Friday, December 18, 2009

Easily Flayed

Your claws are sharp, my love,
going deeper every pass,
scarring skin
and now bone
in the depths of me.

In the depths of me
you pass through like wine
clouding boat and sea
until all I feel are waves
washing over me.

You leave marks like treads
so I can see your path
but never follow.

It's how you conceived me
only momentary
and translucent,
easily flayed.

(written 8/8/09)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Could Write You

I could write you,
down and lost
with no hope of love.

I could write you
lonely and searching
in desolate hermitude.

I could write you beautiful
and ugly
and every stop in between.

But I cannot write you here.

(written 8/17/09)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Every Time in the Telling

Everything is shaded through your blood
filtered slow and cold
for the drinking,
a fermented cup of dreams and waste
and a chorus in the undertow.

The marks you left
will be until the end
the beat of a heart
stuttered slow and slowing.

It never goes away
the haunted vision of you
that pushes me towards the edge,
a fool and child
too young to know
and older every time
in the telling.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


What if I was beautiful to you?
What if my skin was soft and smooth,
no imperfections,
no wrong words?
What if my hands called to you
and you did nothing but answer,
nothing but answer
every day
of every year
until we died
on foreign soil
with the song of each other
in our mouths,
spilling out?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

When the Winds Turned

When did I know
there was a siren call
in my heart for you?
When the winds turned to ice
and I knew the world
couldn't be without you,
without us.

I felt a small piece of myself go,
as messenger,
to call you home to me
in this life
for as many days as we have left.

Come quickly, my love,
for time is wasting
in its loneliness
and I long to see your face again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Strange Aviary

Hidden birds are flocking in my heart.
In between beats of wings I breath,
and blood flows only in the spaces.

Hope is hatching
in the corners of this strange aviary,
struggling for life inside this tempest.

Monday, August 3, 2009

9:52 and you're still gone

I'm getting lost
just following the twisting road of you
and feeling abandoned at every turn
when I expect your face
and see only trees staring back.

What would you be to me now?
How would we speak?
How would you touch me if you could?
What would you say to ease the ache?

I need something harder than this water
that beads and slips right off,
something amber and caustic
that burns away the dream of you.

9:52 and you're still gone.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I try to let it go every day
even while it clings to my soul.
But with every beautiful thing,
with every kind word,
with every breath taken in the presence of love,
its hold weakens.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


When in all my lives,
did I love you last
and best of all?
For desire springs
tears to fall
and warmth to rend
the pieces of my heart
I left with you in
my last breath.

I cannot touch you again
in this light
or I would lose all reason
to our previous love,
all consuming,
and -

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strange Symbiosis

A storm has come in,
the winds moving me in ways
only you should know.

The trees speak in their sign language,
branches bending low to
whip the thickness away from me.

And thunder comes,
speaking my mind for me
because you don't know my words yet.
It's a strange symbiosis -
this storm, the interpreter
of me for you.

Here it comes again,
beating against me,
demanding me to open for you.

I'm prying the petals away, my love,
as fast as I can.

Business Casual Killing

A small snippet I wrote the other day. Who is this girl? Why did she kill someone (something?) during her lunch break? How will she get rid of the body? It's a mystery.

I slumped slightly to rest against the brick wall at my back and dug the heels of my hands into my eyes. Wasn’t helping. And time wasn’t on my side right now, not with the body just lying against the dumpster in front of me. The snow was masking the few sounds of the city and making it feel more deserted than it was but I was going to be found sooner or later.

The body was too big for me to lift into the dumpster. I had muscles; don’t get me wrong, but having the skill to kill someone almost three times your size and having the muscle mass to lift their dead weight were two different things. That’ll teach you to go poking into someone else’s business, I thought.

I didn’t have time for dismemberment, I didn’t know a handy spell for corpse combustion and unfortunately, the body wasn’t going to turn to ash on its own. The adrenaline was wearing down a bit before I finally decided to just drag it away from the direct view of any passerby’s and throw a hiding charm on it until I could come back and do a proper clean up. It took all the leverage and power my five foot six inch frame could muster to force the monster out of view for the time being.

