Purple Toothed Grin

Month: April, 2014


I used a note that
I found in the lobby
to sop up my spilled coffee

and as I took a moment
to mourn the loss
(having paid airport price for it)

I watched the words Darling,
please don’t go

get swallowed up by

my misfortune. The barista,
not recognizing my face,
charged me for a new one;

I mumbled something
about compassion
and drank it black

taking comfort in
the bitter taste
it left in my mouth.


With grief a squatter in her vacant heart
she calmly tried to fold her paisley
napkins out of existence. Calloused
notes trod heavily through the living
room wearing Jim’s big ol’ boots and
suddenly she missed his mouth, the
stale breath of a happy marriage and
not the cotton candy lips of that first
summer. She wished she could find
the photo from Times Square where
they were both squinting into the sun
though she didn’t get up to look. He
was a brute; she always planted flowers
on the periphery of the lawn instead of
a garden hugging the house, even more
passive-aggressive than a picket fence.
The winter was an issue, especially after
The Big Stink; 1998 was a good year for
civil discord on a small-town-block scale.
She had accidentally sold his best suit at
a garage sale so he had to be buried in a
borrowed suit and could feel his annoyance
through the soles of her feet. She did get
up to find her slippers. The dark halls of
mourning twisted and writhed and she was
lost in her own home; his favourite armchair
veiled under the quilt she made, was hiding
its tears. They never did have a child so the
furniture was well loved and missed him
madly. One day he had said, ‘My Little
Trout, the grass will grow even after I am
no longer around to mow it’ and he was
right but he knew he would be because
how could he not. She glanced out the
window and that same lustful lawn was
hoarding all the neighbours’ fallen leaves
and she finally smiled because at least
someone was gettin’ some and the
neighbours’ trees felt violated and a little
boy squatted way up in a tree house
as the neighbourhood called out his name.


The floating debris
in the cold, swift water
made him reach for his thesaurus
to find synonyms for corpse
(he had already used dead body twice)
only to put it down again
as mortal remains
are the makings of fiction

but dead bodies
and corpses
are life.


Providence police have arrested a man who allegedly wielded a potato disguised as a gun during a robbery attempt last week.
– Associated Press

To keep the libel cases at bay
the newspapers are careful to say
“allegedly” thereby casting suspicion
not on the perpetrator but on the victim.


I just ate my food
before I took its picture;
full but so empty

Virgin’s Bower

and the north wind whispered
and the wind from the south
and the westerly wind
and from the east just

and so I took what I wanted when I wanted how I wanted because my father told me the weatherman is never wrong and the wind died down and in the calm I felt no stillness and in the silence I heard regret.

Lost in Translation

The angst-ridden lotus bloomed
sick but for her precious sound
and my hope vaporous
to ward away the trembling night.

(Dear world, there is a bowl
where wicked seas meet lighthouses
and I, a friend, interred
in her sickly bloom again.)

She blunted and glutted and lurched
and stared stunned into the Holy;
she drifted and waned and scissored
for Life and Afterlife.

Der Mond
by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Die Lotosblume ängstigt
Sich vor der Sonne Pracht,
Und mit gesenktem Haupte
Erwartet sie träumend die Nacht.

Der Mond, der ist ihr Buhle,
Er weckt sie mit seinem Licht,
Und ihm entschleiert sie freundlich
Ihr frommes Blumengesicht.

Sie blüht und glüht und leuchtet,
Und starret stumm in die Höh’;
Sie duftet und weinet und zittert
Vor Liebe und Liebesweh.


The baby’s teething
New York School will have to wait
until tomorrow

a 5% battery power poem

There are moments when my feet feel planted
to the floor rooted so deep that I can feel the earth
between my toes from my third floor apartment
and I start to believe that I will never leave my couch
that I will be paralyzed and the world will continue
its steady decline but I will never die and I will
experience centuries upon centuries of the world
falling away watching from my seat on the couch
looking sideways out my living room window
craning my neck as I try to see more and understand
why and I will become a relic covered in dust and
smelling of wood chips and the day will come
when I will look out that same window only to find
curious faces staring back at me as if somehow I was
the answer all along. This is not one of those moments.

brown doors

I only know his house by sight
and walk over uninvited like

in the old days when doorbells
weren’t only for unsolicited

solicitors. I have to be careful
that I get the right brown door,

not the one with the green vespa
parked in the walkway, definitely

not the one with the baby seat
on the bicycle but the one with

the rickety old road bike
resurrected with a can of silver

spray paint. If I pass the sign
that reads “pas des bicyclettes”

I know I’ve gone too far. Each
time I leave my house I think

I’ll try to remember the
house number but I never do

because secretly I get a kick out
his barefaced apprehension

when he opens the door
(not knowing if today he’ll be

told that his life is missing
Jesus’s light or Girl Guide

cookies) and how his face softens
when he sees an old friend.