D I S L O C A T I O N [ S ]



Clear sky on pristine snow—equals a glaring Migraine Room with not enough doors to the mountain—too much light—too much chaos. I did touch you, but I froze. I mean I froze—and tried to touch you. The order of fractal-events—too immense. I don’t know what I mean to say anymore. I sing unstrung cello, wailing ice, and hurt animal that hides under the holly—missing the one who comforted me as if I were a frightened child on the Victorian porch during thunderstorms. Missing the one who recognizes me—in the labyrinth of my own, necessary formation—the wrought-iron patinaed, ornate bird cages. Someone with gentleness at all the rusted edges.




Weary of the ghosts in the house who do not speak, give credence [definitive]—to their strange presence. The present pivots toward tomorrow, and I am glad. At the precipice, I throw down all the cards from the remnants of the Houses we built—most lost in the Arctic winds that take the aged, poor, cocky, and unprepared. The cacophonous village of the birds at the winter feeder offer distractions and sufficient solace. I offer lamentations for the frozen bird bath, the gathering squirrels, the ornery blue jay. Oh, Mother, do not leave—do not shovel the deck. When they come for you, wait. Tell them you are busy with preparations for the future. Lock all the doors.




In my statue, the left hand has been severed and shorn. I miss it—though eternally grateful for the right. O Maker, is this folly to assist my corroded singing? I court the fluffy tails of squirrels and stalk the crows— in the bitter cold ends of January. Yes, I am moving forward—but away—from the too-bright lite-brite sun-glare of winter snow. The squirrels and crows study me from the trees. I wish they knew me better.




The shelves of the soul can grow too heavy with extraneous effects—and crash eternity’s portal. I saw it happen to you yesterday. I was in the woods with a tureen of potato soup—watching you rummage through your House for crazy glue, then packaging tape. It was very touching how you gingerly handled each fractured shard—before you assembled them—one at a time, so lovingly—into a bizarre creature you cradled in your arms. Things became awkward after that. I won’t say it. I waited under the tallest pines with three hawks—the soup at this point, cold. Until night’s indigo-velvet theater curtains plummeted. Leaving us all—in separate parts of the stage [cubby or pigeon holes, if you will]. Even more removed from ourselves and each other than usual—this Winter of Frozen Promises. Without my flashlight or phone—it took an eternity—to find my way home. When I finally arrived half-frozen—I shed all my layers of clothes. And lit a jasmine candle in your honor.




The mournful wailing of the ice hurts more today than yesterday. It has fallen much too cold—even the sparrows know how to circumvent their shadows. Through the sheerest lace curtains—the elderly woman across the street watches them alight the frozen bird bath. In front of the roiling fire, I wrote you the saddest letter—before I offered my sentences to flame.




The Arctic cold won’t leave us. I can only imagine my father, a boy of twelve—his little brother, just five; his sixteen-year-old sister, and tired forty-year-old parents—in the Siberian taiga for two long winters—taking turns, those old enough, with the other family living in their log cabin, shabby shelter—to keep the fire going enough, without wasting too much firewood—to stay warm. It is silly to hurt for them seventy-six years later—but I can’t help myself. The bitter, vociferous winds accompany me backwards through sharp corners where I don’t want to travel. Oh, Tata, Ciocia, Babcia, and Dziadek—speak to me from the other world. Tell me you are okay, even happy—and that the warm sunlight and your invisible arms—will welcome me.




The angels in the paintings seem very tired—from all their responsibilities and such demands on their timelessness. The humans, so needy—but at least grateful, for the most part—and expressive of that. Their golden hair tangles on the nails of coffins—ironic, since they comb the hair of children with their hands. You are happiest when you think they are watching you—out behind the shed chopping wood like a madman to keep your House warm enough this New Year—secretly worried about the cost to all involved—and those who will freeze. You hope they are watching when you are driving—leaning into the winding roads nervously—avoiding the exit of the crash. That they hover above when you defy sleep—needing less time alone.

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from E C H O [ E S ]

A:   I don’t understand what you’re trying to prove.

Z:   That I have – nothing – to prove.


A:   This path is shadow.

Z:   Yes, this I know




Your silence frightens me.

I search but cannot find

any travel signs to navigate

your plentitude—only yield

and stop.


Your House

has been lightless—

and I worry about you.


Yesterday I threw green

pebbles at your bedroom

window—to no avail.


