My life

ripped apart
by desire:
his for another,
the lack of mine
for him

ripped apart
by anger:
mine at him
for not wanting me
enough to try,
his at me
for not wanting him
at all

ripped apart
and pieced back
in a better order

Some vertical gesture then, the way that anger / Or desire can rip a life apart, / Some wound of color. Robert Hass

Bad posture (revised)

He leans eagerly
across the table,
talks rapidly,
wants to impress,
to please. “Don’t sell me,”
she says,
and he deflates
for an instant,
then goes back
for another try.

Not a first date,
nor the fifteenth,
But a long-standing
lover’s quarrel,
Unfolding with
His pleading, her
tears, his command
To calm down,
“it’s no big deal.”

How long
before they drop
the script? Some
couples never do.
Not even on
their wedding day.
In his eyes,
a desperate hope
that she will
forgive him


on a boat
Harbor Springs
and DuSable,
blue, always blue,
perhaps some silver
and white, and at night,
only the lights from other boats,
and the glow of the distant shoreline
like a watchful line of lightening bugs,
hovering close but unable to help him steer.
What does he think about, surrounded by space,
unbound from routine, unobliged to be connected
by cell phone
or wifi?
What does he ponder, suspended for a brief span
from the normal rules? Of course, I am certain,
he is thinking of me.

Last waltz

Why do I weep
at the woman in the wedding dress
dancing with her ex
on the TV screen.
I don’t want to be her.
I was her
and I fucked it up
and can’t ever have that first wedding again.

I weep for my innocence,
my blindness,
my bitterness,
my trust.

I will never sit on a hard wooden pew
or stand in a garden of lilacs
watching a man and woman pledge
undying love
and not think – however briefly –
of ten years, and tears,
and how I blinked and woke up here.

Moment by moment
I have remade my life,
but it was only five minutes ago
that I bought my own white dress,
and only a second ago
that I took the tax deduction
and gave it away.

Evolutionary logic

If it’s all about sex,
finding a fertile mate,
maximizing reproduction,
or so says evolutionary
psychology, then what
space remains for love?
Why do we crave it? What
purpose can it serve,
except to make us weep
and sigh and write poetry
and jump from bridges. Or
is love just sex under-
cover, dressing up to fool
us with its fake moustache,
a pair of dark sunglasses,
sneaking into our dreams as
a raindrop or a fountain or
endless blue water by a beach,
or yellow fish on a reef.
All simply our animal lust
for pleasure? A drive for
offspring to prove our
existence? Tell me then
science, why love? Why
pain and despair? Take them
back, I say, until humanity
evolves to a higher state,
in another million years.

Silly love songs

Love songs, lately, seem exceedingly silly.
“How do I live without you?” the pop star
Moans. Well, you get up and go to work.
(How does she not know this, I wonder.)
You buy the groceries and feed the cat and
Brush your teeth and eventually you’ll
Remember how to survive on one salary
And how to cook for one. “How do I breathe
Without you,” she croons. (Good grief,
this woman is daft.) You were never one
Person, no matter what the priest said.
One mouth, one heart, one brain? Silly
Fool. Love is two. Love is compromise.
Love is being fully, selfishly yourself.