At the book release show, April 2019. Photo by Marie Haddad

The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations

Through prose that is as beautiful as it is gut-wrenching, Wann’s authenticity lets you see the singular person behind the poetry while the themes she addresses will speak to you directly in one way or another.

“While mortality and fatalism are poetry’s bread and butter, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a poet who was able to tap into these emotions so lovingly and realistically.”
Seth Combs, San Diego City Beat

“Wann writes about many small things in a big way, a writer fascinated with being alive in the world.”
Ted Burke, San Diego Troubadour

Get your copy of my book “The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations” at any of these sites:

Puna Press (my publisher)
AK Press (another distribution avenue)


A selection of work:
all work © Lizzie Wann 2011

A New Leaf
Heavy fog piled in last night
But still the earthy strong scent of geraniums
Rose up through it
To settle in my writing room
Where I sat with the light off

The lilies I’d thrown out that morning
Left a lingering sweetness
In the dining room
Where I rarely eat

These small breakthroughs
Into my passive observations
made me realize
I’ve taken to postponing happiness
Instead of meeting grace at the door
I have let her knock until she tires, finally gives up,
like a kid selling chocolate bars to get to Disneyland
I pretend I don’t hear her, silently urge her to please go away
Convince myself that I just don’t need what she offers
Pretend that I still have plenty from the last time she was around
Unwilling & afraid to open the door, to learn what she might offer next

Like Scrooge’s ghosts she would illustrate
those moments—the tiny, rich seconds it takes
to press my lips to yours, precious hours
to touch, sound of a child’s genuine laugh,
geraniums & lilies leaving their aromas in
my rooms, how you taste, the way a long stretch
of road looks ahead—
as bits of joy that I have overlooked

somewhere along the way
it became more difficult
more dangerous to count on
those joys to get me through
until I came to not trust
they might do just that

in an effort to reverse my continued postponements
I’ll keep buying flowers
to perfume my small rooms
I’ll cook more often
and remember that writing
has never let me down

and next time grace approaches the threshold
I’ll have a glass of wine in hand when I answer the door

he likes to know what the sky is doing
to understand the movement of wind
its origin or its destination
how it sweeps down from Alaska into California
and over to Texas
brings winter

when it approaches
he wants to know if he should keep his door locked against it
or maybe leave the door ajar, to let whatever forces come in
or if he should swing it open wide
so the winds have to cross his threshold
to get where they’re going
re-shape his living in the process

he is aware of air traffic over Los Angeles
lights line the sky
mark a pattern of arrival
against fixed outlines of myths

he notices shapes of clouds
how they are lit from western sunlight
points them out to me as a reminder of everyday poetry

he curves his arm around my waist
like the arc of a plane on final approach

Another Poem for Jane
poet at work
hair graying
in graceful swaths
glasses perched on nose
hands on typewriter

before illness
in love

sweet Jane
you cupped
one side
of your face
in your hand
as you posed

I didn’t
until now
but I do
the same thing

Apple in Winter
spaces bathed in steam & candlelight
distant notes of jazz
frozen star-cicles
snow threatening outside
almost melancholy
winter creeping in under door

caught in its spell
clean air against city lights
& a lover
guarding another from champagne chill

someone laughs from down in the city
it carries like silver dancing in your pocket
to rest beside the bed
somewhere between love & longing
it’s a touch, it’s a movement
from soul to breath

a hunger is fed
heart & honey mind content
skin warm from pleasure
sleep, like snow moving in
to blanket city & lovers
tonight in November
with a hush so still
to beckon the timid to rejoice
return to recluse with peace

At Her Request
at her request
I write

she predicts imagery
of airplanes & women
he agrees
and now I have
proven them right

I have taken down the tree
thought of Jane
in the home she shared with Donald
how they lived in it together
and apart
both writing
inspired by each other
and what they saw
from their windows

I haven’t taken in
my own windows themselves yet
to even go beyond them
but I can hear
the planes descending
coming home

there should always be
a garage band playing somewhere
when a plane lands
music that has roots, is grounded
at departure-opera
arias rising to the clouds

On New Year’s Eve
I took a picture of the house
where Janis Joplin lived
in San Francisco, off the panhandle
I’m still not sure why
maybe when it is developed
I’ll recognize something of her
see a strand of her hair
dripping down from the eaves

this poet’s wine of late
has been Jameson whiskey
but he says, “Send me a poem,
I’m thirsty.”
So I raise this glass
in the shape of a woman
dream of flying
to Texas or the Black Hills
to hear music that is grounded
to bring her closer still
grant her request

Blue & Grey
She slowly traces
Outline of notebook spirals
Up and down left edge of paper
Blue lines spaced evenly
She writes small
So prefers college rule over wide

