That first idea, It roots for you–
delights in each small success,
every slight urge to do the right thing.

Even in your wickedness, your
foolish pride and killer’s cunning,
your public charity and private rage,
that animal–she’s key to the scheme,
and It knows her motivations, her scars
and triggers, her secret longing, and remembers
the child, and before the child the light, and
before the light the hum–

Come, it says; this is the way in.

St. Umbilicus

Go ahead, contemplate your navel.
Seriously! Pry it apart and
investigate your vestigial stem.

It’s beautiful, and precious, that
knotted flesh in your belly.
St. Umbilicus–in the soft niche
of your center: Revere it.
It’s alive, and proof of a miracle.

It’s how you and your mother
reached out through Heaven’s
cold, perpetual night, and
found each other.


Video Poem Links Here

Scarce Shelter in the Red Storm

Beware – the allure of rage:
Its hot singe from combustive hunger
while vessels engorge, and it feels good.

It’s joy impaled on serrated steel,
a detonation then hot shrapnel lacerations.

I was never meant to marry.
One momentary glitch and
I had consented. I was the gaijin
whose name meant ‘die!’

Remember, you’re only as lovable
as you are useful.
Revenge: It’s how anger grieves
and then calls back its dead.

Chuui suru, fundo no kowaku
nensho sei no kufuku kara, atsui no kogasu
mata kekkan ippai ni suru, so kimochi ii.

Shifuku ga, nokogirihajo ni kizutsuita.
Bakuhatsu shoshite hahen no ressho desu.

Kekkon suru imi shinakatta, demo hittotsu no
shunkan tekina koshou kara, shoshite, doi shita.
Sono Gaijin no namae no imi ‘shinde’ deshita.

Oboete: anata ga benride areba, anata wa aisubeki desu.
Fukushu: sore wa dono yo ni ikari kanashimu
sonogo, kare no shinin yobidashimasu.

Video Poem Links Here

Beautiful Nightmare Lover

You – Interdimensional, demon.
Your feet don’t touch the ground.
You’re empty, a void.
You mock my cravings, my carnal predilections
when you present your cup to fill
again, and again.

The liquor is gone now, and the rare meats.
The walls, and roof, and floor–cinders.
The host trembles; you’re still hungry.

Video Poem Links Here


The Secret Language of Men

It’s shorthand contempt, rough talk
about conquests and the boss.
It sounds like tobacco-soured discourse
mumbled among friends, and the spikes are gone–
their staccato muted; absolutely
no ‘josei no kotoba’ begging here.

Just some blokes with the same-sized dicks
grunting their tongueless song, inflected
down, assured of dominion.
These, the unpenetrated, may speak informally
at home in this, their world, mouths uncovered.

Video Poem Links Here

Josei no kotoba: women’s words

Mieido 御影堂

The temple sleeps in me
dreams in me, consulting with bodhisattvas
on my behalf, kneeling in its ancient foundations.
If Mom was alive, she’d tell me how I’ve changed,
that my sleeping is different.
Something in the depths shifts, stirring—
there is gasping in the catacombs.

Koibito, there’s another version of us—
unmarked, unjaded, not exiled from each other.
Sandalwood rises from a gilded censer,
prayers go with it, and old Nichiren steeps in daimoku.

Nichiren: Nichiren Daishonin was a 13th century Buddhist monk who founded a sect of Buddhism based on his interpretation of the Lotus Sutra.
Literally, “great title.” Refers to chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, (Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra).
Mieido: Image Hall, a structure, usually on temple grounds,where a likeness – carved or painted, of a temple’s founder or the Buddha is housed.

Video Poem Links Here

Tsukumogami 付喪神

It has been 100 years,
and I’m waiting on a shelf, in a drawer,
under foot, in my cage.

Adorned and inventoried, forgotten
in my lacquered muteness,
I am the tool and the torn thing,
the awl and the plank.

I’m promised a soul, and shining eyes
that I can turn from the bright sun like a coy girl.
Quicken my wooden skin, and I’ll
live and die as a being, not a possession
relegated by your disdain.

