I’ve been listening to the
tap tap
on this old
for days and days and
It’s the only
thing I’ve heard
for days and days and
And California is supposed to be a place
where it never
at least not like this.

Up North, the floods have come
to make the ground wet
for Fall burning.
And I’m left
turning turning
over in my thoughts
like waves. Pulled under
by my own undertow.
Down down
where seaweed seeks
to make me drown.
But I swim up
and get spit back onto the shore
like an iridescent shell,

the kind you can buy
in a seaside store.

I’ve been listening to the
tap tap
on this old
for days and days and
I used to love those old Florida
rainy hurricane days.
The ones with the big winds
dark clouds
and thunder’s
bang! Bang!

But here, it’s just a
tap tap
and nothing more,
nothing more than that.



Northern Lights whirl
into the stratosphere of
constant night, green
and eerie like the ice
fishermen’s faces, slicing
a hole in the river,
under the milky band
of the milky way.

Every year they chisel the
Ice Hotel
with snaggletoothed saws
and augers, shaving slabs
of frozen water
from the river’s womb.

They fish her out
with lines and shiny
hooks that snare, tear
into her long dead flesh.
Grayed and stiff and soft.

The lights of their warm
lanterns catch luminescent
strands of hair, billowing
just beneath the surface.
Dancing fire. Magma
under the ice.

Inside, her hair glows like
the fiber optic chandelier.
Blue and white and breaking
through the cracks of the cut
ice, as if to sleep in a prism,
in a beam of cool light.

Her skin beaded with
frozen sweat, Glittering
azure lips, violet skin,
like a regal robe
peeling off her bones.

A fur-clad sculptor notes
that she’s the only one
who belongs.

A girl in an ice cube.
at the Absolut bar,
where the sculpted sculptors
drink vodka and whiskey,
and toast

the Ice Queen.
Checked-in, splayed out,
the rosy chilled out of her cheeks.
The temporary chisel of her chin
gathering droplets as she thaws.


All of Her Mean

“What do I do?” She ponders the pipe,
her lips puckered for a kiss, “What are
you promising me, boy? I just want
to suck out all ya bliss.”

She’s too pure for her words. Too pale
and clean. But when she cracks
her kisses, all that she gives him
is her mean.
“Here,” he flicks a lighter, his hands worn
and lean, “It’s simple. Like a joint. Fill your
lungs with it, but not too much. You’re a frail

but he imagines she’d be a good fuck
and his brain goes obscene. But he knows

she’s too pure for him. Too pale
and clean. But when she puckers up
to the pipe, she gives him some heat,
like a cooing, white-pantied teen.

He wants her to give him
all of her mean.

She inhales, her brains hanging out
like guts. She bites her lips so hard,
it cuts
through her thoughts, splits them apart
like atoms, twinkling like stars. All her
dreams, he thinks, must be captured
in jars.

Her eyes flutter into her head. A breast
slips from her shirt. Maybe he could touch
her. No. He pushes the thought back
into the dirt.

“It feels like my brain is out of my head,” she
moans, “Scrambled like eggs. Oh, boy,
you got me

She touches her thigh. He shakes down to his
bones. he’s listening to her, listening to her
moan, ” I’m watching my own brain cook.
so lost, sugar, you’ve got me hooked,” she
closes her eyes, lost in a dream. she’s such
a pure, dirty thing.
and all he
is all of her mean.



From this angle the black cake of her mascara hangs –a sleeping bat,
skylined and dreaming of all the fruit flies clamoring in its stomach.

Wings ripped and tattered. The lace fringe of her bra. Ribbed metallic bodies,
melting together like plastic-wrapped lipstick tubes, glistening in halogen storefronts,

She’s built towers of pomegranate and plum. Swirled in dust bowls of blushing
coppers, pinks. Swam in moats of cream, as if lost at sea, lost in the
Crème de la Mer. But my mother definitely didn’t come from the ocean.

She came from her 401k and rubs her retirement all over her face. Retinol gels
like sea foam. White gooey clumps too soothe the lip lines. Obscene enough
for any amateur webcam. It’s as advertised: Perfect for all those sensitive places.

She could easily be Countess Bathory. Crème de la girl. Red and clotting.
Gynaeceum-tested. FDA-approved. When she rubs it around her pinned-back
eye-lines, the screams of a thousand dead eggs clamor. But hell if she can hear them.

She blinks her Venus flytrap lashes and asks me to hand her a towel.
The black wiry vortexes of her pupils dilate. Eyes that turned green after her hair
silvered and her tits filled with sand. She cut herself over that.

And I suddenly realize that could be my blood.


