Dye Job

She’s a blonde in real life 

Under that blood moon semi-permanent red hair dye

There’s something about her

Beyond what looks like a rent-evading,

chemically aged alcohol-drinking boozehound

Someone deserving of being figured out

Calico Dream

I was in Asia staying with newfound friends

It was the future – soft light warmed everything

Sounds and sites of vegetables simmering in pots were everywhere

I shaved part of my head making it easier to wear wigs and put on disguises

Wearing this bizarre 1970s motorcycle helmet, white with red racing stripes

The stress of being in these new surroundings was so exciting it made me vomit 

A cute calico befriended me, always looking like they were going to speak – they never did of course, just kept purring, following me, or were they guiding me?

I found you in a scrapped-out airstream, told you I loved you being my best friend 

We cried a little, it wasn’t sad, just being there with each other was good – for the first time in a long while I felt like myself

It took a dream, waking from sleep on the couch in pain, being transported to feel like me, if even for a moment again. 

San Diego

Sitting on the balcony of our hotel room,

A still morning greets us, looking out over the water

Drinking French press Kona

The oils from the freshly plunged coffee mingled with the smell of morning dew

Surrounded by sail boats and the view of Tijuana

You discovering the bliss of lox on an everything bagel

The day was crisp

Wrapped in cozy sweaters

Watching the gulls catch air, floating effortlessly by

One of my favorite memories

Captured in the amber of my mind

Fresh Legs

Stretch, feel skin cracking from beneath Winter’s permafrost.

Ache at the bones snapping into place after the yawn of cold morning shrinks in the Spring sun.

Pull off scratching socks that heated you through the night, cold toes be gone.

Smooth oil over this organ, this canvas that’s been painted black with the loudness of heartbreak and righteous discontent.

Robbed of the season’s stolen time.

Not a single bit of goodness fits through the strainer you’ve ripped gaping holes in.

There were things to celebrate.

Yet they shared the same room as the shattered pieces of heart.

Feeling like an awkward lanky teen yearning to burst from anxiety into their prime.

Selfish in these feelings.  In this push through, in the same house fighting through the awful and the sublime.

Spring arrived lacking anything that sniffs of newness.

Pull the curtains shut, put a sweater on, pull the hood over your head.

Lay down in the unmade bed.  Sheets needing to be washed that still smell like her.

Refuse, just one more day to rot in the love of stolen kisses.

Stuck in the ordeal of perpetual eventide.

Every single memory tied up in her hair, in her ashes.

A smooth red wooden box embellished with her name.

The urn, the lingering frankincense clinging to the drawstring silver bag.

Her hand pressed into clay for remembrance. 

Plant the rosemary, plant the wildflowers.

Hang the chime. 

Place a sleeping statue in her favorite napping sun.

Mourn her.

Celebrate her.

Move tomorrow, embrace Spring slowly with fresh legs.

Pixie Dust


Lick the pixie dust from your lips.
You’re laughing at the Unicorn’s warning to be careful;
“That fairy’s not to be trifled with.”
 
But it’s your last night in Chicago and you want to revel in
the magic, drink in the jazz, throw caution to the wind.
 
You’re not going to heed the warning, succumbing
to the danger that you’re in.
 
“Isn’t this fantastic?” You shout over the saxophone player
while you’re sitting at the corner of the bar.

“Killer.” Whispers the pixie queen as you collapse into her arms.

Bunny

“Piece of bunny!” She ran to her mother, knowing this was wrong.
Cybil, the German Shepard had a piece of a bunny.
 
Bouncing it like a ragdoll off the end of her blood-soaked nose.
Horrified, her mother smothered the child’s eyes with her palm.
She wasn’t meant to see this violence.
 
Now grown, the child can’t remember her first dog killing the rabbit,
kept in the hutch just outside their home.

