Refuse/d words built into infinite forms of bodies. This collection is unedited; done in one sitting; sometimes daily, frequently infrequent.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

transitional housing

A house opens for business-
The crowding of silent customers
All those death shadows
Jockeying for position
Around the guest book.

Their wallets are full 
of sand, grave-gris,
The carpenter’s tab still inscripted
On their shallow chests.

forgetting why they came
A prisoner in the half world
Hallways like memories,
Stairs into the ground.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Around the rough table
we eat with our hands
roast pig, cheese and bread,
roasted peppers.  In the fields,
grapes rot in the grass,
and fill the sunset
With the smell of the end.
This season will not last long,
the table will be empty,
And we will pick at our teeth waiting.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Brother, we all pay tithes
in the hope that our
empty pockets
fill finally.
Some pay in time, or in blood-
useless tissue.
Others pay with money,
and other paper drugs.
Isn’t it interesting
that Ownership
does not exist?
We’ve made dangerous rituals
For ourselves.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Like too many
moons in the mouth
the twin sides of a knife,
cold and perfect.
There is no absolution,
only the clean cutter's edge

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Night before a boat race

the white tents by the river
make me think it’s a circus
sleeping. Tomorrow
alligators and elephants
will emerge,and people
in Harvard sweatshirts
will stare, puzzled.

Planning for an old friend's wedding

I have two dresses to choose from:
A coral one and a deep green.
I have so many boxes of jewelry.
I have one beautiful white coat, heavy
and well-made. 

Looking in the mirror,
I was thinking and thinking
About how I seem-
I plan my arrivals and escape routes
Which is hard in a city I don’t know.
I imagine who will be there
And calculate when they saw me last.
It’s a common thing to feel like
Everyone has conquered and claimed
Their lives completely
While you flounder in a patched
rubber boat, bobbing off the coast of
A whole nation of loss. 

Re-direction of the mind
is necessary sometimes.
I take a hold of my minds material
and shape it playfully, solemnly.
This nation
accumulates like history
a constructed landscape.  I am forced
to crumple up drafts in my fist.
Where am I, really?
Finally I see the real as I squint
through the dust of deconstructing forms.

A jungle rises up, infinite roots serpentine
in the acrid soil-
wet and breathing emotion.
Beyond the jungle, mountains-
instant blue altitude, a looking spot
where I can go cheek to cheek with God.
From there I can lay my palm in the air
and smooth the plains, steeping in time
an internal ocean that rises and falls like a sleeping chest.
Above is a soundless sky
with clouds moving like a herd of animals
drawn towards the slipping horizon.
And the horizon itself
is fluid, even from afar, the sea,
a heaving deep content in forming all maps.
She moves sunlight and moonlight,
reflecting, cradling, sucking it down into
the hidden chasms of the Earth.

I decide my nation is sacred
as are the nations of my neighbors.
I am the one being that all
the enduring things cradle.
Because in all loss is the remarkable
inescapable tolling of hope,
a throb of the eternally true.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

They are waiting for us to return (Bohinj, 2006)

Already drunk, we walk a half mile
to the mostly empty hotel
and buy two bottles of vodka at the bar.

We use the old money,
soft and pocket worn.
The dining room is hot from the fireplace
but we don’t bother to unhook our coats.
The man wraps the bottles in paper
and we leave.  

Walking back, 
there is such satisfaction in seeing the winter sky,
the rapture of night in infinite ink.
Everything is still with ice
except the soft squares
of light farther down the path.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thinking hard on Zagreb (free of cost)

The kitchen
used to be a closet
so plastic bags
jars, tattered packages
zip lighters
and fly swatters
are all an arm’s length away.
Functional, colorful
the rusty living

The hallway
hung with wide shelves
that are filled
 like it’s still the war
and still photographs
wait, waning, soaking dust.
Save everything, everything
has multiple meanings.
Postcards are paintings,
echoes, and timepieces.

Hard bedrooms
bedrooms are made from spaces
made safe, a cave, a secret place.
A bed is a couch is a table,
whatever prescribed purpose
I still sleep.   Laying
looking at the china closet,
the crocheted pictures
the modest carved cross
an afterthought, the heater
like a cabinet to the past,
heavy and ceramic.  The windows
rattle because we are on street level
and voices from strangers
are close, a public room.

Black feet from walking
will stain the tub.  Then you are
scrubbing both feet and tub.
Skin used to suffocate
in the blackness of the air,
the imperceptible
precipitation of pollution.
Clean yourself, the bite
of old soap, weak-tasting toothpaste
rough pink toilet paper like newsprint.
To shower you need to squat
and hold the water spigot
like a microphone,
like a child learning to wash.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deer Island, 2010

