Sunday, December 16, 2007

attention: readers!!

This blog has moved to a new address:


Monday, December 10, 2007

My Flickr Account: Artsy Photos to Your Heart's Content!

To see most of my work with the old Canon AE-1, follow this link.

(I'm working on incorporating it into this blog-space more seemlessly...)

Thursday, December 06, 2007



Here, the frost-lined furs
break out over the wet, orange
papier-mâché leaf-lined sidewalk.

The white crystals settle along 
the Vena Cava of magnolia leaves, 
like tobacco in a rolling paper.  

These things, i had never seen
until my young adulthood:
like the soot-black of wet bark.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Orange Blossoms"

Orange Blossoms

“A typical orange tree carries about 100,000 pollinated blossoms, each of which is a potential orange, complete with the seeds that are potential trees. But in the course of a season, only about 500 oranges are actually produced. The tree determines which ones make the cut…” -Dan Cray, Time Magazine, Oct.2007

They rest, like gleaming starfish, mouthing light-
bulbs, fringed in gold-faced sticky fillae,
expectant. Clustered like stars on the forked
trunk, among the ovate, bottom-heavy
leaves, dark green, with crenulated margins:
scalloped like a cloud, or doily. Petals
joined, nested like ivory measuring
spoons: tablespoon, teaspoon, one-half, one-quarter.
One-hundred thousand of you, pollinated,
palming life. The decision has come: wet,
smooth, black bark sheds the “not viable”—the ones
with insufficient light, or hosts to moths’
homes. Luminescent petals slide to the ground:
the ill-begotten, eleven-week blood
pulp of a pitiless mother tree.

Arachne's Child

This poem was inspired by the story of Lakshmi Tatma.

Arachne’s Child

Arache’s child, a god-head
in her own village—the more arms
and legs the more wealth,
what is it they cultivate, anyway?

Eight teeth show in her splitting laughter,
Ember-curls around her gold-pierced ears.
Her strong hands clapping, grasping air,
dancing, with her polished black eyes.
She is a beauty, by any standard. The hairs
whisp between temple and white-collared
dress. She is happy, in the way children are happy.

The BBC news-anchor is sober-voiced,
camera panning from her joy-face
downward, the “parasitic twin” they call it—
four additional atrophied limbs dangle
from a truncated, headless body.
The eight-legged one, the girl-spider.
She carries a joined spinal chord,
perhaps spare lungs between all
those legs. Arachne’s child,
with a womb-wrought parasite.
The question is whether beauty will live.

For My Brother

For My Brother
(a ghost villanelle)

What we are is not so different, you
and I. Your russet hair, deep doe-eyes glide
gently across the world, the trees, the sky.

Yours track, mine quivering across the lines
of pen to paper, or stitches fingers slide.
What we are is not so different, you

and I. Steady-handed tracers: moved, high
by the intricacies of our art, slid
gently across the world, the trees, the sky

by palpable passion. The names fly
from my lips, yours: Latinate conifers spied.
What we are is not so different, you

remind me, platinum fletching putty
poised on the arrow’s shaft, then the vein laid
gently across the world, the trees, the sky.

Fletching is not unlike sewing, shooting
not unlike writing: pinning down to look:
what we are is not so different, you and I,
beings born to the world, the trees, the sky.

The Kitten

The Kitten

She coos like a bird to you
and your answer is a cocked head
and golden eyes

trained on her warm and climbing body.
Again and again
she sings without opening her mouth.

You are not her father.
Neither of you have met a bird,
not really,

just seen them, suspended among leaves
in the hornbeam, through the wrinkled
old glass of our window.

But she calls their call to you
and you listen.
All children must make the same song.

"You Are"

"You Are" (an unfinished poem,dating from May)

You are of sacred fluids.
The only landscape with which
I could replace her cool, damp one
is yours—balmy. The shade seems
rarer here, without the rails
of skyscrapers or brush of willows
to hide your face
so I crawl where I am known,
beneath your warm belly to lie
pressed and oddly free. I know
its smell, contours, and the inexplicable
kindness of your eyes, the blue they take on
in semi-darkness,
the blessed lashes.
And I find no need to declare
our love to a wider world.
I only scale your shifting body,
while you do the same,
then grow quiet and still again.
Look directly and speak to me.
I left her broad walkways
only for the tightness of your arms.