I Dumped Edgar Allan Poe

with a swift kick from my left boot,
his asymmetrical face, like the front lobe
of his brain, plummeted into a puddle
by the old Boar’s Snout. A smashed
pumpkin, with brains inside.
His carved mouth, ajar, gurgling
through green liquid grime.
A bubble

with every love letter still bursting
for that bitch: Annabel Lee. Well,
I am not Annabel Lee. The drunk
just couldn’t think of something
to rhyme

with sea. An ocean rippled
by his snorts and moans. A mouthful
of stagnant rain, rolling
to the edges of the puddle,
swallowing brick, splashing
the ruffles of my skirt. He reaches
out his ink-stained hand
the way he stirred anise into
the absinthe

with a long silver spoon, the night
he wept and told me: I was Annabel Lee.
Well, I am not Annabel Lee. I’m not
wrapped in twine. A pale blue
angel by the sea.

With a boot to his throat, he tries
to scream. Scream for all of his
Annabel Lees. A dozen pale-skinned
widows, lined against the shore of
his sea. All wondering if they were the
real Annabel Lee. Their tongues licking
him up and rolling him back. The
ocean’s rough throat, where a word
breaks through the surface.
A bubble

with the last bit of air expelled
for someone, not Annabel Lee.


The Nightingale

Bird bones are brittle,
after they’ve been cooked.
A wing as limp as sloppy kiss.
The snapped neck hollow
as a rusted flute. The meat
from her curves rough
as sand, arid as paper.

He never read the recipe.

But emperors never read
in their porcelain pads,
with gated gardens
where small-voiced girls
wear silver bells
around slender necks,
so he can hear their
wings flap against the gates —
a morbid little drum line,
his silken-haired flock.

Feathered lashes batting
as fast as their hummingbird
hearts. He waits for the white
mist of her song to pour over the walls,
sound the honeysuckle horns, hum
through reeds of bamboo, prance
upon the pink cherry blossoms cymbals,
bow the chrysanthemums with
one long —
outstretched note.

Her outstretched

gray wing, doughty. Her onyx eyes,
a crystalline chime. Her timber as fresh
as moonlight. Her melody, a midnight
jasmine, winding its way up
the emperor’s throat.

He’s got his hand over her beak.
Short chubby child fingers
that pick tiny bones
from cooked duck at dinner,
dig for gold in between ivory teeth.
Fingers that form a flesh-muzzle.

Fleshing her out –

She sang the wrong song.
Dreary Cocteau Twins,
instead of the poppy
Counting Crows.
The sound squeaky clean
and cracked, like her fragile
little wing, flopping on the cold
marble floor.

She never promised a top-forty show.

He’s got his hand over her beak.
The bird-brained
soprano’s dull gray feathers beg be plucked.
Each feather a note. A rounded chest,
heaving upwards. Timpani


After he’s killed her, he rebuilds
her with platinum and gold.
and a mechanical voice of cylinders
and silver toothed combs. A wind-up
key of flowered filigree.

Heart-shaped rubies
for lips. Polished ebony
for hair. Amber flints to
give the eyes that lifeless sparkle.

A jeweled jukebox,
which, his Court agrees
is worth much more than
the real thing.


Dark Matter

I feel guilty about so many things.
I’m a paper bag
of the bad stomach feeling, cut
like a Chinese lantern. A red one
with a tiny fire inside.
The flames blinking yellow
and shadow across the dirt path,
like your sleepy eyelids, browning
my cheeks, curling your arm, wrapped
in my arm.

You could crisp that paper,
make it curl around us,

as we lie on green blades
and watch stars tumble to Earth,
like a bag of glowing marbles, rolling outward–
into the laterns’ distant blush. The orange
embers still visible in the darkness,
burning out– one by one, until there is nothing
above us, or, here on the ground,
except the curve of my hips
towards yours, like the curvature of space-time.
You say we’re waiting for our organs to fail
and they will fail. Dim, blink-out,
curl under all that dark matter.

Curling tubes and needles, curling
out of your paper skin. Not regular needles,
but the kind that have barrels. Thick ones
you can look down and see hearts and kidneys
lined up like a row of rotting pearls.
The flickering of your cells’ light, a neon
sign giving way to night. Your eyes dim,
as if you’ve crept through our house,
unscrewed each bulb and curled your limbs
into a blackened orb,

blackened by the crayolas you colored my dress
and the big book I’ll pen you in,
with the Nothing.
Nothing. Also called dark matter.

In a graveyard in Somewhere, Suburbia,
one paper doll, lies on moist soil and curls
next to a headstone haloed by cool moonlight,
where she peers though the barrel of a periscope,
up at the dusty cosmos colliding overhead,
aware the bursting globules of gas
will soon burn out

like the eyes of the paper-heart lantern,
licking up all my bad feeling.


Cursed Carriage

Joe smiles with a mouth full of metal. I know his name
is Joe, because his Jiffy Lube uniform says so. Blue,
yellow and stained with thick car blood.
He pulls out a black metal knot covered in grease,
“This is the heart of you engine.”

A spindle of old woman’s hair webs around Joe’s
starched collar.

