To My Lady

"Woman in Hanbok" by Alex
“Woman in Hanbok” by Alex

To My Lady,

In the pages of the lavender sky
your silver feather eyes do not shine
quite so bright
as they did in that darkness
where you filled your vessel –

with the wisdom of the blood,
and of the kitchens,
of the anvil and the hammer,
and the whispering plains;
with the overwhelming noises
of the sky and of the skin;
with the dizzying fragrance
of the fiery sunset;
with the words and the prayers
and the numbers and the names –

and, standing in the doorway with the
daylight on your back and
oblivion in your eyes: standing

between the giving & the pain,
between the birthmark & the rain,
between the broken & the sane,

you snapped free of your bindings
(the words for stars,
the prayers of mountains,
the numbers of faith,
the names for love)
and shattered your candlelit bones upon
the solid knees of Gods.

Silent Sister

(Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “Ash Wednesday” and “The Hollow Men”)



"Magnòlia a Verbania" by Josep Renalias Lohen11 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
“Magnòlia a Verbania” by Josep Renalias Lohen11 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The heady, sweaty fragrance
in the air
could be magnolias
if I didn’t know
there are no magnolias here.

But there –
where Grandma
makes jambalaya and donburi,
singing old Japanese
nursery rhymes;
where Grandpa
mows grass and picks pears,
muttering Cajun curses
at the Texan heat –
there magnolias drown the air
with wild whiteness
and sweet-scented sex.

Wide, waxy petals drip from
tall, straining trees like
overripe fruit:
Eve’s forbidden apple,
Persephone’s pomegranate.

And I want to
pluck them from the ground,
place them in a bowl,
on Grandma’s table,
on Grandpa’s desk.

But I am here,
where waves of grass are
far more common.
So I will have to wait,
and the magnolias will fall
without me.

Silent Sister


“Parallel Universe” by Adam Martinakis, from Zealous Art Collective

My Girl,
you’ve suffered long enough.
You’ve touched your fingers
to the eagle moon and cried;
you’ve indicted me with your shot-gun eyes;
you’ve shattered all the light bulbs
they held tightly in their teeth;
you’ve built your monuments to your
terror and your grief;
it’s time to stop retreating
into the soap bubble sky.

My Girl,
you’ve teased me long enough.
The woman inside me, built
of bronze and anger and broken car parts,
is mounted up – arrayed in full armor,
ready to tilt.
I am sick of carrying marbles in my face
like some kind of stoic’s prize,
while you whisper your coward’s lies.
My prison-sentence is ending,
I’m done paying for this senseless guilt.

“Parallel Universe” by Adam Martinakis from Zealous Art Collective

My Girl,
we’ve waited long enough.
Turn the hellfire tv to static,
and shut off all those voices screaming sin;
let me see the electricity behind your eyes
muted now but never dead;
let me touch the watercolor cells of your skin
and do not singe my sanyasini
fingers with your fire; just let me see
the neon lights that illuminate the fragile
scaffolding of your heart.

Silent Sister


free stock image from pixabay (CC0)
free stock image from pixabay (CC0)

I’m hanging on the
telephone wire,
I’m digging up the
cable lines,
I’m searching the
salt-dappled skies for

They’re still there
shooting signals all
around the world
and yet
you haven’t called.

I’m waiting for your call –
your email –
your next crumb to
my starving heart.
Days dripping down
the walls,
silence sour and simmering
in my mouth.

Why haven’t you called?
And why don’t I call you? –

instead of pining here –
draped like a
consumption victim or a
fainting Victorian lady
on the sofa,
phone cradled to my chest.

Why haven’t you called?
Why don’t I call you?

Because you have
no clue,
no idea –

I’m hanging myself with
telephone wire,
desperately digging graves
in search of cable lines,
suffocating on the vacuum of
space as I reach for
satellite signals

Forcing the clock to freeze
until the moment you return
and I have a chance
to see you

And I can’t –
CANNOT shatter the carnival
mirror – the illusion –
or you’ll see – you’ll see
I’m NOT your friend.

