I hid in a closet while my best friend was killed.

I texted my sister.


I love you. 

Tell Mom and Dad to get here, fast.

I don’t want to die.


Thirty of us in that closet,

Paper plates for fans.

This is not supposed to happen here.


The police came.

If you had a bag, you had to drop it in a pile.

Then, three questions—


Are you hurt?

Did you capture anything on phone or video?

Do know anything about the gunman?


After that they let us leave.


The guns have changed,

Our laws have not.


Your rights to own a gun—

All I hear is mine, mine mine.

You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.

A kid in a candy store of blood.


I am not going to be the dead kid you read about in textbooks.


We don’t want thoughts and prayers—

We want policy and change.


You, President.

I dare you.

Tell me to my face—


It was a terrible tragedy,

It should never have happened.


How much money did you get from the National Rifle Association?

You want to know something?

It doesn’t matter, because I already know.


Thirty million dollars.

Divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States

In the one and one-half months in 2018 alone,

That’s $5,800.


Is that how much we are worth to you?

Shame on you.


There is no hashtag for our grief.





 Grief, I have ignored you for too long.


Not a person.


But shapeless and heavy,

Thick sticky fog—

I buried your clots deep

In my synapses, and soul.


If you don’t exist, I simply won’t feel your pain.


I will smile and go through the motions…

I work, I clean,

I will paint a rosy smile on my face and cheeks.

It lasts all day, and I dance into the night.


No one knows, no one knows.


But oh Grief, you won’t let me deny you.

You leech out of my pores.

You haunt my dreams.

Taunt me with memories of all I lost and left behind.


You make me categorize—

The cats, my son’s old childhood fingerpaintings,

My friends.


My reputation.


My sister tells me—


Allow yourself to mourn,

Let yourself feel.


Oh black-souled grief—

I reach through the blank black mist that is you,

Wring your black syrup into thick puddles,

Into the tub,

The tap running

And send you swirling down the drain.


Clean, like the blood from my fresh-shaved legs.



Sabbath Prayer

for Phyllis and Herm



“Days pass, years vanish. And we walk sightless among miracles.


The clothes dryer steam melts the ice on the deck—

Windy wafts of snow blow from the neighbor’s roof,

Swirling, a misty cascade through the knotted threads of trees

Towering toward the vast midwestern sky.


The orange cat curls on the table beside me while I write.

He knows he shouldn’t but does so anyway.

He tries to drink my tea.


I am me, I am me . . .


I sleep, I dream—

Disjointed snapshots from long days,

And of those long past.

Each equal in their immediacy.


What does any of this matter?


I feel it lately, this passage of time.

I wait for those moments,

Look for signs of the divine—


The sadness over what I have left behind

Is a measure of my love.


I realize—

Every day has become a minor miracle of sorts.





Stable Genius

Stable Genius

Now that Russian collusion,

After one year of intense study,

Has proven to be a total hoax

On the American public—

The Democrats and their lapdogs—

The Fake News Mainstream Media,

Take out the old Ronald Reagan playbook,

Screaming mental stability and intelligence.


Actually, throughout my life,

My two greatest assets have been mental stability

And being, like, really smart.



Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard

And, as everyone knows, went down in flames.

I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.

to President of the United States

(on my first try).


I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius.

And a very stable genius at that!

La Belle au Bois Dormant



No man ever kissed me into life.


But I awoke, clawed up,

From under the pink briar roses—

After what felt like a hundred years

Of over-salted stilted holiday meals.


Your barbs still stick in my flesh,

Passive words of indifference,

Served over dry gingered Swedish cakes and tea.


Lost in a bland suburban day dream,

Stuffed head-first in a crystal coffin.


You never knew, my eyes were never shut.

But I heard everything, I saw it all.

I could not speak,

Gagged, scratching these words on the damp glass.


Your needs, your needs,

Oh, all of your needs, scraping at me.

Mother, child, spouse.


I bleached my house.

I made it all clean.

I made my hands bleed.


I watched the hot sun,

The cold stars, the knowing moon,

They, they told me to keep going.


Beauty, it will all be over soon.

The jealous fairy’s curse will be broken.

You will, you will awaken.

You will be loved.


DNA Sketch

-for Maggie


Our double biopolymer strands coiled,

Lying in wait—

Across decades of secrets,

And countries, and long-ago things we will never know.


Two chains bound by hydrogen bonds—

Threads curling, a lacy Indian dream catcher

Of proteins and amino peptides.


Tiny gossamer threads fold into

Beautiful origami–

Pale rice paper swans.


You are not alone—

No, not anymore.


For 52 years I was an anomaly,

The only child.


A lone rubber raft, torn and patched—

Bubbling lost, a small cork in the cold sea.


I want to compare my hands to yours.

I want to look at your toes.

I want to see our grandmother’s wry Irish smile resurrected,

And hear my raucous cackle in your laugh.


What other words will I have for you?

That day, when we meet and I call you sister.

Brave Enough to Be Angry

Trump perv



“Women, you have to treat ’em like shit.”

—Donald Trump, New York magazine, November 9, 1992


I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you.

I wish I did,

But I am not a hero.


I am not a child.

I have learned to regret words spoken in anger.


But we are seething,

Beneath the surface.


How long we’ve been ignored,

Seething for those brave enough to tell the truth—

Seething for those punished for doing so.

Seething for being told we have no right to seethe at all.


You too?

Me too.


Centuries of indifference,

Tacit (and sometimes open) sanctioning of sexual harassment, abuse, assault,

We are suddenly in the midst of a cock conflagration.


Powerful men swallowed in the bonfire,

Banned from the primordial, privileged Garden of Dicks.


In the Garden of Dicks, it’s always about the dick.

You are a man, you have urges.


Oh yeah, you?

Well, me too.


In the Garden of Dicks,

Women come and go, working, serving, servicing—

Trying to earn a living wage,

Searching for a husband, a job,

Looking for venture capital or just a good time,

Seeking an advanced degree, a part in a movie.


Don’t you know who I am?


Often, we have no choice.

We enter a room and instantly know.

Oh, it’s that place.

There’s always something sweaty and unnerving in the air,

Like the men there

Have just laughed at a joke we aren’t supposed to hear.

And, eyes averted, we carry on.


In the Garden of Dicks,

There is one peculiar fear—

Loss of power, castration by other means.

Take my humiliation, please.


In the room, the women come and go,

Talking of sexual harassment.


It took me four decades,

Wandering alone and muted

To finally be brave enough to be angry.


You too?

Me too.


We arise en masse, our words jagged glass.