Sometimes she traces
Veins in crook of her elbow
Their faint blue life
Pulses through her so quietly
She often marvels at how much work
Goes on as she sits still

Through the window
Blue swaths of sky
Cut through graying clouds
That slowly gather
As if the blue & gray were at war
Each trying to get the upper hand
The give the day the right mood

She sighs
She’s not sure which one
She wants to win
She likes the blue possibilities
Clean lines
Working veins
Clear skies

But she trusts the gray areas
Edges of darkness
Even the gray strands of her hair
(that still shock her when she see
photos of herself)

there is story in gray areas
nothing concrete but
many courses, many paths
the ending still unknown, uncertain

how was it she was not
in hat and buckle
dancing to Johnny Cash covers
on a Saturday night?

Or not working with flowers every day?

How is it that she writes words
Travels blue roads
Traces spirals and veins
Under gathering gray clouds?

She gave up coffee last Christmas Eve
Tried to keep some surprise in the holiday
But didn’t do very well

She misses having an advent calendar
But is not religious
And is maybe too old
But it’s a gray area

When she was small
Opening up each little door
To see what was behind it
was like an inviting blue ocean
that marked her days with wonder

Blues Drop
She drops
like sugar
in her tea
stirs them in
with spoon
blues dissolve into liquid
taste bittersweet
her jaws tighten

She drops
from her lips
like kisses
for a lover
blues fall to ground
stain pavement
she kicks at residue

She drops
out of her blues jeans pocket
coins & bills
blues will get you nowhere these days

She drops
like defenses
lets them in
with wave of her hand
locks the door
whispers to them
to stay a while longer
is more alone
when they leave her

She drops
from ink pot
spilling psychology
on parchment
closes book
& eyes
fade into
tears drop
like eastern wind &
Boston rain

Breaking the Weather
“Those first days…she always found herself alone when the weather broke.”
-from Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

it is not quite summer
and she is distracted
her clothes tumble
for 10 minutes
for only 25 cents
and she remembers
watching him untie his new lover’s scarf
the relief of her neck
where he would bury his face later
and the weather changes
in such small moments

she reaches her right hand
over her left shoulder
presses her fingers into the muscles
of her back
this is where her storms begin & end

she has memorized the location
massages it when she feels the clouds gathering
it is the place where she directs her chaos
as if you can control the hurricane
as if the knowledge of its arrival
will somehow make you safer

shower’s on to mask
small sounds
snores, sobs, sighs of passion

poems can hide deep dark secrets
cryptic breaks & forms
beginnings & endings entwined between line

TV’s on, so are the lights
to make it look like someone’s home
when we’re really nowhere close
off anyplace else in a hotel room somewhere

that painting reveals
different images
no matter the angle

stereo’s turned up loud
to cover the din of an argument
fueled by the volume
static hiss of a bad frequency

this song seems so simple
but it deceives you easily
draws out your sadness
before you know you’re in its sights

we talk in apologetic whispers
barely over the sound of the washing machine
that spins & cleans
and makes things seem new again

my heart is not one for disguises
hard to conceal from the hunters
vulnerable to capture
in plain view for the gatherers & healers
open to enchantment
and what lies hidden in your touch

Cumberland Hills
Based on painting of same name by Winifred Nicholson

dusk comes like relief
to bring shade to this room
fresh air through my open window
cools red tiles beneath my feet
fuels slow rocking of this chair
lavender blooms match
distant hills’ color
match a memory I have of
your soothing touch
that came like relief
to bring love to this room
provided strength needed
to put me in motion

Cupid’s Musings 2/13/06 (A Deathwish)
I’m getting over a cold
not ready, not willing to live through the day
when everyone suddenly sees red
pretends to be passionate
tries to recall what love first meant
someone might call on me to re-kindle a tired fire
or to dress up empty promises
with roses & smiles over candlelight
the pressure has worn me down
my aim was once steady
but now my best shot to create love
falls short into a shallow pool of infatuation

energy on 4 wheels
shooting light & pulse into a dark & dead Valentine’s eve
fog descends, only makes my foot heavier on the pedal
wishing for Rome
clear water poured over my weary skin
my hair loose & without form
rambling through unspoken internal monologues
yours tightly pulled against your scalp
like spoken words in a sentence
louder & more pronounced
the closer each strand is to the others
tail hanging between shoulder blades
subtle exclamation mark
a point proven

to most I’m a simple cherub
with an arrow & magic to dispense
but you know when I’ve passed you
when your soul is relaxed
muses camp in your eyelashes
take walks across your lips
swim in your very tears
I need to be sure you’re worth
doing it all over again
for another eternity

Can I count on you to rejoice
when certain notes play near your ear
that you’ve heard before so many times
but make you think of
scented summer nights
feeling beautiful in worn out clothes with dirty feet
can’t find corkscrew
so you push it into bottle
cold tongue sweeter than wine
in backseat, touched by fingertips
that know just how to touch you
just right
just there
just again
and much more?
Or do I keep driving
past this last US exit on & on
until land runs out & I fall off
straight to hell
where no one will greet me.
I think you know.
Don’t let me go.

