Here, Let Me Just Cuddle Beneath Your Ribs

Take off the white gloves

and the bullshit pretentions

that force you to smile

even though you want to

scream and run around like a banshee

clawing at your ecru walls

that shine like desperation

and siphon out the soul

you traded for all this



I want to stare into those eyes,

when the contacts have been removed,

to see all the way

into the spirit of you

your pure desires

cowering in the corner,

afraid to be noticed

make waves,

make a sound,

lest you have to turn a mirror

and look truly

at who you are

independent of the kids

irrespective of the spouse

free of the job

unaffiliated from all the mind-numbing pursuits

you’re told will make you happy


I want to reach past your ribs

and nestle in your heart

to know what glorious purpose burdens you

to what you choose to do with this one

surreal life,

amazing chance

to worship god or goddess

with all the talents and passion

that were bestowed upon you?


What makes you passionate?

What god exists in your world?

Do you think we all see the same color of sky?

If god doesn’t exist,

how are we to explain orgasms and John Coltrane?

What is to be done about peace in the middle east?

(I personally think we need to put mushrooms in the groundwater,

because you can’t help but love your neighbor after)

What is your art?

What do you yearn for?

How can I help you achieve it?

Do you feel the same nostalgia

about burritos and nuclear power plants

that I do? Why not?

What sounds make your toes curl

and the hair stand up

on the back of your neck?

for me, it’s the ocean

or my daughter crying

Why aren’t there such things as UFOs?

I hope we’re not the most intelligent

beings in the universe

What sounds or words break your heart?

Can it ever be fixed?

Did you remember it’s red, almost purple

and throbbing, contorting,

bursting, and teeming

to make you alive?

Not polite and beige,

smiling and calm,

The way we  pretend

life is supposed to be

as we chit chat over lattes

about our children’s teachers

and birthday parties.






A Secret Place To Not See Or Feel. But Heal.


When the world has gone mad

and the finger pointing starts to bruise

disappointment in humanity is at an all time high

hope disappears with the sunset

I  place my ear on your chest

and listen quietly

to your heart beating

for me

and everything is serene

in that perfect place

in that glorious moment.


c'est la fucking vie

I’m told I’m not so ladylike

to say the things I do

but of all the words that I could choose

mine certainly ring true


For what speaks more honestly

when the cat bites voraciously at my skin

than the sound of bloodcurdling “shit!!”

so the evil animal knows not to try that again?


And then there’s the exclamation of  “bollocks”

not a word, more like a sound

when bad news or an unpleasant surprise

comes unexpectedly around.


Or the handy “son of a bitch”

which refers to a woman or man

or a car that won’t start, the copier that stalls,

a performance outcome that is less than.


Sometimes I think the word asshole

about someone I perceive as mean

a customer who is rude to a waiter, litterbugs

to the entitled, this seems too obscene.


And then there is bestest one

my vice, if a word can be so.

I love the word “fuck” and all of it’s forms

so much, I can’t let it go.


Of course there’s the verb

the most vulgar use of the word, surely

but everyone thinks of it all of the day

and chastises me for acting impurely.


But fuck as a noun,  there’s a vast array of terms

to describe animal, vegetable, and mineral

I say I don’t give a flying one often

and emphasizes fully the cynical


And oh to describe things  using “fucking”

to accentuate highly this world

and all of the intense nouns, from things to beliefs

and the right emphasis is unfurled.


I know there is vocabulary better suited to this

where I am flowery, delightful, and pure

but in this vast world, full of excitable things,

I’m just not that fucking demure.



An Essay on Man: Epistle I, By Alexander Pope

  Ask for what end the heav’nly bodies shine,
Earth for whose use? Pride answers, ” ‘Tis for mine:
For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow’r,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev’ry flow’r;
Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew,
The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew;
For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me, health gushes from a thousand springs;
Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies.”


       But errs not Nature from this gracious end,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
“No, (’tis replied) the first Almighty Cause
Acts not by partial, but by gen’ral laws;
Th’ exceptions few; some change since all began:
And what created perfect?”—Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then Nature deviates; and can man do less?
As much that end a constant course requires
Of show’rs and sunshine, as of man’s desires;
As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temp’rate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav’n’s design,
Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline?
Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms,
Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,
Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar’s mind,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind?
From pride, from pride, our very reas’ning springs;
Account for moral, as for nat’ral things:
Why charge we Heav’n in those, in these acquit?
In both, to reason right is to submit.


       Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discompos’d the mind.
But ALL subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The gen’ral order, since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.

Something About Mary

I know it’s my Catholic upbringing that really put Mary in the spotlight of my heart. She was devotional, kind, beautiful by all renderings, and strong. Of course, this catapulted her to stardom in my life at an early age, along with Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. Now that time has gone on and I’m not the church-going type so much anymore, I still find a goddess-like fascination with this woman, her image, and the changing meanings she holds in my life. Now that I’ve decided to take on the life of a starving artist, I paint her almost constantly.

