A Poem to my Boys

I’m sorry my dearest

ones, that I could


not make this world better

for you.  You have to understand


as soon as any dance is learned the music

tugs to a different tide sometimes.  There are


not enough laments written to show you

how sorry I am that I am just one.  I sacrificed

parts of my soul, so maybe you could have it


better than I.  You did have it better than I,

and I would do it all again, every detail you are better


off not knowing, was worth

the good men who I made.


Memories of South Africa: I Couldn’t Trust the White Guy

Patrick was the white name

given to the first friend I made

in South Africa. I feel somewhat ashamed


I can’t remember or begin to pronounce

his Zulu name. My mouth simply could

not form the sounds of his actual


name. He laughed at how much I kept

practicing his name, over, over, over

again trying hard to get it right. I stayed up


late with him just talking about our own

lives, what struggles we each faced. We shared

tears together. I trusted him. Later, I was told


by a Brit, I needed to stay with my color, AIDS

was given to South Africa as a gift. He warned me

that anyone lesser my skin tone was


especially dangerous. For a woman of my blonde

hair, my fair skin, he told me I was most at risk. He tried

to scare me with rape statistics (which I knew, but he


rambled on not letting me speak). The Brit telling me this

owned what he called a “Wild Game Safari.” I went to

the “Safari” with him to see that it was


nothing more than great animals in tiny

cages. I couldn’t get away from him fast

enough. I felt dirty even sharing


handshakes with the likes of that man. That

was the first time in my life I met a human being

who physically repulsed me just for being who he was.

You: A Tour of My Landscape

I was born to weave my

home with thank you very much.


We have everything! Most people just

drink poison around here. First stop is Misery


Bay. The Bay of Red Glistening

Water remembered as a lie we routinely tell


ourselves about War that supposedly

ended and called 1812.  The ever perverted t-

Ruth of Lake Erie’s recorded history

twists the narrative.  I will tell you about the War

of some year the collective narrative chose


to remember. How the City has lied


about the battle to the city for as long as I

know… our city’s hero is Oliver


Perry… Commander of the fleet

in the Battle of Lake Erie, or some shit

like that… then I will tell you the truth


from the books of our history the ones

no one takes the time to read. The insanity of “Don’t


Give Up the Ship” when most people

don’t even know the Flagship Niagara


wasn’t even Perry’s ship! The Lawrence was. The dude

we call heroic jumped that sinking

ship commandeering Jessie


Elliot’s Flagship Niagara, but no one knows

who Jessie Elliot is.  Erie is the City of silenced voices.


We still have Elliot’s ship!  That will give you

a sense how sick

my city is. Then I will take you to the Bay-


front on foot so you can see how the wealthy stole

the sunset from us.  I would show you my


beach.  You will understand what toxic

algae blooms are.  You will see it is toxic


You want arts, I will show you where

to go. I will apologize too few


in the community are awoke. I get scrappy

at willful ignorance.  Hence the hermit crab’s


nature. I would take you out to the snow-belt,

where the maple farms are to show you how the great


sugar maples are all dying, infested

by Japanese Longhorn beetles—worst invasive import


along with zebra mussels that choke the water

lines, while the coke


plants just pays more

in fines.  I’d show you

all of the decaying

traditions of the land

I would walk you

through my

neighborhood, show you all

the Heroin


around my house. Always disdainful

beautifully waving goodbye, while I tell you:

Get off the fucking ship, we need the wood for fire!