In a high wind, the island threatens to rip
From the harbor.  Air currents tempt and touch the land swell,
Sweeping through the long grass, whistling
Around anchored stones.  The children and I
Try and spot all the lighthouses on the vacant
Slab spots farther out in the water.  We see a boat on fire.
We discuss the cracked shell of a mussel
On the boardwalk, the effort of a seabird.
We walk on a nice day, and one girl runs ahead
Into the hollowed space between clouds.
On the south end, the sewage plant hums,
The mechanical digestion of city waste.
We listen to a wind turbine spin-
The continuous, measured crashing of a wave.
I show a child the wrinkled bud of a rose hip
And remember eating them
with my mother on Nantucket.   You can make
tea with them, I explain.  They are tart and clean.
But I know my information doesn’t matter just now.
The city rises up on the opposite shore.
What a barren place the island is, with no trees.
People froze here, in the winter
Looking at the small smoke from fires
On the mainland. 
I try and tell the children this,
But ghosts you cannot taste or touch
And children know truth is in the senses.
I try and hear them just the same,
 beneath the turbines,
Their bones beneath the grass.  In the gray water.
They are cracked shells on wet stone.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An old note-to-self, found just now.

A machine that takes things apart
And orders the pieces

Who said happiness
Is ordered?
Order is slavery to a system-
For inspectors, order is God.

Everyone leaves a permanent mark-
Freeing a river, saving a life, building a machine.
Most of our life is contained in ourselves,
What are we leaving for others?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Who is Who touching the surf

Sitting by the ocean
Things are pulled out of her
That other people can’t even ask for.
Her insides are emptied onto the sand
And are escorted into the greatness
Of water timeless.  She cannot lie
To the beach;
She is perfect before it
And protected by the feeling
Of being nothing and temporary.

He arrives unexpectedly,
Which is the best way
to depart the expected.
He does not end anything,
An observer with hands and legs
He respects the old connections
That existed before his name
Was in her mouth. 
He is not jealous of immortality,
He smiles as the years smooth him,
And he smoothes her,
Her toe tips in sea foam.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am tired tonight and cannot write

dinner's eaten
I've showered and watched
the TV.
I've sat with my sister
and thought about things.
a failed day
for the politics
of fantasies.

but this is how it is
the end of my week
my body full
of voices.
histories are weighty, sweaty.

maybe tomorrow I will
push them into the sky
all those words, worlds
dissipating into pieces.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"In general, every country gets the language it deserves"

How about my country-
the continent of my person?
what language fills my mouth 
and moves my teeth and tongue?
What words have I earned
and invented out of necessity?
Which words are for beauty,
unfurling in a simple spectrum?
What message was already written on my bones
in a tight script? 
And how do we translate original, personal words?
We are left with a language without audience.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Speaking Venetian

Eunice makes gnocchi and a biting
Fresh sauce.  Old stone buildings insulate
Muffle street sound and sidewalks.
She speaks and speaks
And her apartment absorbs her voice
As it always has.  Her clothing and couches
Jars and coffee tins, framed pictures, vases, knit things
Everything soaks in Eunice’s voice and scent,
True students giving themselves up to a teacher,
Despite the endlessness of education. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Men I don't know, part I.

My grandfather died during a bombing of Karlovac, not from the bombs but from the sound From fright He died on the stairs a bare courtyard in the center of the house Like a lung It took him a few days to get buried because of the continuous war What war isn’t continuous Human fear that eddies Refugees lived there and left their clutter, sour bedding pink rubber boots they used the woodstove there was no electricity and I wondered how far they had come and gone and if they were dead too The only thing not stolen from the house was my grandfather’s books Learned language He brought my mother butterflies pinned to velvet cloth for school projects He worked as a forester In a small village he met my grandmother They knew they would hate each other it was only a matter of There are pictures of Ivan in Boston when he came to America for a visit Knee high socks The bus from South station took him all over The canyons and birds Meeting Americans What did he think before he died My mother before she died Ivan spoke three languages I can’t picture his face I know he looked into mine before he died Wind chimes in the court yard The floor bends inward it will fall through eventually What a beautiful rare house a space that makes thinking magic Ivan took pictures of my mother and trees and the bare winter Always your daughter Pictures, boxes of saw-edged pictures Last thing he thought of before he died.

Mediating a wake

The last dream before I woke up this morning,
The last pull from my second life into the raw first,
Was my lawyer with his arms wrapped around me,
just, breathing.
And I remember that Gandhi was a lawyer
Before he ever saved anyone.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sometimes imagination really takes you by the (metaphorical) balls and demands you wake up.

Every Body makes art,
Covering canvasas
Typing, touching-
No museums or publishers
You imagine the undulating relief of the forest;
The dark, gabled houses of endless asking;
The filling of empty boxes with the trinkets of memory;
The future that moves like dunes, wind in the Sahara;
The possibilities of man and woman;
Daily navigations of disaster and discretion:
You are worthy of the finest receptions
The champagne and congratulations
You are the center of genius and creation
Everyday, without exception.
You make your own escape
From the windowless rooms of have to
And can’t do, and you do it with the truest color.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I look familiar