100 years and one day.
Don’t be afraid.
The shadow and breeze in the shut room—
it’s the difference between being needed
and being cherished.


Sore wa hiyaku nen sodatta,
tana ni, hikidashi ni, ashimoto,
atashi no naka de matte aru.

Tsukuritateru to mokuroku deshita
atashi no urushi nuri no musei wasureta,
atashi wa yougu to hikisaka reta no mono desu.
Senmaidoshi to ita desu.

Watashi ni keiken to pikapika shite
no me o yakusoku sa reta,
sorekara maibushi taiyo ni tenji ru
hanarete, onnanoko toshite.

Watashi no mokusei no hada unagashite
soshite, atashi wa konpaku o ikiru to shinu
toshite, shouyu mono aru nai.

Hiyaku nen to ichi nichi sodatta.
Osorete wa ikenai.
Kage to kaze ga heishitsu ni aru,
sore wa no chigai ni
hitsuyo to sa rete iru, to
taisetsu ni shite iru.

Video Poem Links Here

Koibito no Kirei Kuchi (My Lover’s Pretty Mouth)

Your mouth, your beautiful lips, I love them.
Your Japanese –   its elegant music lives there,
that secret sea cave of sound and thought, it’s ancient.
Sharks swim from it –hunting, undulating in cold black currents.
Look! Unsuspecting seals glide to shore – too far away
and not fast enough—the sea is a blood broth now.
Death’s echo in its wake, the shark
disappears, understood.

Anata no kuchi, utskushii kuchibiru ga daisuki desu.
Anata no Nihongo no miyabi ongaku wa soko ni sunde iru,
are wa hitoshirezu umi no dokutsu no oto to shiko, kodaino desu.
Sore kara, same wa oyogu, samui kuroi no choryu ni kari to unette iru.
Mite! Utagao koto o shirimasen no azarashi wa teisen ni subete iru—
toi sugimasu, ju bun na hayasade wa arimasen—
ima, umi wa ketsueki no dashi desu.
Mizu no midare sore kara ni, shikyo no hibiki ga arimasu,
same wa usureru, wakata.

Video Poem Links Here

The Emily Poems


 I went right up to her
and sat down. She looked
at me – straight at me, her
eyes, dark and deep set.
She reached for my hand, and held it
for some time, tender and present.
She didn’t flinch or demure.
I spoke of her, not to her, not appreciating
her precious grounded presence.
I took more than I gave.


A deer appeared in our neighborhood today,
and a moth circled my head.
Emily died yesterday; she
was a light burden on the gurney.
Dragonflies thicken July’s purple dusk.
One hums in my cat’s mouth.
Let him go, Anna; he’ll eat mosquitoes.
The deer has found all the gardens on our street,
and seems quite at home.
Emily’s roses have survived her.
A cool breeze blew in for relief.
I cried goodbye to her last Sunday,
as she held my hand and prayed
through large doe eyes.
The moth isn’t afraid, and mines from me
a rare gentleness. I abide its electron dance.
A neighbor says to me, have you seen the deer?
Yes. The undertaker drove her away.

Sandra’s Constellation and the Black Hole in Conroe

She was baking cookies when
there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to a blast
and went down, got up
but the second slug
laid her down for good.

Life ran out from
deflated lungs and
two ruby fonts, seeped
away in deep red streams:
the caring, the cookies, the little
hospitable and accommodating
things she did for her son,
her patients, her killers.

Small ordinary kindnesses
she offered to everyone, and
those mundane duties she
might’ve anticipated with a humble
gladness in her mind’s static
behind the lists and ideas
and phone calls, and errands
she ran in her red Camaro.

It happened so fast.

Her death—discarded in a lake.
But her dying, here it was
pooled on the floor and sprayed
on the wall, constellations
of crimson flecks everywhere.

The lights left on for days.
A television flashed and chattered.
Two and a half rows
of cookie dough mounds
mummified on the kitchen counter.

Video Links Here