I wanted to write a gentle poem:

One where pens drop as if into cloud

One where kitchen chairs only kiss the floor

One where roses lift their heads once more to jangle tears of joy by sunset.

My keyboard fingers raced for:

The blurred rainbow sheening a dolphin’s head

The white hat of the woman with her back turned looking over the railing

The sea in the painting rolling in a soft knowing no death is coming.

I ravaged to type further:

Grandpa watching red-caped girl rolling down a sun-spiced hill

Velvet evening trembling fingers of violets on the white lattice

Curling ever slower round about the truth by starlight.

I only wanted a simple poem:

One nipped by blue fairy wrens giggling on a spring sneeze

One winked by diamond snowfall fluttering outside the window

One inside the other, eyelashes fluttering like snow

against the face, the kiss, the fire’s crackle.

I had to pull the curtain

I had to leave the peace to them

I had to drop the pen and shut myself outside

The snow-blank page.


Image credits in order of appearance:

“‘Gruta Azul, 1898.” By João Batista da Costa – Isabella Matheus – Google Art Project, Public Domain,

“Ventania (Wind storm), 1888.” By Antônio Parreiras – Google Art Project, Public Domain,

A Dragon For You


I slayed you a many-headed beast this morning –

Actually the florist did; I told him where to chop, which necks

(which were actually green stems.) But I chose the frightful faces

which unfold preenly out at you now

blushing in that particular pink of tender mammalian innards.

And I carried them home in this plastic cone

upon my rumbling steed (his eyes

glared red in rage

at every light that stopped my progress

to bring you this token of my love.)

And I now I have handed them to you, and rather than thanking me

or plunging your nose into the rosy lips

you ravagely caressed the stubs of stems

the amputation sites where you knew thorns once grew,

and you cried the way any other lady would

had her knight returned wrapped in death’s lilied sheets

and all I did was come home bright and alive

with dead roses.


Image credits in order of appearance:

“Siegfried slays Fafner.” By Arthur Rackham – the image was published in the following book:Wagner, Richard (translated by Margaret Amour) (1911). Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods. London:William Heinemann, New York: Doubleday, Page., Public Domain,

“Alaa NBC; a bunch of roses.” By Alaaesawi1981 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

I. Prélude: La Prisonnière


There was a woman in the penthouse of a tower like a birdcage, but you hardly could tell she was a woman, hidden deep in the crux of all the stratospheres of her dress. It was made of newspaper clippings which the bluebird had sloughed off zephyrs glad to let go the burden; the words inside the bodice and hem meant more to her skin than to her mind, which needed eye contact to understand language. But the ink penetrated her slowly, as an apple falls, day by day. One day it will hit one skull. Then, the numbness of humanity will forever be coffined under trapdoor of falsely smiling honey-grass. Let us hope that hour does not fall soon enough to blot our story.

There was a bluebird who brought the woman things from the open winds of the village. From the cathedral’s forebrow he plucked the sound of bells to melt on her tongue; from the crumpling lung of the peasants’ river he snatched the fleeting sour of sackcloth laundry to tickle her eyelids. It was thus that the woman in the birdcage learned to speak, and then to think beforehand. However, the bluebird never minded what the woman said, whether she proclaimed her love or threatened his sudden end. For he was old as birds are old, and had long ago dropped language upon the heads of the people below in order to lighten his own load as, free from consonants, he conversed with constellations. And she learned by the subtleties of the eyes in his stars, whether she was saying something bad or good, and she learned that whatever she chose to say mattered not. Her words, however bright, would soon be shadowed by the light of so many millions of other stars just like her own.


There was a space between the twining bars behind the back of the woman in the birdcage on the tower. There was a small dark slot where a metal key hid, tapping ever so slightly through her bodice of old news and her skin of illiterate tattoos and the meat and veins until it came to the spine, which it gripped as one grips a column in a parthenon as the earth tilts sideways, as one grips a perfect love which dissolves as soon as the thought of fingertips. But unlike love or parthenons, this metal key had a purpose; It locked between the vertebrae according to a design. When the woman needed to shift between seasons, it would unspool, loosening a thread of paper from her dress, disrobing her stealthily over the course of a lullaby played so sky in the piano’s chiffon chambers you would strain to hear it; you would think it was a fairy in the belly of a baby bird crying half-headedly for help. But it was there, and no one listened, and no one noticed the progression until she was naked.

