open seventh

You tend to use
a lot
of open seventh
chords, he observed.
I didn’t know what that meant.
Like this, he said, demonstrating with
his hands what I didn’t
Oh, I replied,
you mean the ones that sound
like they are perching
on a cusp, demanding
yes, I do like those.

In response to the Beauty aisle in Target.

2014-11-01 11.32.45

as if

beauty is a quantifiable commodity
to be purchased with the swift swipe of a debit card
and the word applies only to female bodies, where
everything’s a problem, but wait-
there’s a solution

if you2014-11-01 11.49.18

hate yourself, erase yourself
scrape yourself raw
you can
paint yourself, fake
yourself remake yourself

a mask.

from the second floor, leaning over the banister

How many times
did I stand
at the top
of those stairs,
listening to one-sided
phone conversations,
trying to assign
names and faces to pronouns
to determine a subject:
someone I knew? or, better yet, me?
Eavesdropping on secrets,
confessions, predictions- most of them riddles,
but sometimes a name or a phrase would stand out
and my rapt little ears would
savor, devour, chew
and consider and store it away. This is
a reminder to self of how easily
words can tear holes
in the fabric of love
and to expand the definition
of improvisation
to include ‘to parent’
as a common synonym.


You notice
each part of me separately
and as a whole,
naming, in the process, my
and dissolving them
with your careful reverence. I know
I am beautiful
whether you are in the room or not,
yet I feel my body glow
wherever your eyes fall.
And I know I am strong,
carrying the burdens
of the day with relative ease, but
my muscles quiver in
anticipation of their increasing proximity
to your lips. When our eyes
find each other in
a room rowdy with bodies
and noise, it is desire
that makes me smile and
look away, but later, when I step
into your arms,
it is your passion,
steeped in tenderness, that draws me that much