I’m your SECRET.
Your secret –
secret – unrequited –
hidden on the dark side of the moon –

like the million insects in
rain forests
that will NEVER
be discovered –
their secrets safe

Silent Sister

Mother Goddess

from CuriousArtLab
“Durga, Mother Goddess” from CuriousArtLab

Mother Goddess

for Mama


Every Friday night, when I was six,
we danced –
to the Beatles, Patsy Cline, Queensryche.
We shoved the furniture out of the way,
played music as loud as a heart beat,
then Mama, Sterling, and me…
we danced.
Sterling: three-year-old twirling hellion;
me: trying so hard to be like her;
Mama: singing her favorite songs like
they were pieces of reality –
teaching us the words to her life.
Later, we’d order pizza,
spread blankets on the living room floor –
our personal picnic ground, our sanctuary.
We’d watch Disney movies
long into the night.
We didn’t need money,
movie theatres, or theme parks.
We had Mama,
and we danced.


She wears her dress uniform,
the Marine Corps emblem shining
black like tangible pride,
medals hanging from her chest as if
that is where her strength is tied –
she wears them the way
Kali wore her necklace of skulls.
Her voice is a
taste of steel and incense.
And given a war to wage,
especially in her children’s name,
she discovers a tiger’s kind of sense –
she will battle, first blood to final blow.
It doesn’t matter
who she has to fight, where she has to go,
she’ll stand victorious all the same.


The next day she is Shashti
seated on the sofa like a lotus throne,
wrapping her children in lullabies,
riding the sacred tiger,
knitting blankets out of moonglow.


The walls sweat beneath your stare,
and tigers rage beneath your skin,
but I’ve become immune
to the eye that boils the winter air;
and the claws that tear you up in-
side only prove this peace is

a veneer of lies over lies
that try to cage the tigers in your veins
(whose bristling fur stirs your blood),
and swallows the screaming in your eyes.
We measure every word by cost and gain,
before we ever dare to speak.

My disappointment holds me down;
your fury keeps you entranced.
And it’s become a sad, cold fact,
that we can’t find a common ground.
But when I was six, we danced,
and that keeps me from leaving.

Silent Sister

Excerpt from “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” by Richard Siken

Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party
         and seduced you
and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing.
                                                         You want a better story. Who wouldn’t?
A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing.
Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on.
What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon.
            Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly
                                                                                               flames everywhere.
I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
                that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
                           Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure,
               I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
         glass, but that comes later.
                                                            And the part where I push you
flush against the wall and every part of your body rubs against the bricks,
            shut up
I’m getting to it.
                                    For a while I thought I was the dragon.
I guess I can tell you that now. And, for a while, I thought I was
                                                                                                the princess,
cotton candy pink, sitting there in my room, in the tower of the castle,
          young and beautiful and in love and waiting for you with
            but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
                                                               and getting stabbed to death.
                                    Okay, so I’m the dragon. Big deal.
Full poem, published in Siken’s collection Crush, can be found at: The Poetry Foundation, “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out”

I hope you enjoyed part of one of my all-time favorite poems. I am the dragon. Big deal.

Silent Sister

Love and Sushi

by "ADOnlinePromo" CC0
by “ADOnlinePromo” CC0

I once ate sushi
chewed slowly, growing accustomed to the taste
until without warning:
coughing, spitting up,
expelling it forcefully from my throat
before I’d even know
what was happening

Love is like this.
An involuntary reaction
like a gag reflex
suddenly the words are just spitting
out of your mouth,
your throat and tongue and teeth
knowing long before your brain does

The word love was never bandied about
never uttered never whispered
but let’s be honest, it was there
in the back of my throat, waiting
to be expelled
and you knew it,
so you expelled me first

Silent Sister