By the time I was done, strands of my dark brown hair had worked themselves free from the neat bun on the back of my head. Or maybe that had happened during the fight. I wasn’t sure. Jesus, Bethany! Does it really matter how your hair got messed up? Just throw the charm and get back to work. I did the little I could and headed back out of the alley.

I let the steps of my swagger slowly transform into the sharp staccato beat of an office worker returning from lunch. Thankfully, the lobby and elevators were empty and I made my way into the restroom before anyone could ask about my appearance. Locked safely in a stall, I took an extra minute to double check that my clothing wasn’t torn or stained with blood. He had gotten in a few good hits but none had been on my face (in which case I would have definitely had to go home for the day); most were just finding their way into becoming a dark purple. I knew I would be paying for that tonight. Nothing was broken, though; I hadn’t been that careless. There’s something to be said for the monotony of business casual black clothes. Apparently they work for back alley killers too.

I checked my eyes in the mirror. They seemed bloodshot but otherwise okay. Grass green rimmed now in red. At least I was color coordinating with the holidays.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Distance That Peace Brings

Something has stilled inside me
the animal wariness
and brute violence
quenched in glacial calm.

The winds tell me I have
agreed to sacrifice,
agreed to this holy exchange
with ancient murmurs
and nightly pleas.
And it does not surprise me
that silence is required.

My ears burn
(as my body does)
in some chemical crucible
reserved for only these days.

I have staved off death
when I would have accepted,
and bought, at a price,
the distance that peace brings.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Like Landscapes.

There is a line of dark clouds
converging on the newly sprung shoots of
the tree outside -
lime green against dark cloud grey
and the white of angry cumulus
who write my days in a
fine ink of ice and vapor.

They speak of time
in ways I almost know,
In voices I can almost hear.
I wait for someone to remove this shroud
so that they may roll through me
like landscapes of foreign worlds.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Little Bird

Little bird, little bird
share with me your secrets,
sing to me the words you know
of dawn and air
and the seeds in their pods.

Show me the joy you find
in gathering -
that I may feel it too -
and the peace you hold
in twilight
when winds have died
and the nest is home.

For I am building my nest too.
The green branches of new thought
still smell of forest and rain.
I line it with my feathers
to make it soft from the harsh day
and rest before
a new song must be sung.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Claiming My Dusty Corner

I am here
in this place of my making
writing my name
on every box
and dusty corner.

I'm claiming my desire
for rescue,
my strength of song,
my dark days
and bright nights,
knowing that
in this moment of naming
I change it all
and start again.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Red Notebook

The house settles and shakes around me,
creaking under weight and winds I see not.
Ancient lives have been cleansed and cleared,
old blood washed and heartache soothed.

I never knew to find such sanctuary
in this old red notebook
with its charts and numbers,
with its Universe secrets
into which I only toe the waters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Dead End World

(A little piece written for Sunday Scribblings)

She was hunched down cleaning the wheels of her car, thinking of things best left alone. With chunky glasses that never seemed to stay on right and hair neither curly nor straight, she was awkward, truth be told. Why would her father have sent her here? Into a world where neither the dead nor living walked altogether upright. There were half-truths in every word they said to her and finding your way through a simple conversation was a feat.

She didn’t feel prepared. There was no way to study for a place like this, nothing in her schooling that had equipped her for this world. But she was grateful that she lived at the tip of this dead end road that the shadows and phantoms seemed to avoid. Oh, she knew that some people liked to be surrounded all the time but she only wanted to be left alone to hum her silly tunes and dream of a world in which she couldn’t see everything that passed by.

She put her wet rag back into the bucket of murky water, stood up to flex her knees and peered with unfocused eyes down the length of the gravel driveway. That was the trick, you know, letting your eyes glaze over a little bit. If you looked like you actually saw, they would come ask you for things.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Again you crack me open,
stained knives at razor points,
an easy cracking -
all clean lines and
golden yolk.

