rows of no smoking lights

One more for now, while I have the time and energy…. This one was written two years ago, when I was so very afraid that I wouldn’t be home in time to say goodbye to my grandmother. [and I know some of these starting poems are a little bleak, but I promise there are happier ones on the way…]

Rows of No Smoking Lights

The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign
so it is only the rows of no smoking lights
that run above my head off into the distance.

I am sitting upright, tray table secured, waiting
for my tears to dry. Waiting for this plane to land.
My Mexican sunburn is making me
chilled and my Mexican hangover is making me

My sister sleeps one seat over against the window,
I look past her and into the darkness, just one light
on the wing to create the illusion that we are actually
moving. At this point, I think it’s
possible that we’re underwater, in a dark wet world.

The pressure in my ears creates a solid weight
in the darkness. Above, the lights run on. If I stare at
them for too long, they seem to blur into one long line.
It reminds me of a long hallway.

I too will walk it someday.

song of March (2003)

easing myself into this whole “sharing with the world” thing. Starting with the more comfortable pieces (are politics more comfortable?) and planning to move forward from there….one from just before the Iraq war (George W. not George senior). In the style of T.S. Eliot…

Song of March (2003)

It snowed for no reason tonight,
just seemed the thing to do.
And quiet crowds cowered in their houses
with bread and water and
plastic and duct tape awaiting the inevitable;
the athlete,
the farmer,
the prom king and queen,
cried innocent and shivered while the enemy sweated
and lurked in every dark alleyway,
sweating in turbans and yards of cloth,
plotting and deceiving.

He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.

The few great left another generation alone to contemplate:
Crowds cowered in their fallen houses across the sea.
Covered women who come and go
weary from watching Michelangelo.
They’re told he’s an infidel, that he’s the one
because of his painted ceiling in Rome.

Yet it makes no sense again.
We grow so old; we
chant what we do not understand;
we lose the audience with haphazard metaphors that
tick like bombs, but make no sound— no questions,
no time left to consider.

He turned the hourglass and let sand sift through his hands.

The thing to do, seems the only thing to do.
In March we go,
in step we go,
before the sky can open up
beneath the weight of escalating egos,
of bipeds with opposable thumbs bent on the thing to do,
hitchhiking back to the beginning of it all—
the middle east,
the middle earth,
the point of the big bang that still reverberates now.

January (outside my parent’s house)

January (outside my parent’s house)

The cold smells
Of wood logs burning into ghosts
Of themselves and floating
Quietly, silently up to the wide
Eye of the ancestral moon.
There are no clouds tonight, no breeze.
Just the smell of wet snowflakes stubbornly
Hugging the shreds of grass and
the fingernails of the trees.

Walking out the front door,
My scarf traps my face with hot breaths,
My gloves hold tight to my keys.
I’ll wave as I drive away. My car
fighting to heat and accelerate at the same time.

Short and Sweet (Norwegian Wood)

Short and Sweet

This day speaks of Norwegian Wood-
The voices, the guitar; I think of all the things I can remember
about my life. “and when I awoke I was alone.”
The smell of wood burning, it happens so fast. A light, a
smoke that drifts towards the heavens. All that’s left is
ash and soot.

It happens in 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Then it’s over.


For a night, I was God.
With a glass of red in one hand and
a pen in the other, I sat on my bed
and reread the last few years of my life.

I was stranger among my own thoughts,
a voeuyer into a life I no longer knew.

All my private mistakes laid out
in scribbled frantic strokes, but clear.
I sipped the wine, drank it down. I read and read;
I scratched out. Everything painful was delightfully
marked through over and over and over.
Every sin covered in black ink and gone.