30 April 2009

p.a.d. THE FINAL DAY! I did it! WooHoo!

To Conclude

I gave you this kiss before
you said goodbye—I give it
to you again—I want you to
take it, but you, of course,
are already dancing,
crushing blackberries
for mead—purple and
red—and the soles of your
feet are stained, and your hair
is long and loose and glints
like copper in the sunshine.

In the light somewhere, I,
of course, stand, trying to
give you this kiss—paper
angels perch on the
branches of an apple tree—
you are already dancing in
a dress of silk that flutters like
the poppies that grow
through the lumped stones
of your tomb toward
a sky that shifts shape
like the sea.

29 April 2009

poem a day challenge - april 29, 2009

Never Turn Your Heart to Stone

Though times are hard
never turn your heart to stone—
never let it grow black as
Kilkenny coal,
splintery as shale,
eroded as limestone.
Let it bloom
like the rock rose
in the poorest of conditions—
turn your face to the sun
even though the road
you walk is dark.

p.a.d. challenge -- day 28 (two more to go)


Even in monochrome, her eyes are blue,
third eye blues, her self-
less eyes calm and bless
the church mice who whisper
Love is patient, love
is kind
in the blue forest

of her eyes. In the forest
her eyes are never blue
but red, the color of love,
she crosses herself
before the red filter and whispers
May your presence bless

. Her spectral red tears bless
the creatures of the forest,
even the butterflies that whisper
rustles and susurrations of blue
and know nothing of true love.

Her eyes are love,
they look to bless
the mole that hides himself
underground in forests
of dirt, subterranean blues
masquerading as nocturnal whispers.

Imperfections diminish like a whisper,
the photographer helplessly in love
with the beautiful blue-
stocking reaching out fingers to bless
him, her eyes a deciduous forest
and everywhere falling the leaves of self-

dom. Love is self-
he whispers,
but the words are swallowed by the forest,
her eyes the green of love,
lush and barbless,
intoxicating as a young girl's whisper.

I knew her when her eyes were blue, her self-
pollination a blessing, her whispers
of love patient as a forest.

27 April 2009

p.a.d. 27 april 2009


in the backyard,
I pulled a flower head
off the rose bush—
I smelled your
sweet, grassy skin—
your cheek brushed
against my lips—
I fell on the grass
between the back door
and the garden gate—
I lay there believing
the back door led to
the black and white
checker board floor
of your old house on
Dublin Street—and the
garden gate was an open
I only had to go one way
or the other—but I was
stuck in the middle—and
in that quiet, hesitating moment
the sky billowed and
rain began to fall.

p.a.d. 26 april 2009

On His Bedroom Floor

When I go in to
give him a taste—
nothing but big brown
boots—two crumbling
towers—stare at
me—stick their
tongues out—

large, silent
shake &

I throw my
wooden spoon—
beans splatter—abstract
expression on his
bedroom floor—

I cry because
now I want
to laugh too.

25 April 2009

poem-a-day challenge ... 25 april 2009

4th of July

Nothing is quite the way it
used to be—not my bladder, not
my breasts—and I am hungry
for only one thing: fish. I feel
more awkward than normal—
a gap-toothed girl who
dived in way over her head.

The doctors predict a
miscarriage but the child
swimming inside me is a
miracle—doesn't every
mother say that?—and some
people's predictions can be
deceptively cruel.

In the middle of Spring, I let it
all spill out. Some of them are
fascinated, watching me like
a television set as I predict the
day of your birth, your sex, that
you're a late sleeper—but most of them
shake their heads and leave the room
as if I'm foolish, or completely mad.

Imagine what they'd think if
I told them that your fraternal great
grandfather—who passed on before
I ever met your father—visited
me in a dream and told me about
a newborn baby boy, eyes
the exact blue of mine, who
would be born to the sound of
fireworks over the Puget Sound.

24 April 2009

p.a.d. -- april 24, 2009

A Photograph Taken in Mexico

Her face has already given in to despair
otherwise her bracelet would not dazzle so--

watch it spin as she smokes her cigarette--

round and round--

her eyes are still as stones
but the perfect circle of that bracelet
turns like life.

23 April 2009

p.a.d. -- thursday, 23 april 2009


Fear must have crept over
me even as I sat on
the peeling white
porch steps reading a
paperback novel.

