*South City Skin*

The alley is naked with its
electric wire veins stretching across

the bare backsides of buildings --
its little bin soldiers of waste

sit in line, waiting for the golgi bodies
in uniform to dump their contents

into the stomachs of the noisy trucks
that smoke their way through the

backstage of the city.
The rats, the homeless

peck about like tiny viruses
seeking a way into the vessel of the host

that stands three-storied with her face
painted for the passersby peeking

through the windows of the buses that
drive slowly down the street, thirty dollars

each for the gentle touch
of the antebellum South.


*Welterweight*

In the checkout line at the A&P,
ass-slap got my attention.

“Mama,
She got big ole muscles,

Big muscles, Mama”
from the mouth of a two foot critic.

I got my weight in my legs
like a broad side lizard mouth,

all puffed out to show some might.
Lady flushed sunshine red

and grabbed that baby round the neck.
Pulled my fists to my ears

and turned round, teeth ashine,
full on flex to prove him right .


*Counting Tiles*

I counted my disorders
And doubted anyone was sane.
Every sullen face glimpsed through windowpanes
Has a diagnosis in my head, and I wonder if
They are medicated like me.
Certainly a bit of madness infects even the most rational
Like a dip in the river Styx,
A lunatical toe that betrays the healthy whole.

I am the human acronym,
A medley of discordant notes played with furious speed,
Each racing to conquer and crush.
I am head walking down to count,
A missed step, a portent of disaster.

I build mental forts with pillows and sheets from
The safety of my bed and
Hide inside with a midnight light,
Editing and revising
The rough draft girl.

I know that there is beauty in the cleft in the garden wall that
Offers a glimpse of the redolent and the pure.
I’ve lost a few petals,
But I’ll last until the dawn.