Hang On

Hang on tight while racing downhill, helmet on, the motorcycle thrills

Hadn’t thought of that memory in so many years, a happy recollection of a father-daughter time

Hanging in the space of her mind, held precious, playing frame by frame

Her thoughts become music, his hero’s welcome song

Disco

A violet crepe deep plunging V neck wrap dress,
cork heeled shoes with rhinestone straps

Metallic mauve eyeshadow swept across a lid
Bad Girls fills the air with music
 
You mastered the hustle,
time to go out and dance

Perfumed Wild


You smell like toasted tonka beans and bergamot, folded in with a suggestion of raw amber. Lips dark as cherries, holding back so many secrets it plumps them out fully. Hair carelessly falling like strands of honey, golden, dripping, and flowing.

A halo of afternoon just rained light is framing your body. The spirit that compels you beats like a drum set to the pace of wild horses tearing across grasses. A stampede, holding nothing back as they race to their death fearlessly over the edge.

Everyone’s eyes follow you from the top of your head to the black patent leather heels boosting you up in the puddle, they reflect. No one seated in the café is doing anything, frozen in time while you subtly touch your neck.

Intoxicating as you may be, I’m wary of your wiles. The houndstooth jacket you’re wearing keeps your crazy buttoned-up, while I allow myself to get caught up thinking, just for a moment, this should be love. 

But it isn’t, you left the vase of flowers strewn across the floor after hurling them at me. It wasn’t love after you pressed that clove cigarette into your lips years ago and told me at the stroke of midnight everything would be over.

It was love when I saw you dressed as a clown in cowboy boots wandering through the party where we first met. The nervous laugh of yours silenced as it bit into the lime and licked the salt from my hand after mutual friends introduced us over shots of tequila. 

Now you’re the girl in the café that everyone dreams about. I knew that girl, she’s a gorgeous, mind-blowing, burn the world down, take no prisoners disaster. Finish my croissant and cappuccino, breaking the undissolved crystals of residue sugar between my teeth at the same time we break our stare. 

Turning my eyes downward, away from your Hollywood glamour, I lay my tip on the table, careful to tuck it below the bill, you’ve been a delicious distraction. But I’ve grown too smart now to be caught up in your beauty and rotten to the core no one can see aura.

We smile that first-night flirting smile, happy to cross paths, and wince in the same moment, ripping the band-aid off our past. I wonder who’s horse you are now, and reflect on my fortune, I made it out as a heart bruised survivor. Stopping before being hurled over the edge by your unbridled perfumed wild.

Blind Man’s Zoo

Blind man’s zoo has come to town, wearing silver jeweled crowns

Each holding a painted blackened rose, to open thoughts their minds won’t close

And on their sight this autumn night, let blindness from you go

Where thoughts are free and children see that blindness is a travesty

With open hands the invite stands, the day to seize is yours

When thought is free, the blind can see, it opens every door

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s how it happened–

It was Homecoming, 1992.

I was never popular, never going to be part of the Homecoming crowd.

In fact, I had already graduated the summer before, and found out from friends that everyone could be in the Homecoming Parade.

What?

You heard right, anyone could be in the Homecoming parade, as long as one of us was still in High School.

Welp, that was it.  I was going to get a gang of the coolest art girls in town to be in the parade.

It was a small town, still is.  One of those one light places with a church on each corner of the intersection, a single bank, and a lonely gas station.

We decided to name ourselves “Blind Man’s Zoo” for the parade, hence the poem for our little charade.

I had just been to a 10,000 Maniacs show, was in love with Natalie Merchant and that album – it seemed to perfectly fit.

We each carried black rose bouquets, donned our best vintage gear, and dyed our hair black – which said on the box was temporary.

We wore handmade silver crowns with giant gems and copious amounts of glitter to really set off the occasion.

Accompanying us was a massive tie-dyed sign spray-painted with our name across it. Two of our buddies walked in front of us with it, their heads held magnificently high.

The best part was having an antique car club offer to drive us in the parade. 

We each rode in a convertible corvette that night.  My sister’s ride I was especially fond of, it had the sexiest billiard ball gear shift.

So down our one-light town, we rode — with the Homecoming Court and the State Championship-winning football team.

Onto the track, circling the football field, all of us waving with our black roses and silver-painted Burger King crowns, the Friday night lights working for us.

Our friends kept holding the banner high, champions of the night. We parked while the marching band blasted their teen spirit behind us.

It was a perfect night, one I won’t forget, and that black henna hair dye didn’t wash out.