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If a Picture Tells A Thousand Words...

Box of Ashes

my mind is a box

inside the box is a garden

inside the garden is winter

your ghost is a great gnarled tree

sprawling bare black limbs

against the sky

the sky is the color of ashes

I held your ashes in my hand

I hear your ashes rustling

like the echoes of leaves

that have long since fallen

I hear your ashes rustling

like whispers in my mind

my mind is a box

(This poem was published in Issue 3 of Clementine Cannibal's riot grrrl compilation zine "I Knew a Motherfucker Like You and She Said...")


my body is beautifully imperfect

my flaws become stars on the sky of my skin as he runs his hands over it, brushing against me with his fingertips like summer rain and with his palms kneading away the wounds of time

all I really ever wanted was someone to talk to

about geese and seagulls and crisp autumn mornings and the way my thighs settle into sleep

next to him

I found one day that what I called my face was only a mask of death

I found that out because he took the mask off

and my real face with it's real skin stretched into a real smile

with twinkling eyes to back it up

these eyes that have seen too much death

there's more to life than death

there is love


you looked, with eyes

so old for your

soft face

carved into the world

that we carved out

for you

you would know more than us

for awhile, but when

you could speak of

the death that just happened

you'd forgotten

and grown into your flesh like the rest of us

The following poem was inspired by Norman Maclean's book Young Men and Fire



in a distance

are mountains

crying with flame


stride up into that distance

without realizing you have

conquered the world between

a piece of ground and the looming apparition

above it,

and the moment these two

change places.

And so, now you stand in the flames

and the mystery seems to be as simple as

when another was in your place

but not of his choosing

and he had no ground, only the apparition of it

thousands of miles below

and quivering with flame and smoke

and finally it swelled up to meet him

and now you stand where he

once died

and you have to believe that it is his voice

crying in the shape of flames

and the sound weilds its shape into

everything around you

and that you think of

Last Light (Unrealized)

The half and so almost golden sunlight and almost candles. Had they been there, glowing not far and not casting shadows, only around themselves. And paper plates and napkins, and people almost faraway. Sunday evening, like a child. And going to bed when it's light out. But not now. With the people and voices and almost-dusk light outside faraway at your window, and seeping in weakly and not reaching the corners and not even real as the fading disintegrating furniture and deepening corners and swallowed by the corners. Later would be even halfer light of twilight or dusk, and streaming carlights and colors. But not now. A conversation. What we said was more real than what was around us. Always on his mind, she was, and his face was shaded. And their voices faraway. Even when she or others of them came close to us, grainy and when you get closer, the grains come apart and are all that are there. But not now, not even possible. A window and light from the other room. And a walk outside, with faraway children and dogs. Since the light drapes on you, everything else seems to, draping over and falling off. And falling away, but not now. With the voices and people in its folds.


Perhaps the light

will never fall there again.

Or we will not be here to

see it.

A patch in my hair for you

and a patch on

the floor for me.

In this moment:

record the lighting.

At what point does it fall

on my eye, or a tooth in

my open

mouth? Record

the movement.

So we move on.

I now turn my hand

and light falls on my hair

and silence sustains

the thoughts in our


You must always

remember this.

Slow Blink

Lying in my bed that is a dark forest full

of serpentine straggling bedsheets twining betwixt my legs there are no secrets here,

every thought is real….

Dark windows in the London night as I ride by in a double decker bus,

that was seven years ago and even then, it’s still here

Here, in my bed

I work things out this way

I invite what’s bothering me to go for a romp in my bed and let’s see

If we can work it out

You must realize, I’m alone the whole time

My pills help me see the realness of my thoughts

Even as I cannot express them

You’d think it’s sad, you’d think, “she’s wasting her life in bed.”

What you don’t know

Is that I am on a vision quest

What you don’t know

Is that I have a mind that time moves through in circles, not lines

What you don’t know

Is that when I wake up in the summertime with the birds chirping outside my window

What I feel is dread

In a fist in the pit of my otherwise empty stomach

Sometimes get up and smoke a poem or a cigarette or two

The day opens and closes outside against my window shade like a very slow blink

Hissing of Summer Lawns

well, here I am again

chain smoking at dawn

missing the festering green carpet

of outside's summer lawns

wishing I could lay down on them

and just be five again

now they just hiss at me, like in Joni Mitchell's song,

that this is now and that was then

--this poem was published at

His Music

as we watched the day wax and wane

check that: as I watched it

through the dusty windows beyond your

potted plants

I grew to hate you

a little bit more and then a little bit less

and I grew to wonder

if I really needed you

or if I just wanted to pretend I did


tap me when you wake up

I'm going underground

down where the bones lay

down where the earth is molten

tap me when you wake up

I'm going where the stars burn like suns

I'm going through the earth's core

I can't stand your silence

any longer

A Poem Out of Focus

the strip malls of Skokie


red neon in the twilight

slushy curbsides

trashy lingerie and cheap Chinese food

the sky hardens to purple

signs are cold bright and buzzing

someone changes the wig on a slutty mannequin

waitresses lean on counters

bus boys in paper hats

someday I'll drive past this whirring hateful mess

into the desert

sky black, stars bright yellow and red

like the signs saying goodbye

we'll make love in a teepee

before we start all over in a city in the desert

with its own neon signs

to eventually grate on my skin like a dry and hot gust

of sand


her uterus

like the top half of an hourglass

when the hour

is up

ready, it's time

to scour out her demons

all the evils you don't see

ferment in this dome

and sooner or later they trickle up to her eyes

and her brain is limp with containing them

Too Deranged For Her Kisses

Her arms stretch out between earth and heaven

(her legs go from here to heaven)

A lit cigarette dangling between her fingers

My vision is nicotine-stained

I see things others choose wisely to ignore.

