cirque de la nuit

The inky journey of a modern day Troubador

the rain

It was raining that morning.
But it started as a light drizzle,
basically just bits of water
kissing your skin
as they fell to the earth.

We decided to go for a walk
to brush off the sleepiness
that clung to us like a dream.

He was wearing his flannel shirt

before we reached our destination
the rain turned into a pour
and we were drenched

huddling under a tree

I was upset, and shaking off the wetness
saying we should run for cover.

He looked down at me.

“We are going to get wet either way,
we might as well walk in it.”

And that told me everything I needed to know
about him.


Neon City

Take my hand

ignore the dirt under the nails
and the blood dribbling down
down down
and dropping
from my pinky

Just take my hand

Follow me.

this maze of a city
is the labyrinth that protects my

scarred up heart
but if you trust me

I can lead you through.

don’t ignore the snares
or skip over the trap doors.

they hurt for a reason

wander into the dark with me
feel the stony uncertainty that permeates
damp air.

When you’ve reached the nadir

you’ve found my peak

and we can look together over my neon city

Cobain Flame

He drank 4 vodkas
with orange juice

and I drank a bottle of champagne

as our lips loosened
an entire city was constructed
theoretically with sturdy
wooden beams and
exposed brick surfaces

our architecture of conjecture
was imperfect
yet ideal

as you age
you reflect
on the future
and you collect poise
for whats to come
you regret your fate before its happened
by fearing the ruination of
what could

I could live a thousand tomorrows
stretching into the uncertain void
one solid day at a time

or I could snuff out
like a Cobain flame

paused in tragic infamy

But though my head aches
and roars with throbbing regularity
I will not regret
the impulse to
consume life
whatever the consequences


Let’s be Vampires..

I’ve never enjoyed the idea
of eternal life
of living forever
of extending the here and now
into the hereafter

It doesn’t appeal to me
it exhausts my soul
to think of the
miles to tread and
tread water

the beauty of the world
is it is infitine

and we are not

There are things we must leave unseen
and undone
and we must leave this world
as unfinished, incomplete
pieces of art and soul.

But love has weakened my resolve
and now
40 years is not
nearly enough to
capture all the bits of love
and give them away
Infinity wouldn’t be enough time to express
the depth and breadth of feeling
love has evoked in me.

Self- love made me strong and sure.
love makes me weak

and now I want to live forever with you.

let’s be vampires and feed of
the souls of others
to maintain our
boundless love.

Invisible Woman

I can either be the bitchy black woman
or the meek house girl.

For women of my complexion there is no middle safe ground.

I’ve tried.

I’ve studied the moves, the tone, the ideation of a non-threatening, yet self assured white woman and imitated it perfectly.

It doesn’t work.

It doesn’t work because I’m not the issue, my response isn’t the issue, my womanhood isn’t the issue.
The color of my skin is the issue, the kink in my hair is the issue.

Any man is entitled to me, based on the darkness of outer shell covering.

Imagine living in that.
Imagine living in a shell that gives people power over you. That entitles them to treat you in ways that confound even the most resilient human spirit.

We are at a bar.
A man approaches my white girlfriend. She is wary and uninterested, the conversation is tense and unwanted but ends abruptly and safely. We come out unscathed.
She is my shield.
Her whiteness saves me.

I’m at happy hour alone, lamenting a hard days work.
The first thing I feel is a hand on my ass, I feel a hot breath on my neck.
Telling me how sexy and appealing I am, commentary on my body, and assertions of what is to come.
I shift in my seat and the hand moves to my arm and hardens to a grip.

Or walking along the side of the road with my dog,
and a man stops his car near me, gets out and walks up behind me.
Asking my name, imploring me to stop moving, to come with him, to jump in his car and be with him. Objectionable characterizations of me are inserted ad hominem.
I have to run.

Every woman experiences these horrors on the reg.

But as a Black Woman I cannot win in any arena.
I cannot defend myself without becoming the very thing that invites such vitriol and I cannot hide or whimper and victimize myself.
I cannot seek help from my lighter sisters, because they don’t understand the effect of my dark skin on male behavior.
They don’t see it, they don’t feel it

and in turn




I want to ask you
why you said that,

Why were your eyes so desperately sad
as you recited the lines
written for you

I want to
sit down with you
walk through

graffiti alleyways
and grungy beach walks

follow your plot-line outside its
celluloid confines

make you real
help me feel

the lie between my reality

and yours.


Long, thin,
and pale fingers


dagger-ed icicles
towards me

one pricks the shallow

hollow of my neck and
draws a scarlet pearl of blood

my blood doesn’t run like a river
or flow like a stream
it doesn’t share properties with land, hearth


it isn’t



Gravel Gardens

Lu Terlikowski’s “Gravel Gardens” rocked my heart today. The simplicity of it, the building of tension and the heart rendering ending, all centered around a little tree. Lovely and poignant. I like to think of it as a survival story…


They were complaining and it made sense, because who asks children to plant trees in the middle of January anyway? So they were out there with scarves up to their rose cheeks and hands shaking as they tried to wield small shovels and the whole time I’m thinking about how all the trees will die.

