Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Traci as the Blue Nude

We went to the BMA to see The Cone Collection, but Blue Nude (1907) wasn't there. 

Matisse's Blue Nude Model Looks in the Mirror

He made my scars
look like accidental flicks of his palette knife.

Mismatched nipples
are swirls he pinkied on. They still look wet.

He didn't veil
my scoliotic hips but stretched them out.

My map of veins
is gone, but he left the tint all over my skin.

--originally published in Ekphrasis

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wire Hangers

He hates them. It's not just a British thing. My mom hates them, too. And I don't think it's a Mommie Dearest thing. A dumpster in the UK is called a "skip."


Into a dumpster of wire hangers, I drop.
The ripple reaches the metal walls and bongs
like someone threw a rock against the side.

I wriggle. Rustling noises soothe, like chimes
beneath the water. I’m submerged in depths
of copper, gasp for air through metal gaps.

Hooks snag my forearms, seeking to reel me in.
My neck is ringed, not wrung. They inch down, clamp
my shoulders, shackle ankles, elbows, wrists.
My hair is tangled up like fishing line.

The twisted hangers taste like licorice,
the stale, black shoestring kind. I eat my way 
towards the surface, and in my struggle there,
I wonder if I’m bait for something else.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Biggest Fan

Two for Brendan on his birthday. 

New Arrivals Sale Clearance Free to a Good Home

I’m giving them away. Today,
my words are free, as in, no charge
for you, nor any cost to me.

What’s changed is that I know they’re lies.
It’s nothing new; the same old words
I used before but called them true.

Last year, I could’ve sold you in-
sight by the pound—some sage advice
or rule I’d traded for or found.

It’s not false advertising if
I bought it, too. The boldest lie
I sell myself? That there’s a you.


After “Untitled (No. 49),” Leonardo Drew, 1995.

Because sometimes art is more important than 
the freckles beneath his jawline—the same shade 
of rust as this sculpture. 

I cross the rope
and touch the paper, cotton, metal, wood.
I memorize each texture, every freckle.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Boobs

Topless Beach, Normandy

The stones should hurt but don't. The tide's been rough
enough with them to smooth them out. I drop
my sandals by a stylish group of top-
less 40s and their kids and turn off tourist tough.

I shake my towel over the rocks, sit down
and lose my dress, exposing a giraffe-
print two-piece number that I bought in town.
I used my card to dodge exchange-rate math.

The act would change if you were here with me,
it'd be a joke, like flashing for a beer,
or it would be a tease if he were here,
more sexual. Instead, I can just be.

With eyes on the horizon line, I reach
behind me, squeeze the clasp. My back is bare
in a flash—then shoulders, sides, and chest. Breasts stare
at the other misshapen spheres along the beach.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Last night, my pal Brendan Joyce asked for a poem that dealt with accents. While this one doesn't mention accents, every time I read it, I imagine Paul Muldoon reciting in his Irish brogue.

Paul Muldoon Reads “At Least They Weren’t Speaking French”

His eyes, all dark, appear to have no whites,
like a bird’s eyes—all iris and pupil. Large
glasses magnify the blinking. His suit,
dusty heather, matches his hair, and he’s
Nabokov’s owlet in "A Bad Day": “brown,
white-speckled, kept shifting this way and that.”
“…mummer-stones…mummery…minimum…,” he recites,
spitting feathers, pauses, looks up, then left.

Not just the TV owl you know and love—
peppering his peers with sage or not so sage
advice, he’s also the creature that’s surprised
you in the wild, or even caged. Beneath
the blinking eyes and fluffy feathers wait
a beak and claws to tear their catch in half.

This poem originally appeared in Mezzo Cammin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

A 5.14 magnitude earthquake hit the BVI last week, so I revised this poem which was once about San Francisco, into an island poem. It was originally inspired by Venice in Jeanette Winterson's novel The Passion.

Volcanic Island

This island’s peaks and valleys often switch,
depending how the plates beneath us drift.
I’ll park uphill when I get home and find
my car downhill at six a.m. Some nights,
a sunset fills the window in our room.
On other days, a boulder is the view.
Kaleidoscopic turns change right to left.
Roads start, hairpin, dead end, then start again.
No moss can grow: shade’s never in the same
place long enough.
                         It’s our own fault, you say,
for if we left, then we’d be more mixed up
without the shift and slip. We’re better stuck
within the island rolling us around,
content until the day it moves us out.