Is THIS good enough for you?

Is THIS good enough for you?

I’m so fucked up I take pills that fuck me up even more and I sleep all day

Spring is all around me, mocking me:

“You’re too deranged for my kisses.”

I think my brain is made of splintered wood

collapsing in on itself like a sky

With the weight of deformed wishes made upon stars

(This poem was published in Issue 4 of Clementine Cannibal's riot grrrl compilation zine "I Knew a Motherfucker Like You and She Said...")

Never Break


big red mouth

you're no ballerina in a jewelry box

no, not you

tiara askew

smeared eyeliner

fake lashes falling off

you live to mock the candy-coated strait-jacket of womanhood

that you will gloriously never break your bones trying to fit into

I can hear your soul

in my car stereo

"I always wanted to die, but you kept me here alive..."

Why are we still here, Courtney?

Maybe we never really wanted to die after all

Maybe what we really want is for all the electricity

all over the world to shut off

all the haters on the internet

all the loud and pompous TV personalities

all the top 40 hits

if they could just shut the hell off and shut the hell up

you and I could have some peace

peace doesn't come easy for people like us

you know what it's like

to be made of fire

you know what it's like

to burn and scream

you know what it's like

to be a girl

coming of age sexually at a time when sex could kill you

you know what it's like

to feel ugly and betrayed

you know what it's like

when all the great legendary men of rock'n'roll don't

I find peace

when I hear your voice

because you are made of fire

because you know what it's like

because you remind me I am brave and strong

and that no one

can break me

Ugly as Sin

twisted and grotesque

ugly as sin

miserable as the day is long

and, believe me, Sister, it is long

but sometimes She fills me through with Her light

Her light that is like wings made of panes of glass and late afternoon sun

never mind the long shadows

I have known such ecstasy

I should never forget that

but I do

I do forget it, I mean

I am the color of leaves on the trees illuminated by street lamps in summer

I am the color of an ocean that thinks it is the sky

I am the color of sapphires and diamonds

and of the scratched steel of dented dog tags

dented like so many mess hall or mental institution soup spoons

but I still wear them

because I'm not done fighting yet

I am the color of the light in November

yellow and brief and swirling with tinsel

and as the snow falls through the thin yet palpable sunlight, I realize

I am not ugly as sin

the world is not ugly as sin

She wants so desperately to tell me, to show me...

and then, I feel nothing

and then, I am buried

She wants so desperately to tell me, to show me...

that I needn't let my past mistakes bury me

that I'm not dead

She wants so desperately to tell me, to show me...

that She is me

that She is inside me

that She lives within me

that She is me

She is everything beautiful, alive, and light

as am I

even at my ugliest

because sometimes that's where the fight takes me

and the fight is probably the most beautiful thing of all

I'm Still Here

the darkness is everything we want but shouldn't

have, or shouldn't do

magical darkness

shape-shifts trees and bushes in the bluish-silver moonlight,

it's like you're on drugs

but you're not

darkness is my voice of silence

I have spent the past several years silencing myself

for no good reason

other than the fact that I live in a glass house

check that:

a glass coffin

because this isn't living

I'm not really sure what's holding me back

I'm not really sure if when I look back on times I didn't feel held back, I was too wild

too weird

alienating others

being a woman can hold you back, if you let it

we say things are better now, we say we live in a "post-feminist" era...

but I'm still afraid to ride the train at night for fear I'll get raped

and then get blamed for it because I was riding the train late at night

I'm still afraid I'll alienate people every time I open my mouth

there are more insidious things

like people asking my husband and I when we're going to have a baby and then become hostile when we say we don't want children

I'm sure that someone, somewhere, once told me it’s all in my head, that if I just take it like a man and pick myself up by my boot straps I won’t feel held back

that I’m so lazy I can’t even admit I’m lazy and that I'm holding myself back because I’m lazy and chicken-shit

even though I don't remember who said it, they're in my head, their faces running like masks of wet gray sand, telling me my feelings aren’t real

but they are

and I know I'm not lazy

I know because

I fight

I fight every day

and I'm still here

most of the fight, these days,

is still being here

and I am  

What Hairy Armpits Mean to Me

Standing up for what I believe in. Standing up for what's right. Doing what I have to do. Putting myself first. Not thinking in "binary code" (ie, if I shave my armpits but still pluck my eyebrows and shave my legs, I can be free to be contradictory in other things.) Standing up for myself. Taking care of myself. Eating right. Exercising. Not worrying about what other people think of me. Not worrying about whether something I want to do or how I accomplish something "makes sense." Rejecting that because I am a married woman in my thirties, that means I have to act or be a certain way. Not defining "sex" as vaginal intercourse. Rejecting the idea that if I teach myself to do something a certain way and it's different than how other people do it, I'm "doing it wrong." Embracing the dark cunt. Embracing the dark faerie fissure in the woods. Embracing the dark swarthy sweaty hairy armpit. Embracing that life is messy. Embracing that people die for no reason and there's nothing you can do to stop it and pictures fall down from off the shelf for no reason and the glass shatters everywhere and this can happen twice in one week but through all that not getting lost in the tangled woods and keeping track of the light, even if it is from a waning moon…

--this piece was published in Issue 2 of Cherry Bomb Zine

Also, please see this site's blog for my blog entries for the esteemed mental health site

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