Sunday, March 13, 2016


Four chairs held up tautly against
the double-knit square. My grandmother,
and her fiery house smell of fabric,
yarn, and Pentecostalism, directed.
"Insert needle into the square's center,
pull up, out, clip, knot, and spread."

We worked quietly, two sisters unified,
hoping for a cookie or necklace while
Grandma and friend chattered, the
heavy ticking of the heirloom clock
interrupted and spat Time, Time, Time.

"All signs point to the end of times,"
Grandma said looking up at us two
who only wanted a small future for
boyfriends. Who fought that morning.

Each yarn tat begat a Scripture as she
spoke. Earthquakes, drought, L.A., rape.
Time, Time, Time, pull up, out, clip, knot,
and spread. "Are you ready?" she'd ask.

Ready to go home.


Writer's note:  These were the memories and the associations mixed in with quilting at Grandma Faye's house who always brought up the end times in a scary way. I'm not sorry for Grandma's apocalyptic fervor -- it really laid a memorable foundation for some literature I've read. Plus, I would forever have a gentle, kinder regard for Revelations. Now, I think of it as the one book in the Bible that is hot to the touch, like an ember, waiting to blaze out in the form of horsemen going to battle, waiting to grab onto my throat and make me repent!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016


Your stomping stokes something
Strange. So insane that you followed.
Carrying those lashes up the hill. You,
Despised by our modernity of love,
Shackled by your ignorance of era,
Grabbed and misled those eyes, those
Boyhood lights of your only blessed
Light. Up to the depths of faith where
You strapped your makeshift sheep, your
Plight upon the stones. Flames and rod
Drawing closer, breathing heavier for the
Kill. You were led. Your knife imagined
The tender skin, the horror in his small
Unimagined eyes, the sorrow of the bow,
The sorrow of the bow. The sorrow of the
Bow. Mary fell heaped at the ruin. A
Cancer dissolves a skin. A crash puts out
A hope. Holocaust. Inquisition. End.
A ram tangles, and again we begin again.


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

What They Say

Penciled ancestors taped on a wall row
Hold eyes steadier than mine. Familial
Stories have been told of murderers, preachers,
Slave-owners, and a patriarchal thrower
Of stones. Lives tangled, lives-gospel-straightened,
Lives curling like vines. Once lived, now
Singled out, once upon a time died.

They stare ahead immobilized by an aunt's
Careful sketch; I wonder of their float
Between life and life-Next. Besides
The mustache on lips, the lacy frock around
Neck, the jacket and tie for portrait worn,
What deep regrets were released into the last-
Gasped air? Or, were they sick or unaware?

Notorious and common, like me,
Did they wonder too why they were meant to be?

Without their life on a string, I would not be strung.
I would not have had a daughter or a son. Thus,
I could use their faces as a dartboard, or I could
Color their starkness with care. For they tell me
Within each lifeless stare about the fate we share.

I wonder what picture will be used
When I am taped or nailed upon a wall.
I wonder who will be the new wonderer
Upon my trumpet call. Hello!
Enjoy your colors! Exhale!
For wherever you end up eternally going
You're embodied to dance

TWW 7/3/11