And it was cold in Paris. The bluebird told her it was Paris, and it was cold, and she crumpled in two dimensions just like a leaf of paper. But where her hair once blossomed, a black curl of ink sealed her head away from judgment: no letter nor numeral but the sign that locks a pathway of music into the voice of a particular instrument carved solely for that purpose. In order to hear her – for he had never listened before – the bluebird needed to carve it. And he had not language nor hands.


Image credits in order of appearance:

“Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.” By ktanaka, CC BY 3.0,

Izmir Clock Tower.” By No machine-readable author provided. Burakhuseyin assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

“A Bluebird taking flight. by John Gresham.” By Virginia State Parks staff – “Leaving You Behind” Uploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY 2.0,

The Fifteenth Decree of Emperor Mittens

My courtiers brought before me an unexpected present:

a glass house was dribbled onto the living-room table

and inside it, a plastic castle, and inside it,

a flashy toy –

a delight of roundnesses and diamond-sparks, swishing and darting

as if possessed by a shallow-river demon

fighting imaginary conquérants.

Justly, politely, I accepted the gift

with a flourish of my own design: the glass-house was tapped to a roll

castle tilted in a flat formica puddle

animate toy thrashing – in its tiny way – on the table

fat lips gasping until my swift mouth-weaponry disrobed

and checkmated the opponent in one gulp.

For my excellent sportsmanship I was awarded

a nighttime of pleasant solitude in the guest bathroom

with the unfixed faucet to drip me into dreamland.

But the next morning, once released from my vacation, what tragedy

crashed upon my sorrowed eyes

but the emptiness in the center of the formica table

in the living room where my toy should have awaited, swishing and darting!

I decree it: unthinking nothingness is worse punishment

than bloody death, to those who remain.


Image: By Helian at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain,

Beachcomber’s Faith


A broken shell is not less beautiful

For you can peer past the scrolled stairway

To curved walls scrawled by uncut nails of tiny sea-lice imprisoned within

And at operculum’s dismal mirror: a reaching-armed princess.

Your eyes can spring a cradled web betwixt

Pillars that press flowered dome away from sacred floor

Of sand dollar’s temple, and jump down the gullet

Of perfect circular blackness: a pupil lashed with petals.


Thus convinced, can I stretch your mind to agree

that a sun-slash-bleeding August is not less beautiful

than a virgin-blue-skied June

in her way,

and that a kiss farewell is sweeter for the sting?


Image credits in order of appearance:

“The conchological illustrations or, Coloured figures of all the hitherto unfigured recent shells.” By Sowerby, G. B. –, Public Domain,

“Bouguereau – The shell.” By William-Adolphe Bouguereau – Unknown, Public Domain,


I was a strange sea creature dredged from the depths

Once; never to be


I was

a glass-bottle mantle brandished with innards:

pink heart blushing out

sunsets faster

than maxillipeds could squint blood from blinked black water. I had

eyes, blinded

by eons of evening

with no partner

to look upon the face hitched on the hook sped my disaster

calmly, bladder wrinkled

– split –

explosion, mess on your dissection bed

Note in your lab records: undescribed

species from depths: blue-glowned, beautiful

momentarily, unnecessary

mess left behind:




I write this poem to prove me wrong

Though there is in science no positive proof

Listen: the lady-snail clings to the stem

beneath the temporary flower which shuts out sun


Listen: the lady-jay huffs on the branch

the rocks beneath her stirring more than her dreamless blue


Listen: the lady-black-hair-red-satin-dress sings to the digital

eye that never sets nor hears what dances so striking before it

trying to destroy the ice of the iris

never changing

everything, everything in the world


and that’s about it

is and is and lies and lays waiting

for an end, supposably.


Image credits in order of appearance:

“Particolare di due lumache in fase di accoppiamento.” By Viktor Volkov – Camera, CC BY-SA 4.0,

“Jenny Lind, Painting by J.L. Asher 1845.” By J.L.Asher – Scan aus Eckart Kleßmann – DIE MENDELSOHNS, Bilder aus einer deutschen Familie, Artemis Verlag 1990, ISBN:3-7608-1020-9, S. 162, Public Domain,