The Drive-By (#12)

There was no warning

Just a waft unleashed on the unsuspecting
Without pity
Without care

I did not see him
He flew by so fast
His scent snapped my neck
And my balance wavered

Hands on my thighs, eyes closed
Momentarily overcome by
woody liqueur, cigar and clary sage
Perhaps the musk of wild cat or jasmin rouge
An explosion of color behind paralyzed lids

Smoky yet sweet
Patchouli and amber
Oh, Indian sandalwood!
Oh, Tahitian vanilla!

I am sailing for the West Indies, or maybe
The Mediterranean, under a wicked spell
I am obsessed, intensely euphoric
Bulgari? Acqua di Gio?
Pour Homme
Mon Dieu

The catalyst of my undoing
Air redolent with spicy clove
I am on my knees
Felled by a faceless

Firefly (#11)

Winter has been long and cold
No sign of you in the marshes of Malaysia
So I left
And here I remain

The glass jar is cozy enough
Warm rain falls through holes in the roof
Reminiscent of the swamp

I glow
Yellow, then green, then
Pale red
I try them all, to draw you near

I do not think I am of the tribe
Femme fatale
I promise I won’t eat you
(Wings crossed)
Who can blame the brain made drunk by pheromones?
Don’t be afraid

Follow the blinking beacon to my side
Nectar awaits

I cannot fly to you

Conteur en Tutu (#10)

I envy the ballerina
I am not proud of this
Her every graceful move
Encapsulates entire chapters of prose
Epic stanzas of verse

I envy her, the master storyteller
Who need only strike an artful pose
An elegant arabesque
A poignant pirouette
A port de bras of such ache and beauty that
Tears pour
Full hearts overflow

I envy her tiny, shapely form
Epitome of strength, yet delicate
Which inspires the equally beautiful men to
Lift them in an exquisite show of power and protection

I have only my lonely quill
Wielded with a virtuoso’s skill
To pluck the heartstrings
Word by spellbinding word
A glissade on the page
Carrying the reader overhead to the final turn of the page
The final flourish at story’s end

*conteur=storyteller in French

Èlixir (#9)

Dark and rich
My lover
Black as ink
Like Water and Air

Perfect balance of
Earthy, roasted seed and cream
Sugar and cinnamon, a pinch
Vanilla softens bitter edges

Too hot to consume quickly
Savoring, a lost art
Swallowed up in the immediacy of
The daily grind

Sweet and spicy, como yo
There is only one nectar
One God

But it tastes like liquid magic

We, The Elephants (#8)

Magnificent creature
I am in awe of your beauty
Envious of your herb-fueled strength
I want to love like you love
Deeply and without reservation and forever
I want to mourn like you mourn
Deeply and without reservation and forever
Caress the white-washed skeletons
With tender trunks, joined in honor and sorrow
Revering the fallen for as long as it takes

Not like the Mbuti
Who believe the ancestors inhabit this current body
I do not see my grandmother in your eyes
Or the Igbo
Who bury the dead with your tusks
You touch the living, say everything
With a tender stroke, playful slap, a nudge
You remember everything

In a perfect world, we would be friends
Walk beneath the sun and stars
Raise each other’s babies

At the end
I hope it is you
I hope it is you who stands over me
Who guards my bones
You who touches them with tenderness
And remembers

To Whom It May Concern (#7)

Dear Me
You are strong
Too Strong
Be fragile
Trust that there is strength to be found in

If you do not cease
You will die
You will crumble like the walls of Jericho before your very own eyes
And it will not be a good or pretty death

It will hurt now and it will hurt later
The sting of death will be so much worse

You have been warned
With Love,
Ruthless, unrelenting

I Promise (#6)


for Lyric

Brown-eyed Baby Girl
Sing, baby, Sing
All the words of your heart are there
Right there, visible
Your tongue trembles with prayer

Brown-eyed Baby Girl
Speak, baby, Speak
I see your words in the
Swirling depths of color that frame your soul
Gifts from your mother

Brown-eyed Baby Girl
Smile, baby, Smile
Your daddy’s teeth are gleaming
Beneath your braids and colored baubles
Your beauty is breath-defying

Brown-eyed Baby Girl
Laugh, baby, Laugh
This is the praise that delights God
Teach us, dear one
Teach us about joy

Brown-eyed Baby Girl
Dance, baby, Dance
A key exists that will unlock all of your secrets
Unchain your soul, unfurl your voice
Your feet are free to spin and twirl and leap, unbound

We will find this key
Sweet Brown-eyed Baby Girl
We will be relentless in our quest
Until then

My Brown-eyed Baby Girl



My Kingdom for 5 Stars (#5)

The sun rises, welcome lantern
Boots crunch leaves and ferns underfoot
Chipmunk chases squirrel
Laughter roils in my chest but feels inappropriate in this
Church of Nature’s building
Beech bends in the breeze
The clear brook steps lightly over buried stones, like a tickled piano
This is the loveliest of smokescreens
Fear’s jaws are clamped, embedded in my spine
Panic and giggles take turns, slither between the vertebrae, upraised hairs
Coil around my neck
The nagging certainty of lions and tigers and bears
Harshes the early buzz

Parfum (#4)

Mourning has a smell
An acrid odor that
Seeps through the pores
Creeps into the silken threads of clothes
Clings like a shadow

It singes the unsuspecting nose hairs of unwitting passersby,
Brimming with platitudes and goodwill
Perhaps they deserve it

Merciless in its assault
There is no escape

Behind each ear, the décolletage
It settles near the heart

Enters the room first
Follows the sorrowful like a comet’s tail
Noseblind and grief-stricken

Confessions of a Former Stalker (#3)

It was easier in the 90s
Under cover of anonymity

I called
Every day
For months

His voice was Jones-deep
Rumbled in my chest like thunder
Heart fluttered, a caffeinated hummingbird on crack
I couldn’t help it

I just wanted to hear it over and over again
Like he spoke just to
Leave a message

I called
Every day
For months

What did he think when he came home
Night after night,  to the
Sound of exhaled breath and the
Telephonic orchestra of clicks?
Ding, Dong, Ditch
Press button, run away

Did he daydream?
Wonder if shy caller’s breath was sweet?
Replay clicks, and

I called
Every day
For months