past, present, future

I have complained in the past
many, many times
about how you were never there
when I needed you.
This morning I
recalled very distant memories
looking out of my own eyes
I wondered
how is it that we remember this
and not that
whatever that may be
and as I look out of those four year old eyes
parallel to the kitchen counter
raising up my two skinny arms
to reach the cup of water
it seems as though I am looking out of
the same exact ones
as if it’s happening
right now
or even yesterday.
I remember drawing on the walls
while my mother took a shower
I remember even thinking then
how bad and mean it was to do
and yet I still did it anyway
walking back and forth along the long
dark hallway
I used different colors to make dashes
like Emily Dickinson
over and over again…
and I wondered today
how could I have had those thoughts
they seemed so mature
and to say that I did not know what I was doing
is not true
and I remember my mother yelling,
“we just painted these walls!”
and did I do it for attention, I wonder?
And so, today,
as I was walking home with Victoria
I saw myself again
so many years from now
watching her tell me I was there too much
that I was around too often
and to leave her alone
making up for my mother’s absence
I pushed my own child away–
silly thoughts, I think
and brush them
all away–



thunderous breath
I can’t see out the passenger window
because my eyes are too wet
my eyes are too flooded
with the ocean of fear
of pain
of many many years
of suffering under a silent watch
no hugs
no love
quietly rioting inside.
I’ve gotten really good at pretending
that things are okay
and/or accepting that
this is the way that is has to be
as mother earth
makes way for more joy
she must destroy
her children–


this has been an off year.
something about it
always leaves a sour and/or bitter taste in my mouth.
I haven’t had a “good” feeling in a while,
and even when I am among my family
my sisters
my brothers
there is a lingering dread
the one that consumed for years
the one that told me that I’m not good enough
strong enough
to make it through anything.
They say that a woman is interrupted so many
more times than a man
and that even if a woman says something
it is the man that gets the credit for it
they say we have to love our daughters in such a way
to teach them how to love themselves
without relying on the age-old edict
that they are “pretty”
We have to re-learn how to talk to them,
essentially talking to ourselves,
and I find myself questioning my motives
my inner-voice
my intuition
what am i really teaching myself
or rather
what am I really doing?
am I avoiding the lesson I need to teach
in fear that I am repeating the same mistakes
as my mother?
or am i really breaking the cycle,
creating a new chain
starting the beginning of a new line of me?
of us

You will ever know–

Watching you smile
is a such a tender joy–
it unfolds like a flower
in fast forward
enveloping me like
wrapping paper
on a bundle of Christmas toys–
We get to share this
gift with you
day after day
and moment after
quick moment
ever so gently
over and over again
tied up with a laugh
so lovely with a bow
How soon you will change
How fast you will grow
I will still love you more
than you will


Ten years old
Pitch black room
watching the cars
cast light shadows on the wall
I wonder who these people are
I wonder where they all are going–

5 am Prayer

My prayer for the morning
is that I will have the strength
to pump on
to feed you
to give you what you need
to pull up the energy
from the deepest part of my core
if I have to,
to turn on the faucet
and let the hot water run
down my face
washing yesterday’s news
I need to start this new day
with enough gusto
and perseverance
and positivity
that nothing will seep
into the not so awesome cracks–
I need to be so filled with your love
my love
that even the most nasty wisecrack
will seem like a welcome dandelion
showing me how pain does bring pleasure
showing me how challenges can indeed
make anyone grow–

The Dome

I realized today
why I love medieval art
with its flat 2-D lines,
ambiguous grimaces on
lonely faces,
lily flowers coupling
long blue drapery,
severe brown cloaks
and rigid narrow staffs
for watching flocks,
for steadfastness,
Drowning faces
masquerading suffering
yet glorifying grace–

I stared up at you
Distant martyrs
and worshipped you in
my small but big mind
almost thirty years later
I still revere you
and give you thanks
for all that you have taught me
through your artists’ interpretation
of what it means to be devout
what it means to be pure
what it means to be love
and finally what it means
to be humble and
to the almighty
Our Lord
Our Father
Jesus Christ–

74th Street

big, empty rooms
each one had a door
to a hallway that
led to the front of the house
a dark, secret passageway
no one ever used.
i remember opening it
one time, unlocking the
giant brass lock
at the top
almost too high
for me to reach
but *click*
i did it, and opened
the giant, heavy
ancient door
peaked beyond the pink
white safe haven
that was my childhood
room and saw
the brown and black
outer darkness
the large, wide open
dusty Victorian stairs
the dust bunnies dancing
in the slip of light
that cracked through a
forbidden window
and love lost
frayed and hollowed
and torn patterns of the
and wood
and lonely heart–


The day has almost passed
I’m lying on the crimson colored bed
dreaming of your violet sanctuary
in the next room over:
Where the cherry blossom decal will go
Where the “C is for Cat” picture will hang
If I want to add the pink and lilac ribbon garland
above your head
and whether or not your tiny books
need bookshelves–

You and your mother are almost done
building the honey colored breakfast nook
Sage green cushions wait to be sat on
Zoya, our cat, has already tested them out
We think we might have gotten a wrong part
And so, my patience is being tried–
But it’s fine
I think
it will be fine–

It is fine.

Tenement Windows

Dark, tenement windows
shade the inner underworld
from its already back-shuddering
soot covered, black spots
hover over the child’s head
as he attempts to reconfigure
the dusty red block
his mother calls,
screams, reverberating
against thin, cracked walls
and old, peeling paint
we’ve heard it all down
this street before
there’s nothing more
for you to take
or give
as Sunday morning rises
and no one can rest
scrapping pennies for
the day’s bread ahead
or lack thereof
wishing endlessly
elbows poised,
eyes simultaneously aghast
and convinced
looking up into the
cruel and
the only miraculous ballerina
moment on this same
tenement windowsill
as the sun already dips
before it