In case you're not tuned in, you should be!

NPR presents whole concerts as mp3 files on their website:

Most of the tapings occur at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. and are definitely worth listening too!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Trees

"The Trees"

The rain stains their gathered thighs
charcoal-black, like any number of
dryads lying back on one another,
grown as one, to wear fire-hair.

November and the trees look
more like balding men with
silvered orange mutton-chops.
Someone pasted yellowed leaves

and lamplight to the sidewalks.
Such joy to find my childhood--
browned grass and conifers--
replaced with Virginian opulence.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

making the news...

(University of Mary Washington senior Whitney Roberts holds a sign at a unity march held after a racially insensitive poster and comments created a stir on campus.)

featured in The Free Lance-Star, on Nov.10, 2007.
Here is the article:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm in the midst of writing a lyric sequence...

and I wanted to post rough drafts of what (I think) will be the first two poems of the sequence...

"The First Miscarriage"

Where were you, when it happened?
I imagine it as it could not have been:
clean, cool, white tiled floor in "the apartment."
A chest-high mirror, dim light.
Daddy was at school-- third period,
a pickle-jar's dented gold top, lidding formaldehyde
and squid.
black-haired, thin daddy.

Your body erupting in a smear:
a thing no longer than the distance
from knuckle to joint, on your first finger
breaking off, pouring out, jellied ear-knobs,
eye-spots, doughy hands, a curled tail.

not unlike Daddy's squid-jar. Swimming,
grief pasted to your brow in streaks of blonde,
twisting mouth, rolling eyes.
Will we? Can I?

I don't know
who came to get you. (Does it matter?)
I can't see the glassy hospital's landscaped islands:
a parking lot without mirages, too late for daffodils,
dogwoods, streaked and open-faced pansies.

Too soon for black-naveled sunflowers,
too soon for me, your June baby.



the metal canister and mouthpiece--
one green, one yellow, crooked like the periscope
of a submarine:
one to keep you from having an attack.
one to make it stop.
you always pushed your breath out,
wheezed it in, held, and shook
the air from your lungs, the hair from your neck.

epinephrine, albuterol, caffeine,

the purse to carry your glass inhaler through college.
tiny sod-squares of rash on a five year-old's back.

Don't lay in the grass, baby.
You'll get sick.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Dune Flower" (a ghost sonnet)

"dune flower"

I was enticed: your dark and stylish eyes
amongst all that white, those brambles,
dollar weeds. Like the brazen sister of
the Black-Eyed Susans in my Grandmother's
front garden, you rage, even in the frame
of ocean blue and salty mother-air. Splinters,
prickers, sea-oats. To all these Southern Belles
you dance flamenco, a one-act filler play,
a jewel hushed-up. Your skirts spread around
the gaping black fuzz, truncated and fringed,
sinful pink-orange, and yellow. Each petal
seems a slice of fabric, a cut of fruit,
to be stitched up, to cover you, like so
much lace piled up over brown legs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

quatrains in trimeter.

These are also fresh, and strange:

"The Abbey"

Sweet white Elizabeth:
laid flat, bone-bare, regal,
in Westminster Abbey,
(on my street.) I'm tight-lipped,

swaying in the draft below
dizzy rose windows, scared,
feeling round as they, but
colorless. The sun shone

on me for the first time
in months. Flaring nostrils
and wet eyes, silent chanting:
let the bastard child

swing free from my unchaste,
unbloodied hips. give me
a box of shame, a chance.
i'll tell myself i carry

the christ child. And you'll tell
me, in no uncertain
terms, that i have sinned.
Oh, how I suffer for it.

"Afternoon at the Chemist"

Half drunk with fear, the scarf
comes sliding down my throat.
Burst in, scour, feel sick
in line. Ten pounds, I race

to my flat, around a
corner. You can't say, "I
gotta piss." here, I think.
Piss is drunk. I'm dying.

Five floors in the lift. Slow,
then ding, then running, teal
walls give way to pale yellow.
Five minutes, two lines. We're

safe, it tells me. I call,
you wake. It's eight a.m.
in The States. Hysterical,
I tell you all. Strangely,

you thank me for wanting
to know. You are too small,
child, to have one. You can't
live in the ebb and flow.

Even that has left you,
your own body saying
it's final "no." Lovie
eat your mash, and more.