How much more will you
fit inside me
when I have a shell
no longer?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wings and Light

We are all metaphor,
every piece of us
flashes of light and perception
in a web of quarks and particles
that we call God
and rest.

I cannot see you without
your light
as I cannot live without mine,
a strong beat with
fragile wings of lift.

Let me See,
let me see through you
to bring myself into this space
of only now
and lift us both to the light.

Monday, February 9, 2009


(This is the introduction of Parsippany, written from her perspective. It's the best of the drafts I wrote tonight but might need a bit more tweaking. What do you think?)

Sunshine made its way through the thick atmosphere to light the pathway as it always did, a stark orange-ish glow. I was walking towards the morning lessons I would be teaching today. I could already feel the energies of the students from the open-air classroom a few hundred feet away. This morning they felt a bit raw and roiling, like steam coming off the cooking pot, quickly dissipating in the humidity of the air. It made it hard to breathe for a few heartbeats as I internally mastered the space of my own mind and the seeming invasion of theirs. Every morning I taught was like this, the sudden thrusting of myself into the company of too many people. Even after ten years of study, it was an effort.

I was the best talent they had seen in two generations. How I felt about that fact was still changing on a daily basis. Even though our kind, Healers, tried to steer clear of expectations, I could sense it every time they slipped. It was a sharp jab at the corner of my energy field followed by their quick control and almost ghostly feel of apology. That, of course, was from the more experienced Healers. The younger ones didn’t even realize what they were doing. It was like they were trying to throw a blanket over you and steer you in the opposite direction. It was the reason I hated teaching these classes. And the reason why it was essential that I did.

My measured steps helped me focus more closely on what was really bothering me this morning. Things seemed. . . different lately, the past few days especially. All the foretelling we had done, the hours spent in meditation and seeking and I still didn’t have a solid answer as to what was coming my way. Even the elders couldn’t tell what it was, or if they did, they weren’t sharing. Their silence was not completely unexpected but still frustrating. I was overwhelmed with that feeling for a moment but quickly dealt with it and let it melt away. It was a good thing no one was close as I walked through the cloisters. It was also one of the reasons why I chose to stay fairly sequestered as much as possible. I had more talent than any of them but that meant that my sudden bursts of emotion were a bit more potent than theirs were too.

It meant I couldn’t afford to let them get the better of me, especially when I had to teach. Here I was, letting this frustration take me over because of a few unknowns. It was silly and much more indicative of an apprentice than someone of my experience. But judging myself so harshly would do no good.

I walked the last hundred feet and pulled my thoughts together, focusing them to razor sharp points that fractured on the energy of the fifty students seated on the mats at my destination. I read frustration there too, in some of them. A small, rueful smile tugged at the corners of my mouth. Nothing like first hand experience to guide the way, I suppose. My feet moved a bit more slowly the closer I got to the open air classroom. I sucked in a few dense, heavy breaths as I heard the last of the mantras and stepped silently around the corner.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Each a Sun

We are each a sun -
Shining, turbulent forces
imploding outwards.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Haiku

It's hard work to do,
like pulling yourself through mud,
but so worth the pain.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Losing Air

(prompted by sunday scribblings topic - regret. This is Parsippany's point of view. It's kind of a jump forward in the story that I have been writing so far. Check out the category of "freewriting" on this blog to read the other parts too.)

She regretted the necessity of dishonesty. How cruelly that need tormented her now – stuck on a failing ship in the wide, dark, open sea of space. If only they could have gone together. If only she had turned her back on the duty she had to protect them all to protect the one person that meant everything to her. But no, she couldn’t have done it. Even now, pressing the oxygen mask against her cheeks to suck the last breath out, she knew she couldn’t have ignored her responsibilities. And her lover, Cedar, was out there somewhere, searching for a brother long lost in the storm of civil war on a planet far away. Ah, that she couldn’t see Cedar’s face one last time before the end. That was the most piercing regret of all.

