New Anthology

My poem "Surreal Monogamist" made it into Yes, Poetry's 2018 anthology Gently/Not Gently. You can download the e-book for free here.

[Image description: Book cover showing a mesh bag of lemons on a light blue background. One lemon has escaped the bag and is decaying. The text reads "Gently/Not Gently: Poems for 2018. Yes Poetry."]


Rerun Four: Wednesday in Therapy

Wednesday in Therapy

The bearskin rug that bit visitors was always my favorite. At Christmastime, our butler stood on the rooftop and doused carolers in boiling pitch. The mansion had trap doors, maim-you-if-you-misjudge-the-exit secret passageways. Carnivorous vines as silent as boa constrictors. A graveyard of gruesome statuary. The pits of quicksand. My father would throw an épée at anything that moved. Mother meticulously decapitated all the roses. Grandmama was always entertaining some demon or another. There were corpses in the closets, beasts with teeth in the bottoms of dresser drawers. No welcome mat, in other words. Yet still the villains got in.

They said we were safe
and flung open the front doors
to ravening wolves

Originally published in Moonchild Magazine.

[Image description: a color photograph of the Addams family mansion.]


One New Essay

art: Tony Stella

New this month: I wrote about family, trauma, and hope in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. 

You can read the essay at Bright Wall/Dark Room or on RogerEbert.com.

Image description: A watercolor illustration of Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak. She levels her gaze at the viewer. Her expression is steady but unreadable.


Two Poems at Yes, Poetry

"The Lovers I" by René Magritte

Thanks very much to Yes, Poetry for making me July's Poet of the Month. 

You can read my new poems here

(I'll keep on writing weird poems about art and trees as long as y'all keep making art and planting trees. Deal?)

[Image description: René Magritte's painting "The Lovers I," showing a close-up portrait of two figures, one in a suit and one in a dress, their faces touching but obscured by separate white sheets. Behind them, the sky is blue with a few clouds and the valley is grassy and green.]


Rerun Three: Amaryllis

Photo by Bruce Barrett // CC BY-ND 2.0

a myth in two weeks of text messages

0. Prologue
I had been planning to send a poem each night you were away. Then I walked past that really good lingerie store. So. I'll send your first snapshot before boarding begins.

The saleswoman handed me a velvet hanger draped with something outlandish and red. She nodded knowingly and vanished, leaving me white and incredulous beside the gilt-framed mirror. There was no price on the tag, only a name: Amaryllis.

The flower, like so many, was once a timid nymph. Timid and twitterpated with some beautiful boy. Some shepherd, flung far afield. A desperate Amaryllis sought advice from the oracle, who said

Turn up the heat in heart-stopping, electric, fire-engine red. Gorgeous stretch lace cups offer structured support with hot satin ribbon detailing.

How pleasurable the afternoon half-hour spent sprawled on the comforter, arching alone to get the right angles.

Night after night the nymph appeared outside Alteo's home and opened her robes. Pleaded: Shepherd, see me. Pierced her bared breast with a golden arrow. Rained red droplets on his door.

You should have seen me, centering the lens on the red ribbons dripping down my sternum. The penumbra under well-supported breasts. The lay of scalloped silk between them. The light on golden eyelets. The corner of a smile on rose-madder lips.

The other nymphs noticed that Amaryllis had begun humming around sunset. She dreamt all day of the darkness, of the slow slide of cloth from a shoulder, the coolness of moon on her skin.

Finally one morning Alteo opened his door and found a spectacular little red flower. Petals splaying, hot as blood. Pulsing for want of him.

Pulsing, anyway.

Dear shepherd, I have wanted this, your eyes roving over these slopes.

Amaryllis will grab attention and never let it go.

But other eyes are lingering longer on this lingerie. My eyes. My incandescence. How strange to see.

I'm glad you like them.

I'm glad, anyway.

Originally published in The Murmur House. Italicized portions of poem text taken from the Mimi Holliday catalog.


A Prayer for the New Year

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

Mysteries, Yes
by Mary Oliver
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.


Rerun Two: Right Then

Photo by Jessica Lucia // CC BY-ND 2.0

Right Then

Ransacking the grass
at the edge of the parking lot,
the loveliest jay I’ve ever seen. 

His features, 
so fine. His blues, 
so bright. 

He cocks his crest 
at my idling car 

I sigh behind the wheel. 

He screams. 
Another bird flutters down. 

She is smaller than her mate, 
her neck feathers 
mute and iridescent 
as shade-grown violets. 

Two hops and he is gone 
into the brambles. She follows 

Right then. 
That’s when I miss you.

Originally published in Passionfruit #5

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