Dalva #1
when I am alone here
clouds cover the sun
breezes try to brush away
melancholy that has settled
above the grasses

when I stand alone here on the road
it seems I smell fire
it’s a day without definition
that makes it all the more memorable & beautiful
it is blurred
the way words make me feel
like I know Nebraska
and the woman sleeping naked in the box canyon

I am tired of the same world
I celebrate the same silences
my simple movements through them

I don’t have a horse or a dog
but I have a strength in the small of my back
like she does
like her, I am a scholar of the unstudied emotions
old & new places reveal

I never want to lose the air here
fragrant with fire & old bones
I love feeling the blood
as it leaves my body
giving me back to myself
restoring my vision

Dalva #2
with big sound
I see grey grasses
from where I stand
to the other horizon
they move like arms outstretched
swaying with soft rhythm
like an aching dance
of solstice wind
that is the breath of buffalo

I drive a pale blue convertible
whose hum in the Nebraska night
is white noise of dream state
that occupies my ears

I can’t remember
if I remembered to get dressed
before I left your room
or if you were still there

but I’ve learned I can’t depend
on caffeine
or money
or most people
only a few who stretch out their arms
straight up
to sway with ghost dancers
or who give me things
without my asking
or help me because they can

I respect my nearly directionless self
driving so I can stop on the side of the road
to write this
because it’s big sound
grey grasses
nowhere but only here

Dalva #3
the weather changes
night is like her most familiar lover
knows exactly when she wants herself
more than its shadows & darkness
covers her loosely
like an apparition

she stares without seeing
into the desert
focuses on mirages
of where she’s been
who has died there
or otherwise gone away
fathers, sons and strangers
young man with horse’s soul
love medicine in his kiss

this desert
so unlike her ocean or plains
gives back a different echo
to her faint & desperate stories
sounds return
always whirl like rain
through her throat
always end the same way

Dark as Bears
“And soft…”

She begins sentences
as if picking up from where
she left off.
I let her finish.

“…like honey.”

She is talking about skin.


We sit together,
watch each others’ movements
that are perfect to us both.

Shift of the foot.

Fingertips press together.

Head tilts toward window.

Tongue wets the lips.

I say, “It has started raining.”

She pulls her hair back
as if to put it up,
lets it fall slowly,
her hands still up in the air.

A perfect movement.

“The soup is probably ready.”

She closes her eyes for a long time.


“Do you smell it? It’s a cave…”

She gets up and goes to the kitchen,
puts her head down over
the soup simmering on the stove,
returns to the couch,
to the rain
to the twilight.

“…dark as bears.”

Dead Land
I stand between quiet & silence
listen to gentle after-rain songs through leaves
smell movement of September air
& innocent clouds
grey with their guilty rain
like my hair that blows down into my face
with more grey than ever before
I see it plainly now
in wisps that hang to left & right

there are no promises here
only tributes to circles

morning becomes night becomes morning
becomes my wish
to be in Wyoming near the fire
swimming still in the Milky Way
without a savior
and knowing souls

this is a day for loud music & new shoes
there is a moment of sadness
because someone I love cried yesterday

this is a celebration of not knowing
this is the delight of quitting
today I can accept my own beauty

this is a white rose with pink-tipped petals
staring at me
there are no regrets in my heart

this is a good joke
this day sings to me whether I’m outside or in
this is golden skin
this is a day to catch my breath

there is a moment of anger
because some people drive badly

this is easy destruction
this is your favorite food that leaves you satisfied
this is a memory
there is a lost boy
not knowing what to find or where to look

today is 3 fingers of whiskey
today is Janis Joplin

this is a prayer

this is not what you’re used to

Divine Intervention (crow, nightingale, owl & dove)
you shy from crow, blackbird & raven
their feathers shine & warn of harm
misfortune’s omen
but even nightingale and owl
can be plaintive harbingers of darkness
nightingale’s song a cry for a lost soul
owl moves furtively in solitude and noiseless flight
a silent warning, urge you to turn away

you welcome dove, bluebird & heron
peace & joy carried on their wings
foretell of happiness
but even nightingale and owl
can be optimistic messengers of hope
nightingale is poetry & song
owl is wisdom & enlightenment
the ability to see through the darkness

when divine intervention works
to steer you toward bounty
you praise dove
but don’t notice crow’s absence

when divine intervention
steps in to prevent tragedy
you miss crow circling
sidetracked from his intentions

the truth is both crow & dove
direct your fate
while nightingale laments your joys
yet sings your sorrows
and owl broods in your delight
even as he guides you through
cloudless, sunny skies

a paradox of the world
each of us
created with celestial heat
and earthly matter
hearts open to devotion
still capable of neglect

