Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

No Good Deed

bench
Mood: Accomplished
Drinking: Tea

No Good Deed

Thinking ourselves good neighbors,
we built a bench out front
for strangers to sit on
while they wait for the train.

But when I see them squatting there,
the train-waiting people,
swilling beer on my steps
and marking territory

with sticky trails of melted ice cream,
I begin to think kindness
is ill-advised.

And when a woman
who looks otherwise sane
drops trou and pisses

directly into my flower box
I wonder why we ever bothered

and what Jesus would do
with a hose.

-Lo, who does not condone public peeing.

103

helen
Mood: Ponderous
Drinking: Tea

103

You’d be hard-pressed to find an adjective for her stature
other than “small”.
“Tiny” would also do,
and “short”.
Her head has never come close
to brushing the five-foot mark.
When I hug her, I bend as if to lift a young child.
If height were measured by deference, though,
she’d tower over us all.
We speak to her in low tones
nearly reverential in inflection.
But one day it is she who makes the confession,
resting frail wrists on the soft mound of her stomach.
“I’m getting so fat!” she bursts out in genuine dismay.
“I’m going to have to go on a diet.”
After the necessary moment for shock has passed,
we ply our reassurances thick and fast
“No, no, no, not fat! Not fat at all.”
And I fight back my own consternation.
If, with 103 birthdays beneath her belt,
Helen still finds her weight a worry,
what hope can there ever be
for the endless vanity
of girls who look like me.

-Lo, who has a swimsuit to think about fitting into.

Ink

bellatatt
Mood: Ready, Steady
Drinking: Ethos Water

Ink

Forever doesn’t last as long as it used to.
Now we have lawyers and lasers
to dispense with such annoyances
as longevity
and love.

But this ink is permanent.
This stain is eternal.

I bear on my body
all the color of my hope
and the evidence of my fear.

I will write you on my arms
and remember.
I will keep you within my skin
until together
we wither
and fade away.

-Lo, with bigger plans for belladonna.

Tween

seventies
Mood: Triumphant
Drinking: Tea

Tween

My sister always said she would kill herself
when she turned 13.
Suicide is a new concept to children.
Terrible enough to be unimaginably
romantic.
I took my duties seriously
as the elder sibling
and teased and teased.
She never pouted or cried,
but stiffened her small hands
and upper lip.
“When I am 13, I will kill myself,” she said
“Then you’ll be sorry.”

On her 13th birthday, I said, “Well?”
But by then she didn’t know
what I was talking about.

-Lo, wearing the awesome purple pants.

At the Opera House

admitone
Mood: Relieved
Drinking: Agua

At the Opera House

The doors open
and we surge forward
like an invading army
swathed in taffeta and pearls,
bearing glossy programs like bayonets
(don’t underestimate the effect
of a well-placed paper cut).

Eyes set on an aisle seat,
rich old society dames
will disable you
without apology,
crushing your third left toe
with an elegant stiletto heel
that costs more than your car.

Stake your claim with elbows out,
and throw your mink stole
over four red velveteen chairs.
When the ushers bend and hiss
“No saving seats!”
fake sudden deafness and
do not meet their eyes.
(You cannot be defeated
if you never acknowledge
the existence of an enemy.)

The curtain finally rises
on tutus and toe shoes
and the audience surrenders
with the capitulation of applause.
So boorish in our rush to behold beauty,
we suddenly regain civility
when the house lights go down.

…but beware Intermission.

-Lo, so happy to be halfway through.

Je t’aime

newtattoo
Mood: Aaaugh!
Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper

So let’s be honest. This whole poem a day thing means these freshly hatched little ditties are highly unpolished. Their feathers aren’t dry. They’re all awkward and wobbly.

But I’m committed to 1 a day, and this brings me to #14. I have a full social calendar this evening, and I’ve got to get this one up now if I’m going to do it at all, but I’m so unsatisfied with it. It wants to soar so high, but it’s just flopping around in the mud right now.

Perhaps later I’ll shine it up and post it again as its better self. But for now, let’s just get on with it, bad rhymes and all…

Je t’aime

That whole bright day in Paris
my shoulder hot with a new tattoo
I wanted to tell you something but
fell short when I looked at you.

All day in the rain we walked
as if the city belonged to us.
I twittered proudly away
in my pidgin français
but let you do the math
for the Metro.

All day in the rain we walked
as if we didn’t have a pass for the bus.
My umbrella lost its spine
at least 15 times
and our shoes gave their soles
to the puddles.
And I wanted to say it
in 15 different ways
but just never got up the guts.

It was well after three
when the sun made the scene
as we stood by the Seine with a plan.
Notre Dame started to blaze
with sudden yellow rays
and that’s when our steps
slowed to silence.

All day in the rain we had walked
as if our hearts weren’t starting to rust.

Then lit up by love,
I whispered words from above
and watched you…
now man,
now melted.

-Lo, slowing into silence.

Breaking News

strange_shoot
Mood: Barefoot
Drinking: Tea

In a break from our regularly-scheduled poem-a-day programming for this fine month of April, I’d like to bring you some hot-off-the press news:
A new cinépoem has been released into the wild.

Yes, I know you thought I’d forgotten all about those cinépoems, but they’re still cooking.

This one, “Strange”, was shot in the Superstition Wilderness in Arizona on January 15, just two days after my half-marathon. So if I look a bit sore, I was.

Something very special to note about this cinépoem, besides the amazing scenery, is that for the first time ever, we have an original score! Thanks to the fine talents of our new friend Aaron M. M. Purvis, who composed and performed this fine piece of music that fits so perfectly with our strange little video.

As always, you can find the newest cinépoem on the Cinépoems page. You can also trot over to YouTube and see it there.

And stay tuned for poetry month poem #13, coming later today…

-Lo, who wants to be lazier.

Bonnie and Clyde

daydone
Mood: Finito
Drinking: More Tea

bonnie & clyde

so let’s be done with this day
let’s hide it away
in a box built so strong
even thieves leave it lay.

and let’s be done with this town
let’s just watch it all drown
out there where the sun
setsall her colors down.

love, let’s be done with this story
let’s blaze out in glory
then people can say
that we never were boring.

-Lo, who needs to stop with the rhyming.

The Pigeons Are Hatching a Plot

pigeonplot
Mood: Overrun
Drinking: All Done

The Pigeons Are Hatching a Plot

You are so afraid of getting dirty,
you will never find me beautiful.

And I am beautiful,
though not flashy and frightening,
not dashing and delight-ening
with soaring songs
or fanciful flights.

I am as gray as a stone
and white as a bone
and you can’t imagine
all the places I’ve flown

because you’re too distracted
by my leprous left foot
with its one remaining
dangling toe.

(I lost the other two to a
careless bicycle wheel
which also flattened the
plump crumb I was planning
to make my next meal.)

I walk with a bob and
a weave and a bob and a
what are you laughing at?
You are no more graceful than I
with your bunion toes
and your whisky woes.

All your children are mean to me.
Even your holy men throw rocks
and your grandmothers
(armed with Oldsmobiles)
can decimate whole flocks.

I’ve endured the most
embarrassing slurs,
you call me
“rat with wings” and other,
more indelicate things.

But someday I’ll show you.
Someday you’ll see.
We pigeons
are much more dangerous
than we’ve led you to believe.

-Lo, reading too much into it once again.