That November in Your Soul (Cinquain)

Slush wins
over black ice
or snow or hail or mist
or lust for numbers that don’t line
the clouds.

Can’t Get Inside the Greenway from Here

She finds herself
running along the wrong side
of the fence.

A seemingly endless
chain-link barrier
keeps her in the muck

and mire
and dog shit—
and make no mistake

this is
a wall.

The Morning After

When your worst nightmare
comes true and your nasty woman shouts
boomerang back to your ears
as muzzled ghost moans.

When flashbacks
to a highschool date rape
before date rape existed
and a stranger on a bicycle
who sexually molested you in the middle
of the sacred act of running
wreck the few moments of sleep
you try to catch.

When you feel yourself losing
the battle to avoid placing blame
and your city girl soul wants
to [#%$&#%#]
the spirit of [%#$&#%]

When you wonder if the pendulum
really will swing back again,
and if it does, how many otherized
victims will be bludgeoned
in the wake of its arc.

When the date November 9, 2016,
scrolls across the screen
and can only be read upside down
and it gives you vertigo to try.

When, then, now
you hope for a miracle—
to keep your mind open wide,
your heart open wider.

Shifters Scatter Across the Sidewalk

“Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.”
—Leonard Cohen, “Bird on a Wire”

A poet
loves the
songwriter. A
songwriter doesn’t
love the
poet back.

Her speaking voice carries
loudly through half-bare branches
of trees that won’t give it all up yet.

His handwriting
is only
half legible.
The words
slant to
the left

before reaching a perfectly
perpendicular rhythm as the stone wall
blocks the light.

No box
of mirrors
will rescue
the colors
lost inside
his song.

She doesn’t want to trap him
into seeing her. He saw her
once but got drunk

a decade later. Now
the poem needs a door
to lean against.

It’s the singer who discovers
the gap they have tried
so hard to conceal.