Danger comes easy

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The best beer I ever drank was a Sol tallboy
from a styrofoam cooler in a neighborhood park
in Merida. It was Carnival in Mexico
but that particular block party could have been simply
someone’s birthday. Still, a teenage boy
sold me the can, ice cold, almost

frozen. There was a parade that day — floats
for hours blasting pop music. Drag queens
in tall wigs and short skirts threw kisses
like candy. You wouldn’t think there’d be
so many queens in Mexico, or maybe it’s no
surprise. And ordinary, too, how the police Continue reading

By a hare

A retelling of an Asian rabbit myth, excerpted from a longer poetry cycle on which I’m working. 

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1830s-era French natural history print

Black-naped hare, meadow creature, keeps his language
secret. No one around here speaks rabbit. When the beggar
asked for alms, the monkey gathered fruit, the otter brought fish
and the jackel stole a pot of milk. The rabbit only knew
how to harvest grass, so it threw itself on the cooking fire.

But the beggar transformed himself into Sakra, ruler of the Devas
and rewarded the rabbit for his selflessness by placing him
on the moon. It was better than death by immolation,
but it was far away, and cold at night, and there was no grass
at all. And no one spoke rabbit there, either.

May (triptych)

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Countess Szechenyi at Twin Oaks garden party, ca. May, 1926. Photo from modern farmer.com

i.

In the ink-blue dusk
when everyone hurries home
the flower moon blooms.

ii.

The garden trembles
as a thousand crickets sing
summer’s arrival.

iii.

Do the church bells ring
this time each night? Sound travels,
the doors are open.

Collaborative chapbook

Last week I was part of an art show/performance that was the end result of an 11-day collaborative challenge. The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design selected 11 artists (a combination of writers, crafters and visual artists) to team up and create work based on the CCCD’s exhibition, The Good Making of Good Things: Craft Horizon’s Magazine, 1941-1979.

chapbook

I was paired with weaver Danielle Burke who’s focus in Appalachian coverlets. We were both inspired by a February, 1974 issue of Craft Horizons in which writers were tasked with creating prose around the art of long-dead makers whose works had outlived any knowledge of the ancient artists who made the work. Continue reading

Winter writes to spring

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Is it okay to be happy today, when
the world is so sad? To fold into the arms
of pink and yellow, to carry my grief
like an Easter egg — fragile but vivid.

Maybe I’ll leave this sorrow among the leaves
of new grass, its green the pulse of breathing
and of ceasing to breathe; of all that ebbs
and flows again. Maybe I’ll string this sorrow

among the branches of the cherry trees
for the birds to weave into nests, or for the wind
to carry away. Maybe I’ll plant it deep
in the still-dreaming earth

and see what blooms.

A Valentine’s Day poem. Sort of.

VALENTINE

This is what you named the rat you bought
from the pet store. White fur and red eyes
that narrowed and darted and never met yours.

Because you couldn’t afford a cage,
Valentine lived in a cardboard box
though it took him less than one night

depressed-runaway-teenager-in-backyard-picture-id175482777to chew his way out and move into the cupboards.
But the apartment you shared with three other girls,
none of you yet eighteen, was empty of food

and furniture and parents and anyone
who could make a decent decision. You lived on
school lunches and leftover desserts

from the restaurants where you washed dishes. You slept
like four orphans curled together on one mattress.
You read poetry sometimes, for entertainment, Continue reading