poetry, Etc. poetry, Etc. Bar Code Etc.

selected poetry, 1989-2003

ISBN# 1-891470-74-4

Janet Kuypers

first edition
printed in the United States of America

Scars Publications and Deisgn
in conjunction with Penny Dreadful Press

Books can also be ordered directly through e-mail to Scars Publications and Design.

Copyright © 2004 Scars Publications and Design.
Writings copyright © 1998 thru © 2004 Janet Kuypers.

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This book, as a whole, is fiction, and no correlation should be made between events in the book and events in real life. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher.

the Chaotic Radio week 12 book reading, used for the 2 CD 2007 audio CD release of Etc.
Now Available: the 2 CD release of the 2007 audio recordings from the book etc. — the background music from this “Chaotic Radio” show (#12) was used for background music for all of the poetry tracks from this 2004 book release. This extended radio audio CD (with a bonus track of 1 poem to fill out the 160 minutes of audio in this 2 CD collection) is available for only $995 (plus shipping & handling to anywhere in the continental United States) here.


The poems are listed below; click on a poem to get to that poem in the book. After this listing is the complete book manuscript.

I’m Always The One My Life Changing Carpet Listen To What You’re Not Hearing
Morning Will Be Kind Anyone Good Enough Rain Before I Learned Better
Signs of the Times Almost the Best Part Changing Garments I’m Not Sick But I’m Not Well
The Kitchen Death is a Dog As I Recovered Chances Two: Here I Am
And Flowers And Funerals Number 136 This you don’t hate. The Hunter And The Fox
Can’t Answer That One Mean to Me Feel So Much Death Takes Many Forms.
Mixing Metaphors Weren’t Even Married Holding my Hand Because This Is What We Do
Burning Building Timing is Everything Being God I Dreamt About You Last Night
Expecting the Stoning Isn’t it Amazing Present and Past Because There’s Nothing To Tell
Let the War Begin What Women Want Panther Getting Quite Good At It
How Do I Explain It You Know It Stairs You Would Know If You Were Here
Breaking Their Heart Learning More I Don’t Want To What We Are Supposed To Do
Against My Will What It Felt Like Fighting I Can Do Looking for a Worthy Adversary
Don’t Need The Crutches All Your Fault Gerbil Whether or Not It Is From Religion
After the Wreckage Lost in the Breeze Instead of Feeling Nervous Once Wanted You as my Friend
Grab the Other’s Neck I’m a Record now Scars 2000 Gears Get Caught in the Mud
My Dead Daughter the Battle at Hand Joy People’s Lives Were at Stake
Will Be Just Fine Holding My Skin Together Fantastic Car Crash About The Author
Change My Perspective True Happiness in the New Millennium

poetry, Etc.

Anyone Good Enough

i used to think that i was no good
that i was worthless that i meant nothing

and then i got a good job
and then i got me a ton of money

and then i looked in the mirror
and i realized i was gorgeous

and people laughed at my jokes
and people thought i was talented and strong

and now i look around me
and i can’t find anyone good enough

and i wonder if i expect too much
but i know for a fact that i deserve more

Will Be Just Fine

there’s a pot on my window sill
terra-cotta, i think
and it used to have a spider plant in it
now there’s just a pile of dirt
shaped like a terra cotta pot
with a few dried stems
coming out of the top

i could never take care
of anything, you know

and i wonder what i’ve done
to you

could I find you again
hold you in my arms
rock you like a baby
stroke your hear
and tell you everything
will be just fine

Chances Two: Here I Am

you asked me if you have
only so many loves in your life
and the answer is yes

and it’s not because of fate
or religion, or chance
but the chances are just so thin

that you can find someone
that you can love, revere, respect
someone that always keeps on moving

and someone that makes you feel alive
just by listening to the things they
say, to the way they think

that only happens so often, you know
so I guess you do only get so many
loves, so if you need one, here I


I’m Always The One

i’m always the one
who has to
pick up the pieces

all i’ve done
is wipe your noses
and clean your rooms

and now i have to
clean up my life
and i have
no one to help me

Because This Is What We Do

we arrive to our parties an hour after they start
we know full well when we are supposed to be there
but we show up late anyway
we don’t have any prior engagements
but we act like we do

and we make sure we’re dressed well,
but not too well
enough to impress,
but not enough to be over-dressed
you can’t overdo it
you have to look good, you know
but not like you tried to

and we don’t talk to anyone we don’t know
and we make sure our gaze
doesn’t wander for too long
because we have enough friends and lovers
and we don’t need you

and as soon as the party is starting to decline
we make our way to a bar,
bring a few friends with us
because we can’t stay in one place too long
because we have other places to go
we must move on to bigger and better things
we must get out of here

this is how we keep our friends
and this is how we keep our social standing
because this is the way it is
because this what we do

Before I Learned Better

you'd think that the people that are most like you
are perfect for you
but if you find someone like that
and you're dating someone like that
you'll see
that they now have the same faults as you do
except their faults seem so much worse
and you want to kill them for the faults you have
and you want to crack their head open
and see their brains flowing out in the street

yeah, i know your mood swings, your hatred
your love of life and truth and fairness and art
and your anger
are all as strong as mine
but i'm still going to be hard on you
i'm still going to be hard on you
for being me
before i learned better

Morning Will Be Kind

Kiss me, stoned and drunk
flesh is the answer

to the wisdom, moaning
in my foreign bed
and the scent and
smell of new skin

An apex of blinding
then close your eyes
wondering vaguely why

You let me enter,
morning will be kind

Listen To What You’re Not Hearing

I feign a smile
as the breeze comes
bouncing off the building
sweeping around
the backs of my legs

When the breeze
took my hair
it licked your face

You were annoyed

I wasn’t surprised

You asked me
what was wrong

I said, “nothing”

And you believed me

I’m not trying to
make any moves

because I’m afraid
I’ll make the
wrong move

I don’t mean to
annoy you

Listen to
what you’re not


The rain is coming
down so hard now... I
don’t think it has ever
been this hard. I have
to stop it, I have to
save myself from it.
I can’t drive like this.
The wipers only brush
it off after it has hit.
I have to stop it, keep
it away from me

Signs of the Times

The president says it’s okay
to be gay, as long as you don’t
tell anyone. Suburban husbands
are murdering doctors who work
at abortion clinics, because they
saved the world from a mass murderer.
Nineteen children are found in a
freezing apartment alone, sharing
one bowl of food on the floor with
a dog. People walk to the churches,
see Mary’s statue crying. One lone
man in New York hears the voice
of God through his dog and kills.

Were the children saved from the
murderer, were they sharing their
food with God were they crying

Almost the Best Part

isn’t that moment of expectation
almost the best part of it

when you think everything is over
and then they come back
they walk across the living room
when everyone else is sleeping

and you think you shouldn’t be doing this
that this can’t be happening
and you let their skin touch yours
when you’re laying on the floor
on the carpet in the living room

well, that moment
right before you’re on the floor
in the living room
isn’t that moment of expectation
almost the best part of it

Changing Garments

Agonies are
one of my changes of garments,

I do not ask the wounded person
how he
who he

I myself become the wounded person,
My hurts turn livid upon me
as I lean on a cane and observe

Feel So Much

sometimes you have to draw a line
separate yourself from other people

you just have to stop caring about things
you can care too much, others don’t care enough

does it seem cruel to feel so much

saying that you don’t care any more
killing a part of yourself
I’ve been doing that for years
am I dead yet

The Kitchen

Today I cleaned the kitchen
I prepared dinner for you
and while I could I worked
on my work, on my time

Some would ask if I was
giving things up to you
and yes, I am giving things
but I’m giving nothing up

I used to be the President
I used to be the King
I used to be Jesus Christ
and in a way I still am

I have everything now
and it makes me happy
to clean the kitchen
and prepare dinner for you

Death is a Dog

Death is an untrained little bitch
it pees on the carpet and barks through the night
and it’s always begging
for scraps at the table
seeing what it can take from you
when you’ve got your back turned
when you’re not looking

when you want it to heal,
well, it never does
and it never rolls over
and it never plays dead

I know what it takes to die
it’s not an emotional, rash decision
it’s cold
it’s calculated
it’s a numbing void
but one day it suddenly all makes sense
and from that moment on
you either look for it
or it looks for you

Death is an untrained little bitch
and I’ve been begging for it, I tell you
but it doesn’t come when you call

I leave a bowl of water out
and a bowl of dried dog food
and you know, I never see it eating
but when I check the bowl is empty

and I still refill the bowl

and vacuum the dog hair
that sticks to the couch
and spray air freshener
in the living room
because no matter how hard you try
you can never get rid of the smell

Death is an untrained little bitch, I tell you
and what it boils down to is this:
you won’t get along with her
and she won’t get along with you

she’ll claim her territory
under the bed,
eating your slipper,
while you try to sleep
and remind yourself
that there are no monsters
waiting for you
to shut your eyes

As I Recovered

I was supposed to be
saving a life by turning the wheels
and avoiding an accident. Well,
I did. I turned the wheels of my car
and that saved the motorcyclist’s life.
My car was pushed by someone else into
oncoming traffic so another car could hit me,
i think the first car hitting me was
enough, but while we’re at it, let’s
get someone else to ruin me as well,
they can even push me over 100 feet.

That’s what I got for saving a life.

After the hospital, after I
got out of the coma, no one
even visited me - no one
that did this to me visited me.
Not the people who hit me, not the guy
who’s life I saved. Did he even know
I saved his life? Did he even know
he could have been dead that day?
None of those people even attempted to
pay me back. For my car,
or my time, or my coma. This is what
I get for being nice. I have the
physical and emotional scars
from that day. And
no one ever apologized to me
for the pain they caused. None of them
even visited me as I recovered.

