homages to the elfin way

1. three oranges
and juiced into mason jar
i am thinking foward to
palm trees
and border towns

2. oil burning
in cast iron
on medium
accompanied by two eggs

over blue flame
from clear to white

3. soapsoaked steelwool pressed against walk-in walls
scrubbing crust of
dried sauces
and mold
from shelves

4. kitchen manager
denies me
half hour by half hour
tip outs.
this place
from worse
to unfathomable

5. swish sound of
salmon-colored raincoat
ascending stairs

6. anise tortas and blue velvet cupcakes
hummus avocado tomato cheese sandwiches
on almond toast

7. homages to the elfin way:
tin cans
dandelion beheadings
dinosaur trees
oatstraw tea
loomed things
spring eggs hatching in surprise nests
lit candles
lean-to rain shelters

8. roland barthes
in bathwet hands
oil lamp lit
lavendar rose salts
it begins
like this
on page 11:
i am engulfed, i succumb

9. image searching
for black and whites of
gertrude stein and
alice b. toklas

10. if a brokerib
from layers
just under
the skin
does that
indeed mean
it is broke?

i tell my spirit she can go now

1. bright orange enthusiasm
outside the walk in
fishing me out
from sleep haze

2. i walk into
a kitchen conversation
between the boss
a cook
and a waitron
talking shit
about women
with full beards
with the gall
to go unshaven

but they do not use admiring words


they use
disgusted words

and so i slam
metal nesting bowls

and so i tell my spirit
she can go now
while my body
hangs back
to chop the potatoes
by the 50-pound boxful
to fill the stainless sink with cold water for lettuce bathing
to pound the seitan with my fists before rolling it out in seasoning mix
for just another
couple of months

blindfolded citrus sampler

1. blindfolded citrus sampler
honey murcott tangerine
juice dripping
from wrist
to elbow
orange spots on white sheets

2. a memorial
an appreciation
a celebration:
the way you write monologues is crazy
your reading voice is crazy
your eyes are crazy
the way you eat a grapefruit for 45 minutes is crazy
the way you loom is crazy

3. striped sun
of a mexican beach
of light and dark
across our faces

4. mason jar lid
as cookie cutter
(one-eyed jacks,
for breakfast at lunchtime

5. with dinosaur tree swords in our hands
rain on the horizon
and armies
of defenseless dandelions
becomes an ancient

6. dollar bill
in quarters
with a pink paper seed
at the foot
of a garden buddha statue

7. our prayer flags
blow your prayer flags
out of the water

8. we grab each other
at the elbow
when the lightning hits

9. licking rainwater
from the blooms
of lilac bushes

10. plastic gnome
tucked into rockwall
telling us
not to stomp
and mourning
its lack
of green thumb

11. amber salve
in brown glass
in small circles
to broke rib

12. buttercream frosting
on fingers

13. full moon in scorpio
across ship-like clouds
through cool air
body in motion
pedaling home

we eat at a table 100 years old/saltwater story

1. peeling
another layer
of nail
my big toe

2. something
about you
i wish for you
to be happy
to continue healing
to be free

breaks me
like ice bits
clicking off glaciers into
melt water
so cold
it would only take
10 minutes
for hypothermia
to set in

3. sun
breaking through post-hail
and rainflash sky
turns wet street
into mirror

4. a loomed landscape
of brown
off white
light brown
and less off white
and lighter brown
the thread
in a blue cooler

5. i enter
the 21st century
with tuesday smillie
via video chat
portland reporting live at 2pm
to berlin at midnight

6. she shows me
the dark porch balcony
if it weren’t so cold
she’d eat breakfast
after she shows me
the keycard slot
on the wall
the lights

7. a video
of my mouth
in the corner
talking to
the video
of your
a ceiling fan
in the palm of my hand

8. that thin kitchen towel
makes me want to
buy you oven mits/hot pads

9. we enter the room
candles lit
and rosequartz
on white sheet

10. you press and release
the years
upon years
into my hips

11. feta
onto purple cabbage salad
across roasted sweet potatoes
we eat
at a table
100 years old

12. irreconcilable differences:
no one invited you
but you barged in

13. curled up
on blanket layers
the beginning
of a saltwater story
i miss you
when i am close enough
to catch the gold
in your eye
close enough
to unzip you and climb inside

we take turns tossing poems into the fire

1. a six-hour headache
accompanied by
a gradually more and more painful
sorting silverware
fumbling with plastic nine pans
though my heart
my brain
my muscles
have already
thrown down the flour-dusted apron
fuck you’d the boss
frisbeed white porcelain plates
across the kitchen
where grease
like sediment rock

2. yesterday’s
sun halo weather prediction
and it rains

3. pink-iced cookie
broken off in bits
while chopping
red/yellow pepper
while dissolving bullion in steaming water
while measuring spices
with a lone

4. suspicion confirmed:
the next door neighbors
(whom we refer to
as the frat boys
because of their love
f0r beer pong)
name their new black and white puppy