And then, they did. All these little sprouts withered away and the thing about sprouts is that they don’t have grand deaths. The do not crumble to the ground or pronounce death with each graying strip of bark—they just die. So we had twenty or so tree sprouts that faded away and slipped beneath the snow without us knowing they would perform a disappearing act before we saw the ground again.

When the ground showed its face again, all the sprouts were gone. All but one anyway. This kid, Julie, had insisted on planting her…

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Trip Home




It ripped a hole in me so deep and wide
the entirety of old me fell out
cold and viscid on the patchwork floor.

My new cheeks hot with shame
I didn’t bother to clean me up.
Bur didn’t profane to divert my eyes either.

I watched my old self evanesce through the cracks
in what used to be my sanctum

my hearth of red stone bricks
my room walls, colored like the tumultuous warm seas
of the South Pacific.

You can’t have both roots and wings
you can’t.
You just can’t!

If you try, one will cripple the other

Those sturdy walls slowly cracked and arched
disintegrating under my feet
and the warped visage of my once-homestead faded
slowly into blackness

Then comes the pain
the Via Dolorosa.
The throbbing hole left by your
departing specter
must force mend
to guard from
desolations potent infection.


It destroyed my once rosy view
and shattered what was left
of my innocence and youth.

leaving me empty, and turbulent
refusing to mourn.

You cannot mourn
because it was


It’s risky, speaking out.
You may be

Maybe misunderstood, maybe shamed, maybe judged..
Maybe you are just a private person, maybe its just your business alone.

Maybe it was a steamy night, a midsummer eve with the crickets chirping outside the open windows of your (then) favorite bar.
Maybe you’d had three acidic bitter beers in an hour. Trying to burn out the pangs of the week.
Maybe you had invited a friend along, because he was smart, funny, and easy to be around. Maybe you’d known him for a year or so.
And then maybe you were perched at the bar in your kick-ass leather skirt, and uncrossed your legs to lean forward for your next beer.
You’d felt it maybe.
his hand, sliding up your thigh, between your legs reaching towards the peak.
Startled, of course, you swiveled on the stool away from the hand and drew your knees together.
The conversation had continued and he never missed a beat.
So you’d re-engaged.
but maybe 15 minutes later you were looking for chap-stick in your purse, and you’d felt it again.
This time forceful, pushing apart your knees and roughly jamming the hand up to your vagina, barely guarded by a thin black lace.

In a crowded bar, maybe you stood up, or rather fell back off the stool away from the hand.
maybe the cold sticky bar floor was better then the seat next to your friend.

Maybe you don’t remember much of the rest of the night except the mad dash home. Ignoring his pleas, and faux concern.

Maybe it’s not the first or last time it happens.
because maybe a friend, if you’ve known him 3 years…or 30….
will feel entitled to your body.

and maybe you’ll still talk to him, be friends with him, have dinner with him.

Because what are girls taught as they become women, if not that their bodies are public domain.

To have a body as a woman, is to own a piece of property that depreciates with every touch, and is subjected to perpetual, unchecked appraisal.

Maybe, there is another way.




Forgive me, lover.
I noticed the battle scars on my weary skin
and took time to heal them
covering them with self-salve
and sewing them up with my writers needle

I wallowed in a muddled puddle
of sorrow and shame
I cauterized the pain with far too much whiskey,
spent late nights at the bathroom sink
burning away all the evidence of the lost one.

and I came through the other-side

with a smile as bright as the stars
and laughter in my spirit
once more

I embraced the world with open and
kind arms.
Chasing down everything
that made me feel alive and free.

And I found you lover.
We tumbled into something
so sincere and true.
That I forgot.

Please forgive me, lover.

I thought the rage was gone,
quenched by the weight of familiar
How could I have known that the pain
wedged itself next to my beating heart
like an arrowhead?
Sealed in by my cured cicatrices.

That it would again be inflamed
by my rational fears.

When I become stony and benumbed
to the ardor of your affections.
It is not you, dear lover.
Not you, whom I spurn.

But the memory of the lost one
who blemished my soul.


I’m not for the now
and constantly have to remind myself of that

an emerald rug

in the silences of conversation
when I say something
that instantly reveals my ancient soul.

an old riverboat

Thousands of lives, both real and imagined
are tributaries
to the ocean inside me.
They cackle and sneer with malcontent
as I pour myself into the needs of society–

maple syrup on the snow

Because water can fit anywhere
it can trickle into cracks
and create puddles in concrete
over time, it erodes all things.

glass beads

The strength isn’t in the drop
it’s in the patient steady stream
drifting through time

well worn phrases

If water is primeval
then so am I.

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