with a new lover

invariably involves

comparing of scars

childhood mishaps

in shiny white relief

on forehead, knees and shins

color in early chapters

adulting misadventures

cicatrixed upon hands, arms

character sketch

in smudged charcoal

faded surgical lines


in place of angry red

chronicle a life inhabited

with accidents or infirmities


we disclose our pockmarks

fingertracing the defects

as we murmur

to each other’s skins

narrating full-lived lives

connecting dots

on a sensory treasure map

yet neglect to mention

fissures in our hearts

gashes in our souls

that bleed on contact







Virgin’s Parallax

as I’ve walked through this life in these womanly curves

I’ve struggled to step safely, not killin’ my verve

since sheltered pubescence my hips have been bewitching

looks naughty and nice, or that set my nerves twitching

this power in my saunter I very soon learned

embodied in me, creates fires that burned

me, carrying unwieldy burdens spelled

responsibilities for self and others melded

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

keep living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

keep living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

all the messages given about how to use these

curves that entice and disturb, don’t tease!

scramble a girl’s sense of right and wrong

looking for clues in the words of a song

if my power is so contoured, why is it reported

whorish to wield, prudish to control, distorted

if I prance in a moment of joyful exuberance

it’s my fault if you employ your misguided protuberance

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

keep living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

keep living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

decades later I may dare to enjoy

magic manifest when my sway I employ

I see how you watch, savor the show

deep down in my heart, I always will know

the risks I run when I roll these hips

read the lust on your silent lips

while I keep on with my walking

you may do more than talking

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax

been living all my life, looking through a virgin’s parallax


Who, What, Where, When


is this man

who routinely rapes

with his eyes and his words

publicly displaying those violations

proud of his assaults

who reportedly also rapes

with hands and other appendages

braggadociously brazen

of these conquests

until confronted

then lies like a cur

that teens would label pussy

bequeathing the cleanest vaginas

a rotten stench

he is the ruler of a mighty land


is the consequence

for actions reprehensible

broadcast and repeated

vulgarly degrading

women as meat

for him to masticate

or masturbate

drawing blood

violently squeamish

fearful of omnipresent life-force

of which he is devoid

he is acclaimed and rises to greater power

dissenting voices are squashed


or rise in united protests


is this place

where citizens are brutally mocked

castigated (no, not castrated-

that would be barbaric)

sorted into castes

based upon his basest instincts

as he ordained himself

judge of all female bodies

upon which he may feast

his beady lecherous eyes

vile forked tongue

or libertine whims

it is the greatest country on earth

why are those women bitching

they have it made here

it must be that time of the month


will it end –

the license

graphic and interminably unpoetic

heisted by men

holding positions of power

brandishing them as medieval maces

stiff and steely

as they fancy their penises

wreaking devastation

upon the weaker sex

it will end

when all women

are joined in warrior chorus

with right warrior brethren











You Knocked

it wasn’t a knock at first

you were running from yourself

in your frenetic pace

you bumped against my heart

I had it padlocked and barricaded

an old woman

living alone and afraid

in a formerly genteel neighborhood

now overgrown ghetto

grassy dilapidation

punctuated by peppering gunshots


behind all my barricades

curious and trembling

I peeked

through heart’s peephole

your ragged breath

and soulful eyes

screamed lost puppy


death- gripping the deadbolt

I slid it back

cracked the thick door ajar

both slightly breathless

(you from your marathon-sprint,

me from anxious palpitations)

we spoke

through the steel grate


hours later

we were chatting

leaning against opposite doorjambs

your breath now even

mine slightly less held

I unlatched the grate

offered you a drink

to quench your avid thirst


my heart protested

creaking and groaning

louder in subsequent breaches

you heard the ancient screech

of rusty heartstrings

unstrung and stretched to poing-ing

held my gaze

steady, warm, unwavering


I felt the fire of your soul

in the glancing brush

of your arm against mine

when I said you could

step in, shelter

from the elements

now you are ensconced

snug inside my atrium









Deep Throated Menagerie

there must be something in the water

that she swallowed

along with aphorisms



social edicts

collective glue

that constrict and restrict

those who might

come unglued

unsightly hued

in garish reds and purples

from the bruising of this life

miniature ragtag zoo

dictates born and bred

hold your horses

disguised chastisements

cat’s got your tongue

stop beating a dead horse

reminders of low set sights

when pigs fly

don’t count your chickens

coaching in indirect


ignoring elephants in the room

be a fly on the wall

inelegant admonitions

don’t be a bitch

you’re not the top dog

animated Animalia

congregate and morph

lodge as the

frog in her throat





Assault, Ad Nauseum

the rape, ironically

was only the beginning

of the assaults

those penetrating moments

intoxication blurred

splattered a visceral montage

burned into retina

tattooed onto neurons

imprinted, lacerating, into cell fibers

they lurk, Lochness monsters

beneath the surface

drag her

gulping mouthfuls of horror


in the undertow

now and then

the soundtrack

needle on the record

needle on the record

needle on the record

is the aftermath

the boyfriend

who responds to her question

(early morning shocked and hungover)

“Is it rape if you’re too drunk to make them stop?”

with “just go to work” instructions

(ever the worker bee, she showers,

goes to work, where the assailant awaits)

followed, in subsequent days

with an impossible dichotomy

endorse retribution

or acknowledge consent

relationship ends

self-doubt persists

the girlfriends

evening following

whose helpful solution

to repeated blurting

of her reality

is well-schooled

good girl avoidance

“let’s go get drunk”

as her torment

slices too close to the bone

of experiences

they pretended away

the nurse

emergency room jaded

steri-stripped of empathy

whose face banged the gavel

when indoctrinated Catholicism

spoke in her voice

refusing morning after pills

the detective

whose investigative strategies

consisted of assigning blame

to wayward vaginas

that frighten him for his daughter

(her age, he emphasizes)

despite his assiduous

applications of guilted

chastity belts

while enshrining the statement


of the other

the prosecutor

(months delayed,

read persistent self-advocacy)

who dropped preparation

in favor of lunch

blindsided her

before the grand jury

referencing nonexistent conversation

automatic pilot kicks in

appeasing, she nods assent

another helpful helper noted

forever fuming

her voicelessness

in the aftermath


Best When Used By

it is written in invisible ink

etched profoundly

upon this cobwebbing

that ensnares us

sticks clinging


to lips, eyes and limbs

these connecting strands

that adhered to us

as we walked unaware

through a day in our lives

there is an expiration date

it’s blurry through my tears

and got smeared in the writhing

of our repeated intertwining

we don’t know what it is

yet we both know it’s there

we can see it

flickering firefly

in the moonlight

it shows

when the black light

of my heart



(image: Erte)

Snake in a Can

coiled deep

within her cells

lie dormant serpents

seething sensory snippets

of the past

in inopportune moments

unseen approach

innocuous but unexpected

ring of a phone

the snake strikes

bursting from her chest

in darting heart

and thrashing breath

she laughs off

her shocking jump

reassuring startled colleagues

she is tightly tethered

to sanity and reality


(art: Johann Ulrich Krauss)