It is not 1973
it is 2020 and all roads are
blocked but back in the summer
of my right thumb when the roads ran free
I was $120 and a clean knapsack westbound
on US 33 smack-dab in the middle of Ohio
thumb out on my 19th birthday oh I made time
up to northern Michigan the first night
a campfire an art student Moira
who had clouds of curls she said
All art is Eros I thought Oh till I drank
like a teenager so sulked north
into Canada and the scorched dust
of the prairies stuck stuck stuck
3 days just west of Winnipeg
then into the clear cool of the Canadian Rockies
It is not 1973
When I was young I used to drive
with no companion or destination in mind.
Cutting through heavy valley heat on the 101
then curving toward the coast through Topanga Canyon
1969, on an unmarked road by a no trespassing sign,
parked between the boulders, eucalyptus and
sage with four-track off and eyes closed
I’m seventeen and waiting for a
transformation—that wasn’t coming that
Or any time soon.
For every hasty engagement
there was a Benedict Canyon.
For every cleaving together
there was geography.
That spring, I was ready to drop piano lessons. I wanted free school day afternoons. I wanted to be driven far out of town in beat-up jalopies at high speeds. Put on greasy lipstick dark as bitter chocolate so that some boy would think I was at least fifteen. I wanted to dangle a lit cigarette and drink gin and gingers in roadside dives, like in the movies. I wanted the boy behind the wheel to say, “Hey, you’re cool and sassy for a girl.”
My mother didn’t fancy my growing up so fast. She said, “Give it one more summer, honey.” Meaning the piano.
I crumbled. “Okay, but that’s it.”Read more "Piano Lessons"
soon after we parted
but then against the General’s command
we drove the boy out beyond the salt flats
to the northern edge of the mountains
where he said for a thousand years
no one would wake him
you spoke you remembered
how he could not grow a mustache
not like the revolutionaries and caudillos
he could not clear his lungs
in the desert air
we stoned him for taunting the Chihuahua
stolen from Arango himself
but he loved his family name and honor
more than all men
My icy fingers remember
the lime twins,
fused side by side,
creased down the middle.
Our young bodies too—
their mysterious creases and folds.
The least I could do for you,
my Double Buddy,
was break the popsicle apart,
give you half.
My husband watches Ozark on Netflix.
I walk away to my laptop, tell him,
I don’t like any of the characters
and I don’t like the plot.
He can see how that could be true,
but he watches anyway.
The show’s been nominated.
Conventional COVID-19 wisdom says
the smart thing to do is stay home and avoid people.
We wait for a cure as hours of scripted
dramas flicker before our eyes.
I love my dog more than my dad
By a distance, not a tad
There I’ve said it, the cardinal sin
Preference for a canine to my next of kin
His big floppy ears, doughy eyes, cold wet nose
Means more to me than my father’s bones
That lay in a grave, I hope at peace
My accidental parent, who came from the East
And whilst my dog showers me with kisses
I remember the drink, the rows, the Christmases
He was never there, never told us he cared
But still I loved this boy soldier, unrecovered man
Though not as much as I love my dog
Sorry dad, I hope you understand
my father and i do not look alike
at first glance, but
we have the same scar on our chins
from falling off our bikes and
leaving a bit of ourselves behind,
red bifurcating again and again in the cement,
so strange to imagine how our skin
closed hastily, unevenly
(easing pain is not the same
as making smooth again).
for so long, i wanted to be pink,
like my tights, like the ribbons,
soft and satin.
i wanted to fit just right,
like blush fastening itself to my cheeks
and forehead when it’s the middle of the night
and the sun still burns in the air,
like the last drops of afternoon sliding
off the clouds to follow it.
i wanted to be girl, to be sweet,
to be rose without thorns,
to be dress, to be pure.
i resented red in all her brashness.
Grasping at Straws “The thing is, unless you change, nothing changes.”— Jose Mujica Cordano “It’s easy,” you tell your niece, showing her how to managethe simplest task, baby steps and all that, perhaps how to formher first question, her first double-u, perhaps how to maintainthe fire in the grate, perhaps later to count out her […]Read more "Grasping at Straws"