At four, she raced to the next door

“I live with lizards, and snakes, and other things that go bump in the night, and I dress this way just to keep them at bay, ’cause Halloween is every day.” – (Every Day Is) Halloween

At four, she raced to the next door

No! I don’t want to go –
it’s dark there where the walls are leering
candlelight splashed across the ceiling and floor
remains of a blood sacrifice?
– I don’t want to be next.

Suddenly she is gone!
Beckoning me to follow in her chiffon trail
she runs into the blackness vanishing from view
what then can I do
race into the unkonwn?

The darkness opens up
red garish light seeps through a crack
one long ghoulish hand slowly snakes out.
Will it grab her, draw her in?
Candy drops into her pumpkin.

Astoria, OR 2006
Originally published in Rain, 2006

samhain 2000

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seventeen wands: a tarot reading

“well, if you want to sing out, sing out. if you want to be free, be free. ’cause there’s a million things to be. you know that there are.” – ‘if you want to sing out’

seventeen wands: a tarot reading

the way is blocked
a fool leaps yet
a mother’s love
a priestess’ words
wake valour’s fiery wand
calling the hornéd maiden
to complete a syzygy
joy in love and life
swift now, send word!
bear the wands of victory

– austin, tx; 17june2015

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romanus pontifex: enslavement, discovery and the legal precedence for owning others

“until the philosophy that holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war. that until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation, that until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, there is a war. ” – ‘war’

a found poem using texts including the Papal Bull on Discovery, Romanus Pontifex, Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, as well as documents pertaining to the sexual enslavement of women.


Romanus Pontifex: Enslavement, Discovery, and the Legal Precedence for Owning Others

contemplating with a father’s mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them

one tribe told a story, it became the book to rule a continent, one wholly cruel crusade to kill brotherly love by a million cuts

a deeply rooted practice. children are owned by the same people who own their parents, to be used or sold

for the sake of a game of intangible souls, all of the world’s people less than pawns in a chess match

negotiated with the Pope and offered to propagate the Christian faith in the new countries


like athletes and intrepid champions of the Christian faith, as we know by the evidence of facts, not only restrain the savage excesses of the Saracens and of other infidels,

to slack their blood lust on other distant peoples, so as to not have the christian nations of europe eat one another to sate this hunger

some captives “drowned themselves in the water; others thought to escape by hiding under their huts; others shoved their children among the seaweed.

all those lives lived out the same, they loved, they fought, the cared for their own in sickness and in death, they all bleed the same, we all mourn alike.

The Papal bull Romanus Pontifex of 1455 served as the basis of legal arguments for taking Native American lands by “discovery”, and continues to do so today


vanquish them and their kingdoms and habitations, though situated in the remotest parts unknown to us, and subject them to their own temporal dominion, sparing no labor and expense

their gold and gems, rich stores of artifice made from impossible bounty all taken from them by force, by deceit, by enslavement

nothing to be heard but the rattling of chains, smacking of whips, and the groans and cries of our fellow-men

to use them until their bodies break as labor to build cathedrals to a loving god, for this is his beneficence to the world, a reward to the faithful

the rights of conquest and discovery were followed in all western nations including those that never recognized papal authority


in order that those kings and princes, relieved of all obstacles, may be the more animated to the prosecution of so salutary and laudable a work

they offer these up as sacrifice, for it is pleasing to god, to kill them, to drive them beneath a heel,to take from them these lands for the one true church.

The entombed there are utterly mute, the fact of their existence as fragile as a scent in wind.

for what are they but empty vessels, soulless, cast from the sight of a god, shown no christian charity for they will never enter heaven

as a result of European discovery of lands not owned by Christians, the ownership and rights to the lands went from the original European conquerors to the Americans by treaties made with the European conquerors


to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies

this is the task god sets before them, to teach them not of salvation, but tongues cut their mouths to mute any praise of their false gods

literacy plays in the life of a slave as a source of some kind of power, the ability to read about the outside world, the ability to communicate with the outside world is a way to put cracks in the police state

they are dust motes in a path to glory, such lands as they found, such wealth they stole are a proof of the power of god’s love in their lives

they had no say in these discoveries or treaties, nor any rights as non-Christians to the right of title to the land


all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery,

they are blunt instruments to god’s will in their hands, savages, infidels, pagans, they are naught but obstacles in a path to god’s rewards

Escape from sexual abuse by a white owner or overseer was one strong impetus for enslaved women to flee.

they took from them their children, even those conceived in the rape of conquest, forcing them all to labor unto death

discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy either by purchase or by conquest


to convert them to his and their use and profit

for it is god’s will that all the lands, all the peoples, all the earth should be subdued

practical techniques which use detailed examination of a female slave’s thoughts, emotions and past experiences to establish and maintain a solid and inescapable state of ownership

none would gainsay them, for here was the seal with which god’s blessing sanctioned all their deeds

the basis for federal Indian law since 1823


they had no say in these discoveries or treaties, nor any rights as non-Christians to the right of title to the land

nothing but products of the land, to be seized, to be sold, to be disposed of, their labor, their possessions, their lives grist for a growing market

the comfort women’s plight as a female wartime slavery system was denied, instead they labeled the women as prostitutes who had volunteered their services as a part of the war effort

god’s wars waged against women, against the heathen, against the saracen, against any that stood in the way of profit and plunder, making room on the ledger for tallying god’s souls, god’s gold.

discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy either by purchase or by conquest

austin, tx: february 2013

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the fireflies were out this evening

“there’s a message to your movements
that really gets my goat” – ‘gut feeling’

the fireflies were out this evening

the fireflies were out this evening
and a toad the size of your fist
       jumped out
             near the disc golf
                                       tee off
we shared a few slippery syllables
then scurried for a basket and a hole
venus brightened in the darkening sky

pearl street co-op, 03oct2007

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escaping a freeze (barely)

“you are a butterfly and my eyes are needles/ the cold has your breast and my hands are on fire.” – ‘pulling touch’


escaping a freeze (barely)

peach blossoms
the lawnmower chorus
will shout down
singing birdsong

Posted in 2010-9, 2014, ecology | Tagged , , , ,

An Tobar

Bríd is coming. Welcome Bríd. Bríd is here! An Tobar “Cuirfidh sé bri ionat agus beatha,” arsa sean-Bhrid, faghairt ina súile ag tabhairt babhla floruisce chugam as an to bar is glaine i nGleann an Átha. Tobar a coinníodh go slachtmhar ó ghlúin go gluín, oidhreacht luachmhar an teaghlaigh cuachta istigh I gclúid foscaidh, claí cosanta ina thimpeall leac chumhdaigh ar a bhéal. Agus mé ag teacht i méadaíocht aneso i dtús na seascaidí ní raibh teach as chomharsanacht gan a mhacasamhail de thpbar óir cúis mhaíte ag achan duine an t-am adaí a fholláine is a fhionnuaire a chionnīodh sé tobar a mhuintire: ní ligfi sceo air ná smál is dá mbeadh rian na ruamheirge le feicáil ann, le buicéad stáin dhéanfai é a thaoscadh at an bhall is gach ráithe lena choinneáil folláin chumhraítí é le haol áithe. Uisce beo biogúil fioruisce glé a d’fhonisgh i dtobar ár dteaghlaigh. I gcannai agus i gcrúiscini thóg siad é lá I ndaidh lae agus nuair a bhíodh íota tarta orthu i mbrothall an tsamhraidh thungadh fliuchadh agus fuarú daofa i bpáirceanna agus i bportaigh. Deoch ice a bhí ann fosta a chuir ag preabadaigh iad le haoibhneas agus mar uisce ionnalta d’fhreastail ar a gcás ó bhreith go bás Ach le fada tá uisce reatha ag fiaradh chugainn isteach ó chonic i bhfad uainn is i ngach cisteanach ar dhá thaobh an ghleanna scairdeann uisce as sconna uisce lom gan loinnir a bhfuil blas searbh súlaigh air is I measc mo dhaoine tá tobar an fhíoruisce ag dul i ndíchuimhne. “Is dosilgh tobar a aimsiú fao láthair,” arsa Brid, ag líonadh an bhabhla athuair. “Tá siad folaithe i bhfeagacha ahus bhféar, tachtaithe ag caileannógach agus cuiscreach, ach in ainneoin na neamhairde go léir níor chaill siad a dhath den tseanmhainach. Aimsigh do thobar féin, a chroí, óir tá am an anáis romhainn amach: Caithfear pileadh arís ar na foinsí.” – Cathal Ó Searcaigh The Well “It’ll set you up for life’, said old Bríd, fire in her eyes, handing me a bowl of well-water, the cleanest in all Gleann an Átha from a well kept by her people’s people, a family heirloom tucked away in a secluded spot with a ditch like a moat around it and a flagstone for a lid. When I was coming into my own back in the early sixties here, there wasn’t a house around without the same sort of well; everyone was well chuffed then about how clean and healthy theirs was kept and wouldn’t let a speck of dust cloud its silver lining; and if a hint of red-rust was found, they bailed it out right away using a tin bucket; then to keep their well sweet freshened it regularly with kiln-lime. From our family well sprang bright clearwater full of life. With tons and crocks, they dipped into it day after day and any time their throats were parched by summer’s heat, it slacked and soothed them in fields and bogs – a true pick-me-up that set them hop, skip, and jumping for joy, cleansing them all their lives. For a long time now, running water snakes towards us from distant hills and in every kitchen, both sides of the glen, water spits from the tap, drab lackluster water that leaves a bad taste in the mouth while among my people the real thing is forgotten about. Bríd once said ‘it’s hard to find a well these days’, as she filled up another bowl. ‘They’re hidden I’m the bulrushes and grass, choked by weeds and green scum but for all the neglect, they’ve lost not a drop of their true essence. Find your own well, my lad, for the arid times to come. They dry up who steer clear of sources.’ – Frank Sewell (translator)

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la ré refrigerator poem

“breakfast, good morning everybody, sun is up and there’s lots of toast-n-jelly.” – ‘postcard from a dream (toast and jelly)’

la ré refrigerator poem

go whisper a wet kiss
of hard shine ceremony
crave the forest style like
some diamond union

we live between lives only
to transform with feeling
never bewail giving love
use playfull joy

chant at and sing
to the sun
shower these gilded worlds
with life

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