Oceans Inside Me

I'm a thunderstorm trapped in a bottle,
A ship christened with tears instead of champagne,
I'm the fury of the sea heard in a seashell,
Driftwood, aimless in the current of time.

You Have To Go (I Know)

Your leaving
has me feeling
like cake-soup;
the wrong blend
of right ingredients.

What if
I can't

The crimson glow of fading hope

The sea ignores the movement of your tides
The moon turns the pages of your chanted lullaby
Give the sky back her crimson, mesmerizing face
My heart is none of her concern
What you have stolen from her
She demands that you return
She has given everything and it was not enough.

Take only what I offer you
Nothing more and nothing less
Take the red wine nectar from my veins
And the syncopated rhythm from my chest.

In morning you are her red light upon my neck
In evening you're a moonbeam asleep upon my bed
Give me hope but leave me empty, unfulfilled
My heart is none of your concern
What you have taken from me
I can't demand that you return
I have given everything and it was not enough.

You took only what I offered you
Nothing more and nothing less
My red wine nectar flows through your veins
And my heart changed the rhythm in your chest.

I would be the satellite around your sun
But even if you gave me everything
I fear it would not be enough.

Missing You

I remember when you left, it was raining that day
I remember, cause I wished the clouds would go away
The birds were still singing, I remember it well
There were tears in my eyes when you said your last farewell

There were so many questions I wanted to ask
So many reasons to call you back
I watched helpless as you left, my heart in your hands,
You said I would come to but I still don't understand

When I close my eyes I still see you
Though what I see is untrue
It's ok, I know how my memory lies
I've changed you to everything you never were
Just so I could miss you tonight

I know when I left you it was a sun-shiny day
I know, cause I wished the clouds had stayed
Your lies had unraveled, you knew I'd depart
I couldn't shed a tear though you'd broken my heart

I left without answers, there were none to be had
I had given everything, and couldn't even be mad
My tears were used up, my sympathies fled,
So many feelings still left unsaid

When I close my eyes I still see you
Though what I see is untrue
It's ok, I know how my memory lies
I've changed you to everything you never were
Just so I could miss you tonight



My skin tingles with the vibrations of your lips when you speak
Your tongue pries my lips apart like you're searching deep inside me
For the words I can't seem to formulate.

The confetti of my heart's debris lies like freckles on my face
Like the ruins of a universe destroyed by the words
That should never have touched your ears,
Cursing the destiny that only let our fates collide
For a split second in a twisted, dizzy cosmic prank.

You have a way of making me honest
When I ought to be ambiguous
And candidly sincere when society's cunning deception
Would complicate things less.

My intellect forms a parade of relentless facts, unyielding and cold
But I've been bewitched and ambushed by emotion
I'm a casualty of the chasm depths I dug with my own fingernails
All pretense lost, I'm as hollow as Jesus' tomb and as scarred as his flesh
And the way I was, my previous disaster of a life
Is split down the side -- you were the blade slicing through the facade,
So I lie bleeding naked while you kiss the saline misery away
And remove the treacherous deceit I had engraved on my own veins.

So you'll leave me to heal under ebony skies
Devoid of stars and satellites
And I'll compose stories for the constellations
Formed by the flecks of gold I saw in your eyes
This will be a wordless goodbye -- it's better this way --
No promises, no guilt, no regret, no shame,
And we'll give a silent benediction from lip to lip and tongue to tongue.

Double Dactyl

Rickety, nitpicky,
Lines are a pain but I'll
Give them a try.

Nonsense begins them,
Two stanzas, strict rhythm:
Easy, if I could just
End with a rhyme.

Seattle Smokers

You can't walk down a street in Seattle

with a cigarette in your mouth

and expect to have a pack left

by the time you get home.


It doesn’t happen like that.


Your cigarette

while a hazard light to non-smokers,

is a candle in a dark cave of tension

to the rest


and they will ask you

if you can spare one


they will ask you

if you’ve got a light


“Can I get one off you, man?”


It’s been a hard night.

They pat their pockets—

all out.

Run their hands through their hair—

They’ve got the craving

That you obviously understand.

They form one hand

into a gentle claw;

ready to grasp panic-relief.


By the time you reach your destination

you’ve talked to more strangers

and smoked fewer cigarettes

that you ever wanted to

on a dark city street.