I’ve been to Serbia
To Bosnia
And Croatia
I svugdje
Sam “nasa Maja”
Because I love
Food, white stone,
Thick woods
The faint smell
Of smog liquor winter
Urine in alleyways
Soup in the afternoon
Because I know the
Formalities of church
Crocheted doilies, miniature gilt frames
Because I grew up ironing underwear
And athletic socks
Because I know which men
Will push you around
Because my hips are wide
And I have a mole on my cheek
My eyes are old
And savagely European
Because I wear tall boots and
black pants and gold jewelry
Whenever possible
Because I smoke cigarettes
At cafes and will not say no
To coffee or kisses
Because I have stood overlooking
I am Theirs
I am their Maja. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Geographic Portraits Part II. (inside of 495)

Close geography
Becomes sticky-
Eloquence is frilly
In the face of day.
Martina is home,
She is a queen wrecked
And rebuilt into a warrior.
Her hands are practically used
collecting ocean and wind,
she wades and waits
With the persistence of tide.
Marcia is on magazine street
Robust, ready, such freedom now
In her measured movement.   She is
North ramified, she is a core.
Blau flutters, is a leaf on a bare tree
You can’t help but stare at, the thin thread
Of its survival in the resolute winter.  She creates,
She has become whole. I watch.
Alan always, 
in all ways, Alan.
He is with me in
the wide woods, 
one long afternoon
in the pocket between worlds. 
Alyssa is a midwife in all things
Praising and mending old skin
To still stretch.  She leaves knives 
under my bed to cut the pain. 
Matt is on west 5th
His roof deck is a ship,
A suspension from earth, the last look
At the beginning of one last trip.  
Jacqui I imagine in the back T.V room
of the house on Woodland road,
It's funny, 
to think of us as real women.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Geographic Portraits Part I. (outside 495)

I love geography
Map making moving
Each thumbtack
Marks a three dimensional love
Contracting actual space.
Tim is in Texas learning to fly planes
I imagine the desert
The hot thickness, the ruffled edging of brown scrub.
Delph is somewhere in the evergreen places of the Northwest
Rainy and wet and breathing
A time drip of water and mood.
Kristen is in Chicago now
And desperately misses Denver
As any good New Yorker should.
Her messy landscape I miss
The explosion of clothing out of her closet
The ethereal and real style of someone thinking graphically.
Nick is in Nairobi,
How alliterate, like a children's book.
I wonder what they think of Paul Walker doppelgangers in Africa.
He calls my cell phone 
(from Africa!)
And I remember sliding down train tracks together
Slow moving through my home city.
Luke is in Worcester
He works at his mother’s tree nursery and he came over and diagnosed our ailing hemlocks.  I love him unconditionally-
A paper covered creation of unconvention (and convention)
An electronic artist.
Bart is in New York
And keeps an excel spreadsheet
Of books read.  I still think about summers on the cape
The weak wind on the protected sea stairs. Will we always be kids?
Other Tim (also New York, soon New jersey)
Is getting married in November.
I drove the Lynnway late night in high school
To be in the sickness-free space
Of his kitchen. 
I like thinking of Jon in Nashville
All the music and bbq-he has finally departed South Boston.
I’ve written quite a bit about him.  He is in shaped pieces for me,
Complete ideas, forms, sounds, he is muse-ic.
Scott is in California
He watched me put make-up on one night before a party and I felt foolish.  It’s important
To be around people that know and expect your unembellished self. 
Standing on the continental divide in the snow,
I was happy, my friend.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

After reading some Ledo Ivo and being jealous of his home description skills

My home is a universe
A pale planet
An orb, a green profusion of moss
A lump crust land
A slow valley between two belly-hills
A city block acrid plastic and sidewalked
One house planted, a door.

A place at the table
On the hard bench without pillows
Not language,
Not specific space.
But a color
A nuisance
The pleasure of crackers
And coffee. 
Larger and larger
The drowning of feelings
Female and common
A creation.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A requiem
For a friend
Eating popcicles
One after another
In the heat.

Stay awhile sunset
and change
the shape taste 
of things.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday commute community

Sloppy students late night
after work I want to tell them
I'm coming home from WORK
get off my train.
Then I tell myself to be patient
because I am only two years out
and I must have been sloppy sometimes.
Like that time I threw up in a trashcan
at Kenmore and as I did it I thought
"I am THAT girl." Or when I walked across Boulder barefoot in the rain
because I did not give a fuck
and my feet hurt.
And I think about how tiring it is
to talk mindlessly
and how walking home alone is easiest. 
and how I got this way is giving homage
to time, and pain, and time. 
And freedom whispers, is mist until
your spirit is crisp specific and true
and that takes loss, the recognition of
the one start and one finish that exists.
Birth, death.  In between is simply breath.
And each breath is you.
But I am still on the train, 
it is still late
and I regret not taking the bus until I realize
ALL public transport has been infected 
with the Boston University virus
which tends to emerge in one of two broad
categories of bacteria:
Skank and Bro. 
They'll get it, eventually,
and eventually I won't care anymore
but just at that moment I want to cry
and slap a few of them
shake them like their fathers used to
and ask: "what the hell are you doing? Don't you know that's not safe? Don't you know?"

Cancelled wedding

Like a subscription
A membership
A credit card
An order and delivery. 
Waiting for clean lines,
but smoke does not obey
geometry and neither
do we.