Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The List

The poet keeps
a secret list
of words
from which
she crosses off
the ones she
no longer needs




Edits to delete
the unbearable agony

And stand defiant
and unbroken
in the power 


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Better Death

There has to be a better death
than this
at least a kiss between us
a poem about us
before the lights come up
to show the lipstick smears
of shame across our faces

We dream we are sweet
but break bones in our sleep
invent gods to hide behind
after too much wine
pretend we're more than just meat
but play the animal part
with an obscene accuracy

We want to be the light
but stay in shadow
want to have a voice
but never listen
and when someone offers us
their heart

we take a bite


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Diamond Days

Can you still remember
the diamond days
that didn't begin
with a scream
and end
with an empty bottle

When lust was not
the lullaby that drove you
when wine was a treat
and not a teat
and love was not
a weakness

When the monsters
stayed hidden
under your bed
instead of sitting
sly and smiling
next to you
on a train or in a bar

When the fires that warmed you
were fueled by friends
and ghost stories
instead of burning bridges
or burning buildings
whose ghosts will
never find peace

Did those diamond days
even ever exist at all
or is memory just a
fallible mirage
a blooming garden of
broken glass dreams
with enough shine to reflect
the past you want to see
but not sharp enough
to bring it to its impatient
inevitable end

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Memory Is a Poison Ghost

Memory is a poison ghost
a lingering hunger
a dinner for one
served on a bed of broken glass

Its presentation is flawless
but you will chew through
your own tongue
to rid yourself of the taste

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Midnight Moon

the midnight moon
is the easiest to talk to
lends her insatiable ear
to your eager lips
and feasts on your 
accidental whispers

your secrets will sustain her
and you will starve because
she is everyone's best friend
but no one's paramour

Monday, January 11, 2016

She Is

This woman is
a frantic symphony
in a mad sleepless city
a white-knuckle journey
through a raw
moonlit landscape
a frantic ride
at the darkest carnival

Tell her all your secrets
but whisper them softly
in another language
so no one else
may steal them

She will not need
to steal them

You will give them

She is a mystery
a minefield
a universe
a goddess

a poem


Friday, December 11, 2015


If I were to slice my arms 
from wrist to elbow
the only thing that would
spill out
would be
all the words
I was too afraid to use

You see
I am
too rash
and too brash
and too much of a
pain in the ass
for your china shop heart

I am the bull that charges
when I see red
and red is
after all
the color of love

But I cannot afford
to pay any more
for all the damage
I leave behind

And I have given away
all my best words
verbed all my best nouns
down to stunted nubs
and spoiled my soil
until nothing will grow
in my scar-line rows
and empty fields

So don't ask me
to slice myself
open again

because I will
but I don't want to

You cannot have my words

I need them

For me


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Father's Day

On the day my father died 
I was the first to get the call
from 1200 miles away
on a rain-soaked sidewalk
in front of a Rite-Aid
in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

I had to call my brothers
and my sister-in-law
and my mother
who could not hear me
and thought I said
Tigger is dead
No, Mom, my cat is fine
It’s my father who’s gone

A few hours
and a flight later
would yield no solace
just a stunned silence
and the insistent tug
of gravity
and unexpected loss

On the day my father
was put in the ground
the northeast
was colder than it's ever been
with a lingering
early April chill
and the glances and glares
of a gaggle of hateful harpies
who used to be my family

Every day is Father’s Day
when I still feel guilty
seven years later
that I borrowed that money
for my cat’s emergency surgery
and never got to pay it back

Every day is Father’s Day
when I know he was fine
with talking just once a week
because I talk
so goddamn much
but I still wish
I had called more often

Every day is Father’s Day
when I wake from every dream
at four in the morning
being held underwater
and wondering
what kind of daughter I'd been

Every day is Father’s Day
to a girl
who never got to say goodbye

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Where do you live?
they ask
Between what?
they wonder
Between all your words
You'd find me if you'd just listen


Monday, May 11, 2015


the cat that ate the moon
stares at me all night
from atop my chest
small wonder I cannot sleep
I don't even have a cat


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Broken Dolls

There's a place
where broken dolls go
to be reunited
with their abandoned heads
and limbs
and feel whole again
Isn't there?