Did you find

the cathedral bells and

Japanese plum peonies

I left at the garden door?




Yes, darling. The inchworm

green bells and one hundred

plum petals found me.

Buoyed me, in fact.

I have been sleeping

by the fire too many hours—

and wake with coldness

etched into every bone

and frayed nerve.


I am studying

the movement of


blazing flames—

and throw pages

[from defunct diaries

I want no one to read,

even me] to feed it—


before sleep’s goddesses

pull me under the darkness

when I wake without



Can you read these loops

of my delipidated

cursive—that even I

don’t recognize?


Pardon my silence,

darling. There is much

to attempt to comprehend

that eludes me—jumpy

sparrows—that will not


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When I wake shrouded in warm mist though it is still velvet black night holding all the frozen stars, I do not recognize what we have become.

The field where I wept with the dog in my arms; the plateau where the planes graze their inherent splendor. Wild machines pumping their lighted, heavy arms.

The bones ache as if they are becoming hollow. As if it shall be winter forever.

When I finally stand up, the knees and neck attempt to be in synch again, on the same page where I wrote those disturbing sentences about how the sea found me tangled in wild animal screeches.

There is so much I wanted to tell that I couldn’t explain. When the words cut the flesh to find their pattern of bird flight, not chaotic, not frenetic, not messy, not listless, not sorry—

I turn to gaze into internal storm as my father told me a girl should do–bravely.

So I gather my velvet blankets that soak sweats of darkest night dreams that show the way out of the labyrinth. Mazes of streets, parking garages, parking lots, road blocks, cement barriers, cul-de-sacs and déjà vus—the rusted machines I somehow construed.

At the door of the planet HELLO HELLO. Here’s a broken song for the confused, old woman who talks to her husband in the cellar at his work bench. His ghost hovering over her while she sleeps.

Someone’s wife is dying, someone’s father is dying, someone’s wife has left after twenty years without a note, packing up the furniture and children forever.

Someone or something is stroking your hair–

Returning you to the wailing, shifting ice–that reminds: what we are.

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This may be a rude question—a little up front—in your face—but what the hell are you here for?

–At my door soaked from the sleet and rain—after wandering your darkest imaginings by the trap door in the field abutting the airplane landing runway—at the stacks of plastic coffins?

–Ricocheting in the malfunctioning synapses / electrical wiring of my brain?

You seem deranged today—more so than usual–at a loss—and a cost to your own spiritual bottom line. I’ve noticed– I’ve been watching you watch me–as I pace about the House with my binoculars–that I swear I purchased for the opera and the birds at the feeder. Yes, it’s creepy—but nonetheless–

Why are you here–in these lines and syllables, morphemes and such, of this poem? What do you want?

–To kick some metaphorical dog vicariously? Some bi-product of exquisite road rage? All those jerks on your ass and speeding up when you just want to make a left turn, get there–where you are supposed to but don’t wanna be—that place/claustrophobic space—where you want to come unhinged? Splice things open? Bleed a bit? Touch other people’s wounds—to know that somehow—you are really not alone?

No, this is not a pretty poem, so this poem—it wonders what brings you to this artistic, meandering frontier—of nowhere certain?

Do you want to discover some version of reality–of yourself–as you step into this moment’s river—an iteration in motion that you can live with? The ice is wailing at its edges—the blackness emerges from underneath and finds us–though not all of us will open the rusted doors, speak of it.

If I speak of it—will that make you uncomfortable? Will you finally spill? Dish it out? Go without your lamentations? Everything that you cling to—to make it all manageable, palatable, not so intense? Why can’t you talk about it?

No, this is not a beautiful poem. Beauty—it went out the window. It was a visceral decision—and incision into problematic emotion—you know—the road rage. This poem somehow it senses your tired apathy–in the context of how things have turned out–your fractional self-loathing for the part you played without meaning to—those compromised choices with echoing repercussions–let them be.

It understands your anger at the government. What can we do? Write out a metaphysical plan—a bizarre collaboration—when you have time to?

It is time—to spill. Tell me–what it’s like under your skin—I know I creep under it with this scalpel that wants to dissect you—like me, too littered with dis-ease.

I long to share it—parcel it all out. Here take a stanza—hold on tight—you look so-not-yourself—so fraught with winter.

