Monday, April 30, 2012


The lights won't turn on
I can't find the switch
the bulbs are burnt
something is broken
Or maybe my eyes are closed
they won't open
Either way, darkness

And now a cat in the room
mean, predisposed to hate me
It hisses, claws digging
I go under covers
Still the weight of it on me
those claws
more hissing
I throw it off, kick it away
make it worse

sit up wide awake
blankets tangled still darkness
just another dream

Sunday, April 29, 2012


It's nice to know
not much has changed
Chore Time still means turn
the stereo up Dance
like there's a cash
prize instead of swept floors
at stake Clean only as long as the
music plays
Play the music Structured Time calls for.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making Clean

Let the water get warm.
Step under the spray
its weight, its warmth
holds you firmly in place.
This is your only alone
time in a day surrounded
consumed by people and demands
cashiers, red-light cameras,
and social norms.
Stretch your neck muscles
one side, then the other, the tighter side.
The side you use to hold purse straps,
cradle phones, schlep around grocery bags.
The side you sleep on until you get a headache,
roll over to face the light
from your neighbor's kitchen
shining through your window.
The water continues to pour
you stand, naked,
watch the day disappear
down the drain
insignificant as a cloud of soap bubbles.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


When edges fade
in the glow of a day almost done,
words lose sharpness, definition
to the hours past.
In the mellow space
of dusk, attention
     shows affection,     release     brings


The bed goes
against the wall--
no--pull it away. Turn it.
Keep it open and approachable
from both sides. Your
bed is a reflection of you.
Besides, the fitted sheet
goes on easier this way.
After the bed, other furniture
follows, rearranges itself accordingly,
until the flow, feng shui, feels
appropriate. Movement
is necessary.
Bed against the wall.
Away. Rotate.
Under the window.
Constant rearrangement eliminates
Besides, the corners
stay swept clean this way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Belmont. Barry. Wellington. George.
She hears the automated voice in her head a
millisecond before the bus' PA system
announces each stop, echoing her thoughts.
When a crowd of people get on,
she knows they've reached Palmer. Blue Line Transfer.
Her routine is so routine it's uncomfortable, like an armchair so worn-in the padding no longer pads.
It disgusts and soothes her, going through these motions every day.
She hates change, but in this moment craves it. Suddenly she hears her voice before the bus has made it to the next stop:
"Can you let me out here?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To do list

Dance again

Eyes Don't Lie

First there was the one
in the stroller, now
this one, sitting next
to his mother on the bus. Staring
at her, the young woman, with
wide black-brown eyes as if to say
You are not a real grown up
Why do you make silly faces at me?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Endoplasmic Schmendoplasmic

The endoplasmic reticulum
is an organelle of cells in
eukaryotic organisms that
forms an interconnected
network of tubules, vesicles, and cisternae.

If anyone needs to
know this
not for a science test
not ironically
but for every day life
(science teachers don't count)
Please tell me.

I'm very excited to learn
how this is useful
to anyone.

Meditation 2011

[I found this with poems from last year, about the time I was deep in acupuncture, spiritual direction, and personal meditation. I still don't know where I read/heard about sea v. tree poets or what it really means or which camp I'm in.]

Someone once said poets
are either Sea Poets or Tree Poets.
Was it Yeats?
Does not knowing-the source
or my answer-mean I'm neither?

I prefer a forest
thick with trees
wet with rain freshly fallen
It surrounds me, shelters me.

But what of the sea?
She is wide open
makes me feel untethered
I could float away or grow
so big to fill all that space.

I think I aspire to sea-ness
to being okay with the wide open
roaring silence,
but for now I'll stick to the
safety of trees wet with rain.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Urban Law - Alison Hawthorne Deming

[I was about to write a poem about crosswalks/pedestrians/rude drivers when I came across this poem in a collection I'm currently reading. The situation she describes has happened to me almost exactly: getting yelled/honked at by drivers when I have the walk (and let's not forget pedestrians always have the right-of-way). Still, there are also wonderful drivers who will stop traffic for a person to cross when she needs to catch a bus.]

Rush hour and the urban outflow pours
across the Million Dollar Bridge. I wait
for the walk-light, cross-traffic slight but
caution's the rule when the city roars
toward all its separate homes. I get
the sign, little electric man, and step
into the street. A woman turns into
my lane, bearing down, eye-contact,
and still she guns it until I stare and
shake my head in disbelief at her
ferocity. She slows begrudged to let
me pass, runs down the window of her Saab
and shouts, "Why don't you wait for the light?"
and flips me the bird. I feel weepy like
a punished child, mind sinking to lament,
What's wrong with the human race? Too many
of us, too crowded, too greedy for space--
we're doomed, of course, so I head for coffee
and a muffin, walking sad and slow on
the return. I'm waiting again to cross,
picking fingersful of muffin from the
paper sack and watching the phalanx of
cars race by, not even a cell of a
thought in my mind that I might jump the change,
when a man who's got the green stops,
an executive wearing a crisp white
shirt and shiny red tie, and he raises
his palm to gesture me safely across,
making all the cars behind him wait while
I walk, and together at rush hour that
man and I redeem the whole human race.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hoodie on the Bus

I'm in Chicago
but I'm from a small town
High heels, moving buses
make me fall down

Work late, now I'm running
on cheap coffee
Take another drink before I pass out

I don't wanna waste my time with
girls who stuck to their iPhones
guys looking for a place to sit
while I'm busy writing my poems

I don't wanna hold this line up
I just wanna make it to my stop.
Ever since I switched routes from Western
all I do is ride, bike cop.