Early Taste of Summer Fruit
it is uncommonly warm
a day where everyone
seems to possess some beauty
light angled on skin exactly right
soul glow radiant
perpetuating cycle sun to soul to sun
I remember your hand was warm on my back
as this rare February heat
crowded its way through window
to rest in slants across our pillows
I woke up relaxed
but not necessarily rested
eyes unusually clear & white
driving to work
I suddenly think of my dream
about petite women with bad posture in Vermont

on Saturdays I enjoy the company of ageless women
who quote Emerson & Eliot
effect quality of each day they live
they would understand
my joy at feeling freeway wind
on my left arm in short sleeves
hanging out window
as I cruise through afternoon
sing a song my lover knows

dusk is warmer still
I want to swim in unlit waters
you have pasta ready on blue glass plates
Chianti waiting
fresh strawberries for dessert
special treat, chilled & soaking in their own juices
each bite holding promise
that we swallow whole
our meal is slow
door swung wide open
each breath full, each wave of warmth felt
we recognize our fresh lust
renewed by our first barefoot walk of the year
lounge in robes on the rug in front of slow fan
recite favorite phrases
fall asleep wink by wink
because we’ve already heard
tomorrow it’s going to rain

Early Tonight
I lock the door early tonight
because the skies are complicated

mornings have dark corners
& here in my rooms
scared or reluctant
about something
something not near me

winds change face of day
to a stranger
music of rain allows
our hands to meet across table
as we reach for the umbrella

early tonight
I am curled up against your absence

Failure of a Successful Music Man
He absently walks across a foreign bridge
stops to better hear symphony inside
suddenly recalls seductive sway
of ingénue he instructed 2 years ago in the Midwest
when driving home slowly under a snowfall
after eating apple pie & ice cream in her basement
listening to the “Let It Be” album over & over
he thought about proposing to her
played out the scenario in his head
slid through a stop sign at 3 am
& thought better of it

Back on the bridge, melody fades
slipped out quietly while his mind was elsewhere
back with her practicing every afternoon
voice lessons, pitch exercises
teaching her to play guitar
but still allowing occasional cigarettes
laughing out loud in the rain
he hears the river moving beneath him
gentle percussion against granite columns
& remembers how she described
sunsets as colorful voodoo spells
raindrops with witchcraft
that seep into your bare skin
right through to your soul
how often mornings in Georgia
had a crooked feeling that eventually
straightened out after numerous cups of coffee

He penned scores for her
one written so each note played perfectly
produced most glorious tribute
to her early morning sigh that smelled of
sugar milk & felt twice as sweet
against his bare chest
another piece was devoted solely
to the way her hair fell about her face
another still capturing the way her hands
moved along neck of guitar caressing it gently

He lived & breathed her
distant moon nestled deeper into January sky
he sometimes realized he was still exhaling her
while she lived & breathed someone else now
& life on the road
but he was somewhere else too
here on a bridge in Venice
composing a new river’s symphony
knowing he’d done his job too well

Figure at a Window, 1925
after painting of same name by Salvador Dali

in my last conversation with Saturn
I could sense retreat
never completely turning his back on me
I know he’s edging away
footfalls silent as a shadow
eyes blue as the sea
you may not understand
but there is always benevolence nearby
regardless of his position
call it awareness or insight
but he demands structure
through every challenge
or creative effort
so I must keep peace
close at hand
so it comes to this
easy linen, still water
something like wisdom
helps support this weight
everything that brought me to this point
leans in with me

Fire and Fiddles
when I am old
I want long grey tornadoes
rooted in my head
to twist & take up surrounding landscapes
strip them to simple fragrance
swirl them into music

a blue eastern sea
becomes salt & flamenco guitar
city sidewalks change to
exhaust fumes & drums
this long road stretching before us
is suddenly diesel & harmonica

I am an old woman
with long grey tornadoes
that whip & grab at your hands
bring them in close
that whistle softly over your skin
sometimes touch down
but always somewhere within
moments of calm
in the eyes
deep down in the roots

I can’t keep you from destruction
have always had trouble predicting the weather
but still you stand
fill my footprints with yellow pollen
for my safe journey
you follow behind
at a distance
like the hunter
never losing track of me
no matter which direction
these tornadoes toss me
push me day by day
to the landscapes that will become
simply approaching rain & thunder
summer grass, fire and fiddles.

