For D. on the Occasion of her Graduation

For D. on the Occasion of her Graduation

The day was ours
The sun it shone
We were young
I borrowed you

Your baby arms
Your silk white hair
Your pale eyes
I borrowed you

Your skin like cake
Your heart of pink
Your tiny jeans
I borrowed you

Your chubby feet
I saw your soul
Inside your toes
I borrowed you

Your radiance
Soprano laugh
Butterfly mouth
I borrowed you

Evening came
I let you go
You took my heart
Away with you

Now you’ve grown
A woman stands
Reminding us
We borrowed you

Thank you sweet
For all you are
My love is yours
Forever more.

Memoir of a New Orleans Stripper


I bloodied my hands while I scrubbed Jackson Square.

Was stripped of my skin in Metairie somewhere.

Turned in my liver to a guy with a glass

Traded my cha-cha for one with no class.


Was walking St. Charles, taking the air

When the streetcar swung by and stripped off my hair.

My guts went to church and somehow got spilled

And I have no idea where l lost all my will.


I got a ridiculous mouth

I got nothing to say

I got tits for the ages

I like it that way.


My teeth are still with me ‘cept the ones in the back

Which a guy with a fist took down at the Shack.

Dancing one night at the Maple Street Bar

I traded my feet for the keys to a car.


One August night I lay down in the street

Handless and hairless with no organs or feet.

I prayed God to take me but he’d just made a start.

And there in the street he melted my heart.


I got a ridiculous mouth

I got nothing to say

I got tits for the ages

I like it that way.


I crawled to St. Louis, cemetery bound

asking the devil to take my life now.

Face down in the dirt I stayed there all day

Found that the worms took my soul where I lay.


I got a ridiculous mouth

I got nothing to say

I got tits for the ages

I like it that way.


So boys, I’m still here, alive in my cage.

Don’t middle class pity me up on this stage.

Just tuck me a twenty and sit your ass down.

I’ll cover my scars and you buy me a round.


I got a ridiculous mouth

I got nothing to say

I got tits for the ages

You like it that way.


I’ve still got what matters boys stick around here

And I’ll tell you a tale while you sip at your beer.

And when you’re done listening, I’m here to be touched.

And tasted and tickled and flattered and fucked.



 You were wearing this hat that made you look like a kid.

Your car keys hung round your neck on a child’s lanyard.

It was dark and you stood with one black boot

pointed at the door, telling me that you were going and

don’t worry and you’d be back, later.

It’s raining I said.

No you told me.

It’s only wet.

Please I said.

What you asked.

Drive slow I answered.

Willing myself not to make a big deal

because we had been getting along so well.

You laughed and rolled your brown eyes.

The door slammed and I never got to say,

“I love you,” and the whole night,

I knew it would never be the same again.


Between the broccoli and the curry

comes the flash and disappearance.

Then the wondering, what’s next?

The screams, like a tsunami’s wail just out of sight.

The pain, better, when it comes,  has bright hard dimensions

like a gutted swimming pool.

All I have to do is climb  this side to that.

It’s not like the waiting, which is forever.


There are stains on the carpet and I can’t remember why.

It’s bothering me now and I don’t know about that either.

The stains are black but less black than other

things. Maybe that’s it.


You say he packed his suitcase and he won’t be back. 

My brother and I  huddle at the table and cry. Not because

he’ll stay away. He won’t.

Because we are supposed to do something but

we don’t know what.


Later I will try to write a poem. Many times and

I won’t because I love you.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Coming of Age in the City of Angels

Once I cried
but now I don’t.
Once I hurt
But now I won’t.

Time I gave
But now I take.
Once I loved
but now I hate.

I told them no
They call me bad.
I told them yes
They call me mad.

Built a wall of stars
So full of shame
To keep me out
Cause I’m to blame.

But I’m coming back
They don’t know when
Three to five I’m
out the penn

I never played
and now I will.

I never lived
and now I kill.



A laugh with the boys
Ribs getting a poke
A run round the place
She can’t take a joke

He always said
He don’t like short hair
Why the hell would she cut it
She’s puttin on airs

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

A night on the town
A punch in the eye
A belly full of rum
ten or twelve lies

He touches her hand
She pulls it back through
The filthy brown glass
of the Ford ’92

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

“You aint leaving” he screams
through the passenger side
and he pounds on the hood
Till there’s blood on the drive

“I aint scared” she screams back
looking up at the sky
Prays theres a God
to cover her lie.

His words she keep saying
do nothin’ but cut
like a serrated scissors
just tear up her gut

“Please” he is begging
in a quieter tone
“I can’t do it myself
I can’t do it alone.”

Now she is tired
No words left to say,
Sadly she smiles
and just drives away.

And all that he said
did nothing but cut
like a serrated scissors
aimed straight at his gut.

Blood from old wounds
stains Valentine red.
With her hand on his heart
He’ll soon lay down dead.

Reaching for L

You are talking about science class and                                                                   

I am watching the way your hair curves 

past your chin without touching it.  

You are talking about prom dresses and  

I see the way your upper lip curls  

seashell like over your teeth as you speak. 

You are talking about boys, one boy,  and  

I am watching the way your feet dance 

inside those boots you always wear.  

You are sitting  across our table and 

The kitchen is hot like it always is in June 

You are talking about college and  

I am touching the available skin 

 On your arm where your T-shirt stops.  

I am hoping you won’t notice the chill. 

I am trying not to hold on 

Too tight. 



The Curse of Helena

When moonless night the wind does blow 

And curls your fist into  its bow.

When arrow sharp my name appears

To  slice through flesh of both your ears.

When Fire’s warmth  on bended knee 

Begs couple your heart’s savage freeze,

And you deny, but shed a tear

In memory of lost love so dear.

When darkness seizes  day for night

Your eyes gouged out to stop the  sight.

When God you beg release this ache

Lays down your body desecrate,

The tomb be not your home for long

Love’s final poison in sweetest song.

You’ll breathe once more at midnight  past 

Wake in horror you know twill last…

With wolfhound wails in years that lie

Forever nightly, love,  hear me die.