Feb 14 2016

Blizzard in Berlin

Everything’s sexy in Berlin.
Purple umbrella shot inside out

dropped by the door, a leather
dress balled up, the red wine

spill hidden, your boots
tucked beside a suitcase,

while my stilettos make
a W where I kicked them in
the air when I made a V.

framed by the whipped cream
of sheets, asleep—

and snow traveling outside
easterly and westerly simultaneously.

The lines on the street
scraped   salted   graveled.

Inhale this rooftop horizon
of jigsaw high-rises.

Dead Kaiser Wilhelm’s
broken steeple ushers out

the night and punctures
in light. This is Spring in Berlin:
snow, silver, a punch of gold.

I am shivering in my slip–
a black crow

lands on the windowsill,
my face caught in glass,

and then yours–kissing
each cheek, and lifting me there

in the corner window
above Ku’damm
for all to see, and I let you in—

no longer afraid of the darkness
within, and say the word
you wanna hear–

Thank-you Poetry Crush for publishing this piece in the Valentine’s 2016 issue!

Feb 11 2016

I love love as much as anyone, but it’s not a hearts and flowers and chocolates emotion. It’s peels. It’s peels from a tangerine that makes your pocket sticky long after you’ve eaten the fruit:

Paradise of Fools

Rob puts the peels from his tangerine in my pocket. That day he’d just come from delivering a colt.  We met by a dried-out riverbed and walked it until we found water. Three months pregnant, I felt safe from his charms.

A lone water lily in a wash of pond stops us. He puts his arms around me from behind like he did when we were eighteen and stood at the end of Huntington Pier. I lean into him and a killdeer screeches. I think, “I should be impervious.” I am twenty-eight and married, but not to Rob.

I avoid the still blue slough of his eyes. I talk about why I’m in California, the Milton conference, the paper about Eve and the serpent. How Eve fell for the serpent’s flattery after he licked her shadow. Adam’s uxoriousness the real reason for the punishment since every god hates a cuckold.

I am married, I am pregnant, but I am not happy.  I leave Rob amid cottonwood and cacti. And I end all contact with him, even though I’m pretty sure I loved him for a long time after. It takes 5 years of eating slivers of glass and rock before I finally leave my husband.

That last day with Rob, hours later, I reached into my pocket and found the tangerine peels he’d placed there. Scraps of light shed from a too-bright star.

Originally published in Leaf by Leaf

This year’s love poem offering “Blizzard in Berlin” is up on Poetry Crush’s 2016 Valentine’s issue, Vol. 2

Feb 8 2016

Boxed in Lovers (They Seem so Happy)

1) The quantity of nerve cells in the brain is in direct relation to need.

The sea nettle jellyfish spends
little on the purchase of nerve cells for his brain.
He is bell shaped and bold beauty
lace of tentacles
exquisite in their ability to scoop
passive prey. Read More >

Feb 7 2016

Welcome to Valentine’s week. Brought to you by the flower industry, the card industry and love cats everywhere. I have been writing anti-love poems for about 16 years now and also assigning this task to my students. It is a liberating experience. We never have Hallmark cards that read, “here’s my heart, you can smash it to smithereens if you so chose,” though this is sometimes the end result of our love experience. So no matter where you weigh in on the love question, one thing is true, without love of some sort, life is all white bread and mayonnaise. This year the object of my affection is the creek that runs through my back yard. What’s yours? Below I have assembled some various takes on the love equation by some extraordinary writers. Dive in babies. These poets are the mathematicians of love: Anne Waldman, Carol Frost, Kim Addonizio, Alan Jude Moore, Francesco Levato, J. Hope Stein, Dan Linehan, Adeena Karasick, Joanna Fuhrman, Michael Odom, Jillian Mukavetz, and Dena Rash Guzman.


She’s got my heart and I’ve got hers
It was fair we fell in love
I hold hers precious and mine she would miss
There never was anything like this
My heart in her keeps us one
Her heart in me guides thoughts and feelings
She loves my heart for once it was hers
I loved hers because it lived in me
I once wounded her it was misunderstanding
And then my heart hurt for her heart
For as from me on her her hurt did sit
So I felt still in me her heart hurt
It both of us hurt simultaneously
And then we saw how we’re stuck
With each others’ hearts now.

after Sir Philip Sydney

Anne Waldman

BLEEDING HEART flower Read More >

Feb 13 2015

This offering is for all those love-poets who still believe in love, in all of its many-faceted forms. We here celebrate love in its sticky thorniness, believing as we do that gender is a thing with feathers. Poetry may not save the world, but it could just save your relationship. I disagree with Shakespeare–kind of–he says music is the fruit of love, but I say it’s poetry. So dig in–let the nectar drip from your lips, run down your neck, let the music of these words play on . . .

“The Offering”

There were moments you slew me,
With a grindstone of curses

I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
This god with his liver dangling beneath the ribs like a bell
I will ring it till it peals, peals, peals

Plastic trinkets in an offering box
A skull with spine attached

A shaman greeted you and beat
you lightly with branches
It was a blessing, a welcome to this city

Milagros pinned to a shrine
Calcium grins grim
Face to face with volcanic stone

I’ll never forget, my enemy or my lover’s shape
Cradling a head in my hands, memorizing the bony plates

Below the cobblestones
Temples built over temples
Riding the lake under the bed of the city

I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
Wear your hair and face to the temple
And light the braziers, the belly
A stone bowl carved to hold a beating heart

Brenda Coultas

mayanheart Read More >

Feb 13 2013

Through the warped glass of the bedroom window
she watches him. He, an German physicist,
in the garden at night amid a teepee of pinto beans
killing earwigs and roly-polys,
bent with a hammer in one hand, a flashlight
in the other. Her teeth press lips against glass. Read More >