Friday, May 7, 2010

Gogyohka 5/4-5/7/10

lilies of the valley
on the coffee table
mingle their shady perfume
with my sweaty feet
from gardening

too many screens
but eyes are, too
they're machines
we love robots
short circuit

haunted by failures
want to be
someone else
they have their own
we are not alone

feels like she's been gone
long enough
to be coming home
until I realize
I'm still picking up socks

Spring's smell
from the bathroom
the sulfur
in my asparagus pee

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gogyohka 5/3/10

rocks the boat
that makes the waves
that floods the beach
that drowns the child

the eagle on the pine branch
didn't even look at me
staring at the sunset
from the earliest dawn
in America

full of socks
by a blanket

the beeping
morning alarms
telling everyone
on time
or late

the clock
goes around
and around
so why
is it still dusty?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gogyohka from Cleveland (4/20-4/25)

Important documents
Black robes
cannot justify me
like all this laughter

So many windows!
Heads at desks
pointing down
Light shining in
Shining out, too

each line
a corner in the room
taken away
I stop hiding

Her grandmother
Born in a tipi
One birth certificate
Lost in a fire
Nobody accepts copies

Spring’s song
pushing up
From wet dirt

A boy in the woods
turning over rocks
Walking down
rusty train tracks
until he got lost

shutting down
the only thing
anyone hears
is birds

When I woke up
Tossing and turning
I saw the dawn come blue
and breathed in lilacs

I am an astronaut
without a suit
feeling a comet form
next to me

When I was 3
I always asked why?
Now I am over 30
And poke my nose out
to smell all things

cool breezes
in Cleveland
winter nights
in the desert
still fresh from the distance

one line kernel
two line kernel
three line kernel
four line kernel

She told me
“I will eat that
when you show me
the tender
on a chicken.”

My whole personality
can be found
in the nutmeg I grate
into squash ravioli
while sage sizzles in butter

So glad
English has many words
for laughter
Let’s make
all poems smile

Everyone writes
to their breath
She writes
in sighs

writing poems
in one hour periods
this time
I have no assignment
to turn in

all day long poetry!
endless new voices
heard and read
I am a pirate
stealing treasure

how far
is my reach
how deep
is my well

more poems
"I wonder"
than "I want"--
I hope so

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gogyohka 4/17/10 (written 4/14/10)

after the computer screen
all day
looking in your eyes
like looking through a telescope
into another universe

Take all the nerve endings
gather them up
and weave them
into a hammock
It will support us forever

Walking up the stairs
of Grand Central
at 5:30
means walking through a cloud
of coffee breath

on three walls
of color
one drawing
of Barack Obama
in Black and White

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gogyohka 4/12/10

great golden day
I will be
someone else's horizon

my hand reaches
for your shoulder
no matter
where you walk
steady in every storm

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gogyohka 4.9.10

My webbed duck feet
looking for something
inside me
that is solid

things I want to do
things I have to do
I sit in my canoe
with one oar
paddling in circles

in life
at the pace
of a doggy-paddle

one day
without worries
one day
to see the air
and you best of all

my body
is very big
but sometimes
I don't have enough spirit
to fill it

Do me a favor,
Stop sending me
post cards
Come back to me

This hot day
I am
sliding down
the bell
of a blaring trumpet

Times Square
is gross
I don't care
what anyone

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gogyohka 4/6/10

be my dance partner
let your breath fill my lungs
I trust you
to lift me in the air

In the elevator
with a chihuahua
"His name's Shakespeare."
"Oh yeah?"
"He's a drama king."

A morning without sun
like nothing's happened
birds everywhere
telling me
think again, bucko

I have two legs
two lips
one brain
and magic fingertips
reaching into everything

my nerves
tell my body
to be afraid
of everybody and everyone
my mind loves

I thought I'd be afraid
to be near
someone close to death
but I'm not
I like him

the bathroom
with the special toilet
makes me feel
like I'm peeing
through a sponge cake

the grass
on the graves
are beards
of the dead
making waves

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gogyohka 4.3.10

the tattooed cursive "D"
on his hand
like a rubber stamp
return address
for a body lost in New York

dust kicked up on a road
proves we never travel alone
the sun bathes many travelers
and threads their eyes
dust to dust

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gogyohka 3/31/10

sing a song
help us rest
we need peace
for a long time
to let our wounds heal

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

not one poem
or twenty
but the hands joining
to write them

just like
innocent until proven guilty
I believe I can
until proven
I can't

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gogyohka 3.29.10

the young woman on the train
being sketched
by the old man in the trenchcoat
"How far you going?"
"All the way!"

