not lost, buried
behind a supermarket in the suburbs
shed like skin
crevasses searching
for signs of life
lying awake, in the dark
listening to the beating heart of life
waiting for the call
of sun and sparrow
when tendrils burst
from sidewalks and parking lots

shattered hope
scattered earthward
waits out winter
and watches
not lost,
only buried

awaken now,
as green and gold reprimand
strong as love
and dandelions
to turn away

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She approached the periphery
Circling life slowly,
Ebbing into oceans
Vast and misunderstood
Her mind wandering into dark
Wet places
Beckoning her dissolving self
Back to shore
She fought the tide
In useless protest
Kneeling in shallows,
Fists pounding salty sand
Grabbing handfuls of hair
Moaning guttural protest
More seagull than human
Falling into tide pools
Arms outstretched,
Warm ocean
Becoming her own blood
She became
Rising with the sun
Gathering pebbles and syllables
To roll around her tongue
As she stalked the shoreline
For one more
Glorious, golden

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Phantom performer
Stalks off a dream stage to grip my hand;
Cool sweat trickles down my back,
Vellus hairs rise,
Eyes meet…
I have been waiting for you.
Have you been waiting for me?
I am still waiting in that dream
Pre-seeing a lie
Not yet knowing
Foresight is the most cursed gift
If I could send my own
Vardøger back
I would slap myself silly,
Wake up! Wake up!
She is a phantom
Of a dream
Of a lie
As real as disappointment.

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*Vardøger is a Scandinavian concept for sensing a person before the person appears. For example, you might hear  your Grandmother arrive in the hall and stomp her boots, then she actually arrives five minutes later…It is a kind of premonition.

Part 4: Lost girl

leaving again,
heart happy, leaping
five thousand kilometers
(three thousand one hundred and six miles)
give or take,
i’ll take it,
watch me fly, not looking back
i am so good at not looking back
there is nothing behind me
but a school of racists,
a cute boy named rob, smiling
holding his fist in the air,
not waving goodbye,
just letting me know
he has a piece of my soul,
stolen in a field one night
handsome rapist,
i won’t miss you,
good fucking riddance
you can rot in that vault
somewhere deep in my brain
where a three-year-old
still screams at baby dolls
who just won’t behave

but wait, this is a happy story
let me start over
leaping, happy-hearted,
into another country (almost)
bag of skills packed,
slung over the shoulder hobo-like
to be unpacked in this new life
applied like make-up
a glamour
reflected in shop windows
it looks like me
but more human and confident
she is my best creation yet
in the conceit of youth
i think her my magnum opus,
the eighteen year gestation
an eternity

year eighteen
a good vintage
for exploration and wonder
peering into dusty corners
drinking beer, cross-legged
sartre and descartes
knocking about with
micro macro markets math
until one day,
dressed in ripped jeans,
backpack ragged, well used
to being kicked under pub stools
i stop, half-way from here to there
and breathe
and something shakes in the core of me
and it hurts like birth
body-rending agony
mind shattering joy

the time has come
for the glamour to fail
and i will rage
snap heads with sharpened canines
make myself a sword tongue
and slice, precisely,

herr professor, sir
you say girls can’t do math
watch me skip every class and still pass
don’t look so surprised
i went to the school of conquerors
and learned a thing or two
i see your “sweetie”
and raise you
an eyebrow
watch me rise, little man
despite you
to spite you
in spite of

sweet boy who smiles
and says i have nice eyes
thank you sweet boy, but goodbye

this whole place is a lie
built on ancient bones
it isn’t my story
and it isn’t my home
so now i am lost
and set myself spinning
arms outstretched,
but without the sound of music
crackling in the background.

1Sagefemme All rights reserved 2016

Part 3: Escape

waving goodbye and meaning it,
sorry sorry little brother
i am recently a child too
unaware that you and i are separate,
separated now
by the Salish sea
i go west like a pilgrim
to another place,

this one for moneyed chidren
of politicians, doctors and crooks,
if there is a distinction;
loud unruly daughters,
beligerant sons;
entitled, beastly,
privileged little racists,
future scientists, musicians, V-jays
and rapists,
did you ever notice how easy it is
to make one into the other?
the other

i found a home in this place,
learned, because i was told,
that one should look into
the other’s
that we do not speak to
potted plants
that humans hug,

how to explain now
how much i loved
that white-walled room
smelling of lavender and sweat;
the house mother, so kind
like a real mother might be
but not my real mother,

the common-room still lives
as tender memory
girls and boys piled higgledy-piggledy
the young and restless,
playing on that old tube tv
bare arms touching
glances passing between future lovers

i learned to dive
in the cold ocean
deep into wrecked places
the only girl
and therefore,
always proving my worth

my skinny boyfriend
loved skateboarding
and cigarettes,
was gentle and rough-dressed
and never used the phrase
meaning the convenience store,
like all the rest did

he was a loner, and so cool,
judd nelson to my molly ringwald
maybe he was a racist,
but he didn’t talk much
so i don’t know
he graduated
became a deep sea welder

i learned calculus,
and puked peach schnapps
neither of which
matters now
i learned the difference
between c and p
which still matters
like a car wreck in the rear view mirror
like a bullet hole
behind the bed

i thought i was free
but it was just
monster school.

