"Since flesh can't stay, we keep the breath aloft. Since flesh can't stay, we pass the words along." --Erica Jong

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It never rains in sunny California
and it never rained where I come from
winter and summer it was the same,
our flat forced grass was coaxed
out of the sand with promises of sun
sun and more sun.
Reality was chapped knees, chapped lips,
too-small oxfords with the toes scuffed out,
Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers
singing "Happy Trails...."

After the war they shot cats
that ran wild and thrashed in the bamboo stand.
There were sunny California Januaries when wind
rattled layers of loose wallpaper
on bedroom walls, and worn checkered oilcloth
covered the kitched table.

Night was an alien thing.
Snakes climbed dark folds in my windowcurtains
while voices murmured from lit rooms
on the other side of the door: Deuces wild,
they said. Here's another chip
to sweeten the pot.

Grandma Josie, dead from diabetes
at thirty-four stood quietly in the dark
on my side of the door, whispering
with urgent intent.
I could hear the voice but not the words.

Now, no dreaming here
I hear the words unravelling clear
and unmistakable:

Beware the body that betrays.
Beware the body...

1 comment:

jillypoet said...

This is incredible. So glad I found it. I love your images. So vivid.

About Me

My photo
1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.