How had she let this happen?

Her vision began to break apart at the edges, her head becoming light with lack of good air. She barely recognized the sharp clang of the hatch and jolt of the ship when the sensors indicated that someone was about to board. And then she thought this must be the end, because beautiful and strong, the image of Cedar’s face kneeling over her was the last thing she saw as she lost consciousness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Like the Ocean

I thought I would have to be patient
when I asked for joy.

I didn't know that it rushes in
like the ocean
once let loose.

I didn't know that it
fills all the cracks
and runs over the edges
of us
when we ask it to come.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There Is

There is a sense of worship here
though sacred halls have long since lost their sway,
the gods renounced.

There is reverence here,
a remembered kind but
new in every breath.

There is revelation
and absolution,
a smooth movement of opening
that sets me free.

There is myself,
a reflection of the Universe.

There is you.

But truly, my love,
there is only us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Find Me

Come find me
through the snow and ice
an my own selfish vice.

Make me yours
as I am already,
as you are mine,
waiting to be claimed
and sealed
and promised.
Come find me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mark Strand

The Coming of Light
by Mark Strand

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

There are so many words and poems lately to which all I can say is "yes! yes! yes! Exactly!"
this is one of them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Definitely Not That

(Sunday Scribbling: Pilgrimage.)

The apprentices were nervous. Curious, yes, as anyone would be on the first trip away from their home planet, but there was an undertone of anxiety in their actions and murmured comments that fell far wide of soothing. I hadn’t had much need to interact with novices while I had been living with Parsippany the last few years. She participated in their training as much as any of the other Healers did, I suppose, but I couldn’t remember ever having a conversation about it with her. If I hadn’t been so keyed up from running to catch the shuttle and leaving my lover behind, I might have found it amusing.

But I was keyed up and it wasn’t amusing. Not right now. They knew who I was and while relationships like mine with Parsippany weren’t commonplace, they happened just often enough to make it a topic of conversation. On the planet it was fine. You had the mitigating effect of repetition and daily exposure. But here on the ship, speeding out into the emptiness of space, everything was new and strange to them.

After we were underway, I lingered a bit in my cabin. It would be my only refuge for the next two weeks. It was small, utilitarian as all spaces were on a shuttle of this size, and it would soon enough be stifling and claustrophobic. In this moment, though, it was the separation I needed from the prying and hopeful eyes of the young Healers on board. The smell of the ship was soothing and I let the rattle of the engines work out the lingering anxiety while I sat and breathed deeply.

Only a few minutes had passed before I heard the irritating squawk of my door. When I opened it, there stood one of the crew. He was weathered and tall enough to make navigating the short walkways of the ship a burden. Quite good looking, too, if one was looking for that sort of thing.

“The captain would like a word,” he said succinctly. His voice had exactly the tenor of gruffness I had expected.

I nodded but followed without comment. When the captain asks for you, it’s not really a request. My curiosity was raging, though. Regardless of what he might have heard about my past, I was only a passenger on this flight. Surely he wouldn’t censure me before anything had even happened. The slight anxiety crawled back up my spine as we moved our way up the ladders and short passages of the hallways to the bridge. The crewman spared no glance in my direction to ascertain whether I followed him.

We entered the bridge with a more measured pace. I could sense the crewman take in the atmosphere of the room before he spoke.

“Captain. The passenger you requested.”

“Thank you, Giles.” Said the captain as he walked over to the doorway in which I was still standing. Protocol hadn’t abandoned me so much that I wasn’t aware of needing permission to step foot onto the bridge of a ship of which I wasn’t crew.

“Come,” he said and lifted a hand to gesture me forward. I walked towards him, both looking at him and trying to take in the faces of the other crew members as well. There was suspicion there, I saw, and worry. And a tinge of resignation. This wouldn’t be good. You didn’t want to see all of those on the faces of the people who were in charge of navigating you through space.