I know and believe
I am a poet
but if my words
visit you inside
then part of you is, too

Gogyohka 3/28/10

what is this feeling
seeing backs of houses
from a train?
I am content
feeling rails under my legs

My soul snarls
and rears back
and shivers
It's an unbridled mare
that will not tame

we take birch bark
shedding in curves
and put them
on our arms
pretend we're superheroes

my best wedding gift
was an atlas of Maine
from my aunt and uncle
with post-it note flags
"I want to take you here!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gogyohka 3/27/10

everyone knows
the man in earmuffs
feeding pigeons
bread crumbs
from the sidewalk bench

all night it's bad dreams
all morning
I'm mean to my new wife
by noon I'm leaving a message
saying how beautiful she is

the cold came back
but the market is full
of butts and thighs
in black compression pants

you know what?
let the March wind blow
let it rip
into my lightning heart
and bolt my head up

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gogyohka 3/20-3/25/10

getting well again
and my skull rises
back to my face
and pushes my eyes
back out to the world

at Union Square

squinting in the sunshine
I see waves of people
crashed out on the square
to sleep or eat or visit
and make the concrete bright

someone tapped
my trunk
this sugaring time
my sap sweetens
another's pail

the early blooms
look just fine
poking out of brown Winter
But I'm a tree
still heaving up my sap

the white mothers
all have gray
in their hair
and shining brown faces
push their strollers

how did I miss
the stubble
on the elm trees?
The shadows are speckled
the earth pokes its eye open

this diary
holds thousands of pairs
of straight legs
supporting countless confused kindnesses
burst out of urgent imaginations

give me
the name
of the feeling
So close
to every stranger passing

a few warm days
makes for early blooms
ho hum
let's go buy gum drops
and see a movie

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gogyohka 3/19/10

being in line
at the bureaucracy
like being in
the esophagus
of someone with bad breath

if I grab hold
of your collar
it's because I'm shaking too
giving up on you
means giving up on me

thank you universe
for a physics
that only lets me
feel one mistake
at a time!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gogyohka 3/18/10

fat sparrows
chase skinny sparrows
pigeons chase sparrows
and feeder seed chatters
onto the schoolyard

out walking
saw my first daffodil
and wrinkled up at it
the sun was too hot
it made me sweaty mad

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gogyohka 3/16/10

Green scarves
Green jackets
Fleece and nylon and fringed grass
shooting up
from Brooklyn streets

That squirrel
That squirrel!
Sitting on a stump
Is it real
or is it stuffed?

Whenever I hear
Dad's knife on steel
in the kitchen
it's like the ghost
of Grampie appeared

first magnolia buds
are out
in pink-tipped white
Spring's lipstick
coming out of its tube

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gogyohka 3/13-15/10

trying to make
makes me

have to want
to be
than famous

"spring weather"
isn't daffodil fingers
and new warmth
or showers
it's both together

Thursday, March 11, 2010

after so much
with my new wedding ring
you'd think I'd remember
to wear it more

she pours the potato chips
into a bowl
"Why not eat
from the bag?"
"Because I won't stop!"

"Hit your head
against the wall enough
you're bound
to make a hole."
"In your head!"

at Grand Central
bodies rush around
I remember the waves
and the undertow
burying my feet in sand

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gogyohka 3.9.10

Have you
ever seen
a yellow crocus?
It’s reminding me
what sunshine looks like

The hill holds
a carpet of crocuses
thick enough for a sultan
On benches the mentally ill
sit and sway

A man in black leather
exits the garden
on a March day
Flexes his fingers
and stretches his neck

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gogyohka 3.5-8.10

snow tide lowers
to reveal
a dead pigeon
bloodless and unfed
to the Earth

the cotton cloud
of new marriage
meets the dull thud
of old debts
and somewhere thunder's heard

first green fingertips
of daffodils
part the snow
to make room
to spread their yellow palms

in the laundromat
the old woman can't believe it
"They just took it--
and what will they get
10 dollars for a phone?!"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gogyohka 3.4.10

Spring buttercups
pound out
of the mulch
like the impetuous sun
from behind a cloud

the myth of progress
that old tired tiger
I'd rather remake
every moment over
new its own best way

