Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Thing That Did Not Kill Me

NaPoWriMo 2017 #19

It held on as a blinding tumor
Clouding my right eye for two years
Before I ran off to the desert
In search of healing.

When they removed the tumor
What I saw stopped my heart:
A flash, all at once, all of it,
I understood the gift
Of being half blind.

I'm thankful for the fake re-death
Induced by merciful drugs
By angels holding bed pans-
I'm grateful for gradual re-awakening
In this starched white hospital bed.

History Repeating

NaPoWriMo #18

It's hard to learn from the past
When we store it so far below the surface,
Denying that it happened.

Here lies the predictability:
Land mines hidden once every mile
Detonated by our slow plodding forward,
Hand over hand bloody cartwheels in the air
So that when we land, stand up, 
Facing a different direction,
It's over. Behind us, out of sight,
We forget where to dig 
To protect the people who follow us. 

Friday, April 28, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #17

My entire life had been a school for therapists:
A secret school, the teachers hiding,
Leaving notes and tests and homework
In painful places, stacks of textbooks creating
Scaffolding for office buildings
Where I'd one day sit on the other side of the couch
Not comfortable, but familiar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


NaPoWriMo #16

May the lies they tell
Be a light that guides you
Toward the truth;
Where our outstretched arms
Are waiting, ready to hold steady
While your skin knits together
Over a lifetime of burns.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


NaPoWriMo #15

When Maslow's Hierarchy becomes a circle.
After we've strived and strived for basic needs
Full and satisfied the next rung
Is so far away so we push and push
Trying to reach the top
By aiming for where we've come from.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #14

The brain is bigger than it looks on paper.
Sometimes, in order to survive,
It buries events in its farthest reaches:
In the eyes, the shoulders, the stomach, the womb.
Cleared of mud, the mind pushes forward,
Living a differently life entirely
Than the ones remembered in its outskirts,
Until the body gets tired of remembering
And the crisis explodes from the depths:
Blinding hot lava, ash, rocks,
Like being thrown into a brick wall.
When the mind heals, it finally has room to care
For the traumas it once left behind.

Monday, April 17, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #13

Unreleased, ideas build up under the skin,
As lactic acid, slowing muscles.
You can see them start to crawl,
Making skin move, hot feet under a red surface
Toward narrow pulsing tunnels
Echoing as they spill out mechanically.
Others slow drip into reflective puddles on the floor
Wasted, swept away; we prefer
Thicker skin and measured notes.
We prefer them hidden between leaves
And under mattresses, neatly and quickly

Sunday, April 16, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #12

I am always
In the middle
Of Something.

This is how
I know I am
Still alive.


NaPoWriMo 2017 #11

This is common but somehow still unknown:
Pain so much a part of the body that it
Becomes an extra organ,
Another thing to care for with tired limbs
While looking for instructions in pages on pages
Of experimental notes with no obvious patterns.

This is the way I am now.

I've joined the many without wanting or meaning to.
Suddenly the lifelong waiting room scenes make sense;
I'm starting to see clearly through the fog
What only my body can remember.
I'm crawling along with the crowd on sore fingertips and knees
Calling for answers with hoarse voices.

This is the way I am now.

We will keep showing up in hospital gowns
Demanding to be taken seriously;
Using our burning bones to light the way
With scars and rashes and graying hair
All of our evidence marked as exhibits,
We know there are answers you haven't yet tried hard enough to find.

This is the way I am now.

Friday, April 14, 2017


NaPoWrIMo 2017 #10

All I have left is the painting:
A life sized, black and white rectangle, a mirror.
I always start on the right side,
Where it's flat and easy to navigate
And the face is half hidden in shadows.
Here it's a photograph, half-heartedly embellished
And mass produced, easy to collect and counterfeit.
When boredom sets in I move toward the light;
The face grows into glowing mountains,
Inspirational and idyllic with tears and hidden rainbows.
Every time I adjust the light
A sense of peace rises wider over the landscape.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #9

I am many pieces, like magazine cutouts 
Of the best parts of models' faces, 
Reassembled into something new.
I am layers glued to blank paper
Thick and crackling, edges loose.

