incessant pounding of cartoon
noise, canned music,
whistling birds
battering themselves into walls
why is my child laughing?
I push a stray hair
off his forehead
and search those hazel eyes,
feeling sadness
like a slow break-up,
already nostalgia is setting in
I miss these cartoon days
even as they play in the background
simultaneously looking
and forward
time fragments into snapshots
my child,
I long to freeze the moment

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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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Queer flirtation

aged 25:
I was in a bar restroom, and when I exited the stall a (very) masculine woman was facing me, casually leaning on the counter looking intense and completely sober. Taken aback, I chose the most logical course of action; I went to wash my hands, just as though there wasn’t a sexy-as-hell dyke planted between the sinks. There was a roll of that cheap industrial paper towel on the counter, and, face burning, I reached for it as she turned ever so slightly and knocked it to the floor. After a nanosecond too-long pause, I bent down to pick it up, but somehow she beat me there, and handed the roll to me as I stood back up, staring into my eyes the whole time. I don’t actually know how she did it, because my mind went completely blank. My legs turned to jello, which up until that exact moment I had thought was just a figure of speech. Without saying a word, she gave me the slightest self-satisfied smile, turned on her heal, and strode away. Bathroom Butch, wherever you may be, I thank you!

1Sagefemme   all rights reserved 2016




thoughts spiral
the crown, whirring and popping
images burned onto retina
upside and
deep where the scan glows red
blinking out a memory

why can’t this collection of neurons
forget her face
whose lips were accidentally,
sloughed off,
with that no-longer-quite-sterile gauze?

she was meant to breathe

not breathing.

eclipsed sound
burst eardrums
made deaf and mute,
good as a knock-out punch
but worse
knowing it was coming,

not fair
to promise life
and give,
the end of everything

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Oh, Life

Oh, Life
Let me taste your sweet sensuality
Suck a honey drop
From your sweating brow
Surrender mortality

Let me engulf you
Beginning to end
Let me love you and leave you
And come once again

Oh, Death
How you haunt me
All these long years
Reminding me daily
To let go my fears

For you wait in the shadows
As this body grows old
With adventures unfinished
And stories untold

So I wake each new day
With this vow on my tongue
I will live well today
For I’ve only begun.

1sagefemme All Rights reserved 2016

i lie

writing pain,
like watching
scalpel slice soft flesh,
warm liquid oozing
in the direction
of consciousness
making visible
the unpalatable
knowledge of weakness
of having not overcome
even in the absence
of danger

my conceit
thinks me strong,
pats me on the back
and cries “skol!”

i clink the chalice
and watch a spider vein
traverse the once-clear
skin of glass;
never mind
i have other skins,
a skein of catgut
and a needle

i lie,
i lie,
there’s only this one,
and i’m not done with it

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how can i dwell on sadness
longing to expunge the remorse
of lost friendship
blank page glaring, foreboding
when this little face
peers tentatively from behind the pixel curtain
eyes ever hopeful
for belly rubs,
mostly empty yogurt cups
or, (please, please, please) a walk in the damp sand,

she knows i’ve started…
well, once,
i’ve been running,
and yes, she’ll join me,
she’ll do anything for
a race to the shore;
my voice sets tail softly thumping
ah, Sadie, my little love,
you have ruined a perfectly
let’s go get your leash.

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More than the sum…

More than the sum . . .

I am a mountain,
The rolling foothills
Of my soul climb,
To the summit
Bursting storm clouds,
Battering my northern face.

I am a river
The rushing waters
Of my blood
Churning the earth
That cradles me,

I am a wild and thorny rose
Full bloomed and fragrant
Softly, sweetly, fiercely

I am a woman
Grown strong in my
Weed-lot life
Meandering un-beckoned through
Fences and flagstones
Tenderly encircling
My dandelion children,
Purple loosestrife sisters,
“Grow . . . grow . . .
For we are the creators
of life.”

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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.

1Sagefemme All Rights reserved 2016

*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