the breathing girl has died


she’s happy it finally happened
that she’s not coming home
that she’s collecting all the coal
that would have been diamonds


for the first time, good lord
thank goodness that phrase
isn’t pinned to all the
lost girls anymore, evermore!


for really reals this time
she’s not that stupid girl
full of shame sickles
but feverish to be living


in a real specific way
all atoms and cells
are deranged, or rearranged
just as they should be, anymore


like broken cemetery leaves
she dances in deep blood orange
not just another beauty queen
in fuchsia lipstick on an empty pew



for Real Toads


she noticed her hands

She noticed her hands resting palms side down, buttoned at her hips (for hundreds of years), but as she was filled with generosity of touch, of word, of beauty she instinctively turned them palms side up, first one hand then the other, as if they were cups that could contain the whole dazzling world from violet door, to beryl door, to flamingo door, to yellow sun, to turquoise door, to salmon entrance, to cotton gauze, to the absolute ageless art of the alfresco open air door, —  she was moving through all the sensations and sails of life, which in this case left her hands feeling marvelously warm even at the concrete hour of 2 a.m. while she continued to compose air, and then climb it.

for Real Toads

The (Shut-Up) Years

i was (invisible) once
for about two years,

i was less than a leaf
put away from the dining
room table,

and i didn’t
like it at all, —

going about their business,
shaking their sandy little
salt shakers,

saying, “please
pass the butter,” all smooth,
and bitter cool.

and the worst
part was dessert when they’d
swallow their individually
wrapped secrets of life

god-damned chocolate-covered mints
rich people get beside their pillows

(you know? besides not having an
esophagus, a voice, a rough body,)

i knew i was missing the best part
of living which was to stand amazed,

“Shut up, sit down, nobody knows”

(i was invisible for about two years)
until some body real took notice


14: Real Toads

it’s home

I. Spring

it’s the tallness
of pompous grass
the leanness
of poplar trees
i know

II. Summer

it’s a glass of sugar tea
ice cubes swirling
around a slender spoon

it’s a garden hose
draped in my hand
my thumb knowing
what to do
to fan water
evenly over my plot
before dusk
hints at turning
the sky pink,
orange and red,
then black

III. Winter

it’s work boots

IV. Fall

it’s the kids’ tree
swing i tie off
on a sturdy branch

it’s done


dad makes a home for RT

Be Unreasonable

It’s up to you daughter. The sandal’s
on your foot now. I’ve been trying to
forget myself you know, but this
sanctimonious jangle of time keeps
getting stuck in my stomach
sending me back to that bend in the
Gunnison River, my bike transport
thrown down in a fit on the embankment.
A ridiculous book loaner in my hand,
a younger me perched on a rock
trying to figure out how to live a snake-
bitten lifestyle, despite my higher
calling to sunshine & writing glimmers of it
down. But back to you daughter. Please be un-
reasonable. It’s your decision to make.
This privilege will mean the most to you,
and these parts will unequivocally be
your strength.


for Mackenzie & submitted to Poets Pantry

“…if you could teach your soul to speak”
-Jim Harrison

Half-Thoughts On Time Rushing By While I’m Not Wearing a Sweater

I’m in and out of seasons; a half-wit about most things.
Still unable to dress myself presentably, because I’m just
not into layers, or scarves. They make me feel like I’m trying
too hard. Don’t drink wine for the very same reason.
But I confess when I was contrary in Elks Lodge #1675, –
I turned to the projected light. I sucked in my cheeks
slightly. To be, – startling or statuesque. You can guess.
Half hoping I was half-seen, you called me out on it, –
The December issue of Seventeen. My feathered hair,
bedroom eyes. Where is the record of those years?
For a while, I admit I was a lush. Half-spoken, broken.
You can guess. Truth be told, – there was a time
I was desperately into coffee. Purely for the stimulant.
Not for the company. In truck stops, in casinos, I was
a most social butterfly. The loneliest of them all, –
drifting long and far.
I’m not wearing a sweater and time is zooming.
I know it’s too late to start for home.
I can’t pretend, and suck in my cheeks anymore.

for Real Toads

Galaxy Wheel

I’m always walking with you, -ignoring needed chiropractic adjustments. Never mind that, because all at once the meadow starts ruminating over the fires still smoldering past camel hill. Audaciously, you shoot your finger to the moon as if you’ve discovered a curious thing. I’m taken by the brighter star. Dear God, when will our necks ever align? Still, – every day we’re more honest with ourselves. We tie our tongues, and lace our shoes.

here, inside of us
the whole sky and galaxy, –
two divining lights

for dVerse


these obsessive thoughts
i can’t explain
i go straight to work
build a house of
magic dust,
mystic mist,
i throw it in the air
or set it sail on time
as a gift,
a sympathetic contact
i can’t explain

for Hannah at Real Toads
inspired by Andy Goldsworthy’s
environmental art

You Are Not Finished

You are not finished, you sorry
sap. If you were, you’d be dead.
So while you still have a sack
of inflatable lungs, inflate
those things. It’ll keep you
floating— a little while longer
at least. Perhaps long enough
to sputter a simple sentence.
So say something true. Like, “This
is my life; may I be worthy of it.”
Then be worthy of it & suck it up,
&stop being a sorry, sappy, sack.
This is the truth. Don’t trip over it.

for Quickly

Go Back, My Friends

The crisis is we’re porcelain.
Go back to 1980-something.
Cheryl delivers a baby boy.
It’s embarrassing, how I mix
happy-for-you with my fears.
Go back. 2000-something.
Becky says it’s leukemia.
I’m losing it, I’m breathing
in &out, (again) re-living
the breaking, the chipping,
the living &dying
my friends &man.

(for Quickly)