This never ends. With every issue
I grow larger, more modern, 
More complicated and interesting.
Sometimes ripping and peeling back,
Searching for the best combination. 

Monday, April 10, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #8

I am light headed fog
Where only this moment exists
Absent of memories.
I swim in sweat,
Grind smiles in my teeth,
Search in a desert parch tongue.
I am a fragile jaw,
A stiff steel neck,
Shoulders holding rocks.
My ribs stick out, burning,
My stomach, hollow,
Holding what I feel.
Four brittle limbs clutch
Cracking fingers, flimsy ankles,
Weak knees where I've lost control.
This pelvis jerks like a dance
I shudder, spin, smile,
Try to make it charming.

Here I am.
Why does it matter
If this sounds real to you?


NaPoWriMo 2017 #7

In session I say,
"This, too, is good; let it out.
All sadness has its place.
It can lift weight and brig new life."

In my own sadness
I am too heavy to speak.
It digs, deep, unexplainable,
Grand and breathtaking, all- consuming,
I forget how to move.

Lost and Found

NaPoWriMo 2017 #6

We leave behind toothbrushes in each other's homes
Like a promise of good health and good love
That we forget when we argue.
Suddenly, pummeled by warm bathtub waves,
Salty, a cure, it's done.

We keep finding one another
Washed up on beach shores, abandoned,
Mistaken for a lost shirt, scooped up
And replaced. You never looked at me
As deeply as this cat does;
This, too, shall pass.

Friday, April 7, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #5

You, Mirror, bring moments of sustainability:
In clarity, fog wiped away,
Bold outlines, sweet accurate reflection-
I float and am recharged
Opened, unfolded;
In your echo I am real.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #4

I try to use borders as a mask:
To hide, to forget, to be new and humble;
Through dark colors, facial expressions, and ordering food;
I want to forget my own history, start over,
Pretend I can't be found.

Yet there I am: in sweat, in poetry,
In dogs wearing sweaters, in selfies
In human contact, in laughter,
Borders become hollow.
We are red strings attached by thumbtacks;
We share fingerprints and knowing glances.

Monday, April 3, 2017


NaPoWriMo 2017 #3

In Tucson we are all allergic.
They say Snowbirds bring foreign pollen
And all this new growth makes
Our eyes water and our noses bleed.
Every time I feel the prick of shots
Designed to build up new immunity
I remember that more than pollen clings to our skin;
That in moving across the country
We bring our homes with us, too.
We can never prevent cross contamination.
Sniffling and itching, old injuries
Will always rise to the surface.
And no matter how many times we bore through
Skin to let the stimulants in
We can't seem to make enough holes to let the irritants out.

Costa Rica, abril 2017

NaPoWriMo 2

Entre dos culturas hay palabras
Smiles and hand gestures and
Some kind of communication
Under a thick layer of fog.
Te entiendo pero no te comprendo-
I hear you but I don't know what you're saying.
Entre dos culturas hay similitudes:
Children giggle and families love their pets and
Homes are opened to guests with steaming plates of food.
But when I take off my glass
I see misperceptions rising like hot steam.
Estudi, estudio, estudiƩ, estudiƩ, estudiaba, he estado estudiando!
And still, I don't know who you are
Or how to explain you.


NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 1

My memories were buried in my body:
Some in my stomach, filling my intestines;
Shoved deep in muscles, creating heavy limbs;
Replacing bone marrow and weakening ribs.
I carried every moment with me
Until I found where x-shaped scars marked entrance points
And began to move dirt with stiff fingers.
Here, in blood mixed with earth mixed with death,
A slow excavation began-
Sorting helpful from unhelpful,
Explanations from enemies,
Stepping stones from brittle rocks;
Clearing passages to a second life,
Line with only recollections that serve to light the way.