Why did I sit and
read with such grave
stillness in the air?

I should have stashed my
book behind the hole in
the lattice wall and climbed onto
my brother's red bicycle.

What did I think
I could do sitting on
those porch steps?

Fear must have crept over
me even as I tried to holler for
help, able to do nothing but
rip out the pages of a
paperback novel and
watch the wind swat
them down the street.

p.a.d. -- wednesday, 22 april 2009


The goddess
makes it look easy.
She stands naked
on the night table,
hands resting proudly
over her large sagging breasts,
she is not embarrassed
by her swollen stone belly,
I've never caught her
checking her backside
in a mirror,
she doesn't pose
a certain way
to make herself look
slimmer, younger, curvier.
What is it about
getting naked?
Why do we find it
so difficult?
What if the next time
I have company
in my bedroom,
I take it all off
and just stand there--
love handles,
stretch marks--
eyes wide open,
What if I like it
so much
I begin walking
with a sway,
like I carry
the dawn
beneath my dress?

21 April 2009

p.a.d. prompt 21

Navel Orange

The juice of summer
flows beneath your dimpled skin--
but also a twin.

20 April 2009

poem-a-day challenge -- day twenty


In the burning cathedral
of the strip mall parking lot
a butterfly makes an entrance.
Her tiny black feet dance
on the soft mesh stage
with nervous tension.
She shakes and
flutters her wings
like a gypsy's skirt
to the tune of
slammed doors
and starting engines.
As soon as her wings
are no longer wet
she turns her heels on
that one room apartment
she used to call home
and flies above
the sculpted azaleas,
above the plastic mannequins
in front the discount clothing store,
and right over the bright red roof
of the all-you-can-eat buffet.

19 April 2009

p.a.d. 19 april 2009

The Painter

The white flag you see
behind his head
is just a foil. The
delinquent girls, they
take their clothes off and pose
in black stockings with lipstick too red.
When it's over, they crawl to him,
wide-eyed, holding their breaths,
waiting for his blessing. Or at least
a kiss. No one ever expects
the scorn in his brown eyes,
the disgusted tilt of chin,
the twisted shape of his brows.

You might be distracted
by the white flag fluttering
in the background.
You might look at him
from over the curved tops
of your sunglasses
and think you can
change him. You
might think the world
has stifled him with
with bourgeois conservatism.
Surely he has
never been truly loved.

In the background
is a white flag.
Or is it a napkin? A
bandage? You can see it
clearly this morning.
The flag is
a white bird
hovering in the air
over a landfill.
Behind his right shoulder
he has painted in
a bouquet of flowers.
Even the roses
make him angry.

18 April 2009

p.a.d. day eighteen


I remember my mouth moving,
words spilling out upon the hospital blanket.
I remember him answering
in between labored breaths.
I wanted to lean in closer
so I could hear what he said
but I was still afraid
to get too close to him.
I remember that everything in the room
seemed larger than he did
and that I kept clenching and
unclinching my fists
like they were jellyfish,
like if I opened and closed them enough
I could propel myself right out the window.
I remember looking at
the potted orchid
beside the soap dispenser
and how the labellum
looked like a polka-dot pocket
full of words left unsaid.

p.a.d. day seventeen

All I Want is Spring

I walk back streets
admiring the dandelions
in unkempt lawns,
the elegant curve
of a gnarled
cherry blossom branch, spontaneous
rain showers,
earthworms in garden soil,
gray squirrels
clipping buds
from the maple trees, and,
overhead, a flock of
snow geese,
fragile and determined as
a girl in Sunday lace
who happens upon
a mud puddle.

poem-a-day challenge *** day sixteen


Driving through
the empty plains
I saw the child
a white
death mask
a pink dress
shaped like
an hourglass
yellow flower
clutched in her fist
the looming storm
the white cold
of the plaster mask
and her bare legs
so close
to the mouth
of the tiger
leaves of grass.

p.a.d. - day fifteen

The Tin Man

One must have a mind of Myth
To regard the pain and the suffering
Of impending death grafted with grief;

And have been crushed a long time
To behold the fractured bones skewered with steel,
The amputated leg still throbbing on the fragmented altar

Of pain killers; and not to think
Of any catastrophe in the bones of the x-ray,
In the dream of a newborn baby,

Which is the dream of the orchid
Full of the same tears
That are falling in the same blue sky