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gogyohka 3.2.10

watch the rushing meltwater
too much for the storm drain
and remember
no human belief
can stay solid

the widow
fixing flowers
at the grave
resolves to never
take off his ring

they prop the door open ("Hiya Lou!")
the coffee smoke from the roaster
deafens all the buzzing people
nobody coughs or slows--"Hey Frank!"
shoveling bags two at a time

two about laughing in my face:

Laugh in my face
If you face me grim
it won't be respect
but dammed back mocking
burst out behind my back


If I find myself serious
the world wants to laugh anyway
so laugh in my face
it's better than facing
a line up of makeup respect

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gogyohka 3.1.10

oh, pen--
be my memory awhile
and let the words put on paper
keep them
out of my brain

of stars
are scattered
all around
my mindspace

the wind today
blew fresh and light
but March is coy
flashes its bloomers
easy as kiss your cheek

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gogyohka 2.28.10

we can argue
til we're blue
in the face
but instead
let's just dance

looking at the uniforms
of each country
in the Olympic closing ceremony
I wonder how many
were made in China

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gogyohka 2.27.10

the asphalted street
with its neverending lights--
good for walking
the dirt under the trees
good for finding

true morality
may not come
from doing what others want
but following
your desire inside

swarms around me
like angry bees
stinging every part
that would let me sit

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gogyohka 2.25.10

a wet thump
of snow
falls on my coat
like someone
tapping on my shoulder

Spring heaves
before it bursts
Buds and blooms
But first--
groaning water up the the trunk

Bury me
with the dust
in my eyelashes
Let the world
find a microscopic museum

biting my fingernail
in the shower
I smell the soup
I made
for dinner last night

not snow
so much as
snow cones
from the sky

I walk
to the back room
and four sparrows
lined up on the window bars
cheep wildly at me

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gogyohka 2.23.10

shhhhhh-lean in
let the blood in your ears
hear the crocuses coming?
they're in the rain on the roof

keep my eyes bright
as snow in the dark
keep my pants wide
my steps tall
and let the wind whisper my song

today was like
waking up in Cleveland
and not knowing
it if was 9 in the morning
or 3 in the afternoon

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gogyohka 2.22.10

she'll never paint again
she swears
that old beauty problem?
someone else's now
she'll be fabulous

wanna get wild
fall off the canoe
smash the ice
smell my palms
scuffed with pine pitch

and maybe
love happens
when you try
to think of a word
and someone appears

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gogyohka 2.19.10

married a week ago
way up high
went down the elevator
but can't tell
if there's ground beneath me

My hasidic landlord
sitting at the table
next to heatless radiators
"You think I need your money?
I'm a believer."

rubbing my face
rubbing rubbing
I want to rub
the wrinkles
from my brain

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gogyohka 2/18/10

The snow plops down
from the branches
The heavens
want to have
a snow fight

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gogyohka 2.10.10

drop the grocery bags
unlock the door
but first
work out the sting
cold claws won't unclench

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gogyhoka 2.8.10

this line of mittens
speared on gate spikes
like heads
of the dead
waiting to be claimed

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gogyohka 2-7-10

getting married
in a week
thinking about
homosexual experiences
at 7 years old

Gogyohka 2-6-10

life means
building up
& breaking down
over & over
forever again

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gogyohka 2.5.10

glass falling on glass
makes me cringe
that hard sound
of stubborn ideas
refusing to budge

when I think
of how hard it was
to learn to walk
not getting to Japan yet
seems paltry

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gogyohka 2/4/10

my faith
is that I believe
people can change
after seeing so many
who don't

Gogyohka 2-3-10

the sun
glitters down
like someone
smashed an icicle
on a mirrorface

the wind
shook the snow
off the eaves--
a horse shook flies
off its tail

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gogyohka 2/1/10

a little life
with many joys
(a few disappointments, too)
starlight glowing
past the street lamp

First of February
lined up at the Cash Advance
paper hands
shined by the wind
clutch their benefits checks

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gogyohka 01/30/10

I am the stepchild
of hope
the strained relation
to that old orphan, fate

that shy boy
breaking sticks
in the New Hampshire woods
found a rusty railroad spike
and held it for his future

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gogyohka 1/28/10

don't wait
for someone
to inspire
smile in my face
give a stranger a hand

the bare hedge
bursts into the songs
of sparrows
and the branches
have feathers for leaves

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gogyohka 01/27/10

opening my senses
to a starling pecking at thawed seeds
horses huffing out visible breath
from their fleshy nostrils
making heartbeat stew

give me a kitchen
all day
and then a chicken back
a cauliflower stalk
tender oyster pearls

of men
trying to be my father
woke up spinning
in night's confusing infinity

no one
ever got moneyrich
from being generous
(I mean stupid rich)
peoplefacts haunt me

