Wednesday, March 4, 2015

the balm

is in the foggy river valley
the budding cottonwoods 
teeming with bird song
the train rolling through

Monday, December 15, 2014

love poem to depression


me in your deep
dirty pockets
smell like home
help me once again slip
into that threadbare shirt
that’s worn itself down on my stubborn frame

my thoughts till they curve
beneath the weight of all that
insistent one on one
if you’re anything at all
but vapor or an occasional smoke
occasional pen in hand

on occasion
I make a list of things to do
then as I cross them off  you’re roused
to reach for me
but my poems
they make you slow smile
sit back
and wait

it’s a chemical love story
we are unspoken tracks in the flesh
we are bloom and wilt and bloom again
til death do us part into stars
a dirty pocket dweller
a high beam burning up
a fleeting springtime bloom
of this won’t last

there’s nothing to fix.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

i like to paint trees! this is watercolor.
image: a watercolor painting of a leafless tree, mostly a view of the trunk, offcenter, with a few long slender branches spreading out parallel to the ground. tree is ribbons of orange red and brown, the sky is ribbons of bright blue.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

when dogs

dream and their feet paddle and their lips twitch and snarl
they are fighting chasing hunting playing
I dream about pretty young men wanting me
wake heart racing
chasing youth
I dream about my animals
wake crying out
I dream about home
I know board feet   I know rafters

dogs dream like water carving a desired path
play  fight  chase

Sunday, November 17, 2013

after the first hard freeze everything rattles
what was flowers and swishing green is now stiff and seedless
shades of brown and yellow
rattling in a wind that says to me
gather some around you
stash some elsewhere
hammer tight the roof nails

burn something.

Nesting Doll

Some days I’m still her
she is inside me like a nesting doll

some days I split open
and there she is

still that crass and skinny cast off
a pre teen beauty queen
learning to work
in a halter top mini- skirt
and leg warmers
swaying and twirling her way around the skate rink
to Journey
Rick James
Joan Jett
lovin rock n roll in her glitter stained roller skates
hair feathered roach clips
and teased lips
red and her high heels waiting in the rental locker
lights swirling
she’s thinking
 I’ve got this
 I'm ok, ya know?
 just ok.
 the lights will save me
 the movement will save me
 I'm worth saving
 a bigger me will grow
 up and around this mess like armour
and having stayed alive til puberty
having carried it all
like a bag of knives
this girl will get to rest
she’ll get to nest.


Monday, November 4, 2013


the day the moon swallowed the sun
and the clocks went back
the light
was amber when I woke

there was mist and rainbow

I wonder if I’ve paid enough attention to the dead
are their stories in me
had I listened close 
before they began their journey 
on the back of the moon
with a plan to have the sun

for breakfast

I make toast and tea
think of my immigrant father
and the war trauma he carried in his young heart
when he left
think of  the women
and so many more
enduring great lake winters
with Baltic sea air in their lungs
factories, shops and children bearing
lithuanian memories
with nursing home endings

closing their eyes and seeing the amber light
resin that endures and adorns

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Body Check


I owned 3 wigs in high school.
3 wigs and a pony tail extension.

Wig shops downtown were always a mystery from the sidewalk.
The interior always some variety of mustard yellow, black, silver
and heavy with mirrors.
The endless rows of styrofoam heads.
The sweet chemical smell of beauty and the stale bitter smell of endless cigarettes.
Places where aging, poverty, illness, self-love and adornment converged.

Lucky for me I was naturally flamboyant
I loved all the big divas.
show tunes and the stage.
Old wing tip shoes, paten leather heels and men’s suit coats,
deep red lipstick, liquid eyeliner, leopard print.
So when my hair began to fall out
the wigs
they came as an easy solution to hide the illness.

It’s really shitty to be 16 and have your hair fall out. 
Always on the out looking in
balding was too much.
It gave me away, screamed sick
Screamed lost cause
too much.
too loudly.

But the wigs
the outfits that went with each wig
it was all day theater.
The art of passing .
Smoke and mirrors razzle-dazzle.
Ever crafty and resourceful
I reinvented my sick ass into something audacious
The illusion of  everything is just fine 
spun by a sick and scrambling queer.


Starving not cutting

which I tried but it didn’t work for me
like the slower blade of wasting

Since I was little
I’ve swallowed trauma
It lives in my belly
A time-release poison
Designed to kill
self love
Feeds me restriction feeds me self destruct
It  is why
despite being brilliant at everything I’ve taken up
I lose it
like milk through my fingers

I carve out people like portions of food

Restrict myself right outta living

Perpetuate the drought

The not quite suicide of hunger
The intricate dance with poverty and the necessity to eat less
fits neatly into success
lives on the lean edge of bone
right up under the skin
where the ends meet only to cut themselves free

The control I need
when money is outta my hands
Milk through my
cold finger hands
Bone first hands
On ribs for security hands
tenuous will to live
put back the food
Save it for the rain
that doesn’t come.


my body
is a hook

20 years away from bulimic
but anorexic hangs
on my back
drapes around me a thread bare coat

my gut
if I could
if I’m honest
I’d empty it
like a  bowl
not for holding anything
purely decorative
and empty
I’m hard wired for that next to the bone feeling
having a handle on it all

a hook to hang my baggage on

my body
a living breathing argument

always the chatter in the background of my days
always worried if there’s food to eat
always worried if I will eat it
always worried if what I chew will actually be swallowed
if what I put in it will really digest
and if what I put in it will come out

if it will all come out

for a while after I stopped purging
I couldn’t bend over
without the contents of my stomach
automatically rushing up to my throat

with perspective
I have recovered

but still I waste

I’m hooked
hung up
hunger is handled
like a bank account
like an almost emptied
of water and


Saturday, January 12, 2013

tool shed poetry

a hard rake

drags thru the debris
turning up broken
rusty nails
bottle caps packed
with grief
stones too heavy
to move
churns up reason
salt and sand

beetle shells
and hope
over to the light

a hard rake
breaks soil


Sunday, November 25, 2012

My new chapbook take 2...!

 after some technical -how to pay for it- issues that i believe i've fixed, i'm posting this again!