Young girl in a new dress
looking for the right address.
I go to Roscoe Village
thinking of all the people
who missed out seeing all my facets

I'm cash only and even though I act poor
I get everything that I've worked for
I'm a small town girl, but after living in the city
I don't drive my own car anymore

I don't know what's next for me
guess I'll just have to wait and see
People wanna tell me that I'm too carefree
humming silly ballads, Plain White Tees

Sometimes it's hard to leave my bed
won't do anything til I've been fed
I don't wanna talk on my way to work
put my headphones in, be a jerk

I get to Damen, it's crowded, crowded
About to start work like count it, noon.
Color of my bus card's orange, orange
and I'm texting with the kid I met last June

Real quick bus ride, where's the time go?
Will work be easy, only God knows
Grand Theft Auto'ing Hoodie's lines like Niko
Trying to paint myself like I'm Vincent Van Gogh

I'm in Chicago
but I'm from a small town
High heels, moving buses
make me fall down
Ain't fooling you
I'm from a small town

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Present Tense

I lock the door on my way out
The house stands empty
Just as I found it this morning,
I leave it.

I make my way down the sidewalk,
hoping I don't miss a bus.
It pulls up and I board
I turn on my music.

When I get home,
dirty dishes await me.
I ignore them for a minute while I
make dinner and catch up with my roommate.

We don't get the Bulls game on our TV,
so I watch it via Twitter while I
hammer out more poems and ice a sore shoulder.

As it gets later
the words slow down
I decide to call it a night
and end this poem right here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Living Catalog

It's probably not attentive driving,
but the pedestrians on Belmont
catch my attention most
during my daily drive to the Gold Coast.

I don't need to browse
the glossy pages of
Victoria's Secret
Ann Taylor
that sit in piles on the counter at work.

Mobs of fashionable women
parade up and down the sidewalk,
displaying the season's trends,
must-haves, and choice colors.

I take a mental inventory and adjust my closet accordingly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

For Independence and The City

I left a queen-size bed in a room with the closet intact,
a wood-burning stove,
and a fully-stocked fridge and pantry
For independence and the city.

I came home to find
a broken bed frame in the kitchen,
the contents of my closet still in the dining room,
and Easter leftovers in the fridge.

At work, dirty laundry greeted me at the door,
dirty dishes gathered in the sink,
and the fridge neared empty.

Monday, April 9, 2012


If I believe that a human can rise from the dead,
why did it seem like more of an Easter miracle that at 7 in the morning I rose from my bed?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Great Wall

The Chinese place at home sells
cell phone covers and earrings
alongside crab rangoon, sesame chicken, and egg rolls.

They always play a mix of contemporary light rock and instrumentals of early 90s pop songs.

Six tables line the walls of the space that used to be our Subway. Sometimes you can catch a whiff of freshly baked bread in the bathrooms, but mostly it's MSG-infused teriyaki and lo mein.

If you go on a Saturday afternoon, expect to have the place to yourself.
Share an order of high school nostalgia with old friends-the time you ordered takeout from your Econ classroom-and enjoy a heavy side of food coma.

Don't forget to grab a fortune cookie, which will most likely suggest that you 'Travel light on the Journey of Life.'

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Just Missing Pillow Mints

Water pressure
Giant bed
So much food
(that I don't have to prepare)
Going home is like a stay at the Holiday Inn.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Still Made It Home

They say to be at the bus stop
15 minutes before departure.

I was at the stop 20 minutes prior.
Too bad it wasn't the right stop.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Too Heavy

Not many things are scarier than
snapping awake at 4:30 am to the sound of
All my journals
An extra set of sheets
A hiking backpack
A school bag
Every dress/skirt/flannel shirt I own
crashing to the bottom of my closet
as a result of weak drywall combined with
the weight of it all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday People

He was not a small man,
but I'm sure he still struggled
taking so many bags of groceries on the bus.

The kids in their stroller at the library
weren't afraid to voice their thoughts for all to hear,
even when their nanny reminded them:
Inside voices, please.
They answered in honest tones, Why?

The cool evening wasn't enough to keep the man from his motorcycle ride
And his lack of privacy wasn't enough to keep him from singing along to his radio.
The strains of "Let it Be" reached me on the sidewalk.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mystery Granola

I don't even need the recipe anymore,
I've made enough batches of this granola
to do it unscripted.
Oats, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter--
I've got it mixed and baked in under an hour.
I know everything about this recipe
except how it tastes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


For thinking I'd sleep in today
that finishing The Hunger Games would take a few hours
instead of just over one

For wondering why the story I wrote two years ago still resonates
taking so long to come back to it

For not going grocery shopping when we had the time
consequently eating pineapple, cheese, chocolate chips, and bagels for dinner
not really minding at all