Category Archives: Poetry

Love and Doubt

I’m in mourning today for my naiveté
I used to love until it hurt
and it often did
Still, I never expected its regularity
Always I aimed my arrow to the farthest horizon
the least likely and therefore the most special
When the arrow fell short, my chest emptied on soaking pillows
And then I came back for more.

Now I love like it’s going to hurt
I brace myself for what I dream to come —
rejected projections
My daydreams are training grounds for disappointment
Drilling my emotions for the worst ending I can fantasize
prophesize, judge, I pretend
for myself and for him
but mostly for myself
as protection because it doesn’t really mean anything so it doesn’t matter if I am crushed and beaten and blamed and hurt.
Because my dreams prepared me for reality.

Cassandra mocks me:
How can you dare presume to know the future?
How can you dare understand patterns of mortals like you and unlike you?
It is impossible for you to create the burden of all the future for every one.
Live, she spits. Just live and see.

Yes, but please have pity, Cassie
For now the deeper I love, the more I doubt.

Randy Katz

The front porch is not the same
because the news of you
still haunts the steps,

before then inconsequential
because they would be there
tomorrow and next Wednesday.

But now memory heavies them
like dark, deep water,
and I struggle to recall your breathing days.

I remember your orange shirt at the party
and how you grinned when a girl winked
and swished her skirt as she strolled away.

I should have made more effort
to store what it sounded like
when you spoke to me.

You are a waft of expensive cologne
a swoop of gelled hair
a glint of a tongue ring buried

in a sea of responsibility and good humor,
ambitions unrealized, unfinished cigarettes
and a disappearing chuckle.

The porch you will never see
will always be yours because that
is where you died to me.

And lately I laugh at unrelated jokes
and am pained
to enjoy what is lost to you,

but I tire of anticipating
what you ‘would have wanted’
because the answer is only to live

and I regret not having really known you.

Love Poems

I.

I found you first and molded you to my liking
Sometimes we married in Paris, others in New York

The first, perhaps the last, of my white knights
Radiant with stars, my projection on the wall

I dreamed of waking every day to your snoring
but in the morning my pillows smelled still of starch

You forgot about me and left my words on the page
Next to Cinderella and some dwarves

Thank you for crushing the princess inside me.
I don’t want to be rescued anymore.

II.

                             Before you haunted me,
I adored you.
You were my fresh, new penny
I was your soft, cotton sweater
We carried each other everywhere
You sweetly indulged me,
But I was sure that I had learned.
Before you betrayed me,

I loved you.

III.

You found me limping through the brush,
at first I snarled at your approach.
You coaxed me with some honeycomb
and eventually I would eat from your fingers.

The rescue was a regression, I know,
but I welcomed your silver-tongued invites
into rainy day bedrooms.

IV.

The jewel around my neck
tells me you remember
the color of my eyes

I’d forgotten how it felt
to have you in my irises

You had been categorized
as a missed opportunity
thwarted by rumors and

other relationship roadblocks

But now I think of that black curl on your forehead
and your eyes tilted up to watch
me play with its coil

When you’re with me,’ you say,
you’re going to try something
new.’

I will try your every flavor
and smack my lips

A Final Appeasement

Tell me that time accelerates when we’re in love
Tell me I’m the one who saved your life
Tell me there are nights when I don’t hate
the sight of beer bottles on my desk
Tell me I’m more than the right shirt or the left glove
Tell me I’m witty and spontaneous
despite the so many guys who only want
to taste the glitter on my neck
Tell me that you didn’t mean it when you kissed her
Tell me I love you, but I’m not
in love with you
and that there’s a difference
Tell me that I don’t make you nervous
Tell me that you’ve been listening to me this whole time
even when you’re tired and drunk.

In California, You Still Carry the Subway in Your Pocket

i.

The veins of NY are in your streets here
You force your connection back
to a world where mommy and daddy still love each other
where your dog isn’t given away
where your mentally retarded sister
doesn’t ruin the marriage, the family, the money, the life
where your cat isn’t eaten by coyotes
where “how are you?” expects an answer
where words are pronounced right
Ohh” is “O”;
simple, direct as a smoke ring pushed from your lungs.

ii.

Sure.              Shore.
Here.             Hea.
Lerry.            Larry.
Water.          Wadda.
Horrible.      Harrible.
Ohrange.      Ahrange.

iii.

It makes your As like aa! rather than ahh
It makes you alone because no one wants to hear it now, ever
It makes you a Yankee fan
(fuck Boston)
It makes you hated and feared and respected
It makes your laughter uninhibited
It makes you exotic

until you meet another East Coaster
who lived in your city longer
and is disappointed when he hears
the crippled accent imitating something you never had
and you tell him that California experience
exceeds New York memory.

iv.

D’you know where Yawktown is?
Yes
, you lie.
Have you eva been to Richie’s Pizza?
Yes,
you lie.
What’s ya favorite food there?
The pizza.

Denial

He saw her bruises and was concerned;
She was a fireplace soaked in gasoline.
But this time her eyes struggled for a dry spell
and her white hands trembled
like lace in the wind.

          Was it fair to condemn?
He feared knots and snarls
He distrusted complication

          He built a wall
and told her to kiss it
or walk away.

Attack!

Turn that dial

Turn it, turn it, turn it

And listen to them squeal.

You’re not really goth

Just cus you got the mohawk,

But those girls sure do scream

When you put your hair in your face

And turn those dials,

Turn those wheels,

Turn that table;

It’s the DJ thing that gets them hot.

Just a reminder about the checklist

Black clothes, black smile, black humor

Check. But if it’s really you,

Then it came already, before the package,

Slathered in industrial music and a taste for the underside.

Be sure to think of a snazzy name

Like Dante or Greebo or Zim

So that those girls will remember

When they’re at home in bed

Alone in the dark

With their nine inch nails

And black eye paint smeared

That it was Dante who gave them their dreams

Of stringy black mohawk through their green fingernails.

They’ll get you every time, those little girls

How they do try to live up to your appetite.

For now they hide identity inside nipple rings

And twisted tattoos of weeping roses.

One more thing

Don’t forget the title of your club.

Name it for what you want to do

To the woman who comes in

With a knife in her corset

And cherry blood lips.