
We force our bodies to grasp the stars
“contract!” and our backs fold
To the will of her presence.

The dark audience sits, silent,
Looming before our temple
Of Paul Taylor
White lights
And the beating of our hearts.

Eyes blazing and muscles burning
Steady, steady,
Arms float through thick air.

We are Muses
We speak truth, we are emotion.
Bodies careen and our feet hit silently
Our faces shining with the passion
Of those before us.

In a final grand battement
We face the predator crowd,
Chests heaving for oxygen
Hair still turning around our shoulders.
We stand, glistening
Like celestial bodies in the late evening
And our moment is over:
Cut like an umbilical cord.


Dedicated to my mother.

Laundry on a sunny day in September (9/10/06)

hands swiftly grasp
and drop,
cloth waving like soldiers
awaiting orders
bodies drifting back
and forth as they inhale,
she is not ragged
in the sun.
hair no longer red
but gray and brown,
and autumn tree against
a cloudy sky.
her back is strong,
her legs hold the earth.
white t-shirts, washcloths,
and jockey briefs
with honey-colored stains fall
into the white plastic basket.
she carries
it on her hip
as if it were a child.
she sits in front of the TV, CNN,
and folds dad’s boxers with a gentle touch
you could see if you squint your eyes.
she stands, basket in hands,
clothes neat and clean.
the earth holds her legs

Death in Four Parts

Death in Four Parts

I remember her chest


Her chest rising
Staggered, struggled,
Chest falling.


I inhaled the poison
Bursting through my pores
And leaking into my veins,
Streaking fast to my lungs
And out
Into the air,
Carrying the images of her concave body,
Starched sheets,
Gray face and slacked jaw.
We drove and drove,
The road swallowing our existence.
Our hoods up, the music loud,
The windows down.
Smoke curling and weaving through our bodies
Like gods and goddesses
Wrapping their arms around my body
Swelling with emotions;
I ignore the pain and deflate.

The ceiling spoke to me
In verses of pounding silence
Bruising my body.
Fat tears slid down my temples,
Forming caverns and ravines
Draining me,
Leaving me dry and shriveled.

Like her.

My eyeliner grew thick
Like vines creeping over my eyes,
Encasing me in a shell.
My clothes grew dark,
My hair grew darker.
Hidden beneath a case of tough skin
Thick like a redwood,
Curving around my body.
I struggled to smile.

I once sat in my car outside the Rehab Center, staring through the windshield.
My hands gripped the wheel
I fought with my tears.
We battled in my head,
Cutting and striking.
My throat ached,
As though a knife were lodged
Between my tonsils.
My eyes grew red
And I bit my lip until it too swelled
And burned bright like the setting sun.

Tears fell
Staining my face.
Was her face stained like mine?

I lay on the bed across from hers
My mother sleeping in a chair
Her feet up on the bed.
I faced the wall.
It may have been blue,
Or white.
My eyes closed slowly
And my body curved into fetal position
For warmth and comfort.

The bed sank down,
As though someone sat at the edge
Next to my legs.
The bed sank again,
A second body.
I felt a chest inhale
I turn my head
To see the visitor,
Only to feel the bed rise,
The breathing stop.

She was not alone.

I carried a laundry basket,
Full to the brim,
On my hip.
The water fell into the washer
Like the waterfall down the road:
Clean, clear, crisp.
The phone rang,
I stopped and stared at the water,
Reflections and patterns weaved into a sneer
Staring back into my face:
A deer in headlights.
I raced to answer it,
“You better come soon.”
“As in now?” I asked, my voice shaking,
My hands numb.
“Just come now, it’s going to be soon.”
I hung up the phone.
I don’t remember turning the washer off,
Walking upstairs,
Turning the car on,
And driving on the roads,
Slick with snow and rain.

She was not alone.
She did not die alone.
I remember her brilliant smile,
Her silky silver hair,
Like smoke.
Her well-aged hands,
Worn from years of stories.
My body trembled as I turned
The wheel.

Something washed over my body,
A hand dripping with warm water.
“Everything is going to be okay,”
She said.

I was not alone.

Oil Painting Class.

His laugh rang loud,
Sweeping fast between the paintbrushes,
The easels, the grime that layered every inch.
Heads turned fast and stopped
Flickering between the model and their paper.
We giggled at our distraction,
wanting to create a mess
Out of structure and diligence
And the teacher pulls us back to our task.
We roll our eyes and scribble with our paintbrushes
Eyeing each other and grinning,
Until our grins spill over
Our bubbling laughs boiling like a pot.
We spit and hiss and melt into each other.

*Note: This painting isn't actually done with oil paints. I have many oil paintings, however they are in a temporary storage area. However, this painting was done around the time I wrote this poem.*