high school interrupted

in the 1990’s

your flannel shirt

was a cultural ticket

that took you

greasy haired

through a graffiti pocked

bathroom stall door

to a grunge wünderland

where herpes came standard

with every tribal tattoo

nirvana whining

about your libido

a mosquito

&

girlfriends untrue

your dreams will be

dry humped

in a Geo Metro,

Generation X,

your so-called life…

high school interrupted

…eating Pearl Jam until

Zima vomit came to the house party too

with green apple jollyranchers

attended by

your skankiest girlfriend

who smoked Marlboro Reds

with the acumen

of a triple divorcee

her eyelids

the trashiest

ice blue

Paris in the rain

a woman’s life

is too tenuous

delicate

billowy

spider web

close call on I-75

in preterm labor

on the way to the

Paris airport

in the rain

fragile

beautiful

precious

sacrosanct

finite

for bad friends

bad family

bad coffee

bad shoes

bad mattresses

bad jobs

bad husbands

bad debt

and bad dick

learn this by 30 for maximum

enjoyment

future

female

conquerors

of a dying planet

Dinner at the Sizzler

if purgatory

is a soup kitchen line

in a catholic church

hell

is serving up grub

on the corner of 8th & vine

southern baptists

pulling up

in their tax exempt jesus wagon

to serve homeless people

hot chili in july

heaven, happens

in Cincinnati

when pigs fly

The Secret of My Traveling Crystal Necklace

Back in 2012, when I had my first book release in Los Angeles, I had a crystal beaded necklace that pulled apart in my suitcase. It seemed wrong to rid myself of the estranged gems, and I harboured unlikely notions of restringing the beloved bauble one day. As I was packing to leave, some of the beads accidentally rolled under my voluptuous bed in The Biltmore Hotel. I suspect they may still be there, as things seem not to change much there, except the sheets, and I liked the notion of leaving a part of myself behind in the City of Angels.

The beads remained in my suitcase as I drove and flew to poetry gigs all over the country for the next few years. In keeping with the precedent set in Los Angeles, I started purposefully dropping them in places I stayed. I would toss the pea-sized stones into locations they were unlikely to be found: down antique brass filigree air vents in byzantine hotels, behind cabinetry permanently affixed, through imperfectly sawed holes cut for plumbing to climb and dive through plaster, beneath the loose floorboards of my friend’s apartment, into the chasms of airport elevator shafts. You get the idea.

There are pieces of my secret crystal beaded necklace hidden in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Berkeley, Venice Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, Elyria, Canton, Nashville, Lexington, Dallas, Cincinnati, and even pitiful Little Rock, Arkansas, a place I didn’t care for at all. I consider them amulets to protect people and cities with whom I fell in love, and talismans to keep away those whom I didn’t. The faceted baubles keep me tethered, connected through minutiae, in the smallest of ways.

More beads remain in my suitcase to this day, an impossible amount hidden within the satin folds, certainly a greater number than my finite crystal necklace was ever originally composed of. It is as if the universe is telling me that I have more journeys to take, love to make, and fine people to meet. So, if you’re staying in a heat wilted hotel by the Pacific Ocean, enduring a vaulted matchbox overlooking the Hudson River, standing by a tuneless luggage carousel, or renting a beautiful two bedroom flat nestled near Lake Erie, and a magical crystal bead finds you, that’s just me…and I’ll be seeing you.