My Life Changing

When he wanted something
wanted something from her
and he always asked her

and you know now, now that I
think about it, he never knew to ask
and he never knew how to want
and she never knew how to answer
and this was their little world

and this was how they argued
and she was always right
and she always wanted to argue

And Flowers And Funerals

There are supposed to be grand kids, and meals
And flowers and funerals

My head didn’t hurt all the time before
And now all I have is this lack of memory
My life used to make sense

I wonder what details I lost in my life
I record what is left of my memories
I attempt to rescue what is left of my memories
and hope that is enough

Don’t Need The Crutches

I can stand alone. I don’t need you
you think there’s more to it than that, but no, there isn’t

this is the world and sometimes you have to survive
everything that is thrown in your direction.

it is important to understand that I don’t need the crutches
it is true, I don’t need you, and I can get along fine without you

three months later
do I feel any different
should the world be now revolving at a different pace
was everyone just used to the world

or is it just me, feeling the change,
is it just me, thinking that things are different

people go through life with a lack of emotion, feeling, thought
I have never been asked to function that way
I have never been able to just let life go by

The Hunter And The Fox

I’ve been a hunter, you know
I’ve been working at it for a while
I’ve gotten pretty good at it

I’ve been looking for the right prey
all this time
someone I could dominate
isn’t that my role, you konw

I have been looking for an animal for a fox
someone that would be a good show-piece

I’ve been looking all this time
and I’m still looking

so where is he

This you don’t hate.

From the picture window
the snow drizzling down
fell effortlessly, silently:
I wondered if outside it

was as quiet as it looked.
The snow blanketed the
grass, past the pier his father
made last summer, out

over the lake. Everything
glowed in an untouched
whiteness. No footprints
yet. Just falling snow.

From the couch I looked
at the larger-than-life
snowflakes fall, one after
another, all gently gliding

down to the ground. I could
not look away. And you said:
This is why I like winters.
See, you hate winter in the

city, but this, this you
watch for hours and don’t
get tired of. This makes you
smile. This you don’t hate.

Can’t Answer That One

i have a better job than you
i have more talent than you
i’ve made more money than you

i’m attractive
i’m funny
i’m kind

i’m strong
i’m intelligent
i’m beautiful

and i look at what we had
and i wonder why i ever tried
and why i ever bothered

why did i ever put up with you
why did i think i needed you
why did i let you make me unhappy

with all my talent, with all my
i still can’t answer that one

Mean to Me

i ain’t got no money
and nothing’s for free

how many times are you
going to pull on me

what do you have to give me
what do you expect of me

when I’ve got nothing
when you’ve got nothing
what are you supposed
to mean to me

I’m Not Sick But I’m Not Well

I’m not sick but I’m not well
and I’m sure there’s something I can do about this
I’ve popped the aspirin
the tylenol
the ibuprofen
the codine
the prozac
the sleeping pills
and that thermometer is down my throat
and I’m gagging

I’m not sick but I’m not well
the doctors find nothing wrong with me
and believe me, they’ve taken the x-rays
they’ve striped me down
and made me wear one of those awful paper robes
and they’ve felt me up
and checked me out
and found what they were looking for
but didn’t find anything I was looking for

I’m not sick but I’m not well
and I can’t help but think
that everything I’m doing to make things better
might only be making things worse
so I don’t want to listen to what
you have to say anymore
and I want this IV out of my arm
and I want this oxygen tube out from my nose
and I want this suppository out of my ass
and I want you to get that scalpel away from me
because I want everything I’ve got

I’m not sick but I’m not well
and they want me if they can keep me in line
and they want me if they can cut me open
and take out my insides
and suck out the fat
and suck out the life
and make me generic
and make me dependent
make me unreal
make me not whole
and i’ve walked that line with all you doctors
and I want all my parts back
and I want to be healthy

no, I’m not sick and maybe I’m not well
but you’re only making me worse
I don’t have the answers but neither do you
so instead of tearing me apart
and dissecting me
and studying the bones
let me just stay together for a while
until I figure it all out

Death Takes Many Forms.

It is winter now.
The trees have lost their leaves;
the city is covered in a thin layer of soot and snow.
The grass is dead.
In the sunless sky black birds circle overhead
searching for prey.
An eerie cold settles over everything.
Nothing is growing anymore.

Death takes many forms.
For you, death first came when you were five years old
and your mother had to give you three shots of insulin a day
until you could take a needle to yourself.
Did it hurt to push that needle into your arm, the first time?
Or did it hurt you more to know you had no choice?

Death takes many forms.
Death can be someone telling you without trying
that they are losing their sight.
Behind coke-bottle glasses you would see me and say,
“That’s a nice black suit you’re wearing.”
And I would tell you, “It’s green.”
And you wouldn’t believe me.
You wouldn’t hear the howling wind of the changing seasons.

Death takes many forms.
I know what follows the autumn wind.
It is winter now.
Do you remember when it happened?
The changes are subtle, the temperature drops,
first only slightly. It’s almost imperceptible.
Only when the first snow falls do you realize
where the seasons have gone.

Death takes many forms.
Death can be a sweat-soaked shirt, the shakes, dizziness
when you needed food.
You would look as pale as a ghost
as I would hold your cold wet arm and steady you.
Quick, some sugar will make everything better.
Isn’t everything better yet?

Death takes many forms.
The signs of death can come
when you lose your circulation.
“My feet are numb, Janet,” you’d say.
“I can’t feel my feet anymore.”
And I would rub your feet for you,
and you would say it makes a difference,
you feel better.

If only I could do this forever.

Death takes many forms.
I said good bye to you to travel my own road
but I didn’t think it was the last good bye.
How was I to know?

When I left, I knew you didn’t want me to go.
And now it’s my turn.

Why are we always saying good bye to each other?

Are you trying to teach me a lesson?
Because if you are, well,
I’ve learned it. Trust me, I have.
You can come back now.

Death takes many forms.
And now, now it seems
you’ve taken me down with you
you’ve taken me into that casket with you
and I’m running my hand along your jacket lapel
and I can feel the coldness of winter all around me
and I can hear them shoveling the dirt over my head
and I want to get out
and I want to take you with me.

Death takes many forms.
Death can be that hole you left,
you know, right over here, just a little to the left.
I keep wondering when the pain will go away.
When will everything be better.

You once showed me that winter could be beautiful.
Instead of the dark and dirty snow lacing the city streets
you showed me a quieting snowfall,
over a lake at your parent’s back yard
glistening in an untouched whiteness.
I told you I hated winters
and you told me, “This you don’t hate.”

Well, I’m still learning.

It is winter now.
And death takes many forms.
The seasons change for you and I.
It is snowing. And something is ending.
It is snowing. Somewhere
it is snowing.

I Dreamt About You Last Night

“I dreamt about you last night
and I fell out of bed twice
you can pin and mount me
like a butterfly”
- Steven M.

I dreamt about you last night.
I called you on the phone
even though you passed away
over four weeks ago now.
I don’t know why I called, I
don’t know what I was hoping for,
but when you answered your phone
I said, “Dave?”
You said, “Yes.”
And I asked, “How are you?”
You said, “Fine.”
And I asked, “You’re not dead?”
You said, “No.”
“But I just told someone
you passed away a month ago.”
“Oh,” you said, “Don’t worry.
I’ll take care of it.”
And you sounded so -
so relaxed. So peaceful.

They say that dreams are your
chance to think over the things
unresolved from your day. And
I keep dreaming about you.
Don’t I think about you enough?

You’re the one that left me.
Why are you coming back,
at night, when I let my defenses
down, slipping in through my
window and working your way
into my dreams?

I dreamt about you last night.
We were sitting together,
about to go out for the evening.
You were wearing a black
t-shirt and black jeans.
We were running late, and you
were angry. “I wanted to wear
this, but I wanted to put more
black on - I wanted to wear my
black vest and my black jacket.”
You know, I thought it was
always funny, how much you cared
about the clothes you wore.
So I said, “But Dave, you look
fantastic in your jeans and
t-shirt.” And you smiled at me
and kissed me.

I wish I could have told you
more in life how good you looked.
I’m sorry, Dave. I’m so sorry.
I wish in life I could have told
you the things you wanted to hear.

I saw you today. You were in a
black car and you were wearing
dark sunglasses. He could have
been you, if I closed my eyes
and squinted just slightly. You pulled
up in the lane next to me as I
was driving to my sister’s house.
You were about to turn right and
I watched you look at the oncoming
traffic, waiting for your chance to
leave me again.

Let me think that it was you,
driving, living. Let me think that
you’re just ignoring me. Then
I can be angry with you.

I dreamt about you last night.
I was on a cruise ship, and you
were working as a waiter. You wore
one of those silly short jackets
for your uniform. It was a sea blue.
And every time I thought I saw you
you would turn away to do your
job. All I ever caught were fleeting
glimpses of you, walking away.

All I keep thinking is that
my days are finally free of you
but they’re not. I keep thinking
of you. And it isn’t enough.
I still can’t escape you at night.

Weren’t Even Married

you jumped from an airplane once
and you promised that you’d force me to go with you
the next time
you were always jumping out of airplanes,
weren’t you

the ring i’m wearing
is on my right hand, not my left
and it’s on my middle finger, not my ring finger
and it seems appropriate
you didn’t even buy me that ring
and we weren’t even married

i bought the ring at a street fair
on belmont avenue in chicago
on the day of our first date
where we watched pulp fiction at your apartment
and i asked you to sit closer
to me
and you kissed me

the ring isn’t a complete circle
there are two stones that don’t quite meet
and there’s a void in the middle
and that was appropriate
cause you didn’t even buy it for me
and we weren’t even married

i’ve missed you, you know
i can’t even pass the apartment building you lived in any more

i remember when you told me
that someone was shot in that building once
and that maybe it was haunted

but they were shot for money
they were robbed
and this time you just slipped away in your sleep
and this time i was robbed

when one of the stones fell out of my ring
i was sad
but i think you were more sad
you wanted to replace the shiny purple stone
but i said no

and now i still wear the ring
and a stone is still missing
and isn’t it appropriate
and we weren’t even married

i’ve missed you, you know
and with your absence the bad memories vanish
where you were someone else once
where you were someone once
where you were alive once
i forget that there was so much about you i hated
because you’re not here to remind me

so with this ring, i remember
because now nothing is complete anymore
and everything is missing now
and isn’t it appropriate
that there’s no next time for us

you jumped from an airplane once
and you promised that you’d force me to go with you
the next time

Holding my Hand

when we’re walking in stride together down
the street and our feet pump out the same rhythm
and our shoulders are almost touching and our
hands brush up against each other for one brief
moment and he reaches over and takes my hand

when he slides his fingers around mine
and I feel him move along the palm of my hand
well, no one knows what it feels like
when his fingers curl and hold me tight
well, it feels like pop rocks

it feels like when that candy is sliding
down my throat after I let it explode
on my tongue and it’s still tingling and no
one knows I’m eating this and no one knows
the feeling and this is my little secret

and I feel this feeling like never before
and it makes me want to laugh and cry
because I look around the room and no one
else is eating those pop rocks and no one
knows the feeling when he’s holding my hand


The apartment needs to be dusted. I can see
some cat hair, and the carpet doesn’t
soak it all in, even though it does a better job
then those damn hardwood floors
that I’m so used to. Everyone seems to want
hardwood floors in their home, but why?
They are loud and look dirty quickly.
And dust doesn’t settle on them, so the air
always has things floating in it.
But carpet, carpet muffles the loud noises,
it keeps your feet warm when you step
out of bed on a cold winter morning,
it makes things more pleasant.
You have to vacuum it, true, but you
don’t need a mop. You have to be more careful
that you don’t spill things. But you shouldn’t
be spilling things in the first place, right?
Well, anyway, I have to remember to dust
this apartment. It should be perfect.
You can’t see the dust here, the carpet
doesn’t let all the dust get into the air
but you have to make sure that you clean it
more often. Is it worth the effort? I think it is.