Does this poem tire you—inspire you? It desires you to become lost—in the synapses of its syntax of my brain—its deranged way of piecing it all together–with superglue and mercurial threads—only to pull it all apart—as if it is not human and susceptible to demise—at the end. To end on a final note. Make sure you study for the final. Make sure you bring a pen.



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Don’t watch the World News anymore. It’s not the news of the world, but rather a sad commentary of Trumpism. You will hear nothing about Aleppo, the West Bank, Puerto Rico, Africa, China—most of the map you study before elusive sleep. Instead, you will be apprised of the mauling of women, mass shootings with legal military weapons, terrorism via suicide and non-suicide bombs [pressure cookers cooked up in cyberspace I-want-to-be-a-terrorist school], corrupt voting, police brutality, domestic violence, and the like. Don’t write about your own maulings. There are too many already, and why relive? You just told one person, and that is enough [for now].

Don’t write about the diseases that plague your aging, degenerating body. No one wants to hear. It’s depressing. Laugh more. Set the precedent. Don’t look at your hands, your feet, your long-term goals.

Try not to freak out when the car behind you is practically up your trunk. How would you afford a replacement car at this point—get to work? Explain to your mother about another car crash? When your poor-people health insurance won’t give you any emergency anxiety medicine—lumping you in that category of misuse, abuse, unnecessary compromise?

Relax, it’s not that bad. Rethink your inability to practice yoga, meditate. When the road splits up ahead, take the right lane, the high road; flip him off nonchalantly. Pay attention to the cars ahead and the cars coming at you with their too-bright headlights in the too-dark road in a town that could afford streetlights with the taxes people pay. Pay attention, but imagine something different: flowers, pizza, your dog, your niece, your lovely house, your kind neighbor, the soft cloud-cover protecting star.

Don’t feel bad about the loneliness. It touches many, seeps into the bones of consciousness. Another could help pay the bills but is no guarantee of a get-out-of-jail-free card. Romanticize yourself instead, your ability to stretch out and make noise in the House, leave all the dishes in the sink, pocket plastic cutlery from the gas station of pajamas, donuts, and frozen food; dust the soles of your feet off before you go to bed with books, notebooks, and magazines.

It’s not that bad. When you run out of heating oil, build a fire. Burn all your old diaries, the love-letter lies, all the newspapers your mother gives you. When the skies turn ominous, head for the cellar and hang with the ghosts. Be gentle with them. They are skittish like you. If you can’t make it to the cellar in time, go to the bathtub if in the back of the house; the chimney opening if in the front. Pray. It can’t hurt.

When sleep hides from you because your focus is too immense, listen to music, YouTube the ocean, torrential rain [but try and forget about the faulty gutter at the corner of the bedroom]. Don’t watch TV. There is too much you can’t afford to buy. There is too much you can’t afford to think about. Let the dog love on you. Repeat his name with your hands on his delicate face, velvet ears. Remember your lost father’s voice, the last thing he said.

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I miss you so much in the future already. My Archives of the Future. See H for House [of Being], hands, handiwork, hardship, unhandy, handless, hurt, holy, he, him, hearsay, human, holding, hope, honor, Henryk, hatching, etc.

It’s been a bad winter for us so far in the bitter cold wind-chill—for you and your partner, odd toes—all ten of you gone purple [gone quiet], numb, thickened pads, and an infection to boot. The middle finger [given to the gods] x-rayed with right hand. Stay composed, stay quiet—not birds in flight when I speak; rest. The antibiotics are promised to remove the swelling in another day or two. And if not, an infusion for you that will benefit the entire body. Maybe.

I try not to hold it against you when you drop everything, such as pens, notebooks, the cat treats, glasses of water, the dishes–and then the torso [core] too pained to pick any of it up. The broom has a new use—and the new one with the dustpan attached. I bought cheetah print and another in zebra for the back of the House—to cheer us all up. And I find the sweeping soothing—like driving or cleaning—before the dirt diseased us.

The new, charcoal gloves I bought you—we will sport them tomorrow with the new, insulated velvet boot socks [also gray and with tassels!] The leather ones from last year have given up their other halves, no long pairs, and I’ll no longer embarrass you with mismatched colors when driving—because they’re no longer warm enough—and you’re better than that.