Fire Season
I got diamonds on my fingers
but no place to go
except to ghost towns in springtime
where priests burn sage from holy balconies
where choirs sing &
sun scatters colors on the congregation
smoky orange & blazing red
while outside fires consume California

I got this bag on my back
that still holds something of you
worn leather of your thoughts
caramelized into sweet scent
I hold hostage behind sealed zipper
& I love to see the way land looks
with eastern sunlight shining from behind me
or seeing beams on hillside
but not seeing sun itself
until I round the corner
feel it full on my face
it forces me to notice all colors
not to close my eyes against it
& to see darkness differently
to feel change in the air
warm Santa Ana’s, morning fog, or Halloween chills
porque siente como el invierno en mi cuarto ya
y en mi cama
butter & clovers
sweaters & lovers
heat of fires on the hills
air whipped & chilled near the ocean

winter music plays
celebrates eastern morning rays
& evening stardust breezes
for you & me & everyone
for it all to snuggle in my hair
like smoke & sweat
to settle into my pillowcase
that I’ll send to you
when we’re apart
so with every turn
you’ll remember
the fire season

for Jeff Buckley
rivers that run through Memphis
will take you down
swallow your arms, your bare feet
all the loveless parts of you

You have no say against it

Your voice means nothing to the river

the earth wants you inside it
and the river is the mouth
that will take you down
take you in
learning every inch of you
committing you to memory
like none of your lovers ever could

only amid the water’s chaos
will you feel true tenderness
as the roaring becomes the only sound
bigger than you
bigger than you could ever know
sound could be
and nothing can save you

You are being called
to the edges
to the void of aching silence
and extreme anger
that can be soothed only by the river

In Memphis, where you were quiet,
creative, unheard
where you fought lack of love
loss of tenderness
turned it into grace
and fabric of a simple
city dress
ageless, ageless

You made demands only rivers could answer
It approached you with intention
like none of your lovers ever could

she lives here with me
but she comes & goes as she pleases

never tells me where she’s going
never leaves a note

it’s typical that she’ll come in
just as I’m falling asleep

I catch glimpses of her sometimes
usually when there’s music

we used to be inseparable
I didn’t think she’d ever leave

now, daily happenings of my life
rarely interest her

but sometimes they do
and she’ll spend time with me

when that happens
I remember how good it feels

her company is like an avalanche of
warm towels out of the dryer

I could stay there all day

Great Uncle
maps of Arizona
remind me of
something I’ve
never written
but have only
followed silently
with my finger
traced it like
a gravel road
through a national park

a farmer’s truck
parked in my driveway
is the soil of my blood
is a dead man’s fingerprints
still on the steering wheel
footprints on the floorboards
coated with 14 year old dust
of barley & wheat fields

it’s the truck
I will drive
to Arizona
on gravel roads
the dead man & I
will guide it
over poems
not yet written
we will slice
through the heart
of direction
split north from south
dress wounds
with memories
of morning conversation
though neither of us
can remember
the other’s voice

Green Man
the wishes I make are small
& if I gather hawthorn,
build a fire with nine sticks
from nine different trees
gathered by nine men
perhaps I am the May Queen
but when you finally
make it to my bed
I may be on my way
out of California
leaving like Godiva
an answer to a riddle

How to Bring Her Back
put feathers to the winds
to guide her through elements & directions
(she stumbles through
Sioux Falls blizzards
for weak coffee & warm soup)
light candles and sing siren songs
(she wants to come home)
summon magic of familiars to lay before her
(she hovers)
weep rivers for her to sail back to intimate shores
(she writes letters on the backs of useless maps)
gather hazel for reconciliation & flowering almond for hope

she wants to learn how to be hungry again

I Called but Didn’t Leave a Message
I was wondering why some people notice the shape of a lip
can study long on it, attempt to memorize
its curve, color, and all of its possibilities
try to predict the future
in its subtle soft lines
like a palm or tea leaves
tomorrow next week ten years
good and bad
all in a lip

I bite my own slowly
as Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me”
begins suddenly
like common water
out of a faucet
slowly makes this room ache
for rain
makes me notice my lips
closes my eyes and I feel
our backs getting wet
when we lean against concrete wall
at height of storm