The unwritten code

that if you smoke, you understand

and if you understand, you commiserate

and if you commiserate, you share

and share

and share


after all,

they’d give you one, too

if they had it.



I am currently sitting in my family room watching Wheel of Fortune

It rained outside today

I took the Dash bus to Fig and Adams and walked the rest of the way home

In the Rain

I called a bunch of people in Columbus

Progressively fewer people from Columbus are calling me

TV is a fortunate noise distraction masking loneliness

Masking an anxious sense that I am doing nothing

A great mind wasted

A youth spent toiling after nothing - a small paycheck.


The rain reminds me of home. It always rains in Columbus

There are numerous Ohioans dreaming of coming to California to accomplish

To create

To become

I am out here - I've been here for 5 years.

What have I created? What have I accomplished? What have I become?

Closed captioning is sponsored by Meineke Complete Car Care

God, please remind me that you are satisfied with me

Allow me to accept myself

And lead me to a peaceful and satisfied place

Where it only rains when I want it to

And TV programs are satisfying and fulfilling

And I'm surrounded at all times by friends and family

And life goes on and on and on, and every day has something new to look forward to

Pat, I'd like to solve the puzzle

I Read Between the Lines, It's True

Your cover

is creative

your acknowledgments


you tell your stories quickly

as I flip

right through

your life

you start to sound real distant

because I stopped to find a pen

if you wouldn’t mind

and have the time

could you start all over again?

I like this part

it's layered

and it's deep

and I want to know

what happened there

to make those thoughts


you leave a lot of space


passages of thought

do you need advice

or just an ear?

you told me

but I forgot.

I really want

to listen.

I mean it.

I do.

but I cannot stop to listen

while I’m



vacation days III


I always thought

that fresh things were better

than saved things, but now

I think I’ll buy

some zip-lock bags

and call it a day


my sloppy eagerness,

whispered words,

and green lights kisses

make me

feel anything

but okay.

{non est inventus}

i've always been a bird on the wire
connected only because i hold on
but the wire began to shake
and i spun out of control
till i didn't know which way was up
and i felt
to dro

ame qui vive
and i lay there with no wires to hold me up
(or in)
and all was absent,

(& now this bird has flown)
but the fall had made me know.

i never reached heights by flight
invisibly caged by what i knew
i was taken-

led by the feel and pull of the wind
(inside) this whirlwind
i discerned your hand

you led me by the paths on your palms
and then there were your lips
with their rhythm and whispers
{and curving like the petals of a rose}
intimate strength i pull from there
until you go and i sing a single strain
from 'terribly afar in the lost lands'


[note: "dikē" is based on the Greek that (as far as I know) is pronounced like the word "decay"]

Tear stains bleed away these glittered eyes
These forgotten faces brushed aside
(Identity genocide)
- grief besets us all -
Self divisions
Mind and nature
Sky and madness
Man and body
(oracle visions)
And none to rule them all

Dikē decay, Justice arrayed
And shivers, blinded in the formless cold,
The chaos void, where none can see
Away and fade
- These sutured seams -
The Shadow dances
And turns to face the killing light
No shape silhouetted
Shapeless nothing
For belief defines the anchor
(the question remains)

And fury transformed to Figures
Constructed idols of society's guise
The Kindly Ones lie
bent, beset, broken
- vows -
temple priestess, goddess, pray
Ritual schemes establish puppet brigade
Nothing comes from Nothing
Dangerous games they play
- the gods -
Dematerialize materials never formed
Dust to dust
To chaos we return

Deconstructed structure
- the center cannot hold -
Aeschylus to Yeats?
Suffer into truth, dear child
Laws precede the gods
Paradoxical center
Labyrinth or maze,
No truth resides within
The Curses of a thousand tongues
Herald, Bacchus, revelry Lord

Lord chaos reign
Lord chaos reign
dream intoxication loose on the world
spit on disintegration
- repeated crimes -
Father forgive
Father forgive
Father forgive
Helios rise!
- desperate -
Baseless words hold no sway

Language collapses
- unexist this lawlessness -

(cannot hold)


there are melodies like your skin
very soft and achingly close that pull me
apart (and in) as my wholeness melts intoyou and-
collides against the great divides of your heart.
i break at your touch, your voice and eyes blend and hold-
me, with love, needing and longing, always.

mi estrellita, i clasp in my hand
to the first star i pray, no wishes on shooting stars.
the first i saw, the first i loved. please,
don't fall (away from me).


My favorite shape
in the circle of your arms
around the cylinder of my waste

the exlcusion of space.

Lucy's Kiss

Your eyes play like fingers across the curve of my neck
Your lover's "caress"
In dark hallways and midnight gloom
Your gaze never falters, desire unwaning,
In your presence I'm hypnotized

Oh lover, my lover
Never let your devotion fade
Engulf me in you, in your kiss

You approach so slowly like the fall of night
Your "lover's advance"
Phantom hands through intervening distance
My body yielded to your gentle probes
As I pour into your arms

Oh lover, my lover
I'm now longer my own
Subjugate my body with your kiss

You besiege my embarkments and topple my towers
Your "lover's assault"
Triumphant conquerer before my surrendered defenses
Possess me with your supple form
I'm lost in you tonight

Oh lover, my lover
My master you'll be
Claim me now with your kiss

My ivory throat lays bare beneath a silver moon
Your lover's "checkmate"
Unnoticed punctures free the sparkling crimson tide
Drink my soul with your scarlet lips;
The end will come tonight

Oh lover, my lover
Ecstasy gently claims me
As I die within your kiss
she walks around much
by herself, looks at me sometimes. 
she thinks things are awkward. 
i don't know what she expected. 
i don't know what else to do,
how else to act. 
we make eye contact
and it's like a tractor beam
i have to avoid. 
(because i love it.)

just to say so many things to her
oh, to say things
would be such joy
would be so right. 

she knows it too. 

i wish this were easy
i wish we were near
i wish hearts didn't burn.

i said "let's go back to california where all our dreams 
became chords in songs we never sang and 
all our hopes turned into snapped strings."
she said "let me take my mirror and my books
for all our broken hearts will surely be stories 
and all these stories will leave my eyes a blurry, runny
so what else could i do? 

i said "i'll see what i can do."

and we went. 

on the drive, we listened to hymns that strummed, strummed
our heart-strings and we read each other verse 
that struck our heart(s) of hearts with a canonical
left behind were past flames (now dead or dying), families, winter-time,
autumn, autumn colors, the twin cities, and people we never really cared 
to speak to again anyway. 

we arrived and settled in. 

and we are there to this very day. 



From West and East you were the desire
Rush the golden palace to stake a claim
Where refugees gathered
For new life and new hopes,
The pursuit of happiness and land

You're the West to which the gateway led
The dream for which a generation bled.
From gold rush to a silver screen,
You're a fame-seekers wet dream -
An earthquake that moved the world

Going to California
With a wish on their breath
An aching in their hearts
And a desperate prayer
Seeking that promise of a fresh start you deny

You're everyone's dream, baby,
So why can't I care?

Now your skies are blue and your sun scorches
Over manufactured houses and manicured lawns.
Your plastic dolls lie on crowded beaches,
The stars you wish on slowly fall,
As we all play the game that shows the world
How useless we are.

Lines of exhaust fill the veins of the city,
Clogging the blood of us all,
Waiting for the heart attack that never comes
To this body without life

But I hate these acts,
The people who use you as an escape
Like cheap alcohol and whores,
When you're my prison
From which I seek escape but will always remain;
You're my abusive relationship I think I can save

But soon your skies will fill with smoke
- the billows I miss -
The red sunsets and lights of a thousand fires
I'll blow smoke rings in the fading glimmer
And I'll return to
The cold nights and starlit mountains

I'll return to the desert where this all began
To a struggle for life, not lies,
Dreams don't matter when you can barely survive.
Be a real desert for my heart,
The burning sun and scouring sand
Will scorch away my tears
And maybe I'll escape this desert of the real

we wait (pt. two)

frozen days pass
boxcars laden

and nights are 
cold(er) anyway.
where is retribution? and
where is 
singularity (in this mess)?

with whatever for, we
have lost
it all.

all silver. 

all lost. 

silver all lost. 

or is it? 

think - not. 

I Need to Get Away (California-style)

I’m starving for a picnic
on the shore of a California beach;

a chance to relive those twelve-hour vacations
that were more than a day off work,
a day off school,
a day to ditch
the daily grind.

they were
this-is-the-life moments
that got me through the rest of the year.

my dad’s tennis shoes filling with sand,
bath towels posing as beach towels,
novels that would never be read,
scattered around,
looking relaxing just lying there.
one of us setting off to find a shell
that isn’t broken;
that is smooth and perfect.

I want to feel those memories

in the calm-me-down
of my stomach,

while I let the sun make a color wheel
on the inside of my eyes.


make me an uncomplicated sandwich

and spread it with peace
or peanut butter;
whichever is on hand.

like a mermaid returning to sea-weed bed sheets
after a trial run with Egyptian cotton;
I am home again--

feeding off the waves

that fuel something inside me
that goes dry
when I’ve been away for too long

tell me with your eyes,

tell me,
“that sunburn looks great on you.”

tell me that sand is nature’s pedicure
and that when I take off my shoes,
I have become a world traveler;

standing on stones
that have touched a thousand shores.

(Note: This poem is still a rough draft. Any suggestions for how to make it better would be appreciated.)

sparks (part I)

sparks (* and life begins—)
flames        , but then

this is all. life =
mean of * + loss + * + loss

(*I am, *I am, *I am…)
what I was — could be.

I could be, I am

I was waiting for—

   (     )      .

For Thomas

For Thomas

I used to think abortion should be outlawed
because it is unethical, immoral.
“Pro-choice” is simply cheap paint over sick graffiti;
“pro-life,” of course, the only means of preventing murder.
Life begins at conception
(it has a heartbeat)
(it has fingernails)

But now I know

After a late night shift, doubled-over,
After a deluging night in denial (of the unknown yet obvious)
After – finally – gloved hands and glazed eyes
what I had tried to reason away;
immediately relieving the fear that I might find it a relief
(to be free from that unexpected, unaffordable-right-now pink line)

There was no heartbeat
There were no fingernails to see
“Your uterus is empty”
(resonated in me that, maybe, I had imagined it all along)

There was a distant “sorry”
(I forgive you?)
and a prescription to return in two weeks
(no problem, I had a prenatal visit scheduled then anyway)

No answers, no explanations,
“The bleeding should stop by then.”
“We'll verify you're okay by then”
(it was barely even a fetus)

Now I know

Abortion should be outlawed
And not just because
of my standards versus yours
of your rights versus hers

But because
to give you “a choice” takes away mine


So I know this is a touchy subject - but I would greatly appreciate any objective feedback you can offer. I'm still not completely happy with the last two stanzas. And I'd like to know how the overall impression comes across - if you would be honest about it. Thanks :)

my funnygirl

lying in the drawer where she hides (oh, my funnygirl).
puppet strings cut and strewn about her, entangling
oddities and freaks, lost marbles for companions—broken thing
reaching inside, i try to draw her out, but elbows push—away
she shrinks farther back, knees crawling, fingers digging. harder.
nails bleed as wood splinters, signaling warning (staining remorse)
the lines of her palms now forming the grain of her coffin.

her eyes dark and full (of ebbing sorrow
spilled secrets) from fearful eyes carrying a chronology down
her face. (small panes for such a large soul)
small hands that hold much.

her breaths come heavy and she heaves with sobbing silent screams
(and He shouts in her pain to awaken)
but like that couple who hid to cover, so she retreats
barring herself without (within), flinching as i hold her
i lean low and close to her grief (and my fingers do gather
as i sit to bleed.) her own story mixing with my own.

she lays in her drawer, no love or joy
a hell of absence—cry for peace
and all i can do is struggle to lift the corners of her mouth,
oh my funnygirl.

I am at a deep well of loss

peering over the circular brick wall
that holds something
you can’t stop staring at

listening to the echo the water droplets make
as they let go

and you hold on

"wear another shoe to comfort the soul..."

your every look (which today) uncloses
my every smile and thought
timid—expecting—a heart
still. (reflecting off of me)
—I, undone.

lights that traffic a wasteland
never dimming – point of beginning
(or the end.)

red light, green light
beckoning. (go)
days where I wish—
street lights might turn blue instead of green
(like your eyes)

you take me in and then disclose me
oh, Love that cannot and will not (ever)
—be known.

waves rush in (as well as fools), oh child,
and we shatter.
rhythmic pull of a western tide
bringing us in and hemming us out
finding that these are paths for a solitary way

looking up, looking deeply to decide
the sky is gaping wide.
to an image of myself (I am bound)
sky too blue. day too near.

