Destroy what Destroys you

In a CSO

again, not my plan

to keep on being

here, years on end.


First memories of mama

yelling at the worker

long lines, no food

crappy toys, office


not made for comfort

in, out of mind

back on the street.


Never again

begging for scraps

eying around the space


same colors

as childhood


tagging outside

security guard plays

welfare worker

vice versa.


we become words

here, probation officer, YMCA, school

jail, halfway house, project, recipient


we become our numbers



Forget our names

food changes

            arroz, injera, tamales, rangoon



mickey D’s, AZ ice tea,

whatever’s close enough to free


jokes in like

sighs of wasted life

another form another

hour wasted


but who cares

they know we don’t got

jobs nohow


fired, cut off

limit, fraud, probation

deported, refugee


we sit

sit sit


but look

eye to brown eye


I feel it



we will not be here forever

someday, soon or not

the world will be forced

to stop it’s bickering

sacred land burned, oil burned.

burned bodies, bombed bodies.


and then, friend

you and I

will be a destructive

force, no one expected

after all, if nothing else

we know

how to wait our turn.

Para Gaza/For Gaza/من أجل غزة

sometimes words lay


on the page as if they

have always been there

other times they struggle

to be read and we pass 

over ignore their need.


hard words are glossed over 

hard truth is never told

we read what we want

both sides, yearn for peace.


forget rubble, don’t hear screams

read choice, read asked to move,

read terrorist, read overlooked mass graves.


don’t see terror, don’t see struggle.

don’t hear chants, rocks clinking off tanks.

cries of anger, grief, relief

*we lived this once*

ignore the unreadable words.

over a 1000 children murdered.


choose peace, choose inside your intact 

home, choose both sides, don’t choose.

live well, go to the farmers market, got to the rally,

read the words gently before bed

go fast into peace dreams.

Sphnix Life

I live my life in several stages

child, toddler, adult

and each layer

has to slip then slide

into position

to complete each act

eating, talking, work.

I have to be enough alive

to move along

to wake up

and learn

the basic steps


out the door.

each day.

Sometimes I cut

up food to baby sized


and feed myself

each bite forced.

Sometimes I eat like I’ll never eat again.

I appear and disappear

like high and low tide

showing my rocks

then covering up

with smooth ripples.

Looking peaceful

I glide into rooms

and sit for hours

pretending to pay attention

nod sagely

as if I am aware.


At work I smile

and automate

my job

so well I can serve


and greet them by name

“how is our son?” “is your kitchen finished yet?”

without eye contact

without really knowing their features

I know my customers

life stories,

everyday troubles

and couldn’t pick

them out in a line up


For years I have tried to answer the sphinx’s riddle:

“what has four feet in the morning

to in the afternoon,

and three at night?”

I am toddler, woman, grandma.

Each day

I fail

To remain

My age.

Taking Orders

when we are in a rush
his sloppy letters
come out through my hand
a xylophone of locking joints.

I stop dead
my fingers poisoned
and rush the other
sloppy, half written
back to the grill

“2 eggs and toast
for here please”

don’t make me
my no trespassing sign
is covered in grey lichen.


Sometimes we forget fire

is a delicate balance

of air and flame.


Fire is absence

of dark

of dampness,


fire demands.

Burns back skin.

to revel our roasted


chard and cracked.


Just Us

Just Us

We survive
As mirrors
Of each other

Deflected death
Reflected misery

Reaching to live
Reaching for safety
Reaching to remember

Finding arms, hands, hearts