Goodbyes are Hellos

My first book of poetry, Goodbyes Are Hellos, is available now at Amazon as a physical book and at Smashwords for digital.

Special thanks to Smokeloop Press, Karen Wolcott, Will Curl, and my son, Jack. All of whom believed in this project and helped make it happen in their own ways.

Poems included in the book have also appeared in the following journals:

Sample Poems

River Dreams

Walking broken china
in the kitchen, letting the pieces
make themselves known to my feet.
I remember buying it, china,
thinking of the Yangtze
the river people and their pottery.

Red stains on the linoleum
of the apartment and my eyes dry
as the carpet, now also stained
red with my footprints.
Little toes, but I can see the lines
in my feet.

Unlike when our son was born
and his skin was stretched
so tight across his preemie
body, so small you thought
he would blow out
of my convertible.

I shut the roof,
answering your worry with action,
thinking it was enough.
Finding, now, it never was. Sitting quietly
while I went to work everyday
estranged and beholden.

My son and my anger quietly
growing. Your desire
ebbing. I found you again, years
later, indifferent to my touch,
repulsed.

Sitting on the couch, pulling china from my feet.
I will spend hours pushing the blood
around the floor, not realizing
it is the only loss I can manage.

Pieces

I have felt the cold
tile of my heart
under my feet.
I understood reticence
and the desire to run
from me, not to me.
I am broken and you
want the pieces.

Will you collect me in your ashtray
like change or dangerous
screws found in parking lots you
trick yourself
into thinking you’re saving from someone
else’s tires?
Am I sparkling glass you cannot resist
touching?

I cannot explain the need to fit
into you,
and I will not resist the urge to bite
into perfect skin.
I never claimed to be safe,
quite the opposite.
I don’t even want
my pieces.

Confession

           – for my son

I am too afraid
now, to throw you high,
let you go — cannot trust the arc
of trajectory, cannot lose
contact.

Still, I try
to spin you, holding you tight
in my arms. Your laugh, not as wild or free,
but the speed sometimes defies the gravity
of loss.

You gave me that wild smile and laugh
seconds before pushing your teeth into your jaw,
falling against cold stone, the marble
vanity showing a shallow wound. I thought
you had swallowed the teeth.

Rushing you, naked from your bath,
to the changing table. You screaming separating
my tears from yours, sharing our hysteria.
I begged your forgiveness for turning my head,
for letting go.

Only at the ER, my shirt covered in blood,
you looking perfect in new PJs, the doctor asking
who needed to be looked at, did we find
the teeth, neatly embedded by the impact –
nestled against your adult teeth

hiding.

Thirst

When you forget to blur
the lines,
When you cry yourself to sleep
from clarity,
When you are no longer fooling yourself
with the pillow in your arms and your tears
wet no shoulder,
You wake without kisses,
only the knowledge they are yours
and lost,
Tenderness is far away and she pays
as you do,
Then
Taste the bitter morning made all the more so
with birdsong you've laughed with
together.
Drink the sunlight that should catch her
hair, but glances off the sill, laden
with bottles.
Inhale the dust motes you treasured,
a visual for her scent, now heavy
with ash memory.
Touch your own skin, dormant, stagnant
without her fingertips.
Embrace the morning as you will
the earth.

Burn

A trash can I use for raku
blazes with poetry, desire,
I am inhaling the smoke of my past.
Need, men, women,
girls evaporate
into the ash of morning.

I prepare to be
in your embrace without
a past of failed caresses.
I cannot afford
these ghosts,
jeopardy among new fallen snow.