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gogyohka 1.26.10

moving through
a line
that moves
to another line

some feminism
makes me
to be
a man

most of the time
the color
of my skin
makes me
feel guilty

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gogyohka from God Knows When

Here are two from today, I know that--

after the interview
he shook her hand
it's not enough
so this mother brushes his hair aside
"She's giving you a blessing."

telling myself
don't be afraid
learning something new
a chance to be reborn
and become a child again

Oh, Haiti
I think of Figaro
down the street
and the bright blue children's costumes
on West Indian Day

no one
will ever
be beautiful
for you
so shine shine shine

making constellations
we shoot
our way to each other

my favorite sound
crowded restaurant
burst of laughter
sudden stab of anger
a thousand drums playing out

she told him
if her father were dead
she would want him
to walk her down the aisle
and he cried

a dairy farmer
killed his 51 cows
and himself
he thought their lives
didn't matter to anyone

to Georgia O'Keeffe

gotta paint the flower
six times
before the pistil
stops looking
like a pistil

even in a dark bar
and looking tired
we can see her profile smiling
He leans in to me
"I like that one."

writing these
learning how
to dream again

a woman
piled up
by rubble
holding her hands up
in an Old Navy T-shirt

last day
in Cleveland
watching the ice
from the drainspouts

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gogyohka 1.14.10

after 25 years
at Grampie's grave
Nana praying straight on her cane
bright August Sun
Olivia and I weed around his name

if you're boastful
watch your back
because every day
now matter what it says
will feel like an attack

if you're humble
stay that way
because every sidewalk crack
and verbal thumb tack
will just be play

Gogyohka 01.14.10

Before the old man
wiped the winter drip
from his nose
it was a rain drop
from a spring branch

Walking around all day
inhaling ether
I leave the house
and New York
puts me in my place

Sitting across from his bulldog face
I point to his MLK pin
"Which speech is that?"
"I have a dream."
He doesn't look at me

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gogyohka 01.12.10

this wedding
I'm never alone
our best socialism

For John:
He scratched his ankle
until it got raw
then he scratched some more
Stopped three weeks
and everything healed

The birds are singing
Can you hear them?
Sparrows in the bare branches
belting it out
like church bells ringing

Sunday, January 10, 2010


In one breath I say
can't cross all borders fully
In another breath it's
adding-machine vs. fingerpaint

I thought
he never had
anything to say
but it wasn't that
nobody ever asked him

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gogyohka 1.09.10

everyone's pain is their own greatest
don't laugh at someone
whimpering over a stepped-on spider
It might just be practice
for the death of a mother

even in 1933 America
slurping thin soup
behind wide gray hats
people got married
and a stranger smiled

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gogyohka 01.07.10

Ok then
I'll write 2010 Gogyohka
and read even more by you
Now everybody!

make your tears
a bubble
for all the other tears
make a puddle, a stream, a river
an earth in orbit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gogyohka 1.6.10

winter baby
for warmth
grasps and sucks
mother's breast

yesterday was my birthday, and this G-poem came to me late in the night, right before I fell asleep. I think the greatest sacrifice mothers make is childbirth, and it is the greatest honor of humanity. Cold, biting death-filled winter only emphasizes the depth of this vital maternal spirit, that gives so much so we can go on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gogyohka 01.05.09

wake up
to facebook wall posts
full of Happy Birthday!
shining secret friends
make me feel good

to the dentist
on my birthday
when did I get so old?
still not dreaming
of lost teeth

make politics
more than complaints
carry signs of the dead
to those responsible
teach love always

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gogyohka 01.04.10

On Gogyohka Junction I called this one "Heart Sparklers":

grabbing a handful
of glitter
I throw stars in the sky
waiting somewhere
for you to make constellations

the knot won't untie
from getting pulled harder
tug'o'war tightens ropes
end of violence
begins with one unclenched fist

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gogyohka 01.02.10

If the cold wind
comes hard
let it come
I'll squint my eyes
and keep walking

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gogyohka 01.01.10

hope the door
to your horizon
is unlocked
or if it is
you find another one

Let me come into your life
like rain
or an oops puddle
Always there
or imminent

keep finding these
on scrap paper
in my phone
on the computer
Gogyohka graffiti

wanna find the edges
the moment two stop texting
or when the brain chemistry set reacts
to first seeing a future love
and make them continuous