Come in and Get Lost  


Through the foyer of The Carlyle, playing

     dress-up in my knockoff goddess garments,

open as a mother as the gala fills with gods

     and CEOs. The squid, they say, tastes biblical,


the flood to be exact. Reminders we're survivors,

     chewing on our Hokusai fancies. I could fill this

wing with what I've been inclined to hide

     inside me: kraken, sure, corked champagne,


bronze erections of the fabled brave. The entrée

     is a siren summoned from her odyssey with nets

and sous'-knives, served with a berry soup of mid-

     day blue. I am uncomfortable with beauty.


What we kill we eat and what we spare becomes

      our savior. There's no master where there is

no slave. I said we; let's leave that be as I'm a forgery

     so skillfully constructed it outdoes the real thing.


I mean just watch me strip off this humanity;

     newest virgin in a harem, hell-bent on a takedown.



Earthquakes Are My Favorite Way to Make Islands


We ignored the cries of the carbon monoxide

     detector, coitussed in a pose like Pompeii

corpses while the cabbies grew irate outside.

     This is the last day of our lives, until tomorrow.  

When I say I'm fine I mean the sky has opened

     like an old wound under scurvy, shown me

all its cogs, I can't go back to normal thought.

     We're pretty when we sleep. We're singing old

Bon Jovi so loud all our bones are shaking,

     makes me want to break him in my mouth.


Another thrill, another man to walk with

     through the flood-lit film sets of Central Park.

It starts off like a cyst, this partnership, gets

     supersized until it's visible to strangers, just

as dangerous. A voice comes on the platform

     in the subway, warns against cavorting

with abandoned baggage, say something, it orders.

     So I tell an armed guard how we squeeze each

other's words like triggers: tongue to cheek,

     to weekends spent accruing welcome bruises.


We could quit it if we choose. His moonshine

     on my breath the next day, staving off advances

from an old friend in a dead cafe.

No Exit 


I love your world, he said, just keep it to yourself

— I love your mouth.


In a Star Wars-themed fever dream

     I saw him lassoed by a solar flare and held

there in a warmth I can't provide. Blue light

     clicking upon waking, wishing


caffeine came easy as a boy of twenty.

     Think these sausages have feelings.

See them smiling from the skillet, soaking

     olives plucked in Florence by a sun-fold crone.


Wish I'd been there popping bottles

     of Prosecco by the boastful shadow

of that lady. Can't fake mornings undone

     by a brain as overanxious as a surgeon


with a bone to pick. One busted nose

     and I keep thinking it'll shift again, fall

off: some stupid uncle's magic trick

      gone wrong: I got your nose, I got your nose! 


He got me hooked on the illusion I was whole.  



Such an Ugly Little Duck


This morning's pink ass. Last night's sadist.

     Suppose he came to know me as he wrote

in Sharpie on my belly: whore, or heroine,

     or both. I'm no good at sleeping. High-strung

in a hurricane of public access broadcasts

     while the city's men parade their bulges

on the F train waiting to be licked

     back into living. This is how a book begins:

protagonist unburdened by her husband

     blunders through the belly of a whale.

One day she'll emerge dismantled, all decked

     out in Swarovski Crystal halos. Imperfect,

picturesque as childhood hallucinations.