My newest, most lovely, humble and razor sharp chapbook is available for 5 bucks! There are 38 pages of poetry crafted with outrage and love.

Bird song is a collection of my favorite pieces over the last decade that center around love and loss, healing and recovery. The radical act of remembering.

This is the first chapbook I've ever made that didn't involve glue sticks and white out... fancy! I don't yet have an audio version to offer, but that's next on the to do list!

Your purchase will not only help me make those elusive ends meet but also generate plenty of warm fuzzy expansive feelings and of course more poetry!

Many thanks to sebastian who helped so so much technically and with heaps of moral support!

...and thanks in advance to all you lovely folk.

you can purchase it on my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

poem for the dead


I get to thinking on my bones
like star dust
not mine to have just to pass through
I get to thinking on your bones
like tree limbs

lying on the forest floor

or yours
buried in the dirt of mount hope

yours of ash
once arms full of firewood

get to thinking things like
home in the water


your fingers

the bed you died in

haunt me

all of you

its your time
to speak
like rustling leaves
to the ground

hustle and move me
remind me about the other side
of loss
about time arching over to knit
all the bones into blankets of light
I’m here to remember


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

an end to able bodied rhetoric.

I wanted to chime in on the chorus of brilliant replies and comments from folks on B. leowes circulating article "an end to self care". I'll link some of my faves below. they cover many things i wish i had the time and energy to speak to, like the classism and sexism present, and the deeply triggering nature of the ableism, and just how interdependent self care and community care truly are. this is a work in progress for me, for all of us...but here's whats on the forefront for me right now...

i often struggle with copious amounts of shame, frustration and confusion over the fact that right now in my life all i have to give is going towards helping raise 2 children. It can feel deeply unradical, ordinary and anonymous. it is adding exponentially to my already intense isolation. While not my intention, my world has become this house, this home. As someone who is disabled and chronically ill, i am tapped . if i don't take time to space out and watch shadows dance on my wall, or have a hot shower, roll around on a tennis ball to keep my neck from going out, scroll thru fucking facebook, grow kale or whatever the hell i can manage that feels -still- and healing,  i won't be able to make dinner and clean it all up.
if no one makes dinner, the children don't eat.
children need to eat.
and these are not "my" children in the biological or legal sense, but i love them, we are family in the queerest loveliest sense, and i want to do my part in helping them become the best humans they can be. i want to help them navigate the violence and brutal complexity in the world, i want them to understand privilege and love and compassion and accountability.
articles like b. loewes' and the larger presence of this brand of deep running ableism in "movement work" just nail the shame and frustration firmly in place.
B. suggests that if we are unable to work endlessly for the movement, it is because we are not connected to our purpose. this suggests that what we -are- doing : caring for ourselves so that we can care for others, cleaning, cooking, crafting,  repairing, listening, teaching, recovering, is not movement work.

i certainly struggle with the loss of what feels like my life before i decided to live with children.
and i now can spot a mile off the lives and work of those that don't have has, how do you say, a certain je ne sais quoi. a certain level of self absorption.
and while i might roll my eyes, i'd be lying if i didn't say i miss this.

but i also am aware that a degree of this new layer of loss and isolation i'm experiencing  is connected to the dominant, rooted in patriarchy idea that revolution isn't about raising children or helping each other with the mundane domestic task of surviving another day.
folks just always seem to have better things to do than help with someones kids, or just help someone.
and this is capitalism at work yeah? its a set up. there is not enough. not enough time/money/energy.
and revolution.'s THE thing.
but heres the thing, the front lines aren't linear. they aren't always dramatic. they
aren't -out-there-. they are everywhere, including the kitchen. including the bedtime story and the hands on love of being present for need.

i'm learning to think less in terms of productivity, esp. since framing life that way will certainly end me, and think more in terms of this flies in the face of my lower class life that screams produce, keep the cards close or die. it challenges the ableism in my working class roots, the internalized high stakes drive to succeed. to avoid being trash. or criminal.

This ableism lives on in radical political movements. It pushes out us sick ones and blames us for it.

ableism is dangerous. swallowing eugenic poison.

i'm learning that self love, self care and community care go together, they twine effortlessly with raising community and revolution. that i am doing the work, even shadow watching, even dish washing, even heart beating, even now.

here's the links i mentioned earlier...enjoy. and a nod to all the brilliant conversation between crips that let me realize that there was a reason, a buncha reasons, why B. Loewes article was so upsetting.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

self preservation toolbox inventory #1

recognizing the feeling, the hollow heartbeat discomfort in my body that tells me I'm dealing with an untenable privilege dynamic in a relationship cuz it feels like everything i say is dramatic/traumatic/bad news/stress and their company makes me feel the draft where my safety net should be.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

fall things.

 (photo is a close shot of a garden bed, mulched with straw and a few tiny tiny one day old kale sprouts peeking through.)
 (photo is of the view out my shed door, from my desk. Outside it is late day sun lighting up a small apple tree sapling and behind that is my firewood stacked up against a cement block wall with a huge very green tree hanging overhead)
(photo is of me and my dog agatha. I've got this scrappy old straw hat on and a white a-shirt. My face is partially blocked by her black and white spotted ear, only half her face is visible. She is dog-smiling. We are sitting together in the back of my car)
( photo is a close up of a flower called a black eyed susan that is brilliant orange with a pitch black center.)