The Body Sequence

These are a bit controversial. And I have literally written them in the last half-hour. So, here they are, rough and (not) ready:

"To my ribcage"

Ribs resting like fallow fields,
furrowed, dusty roads, silt-colored.
I know, you think I choose this,
but I don't. Eve stole the fruit
that I cannot eat. I do not know
why she turned from me
and said, starve this one,
so she doesn't bleed.
Make her body blind to the changing
moon, her mind deaf to the tide.
If she lives, it will be because
she wills it, in the end, (instead
of allowing the fields to fallow.)

"to my breasts"

not so round, peaked, tired
hungry for nothing and no one
hungers them. the kitten only
kneading at the sound of a tiny
motor, presses up close,
chooses you, milk white, pink
planets of slow growth.
a source of shame, a loss,
unknown, above the fields,
the plane, the crater, and on.

"to my pelvis"

french weeds lie low and tangled
with the ground, burnt, offered
as crumbling ash in wiry columns.
i want to know, why don't you
bloom like lovely wisteria?
why don't you tumble up a trellis,
or sigh, carrying your petaled heads
toward the sunshine?
lay low, you french weeds, under
a broken tree. indecent.

"to my thighs"

symbols of the eroding planet,
turning the color of dunes in mid-winter,
shrinking, rolling back, sucked under
a crumbling fence and nothing
of your once-high luster.
the houses will go under in tiny tides.
you don't notice the gentle wane,
the lack of breadth, the emptying
pant leg. the dunes don't choose
to shrink away. the dunes aren't angry.
only me, wishing they were more powerful,
wishing they looked "enough" to bear children.

more photos from the olden camera.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Audre Lorde!

A visit to Busboys and Poets yielded a new book and some inspiration...

Friday, September 28, 2007

adrienne rich

the first three of adrienne rich's 21 Love Poems

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

London Street Fashion.

One of the biggest things I miss about London, is the street fashion...
view photos by area of the city here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Dionysian Body"

spontaneously written a half-hour ago, if that...

"Dionysian Body"

Milk-pale round balls of dough
in the half-light from the kitchen,
kneading and rolling them, the kitten
follows my fingers and necklace

swaying. The milk slides out into flushed
imprisoned sand, two dunes paired,
patched with dollar-weeds curled black,
as if by fire. Your calves bowing in

like the vase's neck, in the streetlight,
filtered through a white sheet
we hung as a curtain, and our cemented
hornbeam tree protecting us from bar-drifters.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

communal creative energy!

ON THURSDAY NIGHT, I had the privilege to see two of my favorite bands (The Rosebuds, and The National) in concert together at The 9.30 Club in Washington, DC. A unique thing happened to me at this show, I fed off of the energy of the musicians so much so, that I began to spontaneously write poetry during their performance. And I was down front, literally, leaning against the stage with my notebook and pen, scribbling in the stage lights. This is a video of part of their performance below, and also a picture of what I wrote down (mirror-image encrypted)... The experience of a band's performance, I have often felt, is akin to a religious experience, or creative orgy in some way. Everyone is eerily shouting the same words, which they have practiced in their cars, bathrooms, or other intimate domestic spaces--pumping their fists, tapping their toes, nodding their heads in rhythm. And the band is leading the procession. And everyone is usually getting drunk, as well... So, I also had the thought bubble that the experience of a really profound live music performance must have been what a medieval Mead Hall felt like, plus armor and the imminent threat of death. But I will blog more about that on my (strictly!) academic blogsite: Intertextuality (

...and here is a direct transcription of some of the poetry i began seeding at the concert...

"the cancer"

is spun fruit, tendrils spinning
a fine overflow of borders,
the aggressive webbing of seedlings,
misshapen and hungry
multiply and harden, metastasize,
grow up and give birth
in the time it takes to bat an eye
for you.

and i don't know the boy,
sweater vest, greek name, love
of answers and archeology,
but i nearly see
his fearful eyes, encircling center
like that of ink black
flowers, universe of ache,
the death-touch
assaulting his mother.


walk off the stage
to let the thing play itself,
a tuning fork,
heart bursting.



i learned to count the bridges
down the Thames
like my own ribs:
spread fingers, running
out to sea.

a hand across my stomach
produces goose-flesh
like the pebbles
on Brighton beach.

wiry grass on white
chalk cliffs,
London my navel.