Dogma tells me to hurry up when I slow down

 to look at the new display in a store window,

grimaces when I hear an unfamiliar band and turn the radio up,

hides the paper advertising a short story contest,

crumples my sketches of spaceships.

Change is suspect Dogma says,

eat your plain oatmeal,

learn your lessons as they are spelled out in the musty books.

Don’t question, memorize.

Leave your hair alone.

No you can’t because you aren’t a real





Change is uneasy Dogma says.

It is a mattress that doesn’t have your mold already,

it is a room full of people you don’t know,

it is tests you haven’t studied for.

Change is scary Dogma whispers.

Like an elevator that could let you off anywhere…

better to trudge the stairs.

But what is a stairway except a place that exists

only to take you to a different level?

As slow or as fast as you want,

as you are able,

and your voice carries louder in that space between spaces

as if to remind you it’s there.

Let it sing,

let it recite poems,

let it tell you what you are instead of what you are not.

Dogma says stop…

Heart says 


The stairways rise and fall 

twist and turn

abounding with a choice collection of doors

and true,

 there may be tigers behind some of them, 

because sometimes change has claws.

But sometimes,

sometimes change has wings.

Sometimes the smallest flicker of light is a star.

Dogma says the unknown may fail,

that sparks should be extinguished so they don’t burn

and that change may end in heart ache.

Heart says everything aches while it’s growing,

regret hurts even more.

And I tell Dogma to come with me,

we can take the stairs together.



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Non Verbal

When I write…
The color flows from the pen of me,
the loops and whorls carrying the texture,
the ridges,
the rough and the oily smooth,
and I can feel them pushing up,
light seeking,
growing into something unimagined.
Life breathed and branching,
like a time lapse sky,
sun and stars streaking ,
where even the trails left behind,
however briefly,
profound and proud.
I was here and this is what I say,
what I mean.
A trinity,
a legacy ,
of font and heart and mind.
When I speak…
The words falter out, 
crumbled and dried like the lid was left open too long,
like scratchings from a run down pen.
My mouth and my mind do not meet in timely measure,
in that admirable gleaming brass precision,
and so I have taught my eyes to slump
in my inward turned face,
as to not engage with anyone,
who may speak to me in a language too crowded,
too clotted,
 for me to filter all at once.
Hours later the pieces may fall together and coalesce
but the moment quickly ages and shifts
 and they slide into the dimness of the recycled.
Non verbal still speaks.
But you must listen with something else,
something beyond,
just your ears.
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Count To Ten

“This is the end,
hold your breath and count to ten…”
~ Skyfall / Adele
Count to ten.
Then count again.
Maybe backwards is the charm…
The spell will break,
and the kiss awaken,
the poison apple tossed a safe distance away.
Count to ten
eyes tight shut.
The seconds between the thunder and the lightning,
if added up correctly,
will turn the hourglass back,
or forward
depending on the strength of your need,
the heat of your wish,
the weight of your vision.
Count to ten,
then count again,
once more,
more deliberate,
beating time with one emphatic finger….
Then lift eyes slowly.
He is still not a prince.
There is still no enchantment,
the world has no frilled and gilded edgings,
and the only cover is the one pulled over your head at night
to hold the morning at bay.
You cannot count the pain away,
even or odd…
 they hold no power.
They are not gondoliers 
sculling you into a world of your personal rearrangement.
You will not turn in magic dusted circles
and dance on glass heels
But count 
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The Spaces Where You Aren’t

I knew you would leave.
I wish it could have been when I hated you.
I wish I could go back in time and break my phone
before your first call,
before I learned the texture of your name,
 and how to call it like music,
like lighting a lamp.
I knew you  would leave and my insides knew you would leave,
 but my skin held them all tight inside and wouldn’t let them speak,
while my mouth practiced smiles like tying shoes,
all knots and sloppy loops.
And if I tried too hard for too long
what else could I do?
The devil doesn’t promise to break your heart,
he just shows you a list and every name on it is yours
and that must mean you matter…..
I knew you would leave and the air tastes different
now that I’m not sharing it,
and the sounds you make not being here are sharp
and barbed,
and my insomnia rises each night and walks about
and my mouth is too tired to practice anymore,
and I sit in all the spaces where you aren’t
but cannot fill them and they hang there
And I
I have no spaces left to offer. 
I knew,
you see,
I knew.
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Reality Check

A man twitches


 of going to sea in a beautiful balloon.

Is he on air?

Is he on water?

He’s not sure…

reflecting up he can see only himself.

Which way do you look when you are adrift,


 in a world without signs?

And who do you ask for directions?


A woman buys a lottery ticket,

not believing that it’s possible to win,

but keeps it safe and secret in her pocket anyway.

Is it useless?

Is there hope?

She doesn’t know,

but something has to change and there are no falling stars to capture…

We float.

We dream.

We push our fears down deep,

and plunk down two dollars for a fairy tale ending.


We invite dreams but water them thin with disbelief…

We wish,

we wish,

the invitation hangs there,



but if granted we swipe it with a bar code

 shrink wrap it

and plastic box it.

Or grip so tightly it strangles,

and then we shrug,

Reality check we say,

one must be practical,


feet on the ground, head out of the clouds…

And yet somewhere there is a beautiful balloon,

floating gently across the water,

the basket swinging empty while a mermaids song goes unheard.

A fairy tale ending was never meant to assure happiness

but a wish is the most elemental of magics.

And while the weave of reality may indeed close tight around you,

like a net full of silvery fish,

one of them may have a ring…



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Dragon Heart

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.”
~ R.A. Salvatore, Streams of Silver

Legends burst at the spoken or illuminated seams 
with tales of dragons and jewels and brave bright flashing swords.
“The heart of a dragon eaten gives strength.”
“Wisdom can be found in their blood
and gargantuan gems bloom in their nest…”
And so the legend is sown and the battle is joined in avarice,
 draped in the cheap finery of righteousness,
with sword and arrow and poison,
fraying the edges of the Order of All Things…
Its balance rudely thrown to one side in the blind and sweating search for glory.
The knights, all puffed with pride and pigeon chested, then ride off into the next chapter…
While the dragon is left lifeless
a skin of once bright poetry
punctured, slashed and spent…
The Historians can rewrite endlessly
in thickest blackest ink that splays and spreads across the page.
The Bards may sing until voices crack and words sink deep and harden into the bricks, 
but this is never changing and as ironbound as the seas ceaseless swaying;
there is no wisdom to be found in slaughter.
There will be a price paid, a blood debt owed for the tearing of the world.
And as for the heart of a dragon….
it does not beat.
It burns.
It burns.
It also breaks.
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