Masquerade Ball

She walks among them

Middle class and mannered

Poised, articulate

Treading self-assured

Through mind-numbing days


Dresses as if

She holds place and purpose


Strides as if

She retains value

Felonious, among the good


Interacts as if

Her heart and mind

Hold currency against

Interminable judgments


Speaks as if

MLK’s dream, realized

Allows character’s years

To outweigh

Moments’ mistakes


Dreams as if

Her future,

Not pre-destined

As squalid squashed

Ignored cow-patty,

Holds potential promise


Hopes as if

All future prospects

Float universal,

Independent of hell’s

Fed-writ damnation,

Soar blasphemous heavenward



Day by day

She materializes

Cinderalla with pumpkin coach

In full costume



Waiting to dance


There is Crying in Yoga

There is no Can’t

Says Yoda, and the finely-toned

Instructor of yoga

Cajoling a headstand attempt

From sore and exhausted student

Seeking strength and peace

In rivers of sweat

Flooding droughted plains

Of determined exertion.


Quivering muscles,

Quaking upside down heart

Find drops of healing salve

In steadying touch of

Insistent teacher.

Ludicrous posture demands

Test limits, push endurance

Dissolve tension to

Puddled laughter.


Collapsed dripping

Onto welcoming mat

Satisfied with maximal

Effort expended.

Sing-along serenades

Departing community member.

She sings past choking

Knot of loosed grief

Tears sweat-mingling.


Conventional wisdom says

There is no crying in baseball

Stern CO’s dictated

“No crying in jail”

There are, evidently

Rivers of unshed tears

Running down her face

Released in the safety

Of yoga’s communion.


Devil’s Seamstress

With fingers calloused and bloody

Persistent and breath held

She has ripped out the embroidery

Emblazoning her shame.

Balled up and discarded

Soiled shreds of thread

Designed to forever

Her outcast.


Wardrobe washed and mended

Donned in fledgling hope

She scans for telltale stitchery

Escaped from past’s expungement.

Step by quivering step

She dares to walk amongst

Those never soul-scarred

By hell’s needlework.


In moments and in days

Monogram’s proclamation

Echoes solely silent

Nightmare reverberations.

Hope’s tentative flapping wings

Crumple, stomped and heartbroken

At each revelation that invisible

Needlework once again scarlet flames.


Winged Touchstones

Beyond the cell block

Frigid barren cinderblock

Clanging metal monstrosities

That threaten her hold on life

Flit feathered swaths of color

Glimpsed bursts of joy

Pulsing wingbeats that ground


Beneath the crosshatched cage

Stark steel-roofed pen

Orange clad clouded souls

Stretch concrete prone

Absorbing precious rays

Steal brazen avian visitors

Pecking away at despair


Between the floating clouds

Rec yard shifting slideshow

Wing shifting shadows

Promises of vitality

Waft disembodied chirps

Unencumbered song

Whisper tweets for peace


Alongside the gravel track

(In open air of faux freedom)

Feathered friends accompany

Her solitary circular trek

Skittishly silent witnesses

Or raucous commentators

On her tear-stained miles


Within the fenced confines

Skunk-smoke drenched environs

Where pounding figure eights

Beat away re-entry’s terror

‘Hood’s impervious denizens

Flock unfettered to join her

In the ghetto frat house yard


Among the multitudinous trees

Populating nunnery’s grounds

Lonely driven rambles

In search of rejuvenation

Discover her everpresent companions

Surreptitious or broadcast

Winged touchstones of hope