Inside Out, Outside In

it is a tale

old as these hills

that cultivate hiding

truths under crabgrass

sage green and scruffy tough.

the felon returns

crashing the prison gates

as the black sheep-ed cousin

does the country club wedding.

plot twist – I walk

unshackled. tour the “farm”

a civic minded professional

treading gingerly

getting the inside scoop

data collecting for service

endeavors.  grouped,

I stride alone

retreading unhallowed grounds.

they are on display

  • these inmates –

hymnfully singing

soulful chorus on cue.

colleagues, caught

in the briny swells

of backwashed empathy

miss the clues. I hear

cacophonous undertones

cantankerous and cringing

obstinate or obsequious


our unannounced intrusion

that we – free –

would never comprehend.

culinary students prepared

gourmet repast

while essence of grey

bologna lingers moldy

on their tongues – pierced

with perpetual biting.

I masticate

sundried tomato panini

with sliced subservience and fresh

ground dignity.

in each swallowed correction

unobjected objectification

are the gallstones


pilloried pillars

architecture of my riot

Red Letters

it was crimson

as my bludgeoned futures

that indelibly inked tattoo

my number

screaming neon epitaph

on the chiseled granite terminus

of membership in polite society.

I scrubbed and dermabraded

bleaching pigment from all skin

in scalding ablutions

I slough off

flawed integument

failed beneficent intentions

peel back scarred gaping flesh

until I stand

grisly and gristled

stripped to creaking bones.

I dress myself in mucilage and plaster

draped in gauzy discombobulation

soak in healing balms

oils of mystical rejuvenation

secreted by Panacea

in deep atrial chambers.

having grown new skin

darkened, disfigured

thick and tough

I dip twisted toes

in edifying milieu

crumple, chagrined

at that shoulder-tap

“aren’t you the one

with that tattoo

the ginormous scarlet F?”




As the Moon is My Witness

Selene my silent sister

you were there that morning

dropping slow and weary

after a long night’s beaming

I noted your brilliance

in those last moments

before darkness descended

(though I knew not they were the last).

you beheld my downfall

in mute solidarity

accustomed as you are

to reflecting others’ light.

you were a touchstone, Luna

through the interminable months

I strained and contorted

climbed, risking censure

for a glimpse of your glowing orb.

I missed your presence

protracted gloom

those many moons

when I found you again

in harvest bleeding

I sat hours agog

penning amateur odes

awed by your lustrous veil.

unrestrained, I mark your phases

as I did mine own

honoring your fullness

with the fullness of my attention

above the trees, obscured

on the horizon

as I commute.

you rise, anon, Selene

gleaming, gleaning

shining light upon the lunacy

calling forth memory

glimmer and shimmer

harking back to havoc

shining forth

to halcyon revival

Writing on the Wall

industriously engaged

incrementally acclimating

to professional reincarnation

toes cramping

in too-small shoes

I stretch the binding



wiggle room

wrought of repetitive


titanium work ethic

earn stripes

quietly stitched

easing in seasoned seating

I analyze, problem-solve

process and sign

stare in consternation

trailing my hurried Hancock

scribbled suffixed scrawl

spilled automatic from my pen

yes, those letters

credentials conferring credibility

hard-earned honorary

near indecipherable

as befits a doctor

letters stifled

with honor defamed

letters missing meaning

relevant license lost

my fingers

must be itching

title-claiming twitching

they loosed

hard-scrabble squiggle

no longer invisible ink

my pen tells my brain

I am indeed

value added

no wash out

washed away







Fury Filled Fire-Water

your rhetoric

incinerated me

at the stake

a bonfire

all hopes of redemptive future

I drank deep draughts

from the goblet

you poured

overflowing of immolation

the hurricane

of my sorrows

left me charred

soggy clumps

I stank

with the pitiful stench

of abandoned homefires

coated in the pungent

clinging of my uselessness

I trudged, head down

into the gales

of your blistering derision

bolstering brittle limbs

with every smoke dragged step

my eyes began to eagle

your over-eager oogling

as my spines


soft protective plumes

I swallowed the lingering tongues

of salted flame

you lick

lapping at my wounds

I breathe branded fire

unsuccumbed to shame

witness the crackling fire

sparking from my eyes

and tell me again

how I will never

be anyone



Discomfort, Unrehearsed

my truths

scratch your surface

unsettling as nettles

woven through

silken scarves

despite laundering



they refuse to lie





my reality

braids cactus thorns

in cashmere

scores my skin

and yours

my authenticity


your narrative

grazes sensibilities

brier patch

among cultivated beds

you smell skunkweed

in my budding rose



she did her time

in a concrete tomb

etched in stone tablets

of damnation’s tome

lorded over

by dungeon masters

antebellum gnomes

she withered

skin dry and papery

anima Grinch-like



as an exsiccated raisin

hard and insubstantial

anhydrated bones

skeletal key

belatedly turned

she exhumes

maggoty dragging

leprous remains

thwarting the fate

befallen Rappaccini’s daughter

she sponges feculence

from splintered self

bathes her pulverized


in determination’s


fused in the fire


soul beams

sparking from her eyes








As a Matter of Fact

I could grovel

bloody my kneecaps

on the ground glass gravel

at the feet of your high horse

exsanguinate my soul

supplicating droplets

as I plead for your mercy



my knees bare scars

of prior beseechings

today I stride erect

clear of eye and soul

begging no more


I could slay you

well versed

in the dark arts

of rhetorical evisceration

I could skewer you

on the bleak- whetted


of my justifiable rage

slicing you

to blithering ribbons

of steadfast judgment

willful disregard

today I sheath

my wordsmithed sword

weary of bloodbaths

bathed in interminable battle


I stand here

bethorned by mistakes



unadorned with pretense


in the visceral eloquence

of my new-skinned self

you may never

acknowledge my pain

forgive my trespasses

walk into a re-birthed future

I, however,









Wolf in the Family Trees

I have felt the razored barbs

of your teeth before

as they gnawed

on my soft underbelly

rolled upward toward you

in trust

I have heard the steely

bone on bone


as you snarled

beneath a sheeps-clad


I have seen the blazing

possession in red

a glare casting

me, roughly


I have scented out

the rank heat

exhaled through your

flaring nostrils

as you went for

my jugular

I have tasted the hemlock

on my lips

when I absurdly asked

if you remain