Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

A diamond day
the long skin
of night
with silent lips
of pear-shaped cut,
birthing the blood
of resurrection
in that most
sacred stone,
the human heart


Merry Christmas and
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Hug your loved ones tight,
and your kids (if you got 'em)
tighter.  I hope the warmth of
the season embraces you all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Under the Pine

She waited for the moment.

No footsteps in the hallway. Her parents’ voices a muffled wave on the other side of the wall. The clock glowing 11:08 on her night stand.

It was time.

She grabbed Snoopy. Cracking the door, she scuttled down the hall, her shadow a silent leap ahead of her heart. Through the sheer curtains in the living room, she could see snow sink through the wonderlight. Swirling snow, tossed by an invisible hand.

It didn’t worry her. Rudolph’s nose was bright. He wouldn’t have any trouble.

He couldn’t.

The tree’s lights reflected rainbows in her eyes. She smiled with a candy-cane mouth. Excitement fizzed from some sleepy center up to dancing lips, and she clutched Snoopy tighter to squelch the squeal inside her chest. Her feet rocked from heel, to tiptoe, and back.

“Oh, boy,” she whispered. “Oh, boy.”

A crackling noise ran from her parents’ room, and up her spine. She scurried past the manger scene, and the piano bench, which still held a plate with two cookies. And the glass of milk to wash down a red star, a blue angel.

Dear Santa, I hope you have time to eat these. You must be very tired.

She crept toward the space she’d picked out. At the back of the tree, in the corner of the room. Where a tangled bow of light cords hid.  But if she hugged her knees, she’d fit just so.
Picking her way through the stack of presents, she thought of the Grinch, slithering his way around the other Whos’ houses, leaving crumbs much too small for the other Whos’ mouses. Her bottom knocked down an ornament, or two, but she didn’t bother putting them back up. Not now.

She couldn’t.

Almost time.  It must be. The sharpness of pine tickled her nose. Looking up, she inhaled the carnival of lights with eyes thrown open wide. Up, up, up they shot. Her head fell back on Snoopy’s tummy. Her fingers reached to touch fresh sap.

Sticky. Her dad told her that bugs could get stuck in it. Forever.

A door creaked. Footsteps pattered. She held her breath, but her heart was a drum.

Pa ra pa pum pum.

“Who’s eating the cookies?”

“My turn.”

“You did it last year!”

“All right. One for each of us. Claire was generous.”

“I’ll take the angel.”

“Fine. But I’m telling Santa you’re the greedy one.”

She saw them. Eating Santa’s cookies. She saw them. Something like sap squeezed up the tube of her throat. And burned.

Her mouth opened.

“I wish we'd gotten one more thing for each of the stockings.”

“Stuff more candy in. They won’t notice.”

“I just don’t want them to be disappointed.”

She pressed her lips together. Hard. Tried to make herself even smaller. Crumb-like.

Daddy’s glasses glowed gold through the branches. Very close now. Her breath whistled as he set the stockings upright against the presents. He adjusted the candy canes to hook just so at the top. His face softened into creases.

She could see a bit of grey in the stubble of his chin.

The hot stuff in her throat sank lower. Into the tender part of her chest. Daddy. It warmed her. The Christmas lights—a kaleidoscope of red, blue, yellow, purple—all blurred into gold.

“There. Perfect.”

She had to sneeze.

She was going to sneeze.   

“This will probably be the last year for Claire and Santa.”

“I’m surprised she hasn’t asked already.”

“She wants to believe. She always has.”

Snoopy’s ear tasted like dirty cotton balls. But biting down worked. She didn’t sneeze.

Instead, she would stay still and silent. As a mouse. Until her parents finished. And when tomorrow came, her smile wouldn’t waver, or break.

It couldn’t.

Sunday, December 13, 2009







Pierced by a needle,
cranberry kissed,
big belly laughs
spacing hearts
too tart
to pop
by mouth






Bursting from its skin,
warm butter bath,
the movie man
scooping heaps
a striped
red bag






Slathered by a scent,
holiday puffed,
a little boy
smiles large,
Mom’s heart
to go




Monday, December 7, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream

We are on a picnic.  By the lake you grew up near.   I am wearing a summer dress, a few Hail Mary’s above my ankles, while you are getting burnt behind the knees.  You are feeding me the fleshy part of a peach.  The juice dribbles down my chin and melts into my neck.  A bee thinks I’m nectar, buzzing over breasts like arched petals, but it is your tongue tasting honey some minutes later.  In that soft crescent behind my ear.

The cicadas urge us on.  The woods pulse and hum.

Your hand disappears under my skirt.  My thighs part like gloves.  The rolling pressure of your thumb is the fulcrum upon which my life sees and saws.  You take your time.  Lips full above me, the sun a halo around your head.  Your eyes two magnets for an open-mouthed gaze.  My neck cranes for you, but you understand that anticipation is the soul of desire.  You want me to reach so long and sweet for it—for you—that when we touch, time is warped and confused.  And briefly breaks up.

I bend to the winds of a thumb and cupped palm.  I suck your name from the pulp on my tongue.  A skirt conceals nothing from trees and ice water.  I am open.  Undone.  Your hand is blood sunshine.  Evolution feeds on me, base pairs flipping and cartwheeling and slipping new bonds.

The thumb, the palm, is not enough. I want more.  I need . . .


I ask you for it.


Please . . .

Your lips are sweeter than the fruit.  Your tongue tastes like my neck.  Your body, moving with mine, is a leaf flowing down a river’s song.

On a Sunday afternoon.


I take you to the water.

A part of me wants to tell you that this was the place where I learned to be a man.  A part of me is close to telling it.  But I can’t tell you that.

Instead, we skip rocks on the water.  And hunt for salamanders beneath the wet earth.   We lay down our blanket, open a wicker basket, and talk about why people don’t take picnics anymore.  You say it’s because they’ve forgotten how.  I say it’s because people believe in irony more than sentiment anymore.   Either way, we’re both feeling good, if a little superior.  Which I don’t mind.  Because let’s face it—we are right now.

I try to imagine what my boyhood self would think of my being here.  With you.  I think he’d be scared.  And electrified.

I could touch you all day long.  Your knees, round and brown from the summer.  Your pretty ankles, uncrossing like a broken promise.  The richness of your thighs.   The spreading dampness on your





I am restrained because I sense you want me to be.  I am not a boy any longer.

When you finally reach for me, when you finally open to me, I want to push as hard as the cicadas.   I want to fill the forest with a storm.  I want, I want—

Instead, I breathe your name.


I answer you.


This is another excerpt from the new novel, since that's what I'm focused on right now.  I figured we could use some warmth, too, now that winter is setting in!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Note to Self . . .

 . . . this feels good. 

This may or may not be the final cover from Medallion Press, pending a request of mine regarding the font.  Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out!  The setting, including the background clock in the Musée d'Orsay, comes from an important scene in the novel.  And the cover artist was inspired by Matisse's "Plum Blossoms" painting in a lovely fashion:  

My favorite touch, however, has gotta be those crossing spoons.  Love 'em. 

The book's up on Medallion's site now, too.  You can even rotate it!  Which I've now done 3170 times.  Ahem.

I'm also hot in Canada.  

The book's not coming out until August 1st, 2010.  Yep, eight more months (it's been a year since I signed the contract).  But this certainly helped to make it feel more real.  Most of all, I was happy to think about Daisy and Mathieu again.  In my mind, they're as much a part of that museum as any painting.

Our characters do live on.