Caterpillars bungee jump from sticky sapped trees.
White spindles of thread dangle down to the curbside
and drop onto the silver hood of the dead Corolla.

a cat

I’ve been rubbing cocoa butter on my feet
and smoking entirely too much weed.
My mother says that an afternoon of herb
simulates precisely two weeks of vacation.

This has been my vacation. My uterus
drained and sad as a wilted flower.
If only I could burn my thoughts in this bowl.
Empty my ash-filled head into an urn.

There’s a black cat that hangs around our house
And sleeps underneath the deck at night.
Nibbles on old dog food. Bolts at any sign of life.
Last night, it stalked around Mom’s coy pond
and screeched.

I sulked onto the deck and listened for awhile,
shivering in my chamois, watching for the gleam
of yellow eyes to shoot out from frosted foliage,
iced-over green, frozen azaleas, perfect and pink.
The silence, cold enough to slip across. My breath,
a cloud of carbon, expelling towards the dormant cedars,
filling the dead canyon like morning mist.

And then I heard it again. It cut the chilly air.
Razor sharp like a screaming baby. And for a moment,
I was convinced a child was wounded and dying
in the twisted limbs of the wilderness below.
I did not go. I turned up the heat,
and turned down the sheets, wondering
what the feline was so upset about.

Meowing on a tree limb. One lazy yellow eye
set on our house, waiting for a light to turn on.
Ogling the dog’s food bowl and licking its icy paws.

The nights are getting colder. If we don’t do something
soon, that cat will die.


the bust of Voltaire and summer hail

We smoked Dajuram cigarillos on the porch,
as a weird green storm peeled back
the cerulean sky, cracked the clouds,
Pummeled hail
in the middle of 105 degrees.
Ice cubes jumping
in our hot coffee.

The kretek crackles, when I suck, lingers
against my inner cheeks,
which are huge and round
and bubble upwards like
a deranged pumpkin when I smile.

Maya, our five year-old, has puffy
cheeks too. She pixies
around us in a floral
two piece, chases
scattered ice, dances
under the drainage pipe

We whine. She crashes
into puddles. Our overgrown
hearts and art. The hail attacks
at a slant and stings
our lazy bourgeois asses.
She pops misshapen
ozone lollipops. They roll
down her throat.

There’s the bust of Voltaire.
but then I realize the eyes
are emo girl’s black bob
and the nose,
the elbow of her date.


robot love

he wanted to call it robot
love, but i should have told him
robots can’t love. they just
know how to fake it.

one evening he said, “Come
here, honey, and let me play
with your hair,” but i should have
known from his icy stare, that
girls like me would find

no warmth there.

His hand in my hair, his hand
on my knee, but he does not care
for me. it’s just all part
of the program.

“You’re so pretty, you’re so strong,
your words are to me the most
badass song. So, come here, honey
let me play with your hair,
but don’t ever love me,
don’t ever dare.”‘

this is all just
part of the program.



He tells me that he once loved Morholt’s daughter, brutal
and bloody like all beautiful women in little boy’s bedtime
stories. Their pupils wide in the dark – where he can still see
her fangs, the white worm, wiggling, her curves slithering just
beyond the black seas of unconsciousness. A vision, a night-light
story, a cardboard cut-out of a red, red heart, a princess
with scales – in a child’s tattered book.
the thick paper edges,
gnawed down
to their paper bones.

“She whispers,” he whispers, turning off the light,
the sheets pulled back revealing her wet, soft mouth.
Her throat, a warm, throbbing tunnel of meat.

“She whispers, she whispers about tribute, about her boots
of shiny, shiny leather, about crossing the ocean of Nod,
where she hums a lullaby to her sea snakes and her giant
squid and her monster tossing and turning in her bed, ‘Take
the Ambien. take the Vicodin. Let your medicine cabinet
sing you to me, where you can crawl inside my guts
and sleep –’

Cozy with her thousands of newly-hatched maggots,
her snakes, her snails, her puppy-dog tails, her soft tendrils –
dark tidal waves of hair, threaten to tangle,
choke, drown wayward dreamers in the current of their own
rotting dreams –

of bleached mornings, coffee and eggs, love with milk
and sugar. A face buried in a handful of bedded curls.
Hands curling around a womb that was full of white marbles,
but is now as empty as their promises
never to part.

But she has parted the seas with her weeping —
for the maggots, the men, clamoring in her organs.

A womb full of corpses, of the empty shells of souls —
the white orbs, the lights in their eyes – flicker

The wet acids of her guts gurgle, corrode their armor,
melt off their firm flesh –- licking them back, drowning them
in her great terror,
in her soft, sweet void.”

In our room, their screams sound like a song from a passing car.
But nights in the city are frightfully still and I am too cold to care,
my toes curling deeper into
the bed.

He turns to me and growls something about all women being
cold-blooded reptiles, grips his pillow, pretends to sleep.

I sit up and stare through the window. Over the alley-way,
a charcoal cloud coils around a pregnant moon.