In 2009 I Will...

...spit it out,

all of it,

and know that
the world will not end.

What about you?


The Ballad of Fruitcake Sinclair

In a small town, the mayor Sinclair
Had made a great mess of affairs;
Cried the people, "Impeach!
He's mad, and we each
Can see he's already impeared!"

Mayor Adam West as Mayor Fruitcake Sinclair


Shiva's Granddaughter in Late-Night Meditation

"Barn's burnt down--
now I can see the moon."
-Mizuta Masahide

With every sunset her appetite grew.
She prayed for the pipes to burst,
for a fire in an electrical storm,
an unlikely New England earthquake. She dreamt
of her bookshelves embedded
in beating hearts of flame,
the good white china crunching in fragments
beneath the smoldering rubble.
And, miles away in the dark,
a secret hand to wipe the soot
from her tear-damp cheeks.

photograph by Mark Allanson


The Glorious Weekend

We walked across the Charles in the prickling rain,
three grocery bags, one umbrella
between us. Two bottles of wine stuck
to my t-shirt through
their soaked paper bag. You showed me
the Smoots, the lines
of this city and swore
you were not making it up.

photograph by Back Bay's Tom
you can read more about Smoots here


A Connecticut Christmas

They are graduates all
of the Saint Michael's choirs,
these Cooks and Waterhouses
and Smiths. The carols
swing fast from timid waking -
a musical slumber
these twelve thick months - to Baroque
descants, four-part harmony.
Behind a man I have just met
I am propped on the bathroom door.

This is the year's one day
the glossy piano knows contact.
Dessert has been laid
on the gleaming buffet,
but the choir soldiers on.
Once in a while a neighbor
mouths, "Come, sing," to me
from a rosy couch. "Come, sing."
The voices are careless, sincere.

Weary husbands rock
on the balls of their feet, arms full
of fur coats. Their wives are full too.
The first glass to remember,
the second pretending, the third
to soak up the mess of the others.
I have climbed the stairs
for my notebook. Down in the library
a young tenor has won
the piano bench. The notes

float up, not Christmas at all,
but Journey. The tenor downstairs
looks for me and my flushed cheeks
at the borders,
and I am not there.

photograph by the indomitable Rachel K


Two Steps

Two steps led
in a fast-erasing path
from the snowy car parked
in front of mine.

The night quiet fell
in soft molecules
as I tried to guess (
with creaking boots
) where the other shoes
had gone.

photograph by flickr user khazeth


Well, braid my hair and call me Betsy!

Remember Cassandra Barney? Hero of the last entry? Well it turns out the feelings are mutual. She has presented me with a Kreativ Blogger award, this website's first official recognition. Well, "official". In any case, thanks, Cass! I'm so excited!

Here's how the award works:
1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.
3. Nominate 4-5 blogs.
4. Put links to their blogs and
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

P at What Possessed Me
Purveyor of both fine fashion photography and fuzzy pandas. Who could ask for anything more? Oh, and also well-directed rants on everything from city life to Christmas decorating.

Lolo at Vegan Yum Yum
Fresh out of college, Lolo bought a camera and some dishes and started cooking. Three and a half years later, the girl is a cooking and food-photography superhero. I've de-veganized a number of her recipes for my cheesophile family to marvelous effect.

Sarah at Saipua
Heart-stopping floral arrangements, the best tips on where to eat in the city, and a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned swearing.

Sarah at The Tomb of the Unknown Fangirl
Before it's an Internet sensation, before all your friends have e-mailed it to you and you're sick of hearing about it at work, Sarah has smacked it and sent it to bed.

And I know they won't appreciate this, but the boys over at The Closet Moderate are just too cute not to mention. And by "too cute" I mean "always prepared with thoughtful, incisive commentary about...deep stuff."


Interlude: Happy Birthday, Cassandra Barney

Today is the anniversary of the birth of one miss Cassandra Barney, my inspiration, collaborator and friend. Take a minute today, if you will, to cruise over to her blog and send her birthday wishes, or just think glittery thoughts in her general direction. She works hard, plays hard, dreams hard, and loves hard, and I only hope today is all that it can be for her, that she is inundated with affection and children's drawings and good wishes.

Hard work, love that endures hardship, defiance, protection

I never saw my mama’s feet sleeping.
Mornings they trod a triangular path:
garden, fire, table.
Mid-day she walked in circles sewing,
mending our dresses as we read our lessons.
As the sun set she strode stripes through the fields,
barefoot among the thistles to bring the cows in.
When the stars pricked holes
in the black paper above, her heels creaked
a half-moon of floorboards around the big bed.
I dreamt every night of fragrant weeds and grasses,
and knew that when I woke
the footsteps below would always be hers.


Catching Up with An Ex Over Coffee

Tell me, he says, about one time
you've been drunk. He doesn't say,
I dare you. He doesn't say, don't lie.
He doesn't say, how much do you think
you've really changed? I set my jaw
against the blows. In Brooklyn, once,
I say. My TA's apartment.
Across the too-small table I know
the gears are turning.
I don't say, After you, of course.
I say that it was February. Post-
theatre, back through the carving night
to his cold rooms. I say he showed me
cyanotypes, the skeletons of flowers,
pictures from Poland I'd already seen.
I say he brought out pepper vodka, that
his lanky frame had got a taste for it, but I,
tiny I, sputtered as his roommate laughed.
I tell how the dim bathroom
was slanted when I got there, how
the cold water sizzled on my flushed cheeks.
I do not say, I would have slept on the floor
but he did not have blankets enough. I do not say,
The next morning he talked to me
like a stranger. I say
he left me in Central Park,
an angel in the snow, beneath the 6am silence
of Jeanne-Claude and Christo's spectacle.
I say it was just breathtaking.

pinhole photograph by Tom Karlo

Through Windows, Early Darkness

The train crawls toward the city.
Nothing has ever been maddening slow
as this swerving car, yet the toy houses smear
like a jellied lens. Each lighted window
demands my intrusion. On the top floor
of a building like the one
where you used to live, a young woman sits
at the table, jars of spices spread before her
like chess pieces. Her dark hair
sweeps the dried-basil bishops. Her tears drop
on the tablecloth. The train
lurches on, passes over an unlit road
where just one car is traveling.

image by flickr user magnasoma



The car, the cab, the train, the subway, shoes, escalator, hallway.
Two hours later, the whole thing in reverse,
making her way home across the electric night.

A shower brought her back
from where she had been going.
She stepped onto the faded mat,
squeezed her hair into the sink,
entered the dark bedroom.

The socket installed by a dying man
years before she was born,
the ragged cord, the brass lamp,
her damp fingers: Bare arms
(skeleton shrieking blue gray yellow white),
down the dripping leg to wet ankle,
the cold alloy bedframe.

She screamed, a choking sound
she could hardly hear, and fell
like a burning tree to the bed.

photograph by the divine Rachel K.


The Wayside Sacrament

Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful. It is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

long-exposure conjunction photograph by Glynn Lavender


Well, Jiminy Cricket!

Ever been to a face-melting-ly wonderful poetry reading? Now's your chance. Come join me at The Torch Club at Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, this Friday, December 5 at 6pm. I'll be reading a few of my more recent works, as will six other students in NYU's SCPS writing program.

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