Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I think about illness a lot. Growing up, my Mom was sick a lot, one of those people who have always been susceptible to sickness. She had a lot of "invisible" things --chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia-- that a lot of people (including doctors) dismiss as not being "real diseases", but which are nonetheless very real to those who suffer them.  I didn't understand them when I was growing up, but now that I've suffered nearly two years with a series of symptoms that no one can diagnose, I get it.

Of course, visible illnesses are invisible, too. I don't know why we're supposed to act like everything's cool when we don't feel well, but we are.  I think that doctors and nurses are heroes for opting to spend their lives looking directly at what we are encouraged to ignore, to see the sick and suffering, to try to understand, to help.

So. This is a tanka (of course) about sickness.


Blessed are the sick,
bodies shaking, bent, in pain.
The LORD God sees them.

When we don't want to look, He
sees them, and offers Presence.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Triptych: Grace

Three more days without a poem, so three poems. This is a set of three tankas.

Triptych: Grace

To see the face of
Christ in the woman holding
a large "fuck God" sign

is not so hard. What's hard is
knowing what to say or do.

My faith requires me
to examine my hatred
and to let it go.

But I swear it comes back. It
always comes back. Always.

Today, I wanted
to feel the rain and the wind,
to get soaking wet,

to push myself against it
and give thanks that I can feel.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Picture Window

It's been three days since I've posted, so I owe three poems. I always think that I write poems because I can't draw. Here are three that I've hastily written in front of a bar in Adams Morgan... three images like a three paned window.

Picture Window

Adams Morgan Bar
gin and tonic,
little notebook, waiting.

Guy to my left says
"We're going to a FOAM party later,
where everyone gets soaking wet
and FOAMY."

And I think
"Dirty or clean?"


Three little brown girls
breaking off cherry blossoms
giggling and running.

A white man in tube socks
walks by and yells
5 minutes later,
another white man with
a little white baby walks by,

They look at me.
I look at them and smile,
They erupt in gales of giggles,


Too many layers
of guilt
and strain
and serious weariness
had to come off

but the band's beats
and your kind smile
finally peeled them away
and for a few precious moments,
I lost myself to dancing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


No set form tonight.  This is a poem about cake, sort of.


Nerves stretched tight, jangling and pounding
like the wires on John Cage's piano
Pressure in the skull like her brain
has finally decided to make a break for it
Eyes bloodshot, small and irritated
framed by blurred mascara

She is weaving and careening towards the bathroom
focus fixed on kamikazing this wretched long day
and catches a mirrored glimpse of herself,

a dark splotch of chocolate frosting on her forehead
from where she'd taken down a piece of
gluten-free seven layer cake
like a hitman

And laughs.

It's going to be ok.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dorothy Day

This is a tanka about missing the late bus and waiting a half hour for the even later bus, and my recommended reading should you find yourself in that situation.

Dorothy Day

If I have to wait
for the 11:05,
this is how it's done,

reading of a saint who gave
her whole life, without complaint.