He looked closely at my clothes before he started speaking again. Looking for what, I wasn’t sure. “Please forgive the intrusion. I find I must ask a few questions to see if you might be able to help us.”

“Help you?” I asked, quizzical.

“Do you pilgrimage with the others on board?” his face was a little abashed as he asked. I could tell he wasn’t used to this sort of delicacy.

“Pilgrimage? “ I pondered. “No, I’m not….” I stuttered because I was so taken aback. Maybe because I assumed he should be able to tell that I was not part of their group. But what was he to think? I had embarked from their planet, on a shuttle that left from the colony site. Any Seekers would have taken one of the larger resort shuttles back to their own planets. And then I understood the appraisal of my clothes. He was confused.

“I’m not a Healer although I have lived on the planet for some time.” I explained. “I have. . . other reasons for traveling.” Because what I was on was definitely not a pilgrimage. Surely, there was a word somewhere in some lexicon that meant the opposite of pilgrimage. I was actually traveling half the speed of light through space away from everything I held holy and sacred – away from her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something of Magic

There is something of magic,
something of our old gods
that sparks in the space between hands
held closely together.
I am loathe to rein it in,
much more inclined to blast as a furnace
over the frame of you.
Delicacy takes refinement
and relinquishment of control -
a cool mind to
soothe the fires.

Charles Wright, Again

I am really loving his stuff. Thought I would share another snippet:

"There is a desperation for unknown things, a thirst
For endlessness that snakes through our bones..."

-Charles Wright, Scar Tissue

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


These are the things my soul knows:
the brush of the wind,
the sting of the rain,
the tenor of your voice,
and the whole truths of the Universe
that sing their songs for me.
I have somehow forgotten by coming here
and accepted small untruths as Word.
My true struggle lies only
in remembering.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(Just a short freewrite for today)

I was running late and they didn't hold shuttles for latecomers. Dammit, all those goodbyes for nothing if I was going to be here for another day until the next shuttle. Her kisses still flamed on my lips but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. I would think on it later. Later, when I had two weeks to spend trying not to go crazy on a crowded ship a few light years away from her.

My legs pounded out the steady beat of late travelers everywhere, hoping there had been some sort of delay that would save me. The dark clothes I wore made me stand out as I ducked through security and sprinted the last short way to the gantry. Wearing black wasn't forbidden on this planet, it was just . . . out of place. It was too jarring, too stark. It was the blackness of space and it didn't fit here where the very essence of life settled like warm orange clouds all around you. But where I was going - where I was going demanded some acquiescence and I wouldn't get far if I was dressed in clothes like Parsippany's.

I could see the crew's preparations for departure but the door was still open. Thank god, the door was still open! They let me pass with impatient looks and muttered curses but still, I got in. The goodbyes had been worth it.

Monday, January 12, 2009


(This piece of writing got launched from a sunday scribbling about "organic." I've used the same characters as my last freewriting exercise last week. They've started coming in more clearly so you might see more scenes with them as the weeks go on.)

The packing was automatic. Open case, insert shirt, fold, fold, tuck into the edge. There wasn’t much to put in the case but I packed with careful motions anyway, trying to draw out the action to last longer because I was unsure. I was unsure of leaving her. Our life on her planet seemed like a dream about to wink out of existence at the slightest pressure. But I had faced these feelings before. They were painful, sure, but not unmanageable. Just breathe through them. You’ve faced worse, I told myself again. Deep breath, fold, fold, tuck, next piece, breathe again.

Quiet steps. She came in to sit on the edge of the window with a small smile in place. Of course, she knew what I was feeling. Even if we had not been together for the last three years, she would have known. Damn Healers, I thought with a sense of resigned love. Why do they have to see everything? But she was quiet as I packed. She knew when to talk and when to listen (don’t they all?), she didn’t press for more. And how could I not love her for that alone? My dear Parsippany, not blinking an eye when I told her I had to follow the dream of the boy. Just to make sure, I had told her.

