Going Under (Rev.)

IMG_3833.jpgGoing under is
going through a tunnel, on a train:

darkness descends
outside the car doors,
and you can see your reflection in the window
for the first time;
a mirror.

When the rest of the world is
shut out by the inky blackness
of the underground,
you’re left looking
at yourself-

staring at your eyes
like they were the passing trees or
traffic lights

searching yourself in passing
like a spectacle,
a traffic stop, an accident-
a frame of passing scenery,
brief and

Silent, still,
delicious drenched in darkness




I found the bridge in Saint-Michel,
laden with lovers’ prayers,
that bears the weight of wishers-well
and ageing love affairs

I dropped your key over the side
and watched it sink into
the churning of the heavy tide,
and vanish in the blue

My eyes thought it the greater sin
to leave the glitt’ring bars,
so they clung to you within
that multitude of stars

But when I lost you in the throng
the spires began to knell,
and chimed my secret all along
the banks of Saint-Michel

It followed me along the lane
down to the underground,
and with the rattling of the train
it echoed all around

I clasped my key within my hand
as though I held your own,
and passing through the subway stand
I bore it heavy home-

knowing that my heartache slept,
secured by lock and key;
a smarting secret quiet kept
by silent Seine, and me.


I have no choice but to believe,
or my heart will stop ticking:

a clock run by the grinding gears of the universe,
the world a windmill where
the horizon rolls by-
my cogs are turned in unison
with the winding of the stars

Hope is God’s cruelest creation,
because we pick it up in spite of ourselves-
helpless to its fire,
burning through worlds without
remembering why;
the spark of fuel setting fire
to the tails of our rockets

and you, who
spun me ’round the planets on your
forgotten wings,
frown to see me wheel
across the sky

Galway Gone

In Galway gone, an age ago
where crumbling stones did meet the sea,
I walked where lonely mists did blow,
and in the shadows found I thee

Cathedral bells in darkness rung
and echoed down the slick night street;
no friendly footsteps on stones sung
among the kiss of falling sleep

But in my cold and naked palm
which scraped upon the mossy stones,
I felt the whisper of your psalm-
in empty hand, I held your own

Déjà Vu


My phone rang this morning while I stood at my desk, dealing with the usual barrage of problems that weren’t mine- an unidentified number from Seattle, WA. I don’t answer calls while I’m working, but there it was: Seattle, WA. So I answered, hasty, tight with panic that didn’t belong to 8:53 AM on a Thursday.

An unearned déjà vu flooded my ears before sound; a familiarity I have neither written nor spoken, but indelible nonetheless from the countless times played in my head: endless visions of disaster. Visions of answering an unknown number and hearing you, calling from the other end of a gun to say goodbye. Calling from a payphone next to a ditch, at the nasty end of a bender. Calling from the top of a building, from the middle of a bridge, from the edge of a cliff, from the bottom of a well. Do they have many of those in Washington? Continue reading “Déjà Vu”

In Defense of Getting Bored

Scan 129.jpgI’m a bad reader.

Like many other things I’ve accomplished in my life due purely to a desire to prove other people wrong, I learned how to read out of spite. To make a long childhood story short, I skipped the majority of 2nd grade thanks less to a belief in my academic abilities, and more to a surprisingly effective attitude that I would be ok because I had no other choice. Coming out of a Los Angeles hippie commune filled with celebrity children and teachers who believed I would do things when I “was ready”, I found myself in a summer school program designed to keep kids with working mothers occupied, unable to write in print, and unable to read. Continue reading “In Defense of Getting Bored”

Impossible Odds

Version 2I don’t think it’s love that’s a lie, but maybe the way that we tell it. What are the odds of happiness, anyway? The American Dream seems statistically unlikely, when you think about it.

When I left you I thought it was, in a word, impossible. Impossible to have happened, impossible to live with. Even leaving halfway across the world didn’t seem quite far enough to make you Gone. What followed was a year that didn’t feel real; twelve months in someone else’s job, reminding myself that this suspended foreign reality was temporary, and that I would go home and go on with my life because there were no other choices, even if you wouldn’t be there anymore. I opened the cracked window above my head that slanted over the roof of my little blue room up in the mossy, cloudy spires of Somewhere New, and I thought about my choices. London lay in stone before me- infinite possibility still so limited by time and money and energy. By me. I hadn’t slept in months, between the best and the worst of the last year, and I couldn’t sleep then.

Continue reading “Impossible Odds”