For the watcher, who watches through the mirror,
And, broken himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the everything that is.

p.a.d. day fourteen

When I Think About Love

I think about running in circles,
changes of clothes, new hairdos,
endless peanut butter sandwiches
stuck to the roof of my mouth,
and then one night, walking downtown,
there you were, and my phantom life
flashed real, and nothing else
mattered but this new fire burning
like the street lamp on 4th Avenue.

p.a.d. day thirteen

How Can I Write Poetry

when the boy who
draws pictures of knights on
the floor next to my desk
wants to play, to run in the grass
with bare feet? All my life
I have longed to be alone with words,

a l o n e ,

lonely even, to dive into loneliness,
that inky eternity beyond eternity,
nothing to distract me. But for now
there’s a boy slowly pointing
a toy sword at me, and
his laugh is like the echoes of a wave,
like a starry wave, like an answer.
I am watching
to see how it’s done.

Day Twelve - NaPoWriMo

So We Decided to Burn, Burn, Burn. . .

like the homes of
contract Chinese workers
laying the steel rails
of a narrow gauge spur line
from Olympia to Tenino
who escaped into
the snow of Christmas Eve
with nothing but blankets
wrapped around their bodies like
coat of plates,
like the Chinese hand laundry
on the northwest corner
of 5th Avenue and Water Street
that disappeared
while its owner was
rafting mill waste wood to
heat the laundry water,
like the incense and
fireworks of Forest Cemetery
in springtime
where ancestral bones
lay waiting for
the bone gatherer
to carry them
to Heaven.

p.a.d. * day eleven

Toy Soldier

Pulling back the
covers I am greeted by
some dark thing in the sheets
and put my face close to
see my son’s
steadfast toy soldier.

What he
lacks in
size he makes
up for in
and spirit.

I am ignorant on
all but the crudest points of
maneuver and
attrition warfare
but I wonder if this
toy soldier is disturbing more
than my sleep. Perhaps he’s
wearing me down slowly: pushing
the checkbook just a little each
day until it falls behind
the computer desk, whispering
that annoying song in
my ear so I forget why
I walked into the bathroom and
opened the medicine cabinet, knocking
the vase of white carnations off
the kitchen table just as
I lie down with a
good book.

I want to toss
him aside and go
to sleep but the
toy soldier raises his
battle axe and I can
see he’s
resolved himself.

He does not
want me to
to roll over and
turn out the
light, he needs this
like I need

Half his army is
lost, the rest
retreated, this
is his last ditch
attempt to dislodge
me from this bed or
die trying.

PAD - Day Ten


I planned to stay
indoors today but
the sun is
a spinning wheel
in an electric blue sky

p.a.d. challenge ***day nine


You were born of earth and sky,
a pansy clenched in your tight fist.
Already men were second-guessing themselves,
recoiling their tongues
like long black snakes.

poem-a-day...day eight

She Dresses

She sits up slowly
on the edge of your bed,
wearing nothing but a gauze bandage
as a reminder she is mortal.
She has long hair, ripples of brown
and red and silver.
She wears it
down, either
because she thinks
you prefer it that way
or because she uses it
as a curtain through which she flows, head bent
forward and chin tucked under, bobbing
like a bottle caught in the current.
You raise her arms
and pull the blue dress over
her head, leaning in
you lift her hair like
a veil, and kiss her papery
the smell of her skin so
far from pain, the dosing
of pills,
you’re in lavender
up to your knees,
tentative, but no longer
needing to be sure.

p.a.d. day seven


I have a confession. I don’t dust. Not really. Not ever. Sometimes it happens. Accidentally.
Taking a novel off the bookshelf. Rearranging furniture. Reaching for the old blue teapot on top of the refrigerator.
You always said cleanliness is next to godliness. The path to righteousness is paved with damp cloths.
Dust ye: for the kingdom of heaven shines like a fresh coat of furniture polish.
I want to dust. I do. Just not as much as I want to read Ulysses. Or have a root canal.
And I’m tired of pretending. You deserve to know. So I’m just gonna say it and hope you’ll forgive me.
I’m a dirty girl.

p.a.d. day six


I didn’t know how much I would miss the scent of
bay leaf wafting from the kitchen,
rolling through the living room
and settling over couches and coffee table.

