Duly Noted

i only knew
i was delivered
as go-between
between mom&dad
two nurses pumping
and pulling me out.
the most beautiful
forceped-thing they
ever saw, so they cried.
that’s what they say.
& that i never did.
i just observed, took note
of the miraculous air,
God in the skin of light.
i knew i was not a jessica or a brandy
because dad named me angela
like the pretty little chiquita
he happened to meet on a side job.
they never told me that.
i’m making note of it now.
her brown skin was wonderful.
i’m adding that part.

for Real Toads

The Year I Ran a Marathon

it was a year of
i can’t do shit
about what
the doctor said,
&i can’t do life
or wheelchairs,
so i might as well
slap the road.

i ran &ran
not akin to
the forest gump
running thing,
but the i’m-worked-up
walk-again thing.

halfway point
in life or the race
was where I
planned my
&cowardly end,
but my man
showed up.

on shepherd street,
he shouted praise
you’re over
halfway there!
&i just knew
just knew we could
do this.

for Real Toads

Nobody Knows She’s Had a Stroke

“Open your eyes and then open your eyes again.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

confusion calls
on speed dial

it’s raining
&it never rains

i’m sitting in my car
facing a brick wall

mom’s crying
&she’s telling

she wants to die
&i see rain

splatter clinging
to glass

heavy seeking
a reservoir

or i’m supposing
i’m her holder

for Real Toads

This Moth on the Wall

this moth on the wall

looks as if dead for three days

      –repose &rebirth


Transforming Fridays with Real Toads


if you were God, or Paul Ekman,
you would have known right off
in the garden under sad moon lamp
that Adam was lying, but to be sure,
you could ask– a courtesy, or open book
or open door to second chance.
but muscles twitched– subtly wrong
for a fraction of a second. observable
as Mona Lisa’s flirty smile,
or Bill Clinton’s clean &jerk jaw.
in 10,000 possible expressions
lies the atlas of the human face.
there is a tell. there is a know.

Poetic Asides & Real Toads

untitled doodle by Ted Gordon

untitled doodle by Ted Gordon


Deliver me from dinner.

I loaf to my backyard.

Something in the wind

Is my mother.

Or tomato seeds

sliding around on a plate.

My soul slurps the juice.

And it’s an ordinary Tuesday,

But something else–

She showed up for dinner.


The Kids Heard Us

I never took him for one
who liked to chat and drive.
Maybe it was a trick question.
Do you think we’re soul mates?
There was a bridge coming up
before hitting the town named
after paradise, &i paused…
&i let out a laugh. Truth is
we’re not even best friends.
No dropped bomb on this one.
We ended up agreeing there’s
no such thing as soul mates,
but if there was, that meant
you’d have to speak the same
language, like the same things.
The kids heard us confide &made
their own judgements on love
&marriage when I put my hand on
top of his, which he softly received.

Poetic Asides

Where Scarcely Ever a Leg Is Broken

Some planks;
Like Wendy walked blindfolded.
But more an elevated floor.
Stairs ascend to childhood reimagined
&there are two side doors.
Not real doors, but entrances
Between weighted velvety folds.
Always black, billiard green,
Or deep-deep scarlet.
Imagine a fourth wall;
Imagine Pan if you’d like
Swinging from ceiling to drawer.
Empty space charges in the dark
Before spotlight. Before floodlight.
Here comes the once-I-was-dead,
But now-I’m-alive part.

I Think I Love Her

She waves
And the stars crumble
Into a million pieces
Of sand beneath her beautiful feet.
Beautiful beach.
My mouth wants to say
I love you,
But all that slips
Is a slight curve
Of my lip.
This exclusive corner
Is reserved just for her
And my unending
Conversations with
The stars.

(I challenged some high school students to take 4 words: beach, curve, mouth & wave and put them in a poem. Poetry Slam starts in our library Friday. Here’s what I came up with. I was impressed that a couple kids slipped me their work or read theirs aloud.)

Playing by Ear

grammar is a piano
i #chuck out the window
splintered keys are diphthongs
rolling around as voiceless coins
while palm trees (nouns on the ground)
reach for a gerund. i mean to say
they are reaching; shading the incident,
but the sun’s in the wrong planetary line^
it has no possession. just a contract-
(shun). Make it a back slash
/a colon’s all wrong:/
teacher tapes up cheat sheets.
direct object, declarative, interrogative,
negative. i cheat on the negative.
verbs be helping imperatives say,
chuck that piano out the window!
gram|mar is a piano I play by ear

loosely written for Real Toads