Saturday, December 3, 2016

I Remember


I'm eight years old
and Mike is nine and
we're spending two weeks
with the aunts and uncles
in Queens

From the tip top
of a mountain in Pennsylvania
to the flat city streets
I remember
a room with two twin beds
at the front of the apartment
in Sunnyside
the 7 train rumbling
in the background
all night

I remember
Magilla Gorilla cartoons
every morning
and milk with dinner
every night
before a shower
Aunt Lillian uses Ivory soap
she has thick fingers
but gentle hands
for little girls
that she always wanted
but never had
but I'm allergic to
both milk and
Ivory soap now

I remember
our first baseball game
it's the
Mets vs. Cardinals
in a double header
at Shea Stadium
The Mets win both games
but we get there late
and leave early
and I'm disappointed
that I don't get to hear
the national anthem

Uncle Mike
buys us a bag of cherries
for the ride home
We spit the seeds
out the window of his car
into the street
like tiny savages
we don't anticipate
the convertibles

I remember Luna Park
printed in blue ink
on a little white
sailor hat
that I wear
for a sun-soaked afternoon
at the Astoria Park pool
in the shadow of the
Triboro Bridge
I think eventually
our dog eats it

I remember
the hot sands
at Sandy Hook beach
and Uncle Mike
teaching me how
to float in the salty surf
and now I can
float and fall asleep
at the same time
though some days
it feels impossible
to keep my head
above the surface

I remember watching
the evening news
in Woodside
with Uncle Ed
while Aunt Helen makes dinner
there's a segment
at the end on the search
for Broadway's next Annie
and I'm lying stomach-down
on a green and white lawn chair
at the back of
the driveway
softly singing
about the sun and tomorrow
to myself
and falling in love with
music that I can't sing

I asked Mike recently
what he remembers
and he said
while I remember
every city light
every subway sound
every mouthful of saltwater
every cherry pit

And I wonder
from my home
in the shadow of the
Triboro Bridge
where I would be if I didn't

~VoodooRue (12/2/2016)

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