01/01 Direct Link
A brand spankin’ new year,
but only the numbers change,
just another flip of
calendar pages.

In the hallway I catch
a glimpse of Christy,
back down on the bed
head hanging off the edge,
doing heroin drops to ring in
a celebration of giving yourself
second chances.

How apropos, I think to myself
and know that all I have
to offer 2003 is my honesty.
The only thing left in my grasp
is a heart rubbed raw,
too skinned for anymore

My voice grows though my
posture carries me limply.
I’m speaking,
seeking volume
like in dreams.
01/02 Direct Link
I love:

how the smell of nicotine
lingers on fingertips; January
boasting rebirth when it is
only the start of a cycle
of centuries of monotony;

incongruent shapes shaved
down to a congruence;
black hair looks like an ocean
of evil, and small feet are
beautiful in China, or were;

deja vu makes me feel like
an idiot, and dreams make me
feel more existent than life; if
you’re looking for something easy,
just give it up.

I want a home bearing the
spirit of the velveteen rabbit,
worn-out love and tattered
treasure luxuries from
garage sale tables
on driveways.
01/03 Direct Link
I was smoking in the backyard,
Top of the Ranch - mid-morning
or afternoon, and they
were at work. I heard
something in the garage,
stuffed everything in my pocket,
walked toward the side door.
Mike walked out and threw away
some garbage; I was quick
to explain being back there
by mentioning something about
putting the cat litter bag into
the wrong trash bin.
I felt silly, childish,
like it was a lie I told
my own parents in some
other life. I remember smoking
in my back yard, knowing
if Dad walked out, I would
be stunned paralyzed.
01/04 Direct Link
Thomas… Wolf, isn’t it?
(I could’ve sworn that was some
writer’s name, a philosopher maybe).
Spaz once said that Amy
said Tom was at the top of
her list, and I remember when
I came to the same conclusion.
I don’t know, I guess he’s
quiet and humble, has a sense
of selflessness and gratitude,
without arranging what he gets
out of the deal first.

That’s what I used to define
a real person as - someone
I never felt like I had to bargain
myself with, inherently genuine.

I forgot what people like that
were like.

Happy birthday, Tom.
01/05 Direct Link
Going to church again,
second time during this break,
and mostly happy about it because
I’m out doing something;
because I’m entertained by
people’s opinions.

Jordan suggested I go with
his mother, that she’ll even go
to my church (I claim it?);
he’s smiling like a giant
lightbulb just went off.

‘It’s perfect… The two people
who’ve nagged me most
about church…
Now you can go together, and I
don’t have to have
anything to do with it…’


‘You think everything fits now,
just two parts put together;
but the puzzle’s still
missing a piece.’

‘It’s not my puzzle.’
01/06 Direct Link
Dorrance money finally came.
I’ve been needing it all semester,
even more so during Christmas
break - broke as I’ve ever been.

But it’s all practically accounted for:
$3100 to an institution that
rapes my bank account in
education’s name;
$200 to my parents for half a
payment they covered before
they decided I wasn’t their daughter;
$400 to Ray for the summer loan
that gave me breath and space;
$100 for Taber’s booster shots;
$200 for books for classes;
$400 for another lazy summer?
and, if I’m lucky, there’s just
under $100 left for each month?

I hate money.
01/07 Direct Link
words stuck in my throat
words in invisible ink
words that will mean nothing to her
when she hears them

don’t know what to say
don’t know how to apologize right
what does she need me sorry for
don’t know how to stop crying first

she is blue, wet with sadness
she is asleep because dreams heal
she is wanting her daughter at 15
at 8, not at 19 years old

are only the memories warm
does he make it easy
to be unforgiving

an apology on your birthday, mom
other words stuck in my throat
written in invisible ink
01/08 Direct Link
We had to go to the mall today,
to Radioshack for one thing
or another you needed.
I wandered out, into Vic’s Tricks -
pink everything surrounding buckets
of beautiful bras and bustiers and
panties with Victoria’s Secret
embroidered to verify sex appeal.
I was sure if I was here, ready
to strip down and into any skivvies
you pleased, browsing next to
life-size posters of melon-breasted
supermodels in sheer silk and
airbrushed tits, you would
have to want to stay, would
see a way we could both
win, a way to step
out of Vice City
and into me.
01/09 Direct Link
Dad emailed me. Finally.
I don’t want to bother counting
how long it’s been since we
last spoke, since we last said
more than necessary or
angry words.