I will pull this book down from the shelf
let it open naturally
to pages most read
where spine has a deep bend
I will read to you slowly
and you will watch my lips
as they push out each word
lure my tongue easily outside
to wet them
since your stare has sucked up
that part of their life
that is not life but water
a common sort like tears

we eat sometimes without conversation
I lick all the soup out of the curve of my spoon
and pretend it is a place on your body

in a train station in Chicago, Sunday morning, 1961
he travels cross country by train
it pulls into Chicago at dawn
he is a young man
he is going home to California
he does not know this city

he tells me this story many years later
after my own visit to Chicago
after I tell him that riding the ‘el’ train
back & forth
seemed to sharpen
the city’s edge
as if the city would break open
at any moment
to spill out every genius or madman’s manifesto

Chicago took something from me
satisfied something too
I sometimes believe
I could be Patsy Cline
singing songs of heartache & loneliness
that remind people like him
about a Sunday morning
in a train station in a city he did not know

he tells me that everything-
that station, that city, that morning-
was lonesome
how he can’t hear Johnny Cash sing
‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’
without thinking of Chicago

I can’t listen to his stories
without finding poetry

-a septet

the poet
sits down at her desk
ready to think and compose
peonies outside make her happy
she softly says to herself,
“be where you are now”
and then writes

Kings & Pearls
When I was 5 years old
up in my neighbor’s fort,
someone came to tell me
that Elvis had died
and I remember I was sad
because I knew how much my parents liked him
and that my father had a resemblance to the king
in his own younger days.

And I mean the ’68 Elvis
before Las Vegas, before scarves and high collars,
before sightings in Louisiana diners & New York subways,
I mean the “That’s Alright, Mama” Elvis
rebel, hip-swinging, long hair,
easy smile, Priscilla-loving man.
all of this I’ve learned since he died
more than 30 years ago
but it feels like I knew him.

The way I AM Janis
walking down an L.A. street in October
after “Buried Alive” and Barney’s Beanery,
“I will not die tonight,
sidewalk’s dirty but my feet don’t care
my lips are cold from beer…”

then there’s that void
between the cigarette machine
& the hotel room where they found her.

It is a void darker than desert midnight.
No one knows
but me.

She wasn’t done.
Because every time I listen
there is a pure calling that I answer,
that I try everyday to understand-
the way millions flock to Graceland-
country road innocence
of hitchhiking
and ice cream cones
whiskey guilt
of trains
and midnight.

Last Night of Baseball in America
World Series, game 7, a classic sports picture
it’s darker than usual
fall back
no baseball in November
or winter
these are boys of summer
who hang ‘em up
in the dying light of fall
leaves changing, snow already in some towns
candy in bowls by the door
it doesn’t matter which teams
(unless it’s your team)
it’s the game
some say baseball on TV is boring
but if you watch
there is strategy with every pitch
any batter can fan
and a double play can shut down a rally
quicker than a fastball over the outside corner
somewhere tonight a city will celebrate
someone tonight will cry for victory
and another for loss
there are heroes and history
bur there is no more baseball tonight in America
lights out ‘til April

weathered pages between soft leather
a sameness that soothes
words that return joy after borrowing
tropical beat that drips sweetly
like pineapple juice refreshing with laughter
sexy senoritas in fitted skirts with beautiful hands
four stories above sleet, a lonely woman
sings a soft blues to her sleeping child
I said four stories above sleet, this lonely woman
coos a cool blues to her sleepy child
her voice a living lullaby

I am a little bit in love with everyone I know
because each gives me hallelujah for my offerings
personal healer kept in green bottles
& lingering scent from new matches
intimacy translated into gesture
moving hair away from my ear
to share confidences of lifetimes ago
before we knew we’d already met

based on a photograph by Jack Reynolds

ocean to ocean
miles burn by quick
with little time
to meet each spirit
or hear what they need
to tell you
go east
where the sun comes from
follow highways that lead past
the common man
celebrated kings
cross rivers that wanted voices of their own
while raising yours to each smoky ridge
honky tonk through Music City
to be delivered to a southern storm
that wakes you from sleep
back at home
windows portray
two halves of the same day
all things exist simultaneously

Love Song
it’s like a love song
smooth & ivory as bones
worked endlessly
by same hands
of this woman
on same day
of this month
dressed in sunlight
that has shone
this winter
endlessly worked
smooth & ivory as bones
love songs
gently swing
tired of frozen emptiness
wish for woman’s hands
to work them to smoothness
soft ivory, fulfillment
January afternoon
dressed in flowing robes
of unique winter sunlight
that has shone endlessly
like this woman’s love songs
ivory bright in dark day
endlessly singing of bones
smooth hands
working winter skeletons