Being God

I’m tired of dying for your sins
over and over again and why is it that
I am the one that’s doing the dying
when you are the one that’s doing the sinning
I don’t think you’re learning your lesson

I’m tired of taking this knife to my hands
over and over again giving myself the stigmata
the blood gets all over my clothes
and I can never get the stains out
and for what, for you to see how I suffer

I’m tired of being humble when I’m
supposed to be the one with the power
over and over again I become your servant
and never are you bowing to me
I don’t even get a thank you

I’m tired of preaching to the converted
when the converted aren’t even really listening
they’re snoring in the back rows while I
deliver my sermon and there’s not even air
conditioning in here and I’m sweating

I’m tired of coming to you and healing the sick
taking away the problems, over and over agad over again
giving you something to look forward to
and all I have is an eternity of waiting for
someone to take my place and tend to my wounds

I’m tired of giving the earth up to you
watching the devil’s work be done, and you know,
he’s just sitting down there looking at me
and laughing, over and over again because it’s
so easy for him when he doesn’t have to work

I’m tired of being your salvation
over and over again you turn to me
and I have no one to turn to but myself
it’s a bitch, you know, being your own god
since no one can save me from me

I’m tired of being your teacher, handing you
what you need on a silver platter and waiting
for that damn collection plate and someone
is always stealing out of it from the back row
I know who you are, you who leave me nothing

I’m tired of wearing this crown of thorns
over and over again the needles prick my skin
and even gods bleed, at least this one does
and when I ask you to wipe the blood
out of my eyes, well, I can’t see you anywhere

I’m tired of being something for everybody
when everyone is nothing for me
maybe the devil has the right idea, you know
maybe I’ll sit back and wait for you to miss me
as you wonder who’s your messiah now

Burning Building

This is what you don’t allow me to say.
These words I utter are a plea for help
and you tell me you want to be the hand
that pulls me from the burning building
and every time I try to be rescued
you turn your back and walk away

so I will rescue myself this time again
and I will wonder if I should stop trying
and allow myself to perish in the flames
now all I have to do is sit and wait
for another disaster to consume me
and sitting in silence is exactly what I’ll do

Why do you tell me one thing and do another?
Why do you run away when I need you most?
I’m stepping over the wooden beams now,
and the flames are all around me. Here, look
at the blood dripping from my arms. Here,
smell my flesh burning. This is what you do.

I do not walk away unscathed. I never do.
But now that I wait for my next burning building
I know I will never allow myself to enter it.
Why can’t it be easier to perish? I try and try,
and every time at the last minute, my figure
steps over the the charred remains and saves me.

If only there were no more burning buildings.
If only I didn’t have to save myself all the time.
If only I could feel free, just this once.
If only I could feel safe with you, just this once.
If only your words weren’t empty promises.
If only your words were not the burning building.

Timing is Everything

timing is everything, you know
just when you say you’ve had enough
just when you’re ready to wave that white flag
and step out of the ring and stop playing the game
and stop feeling the pain because you’re numb

that’s when for a brief moment something
wonderful happens and reminds you why you live
and reminds you of what hope and joy and
even love is

and suddenly breathing is no longer a chore
and suddenly nothing is a chore and suddenly
there is no pain and suddenly you remember
what it’s like to be alive and you start to like it

well, that’s when they pull they rug out from
under you, right at that moment, so that
you can fall to the floor and then the biting
sting of pain hurts that much more

timing is everything, you know, they do it
that way on purpose because they can’t let you
go on feeling hope and not feeling pain
this is their key, it’s all in the timing

Mixing Metaphors

a heart is supposed to mean romance
but the deep dark red suggests lust

the cupid suggests true love anew
but a child knows only dependency

love hits you like a ton of bricks
and you only hurt the ones you love

I keep hearing of all these conflicts
and I’m trying to make sense of it all

and I’m mixing my metaphors now
I’m mixing my cocktails on a saturday night

throw love in with vodka and lime
and a little cointreau and you have

an absolutely perfect martini, well
that’s what I hear so I keep drinking

and mixing and drinking and trying
you know, I’ve heard that for an added kick,

keep in the love but add just a splash of lust
the way that deep red heart of romance

suggests so much more than candy and flowers
because really, when it comes down

to it, when you get all those metaphors
together even though they seem to mean

so many different things, well,
when you get the right martini recipe,

well, every ingredient is so necessary
lust and love and all that other good-

tasting stuff that goes down so easy
well, every ingredient is necessary

in that perfect drink because everything
seems to come together so well

and everything suddenly means
so much even if it’s only a drink and

even if it’s only a cheesey metaphor
and suddenly that’s okay

Looking for a Worthy Adversary

I’ve been looking for a worthy adversary
someone I can lock horns with
because although my life makes more sense when I’m alone
it’s not nearly as interesting

I’ve been looking for a worthy adversary
someone I can battle to the death with
because it can’t be about love, you see
love can’t exist on the terms I demand
it’s never that pure

I’ve been looking for a worthy adversary
and so I slither up to you like a snake
as you sit there at the corner
of the bar drinking your gin and tonics
and I tempt you with a golden apple

but all I was offering you
was fruit from the tree of knowledge

I didn’t know how willing you were
to take from that tree
I’m not used to that, you know

Did you know you’d need to come back for more?
Did you know what you were getting into?

well, I didn’t know you’d have
a thing or two to each me too

and did I know I’d need to come back for more?
Did I know what I was getting into?

because as I’ve been looking for a worthy adversary
all this time I’ve been playing a part
an actress on a stage, spouting the lines on cue
and that role was getting tiresome
but those stage lights still came on night after night
and I still had to play my part

until on my night off I saw your performance
at the theatre down the street
and you know, your protagonist
was doing what I was doing
right down to faking it with people who don’t matter
right down to going home and still feeling empty

and you know, I liked to see
that boiling emotion underneath
that no one else could see
because only I had the knowledge to know
what that emotion really means

and you know, I’m beginning to wonder
if we can get together
and write our own play

it would be a masterful performance, you know
and as that curtain would close we’d hold each other’s hands
and walk off the stage
and the audience would know that there is a happy ending

and now when I walk out on to the set
and there you stand, in front, stage left
I wait for my cue to make my move
none of the rest of the scene matters to me, you know

maybe they’d like our little play, maybe they wouldn’t
who really cares

because even though I came to you
and tempted you
you now tempt me and tease me and torment me
and tell me everything I was too afraid to believe
and show me the knowledge that always escaped me

and when you talk you reach your hand into my brain
and pull out my thoughts and shove them into your mouth
and spit them back at me

and instead of filling me with terror
it fills me with joy

I’ve been looking for a worthy adversary
and maybe you are much more than that

I’ve heard the words you say to me before
I’ve said them to myself many times
but why do they sound so much better
coming from you?
I had been looking for a worthy adversary
someone I could lock horns with
but now I’m no longer locking horns

now it seems I don’t have to fight the battle alone
now it seems that there’s no battle to fight
we know what all the lines from our play really mean
and now we’re performing for no one
now we’re just ourselves
and now there’s just understanding
I don’t even have to speak

and now every day is Valentine’s Day
and now it’s like candy and flowers and springtime
and hearts and cupids and sunshine
and you know it’s scary
these clichŽs are actually beginning to make sense

I guess that’s what the tree of knowledge does to you

so this is what has been going on in my mind
and now I’ve just spilled my guts
and now I’m just a puddle on the floor

but now my performance of a lifetime is made
I stand here like a statue
and wait for my applause

and as I wait for the reviews
on the performance I was made for
I know what they’re all going to say
and none of that matters anymore

because I know what you are going to say
because it’s everything that I want to say

because now it’s time
for you to take my thoughts again
and shove them into your mouth again
and spit them back at me again

and now I wait for you to come on stage again
for our next wonderful performance
where we have our happy ending
where you tell me what I already know

Because There’s Nothing To Tell

This is how they kill me
this is how they do it to me
this is how i die

I’m tired of being so much like you
and I’m tired of having
so many differences with you

which part of me has to die
to keep things alive with us

you should know me by now
and you should know what I’m asking
when I ask a question

don’t you know me by now?

so thank you for pointing out
that the answer is always “no”
and thank you for killing just another little part of me

people do that to me all the time anyway

you wonder what is wrong
when I seem unhappy
and I tell you “nothing”
and I dont mean “nothing”
but I tell you nothing
because there’s nothing to tell
because I’m almost dead anyway

I was just getting used to this “me” thing
and now there’s this “us” thing
which really boils down to this “you” thing
because, Hell, there’s no “me” anymore

isn’t that what you wanted anyway

people have been killing me all this time
and maybe they won

Isn’t it Amazing

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. It’s amazing to see people throw away
their lives day after day like a bag of trash taken to the corner
for someone else to carry away. You can forget about the trash
when someone gets rid of it for you. Now all you have to do
is bring it to the corner and then wait for them to do their work.

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. Isn’t it amazing. Isn’t it amazing how
willing we are to give up our chances at happiness. Isn’t it
amazing how afraid we are of life. Isn’t it funny how we
don’t want to embarrass ourselves. Quick. Take out the trash.
Hopefully no one will see you in your bathrobe as you make
your way to the end of your driveway. All you have to do
is turn around and leave it there. Someone else will clean up
the mess. Someone else will pick up the pieces. This is
what we do, in America. This is how we avoid hurt. This is
how we stay ahead. Now look who has egg on their face.

