Costumes

in this life

that doesn’t fit her

she slips in and out

of costume

the intellectual

professional

advocating, teaching

smartly skirting

the absence of her profession

toeing a brightly painted

barricade

the suburban

divorcee

in need of extra cash

burning moonlit

candle at both ends

concealing needs

beneath

lauded patience

and efficiency

the exiled

brood mother

conjuring

aspartame-free

nestings

repeatedly booting

cowbirds’ parasitic

resentment eggs

the “call me at any time

I’ll be there to listen,

stage an intervention,

bake or hold your hand,

give you painful truths

to which you won’t listen”

friend

defriended

defrauded when she

calls collecting

attempting to

befriend herself

the partner

flawed and hurtful

hurting

unmoored

awash in

earsplitting

silent recrimination

treading water

on industrial carpet

the woman

defamed and defiled

vilified and reviled

shedding sackcloth

and incendiary ashes

standing naked

before herself

in harsh or

compassionate

scrutiny

Ode to Poetics

inchoate community

scrapes a foothold

in consciousness

amorphously distinctive

characters

who listen and respond

they can’t place

the staccato

of her hurried footfall

but begin to recognize

the thunder

underlying

measured words

they can’t trace

the jaw-jut

of grim determination

but start to see

firm sketching

o’er chalked outlines

they can’t track

the timber of her voice

pick it from the masses

but catch the strains

of love and loss

or laughing in fate’s face

as she drags

herself upright

they can’t anticipate

the upper octaves

of an impending

stifled shriek

but spot and chorus

outraged indignation

they don’t hear

the trembly quaver

of heartaches’

plaintive pleadings

but witness

the scratchy whisper

coarse suturing

of her soul

 

Clean Up on Aisle 6

I grocery shop

Friday nights after work

from habit

rather than necessity

in the full days

demands of kids’ schedules

house, garden and partner

episodic social life

weekly menu

planned and posted

efficient and organized

chore checked off

as weekend begins

tonight my list

is sparse

self-deluding

endeavor a farce

it’s allergy season

vigorous nose-blow

disguises

upstart tears

I summon the smile

chat with the cashier

repay Trader Joe’s

perpetual friendliness

in kind

small-talk, check

gracious smile

he encourages me

to pick out

a fresh bouquet

on him

Do my eyes

scream wounded doe?

Falling Leaves

pages

memory book

leaves

drop unbidden

wisps

remembered bliss

caress

parched skin

mock

in counterfeit

comfort

nettles

buried trauma

pierce

protective coating

tattoo

interred torment

integumentally

pleasurable or

poisonous

recollections

haunt

(Photo: mine)

 

Swordplay with a Side of Patriarchy

my vagina

was minding its own business

demure, close-lipped

modestly veiled

refrained from spewing

Feminazi rants

 

when it was given a directive

(couched as advice

condescended)

by a system-anointed penis

(hereinafter referred to as penis #1)

threatened by numbers

purportedly inflated

authoritatively proclaimed

by a self-anointed penis

(hereinafter referred to as penis #2)

 

penis #1 is a jailer

(not my jailer,

but a jailer nonetheless)

THE MAN

con-institutionally invested

in his corrupted version

of reality

 

penis #2 is my boss

(top boss, company owner boss)

source of financial solvency

prone to demi-grandiosity

bestower of a project

worthy of my talents

engaging intellect and passion

while boosting his status

on the back of my

inspired labor

 

penis #1 holds a key

to implementation

of said endeavor

locked in

blinded to reality

in perpetuity

terrified

in that

never admitting fear way

penis #2 may broadcast

his question-raising

numbers publicly

 

a sticky wicket

admittedly

 

the obvious solution

to a penis square off:

give the vagina

(any vagina in range will do)

none of the power

all of the responsibility

 

I’ve seen

this movie before.

The ending is predictable.

 

Where’s the remote?

Oh, of course…..

 

 

 

 

Faux Finish

upright

backlit by strategically

shone smiles

 

beams lend

a bronzed antiquing

gilt

the flaking

overlay

 

the rusted

glaze

upheld

by iron will

 

in the light

of her smile

her façade

stands

 

touched

just right

or in perfect

wrongfulfillment

she will

crumble

 

degenerate

desiccated

dust

 

(photo:mine)