My Mother’s Voice
speaking in Spanish
is a warm green salted sea

long-distance call
before dawn
to her mother’s voice
speaking in Spanish

finer things:
river blues
my mother’s voice
speaking in Spanish

My Ophelia
we are not so unfamiliar

I found myself at the ocean
on a windy night
followed a road I usually
do not travel
considered descending the stairs
to inch my way along the cliffs
and if I should slip
then I might fall
and so what of that

wind whipped at my eyes
so I could not stare long
at the darkness
that screamed at me
nearly purple
with clouds
and small moon

and maybe it was the same night
that you, dressed in lily white
with flowers hanging ‘round
your face, got closer than I did
lay yourself down on the cold hard sand
twisted your body
and did not think
only accepted
water coming slowly higher
at your ankles, then knees

your hand brushed across your face
covered it with sand
flowers from your hair
fell in front of you
into the ocean
out to their death
where yours waited
not speaking

you became aware of one thought
that you would miss rainy days
and this was enough
to turn you around
and get you to bed

this strange experience
now yours
but also mine
with our dresses heavy
with their drink
floating face upward
violets & pansies clutched
in our fists
rosemary dripping through
our fingers like saltwater & sand

we travelled down our roads
but we found a way home

my Ophelia
we have not yet had our fill

My Pleasure
it has been my pleasure
to receive love poems
not intended for me
at least not as the subject matter
but for a careful eye
a critic to help him
better define his love for another

it has been my pleasure
to be told my company
is no longer wanted because
I was not the friend that she expected

it has been my pleasure
to sleep easily en la cama de mi abuela
where they say she died like a bird

it has been my pleasure
to witness Sunset Blvd at midnight
where there are five dreamers for every one dream
with little difference between the revolution
and the common tide

it has been my pleasure
to suffer the realization
that I may be just ordinary

it has been my pleasure
to watch every erratic & gentle arrow
volley back & forth
drunk on the music between us

night full of charms
darkness began to take hold
gave the day enough coverage
to take off her clothes
slip into the sea of stars

he adjusted his pack, full now
with food–some bread & salami,
apples, honey & almonds–
his writing book, guitar, the latest
agreement he’d signed for another
TV appearance next month

like magic & luck rolled into one
the freight train slowed so he hopped
aboard, promptly took out his guitar

this night tonight sure is warm
I dream about you in my arms
my belly’s full, my heart’s the same
ain’t this a night full of charms

the moon, the stars, the sky,
a song, a dream and this ride
we roll along with nothin’ but time
ain’t this a night full of charms

this train will carry me to you
I’ll sing the whole night through
to everything old & everything new
ain’t this a night full of charms

he continued to strum, stared into the night passing by
he swore the stars twinkled a response
and that the moon was turned up in a smile

he thought about his luck so far–his misfortunes, too
he thought about the woman
who’d welcome him back, like she always did
he thought of the pickers going through
their similar ups & downs, how they still took of the fruit,
the melodies, how they loved each other and every opportunity
a moving train, a meal, some coins in their pockets,
each a token added to the others dangling from their wrists
sparkling in the stars, a night full of charms
Ode to Baseball
It’s a game of diamonds
Up the middle
Down the line
Dead center shot
Flair to right
Loop to left
Under the sun
Or under the lights
From the lowest lows
To the highest heights
It’s peaks & valleys
Streaks & alleys
At bats, in the gap
Can o’ corn, around the horn
Cycles & slumps
Idols & chumps
It’s a pennant race in May
The 4-6-3 double play
From small ball
To touch ‘em all
It’s Padres baseball

Ode to My Hair
I have let it grow long
and the curls decided for themselves
I leave bits of it behind me
talismans for objects it clings to
my office chair
your watch
strength for them like the strength it gives me
but not like Samson
although it’s true I don’t cut it
or brush it
or comb it
when wet it reaches the small of my back
and yet it goes farther
reaches to Montserrat
where my grandmother caresses it
where it is celebrated by priests at noon mass
the curls-untamed snakes
dance about my face
hang loose and soft
dangle down upon my skin
remind me to touch things with respect
shocks of grey
lightning through desert dusk
silver lining of my darkest cloud
dust that has fallen from a halo
it carries all of my hours
it is stuffed fuller than a woman’s purse
with all my actions
that are translated into its scents and textures
they fall over me without warning
and I return to them again & again
to nourish me
like a meal served with wine and bread
and when I embrace her
she stuffs her fists with it
holds it like a prayer
it is briar and tangle
and all things truthful and beautiful