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. Once you’ve made that decision, once you
know that you’re going to be the one holding the aces, you can
watch the rest of the world squirm. If only those fools knew
better, you think. If only they knew what you know. It’s
emotion that gets them in trouble. Just don’t cross that line.
Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to destroy something
than to fight for it. It seems the obvious choice. Isn’t it amazing.

Present and Past

In such a short time
I have lost both my past and my future.
Familiar memories that one looks back on and smiles from
have vanished like the rolling waves of burning heat from death.
And hope, hope is something one can have
only when there is a chance for happiness.
This is not me.
Now I sit here, at this table,
look at the plant with leaves dry and crumbling
look at the dust settled
and think: this is all there is.
The present. Study the dying. Study the dust.
And after this moment, tackle the next.

Let the War Begin

My silence is my only choice. My silence
is my weapon. As it is with you. As it is
with all of us.

To go against all instinct and not fight.
This is my weapon. To keep us alive and
bury the truth.

This is the way I keep our sanity, but
lose mine. Isn’t this the way it always goes.
Me giving in first.

You say this isn’t what you want but
your actions speak novels to me. I’ve read
this book before.

Nothing is pure when you destroy purity.
Nothing is sacred when there is no God
and no hope.

I’ve lost my battles and now I need new
defenses. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet.
Let the war begin.


I’ve been waiting here

the hunter
who has always caught their prey

now I am the hunted
my gun is gone
my blade is gone
my defenses are gone

the blindfold
presses my eyes
into my skull

I hear you in the darkness
the panther
I just sense your presence

the fear is exciting
waiting for the moment
when you pounce and consume

it’s all I can think of

all I can do
is wait for you to strike

my eyes are closed
but I can almost see you

and I’m waiting

What Women Want

do you want to know the secret to understanding what women want
because I can tell it to you, it’s simple, really

all women want is for their lover to know what they need
without them have to ask, and without them having to tell

oh, and yes, for you to do it, too, that’s the other part of it
they want men to know what to them seems obvious

but you men, you can’t do what they want even when they tell
you what they need, point blank, and there’s no guessing game

which, you know, when they tell you, you’ve lost half the battle
but the least you could do is make it up in the second half

it’s the least you could do to tell them you love them
and hold them and be their knight in shining armor

they know you’re not riding up on a white horse coming
to sweep them off their feet and ride off into the sunset

but throw them this bone every once in a while, give them
the scraps from your plate under the table, just a little something

they’re yelping under the table hoping you understand their pleas
they’re shivering in the dog house when they should be by your side

because they’re starving over here, and it seems that only you
can give them what they need, much less what they want

it’s simple, really: they need attention, they desperately need it
and they’re tired of asking, because they shouldn’t have to ask

this is the key to understanding what women want, so please
do something with this knowledge and save the one you love

Getting Quite Good At It

I’m getting quite good at the
roles I have had to play in my life

I have had to put so many faces on
that I am beginning to look like a clown
I am beginning to feel like a clown
and I am beginning to wonder if anyone notices

Someone told me once
that they could not lie,
that they were terrible at it
and I looked them in the eye
and told them that I had gone through a lot
in my life
and that a lot of things have hurt me in my life
and I told them about how someone had hurt me
and it still surt
and I almost cried while I told them this
and they felt sorry for me

and I told them,
that the story I just told them
that it was all a lie

I told them that so they would know
when it is possible to cover up the truth
and get away with it

and when that becomes a part of your repertoire
when that becomes one of your faces

well, when you get to that part
you can get quite good at
doing whatever you want

You Would Know If You Were Here

This is a toast to you
And I know full well that you can not hear me
And I know full well that you can not touch me
And I know full well that you can not remember me
But I still toast to you

Maybe it is because I remember too much
And maybe I want things to be different
And maybe you know the difference

Maybe you would know if you were here

I bought these wine glasses recently
After you died
Because they lookined like the glasses we
Almost got
When you came to visit me
And you took a day off of work

And no, you have never been around with me
To drink from this glass
With me
But I still think of it as ours

And I toasted to you with this glass

I said to you in this toast,
This is for all that almost happened
And this is for all the things that
Could have happened, and would have happened

And here is to all that you have taught me

Because I have been through a lot, you know
And I didn’t think you would add to my misery
Or my joy

And here I am
Thinking about it all

And I am mixing red wine with beer
Half and half
In one of these glasses
And I am all alone
In my apartment
Wondering what it would have been like
If you were here
And I had a different set of battles to fight

But now I’ve got a different set of battles to fight
And a different set of battles to win
And oddly enough,
with all that we have gone through
You have helped me though this

I would never wish what happened to you
To happen to someone else
And you would tell me that
If you were here

You would be angry at me
‘Cause I’d think that drinking through my problems
Would be the easiest solution
You would be angry at me
For my giving up my hope
And you would remind me
That I am a worthwhile human being
And that I am talented, and strong
And that I am a fighter

And it is fitting, in a way,
That I am toasting to you with a combination
Of cheap wine and cheaper beer
But it is the way that would live
If you were here

You would live every minute to the fullest
You would celebrate everything
And you would toast to it


(j.k. and j.y.)

I’m sick of these stairs
that I keep having to take
I keep having to climb up,
and I keep getting nowhere

twisting around in a spiral I rise
like the wrought iron balusters,
that need the rust cleaned off and
a fresh coat of paint

there are so many things that I need
and I’m wondering if scraping off the damage
is enough
or if trying to cover up what has been done
is enough
if this rising is enough
because I’m beginning to wonder
if anything from what I do is enough
won’t somebody tell me
will anyone tell me

somebody somewhere
come please, and help me
the leaden weight keeps dragging me down

I’ve been looking for someone
and I don’t think anyone
has the answers for me anymore
because I think I know what I’m doing
and no one has been able to make it better so far

scraping and painting I’ve got to keep going
to keep these stairs in repair
I’ve found underneath the strength and the beauty
that put these stairs in here
with each stroke of the brush my load’s getting lighter
the burden easier to bear
I look below and see that I’ve fixed
the broken down, the rusted-out tiers

it is beginning to become more amazing to me
all that I can see below
all that I have managed to overcome
all that I have gone through
and I know I have made it past a lot
and I wonder if I am going to be lucky enough
to make it to the top of these damn stairs
and I will have a great view
from the top
and no one else will get to see this view with me?

with me
and my paint scrapers
my buckets of paints and brushes
I look and I see others below
me struggling with their own loads
some scraping
some painting
on the same stairwell

and I’ve got to tell them
it is hell to do it
it’s not fun, I’ll admit it
but when you count all the chips
at the end of the game of stairs
you’ll have the most pieces
you’ll be the winner
and if you have to stand there alone
at least you’ll know that you made it
and you know,
I know it’s hell
but you’ve got to keep telling yourself
that each step
each stair
is worth it

so I’ll scrape and I’ll climb
I’ll paint
climb some more
I’ve been told there is happiness
happiness somewhere
if I only can make it
if only I can take it
take the pain of climbing these stairs

You Know It

so there are these fish in my apartment
and they’re gold fish, they’re not like tropical fish
or anything
and they just want to rush their little bodies
up to the sides of the glass
and stare at you
and you know, some people have no preference
about these fish

and for some people,
they try not to think about these things
and they try not to tell you much at all
and they try to keep themselves away
from all that
and they try to act aloof
and they try to say all the right things
and the whole time
well, the whole time those little fish
and gawking at you and it’s like they are monitoring you

and when the night is over
you’ve still got those little fish
and you know they’ll be there in the morning
and you know you’ll have to feed them
and you know
they’ll have to depend on you for something

they’ll have to

you know it

How Do I Explain It


there are so many times
when I have had so little


and maybe that’s MY problem, not yours
and maybe this is a bad way
to start a poem

so forgive me

but the thing is, people keep trying to tell me
that this is the hard part

and I have been through so much
haven’t I gone through enough?

and I am beginning to think
that well, maybe I DON’T deserve it
and maybe bad things are MEANT to happen to me

and how do I explain that
to the average person?
how do I explain
what I am going through
how do I explain
the way I feel

how do I explain it


I mean, I know I am a writer,
explaining this all
should not be so hard

but it is

Describe the color blue
to a blind man
and see how you are at a loss
for words

How do you explain this all
with quick wit
and a shark tongue?


so the key here for me
is that sometimes good things can happen
when you least expect it

and instead of my griping about it
or feeling sorry for myself

maybe I should just be happy with it


and when people tell me
that the sky looks REALLY blue today
I just think,
well, that is called SCIENCE,
the sky is always blue

and that answer
that comment
is that supposed to make me feel better?


and maybe when people tell me
that every cloud has a silver lining
well, maybe I should enjoy the silver lining
every once in a while
and when people complain
that the grass is always greener
on the other side

well, maybe at times like those
i should learn to like the view from this side
because at least I get to see the green grass

well, it’s just a theory

cause maybe this ride ain’t so bad
and maybe this SIDE ain’t so bad
and maybe there is a chance for that other side for me
and maybe i’ve had a taste of
all that good stuff

and you know, it occurred to me
that the good stuff ain’t all that after all
and that maybe there is someone out there like me
and that maybe someone cares about me
and maybe someone respects me
and thinks I’m intelligent
and beautiful



a couple of days ago
john gave me some roses
an even half dozen, something that
didn’t even need to be wrapped by the florist

well, that’s just my thought on the matter

but john had an answer for me

he told me that he gave me five roses
for the five days he had known me
and the sixth one
well, was just for me

because I deserved it

and those were the words he used
and that is what he said to me
and I have received flowers from other men before
and for all of this
it was different

because he said those words to me
because he thought of me
and that was almost worth more
than the flowers



and yeah, I could go on and on and on
about the fact that he is taller than me

I can wear high heels
in front of him
and I won’t dwarf him

and when he holds me it feels like
I’m actually being held
and not that I’m about to break
the man I’m hugging
into two pieces
and maybe he was a marine
and can hold his own
and maybe he has travelled
all over the place
and seen different things
and had different chances

and yeah, maybe he carries all my stuff around in my apartment
because it might be too heavy for me

and yeah, I could get angry at that
I could think that I can carry this myself
that I’m not a
and that I don’t need


but for now
for now I’m stuck in this happy mode
remembering what it’s like
where the grass is greener
and enjoying in that silver lining
and well, being happy that
I can almost touch that green grass now

cause I’m sick of hearing
about the four-leaf clovers
and the rainbows
and the pots of gold

and all that other crap
that is supposed to make you happy


and maybe I am just happy that
someone gave me attention

and gives me attention

and that that someone cares about me

I got that attention from someone
who thought I was worth it
from someone I thought was worth it

and when you finally get to this point,
when you think no one else can
understand this feeling

and all the references to growing grass
an bubbles sand sunsets

don’t quite cut it

well, when you get to feel
this way

the way I feel

how do you explain it

Learning More

It is amazing how I learn more, how I take it all in
How I think I am just learning little random pieces of information
And that is when I find out that all of the pieces relate
That there is meaning to almost anything I see or do

I remember so much about you, and I know there is
So much you have taught me
How to understand the word of my elders, and you have taught me
how to fear authority, and how to know my place

Mom has taught me to take it all in stride
She has taught me how to manage it all and how to do that
With grace
But with time I still have learned how all the pieces fit together

I know that you were the foundation to everything she maintained
You were stern for a reason, and this was how
You kept everything in line without having to raise your voice to me
Without ever having to actually say a word to me

Because I just knew

You were making all the details possible by working so hard
Mom knew this, and gave you your space for it, and all the children
Thank you, and I thank you, because mom and you are what made us

Life would never be the same without your influense
Without you making it all possible

My brother told me we were all creative in this family
I did not see how, not for all of us, I did not fit the pieces together
And he laid out the details this way for me
Mom painted, Ed was an architect, Bob used construction to build from scratch,

Lorelei was an art tacher, Sandy got her art out through crafts,
And I was a graphic artist and a photographer and a writer
Before he told me that you took my grandfather’s business
Kept it alive, kept it thriving, I then remembered one more thing

Once I was looking in the little kitchen and found a box
Of old black and white photographs, and I didn’t know where they came from
I asked you, you used to be a photographer, that you
Developed these pictures, that you took pictures

When you were in high school, this was the way you could be creative
It gave me my own snapshot of you, it helped me realize
These are the things we do to keep ourselves alive
It gave me one memory of you

Something I learned about you came to me through chance, first hand
This was how I learned more about you, and me
And I thank you for that

There have been so many changes that I have gone through in my life
So many things I could not explain
Learning about you, these tiny glimpses
It is as if I have taken these snapshots of your life

Now I can slowly piece this all together to make the picture complete
I know that life is not easy and that it all takes work
Your life has been difficult at times, your life has been rich as well
Your life has also made me rich, rich from you, from being a part of your life

When people compliment me, tell me that I am smart or talented
I know where the pieces came from that have made me whole
That have given this to me
And I thank you for that

Breaking Their Heart

“A close friend announces and important decision - a career change, a sudden move across the country, a sudden engagement. You know this is a terrible mistake. How do you tell them without breaking their heart?”

Who has a heart that is broken sometimes
and what does it take to break a heart

just to master one change in life
well, you have to be a master at that skill

and that whole “juggling different issues”
thing, it is next to impossible

i’ve been through a lot lately
and some of it was bad and some of it was worse

and in the process i’ve lost my job,
i’ve lost my car, i’ve lost my home

come to think of it, for the most part i lost
my freedom, i’ve almost lost my life

and some of that could be terrible,
i’ll give you that

and some of it can be refreshing
if you decide to look at things that way

because with all that can happen
you can be liberated with it all

who has a heart that is broken sometimes
and what does it take to break a heart

I Don’t Want To

I don’t want to make a million bucks
I don’t want to worry about beauty first
I don’t want to do everything myself
I don’t want to let everyone do things for me
I don’t want to help the poor
I don’t want to give up what I have earned

But I don’t think I earned this
I think I’m being punished
For a deed I did not committ

Who am I supposed to apologize to
Who am I supposed to accountable
Who am I supposed to forgive

I don’t want to think about the bad stuff
But some things are bad and some things are worse
And it keeps coming back to haunt me
And I don’t like it

I don’t want to live this way, and
I don’t want to keep paying for someone else’s sins

people tell me I’m being pessimistic
when I say I don’t want to
But at least it proves, at least,
That I am angry, and
That I live

What We Are Supposed To Do

I played with Barbies for years
I made clothes for the female dolls
I never thought about the fact
that their toes were always poinged
and their breats were always hard and plastic

maybe those pointed feet said something
about how women are always
supposed to stand on their toes
to make their legs look better for men
to make it harder for them to walk

I mean, how are you supposed
to go around in your life
always walking around on your tows?

maybe those pointed feet said something
about how being short is a bad thing
and being taller
like a man
is a better thing

maybe those plastic breasts said something
about plastic surgery
and how women should be better
how men want women with bigger breasts
how they want something they can look at
and odjectify
something to make them novel
and something less than a man

maybe those plastic breasts said something
about how breasts should be perky
and never sag
like having breasts actually do, if you have them
I mean, Barbies never had bras
because they never needed them
because well, they had eternally perky plastic breasts

and plastic skin
and a plastic head that was hollow in side
and a plastic everything

I can take a Barbis doll now
and squeeze her head
and it just crunches like well,
a big piece of plastic
because well, there’s nothing in there

I mean, aren’t girls not supposed to have brains anyway?

This was how we were trained
This is what we are supposed to do
and they still teach this

and I don’t know how to fight against
all these years of a slanted view
of how men view women
and how women view women

I can look at Barbies
and think that there is nothing inside of them
there is nothing real to them
and it is not the Barbie that bothers me
it is all of the ideas that come with it

Against My Will

There have been so many times
Where I have been raped

Not that some man
Some quote unquote man
Had physically held me down
Has forced himself inside me
Against my will

That way is just to obvious

Not the “someone tried
To beat me up” thing
Because that is old news

If you have done the research I have
If you have gone through what I have
If you have lived the life that I have

You know
I should be above this
I should be a feminist
With a capital fucking F

I guess with that in mind
I should not mind the cat calls
Or the whistles

Or the fact that the word “woman”
Is the word “man”
With a couple of letters tacked on

Like how “she is “he” with an “s”

Like we’re an extension of them

Or the fact that men
First look at me
By looking at my breasts
And not my eyes

I should be aware
That a woman with power
Instills fear
And a woman with power in a company
Can still be demoted outside of the company
Where she can still be down-played

I can handle the jokes
About being a blond
Or being dumb
Or being both
I can hear the line
Always said insultingly
That we HAVE to be irrational
Because we are so damn emotional

I mean
How can you trust something
That bleeds for five days every month
And doesn’t die?

If they want to brush off
Everything that makes us strong
If they say we can not hold a job
We will just depend on you for money
And work on our OWN jobs
On our OWN time
And stash enough away for our OWN little nest-egg

And how much money
are you boys going to have
when it comes to the end of your family line?
How much of a life
are you boys going to have
when it comes to the end of your family line?
How much happiness?

* Note that “Feminist with a capital F” is from a poem by Joanna Marshall. Also note that “End of your family line” is is reference to “The End of The Family Line” by Steven Morrissey.

What It Felt Like

i think i have felt it before
i think i remember touching it, and it was
well, it was soft, and warm, and fuzzy

that makes it sound like a blanket
but a blanket can only be warm for so long
and it never is long enough to cover you
and the cold air is always getting in
and you can feel the breeze
from where the blanket fails you

no, what i have felt before,
what i am sure i have touched before
is giving, and soft, and warm
but it doesn’t give too much
or it would disappear

it is kind of like cat’s fur
have you ever felt cat’s fur before?
when you glide you hand along a cat with the fur
it is like silk, it is very,
well, how do you describe it

don’t rub that cat fur the wrong way, though
because that’s when it fights againsty you

it does not hurt you or give way too easily
it satiates you into feeling that life is good again
and when nothing seems to do that for you
sometimes all you’ve got is love,
i mean, that feeling of warmth and softness

do you know what i am talking abot
i am sure i have felt that feeling before
i must have

Fighting I Can Do

I know this is a normal thing
for me to be going through

I know that I have been raped
and beaten
I know they’ve tried to kill me
and lucky me, I survived

I think I can survive
everything they throw at me

But as time wears on
little pieces of this statue are chipped away
everybody wants something, right?
well, they’ve been taking from me
and taking
and taking
and taking
and my defenses are getting weaker
and I don’t know how much more
I can do

Expecting the Stoning


you know how
you want a popsicle
and you want it for the longest time
and you don’t even know what it’s going to taste like when you get it
and then you finally get it
and it tastes oh so good
and you have some if it
and you want to save it so you can have it later
and then you realize
that in order to keep the popsicle from disappearing
it has to stay in the freezer
to avoid melting
and becoming just a liquid pile of remains
instead of what you wanted

that it had to stay in the freezer in order to survive
and you couldn’t stay there with it
that it was meant to be cold forever
or consumed

it was either one or the other
they taught you that fact when you were little
you can’t have it both ways

you can try
and it might be fun at first
but everyone knows it will hurt later on

and it will


I think what I liked the most about us
was the theory of romance

no, wait, it wasn’t that
it was the fact that it was forbidden
that you were a friend of a friend
and this wasn’t quote unquote supposed
to be happening

but I liked the idea of being with you
I would travel across the country to see you
the thought of you and the times we had behind everyone’s backs
those times were like poems to me
and maybe looking back we weren’t technically together
when we couldn’t even tell anyone that we we ever together in the first place
but it was still nice for me to fantasize

and what did it get me


maybe my problem was that it was all in my head
and maybe I didn’t realize
the novelty would wear off for you
that you were like the average American
and after twenty seconds of watching a television show
you’d want to change the channel with the remote on the arm of your chair

I didn’t know you were a popsicle that would melt
when you were exposed to ANY sunlight or ANY heat at ANY time

I didn’t know you had problems. don’t we all.
we all don’t go to psychiatrists and stay on medications
maybe I didn’t know how bad your problems were

I didn’t know you were a snowman
that I made in the backyard at my house in the winter when I was little
a snowman that was fully equipped with
a carrot nose, like pinocchio, no, wait, like you, with
no hair, like you, with
black rocks for eyes, like you

and yeah, that snowman melted with spring, like you
and maybe I should have learned my lesson
from that damned snowman

I guess there was a lot about you I didn’t know
because in so many ways I didn’t know you


I remember how little kids would want to build snowmen
in the winter
they didn’t seem to mind the snowman eventually going away

I hated the cold, so I didn’t play in the snow as much

maybe in playing those little games
everyone else learned their lesson, maybe they learned something
that I should have learned


I should expect the stonings that I am bound to receive
for telling you that I know what you have done
and that I want the rest of the world to know it too
I will expect the stonings
with time, I have been getting used to the punishments
for telling the truth, even when people don’t want to hear it
and I don’t want to be your savior
and I don’t want to be your prophet

I don’t want to be that for anyone

I think I am too cocky to be a good leader, anyway

so, thank you for getting my hopes up and then blowing them away
with one breath from your lips
like anyone would do to a pile of sand

or table salt spilled on the counter

because I think I needed to learn that lesson
and in a way, for now,
I only have you to thank for it

Number 136

I remember too vividly what it was like with you
what I would do for you
things things you would do for me

once we had dinner at your place
carry out
and you left a rose waiting for me at the table

you flew across the country to see me
you jokingly said in public
“We don’t care, we share”
even though I knew you never wanted to share me

I remember singing to you in the street
jumping around in a vat of soybeans with you
I remember planning my life with you
you gicing me gemstones and rings
I remember you wanting that

I sang to you at the amphitheatre
you were so infatuated with me
you always thought of me when that song played again

I made you dinner once
and caught you by surprise
by giving the meal to you on a stage

we had champagne on the roof of your house once
and you liked to take me around town
on your dirt bike
I never wanted to tell you that I met you
because I thought your friend was cute

you took time off work and flew to see me
you paid for a hotel
and shot pool with me
in a bar in new orleans like we weren’t tourists

and it’s funny
when I made the effort to see you
you suddenly got bored with me

am I getting my men confused?
who loved me? who did I love?
I guess it’s irrelevant

when your hot chocolate that just got hot
and has a little sprig of mint in it
and can keep you warm in the dead of winter
when you just need something there to savor
after a long hard day of work
and a long commute home in the snow

but I guess it’s irrelevant
when that hot chocolate
or spiced coffee, or fresh tea
or whatever the hell you want
that happens to keep you warn when you need it
it’s irrelevant
when the heat grows cold
and it’s the dead of winter
and you are counting on that warmth
and then it’s gone
just like that

the problem is
I would drive eighteen hours to see you
and you would suddenly be bored

and the problem is
I seem to like men
that live really far away from me
because I’m an idiot

and the problem is
most of the men i dated
really fell for me
and I never tried to do that
I’ve never tried to be a “man magnet”

geez, everyone thinks that
I was just a flirt
but guess it all boils down to
their differences
and how women and men act

but I don’t know what the problems were
and are
all I keep seeing is the ghost of you
telling me that I should have bought a lemon for home
or that I should have brought a shawl
to protect me from the wind
and I look in my room and I see your painting of me

and I can hear your voice now
you’re here in my home
you’re walking from room to room
and you’re telling me
“Why didn’t you let me make it?
What you need to do
is add more cranberry juice.
And the lemon twist is there for more than effect.”

Whether or Not It Is From Religion


“I’m ambidexterous. The nuns would hit my left hand
when I wrote because I was supposed to use my right hand.
When my right hand got tired when I
wrote a paper at home, I would just switch hands.”

Things are supposed to be a certain way,
aren’t they?
There can’t be anything different from the norm
you’ll have to abide by our rules

“who’s rules?” ours.
“I thought I was listening to God’s rules.”
We have interpreted God’s rules. It is for your own good.
“Doesn’t the Bible state that YOUR bahavior
and your changing the Bible
is wrong?”

That is when the child was shut up again.

Sometimes rules are needed to be instilled
They didn’t care how the rules would be enforced
even though they preferred swiftly
and angrily.


“She beat me because I spilled some milk.
She was showing me what Jesus would do.”

It is strange how people choose to instill the word of Christ
It is amazing how people get a “power trip”
by putting a ruler to someone’s hands

when you let someone else tell you that you can’t be married
when you let someone else tell you that you can’t have children
when you let someone else tell you that you can’t have sex
(well, isn’t that why they molest little boys?)
when you let someone else tell you that you can’t drink
when you let someone else tell you that you can’t have any fun
when you let someone else tell you that you can’t have your life back

wouldn’t you do your damnedest
to take a little bit of life away from everyone else

well, that is probably what they did
they will take every power trip they can get


“But when they go to a private school
they have better manners
than kids who went through a public school.
Kids just need that strict direction in their life.”

I knew a woman who went to a Catholic school
and she wore a ton of make-up
and she smoked and drank
and she screwed anything she could

I knew a woman who went to a public high school
and she was an honor student
and she was in a sport
and she never drank, and she never smoked
and she never did anything wrong
and she never went to church

maybe it is not religion
that keeps them in line
it could be that strictness
coming from anyone, like the parents, religions, or friends

it could be being raised with rules
or morals
or values
or standards

whether or not is is from religion
is irrelevant

All Your Fault

you know i could kick your ass
for not calling
for not showing you care
for moving across the country
for leaving me

you left me, you know,
let me repeat that, you left me
and that’s how i’ll remember it
nothing more, nothing less
and god damnit, i wanted a future with you
i planned it all in my head

and hindsight’s 20/20
i know i was a fool
but i still know it was your fault
and i won’t accept any other explanation

i’ve got to put my foot down on something, you know

and so i left you
and i thought that would surprise you

but you have so much on your mind
to worry ‘bout ‘lil ol’ me, don’t you

i wonder if you even knew i was there

there are many things i could have told you
and never did
and i want some kind of closure
so i can put you behind me forever
so i will no longer think
that i was your only hope


So I’ve got this gerbil
this hampster
this rat

and he’s running around
and he’s trying to get everything done
and he gets distracted
and he has to do something else

and runs somewhere else

it’s like that little monster
is in one of those circular wheel cages
and he’s running in circles
and he’s getting nowhere

and this is my life, you see
and this is my brain, you see

and this is what I go through
I don’t know how to explain it

that gerbil
that hamster
that rat
is still going in circles
and I can’t stop it
but maybe I should just take my hand
like the judge holding the gavel
and slam that damn thing down
and stop that damn circle
and stop this damn cycle
before it goes on any longer

After the Wreckage

I can’t leave this funeral that never seems to end
I can’t leave this funeral that, in a way, never started
And all I know is that I have been doing all of the mourning

And is that the way it goes?
Is someone mourning for you for too long
And you, the deceased, didn’t know anyone would care
And you, the deceased, didn’t know they were dead

So was it just me
Do I feel this alone

Does your spirit rise after the wreckage
And you watch from above
And see how everyone reacts
And see how I cry
And see how I suffer

Is this what you’re doing to me?

And now, after the funeral,
And I have to clean up the room
And I have to put away the flowers
And I have to escort the people out
Because they don’t deserve to be here
Because they don’t even clean up the mess

I should know by now
It’s still me
It’s only me
Isn’t it?
Is that the way it goes?

Lost in the Breeze

Well, wouldn’t you think of me anyway
We’ve had enough of a track record together to earn it
I have only seen you through my rose-colored glasses
I know you thought of me
On the most important day of my life

I know you thought of me
you did things for me
But a part of me asked for you there
Because it would matter to you

But the minute your obligations were met
Well, my name flew away like a feather on the breeze
Caught up in the wind
And then muffled noise
That was my night
And was my life
Was forgotten

I am grateful for what you have done
But all that I afraid I will carry with me
Is that you did what you felt you had to do
And then
Like my name, a muffle sound lost in the breeze
I left you
And you went on your way

Instead of Feeling Nervous

I didn’t know how many occasions would be obvious and apparrent.
I didn’t know how nice it would be to have you around,
even if I never made the effort to visit you. You know,
my sister said that it would be nice if I moved to where I grew up,
because even if we didn’t see each other all that often,
it was nice to know that I was close enough. I think of you now,
after I had moved toward you and then I moved away.
I think you’re ingrained in my head now, you and your stories,
you with the way you wanted to show yourself off
to people who didn’t like you, you who made fun of things
instead of feeling nervous about them. That is what I like
about you. I don’t know how to explain it any other way.

I remember you coming by when I was at work and you said
you were borrowing your dad’s jaguar, and you wanted
all of my coworkers to see it? ad i thought, well, okay, if they
have the time you this, and you wanted to point the car out to me
and I saw it out the window and I thought, yeah, that’s a car...
Once you gave me a ride in the car and well sure, it’s a nice car,
but it doesn’t win me over, that the theory here is that I’m
supposed to like you for who you are and not for how much
stuff you have, but... god, that makes me think of how
you would get into a huge argument with one of your friends
and you two would hate each other, and two weeks later you’d
make up because she apologized and all would be well again
and I knew in the back of my head that they got mad because
they didn’t like your attitude but they’d have to apologize
because they liked the perks of being frinds with a rinch kid.

I digress... sorry...

Once when you and a girl you were on a date with met me
at a fifties restaurant, and the waitress was insanely slow
and we couldn’t get her attention, so you took your paper napkin and
your plastic tropical drink knife and stabbed the paper napkin
into the straw and said you felt like macgyver because now you have
a rescue fag that we could use to flag down the waitress.

you see, these are my memories with you. they’re all a little above
and beyond the call of duty, but I guess that’s who you are.

We went to post prom one year while we were in college, ganged up
with friends we still had in college, and we ate at the top floor
of the john hancock building for dinner, and one of the high school girl dates
was afraid of heights... Well, they were all boyfriend and girlfriend, and
this was their prom. and they were doing something extravagant
and they didn’t want to mess anything up and look too young.
Versus you and I, of course, who knew everything at the ripe ol’
age of nineteen, and we were feeding each other portions of our food
and I think they were shocked with us but we weren’t interrupting anyone,
no one thought we were doing anything wrong, and lo and behold,
we were having fun. Go figure.

I don’t know, we had this habit of making fun of things that were
unfair to us - one guy that liked me, well, you made so much fun of him
that I’d be buckled over laughing, we’d comment on the rocks
silently asking for food because they must be starved
if they called the park “starved rock” park, and then there was this one guy
you know that said you were an athiest, and instead of confronting him
about it, you told me that no, you aren’t an athiest because you praised
that guy that said you were an athiest, and we would jokingly insert his name
and pray, “Our Steve, who art in Heaven...”

But what I think I remember the most is when I flew across the country
to see you and you were working, you got me a map and gave me a key
and told me to just do what you want t do, so I shopped,
and read in the sun, and toured the college and felt like someone assumed
for once
that I was entirely capable of making my own decisions
and being in charge of my own life. Which was nice.

What is my point from all of this? Well, that maybe memories
can seem poetic, but that it is nice when you don’t feel nervous through life
and you just make a point to live. How many people get a chance to do that?

Once Wanted You as my Friend

I should laugh about this. I know
that people will probably hear your stories
and think I was a bad and evil girl.
I don’t care. I didn’t want to be
a part of your life any more.
I wanted you as my friend
after I was falling apart
and I thought I had no one
and I wanted my life back
and because I believed you.
You told people I was your best friend
and you are a liar, plainly put.
I didn’t know you’d fuck
your best friend’s date. Hell,
fuck the guy for a month until
your neurotic ego can’t take it.
I don’t give a shit
about a year and a half
recovery from that
evil spell of yours
but I should never have forgiven you.
Maybe you need attention
from every penis you can get it from,
maybe you’re more of an attention whore
than I could ever be,
than anyone I know could ever be,
by my neurotic tendencies
didn’t keep me in my parent’s house
while I studied for another job
because I didn’t know what the Hell I wanted
and maybe my tendencies didn’t make me
lose my friends
or go through men like hand rags
or give me sexually transmitted diseases

and didn’t leave me fucking someone else
while I was engaged
“I’ve never orgasmed
while having sex with him,” you’d say
well, I don’t know what to tell you.
All I can think
is that you’ve made this bad
out of straw and fabric scraps
and I don’t care if it rained yesterday
and your precious bed smells like shit
and you’ve got nothing clean to grab on to
well, you’ve made that bed
and now you have to lie in it.
so have a good night’s sleep
while you try to make sense
of what you think is insane
God, the only insane thing
is that your man still puts up with you
or how much of your story
haven’t you told him?

So yes, I should be laughing
because you’re the one filled
with so many questions. Please,
for your own benefit,
for OUR own benefit,
get them figured out.

I wanted to cut off ties from you sooner
but I would have had to lose one of my
closest friends in the process
and we couldn’t have that (of course not).
But I’m glad your warped mentality
misconstrued what I said
and that is exactly what you did
nothing more, nothing less
but you at least got the idea
because no, I don’t want to be a part
of your life any longer
and I don’t want to openly condone
what you’ve done to your man
and what you’re doing to your man
and I want to walk away from this unscathed

so I think I will.

Gears Get Caught in the Mud

I’ve wanted to be so much for you
I’ve wanted to to cook your meals
and clean your clothes
And even wanted it to surprise you
I’ve wanted to do things
To catch you off guard
To beat your intelligence

And once I want to start
My gears gets caught in the mud
And they start spinning
And I try to get them out
But I usually never learn
And I spin them and some more
And I get further buried in the ground
And it’s like I’m digging my own grave
By spinning my own wheels
And trying so hard
To be everything to everyone,
No, wait, to you

I’m trying to be so much
And do so much
I’m trying to accomplish so much
But I’m spinning my wheels
And I’m burying myself
And I want you to know
(At least)
That I’m trying

Holding My Skin Together

is life pre-ordained?
i’ve been trying to remember
all the little details
that i’m supposed to take care of
and i know i’m not even getting
half of them done
and i wonder if you feel what i feel
is it just me
is the stuffing falling out
of my insides
through the stretched seams
holding my skin together
because i keep finding
bits of stuffing fallen out
and i try to put it back in
but damnit, i don’t see the holes
and i just have to work faster
so that maybe
i’ll have a better chance
of not losing my insides

is it just me?
but i’ll keep frantically trying
to hold myself together
so i can be a bit more normal,
no, wait,
so i can be a bit more like myself
and i won’t have to be pre-ordained

People’s Lives Were at Stake

I know everyone was talking about it and after the fact
you’d hear the reports on the news about the damage done

and you’d think that we were in a war zone and that all of this
was done for religious purposes and people’s lives were at stake

and maybe they were and I just don’t know it. I don’t know. I
know what it’s like to have a cause but I never tried to

close people out to it, I tried to include them, to open them
up to it, but I remember deciding once to walk to a woman’s parade

called “take back the night”, so that people knew that women
should feel safe walking alone in the streets at night without

worrying about being mugged or raped or killed because they were
female. Well anyway, I was walking to the parade to take

photographs because I’m a photographer, and a group of women
were walking in a group to the parade, so I walked down the street

and started walking with them, and they were chanting and singing
and I thought, wow, this is unity, people together for a cause.

and one of the women told me while we were walking that someone
women there didn’t like me walking with them because I was white

and they were African American. and I looked around and noticed
that there wasn’t a racial mix, and I said, well, we’re all going to the same

place, and the woman replied, well, some people don’t like you
walking with us anyway. so I turned my head and let them walk

and I crossed the street and took another block and got there before them.
and this is how we define how we should be separated, I suppose,

though I still don’t understand it. and during that parade I heard
about a trial case where a black man was convicted of a police brutality

crime, and the black community was outraged, saying that
the white man was holding them down, and maybe in a way they are right

and I just don’t understand it. a large group of people started their own
rally that night which seemed to take center stage from women’s rights,

i mean, they’re just women, what are they going to do, bitch a little louder,
or complain a little more, but then again, maybe it is just a matter

of deciding who has the loudest voice, or who has the most recent problem
to complain about, I don’t know. we went out that night, and I heard

the next day that in light of the trial 23 fires were started
on school property, and most of them were of books in libraries

and I thought, this isn’t nonresistent violence, this is out and out violent
and what they’re destroying are opportunities for learning and not ideas.

“yeah, but do these books hold what the white man wants you to learn?
if this how he alters our preceptions?” i don’t know, but this doesn’t

solve anything and this isn’t the answer... then I heard about one of my
best friends, a white man, hit once by a black man in the street

while they were out that night, and the doctor said that they had to have
a roll of quarters in their hand or brass knuckles because this was a clean break

of their jaw and for six weeks his jaw was wired shut and he had to throw pizza
or meat loaf in the blender so he could eat something instead of ice cream

while he tried to recover. and I thought, is this all getting anything done?
are we coming any closer to racial harmony? what are we learning from this?

Change My Perspective

god, i do these favors for other people
and they’re not making me a ton of money
and these people i do favors for complain so much
and i was asked why i do it
and it’s not as if the work excites me any more
so my answer was that i do it
primarily so i could expand my own collection
of what i have done
but why am i doing it?
is that my end goal?

and someone replied to me,
saying they knew of a story
where a bunch of bricklayers
were laying brick to build a cathedral
and someone asked a few people what they were doing
and most of the men said that they were laying brick
and one man said he was building a cathedral

and when they replied to me,
when they told me this,
they said that
it is all a matter of perspective

so now i have to figure out how to change my perspective
or be happy with it, and sometimes
i don’t know how

My Dead Daughter

I keep getting this image in my head
of a little girl, and she has long straight dark hair
and she is quiet and she comes to me and asks me questions
and I am working, but I turn around to answer her
and she sounds really intelligent
and I treat her that way and I answer her like an adult
and then I wonder if I’m not spending enough time with her
so while I’m answering I turn off my computer
and I turn around to her and I continue to look at her
I make a point to make eye contact when I communicate with her
and I get up so we can walk to the library
as I finish answering her question
and we get to the library and I ask her
is there is anything else she wants to know
because I want to be the one to tell her the truth
and she says no
she says she doesn’t need anything
and underlyingly she makes me feel as if she doesn’t need me
and I think,
I gave birth to that girl, she has to need something from me

and maybe she’s a smart girl
and maybe she’s learned to do things on her own
maybe she does all the things I have had to do in my life
maybe she understands more than I ever did

but these are my memories
these are the memories of something that has never happened
and will it ever?

I always imagined a girl
maybe that’s the maternal side of me,
being a mom and knowing women
but I never knew who the father was
and I never got her name, whenever I would have these memories

maybe she never had one

Grab the Other’s Neck

I don’t know where to start
I don’t know where all these feelings come from
I don’t know how to stop them

These feelings seem to come rushing up to me
And I don’t seem to have any control over them

And I hate myself for this
And I’m not supposed to be having these urges
And I hate myself for thinking that you may want me too

You know, I don’t know much of anything about you
And I guess you don’t know much about me
But I like what I know
Because in some respects you seem like me
Yes, I like what I know
That you work too much
And have too much drive
And you have a wild side
And you do your best to keep your wild side in check

And I still want to
Be able to straddle you
Take off your glasses
Mess up your hair
So you get strands falling around your eye
touching your cheek
And touching you
To remind you of me
And grab the hair at the back of your head
And cock your head back
Just so I can see your mouth starting to open
Because God, I want to see that
And it would make me know I’m right
And it makes me know that you want me too
And I’d let your hair go
And you would stare at me
And give me a look I just can’t explain
And can’t argue with
And have to submit to

And when I want this
I would wonder
Who would grab the other’s neck
For the kiss

I still don’t know who would make that move
Or who could make that move
So I’m begging you to start this cycle
I’m pleading you
I don’t want to be the only one with these fantasies

Tell these stories to me
Tell me you’ve thought these things too
Tell me you know that we’re both stuck
Because you know there’s nothing we can do

And I know this too

But I’d like to hear you say it
To validate my fantasies, in a way,
Because I’d love to hear you talk that way to me

I’m a sucker for that, you know

But tell me I’m not alone in this
So I’m begging you
I’m pleading you
Tell me I’m not insane for thinking about you
Tell me you have these fantasies too

Scars 2000


An Admiral, A General
A high-ranking military official
when you get somewhere in the military
when you grease the right wheels
when you climb the corporate ladder
when you get as high as you can

when you make your graceful exit
when you ‘ve been adorned with pins
and medals
and badges of honor
and you’ve got all your stripes on your sleeve

when you accomplish it all
and when you retire

well, then what?


the effeccts of age are getting to me

my vision is shot to hell
my contacts kill me and
my glasses are so old
they’re only half the strength of my prescription
so when i look at things
i notice the blur more than
i notice the detail

my senses of taste and smell are shot to hell
i throw so much garlic on food for flavor
that i offend my friends and family
and i can’t even smell
when i smell
i mean, cologne is lost to me

my one ear is closed most of the time
and it feels like i’ve got water in my ear
and it hurts for me
to hear myself even breathe
damnit, i can’t even sing any more
and do one of the things
i actually like to do
i try to hear beautiful sounds
but people are usually talking over it instead
and all i can hear
is their incessant bickering and whining

and god damnit, i try to enjoy something
every once in a while
and something more irritating
is usually in the way

you know, i’d rely on writing
but for a while, i couldn’t even do that
and what do you have then?

i can feel it in my left ankle
like i can’t carry weight like i could any longer
and my left knee keeps cracking and popping
and my sister says,
you know,
you’ve got the ‘kuypers’ knees
and i guess the kuypers have bad knees
and i was always unaware of that

the knuckle in my right thumb
has been swollen for over a decade
and even the doctors can’t find anything wrong

and whenever i write
i grip the pen so tight
that my fingers hurt
and all i can feel
is the ache in my joints


and whenever i look down
and see the scars on my body
and i should be proud of some
and some would say that i should be proud
of surviving some traumas
and having the scars to prove it
but all i see are the scars
and all i feel are the aches and pains

is this what scars do to you?
or is it the memory
of surviving the trials
and getting the scars
and is THIS what you have to show
for everything you’ve done
are these your pins and military stripes
you get after you accomplished your goal?

because what do you do
when you’re retired
do people care about your medals of honor
or do you earn so many
that they just weigh you down?

I’m a Record now

I feel like I’m a record now

you know how vinyl goes
That there is a ridge, trailed in circles
That groove that the needle can easily slip into

Well, I feel like I am that record now
And the needle of life is in me
And it is playing my story
And I am stuck on this record player
At this certain speed
And I can’t get the needle out of the groove
And my life is being played out for me
For everyone to hear
And see
And live
And they don’t feel a God-damned thing
But they claim to know how I feel
But that needle is stuck there
And the R P M has been set on the player
And now my life is an open book
And now my life is a playing record

And people can choose to read the book
And people can choose to listen to the music

And sometimes that excites me
Sometimes that fascinates me
And sometimes that scares me

Because I wonder if people who listen know too little
Or too much


I wasn’t a popular grade-school kid,
things were thown at me,
I was knocked down once,
so I knew kids could be cruel.
But once I waslked to a swingset at recess
and Joy sat there alone.
She was teased
because she was overweight.
So I asked her why she was alone.
She turned her arm so I could see
the two-inch long bruise there.
She then got up and started to speak
and turned and lifted the back of her shirt.
She said some kids started hitting her
with the chains from the swingset;
then I saw her back.
I could see how the foot-long bruises
matched perfectly with the metal chains.

I didn’t know what to say.
These chains are for swings
so children could play.
This swing, this tool for joy
became a tool for unjust punishment.

Fantastic Car Crash

and our life is one big road trip now
and we set the cruise control
and make our way down the expressway.

and most of the time we’re just moving
in a straight line, and the scenery
blurs. there’s nothing to see

but I know what’s inside you and I
know what you’re made of. I know
there’s no such thing as a calm with you

you are a fantastic car crash. you stop
traffic in both directions as the gapers gawk and
the delay grows and they slow down and stare

everything shatters with you, you know.
it’s a spectacular explosion. I try
to duck and cover as metal flies

through the air. and every time you leave
the scene of the accident
I am left picking up the shards of glass

from the windows. you know, the glass breaks
into such tiny little pieces. they look like
ice. it takes so long to pick up the pieces

even though I’m careful
I’m still picking up the pieces
and I’m still on my knees

and the glass cuts into my hands
and the blood drips down to the street.
think of it as my contribution

to this fantastic car crash
that is you, that is me, that is us
as I pull the glass from my hands

and I wave my hand to the line of traffic:
go ahead, keep driving, this happens
all the time, there’s nothing to see here

the Battle at Hand

I wanted you to know
that I was on a mission when I saw you
and that I was a warrior
and you were just a helpless victim
that couldn’t fight my weaponry

that wouldn’t fight my weaponry

I would come in to town
and pillage and rape
and rape and pillage
depending on how you put it

and rape is such a hard word, you know,
entirely inappropriate for this
because I made sure that you wanted me
before it was all over
because I have a knack for doing that
when I fight my battles

this is how I care to think of you.
I was on a conquest
and I came fully equipped with ammunition
I had bayonets
I had a rifle
with rounds of bullets in a chain
thrown over my shoulder
I had a .22 caliber magazine loaded hand-gun

I didn’t even need to use the hand-grenade
or the tear gas

even before I started using my tongue as a weapon with a kiss
I used it as a weapon with words
and I knew I had won you won over from the start
you looked at me when I spoke
and I think you might have actually wanted to listen to me

and I would never have to resort to violence
to get what I wanted from you

we seldom had opportunities before
and there wasn’t much of an opportunity here
but we made one
and we somehow made it work

I know I wasn’t ready for a battle before
but I want you to know
that I came ready to fight
and I didn’t care the circumstance
or whether or not we had to be quiet
because we wouldn’t want anyone to find out
and no one did

and no, it was not a momentous moment in my life
it was just a moment
a conquest, a battle,
and in my own mind,
I won the war

you still thought I was beautiful
and that I was horny
did I create a little monster in you?
now I’m going to have to re-arm myself
and use my stockade of defenses to push you away

but that is the cost of winning battles all the time, I guess

you thought I would always want you
and you know, I liked winning the battle,
but I’ll have to work again
so that you don’t come back to haunt me
because we weren’t meant to be anything to each other
and you were just a conquest for me
a battle won

people thought we would never get along.
but I know better
I know there is no such thing as NOT getting along with me
and I know I can make anyone like me
as I did with you

you were easy prey, you know.

True Happiness in the New Millennium

“I ain’t never found peace upon the breast of a girl
I ain’t never found peace with the religions of the world
I ain’t never found peace at the bottom of a glass

Sometimes it seems the more I ask for the less I receive
Sometimes it seems the more I ask for the less I receive
The only true freedom is freedom from the heart’s desires
And the only true happiness this way lies”
- Matt Johnson

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
I’m the new savior the savior of science
        the savior of strength
        the savior of survival
        survival of the fittest
        and I’m here to tell you we’re starting anew
so fasten your seat belts
        hang on to your hats
place your seat trays in their upright and locked position
for it’s a bumpy ride, and I’ll tell you why

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
the millennium of reason and logic and strength
and I don’t want to hear about your self-destruction
I don’t want to hear your whining, psychosis,
your depression, suicide, alcohol and drugs
and just what made you think that playing with needles
and escape would make things better somehow
        God, I’ve always hated needles anyway
            what is it with you people

well, you need a leader and I’m stepping up to the plate
you keep asking for a big brother and I’m here to set you straight
you want someone to wipe your noses for you
well, pick up the damn tissue and do it yourself
because when you give up your rights, you take away mine
and we’re not having any of that

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
and you say to me you need crystal meth
            so you can stay awake through work
and you say to me that you don’t need to drink,
            that you just like the taste
and you say to me that with all your escapism
            you still don’t feel any better
and you say to me that sometimes suicide
            is the only answer

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
I’m here to usher in a whole new generation
so stop asking for things and start working for things
because X is for ecstasy as long as it’s fast
and X is for extra but there’s always a cost
and ecstasy doesn’t come without extra work
no matter how many corners you cut
and you know, X is for X-Ray and I see right through that

they say that Eve ate from the tree from knowledge
but you know, she shouldn’t have stopped just then
cause the loggers are raping the trees of knowledge
the loggers are raping the forests of talent
the forests of ability        the forests of reason
of skill        of logic        perseverance        and life
we’re letting them rape the forests of excellence
and you know it’s now time to take it all back
because I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
and I’m here to tell you how it’s going to be done

you’re looking for peace in all the wrong places
you’re asking your leaders to save you from yourself
but your leaders are losers and they’re worse off than you

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
where it’s time to take charge and it’s time fess up
only you can deliver you from your own sins
but first you must know what sin really is

it’s time to make choices and it’s time to lay claim
to everything we’ve been blindly giving away
because I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
take charge of yourself, and I’ll take charge of me
I’m my leader, not yours, so wipe your own damn noses

take it in to your hands, people, mold your own tools
this is the new millennium, and this is your chance
because no one should be showing us how to fail
people mastered that feat a millennia ago
so set your own rules and do something fast
cause it’s time to take charge and it’s time to be alive

I’m here to usher in a whole new millennium
And I’m waiting for you to usher in yours
Because true happiness this way lies, my friend
and I won’t wait long if you lag behind
cause I’m setting my rules so step out of my way

I’m here to tell you there’s a new sensation
and I’m here to tell you there’s a new salvation
and that true happiness this way lies


About The Author

    Janet Kuypers (June 22, 1970), graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana with a degree in News/Editorial Communications Journalism (with computer science engineering studies). She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing.
In the early 1990s she was an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and edited two literary magazines.
JK     Since she got fed up with her job as the art director, webmaster and photographer of a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago, Janet Kuypers, to relieve the stress:
    (a) vents her angst musically with acoustic bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds and Flowers” and “the Second Axing,” does music sampling and learns to play the guitar,
    (b) writes so much that she irritates editors enough to get her published in books, magazines and on the internet over 6,300 times for writing or almost 1,900 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation,
    (c) turns her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like “Pointless Orchestra,” “Order From Chaos” & “5D/5D,”
    (d) in order to make her feel like a big shot she publishes eight books:
    Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window. Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.), Autumn Reason, the Average Guy’s Guide to Feminism, Contents Under Pressure, and eventually Changing Gears and The Key To Believing,
    (e) gets tired of thinking about her own pathetic life, so runs a non-profit publishing company in her spare time, where she does internet work and book design, and edits a few literary art magazines so she can read and broadcast other people’s depressing stories,
    (f) performs spoken word and music, both locally and across the country - on the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam, in 2003 she hosted and performed weekly at a poetry and music open mic, and starting in 2002 was a featured performer, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images,
    or (g) all of the above.
    When doing all of that wasn’t enough, she decided to quit her job and travel around the United States and Mexico, writing travel journals (Changing Gears) and writing her first novel (The Key To Believing). Then she dove back into intricate web design and engineering, incorporating video, sound clips, writings and e-books on line.

poetry, Etc.

Copyright Janet Kuypers. All rights reserved. No material may be reprinted without express permission.