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Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Theatre du Grand Guignol

grand guignol

We could never equal Buchenwald.

 

In those days before the war,

Everyone felt what happened onstage was impossible.

 

Our nightmares of sadism and perversion

Played out under angels at watch over the orchestra,

Our fantasies fulfilled in the private rental boxes

Once occupied by supplicating daughters of Christ—

We, aroused by the unthinkable,

The unwatchable.

 

Crimes in the madhouse

The laboratory of hallucinations

The torture garden and guillotine

The insane street urchins, prostitutes and apaches.

 

Lilly Laudanum became the most assassinated women in the world,

After she kissed the leper.

 

Shot with a rifle, raped, hanged, quartered,

Burned, cut with surgical tools, poisoned,

Devoured by a puma—

Strangled by her own perfectly matched pearls.

 

She is all of us, wandering blind

In this world afraid of the foreign, the unknown.

 

We could never imagine it possible.

Now we know these things,

And worse

Are possible in reality.

 

 

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The Next Day

affadavit

Damn the crimson tulips—

Their sticky silk closed

Into themselves, in the weeds,

Awaiting birth.

Mocking me.

Doom the trumpets.

Curse the spoon-fed saccharine myths,

The fairytale gone bad, horribly awry—

They betrayed me.

I’ve stopped performing.

This hurts worse than I’d thought.

The shaking will not stop, steeped deep in my bones.

There is not enough Xanax, or sleep—

But It will pass.

This spring is an afterdeath.

An emptiness and hollow panic—

A hangover of uncertainty.

It will pass.

The brass key to that last door,

Pressed in my palm—

Then released to the floor.

 

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America First

America First

Dismembered, one stroke of the pen,

One dollar at a time—

 

The arsonists are in charge of the fire station.

 

Destruction plumes, forcing fumes

To an indifferent, hazy sky.

Books and art in the sulphur flames

Crackle and snap alongside

Food scraps for the aged and

Melting plastic eyes of children’s puppets—

The radio hisses its last static,

Then silence.

 

The water leeches its lead,

Flowing down the strip mine scar.

A fiery freight car carries the lost

To the pyre on the River of the Dead.

 

In this deconstruction of the administrative state,

We’re all going to be deconstructed, destructed and

Tossed into the mass grave of alternative facts.

 

What did you expect?

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Housekeeping

housekeepinh

First, there’s a bag, then a box—

And another, then many more.

 

You fill a rusted dumpster with

Mismatched chipped dishes,

Shoes that gave you blisters.

 

Those stiff taffeta dresses from 1959,

Still smelling of your aunt’s verbena cologne—

You keep those.

Breathing in the memory, recalling all.

 

The detritus of experience builds its curious momentum.

Memories trapped in the stone dust basement,

Hurled outward in a mushroom plume.

 

How do you wipe clean a half-century?

 

Quickly, an impartial executioner—

Rinsing the blood from your knife.

 

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She Persisted

she-persisted

“She was warned.

She was given an explanation.

Nevertheless, she persisted.”

 

-U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

 

She persisted.

 

Binders full of women—

Latina, African American, white, transgender, gay.

Hole-punched all of us,

Paraded for your agenda,

Served up for your pleasure.

 

Scold bridled in an iron mask—

Padlocked, depressing our tongues.

Crazy emotions and shrill voices,

Bite at the bridle.

 

Sweetie, you’d be much prettier if you smiled.

 

Silence need not equal silence.

We have choices.

 

Oh, we nasty women,

Centuries of us—

The smell of us in our words,

Our sex, our power, our voices.

 

Strapped and dunked and sunk we rise.

We nasty.  We trashy.

 

No.

 

We persisted.

 

Those words,

May well be my first tattoo.

After the scars heal,

It will be pink and perfect.

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Belltown Drugs

daddy

I remember the variety store
Where Daddy bought his
New York Daily News

and how he tucked
the Necco wafers in his pocket
for me
always in a different place:
the hip pocket of his pleated best,
up his sleeve, behind his ear.

But always for me…

***

The comic books cost 12 cents –

same as a Hostess cupcake.
I always got both.

I peeled away,
the sticky chocolate layer,
its curled white icing lace,
smearing messy fingers
on my pink Sunday bestdress.

Daddy, he lit a Kent Gold,
and babygirl climbed into
the baby blue Chevy BelAire,

You, daddy, and me.
we partners in crime.

 

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Day One

pussy-gat

We pull on our pink caps,

Hand-made woolen symbols of our flesh.

Armor for the storm.

 

We take to the streets,

A powerful sea, defending our right to be.

 

This is not about women,

Immigration, religion.

It is about our humanity.

 

You will not tell me who

I will love, or not.

 

My health will not be legislated

My body will not be legislated.

My beliefs will not be legislated.

 

My right to be

Will not be legislated by dark men in stiff navy suits.

 

What I hear and see,

Is not my country—

 

If I am angry,

Then so be it.

 

I have words,

I have breath—

My sisters and brothers stand with me.

 

You will not

Make America hate again.

 

 

 

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