Also purchased—a new set of thick, multi-colored Sharp Mark, permanent pens—18 colors [cheaper than Sharpie, and we have been using the debit card a lot lately, as you know–buying presents for the family and us, of course. We deserve it. It’s been a tough year since the car crash, but we must write out these secrets in thick teal, plum, and dark umber ink that seeps through to the second page—in large handwriting so that I can later read. No one else has to see the illegible loopiness. It’s embarrassing for all of us. I know. We must hold our cards to the chest as much as possible so as not to bum anybody out.

I also purchased your coffins online today–made of olive wood, sanded smooth—with a lining of white velvet. I know your purple will be more pronounced, but I refuse black—and the flowers and ribbons will be apple/pear green orchids and golden tulle. When you have become ghosts of the House, I shall dig you up for the autopsy—for the new generation of doctors to figure out what went bad and how to save your future brothers and sisters. I’m sorry it has all come to this. Gnarled and puffed up, you are still elegant, strong—and I will remember you fondly this way.



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Logic follows    everyone

fallen    [not an anchor] yesterday


lifted   empty turrets

stone home                 seeing the breath

dreaming the luncheon

pulled from dizzy


A [re]presentation that would not be understood

applauded, hollow.




The smallest pieces carry the formula

I am hungry, he is lost

what I thought has no perpendicular

hinge  to hang out those fabrics

that need to be cleansed

they are just color.




The one gone looking for the open field



by a sentence that would not end

explain, offer rules, parallel

equations of tiny-hoop consolation

to predict, conspire, deepen.


What could not be said      at the same time

The way it happened

erased the forest

threw away the riffraff

shying away

falling fast[er] [after].



The arched-back

horror       shape

of an hour

of     dread





Then slows

opens s[wal]lows

then to beg[in]



That music didn’t go anywhere

that hour didn’t begin


Everyone told to forget the execution

of the one who could not remember

the fields without

moving trees.




The tests show

the sickness


why you haven’t measured [up] properly


ripped on too-high speed

un-       like                  imagined

the center of the spine



insect that cannot

roll over


A blank screen


blanket of worn-out [to]ys.




The chaos        underneath

invented, superimposed, extracted,

hung up   bracelet of  murky stream


multiple choice

unwritten        when

that waking

across the street

a handmade ripped pinwheel.




The library books piled on the floor

mathematical      induction


do not open the equation

be prepared to jump in           [the mass grave]

the remnants collapse

into abstract


a map of essences

[not a chore].




Violins in the wall[s]


conspire[d] long


the horizon

of fatigue


circles on the floor

broken    motif[-idea]s.





The keeping on        reinvented


the tools    needing to be re-conceptualized

into new tools


the building lying



for dwelling     yet flying


a construction that moves

that hillside tide of __________ [gratitude]




The stairs led to strange plateaus


In each corner of the maze

I read of your affliction

at some sure corridor

point    weigh station

how buoyant    the bones.


The latch rusted and creeking

smashing the teeth repeated

[suffering] seeping through

punched-out holes

gashed shoulders

shadows [of ] being  just [dust-light].


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The sea thistle later this year than last—a reminder of how summer can stall—free falling cold and rain—falling in strings of days longer than could be accounted for—standing there by the rusted gutter in back—wondering about it all.

Daylight falls missing; its light tipping somewhere else, like Mongolia or Australia–away from us, so subtly. Track the increments; measure the sundial for tomorrow’s tomorrow [if a surfeit of energy or time]—when the sun glare will shock the eyes once again, even under sunglasses—while you fetch the mail or the dog while avoiding the chitchat of neighbors.

Account carefully for everything missing: the car rental and safety deposit key, the left strap of your favorite sandals, the prescription renewed the day before last, the dog’s heart worm pills, the second half of the manuscript, the shutters for the luminous storm.

Sweep the china and glass dropped during lightning—into the treasure chest of useless pieces [that could cut–if stepped on or handled improperly]–charting the negative space around confidence, resolve, beliefs [that everything does not matter equally; that everything gets better].

People will still suffer in beautiful patina Houses [cages] that rust in the rain. They dig out  so savagely—out of the elaborate labyrinths of their own melancholies.

Write this hour– in the Dictionary of Sadness, Handbook for Fatigue, Diary of Mercurial Wanderings–the Notebook of Promises to Oneself, Notebook of Modified Contingencies, Notebook of Intensities, Coda of Rain.

Chart with the most reliable instruments of travel–how long until the hour erases itself, the summer rain evaporates, all the keys go missing from the piano, the dog stops chasing its tail?

