Monday, April 27, 2009


We will stand
as tall as tulips
on sun-lathered days
when clouds are
children’s toes
testing baths of
blue naiveté

But when showers
blur a higher vision
and wind peels back
your tenderest fingers,
sink against a
grounded shoulder
and feel these colors

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


She stood naked before him. Fingers grazing her thighs. Chin level. Strong eyes.

“What are you doing?” he said, the acoustics of the stage sharpening his footfalls.

She would not answer. She would not make a sound. Even when he walked behind her, and brushed the small of her back with the silk of his tie.

“What. Are you. Doing?”

His breath trapped the heat on her neck. His body a lightning rod for her dark electricity. Energies pulsed, nerves begged. She felt neither liquid, nor solid.

But still she stood.

“We can’t here,” he said, his eyes flicking to the wings. “You know this. We’d both be sacked.”

Yet his fingers traced the curve of a harp on her hip, as her skin softened a conductor’s spine.

“What is your game?” he murmured into her hair, while his arms slipped around. Her belly fell soft, but she didn’t suck in. His touch sank deeper.

The truth of those fingers thickened her senses and squeezed her thoughts, until she was a single, tuned string, demanding to be played upon. She leaned into the hard line of him, and they fell between the infinite folds of stage left's curtain.

She turned in the velvet darkness, and moved to kiss him. His lips parted for their prize.

Instead, her mouth slid to his ear.

“There,” she whispered.

He pulled away.

“There, what?”

“Hold this. The desire. This need,” she said, looking long into his eyes. “Every time you’re up there, pressured to inspire us with that magic wand of yours. I want you to look at me, really look at me.”

She touched the air above his cheek. He shuddered.

“And be full of this almost thing.”


("Symphony Painting" by Valerie Vescovi)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Tapestry of Spring

I wanted to share Cat's amazing video so that everyone might see it. So many wonderful poems from blogging contributors are included in this tapestry, all woven together with Cat's remarkable audio, visual, and spoken talents. A true embrace of spring if I ever saw one. It makes me smile with wonder every time I view it.

(My recitation of "Eden," below, is included)

I also wanted to thank you all for the tremendous support and advice given in the comments section of my last post. I couldn't sleep last night, for thinking of new ideas. Always a good sign. :) Anyway, things might be light around here while I'm in the throes. Let's hope this one takes!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"I'm looking for things to steal."

The story is that American artist, Jasper Johns, was roaming around a MOMA Matisse exhibition one day. Someone approached him to ask what he was doing there, and he replied, "I'm looking for things to steal."

I know what he means. I'm feeling the creative-klepto urge myself.

There's no shame in swiping ideas and inspiration from others. Or I hope not, because I have a well documented history of doing so. The first short story I wrote was inspired by the film, Lost in Translation. My second novel, Plum Blossoms in Paris, leeched some of Before Sunrise's romantic spirit, while its title also contains a reference to a recently discovered Matisse painting. Whether I like it or not, surfing consistent swells of fresh, innovative ideas is not my strength as a writer. I know which emotions I want to capture and share with readers, but the skeleton supporting that flesh and blood is all too often a mystery of scattered, buried bones. I need some leads.

And perhaps the focus and discipline required for nailing down that structure, and riding the long wave that is a novel, has escaped me a little since I started blogging. I love writing vignettes and poems, but let's face it: this is a short-attention span medium, and a fairly addictive one due to the wonderful give and take with all of you. If an idea finds me now, I'm usually satisfied with my attempt to shine it into a small, stand-alone pearl, instead of stringing the longer necklace (wow, I seriously need to lay off the metaphors...). The truth is that I don't really feel like a novelist anymore. Even with a book coming out next year.

I want to find that commitment again. I'd like to have the total, sustained consumption that only a novel can bring. To fall asleep with beloved characters talking to me.

But first I need to dig them up. They're still buried somewhere. And so I find myself watching more films, hunting for more obscure things to read online, listening more closely to song lyrics, and roaming around some virtual MOMA's. The hunger is there, which is good. But so is the fear that it just won't happen again.

So yeah...I'm looking for things to steal. Great things. While trying not to hear the infernal clock ticking behind my shoulder.

After all, I wrote this post talking about a new novel over a year ago.


Note: I have no proof that Johns' untitled work on the right was inspired by the Matisse cutout on the left. I just saw them, and made a connection.

Friday, April 10, 2009


“I’m running away.”

He stopped flipping over a potato bug to look up at her. “You are?”

She rocked her bike back and forth. The rainbows cartwheeling off her streamers blinded him. “Yep. You wanna come?”

He stood and grabbed his arm above the elbow. “I don’t know.”

“We’ll eat whatever we want, Ben. Ice cream for dinner. Anything.”

“Don’t we need money?”

“I’ve got money.”

“You do?”

“Oh, yeah. Lots.”

This staggered him. His mom and dad never had money.

“But won’t our parents, well—”


“Won’t they worry?”

She threw up the kickstand, and clambered on her bike. “Yours, maybe.”


She tiptoed the bike around until it faced the street. A Hello Kitty knapsack bulged against her back. Handlebars curled her fingers into fists.

“You coming or not?” she said.

He watched her hair stream with the wind. Not rainbow-hued, but plain old brown. He’d found an abandoned baby bird outside its nest last spring, and his mom let him nurse it back to health, before it flew away. Its new feathers held that same, soft color.

He colored to remember that he named the bird, “Honey.”

“I’m coming,” he said, heeling the kickstand on the bike that had been her brother’s. Before he got sick. And before the other thing.

He heard the smile in her voice. “Cool.”

Deep down, they both knew the deal. They wouldn’t get far before he convinced her to turn around. But that didn’t stop them from talking about which flavors of ice cream they’d get for dinner. From arguing whether beach sand would make a better bed than pine needles.

And from understanding, as they took turns silently drafting one another up a hill, that the line separating adventure from tears was as thin as two, twenty-inch, Huffy tires.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The earth leans
and so do we,
resurrected memory
reciting its freefall
even while bedding
a word called new
in the tracks of neurons
laid for unborn years

and the crash is soft
--it’s almost mist--
a breathless exchange
of sound for silence
color for line
beginning for end
dream and dreamer
in a land undivided
like when lips
remind skin
of that fuse
in our bellies
jolting the
pale winter moth
into a

and I, too,
want to invite the
bee with its smart
little sting into
a wave of
these petals
where a
galaxy of honey
may be forgotten
til June
because a
big bang
breaks sweetest
from the
of your name
on the stickiness of
my tongue

And this is Eden
in a book by Matisse,
And this is spring
as painted by you
through me

[I wrote this poem for Cat's fun audio challenge
(final results to appear on Friday!). The
Matisse painting is titled, "The Joy of Life."]

Thursday, April 2, 2009


You stupefying
thing of blood and symmetry
cannot (want to) touch