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

nocturnal emissions

up at 4 am
bathed in salt
not necessarily the healing kind
sweat and gooseflesh
i am being preserved
in preparation for what?
fine, then
i’d like to be a pelagic
i am not a bottom feeder
(well, okay, sometimes i am)
or if i am to be pickled
in my own brine
a festive little
i am fragrant now
in the process of this transformation
body melting,
bubbling and expanding,
i am taking up more space
in my head
in my bed
the puppy won’t sleep with me anymore
lest i scald her
and i whisper, lovingly
to my sweet sweet girl
i love you so
but get your
hot hand
i am transforming
and i’m not sure what form
you will find
in the morning

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Part 2: Daddy


Sifting sifting through the muck
for signs of love
i find you, Daddy,
in bed on a Saturday morning
two little ones wrapped around your torso
i am the one clinging to your shoulder
jeffrey is trying to ride you,
you snort and whinny
toss him high
screeching with laughter.

hopping over egg-shells
through mud and worms,
falling into a stormy sea
and you
you are a buoy
we cling to
marking the perimeter
of sanity
but you are a slippery savior
one minute solid,
the next shadow in mist
and then gone
and we four splashing, cling solemnly, uncrying
best we can
to childhood.

I channel you
singing softly to my babies at night
rub their ear lobes gently to wake them,
as you did,
they call me Mommy,
and gaze up at me full of hope and love,
but I am more you than her.

You were beaten down by her too
monster-mouth mother wife
she made you dumb
you gave up the fight
but here’s the thing, Daddy

You did not protect us

And I understand,
because my babies
are in a stormy sea
and I am their bouy,
though they don’t yet know it,
and every other Wednesday
I abandon them,
And I understand now
that sometimes it is out of our hands.

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Part 1: Mother

imageHere goes,
Gotta touch my tar soul,
Figure out where
The road began.
Bipolar mensa mind
Ignoring river-rush labour
Finished her exam,
Aced it,
Added baby to the book pile.

What did I call you then?
Surely not

Reach, reach deep into the pit,
Sift and churn
Find no memory of her arms hugging
No soft fingers wiping tears,
No smile, no tender,
No motherish love.

Smart girl, that’s me,
Anxious to please
And protect
Belly burning hot like coals
I was a poor substitute
For Her.
But learned to mother that younger brother
and sister and other brother…
And thank god really for the one who flew away
Because it would have just been too many.
Wish I knew then
How to help them
I knew nothing,
Except that we were burdens,
Too loud, too needy, too messy, too

In my head, a constant rat-a-tat
Tongue clicking, throat opening
“You are a stupid girl
for such a smart girl.
Can you never stop babbling,
So useless, never thinking of me,
This house is unclean, and I work unseen
For you all, you all,
all you ungrateful children…
STOP, do not touch that. Do not eat that
Do not jump or run or fly or laugh or cry,
Stand, sit, sleep,
Why are you still in bed,
March, march, march
To school
And pretend that you are loved.

A small child sits in her mother’s lap at the mall
The mother is stroking her hair,
kissing her head,
The child smiles up at her.
I watch and do not understand
Why is the girl happy?
Why would she want to sit in her mother’s lap?

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat
Scurrying rat-girl, that’s me
Straight A’s
Because gym doesn’t count
And She is proud
Her genes made those marks,
She is a Good Mother.

I feel something like pride, then
Smiling Mother,
Whispers of grade-skipping, SAT’s
“You will be a genius, like me,
A Doctor, like me,”
Yes Mom, yes,
A genius
Like you.
Are you a genius?
Because you seem more like a monster.

Bipolar years begin in earnest then,
I’d like to say I remember,
But that would be an exaggeration,
Two years compressed in my middle-school mind
Two years of cold and lonely,
Washing blood off underwear at 2 am
Not to burden Dad,
Please don’t cry Dad,
Nobody cries in this house, Dad.
Mom says you’re useless, Dad
Useless, not-so-smart Dad
I will be strong for you.

A little girl sits in her father’s lap,
Sucking her thumb
Towel wrapped around wet hair
He reads “Peter Rabbit,”
I listen and rest my head on his chest.

Mother in the hospital,
Will they fix her?

But still monster-mouthed.

“You have grown rude and ugly, girl,
Do you embarrass me on purpose?
How dare you tell me how to parent?”
The coal-belly burned too hot,
and we fought, and I began to block
No more blows landed past my forearm,
And it was time then,
For me to go.

In the way of good, smart girls,
I went
Without looking back,
Not once,
Into the devastated face of my youngest brother
Watching out the bedroom window
As we drove away…

1SageFemme All Rights Reserves 2016


brackish bubbletub
saltines, soup
lexical loopholes
whirl topsy-scurvy
lyrics hum
orange orange
oh oh oh oh
phone me me me
hurry hurry rabbit

girl in mirror with thought bubble

no need to read the book
drift blisters

harmonic BOOM!

egregious epidemic
please disambiguate
what cleaves us

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016