Jan 27, 2005


Note: Plagiarism is a crime, for which I have the immediate right to kick your ass.


He commands me to speak.
I sit quietly twiddling my thumbs--
a habit passed on from the Irish grandfather
that I am to emulate.
My tongue feels like crumpled cellophane;
my lips produce a sound
that tastes like foil on my teeth.
I deny my heritage by
shredding the musical syllables
of my own name.
Silence falls across the table--
the lost language
will never resonate in the voices of his young.
He rises heavily
to go pray to Brigid's cross
leaving me to sit
with echoes of the Fair Isle in my head.

Excommunication II

His footfall is loud and imposing--
my ignorance sounded in every step.
He sets the book down in front of me
and returns to the shadows of his room.
I am left alone with this
crumbling capsule of dreams.
I know this book well.
It holds words inscribed in a fading language:
stories of a brave journey over raging waters
to a new and unfamiliar land.
Words that have been read
to eager ears a thousand times over
in a rich, Irish brogue.

I trace my fingers over the musty, yellowed pages.
Scents of fear, dreams, death, and pride
linger in these aged words.
Tales of poverty and hope,
religion and war, the jeweled coast of Éire
and the exhilaration of America scream from
this manuscript of immigrant life.
The forgotten dialect of my past whets
my mind and pours from my mouth with a surge
of defiance.
Oddly enough, in these foreign words
that I have for so long refused to accept,
I feel the worth of my heritage.

He Paints

Sitting, draped in sheets,
she is posed between boredom
and posterity.

She is painted by
his mind: censored dream of

raging with incarnate color.
Pursuing a portrait--he
tirelessly seeks

timbres of color
to echo the morning light
in her eyes.

He paints the pearl of
her skin with the luminous
fire of opals.

And while he paints, he
sings in whispers that echo
faded shades of blue.

Once blank, his curtains
of canvas now reflect the
passions of the mind.


The cheap hotel room
smells of mildew and lust.
Daylight cracks through
the heavy drapes-
but to her
time is an abstraction.

She sits in a haze.
Her eyes excrete
dark makeup and tears
of false ecstasy.

Her conscience speaks:
Is this what you fucked him for?
Such a naïve form of acceptance.

She swears it’s not a habit:
the venom that turns
beautiful faces into
grim, grinning masks.

She says she can quit.
But hiding her reflection from the mirror,
she falters
and burns her life away
in the cavity of a dirty spoon.


Locked in her world, she
inhales the hate in the air and
holds it in her lungs.

She burns the rest of
her sanity and watches
the smoke blow out the

window in grey clouds.
She sings along with the voice
in her head and laughs…

her life is nothing more
than a question.

hello, mother

The photo is bent back.
She’s smiling here,
her hair golden,
skin soft and tan,
her eyes hold the polished
depth of marble.

I remember that summer.

I watched her stumble,
never noticing how
she sold me virtues
laden with a heavy price.
I saw her lie to herself,
then repair the deceit with
false promises.

Men promised her
castles and crowns.
Every one of them
chiseled lines in her
trusting features.

They used her--
kept her as a pet,
leaving when
there was nothing left.
She loved them.

Is integrity still a word?

So many demons
look down on her now.
I wonder if
I stole her life--
quietly learning from each mistake
or did she crucify herself to save
my perception of reality?

Her life is a charade.

Once open windows,
her eyes are frosted over.
She sees the world
through the corrected vision
of shattered trust,
and weaves a shroud of strength
from invisible fragments
strewn on the floor.
She cries to sacrifices she can’t replace.

The photo is bent back.
And falls into
separate pieces.

hello mother

Palace Stone

All of the others are drab, greyish-white,
lending nothing to the kaleidoscope garden
in which they live.
This one stands out proudly from the others.
Grey, all the same, but infused
with a lightning pattern of marble white.

A perfect, royal stone --
fired by the Bavarian sun and
scarred by the cold winds of the Nazi rain.

I kneel down in the palace walk
and pluck the stone from the ground.

It could have tumbled from the rising baroque spires.
A castaway of a higher calling
molded into a smooth, elliptical stone
from the limestone cherub that it once was.

Perhaps, it was created by the countless mythological gods
watching the days from their pedestals
with empty, sculpted eyes.
The grand cornucopia of Dionysus,
the quiver of Artemis,
or the flowing robes of Hera
could be the birthplace of this stone.

Possibly, the stone made its way here
tumbling from an alpine loft
only to have found sanctity in a rushing, icy river
that brought it to its regal resting place
here in the palace garden.

Now, a journey begins to another
place, another home among stones
where it’s life will continue.
This stone
nestled in my hand,
holds history.


In the teeth-clenching,
last sorrows of puberty,

she sits on the curb
with her head in her hands.

Eyebrows wrinkled
in deep thought,

she recounts each step
of her mechanical childhood:

books, Barbies,
and dolls--easy things for a girl.

She bestows frail smiles at passing cars.
Tomorrow is filled with nothing.

She gets up, wearing her burden
on her chest like an adolescent logo.

Trying in her mind to cross
the bridge between girl and woman.

City Song

Her shoes pound out a
New York beat on the
heated pavement of
the lonely streets.

Scents of the city
and the muttered sounds
of jazz played in the
back room of a dark
alley bar haze
her vision.

The euphonic screams
of a city-wise
vagrant intrude upon
her abducted state
of mind.

She stares at him
with night-blind eyes,
hearing nothing
but empty harmony.

People rush by,
not stopping
to hear the silent
screaming of her song.


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