I deleted the email later,
after re-reading it enough to
feel the hum of father undertoned.
He said that some scary things
had happened, that he was worried
for me, wanting to know I was okay,
praying; said he had a dream
about me as well, that it was
what brought him to write.

I wrote a letter the next day.
I was never so uncertain of words.

What did he dream?
01/10 Direct Link
Raeann called; though we’ve
been talking in sporadic voicemails,
answering machine messages,
I feel like I haven’t heard
her voice in months.

We say hello, and before another
word, before ‘How are you?’
we are choking sobs.

She tells me she’s good but
the truth unravels itself:
Will found out about Tony;
he’s moving to New Mexico;
breaking the lease on the apartment
is $3000; she’s got no money and
an STD recovery she can’t
tell anyone about if she wants
to be safe and taken care of.

‘I fucked everything,’ she says.

I see how
alone we both are.
01/11 Direct Link
Dad wrote back… confused, saying
I’m acting like my letter
made everything well,
back to good.

‘Seek counseling
(spiritual and professional)..
we think/know that many things
have happened to you.

We don’t want you home,
you’re an adult. Yet when we see
you living everything you said
you’d never be, we know
it’s only a matter if time
before you end up in depression,
the hospital

Know we’re praying God does
what he will - quickly -
to bring you back to Him.

My responsibility is
making sure your mom isn’t
hurt anymore, so I know
you’ll understand my words.'
01/12 Direct Link
blades spinning on a fan,
cutting flesh or vegetables
or who cares as long as it all
gets shredded to nothing

the light is too hot
is too bright
is too much
so we live in the darkness
and we like it

ashtrays are full and spilling
butts and cinders
and carbon remains
that wouldn’t fit in my lungs

lines are disappearing
from the paper, all white,
all blank, all full of
the nothing of myself

he counts the red planks
that make up the time on
the digital clock, recounting
the planks every time the
numbers, minutes, hours
01/13 Direct Link
Spanish today (only one class
on Mondays - does it get better
than that?). I was praying not
to get another professor who
was so rudimentary and cold.
And I didn’t. Cecilia Ojeda.

She looks like ‘a real Mexican’ (ha),
and speaks that lispy Spanish I
remember hearing in the background
of get-togethers with Dad’s side
of the family.

She feels like an old aunt
I forgot I had met.

She called me later, told me
she read the paragraph I wrote in
Spanish, and that I could easily
get out of her class.

I almost don’t want to try.
01/14 Direct Link
I’m taking a short fiction class.
Not my forte, but I’ll grow.

I remember writing one about
a girl who felt alienated from
her family, from everything
outside her skin. She sought
daily refuge in a makeshift
treehouse in the forest.

On a bad night, she stays there,
chasing a raven into the wild
later because it beckons. Lost,
she sleeps in a cave, wakes to
bathe in a river, sees she’s
being watched...

The raven continually reveals
the stranger; she finds it is
her father, her only true blood.

Her alienation is explained
by adoption; she knows
it’s deeper.
01/15 Direct Link
Have you ever seen seven, eight, nine
women in simultaneous moments of
orgasmic ecstasy? I’m talking REAL
women - women with jobs and kids
and cellulite, sagging breasts and
tummy rolls, dangly cheap earrings,
forested crotches, names like Diana
instead of Candy Swallows.

They were open: mouths open, legs
open, flower petals spreading open
between their thighs and elsewhere,
somewhere too deep to be touched.

There were giggles, shocked jaws
dropped. Jordan and Spaz already
gone, having had their fill of
used and aged cunt.

I try to close in on the mystical music,
the spirituality in a woman’s sex.
01/16 Direct Link
What a prick.

Spaz is up to visit, kicked out of
Amy’s mother’s house or something
like that, for who knows what
reasons (sometimes I find it
best not to speculate).

Online all day for any combination
of porn sites and meet-a-gal chats,
he’s gone to Reilly now,
my old all-female dorm,
to meet some girl for
one reason or another.

