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






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









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)


riding the crest of a moment of power

I crash facefirst into the trough

choking on salt-water spray


I scrabble upon the shore


scraped upon the grit

resurgent in pounding grief

tonight will not be the night

I control the storm

pulse lightening from my fingertips

I survey the shipwreck

knowing I was

not the captain

tonight survival is power




disguise themselves masterfully

competing for honors at Carnival

cherubic and beaming

they devise diabolical inducements

haloed incubi

ferret out hapless innocents

roasting over flames

display for her

their spit-turned agony

heart bursting

she inevitably

scrapes and gnaws away bindings

bloodied in the clawing

only to discover

scorched limbs

-possessed by parallel demons-

refuse release


she covers their charred skins


curling herself around

melting flesh

having not yet

met her own demise

but carrying scars

in incinerated futures

this time

she catches a whiff

of smoked hopes

amongst fiendish enticements

does not abandon

smoldering victims

of their own monsters

slashes at ties

cajoles unprising

from frozen captive

when inferno rages


martyr remains


she lets go

blisters rise

over heart and dermis

looks her demons

in their glowing eyes








Vacation Introspectered

vacationing with ghosts

packs apprehension in her luggage

specters of years shared

memories made

moments tasted

linger in the back of her throat

as she swallows melancholy

apparitions of her beloved

shadow every room

stroll in tandem

down windy country roads

sunbathe beside her

lakeside, longing

they drift among the hours

lazy and relaxed

haunting lackadaisically

ever-present reminders

of love lost, never forgotten

phantom remembrances

hover, visions evergreen

sunsetting in mauve




Epic Glances

I want to look into the eyes

of the you who sees

in my ambered flecks of pain

long traveled travails

not smoky jet trails

of practiced perfidy

I want to hold the gaze

of the you who regards

the lines feather-etched

in optical corners

testaments to smiled miles

not aged allegations

I want mutual glances

to bask in storied tales

tenderly turning the pages

of our life and times

writ of love and heartache

with every kiss of my lips

each slow-motion

wink of an eye

(Artist: unknown)


in the aftermath

of self-immolation

at the stake of

being the helper

fire-started with

runaway empathy

fueled by

supporting an underdog

inflamed with

fighting injustice

hungrily fed

on the sacrifice

of self-preservation

her smoldering remains

stutter sparks

ignite anew

in the firestorm

of charred instincts

(photographer: unknown)