5. i’m stacking wedges of wood in the fire
layered like a log cabin
i’m moving dirty plates from chairs
i’m careful
to not spill
glasses filled with water
at my feet

6. shannon walks in
with a dr. suess book
under her arm
pinkbluegreen colors spilling
over the cover
and this is the part,
like reading tarot,
that gets me
because of its ability
to mine truth
from the unknowns of the future:
i’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
all alone!
whether you like it or not,
alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

7. triple cream goat brie
in the toaster oven
at 300 degrees
for ten minutes
plus two kinds of chocolate
and the red of fresh radishes

8. after dinner
(potato salad
swiss garden chard
curry lentil soup
citrus garbanzo and green beans
quinoa salad
peanut butter and jelly finger sandwiches)
we take turns
tossing live poems
into the fire

9. a feast of phantom fingers
long after you’ve
into night rain
under orange street lights
long after
the 75
has stopped running

we are trying to move faster than time

1. dreams:
a train ride
across town
barely able to stop at the crossing
we are trying
to move faster than time
and i offer
the window seat

at the dmv/geisel library
meg shares the inside story
of poems and history
and points to a vertical
dave eggars style

2. michael dickman’s poems in my hands
on a sunday afternoon
poems like mousse
or fudge
or anything else
so rich
you can eat it
in tiny spoonfuls
and leave the rest
in the refrigerator
for tomorrow
and the day after
and all the days after that

3. when the census people
come to knock on your door
and you are
in the sun
poems in yr hands
a mug of tea on the steps
it is
nearly impossible
to cower away
or say
no, i don’t have time
for your 8 minute questionnaire

4. corinne arrives
gauze taped around middle finger
later she slips it off
in the bathroom
to show me
black stitches
six of them
holding glass-split knuckle skin

5. you
in summer pants
rolled up below knees
and me
in freshly washed hair
the popover
i forget to act
and it only takes us
an hour
to get out the door
and once we do
we take over the sidewalks
chicken coops
like a photography club field trip
leaning in

6. i can’t tell
if it’s my hand
on your back, fingers
hiking the canyon
of your spine
or your hand
slow circling
my lumbar
but one of us
is casting spells

7. sailing
the eternal wave
of fatigue
in search of

8. the only cloud
in the sky
whisped gray against blue
mustache shaped
while i take in
the day glo
the campfire smell
a thousand teeth in a tender shell


for jon,
a termination letter
fraught with
erroneous and exaggerated details
for me,
i’ll probably get the usual:
a thank you scrawled
on the schedule next to
my name
and a bouquet
a tigerlily firework
in a white sky
of feverfew
kept cool
in the walk in

and the only difference
is that jon
told our boss
to fuck off
to his face

and this restaurant
will go on
as if no one

the babies
crowded into sunday morning booths
will continue
to screech
their amazing dinosaur calls
while rolling cheerios
off table edges

the touring bands
will continue
catching breakfast
at 2pm
sucking down pots of coffee
and leaving
less than
a ten dollar tip

the dining room
will continue
a sea of need
and bodies
asking for more
than any waitstaff
is capable
of bringing

the hand-crank
salad spinner
will continue
rusted washers and screws
fresh beds
of romaine, green leaf, carrot and red cabbage ribbons
dental disasters
and lawsuits
barely avoided

our boss
will keep us
pressed low
to the greasy ground
his kitchen clogs
our swaybacked spines

spread the word and run in packs

1. prepped:
three and a half dozen biscuits
marinated tofu
fakin bacon
portioned veggie burgers
sliced mushrooms
cut fries
vegan ranch dressing
ceasar dressing
carrot ginger dressing
two buckets of salad
baked off morning potatoes
supergrain salad mix
toasted hazelnuts
rotelle pasta
three heads of sandwich lettuce
chickn apple sausage
for starters…

2. music listened to:
the weakerthans
dolly parton
the knife
cheap girls

3. a snackplate
for dinner
(rice crackers, goat gouda, avocado, cucumber)
and gelato
in front porch sun
for dessert

4. first
the facebook posts
then a forwarded text
confirmed neo nazi intiation including beatings of folks leaving gay bars. 5 in 5 days. spread the word and run in packs

i hear myself
have fun tonight. be safe.

5. i bid
10 dollars
on the postcards
5 dollars
on the earthenware

6. everywhere i go
we talk about
san diego

7. james and i slowdance
for approximately three minutes
this is before
the horseshoe
larger and heavier
than most horseshoes
from the shelf
polaroids tilted and tipped

8. moon
spilling silver
over the tops
of fir trees
the narrow
asphalt of
holman street
the night
as crisp
as a piece of
frozen bread

9. thank you
for reminding me
of the necessity
of daily dandelion fluff
now please,
pass the scissors

10. over heard in pre-sleep dreams:
it’s easy
to etcha sketch

from over here

when i walked in
she was insanely accordian.