"I am as constant as the northern star"

I think that if my feelings were liquid,
they would be blood.
And the red of them
would be drenching my white Armani blouse right now.
I think if my heart were a playground,
it would be closed at 3 p.m. each day
and on the days you get bored with me.

But it would be open
each and every rainy day,
without exception.

I hate power.
When you have it all,
my cells move in the opposite direction of your touch.
When I have it,
I use it like black magic
and ruin everything around me;
including you.

I think if aching has become my career,
I’d like to retire early.
I think I’d at least like to take my seven-day vacation
very soon.

I’ve never been a brick-layer,
a wall-builder…
there is no dam keeping my feelings
from spilling over the rocks,
or onto your plate during our dinner conversation.

I’m sorry.
Should I change?

I think if I do,
I might become a solid that can’t melt—
not under heat or pressure.
And that sounds pretty permanent.

When I swallow,
I wish it would work.
I wish The Moment and Forever
would stop rising in the back of my throat
every time I breathe.

The Fools' Love

Alas, amore shall sting your sides
For deftly Cupid's arrow flies
Across the land or sky or sea
To pierce cold hearts in irony
You gasp and shudder in anguished woe
Two strangers caught by Cupid's bow
And love's first spell begins to play
On lovers trapped by a cherub's sway

'Ay, me. What is love?' she desperately cries
Her entreaties met by a silent sky
Devotion burns, he pleads with her,
'My heart is yours, oh please concur'
'Baby I'm afraid you'll break my heart.'
He draws her close and swears never to part
Then fire burns with expanding glow
And a tempest of fervor threatens their souls

Now, others watch this dangerous game
Some human, some not, but all know the same
If asked they can't say what love really means
If pressed they'll just say "Love's more than it seems"
But Puck, he knows, the clever truth
And for a price he'll speak in sooth
If the lovers ask with earnest pleas
(And add a gift) he'll answer quick as you please

"True love," he'll say with impish grin
"Is more than just a heart to win;
But sacrifice, faith, and a little fun
True love won't begin 'til the wedding's done."
But silly lovers bask in passions' glimmer
'Til rapture fades to a dying simmer
And in anguish the lovers break their embrace
And walk away wounded by mishandled grace

Puck likes to foil Cupid, so you see,
In the dying ardor he looks on with glee
And if you listen softly you'll hear his decree
'Lord what fools these mortals be.'

In Honor of Valentines Day--A Love Poem

I wanted to finish something I started.

So when we kissed that first time
and you said, “We can do better.”

I thought,
“Let’s make this homework
for the rest of our lives.”

I want to make plans for the future.

I want to live inside a giant bookshelf
disguised as a house.
I want a vegetable and herb garden out back,
flower pots on every window sill,
easy access to my easy-bake-oven,
finger paintings hung like sconces on the wall,
and you
in a chair
ready for me to interrupt you,
eager to hear me remind you
that we are alive.

We are alive together.

So when I tell you, “I love you.”
I mean it in the ways they do;
on television and inside books
(and inside the looks they give one another
across candlelit tables)

But more than that, I mean it
in all the ways I hadn’t planned for—
the ways I now
can’t imagine
living without.

I wanted to finish something I started.
So I started with you.


I admire that you've reconvened 
and sought to brew 
a tast of what we once consumed 
in joy and secret
or in public places 

The revelry of pure expression 
Brought to paper lovingly 
We spoke and shared over chicken fingers
I spilled sauce on your things

What was it that I had at masters that I've so often sought to deny
When I convinced myself I was never one of you
Was it a lie?

Well, I've written sparcely since we dispersed
And my being has become more bland
Work emails never flow in verse
Cubicles constrain & countermand

I hope I see you all again
But maybe I won't -- time will tell
For now I hope this entry finds you
Living, Loving an Writing well


poem from 2006

I'd rather be a companion to loneliness
than to see the day that you stop seeing me.
I'd rather only wonder what it would be like
than to be made a fool by reality.