I didn’t fully appreciate the comfort of
pungent cinnamon,
prized quills of antiquity,
both sacred and erotic.

I didn’t miss you until I dressed
the salad, until I saw
the flakes fall from my fingers,
little flecks of white
settling on chunks of bread,
dusting the bright green basil,
clinging to the tomato
like a long lost friend.

Christina Hile

poem-a-day * day five

Along Water Street

You didn’t believe in reincarnation,

but you are the harbor.

You shed your faded pink blouse and blue jeans,

spread your arms and don the sea,

wrap it about your shoulders

like an inky blanket flecked with buttons of pearl.

Your legs are the pillars and the tired, faded boards of the pier

that hold up the people of this city, that keep me walking,

keep me watching for the sun to reach down from the steel grey

of a cloud-covered sky and kiss my eyes.

Some days I want nothing more

than to go back to sleep and wake

with one hand holding the red ribbon of a balloon

and the other tightly in yours,

walking the boardwalk

smelling handmade soap

and fresh roasted peanuts,

a time when the barnacles and limpets

competing for space underneath the wharf

didn’t make me think of cell division and metastasis.

I don’t know where I will go when I die,

if I will find peace in the dirt of a grave,

or if someone will smell me

in the saltwater wind

or see me in the turning prow

of a green and white tugboat

leaving the harbor

again and again.

p.a.d. - day four

for Nathan

More than nine

red cloudberries

picked with honey-paws,

I prize you, Bear.

Born of the starry spoon,

keeper of the ancient sea,

your towering shape swabbed

on granite cliffs.

From an apple tree

you fell into my basket, Bear,

and never has such warm woolen awkwardness

swathed such an iron heart.

p.a.d. day three


The problem with breathing
is that I’m conscious of it now,
the contracting diaphragm,
the exchange of gases.

I wake from a sunshine waft of a dream,
daisies in my hair blown away
by the haunting roar of my breath
as lungs fill and empty.

…this poem led to a 2nd poem….

Yellow Swing

How I still love the yellow swing
at the bottom of a grassy backyard hill
and the way my pumping legs pushed my body
higher, higher, higher.

I keep wanting to jump,
to demand my novel or a newspaper,
despite this choking feeling
I lost something in the clouds.

p.a.d. 2

Stage Fright

All morning I’ve been stuck
between curtain up and blackout,
pulsing in and out between a stage of bright lights
where the air smells of antiseptic,
and a pile of stones by the shore of a stretch of dark velvet
I’m supposed to believe is the sea.
I’ve never had a gift for ad lib,
especially in this non-life
where the pace is all wrong.

I should have made my exit
when I had the chance,
before they swarmed over me
hovering in their blue paper robes
wearing faces like masks,
lips curved in unnatural shapes,
don’t worry.
close your eyes.
you won’t feel a thing.

The worst scene doesn’t take place
in the operating theatre, but after,
trudging through the anesthesia
of so many costume changes.
I lose all sense of direction
before coughing and opening my eyes,
no deus ex machina,
just a buzzing yellow light
pulled close to my face
and an audience
at the edge of my bed.

p.a.d. challenge - day one

Goose Bumps

I’m trying to write you a letter
but the quill protests horribly,
each stroke claws at
the cheap recycled printer paper,
picking up bits of fiber, tearing,
the ink bleeds.

I wish you hadn’t sat next to me
on that narrow piano bench
and asked me to tea.
I wish you’d never folded your hands
around that chipped white mug
at the kitchen table and waited, waited,
waited for me to let my guard down.
I wish I hadn’t lain on that crimson blanket
in the backyard, your breath
smelling of oranges and bergamot,
and told you the stars were
exploding silver pearls
and if we held hands
tightly enough
we could become
the dewdrop on a blade of grass.

What I’m trying to do
is write you a letter,
but the feather itches my fingers,
the carpet whispers distractions to my toes,
the chair holds the small of my back
like a perfect gentleman,
but when I reach back
I touch only wood.

I wish I could walk, away,
and not end up in the kitchen,
sipping from a chipped white mug,
goose bumps rambling,

Moving Back

So, I've had this blog over at wordpress that I've been using for a while. I just don't like wordpress as well as blogger, so I'm moving my posts over here--mostly just NaPoWriMo poem-a-day Challenge stuff (I've made it over halfway--woot!).