Posts Tagged ‘sonnet’

Wyoming, you are a cipher to me.

But you are so square, I want to

write you. You should not be so

mysterious;  my father lived in

Cheyenne. I remember the year

of the great flood, the mall

filled with mud. You contain

rodeos,  were the first territory

to grant women the right to

vote. Do you contradict your-

self? I have seen your statue

of Esther Hobart Morris.

Wyoming, I see your Tetons

And raise you long, windy miles.

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Idaho (poem 22)

Idaho Prose Poem

            From the State Sonnet Series


Idaho, Gem

State, though

what is meant by

“gem”? I always think

of Opals.  Are opals found in Idaho?

 Known for potatoes, I think of alfalfa,

  the scent of water laying all night in fertile,

green ditches. I think of all the golf courses covered

in grass, the silver heads of sprinklers turning in the

heavy humid dusk. Nights around the fire with dust

on our shoes. The way we lied while we smiled. My

Own Private Idaho. Washed away, the way mountains

and memories erode. Idaho, you taste of pepper-

mint schnapps and clove cigarettes. All sins.




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You can’t write about spring tulips:

too happy.

You can’t write about baby squirrels:

too sappy.

You can’t write about serial murder:

too sad.

You can’t write about meth makers:

too bad.

You can’t write about fast food Nachos:

too cheesy.

You can’t write about Hurricane Cosme:

too breezy.

You can’t write about anything you do,

Because nothing, they say, is new.



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First the man in front of Picasso,

Guernica. A customer from the store

where I was a cashier. I didn’t know

his name. What I remember more

are the way his eyes were sleepy,

how he said his girlfriend was napping.

We believed in her existence, he

said it, and it was so. Next, happening

upon a former student in the Tube

station. “Kilpatrick!” he exclaimed.

A different trip. But him I knew,

His curly hair, blue eyes. Explain:

how we encounter familiar faces

in the most banal and unexpected places.

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                                    A found poem (NYTimes, April 10, 2014)


Six vividly colored, square-sectioned beams

colored compositions biomorphic forms

husband, died in a car accident

from student to full-fledged feminist

sexual imagery on the masculine car hood

she meant more than most viewers could

see, a genre marked by the shiny

glossy spray, power tools, fiberglass casting

the images as veiled representations

pulsing colors suggesting her frustration

finally, a fanciful image of a vagina 

collaborations and installations in an

abandoned house : metaphors of female sensibility

The Dinner Party






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I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone.

                                                                                                                        Frida Kahlo

 In my self-portrait, I want to be truly alone,

 me with me, holding hands with myself,

both my hearts exposed. I want to show

the self who loves and is the loved, and the self

who wants to cut out hearts with a pair

of scissors. The one who wears casual blue,

an old, brown skirt, she doesn’t care;

the other  who wears a wedding dress, with a too

tight collar, strangled. I don’t want that. I

want what I want:  the self, exposed, the shimmer

of two gray storm clouds, my hand holding my

very own hand. I want the blank canvas and the mirror.

I want to show everyone the me I thought I saw,

the self-portrait as judgment: scathing and raw.

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Don’t make me surrender you. Surrender to me

your will, your stubbornness, your self, made

as it is of contrariness, blood, parts of me

and parts of your father. We are all the same:

sixty percent stubbornness, the rest impatience,

a drive to do the one thing they ask us not to.

We can’t help it. I’ve spent my whole life

trying to be that person who loves, who

can do what needs to be done, no questions.

Now here you are, stumbling, a mouth

on legs, your body a collection of passions,

you do what you feel, and never doubt.

And you’ve forced me, not to ask, but do,

A better me was born, in giving birth to you.

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Year One

They cut me open, gave me you. My heart
Stopped and then started again. Here’s what
The doctors don’t say: outside you, a second heart
lives now, beating, bleeding, fragile and cut
off from you, but connected by mouth and arms.
You touched me with your hunger, your fingers
on my face as if you were blind and formed
me, wholly, from your desire. I wanted to linger
there, each moment a cove of quiet I could inhabit,
or destroy. I wanted to whisper, yes, I could give
up so much more: food, water, art. But I can’t.
I can’t. Love is a child, a blank sheet, also a crib.
I want simply to love you. Let me love you, please,
but don’t make me surrender. You surrender to me.

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Didn’t we know you would always be difficult?

Even before you were born, you turned

and twisted my insides. So it began. All

we wanted was you, before we learned

your sex, your name, the intensity of night

and your cries. Before you opened your eyes,

saw me, gave me life. You had a light

that shone from within you, found me. Why?

I never thought to ask. You were one week

old. It was enough, I thought, that you lived,

that you were mine. You belonged to me

the way only a child can, as if you never did.

But wait. I’ve skipped the most important part:

They cut me open, gave me you: my heart.

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Running Sonnet

On days I run before dawn, my fav-

orite sight is blue-black becoming pink.

If it’s afternoon, I prefer feeling my legs

moving, quickly, through warmth. I think

I run therefore I am, but actually, I am

therefore I run, as our ancestors must

have, running from lions or toward lambs

or just the next meal. Really it’s a way to trust

the body, a method that outstrips cognition, just

neurons firing away. No better way to learn

the body is just a machine. A machine of lust,

and desire, wants, pure animal need. My turn

now to be just a body, not to see but to be,

the way that, running, the mind is finally free.

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