 

dad’s gonna be pissed

my generation had no great war

until the towers fell

and the government invented one

then we were told

it’s not our fight

beyond the departures gate

at the airport

our struggle is removing our shoes

and grabby TSA agents

we never grew a victory garden

we never salvaged all our metal to make bullets

or watched the soldierly  Vietnam death toll

march across the bottom of our television screens

we were raised by Atari systems, Pop Rocks, Sweet Valley High books,

and Bob Barker’s skinny microphone

so forgive me, my fellow

generationally x’d out americans

if i don’t give a shit

about your opinions on the upcoming election

i am not your dirty hooker

i’m tired of being treated like a dirty hooker

because i feel free

to voice my opinions

joke

use clever little double entendres

assert myself as a woman

who admires the human form

both male and female

and shockingly

even my own voluptuous body

so i have dared to post photos of it

.

write poems

produce art

which express my feelings freely

.

i’m tired of waking up every morning

to private messages on facebook

from seemingly educated

and mostly married men

left in a drunken stupor

or on a predatory whim

hey baby

wanna fuck

cunt dick pussy

or various combinations thereof

.

no

no i don’t

nor do i want you to cum on my face

or any other part of my body

.

these digital pussies wouldn’t have the balls to behave in such a way

to my face

but social media and the internet

removes the barrier of decorum

it invites subterfuge, sickness, and depravity

desecration becomes acceptable

redefines morays

.

i have a folder in which i keep

eight years worth of facebook sexual violations

for legal record

which contains 71 unwanted dick pics

and two sets of tits

let’s not leave out the ladies

.

i have one creep who leaves nasty messages on my blog

using several different names

but the idiot doesn’t know

i traced his ip address

preparing for war

in a folder of every infraction

funny how serious they take internet stalking these days

.

and he’s not the first

and he won’t be the last

but this is a defect

of the information age

.

the criminal inside your home

invited by your mere existence

.

i didn’t ask for any of this

.

but i refuse to be less me

to accommodate their disease

.

this behavior speaks to the abuser

the vile betrayer

and says nothing about me

.

but what i will no longer do

is be polite

for the sake of decorum and decency

as these individuals

have never extended

those courtesies to me

.

so the next time you feel so inclined

prepare for the my wrath

prepare to receive

exactly what you deserve

vengeance

just before

i take my leave

you’re so much like daddy, be the death of me

my father died in 1984

i haven’t been able to remember his voice since 1986

and the sound of a voice

is the most precious thing to me

but this morning

your twang brought back synapses who longed for three decades to remember

“Daddy loves you, Alicia, be a good girl”

(and i died a thousand deaths in the minutes still ringing after)

and how five minutes later

out the front door

would go all my mother’s clothing

and our Zenith console TV

thank you for that

saddle up, cowboy

give me immortality

you’re so much like daddy

be the death of me

cause enough for perfume

perhaps my very existence

invites your lips

.

however you are the reason

i’ve taken to writing invisible love poems

in the finest of rust belt drinking establishments

.

my fingertips tracing desires

through saturday night flooded bar top wastelands

of dissipating beer foam and  7 and 7’s gone errant

.

i’ve become convinced jesus won’t return

to fly us all back to glory land on his private salvation jet

unless i have a bottle of wild turkey in my left hand

and your hand in my right

stumbling through 3 a.m. street lamp heavens

beside a monument to our first kiss

.

i’ve watched the english patient twice for chrissakes

my nights have become ee cummings sketches

.

your absence  is cause enough for perfume

.

we could be a kate chopin novel

.

i want to share with you everything of value i know

i want to give you all my favorite books

i want to be the woman who pulls you into her

when you’ve stepped too close to the edge of the subway platform

i’ll teach you which one the salad fork is without anyone taking a hint

.

i’ll tell you the dirtiest jokes i know in crowded elevators

i’ll buy us an old plymouth just so

i can lean over from my best girl shotgun seat

and unlock the driver’s door for you

before we head to the drive-in

.

i want  to learn to knit

just so i can knit you an ugly afghan

to cover you up with on the couch

when my fried chicken and a novel

have conspired to take you

into blissful sleep adrift

.

give you passed out kisses you’ll never know about

and present you with the perfect hangover cure

coffee made and aspirin come christmas morning

.

i want to be the woman who loves you so well

she remembers

to grab the reading glasses you always forget

before we walk out the door

of this daydream

in which

i am perfectly content

.

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