Meanwhile his love - sorry,
his girlfriend, the mother
of his child - is going to the see
a doctor today about… I don’t know,
a lump in her throat, perhaps,
to find out the degree of its threat.
01/17 Direct Link
Mama, you’ve been on my mind.

The words permeate my thoughts
all too often these days - too often
because I have no resolution.

I keep thinking - especially now
that I have my fiction class -
about the book I could write of
my family, and character names
I would have to use to disguise
the details of the truth.

I keep trying to think of women
from the Bible for my mother.
I get stuck on names I’ve heard
her say - Martha, or Ruth, or
Esther - but I don’t know which
of them has her heart.
01/18 Direct Link
A bunch of us went to see
The Producers, with the Dorrance’s
picking up the tab. Musicals
aren’t my preference, but I was
glad to see it still, and entertained.

Throughout the entire show,
I couldn’t take my eyes off of
this woman - a Marilyn Monroe
kind of blonde, her kind of curvy too;
a handful of hips and a chest full
with breasts that begged on eyes.

Strange, feeling so captivated by
a body, and even by the persona,
that of a naïve sex-hungry foreign girl.
She was the center of the show
for me, unbelievably beautiful, lovely.
01/19 Direct Link
art, finding symbolism
in the mundane, finding
the colors in the grey.

she said that even the way
cats lay, no matter how their
bodies fall and stretch across,
they are artful, an inherent
creative beauty in their form.

i’m remembering to love
how green means fertility, envy;
white’s the good guy, and the one
in black is bearing evil;
dogs mean loyalty, and horses
are for strength; winter means
death, old age, a living’s ending;
light is anything from
happy to holy.

i never had to wonder
why I always loved
cool colors, shadows,
cloudy skies and
purple blood.
01/20 Direct Link
I’m supposed to write a poem
about a childhood fear. In class,
I told about fear of being in
places without locks - nothing
serious, but a paranoia built after
years of a bedroom door
without one.

I thought about my strongest,
a fear of physical pain. It kept me
indoors, kept me on the inside of
sidewalks, always in crosswalks.

In the end, I turn in poem starting:
The fattest man I know rides a Vespa,
making a joke of the assignment,
but somehow building around it
the thought that wearing the weight
of your fears will bury you.
01/21 Direct Link
Black lungs bound together -
funny how the ones who take
smoke breaks together become
the close-knits in the group.

I met Robert and Amy in Fiction.
Robert is all Hell’s Angels with
a heart and Mormon falling;
Amy is a fire-headed soft voice,
hair crimped - mechanically -
like mine was in 4th grade or so,
90210-style. I get the feeling
she’d like to kill every cheater
in the world, cut off every cock
that ever put a girl in tears.

When we hit the filter,
we climb three flights of stairs
to become strangers
to one another again.
01/22 Direct Link
I remember seeing him at slams,
not looking at me but every
pussied poet he thought to imagine
a moonlit walk with. I think he finds
he cries too easily, but all I really saw
were glasses, a beard, a mouth
that seemed in want of lip’s texture.

I read The Clone Army, his poem
of a recurring childhood dream -
no, nightmare - of octopus
taking over his loved ones,
neighborhood, the world.
He relates it to his evil twin,
who lives a better life
than the real Eric Greene,
drives a better car,
has an ideally flawed lover.
01/23 Direct Link
I’ve made myself lazy and lucky,
with classes only three days a week,
four-day weekends filled with
nothing but the sleeping in I do
during the weekdays anyway.

Even with no classes before 2pm,
and even with my nocturnal clock,
I still can’t help but follow Jordan
to bed so early every night.
I have to hear him fall asleep,
want to feel his foot twitch
under mine and wonder
what he dreams

because that’s what I save
my mornings for - the lucid dreams
that come in half-sleep and
make me anticipate his return
to blue blankets kept warm.
01/24 Direct Link
Browsing Bookman’s poetry
collection, always scanning titles
for the book Fate placed there,
text on the binding that’s my name
in the language of another
author’s life.