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In Memory of My Hands, or The New Ghosts in the House

You were beauties back in the day. Some would have said graceful, especially in your mother’s black velvet gloves up to the biceps (also slender then) with a million black pearl buttons. I know, you couldn’t even button one now. It’s okay. You had a good run, and it’s not over yet.

I want to remember you with a paintbrush balanced between right thumb and index finger—all those horses you painted and scenes of light on sea water. How you used to point at things as a small girl. “What that, Tata” “That?” “Over there?” “Here, Tata?” Why, sky? Why, river?

Fondly– I shall always remember you both flying so frenetically across the keyboard into all hours of night and daylight. Elegant birds alighting from the tallest pines, finding cloud and sky. At your own piano. The pads of your tips so different back then at the keys and holes of clarinet and oboe. You could feel heat and didn’t get cut up so much and turn white in the cold. Not to mention all of those pens. Your cursive –the envy of your Catholic school peers. “A+” on every composition for handwriting and content. Now, the ink a tangle of loopy, foreign language—I can’t even read. I don’t hold it against you, please know. I just miss you both so much. And this has hardly begun.

You used to carry the most fragile things, stacked up antique china and glass, with such strength and so gingerly, quickly, moving things always from place to place in the House—rearranging everything for me so I could stay on track, focused, not drown.

You were adept at donning necklaces and applying makeup for battle. Please believe you will always be integral to my warrior name. You were so strong, muscular, gentle. You could pull the most tenacious weeds out from the patio pavers and even from the cracks in the driveway without any tools. I loved that about you. And yet your delicate, fluent shadow puppets entertained cities of children for decades. All of the long hair you French-braided for them. Learning to knit, sew, embroider, quilt, and crochet with your mother. Your gesticulations also– were exquisite–pure ballet–accompanying me even when I spoke, carrying me. It was a language all your own. The cello grew to love you as much as I do—even now.

When you can no longer hold paintbrushes and glass without your grasp opening to shatter—and fallen items on the floor I can no longer bend down to pick up–I have a plan in place. You mustn’t worry. I will put you out of your misery. A hand-made small coffin for left and right lined with the blackest velvet of raven wing. I shall bury you under the largest pines and visit you at night. Do not be afraid. The two dogs buried back there, three cats, one rabbit, one blue jay, two sparrows, two robins, one owl, and one possum—shall keep you company when I’m in the House—missing you.

In time, you too, will wander back in the House through the cellar with Rita, her husband, and my father. Yes, we had a good run. And it’s not over yet. This chapter has just begun—though its pages fly faster than I am able to fathom–or believe.



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Night Gardening

The rain found us in warm early winter near the night garden—sitting in the doorway-frame— hearing, not each other—but only rain. Until she, as I begged her—came to reclaim my wild-river hair, cleanse my face of contamination of days gone by—and finally: erase me again.

It’s so much easier this way—without the time stamp, paperwork, and passwords I can’t remember—without the delay of another’s footfall, notebook of demands. The Christmas tree and Prince of Poetry did not love me—as perfectly as needed: a collaboration [tennis game] of pure poetry.

Without even a note–I left him at the train tracks. Yes, how impulsive and rude of me–but I could not articulate my need of night travel, stay with my suitcase of unfinished poems.

I gathered the rusted tools of my grandmother and set to work before dawn, who once again like magic clockwork, would climb the dark trellis of the horizon, lift all the secrets of the fallen kale and lettuce seeds, dahlia and geranium tubers, peony roots;

all the dead growth with my misshapen hand, I would snap off—the brown paper florets of the once-limelight hydrangea, the frost-nipped phlox, the barren butterfly trees. It is often difficult to differentiate the living from the dead; the latter holding the former down, begging for company.

From the distance of the neighbor’s property, the owl punctuated rain with its own articulation of night. I shed my bulky sweater before I climbed the dog fence and privacy wall–to peer over into someone else’s world—where I learned the loneliness of scholars, philosophers, and widows.

If you are looking for me, wait patiently. Leave the tray of coffee and crumpets with my mother’s apricot jam. I am smoking my grandfather’s pipe–wrestling my night thoughts, intense emotions that flood and fill with a music of follow; a wave that is dangerous and sublime.

Spit out in another realm, I am finishing all the poems before the hourglass loses its silk, and the clocks in my House give up their hands.

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