Always Pray

Pink hat and pink shoes
we walk along green grass
to save the blues
from taking over
your sweet little heart

I love it when you smile
I love it when you fart

I’ve been wanting to look through my
old pregnancy journal
the one with beautiful gold leaf designs
and a regal peacock to boot–
what would you say ten, twenty, fifty years from now
about how you grew?

Would you say that you loved me more than
would you berate me for the person
I would hate to become
weaving lies in front of classrooms
hiding broken dolls inside the
attic of your head…?

But I know,
dear, innocent child,
I know
that the next day will be brilliant
just as long as we stay
just as long as we always


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–

Leftover Fragments

Prepare for her death
My mother said
How exactly do I do that?
Do I crawl back through
the dusty caveats of my mind
watching through a grainy lens
the times we spent together?
Do I rewind to the moments in
her lap bouncing for hours
Running then in laps around the
Do I quickly retreat to the table
and the treat of sitting with her
reading the daily news
looking for the hidden little guy
in the cartoon?
Do I fast forward to the same table
drinking coffee from a
coffee maker made from nude
or do I sit right here
and let whatever come
Devoid of memories
Learning to be here and now
because even when she’s gone
she will still be here
living on forever
her legacy
etched deeply
in the leftover fragments of
my broken heart?

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–


Shifting inside the womb
Sifting inside the tomb
Of knick knacks gone bad
Devilish memories I’ve had

Twisting inside the sack
Drifting between the bags
I found things that reminded
Me of you, long past

Lifting to gain muscle
I’m reminded of the hustle
To get more, one more fix

But sitting here nestled in
the safety of my couch
A warm, April sun beating
on my face
I wouldn’t trade places with
anyone in the world
I’m right where I belong
on this long, long road
waiting especially
for all eternity
for little

All That Shall Ever Be (Will be)

Asking the women
that have come before me
to explain the unexplainable
the mysterious
the almost complete
in words
with words
in English
the magnificent birthing journey
from beginning to end
asking them 5 simple questions
to gather information from the more
experienced, I
wonder if my naiveté
is real or if this is just
called being knowledgeable
and prepared–
So then why do I feel this
dull aching feeling
that I’m doing the wrong thing?
Is it my pre-programming from 30+
years, the images of childbirth and child-rearing
television pictures of what it’s “supposed”
to be, rearing it’s ugly head, annoyed
that I, how dare I,
question what was so “freely” given to me
the spectacle of motherhood
there is no other way it could be!
there could be
and I am making it for myself
the wondrous, ancient image
dawning here, in my heart,

once again, to reclaim
all that was ever mine
was yours, and
shall be

TDK 90

Missing puzzle pieces
but they all FIT back then
and somehow we thought
they didn’t–

Memories cascading
down the back of my brain
adolescent dreams swarm up
and then a phone call–

I see us on playground
park benches smoking
cigarettes and eating chips,
chips I’ve ended up loving

for years, dreams I wish I
had seen come true, bathtubs
full of and overflowing water
cocaine on mirrors we did not

want to get wet and yet I
would not trade it for the
world, for all the missing
puzzle pieces, I want none of

it because they never were
missing, not missing then, not
missing now, just my jaded
and upside down perception

of a perfectly perfect imperfect
world with scars and bandaids
and tissue galore, the tape needs
to be turned over. I think I’ve

heard this song before…



The Ugly Duckling

My eyes are closed.
I’m resting in my warm, red bed.
I open my eyes slowly
and look straight into yours.
Green and yellow
cat eyes–
your iris reflecting a
mirror image of myself
I almost don’t recognize
a face that’s nearly disappeared
yet I remember it so clearly
the feeling I used to get
when I looked at myself
except this time
it’s filled with a sense of love
the one a mother has
when she looks at her child
the ugly duckling.

No Socks Puerto Rico

you say
“you never wear socks”
and that must be the 20 billionth
time you’ve said that
in this lifetime too–
I tell you, yet again,
that it’s a part of my past
that we did not wear socks
in the South Bronx projects
our feet getting blackened
I mean, really blackened,
like charred fish waiting to be
peeled back and eaten with what
others might call “a cold pint”–
my mother would instruct me
before bedtime to go into the
bathtub and wash the cookie crumble
off with Warm Water and little
tiny Katherine would watch in
fascination as slowly and gently
the running water would also
become blackened as my
toddler sized feet would become
pink and fleshy and human again–
and today, to you,  I succinctly
added that it must be genetic
it must be the warm weather
in Puerto Rico
“we didn’t need socks then
so, why would I” consciously
“need those things now too?”

Praiano, Italy

Praiano, Italy