The Woman

Barbaric, wildling animal,

Grunt and huff, rut through the dirt

And sweat under the hot sun.


The woman, majestic beast, native all over the world.


Sometimes bares remarkable resemblance to the species homo sapien,

But of course, this is simple mimicry, much like the parrot.


The woman will sometimes shake her fist or raise her voice.

Pay no attention. It is not actual anger.


The woman may cry, for long hours. She may weep for days.

Do not heed. This is not true suffering.


These are mechanical biological reactions to changes in hormones,

Automatic responses to her reproductive system that happen every month.

Ignore it. It will go away.


Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of humanizing her.

Her feeling are not real.


“I want to be bruised by god”- a line of poetry tattooed on my shoulder


There but for the grace of God go I

Restless, wandering, assaulted by want

Cornered by the very comforts we cling to


We can howl. Demand. Stomp our feet. But we cannot cease to be.

Like fruit, Rotting in the bottom of the crate, bruised


The fingerprints of God

Eight Legs

If I had eight legs, and a gaggle of eyes, and a talent for building webs,

I could run all over the world saving lives, and watch for injustice, and catch you when you fall,

Some would be repulsed,

they would try to trample me beneath their boots,

their fear baiting them to battle me,

But eight legged things are never alone. They outnumber everyone else by eleven to one.


I want to change my life,

To fundamentally alter who and what I am.

I went to counseling. I confessed my inadequacies,

Holding back my deepest and darkest, because


Frankly, I already know what I need to do to fix myself.

But I didn’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it.

A broader character flaw is just a lack of follow through.

I can start the program, but I can’t keep it up.


I quit going after three sessions.

Wouldn’t you know, going to therapy once a week is a program.

I warned her, during our third session.

I admitted how unmotivated I had been to go,

How badly I wanted to cancel my plans.


I cancel a lot of plans.

And she asked me, bluntly,

What would happen if I quit coming.

And she asked me again, when I gave the easy answer,

that I wouldn’t get the change that I wanted.


Aren’t there other ways to get that change, she poked.

Well, yes, I pondered. Meditation, journaling. Supplements.

And for a moment I felt empowered, because there were so many ways to take action.

But it slipped away. I knew the solution to my problem all along, I told you,

But I can’t keep up with the program.

High school

She rummaged through her locker,

chocked full of stray papers and overdue library books

Piles of academic accoutrement,

Exploding out, overfilling book bags and exhausted brain.

She forgot what she was looking for.

With a hefty push of her foot,

She beat back that wild jungles overgrowing in her little locker,

and slammed the door close.


I’ve always felt like a ghost,

An outsider that didn’t belong,

A vacancy with the lights turned off.

I ran into a man the other day who called to me,

He remembered me from some party I went to a few years back.

It frightened me.

It meant that I looked like a person and that people remembered and recognized that person long after I had moved on.

I am plain and forgettable.

I don’t leave fingerprints.

I walk through the world, a ghost, and no one takes notice.

I thought.

I want.

Cat got your tongue?

The cat’s got your tongue,

So the blackberries will rot on their bushes

Your mother will click her disappoint

Your sister will lick whipped cream and ice cream

And rub it in that you are in trouble again, yes you, yes trouble,

And you can stare needles back at her,

But it doesn’t matter because

And your voice will blur with the clouds if you try to speak

You make friends with the cat, yes friends, yes a cat, yes it’s hard,

But it’s the only way you will earn your freedom

And plot your pay back.

To Do

I am going to clean the whole house
And scrub every floor, and dust every corner and trinket
And fold all the laundry and actually put it away
And bathe the dogs and walk them
And buy groceries and make sure they’re organic
And make a good home cooked meal
And wash the dishes right after
With all the food groups
And read the classics
And finish my novel
And get a raise at work because of all the initiative that I’m going to take
And weed the garden,
And finally install that new light switch
And start meditating
And learn piano
And save for a trip to China,
And see the great wall, and be cultured,
And be a good wife and take care of my partner,
And be all things to all people
And I cannot fail

My Grandmother’s House

I wiggled impatiently as I drove my grandmother to my house, to her house.
We were both in awe. It was on the market.
This would be our chance to get it back after my mother lost it.
My grandparents built that house, my grandmother drew the plans, designed it with care.
The backyard had been a treat for families and children.
A pool and pool house.
A play house.
A sandbox.
A swing set cemented into the back corner.
I would swing high and flutter into the branches of fruit trees.
A black top with a tennis net, and a tetherball pole, and a basketball net.
And in the house we had bedrooms. One for all four us, well, I supposed my dad built the fourth one in the basement. Grandma had only three daughters. As my sisters grew up and moved out, I moved around the house, inheriting, one at a time, each of the bedrooms. The vacated rooms became play rooms and computer rooms.

The trees were cut.
The pool and deck toppled,
The blacktop chopped into rubble.
The realtor offered us flea spray for the bottoms of our pant legs.
Everything was broken and dirty and ruined.

4 years. We had only been gone for 4 years.

I drove my grandmother to her house, where she had lived with her oldest daughter for 22, as long as I’d been alive. My grandmother had given the house to my mother-soon to be single mother of three- to help her. To raise me.
Grandma busied herself right away, peeling tomatoes grown from her own backyard. She told me how much she loved mother brought into the home.
Why would I want to go back there,
why would I want memories of them?
It’s memories of my sisters, and brother too
It’s just a house.
We can build another house.

The Edge of the World

A book is a sailboat
A majestic schooner, white sails plumed gallantly in the wind, racing to plunge off the edge of the world
Fresh sea air invigorates, mist in the breeze. Fear and excitement etch into the back of your throat, making a taste of pennies and mothballs. You wait to hear the captain shout the words, the warning before the brink, but you remember, a start running up your spine, you are the captain at the helm, the fingertips at the page corners
You see the wild blue yonder and suddenly taste strawberries, farm fresh and fragrant.
The world is much bigger than just your little state of Michigan, your thin city of Saginaw, much wilder and friendlier than your best friend Clarice.
You see your boots are quaking below you, but you don’t know why. You are brave. There is nothing to fear.
You will meet people who hurt you, betray you, confuse and frustrate you.
You can’t get this kind of experience just browsing through memes.
When you greet people, they will smile and greet you back, and perhaps ask to take a selfie with you. You will find the world friendlier than you imagined. You can let your guard down. You will be fine.
Your name will be in their mouths, just as yours is in theirs.
You may panic at the last moment, and reach out for something to hold onto and prevent the spilling over.
If you do this, all will be lost.
Your hands will bare the scars, and will turn or be turned against you.
Be brave and open your heart to the brilliance.
Give the word, captain, raise anchor,  and plunge.