Selected Poems


Sometimes I like my body,
the way it fills in space.
Sometimes I like my body,
an art nouveau building in Barcelona—
all organic lines and curves.
Swaying through space and time,
moving like music.
Women are trained
to watch other women,
touch the sharp
edges of envy
until they cut.
Cuts scar and become lines,
forming borders that
isolate us
from each other.
But it’s not always the
women I like to look at.

skin that glows
like honey
coffee beans
the ocean swell
of thighs

Sometimes I like my body,
the teasing glance of ribs
under my flesh,
the confident angle of arms
when my hands rest
comfortably on my hips.
Sometimes I like my body,
the curve of my neck,
the sensuous rollercoaster
of my foot,
the soft, hidden geometry
of my collarbone—
a bromeliad, a cup for holding water,
or kisses.

Published in Pontoon 7

Three Cheers for Dumb!

1 – 2 – 3 – 4
let’s drive to the corner store
5 – 6 – 7 – 8
everybody clean your plate
I wanna be dumb, numb myself with beer, cheer
for my team, work for green, accept the pure-white house-smoke-screen.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4
everybody go to war
9 – 10 – 11 – 12
send Saddam straight to hell
I wanna be dumb, thumbs up, there’s no such thing as luck

I’m tired of caring, wearing my heart like a scarlet A on my chest, trying to be the best I can be, saying please, striving to save trees outside my time zone, measuring how we’ve grown, thankful for a bone, singing maiden mother crone, hearing melody and overtone, gazing at the starry dome alone

I wanna be dumb, not glum,
shrug off war, on my way to the bar to watch TV with mouth ajar

Government endorses torture?
Don’t bore your mother with the news,
It just gives me the blues.
More civilians die than Special Forces?
Here honey, have some more resources.

I’m gunna pray to the Right God, spend my wad

Gunna repent my sins, ‘cuz
I wanna be thin, I wanna win

I’m so glad I’m straight, first out of the gate, pay a low interest rate,
Know who to hate

Published on Words' Worth website; Poets Against the War website

Visiting Auschwitz

At the Krakow bus and train station
I looked for signs that said “Oswiecim”
went back and forth between
ticket windows, information windows
down corridors and back through them, up and down
stairs and across platforms. I stuttered
in Polish, German, English,
gestured in frustration.
I boarded the train tightly
clutching my ticket.

In Oswiecim, left, right, ahead:
no signs.
An English chap asked some locals; they didn’t speak
English, but pointed the direction we were headed.
At the end of the road:
Auschwitz. Words above the gate: Arbeit Macht Frei.
Work makes you free.
Some grounds, some land, dusty earth, many
shoe-prints. The buildings housed a museum,
thoughtful, researched displays. Tour guides imparted
data to information-laden children. I slipped between
groups of people.

Back home, some had said: You’re visiting a death camp?
Yes. I’m visiting a death camp.

Inside the crematorium
four people talked loudly. I shushed them.
One woman rolled
her eyes. A sign in three languages asked people to
maintain silence
and remember that thousands of
people were murdered
in this very place. Outside,
another member of the party got
more photos for her photo album.

Another exhibit, a doorway
through which I saw

mounds of glasses, artificial limbs and crutches, shoes, pots and pans.
I veered to the window, couldn’t look
choking on air and saliva
here on this dead earth
where air and saliva was choked out of families
contents of the world smeared
and blurred
their last gasp and my first
love and my place in it nearly
washed away into a dark roaring well
beautiful braid of humans, ripped and shredded
I moved slowly from the window to the
mound of mangled wire, glass lenses and gaps
where lenses used to be
three years of silence

Published in Drash

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