She had known the life of organic things. There was no forcing here. There might be gentle prodding, strong encouragement, or the kind of silence that brings the truth forward like a knife – but not force. Things grew or did not grow, you helped them be so or you did not. She knew my heart well enough by now to know I had to let it go where it would. And she trusted it would find its way back to her. One way or another, I knew it would.

“You must go?” she asked quietly, again. She would only ask this one time more.

“We’ve tried,” I said, a small note of weariness marking my words. “The other Healers can find nothing, either." Silence. Acceptance. "I have to make sure he is okay. Do you see any other way?” My question practically a plea.

“No,” she admitted. Her dress moved with the slightest sound as she moved to take my hand and put her cheek against mine.

And there she was, letting the moment be what it would be - which was the beginning of a goodbye. She let the force between us grow at its own pace, filling the room quickly.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Splitting Open

Do they know that I am
sitting in the next room
breaking wide open
and spilling all over the nice
beige carpet?
That my life is changing
in front of my eyes, that
things are shifting
and growing
and dying away
like pruned branches?
Do they realize
that even I do not know
who I will be when I wake again?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Losing Summer

Cold and stark
and stripped bare
but oddly full
of more essential means,
the necessary ways
to move through this soul.
And close to admitting
I may only be meant
for the smaller things.

So close to seeing
you may not exist at all.

Friday, January 9, 2009


(A 10-minute freewriting exercise)

I was lying on my back facing the ceiling and wishing the images would go away. They were too clear, too pressing, too real to move away as quickly as I wanted them too. And I couldn’t write the dream off to stray wanderings of my thoughts. He was not someone to come up in conversation or even a person I thought of every day. Why did he have to come tonight? Why did he come unbidden when he had hurt me enough in the past?

My thinking must have been too loud, my emotions too out of check for her to sleep silently anymore. She stirred next to me, her arm reaching out to push some invisible strand of energy away from my abdomen. How she knew these things was far beyond me, a mere human in her strange world. In her sleepy haze her fingers made strange circles only the width of a hair above my skin. And I felt like I always did when she moved me. I felt like stirred water, shimmering and swirling, the molecules unsettled and unsure. The dream moved silently around inside me again, I could see her feel around the edges of it to test its truth – a meter only she could see and hear.

And I sighed suddenly, letting the feeling of desperation have a sound at least, if it could not have a voice in this dark night. In my dream I had held my horror and grief in check. Could I do the same in this quiet room where she would accept it all? I wasn’t sure, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know anything anymore except that I wanted to find the boy from the dream and demand assurances to which I had no right any longer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Twice today I have been overwhelmed by the smell of you.
Strangers carried your scent on their backs like pollen,
germinating in me something of a remembered kind.
Memory is a fickle beast, offering so much that is hidden
in hands not meant to be gentle.

All Truths

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,

-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Joy is always yellow to me,
scorching itself through
my solar plexus
to reach an end
at the edge of all aura
and touch a tentative finger
on the skin of you,
hoping to be gathered.


In the icy stillness of Qumran
how could we not freeze in recognition
that everything would change
for better and worse and all in between?
These discoveries,
they make up the whole -
but only parts seem to shine
in ways that catch the tenor
of whatever we own that we call soul.
And what will this mean for my
frozen self?
For I am still motionless
in indecision.
Because it may mean nothing at all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

He's Barking

He's barking uselessly at the sky
as if it could change the meteors path
of burnt resin and pitch
burning bright against the night.

But I know how he feels.

When compared to the promise of you,
I know how he feels.

Arterial Light

Lift up that far corner of landscape,
there, toward the west.

Let some of the deep light in, the arterial kind.

-Charles Wright

Monday, January 5, 2009


There's a space I carry with me
in which lie the things of this
spiritual life,
strapped to my layers with
duct tape and old rope.
To look at them you'd think
me homeless and poor
but they are the treasures
of a fruitful life.
They are my way,
the blueprint for a place
I cannot see,
A map of hope that shows
a road without doubt.