Monday, February 16, 2015

Mardi Gras in Exile

If I leapt open and fearless
in front of a subway train today
I'm fairly certain the the stain
I'd leave behind
would be
a festive smear
of purple green
and gold

That's the color of my blood
that or Mississippi mud
or the deep sunset gloom
of an algae-tinted bayou

where I go to find myself

But nothing finds me here
there are no brass bands
or seconds lines for lost
poet girls who've gone
searching for their words

Until maybe someday
when some soulful Southern boy
comes to blow his horn
to fame and fortune
on the crowded streets
instead spends too much time
straddling a hungry third rail until he

finds himself on an empty
subway platform
blowing a sad, slow rendition
of St. James Infirmary
down a deserted tunnel
where only the lost souls
of lonely poets haunt
the too-silent dark

Friday, February 13, 2015


In a stunning feat
of structural
I have burned
far more bridges 
than I have ever built

human relations
suffer from a
shaky foundation
and the constant
of too much traffic

It's a beautiful ride
across the bridge
but the other side ends
in a sudden drop
into the cold and
empty space below

I burn them because 
they're fun
but dangerous stretches
of madness
where the lonely
tend to follow

But in that brief moment
when all is set ablaze
at least they keep me warm

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Time is a Ferris wheel

Time is a Ferris wheel
Everything feels like motion
but it's really just a series of
the same moments
passing again and again
with different people
beside you
brightly lit
above a disinterested crowd
And trying desperately
to figure out how far
you can rock the car
without winding up
broken and bleeding
at the bottom
of the ride

Monday, January 13, 2014

Some Words for 2014

I’ve many times been asked, “Why did you move to New Orleans?”
I answer, “I moved here to write.”
I’m asked, “What do you write?”

And that is where I falter. I know what I used to write. Blogs, poetry, sometimes short stories.
But then I stopped.

I’ve oft penned posts and blogs in the New Year resolving to be more productive, to get back to the reason I moved to New Orleans, to get inspired and finally win that Pulitzer Prize I’ve coveted since my teens. But no amount of telling myself I have to do it has led to me actually doing it.

This week I’ve been doing some painful introspection, and I’ve come to some enlightening, albeit very harsh, self-realizations.

1.    I’m lazy. I wage a constant battle against inertia, and mostly seem to lose. When at rest, this particular object, me, will stay at rest. After moving to the Marigny last year, it was easy to fool myself into thinking that I’m not lazy because I walk a mile and a half to work each way every day through the French Quarter, in the cold, the heat, and the rain. I’ve never cabbed or driven or taken a bus to work. I have a car, but I love the walk. I love to pop in on my friends who work in the Quarter after work or on the weekends and have a drink or two with them. And there I stay. I love my friends. I love people and being social. I love being out. But once I’m there, I find it hard to convince myself that it’s time to go do something else. I’m fabulous with excuses. “No, I don’t want to go to the movies now because I’ve had three beers and then I’ll just have to pee every ten minutes throughout the movie.” Yeah, that’s me. “No, I don’t want to go to the Barataria today because I’ll lose my parking spot and it’s right in front of my house. I’ll just stay home today.” That’s me too.

So my first resolution for 2014 is to get the hell out of the French Quarter. I love it, I do, but it’s a vacuum from which I have trouble escaping. I will still pop in on my friends from time to time, but I’ll tell them to send me home after a drink or two. I’ve got shit to do. I’ve got people to see and places to be and a city to rediscover, and perhaps remember why I came here in the first place.

My second self-realization was a much harder one to come to and a much harder one to face.

2.    I’m angry. I’m angry ALL THE DAMN TIME. And most of the time I have no idea why. As a writer, I’ve always been prone to dark moods. As an oversensitive poet, I’m easily broken, though most wouldn’t assume that, as I tend to be snarky, sarcastic, and, let’s face it, amidst all this sweet Southern hospitality, a Yankee bitch. Hey, we all have our defenses and our walls. But somehow I’ve always managed to channel all that oversensitive bullshit into my writing. The problem is I’m not writing anymore. So I’m just getting angrier. And all of those real or imagined slights, no matter how big or how small, have just been festering and reproducing to give birth to the unstable ginger rage-beast that now dwells quite comfortably inside me . . . probably in the nicely sized space where my soul should be.

Some might argue that that doesn't sound like me at all. They'd be wrong. I don’t scribe all my internal diatribes to the populace on social media, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have them. Trust me . . . I do. And they’re terrifying.

So my second resolution for 2014 is to stop being a raging, insufferable c*nt. To learn to let go of the little things that don’t matter and shouldn’t continue to annoy me. To take another look at the world around me and re-evaluate my relationships with the people in that world—some of which have begun, some have ended, and some done both, several times, over the course of the past year—and how I treat them.

I had half-convinced myself that I was all out of words. That I was all out of inspiration. That I had been so long absent from the things I love that they had all dried up. But these are some words . . . the first of 2014. They’re not pretty words. They’re not poetic words. No one will call them brilliant or genius, and no one may even read them. But they’re my words. They’re words that I practically ran home from work to write down because I could feel them boiling to get out.

So I’m not going to say that I’ll write more in 2014. I’m not going to wander through a desert looking for a particular grain of sand without some plan. But I’m hoping that resolving to make a few healthy, necessary attitude adjustments will mean a happier, healthier, more productive VoodooRue in 2014.