( I remember being confused
with God, going to the library
back home, seeing ANSWERS -
bold, white - on the side of one
in the religion section; bought it,
found out Dad already owned it,
didn’t want it anymore.)

Tonight, I’m caught by italics
proclaiming A Daughter’s Latitude.
I flip through in automatic,
looking for the poem that’ll
show my parents exactly that -
their daughter’s latitude,
the scope of her being.
01/25 Direct Link
I finally got around to writing
to Julie, a series of five emails,
lengthy and longwinded, typical
of how I’d written when I was
more in tune to our kindred parts -
and every time I write her,
I rediscover those parts.

It’s strange how I feel
I could tell her anything -
about love or sex, drugs or
hate, raw thoughts like the ones
I would offer Jordan or Kaz.

It’s easy for me to dismiss
the boundaries of age and norms,
to view us all the way my TA
in sexuality does -
ageless, sexless, bodiless
spirits connecting.
01/26 Direct Link
This is the first Super Bowl
I’ve celebrated (with the
exception of one I remember
as a kid, a potluck dinner sort of
thing at my church, while Dad
was preaching there; I had
too many sweets, too much
indeterminable food, and puked
up something pink and foamy)
and what better way to kick off
this grand ol’ Fort Valley party
than with a few too many cups
of Celebration Ale. Three TV’s,
a room of double-decker couches,
and enough inebriation for
conversation with strangers.
I cut my shin up something
fierce, bruised my knees blue.
Now that’s a celebration.
01/27 Direct Link
I can’t believe she’s doing it,
doing exactly as they please -
not out of weakness,
but necessity.

She’s moved back home,
without a fiancé, without a
piece of furniture, without even
a dollar to pay her bills.

She said she’s happy..

‘Well, not extremely happy…
but, you know… how it is when
you’re back home with
Mom and Dad… they know
how to take care of you, how to
make you feel good again.’

And I did… know exactly
what she meant. And,
in some sense, I guess
what that really means is that
I knew she wasn’t happy.
01/28 Direct Link
Sometimes Kaz writes these emails
leaving me absolutely stunned.
He has an eye for the world that
shifts from idealistic to gothic to
romantic to manic at his
emotion’s calling.

The way he talks about things -
poetic patterns in life’s chaos,
the role of a writer’s words and
honesty in depth-depraved society,
intrinsic connections of love and art -
I see Kerouac’s travels, can hear
Ginsberg’s mantra-like chants
shifting tectonic plates of
a literary earth.

He says sees me, Murat, himself
as the start of a new movement,
that he needs a woman’s love now
to nurture his potential.
01/29 Direct Link
…Because my body was touched
in every way, so I saved
my mouth for love.
…Because we were
and he spilled his load before
we got anywhere anyway.
…Because God said wives
should submit to their husbands,
and I couldn’t.
…Because I lost my virginity to
the right man, never my husband,
and I don’t see God explaining that.
…Because it’s a high that
makes me feel healthy.
…Because I feel beautiful
when I do.
…Because sometimes they’re
as much lovers as fathers.
…Because sometimes we let it
get beyond fucked up, and
sometimes it’s just short
of heaven.
01/30 Direct Link
Cory’s up visiting for a little
longer than the weekend -
heading to rehab on Tuesday,
detoxing from the heroin that
has been all I know of him
for some number of months now.

I asked how it felt, the high of
heroin, what it does for the mind
and body and heart..

‘It’s like… bliss…’

and I think ‘Bliss…
at the cost of what?’

‘It doesn’t make you feel
smarter or dumber, doesn’t
make you feel crazy or neurotic,
just happiness, just an opiate…’

I see the struggle to break away.
Maybe I see how he
can’t break away..
01/31 Direct Link
Got an email from Jessica Carroll,
long-lost girl from high school who
I’d always wished I’d made a better
friend of. Her and Maroney,
coolest fucking girls alive -
I thought so then;
maybe I still do.

I remember her working at Savers,
being stoked about getting
discounts on shirts that were
already $2 anyway.

I remember being relieved when
she told me she’d done drugs
(though I’d never touched
the stuff at the time).

The first time we talked,
she kept saying "God, you’re
so quiet.. I know you’re a
cool girl.. you’re smart, so
start talking!"

I changed.