The other night at supper, a friend and I were discussing who the next female super star of the world is, now that Madonna’s career has tapered off. Since we’re middle aged and culturally irrelevant now, we couldn’t think of anyone else and didn’t trust the advice of our adolescent girls. This morning as I lie awake in bed thinking of that conversation, I was chuckling to myself that it probably is and always was Mary. I mean, she makes appearances still worldwide. Her image is in museums, homes, public spaces, toast, aprons… There are songs about her. Pilgrims swoon at the sight of her. I went to Graceland once, and I wasn’t even that excited.

I’ve included several traditional and contemporary pieces because, like the symbol of Mary in my life, art makes me think and feel. And lately, I’ve chosen to adopt her as a symbol of the strong female, and I’d really like my car painted with her on the front.



Quarterback Princess

We all come with colorful baggage.

the kind of luggage that is so specialized

it can hold a whole lifetime

in each of the dark, buried pockets

and zipped away

the memories of your father

who drank too much

or your mother who never seemed proud of you

because she couldn’t say those words

and didn’t know how much they meant to you.

that they meant everything to you.

and now she’s dead.

and can nevermore

embrace you, with steaming tears and perfume,

in the way only a mother can

and hold you tight

to tell you the truth:

you were the reason she lived for so long.

because of your choices, your accomplishments,

the mistakes you made.

your flair for living that she always envied.

but it seemed, rather, your sister was her favorite

and that will be packed away

in the baggage you wear.

and so will be the lover

who told you that you meant nothing

because of your imperfect figure,

the ugly toes, and gap in your teeth.

or maybe the glasses and the cowlick,

which you now spend a zillion dollars

to make it seem like you never had to begin with.

Tuck that away in the suitcase of experience.

and drag it through the mud

to arrive at new lovers,

unpack the second guessing.

and peering down to make sure

no one is noticing your toes.

Maybe the carryon includes a bit of the badness

that follows you from school,

when smoking pot and goofing off

seemed a better choice than studying

and now you can’t find new friends

who don’t view you that way.

or exactly the opposite

and your bookwormishness

fed the machine into being socially awkward

so that the hamster wheel continues

even to this day, but tiny and spinning

and packed in your baggage.

Or maybe you’ve just left the husband who cared more about his team than you

screaming at the tv about football

hanging up on friends

getting pissed when the team fumbles

making your daughter wear only the team colors

because what’s more American than worshiping the tv

at the church of sports

and critiquing the commercials

obsessing over stats

and injuries

and salaries

and trades

while forgetting to ask the family how their day was.

or ignoring.

same thing.

but that goes into the luggage,

the baggage of memories,

shaping experiences,

that are cemented onto you,

have become part of you.

In a quiet moment, though,

I hope you have a time

to sit with your luggage.

unpack it alone.

and sort out the memories,

tenderly refold them.

though pained they may be.

I hope there are some glimmers there,

some shiny pieces

of the spelling bee

and making your first muffins,

the smell of your grandfather

as he smoked his pipe and told you stories

of life on the farm,

when kids could just play

and meeting your grandmother

picking apples during the depression.

and their big dream to travel west to Seattle.

one day.

until she got blessedly pregnant, with your beautiful mother.

I hope you take all these memories and wash them,

sort through them,

keep them all with you

for the rest of your life,

but tightly bound in your suitcase,

which you can now throw under your arm

like a football

and charge straight ahead,

to those who defend against full lives

and break through the line

away from the pile

of obstacles in life

who look like linesmen,

or running backs,

or challenges meant to block your freedom

your purpose.

take that damn baggage

and run straight ahead,

never looking back.

only forward.

and defend that life.

until you use it

to win.

and be a champion.

the champion you are.

complete with vulnerabilities,


dark history,

and beautiful, rich, baggage.

I Thought It Was Just Me

It’s those quiet conversations

where just you two exist

and you realize

that for all these years,

although you’ve suffered in silence,

you weren’t suffering alone.

She has been suffering, too.

In her own silent way.

And none of that matters

now that the corner is turned

out of the shadows

and you are bathed

in the warm light

of acceptance and hope.

And now that you

see the cracks of her dark body closing

and her suffering diminishing,

you realize that once and


you now have each other

to walk boldly into the light

and leave the silent suffering

to the pages

of the past.

A Group Of People I Saw On Sunday Last

Sitting in my local bar

in the seaside tourist town

at two on a Sunday

a group of eight appears

and saddles themselves up,

orders drinks,

chats familiarly,

all smiling and exuberant

as the bartender brings

the bloody marys and chardonnay

for the oldest lady,

who sits in the middle.

And my mind starts arranging them

into groups

and stories,

to try and decipher

who are the siblings,

the parents, the lovers.

How were the connections made?

Will they order?

Are they all vegetarians?


Who among them has cancer eating away their body right now,

and doesn’t even know it?

Or does know it.

And chooses these seven people

of the seven billion available

to share this one pint of beer

on a blissful Sunday.

Who woke up in who’s arms today?

And did they jump at the opportunity

to tell their partner

how meaningful they are in the

imperfect life he or she can offer in return?

Or did they wish that they could wake up alone,

and not have to pretend through social outings

like this one?

As the hours linger on

and the group shifts conversations

and partners

and energy,

again making fodder

to advance all the stories

about these people’s lives

and if they’ve lived well

loved well

been loved well

and where their lives will


to flourish,

to end,

after they leave the bar.

And I’ve finished

this whiskey.