NaPoMo 10 – Grooming


I love to pick my nose

And I know I’m not alone I see you
At traffic lights and in the office across the alley

How liberating to peel a crusty shield
from its choke-hold on the moist mucous membrane of
my delicate nose, or in the midst of a dry dry winter to put
a finger pad against my septal cartilage and push and bend it enough
to pull away a single vast scab, dry up top,
thick and damp and bloodied below adhered now
to my finger where I stare at it and begin to breathe again
and wish I could share the wonder of
this product of my own sacred body

But  oh! The civilized revulsion 
of basic body functions,
civilized–as in the cultre of rape and pillage and plunder that washed ashore
In every land the Europeans coud reach by boat–
If i could unculture myself I could clean my ass with my own left hand rather than
requiring the death of ecosystems to protect my privileged palms

If only we could wipe away our fears of our embodied bodies 
how could we then snuggle in with the members of our tribes,
our herds, our flocks, our troops, our packs
and sniff and stroke and lick and pick, unashamed and 
unabashably, and fall asleep clean within
the nest of our animal selves

NaPoMo 8 – Hang on, baby

Hang on, baby
Sickness has made you understand time has its limits. Carlos Raul Dufflar

Sickness has made you understand
time has its limits
Your sickness has made me
understand time
has its limits, its indignities
its imperialisms

understand the violent unending insult
in my assurance hang on baby
just hang on with no intention of even
pretending to know the measure
of the expanse of time I expect
you to go on grasping grasping
for time’s limit

NaPoMo 7 – Wind

Click here to see this poem with the proper lines and spacing Wind


The long and winding road
winding winds all the way to
unwind all the way to
winds blow, blow winds blow
      ye merry lassies
      get your brooms get ‘em out
      we’ll ride the wind tonight

Ride the windup
ride the winding wind
all the way to
unwind rewind dewind     upwind of
the Salem      downwind of
Three Mile Island      the wind here
will be toxic no matter

which way it winds      wind, wind, windup
this great global clock, winddown
the revving of a billion engines winding up to
pillage ten billion acres, poison black sludge winding
down to the river to the sea where winding winds blow
it all the way to me

where I’ll close the window against the wind,
wind my way down the stairs to watch the weather
channel and wonder whether today I am downwind
or upwind of the poisons riding their winding winds

Winding wind, blow me blow me blow me away
         away ye merry lassies
         get your brooms get’em out
         we’ll rind the wind tonight

NaPoMo 6 – Words in My World: NPR

Overheard on NPR today, the phrase “prosecute pedophile priests.” And who could not, in that moment of the alliterating P’s, hear this?

The Vatican protects a pack of pedophile priests
A pack of priestly pedophiles the Vatican protects.
If the Vatican protects a pack of pedophile priests,
How many Popes have preyed among the priestly pedophiles?

NaPoMo #5 – At 12 years old it 12 days to find/her body in the dumpster


At 12 years old it took 12 days to find
her body in the dumpster. 12 times
she’d texted him; he said he’d sell her, cheap,
new gears for her BMX bike. The details of what he did
are none of your business. Death is more than the pornography of the coroner’s
after the first commercial break of every CSI episode. What I care about is
that bike, that girl on that bike, that girl who loved
the speed and the dust and who couldn’t conceive that a boy offering parts
didn’t care about the bike, not even enough
to hide it well. She loved that bike. Is it possible she knows
         he didn’t break
       didn’t harm
that her father cleaned it carefully and hung it on the pegs in her room, adorned
with her gloves and knee pads? No helmet hanging there yet;
the electric blue one she always wore on her head,
which they keep trying to force me to
       bury her

What I care about is not her death,
but his. It haunts me, how he died. How her bike, tossed into
a woodchipper, became a half million splinters of steel, how I bought
a bamboo tube just long enough at the garden store, how I texted him the
     offer of
a blow job—Ha!—and then gave him one, tying his wrists, ripping down his
     pants, blowing
those splinters hard into his penis, his balls and how when
     the blood flowed
it occurred to me that her blood might have been also once there so how I
cut it off, how I hooked the tube to an air compressor and how the steel
     fragments sank
so easily into his belly, his chest, his neck, his face. How I considered,
     before he died,
shoving his own porcupine of a penis into his own ass, but didn’t because
I couldn’t figure out the logistics of its limpness.

What I care about is how this doesn’t bring her back and how now her bike
is gone, too. She loved that bike. In those long 12 days I painted this picture of
     her racing,
to show the cops, to show the media, to drag her safely back home to me
each brush stroke. I painted this picture, and I shoved it in his face and I let his
rush down onto it and I saw what I had made and I pronounced it good, on the
         and the morning
            of the 13th day.

NaPoMo – Words in My City: Ashes



Ring around the rosies
Pockets full of posies
Ashes ashes
We all

Ring around the pockets
Full of the
Ashes ashes
All fall ashes
All fall down around
The rosies all around
The posies all around the
Ashes ashes
Falling down

Ashes ashes
All        falls        down

NaPoMo 2013 – Words in My City / Reconciling

After feeling less than inspired to start NaPoMo’s Poem a Day Challenge, I saw a great post about creating poems by taking pictures of words in the world around us. (See: National Poetry Month Phone Poets Project)

Not quite up for that, I was struck by the idea of pulling words I see in my city and using them as writing prompts for poems. So here’s my first offering, from a sign at a church near my office.



The bowling ball has reconciled with the lane
and the pins but is not reconciled to
the sweating unwashed fingers

The pins will never reconcile with
the ball nor the bowler nor the
pinsetter. The lane knows it would be nothing
without the gutters and the gutters and the lane
are not reconciled to the invention of
the bumpers.

The balls and the pins and the lanes are reconciled
to or with the bowlers, depending.

The bowlers are in general reconciled to
the whim of the lanes and pins
but have not been reconciled with
each other since The Incident
when Mr. Last Year’s Champion grabbed
the ass of Mrs. Trying To Be This Year’s Champion, causing
her ball to be reconciled to the gutter.

After six months of silence between the men’s
and women’s league, silence that travels from
Waverly Bowl to home and back again, there is
some talk of making
peace but none yet
of a formal reconciliation.

But even this in its way will come. Like any
relationship that yearns to last longer
than anger, these combatants
will learn to make
peace with
reconciling with and without reconciling
to and next season the men’s
and women’s leagues will bowl on
different nights and in five years this
will be tradition and not evidence of how
life needs neither forgiveness nor
reconciliation and yet
goes on and goes on forgetting how good
either would feel.

Women Write Resistance is Out!

Two sections of my long poem “Wanting A Gun” are included in the new anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence

Women Write Resistance

Women Write Resistance

Readings by local authors from the anthology are springing up all across the country—stay tuned for information about upcoming events in Philadelphia!

Meanwhile, you watch a clip of poet Barbara Salvatone reading the two sections of “Wanting a Gun” here: