Three Grains of Paradise

Three grains of paradise
remain in an abandoned
vessel, longing to be
summoned home.  Golden
brown edges caress
colorless fragments as eyes
await the epilogue.

Three grains of paradise
up in the air;
Father, Mother, Brother

Violent squalls water cotton
carnations.  Her tongue shall
not taste Inari’s holy harvest
even though hunger has come
to call.

On an unrelenting winter’s day,
three grains of paradise
covered in clay…


Five For My Eye: IV

Our Lady lights the way
shift is done, but before
the fun, four flagging
feet round the
corner and
stop under a streetlamp
for a smoke of

Is that her apple
in my pocket?

Face to chin under a
shorn Pegasus,
heels scrape down
on cold curb in front of
the obsidian twin who
prowls nearby.

Fingertips graze
tough red skin

Damp bodies huddled
in doorways and
ecstasy hold down
night with hot
sloppy kisses; without
them this street would
vanish – but this is

Sweetness rolls over
parched lips.

What crime shall
to this place
when souls of
the city can
barely stand?


This is the fourth installment in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.

Wash Day

That blanket that spins in the drum
bears secrets that only my lips
are longing for.  As the washer hums
and grunts, the lavender strips
of cloth underneath my fingers sigh
when the brush strikes them with fury.
He chose to sidestep these empty eyes.
Now I stand, blanketed in worry.


edited after initial posting

Left Behind

Flowing through the
thickest water to get
back home.
stone by stone
head by head
The conductor says
I’ve been left behind.
At least I saw her smile.

Do you know what the
slap of stale breath
against cotton at 4:18
in the morning sounds

12 hours of parceled sighs
packed and planned in
a head
so full of nothing that
it would make you scream
to the sky for the offense
of it all.

Sleep was never the answer.