One & the Other
mid-month rendezvous in Mississippi
one’s well-read
loves a slow horn
the other’s gifted
embraces the wind
they stared all day at the river
paper lamps & tapestries
one said music would be missed in death
the other promised to sing to one’s spirit
every evening

alone in a café
one told the other of legends in Brazil
made from eyes of water
& superstition
then they talked of Africa
and places meant to be left
like Oklahoma

one touched the other
& they forgot to breathe
but loved the stiff grass
under naked feet
then against honey neck
twisting dandelion heads
against skin
to make dim yellow dots
& ivory milk from green stem
cool on one’s back
sunlight burrowed into scalp
hair hot from fire-fed follicles
clean smelling
like rain-washed rocks in May

one painted a capital O
on the other’s stomach
for the name, the color, the pleasure
and Oh my God
the other locked one up & down
kissed quick & deep
said, “You have a good taste.
it’s sunrise & moonglow,
layers of earth & birds of paradise,
foam of crashing waves,
& gold speckled creek water.”
sunlight coming down so hard
it bruised their skin
so they went inside for dreams
and a whimsical drunk

under murky Mississippi moonlight
one told ghost stories on the balcony
while the other ate all the Halloween candy
stared at shadows on the river
& lights near edge of land
craving fresh melons for breakfast
hot black coffee
capturing one’s face in hand frames
forever at that moment
supernatural creations
& ghostly visitations
born from the mouth
to play part in free form narrative
but decide to stay
with one or the other
when they go back to the coast of California

months later
in the middle of the midway
one watched ferris wheel colors spin
while the other covered ears
to shut out twisted carnival warble
they found a happy medium
to tell their fate
took a chance
on the Tilt-a-Whirl
& dizzy from the ride
weak from laughing
one kissed the other near the funhouse
& it was all right
one way or the other

One Way Rain
it is the way of the rain
airborn ocean moves in waves
keeps coming
changes course
like tide follows moon
these drops & grey clouds
suggest the season
will witches show themselves
and phantoms slip through crack
for Samhain

I heard voices in the quiet church
I saved myself from thirst
by sucking rain from my hair

like going out in it
soft cotton & clean socks
my paper wet & ink running down the pages

and like coming in out of it
stolen motel towels hang clean
I pretend I’m on the road
empty suitcases on living room floor
strangers argue in the street
new neighbors sleep with old friends
hard luck losers hit a winning streak
pages already full of years
opened after just as long
where words spell out
your loving, his hardness, her tears
my personal kings & queens & other royalty
of the night, the song, the imagination

Leo rising and hands travel texture of my hair
make their wishes on silver & turquoise
drops of pearls fall from curls
twist & smooth themselves into bands
around my fingers

so now you know the animal
and have seen yourself differently
in shadows of moonlight

it is the way of the rain
and night is a jack o’lantern
grinning like a drunken wise man
ready to share his last bottle
and all he knows

Patricia Said
(a birthday poem for my father)

Patricia said her daddy read her newspaper stories at bedtime
so she became a reporter.
You took me on interstate trips, skirting company policy of no passengers
& I have become this.
Patricia said in half-dark, she would stand on her father’s feet & they danced in the kitchen.
We have done this too.
Patricia said he taught her how to make hot water cornbread.
You also have cooked for me, chocolate chip waffles for breakfast at noon on Sundays
& I used to sit on the ice cream maker as you hand-cranked it.
I stared at enormous salt crystals that spilled out as you added them to the brew
on hot August afternoons in that dry Snake River hometown of mine.
Patricia said he is dead now, taken by a bullet in a robbery.
She grew into his legacy for language.
You are alive and a year older
and have no bones to pick with me.
Patricia said she whispered against his cheek about a boy’s first kiss in their
hot skillet cornbread kitchen.
You have never inquired about boys, or men for that matter.
But in that silence of griddle ready for batter
& ice cream almost perfect
& the feel of your work boots that I helped unlace under my own child feet
hand in hand, we stepped in a dance.
And I say, Patricia, we girls own the purest love and know the best dancers.

Phantoms & Flights
my life is strikingly devoid of phantoms

there’s a ghost in the house across the street
but she doesn’t bother me

I say “she” because it seems to be a neighborhood of women
who live long
who outlive their lovers
who fold sheets by themselves in their living rooms
who sing softly to the shadows
and sit barefoot on their porches

she is a quiet ghost
picks up her paper in the mornings
turns off her light at night
she doesn’t care to share her ghostliness with any of us

the planes never stop coming down
in the distance they remind me of thunder
as they near, they change to long deep moaning,
a suffering like the last body-wracking sobs of a breakdown
the volume of approach consumes the sky
screams of deliverance
birth and crossing over
in flight

I wait & listen for any phantoms to echo
but none do
she, across the street, remains quiet
as if she has no obligation to answer
does not notice it anymore

The name Pluto was originally suggested in March, 1930, by Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England.

the lesson was to mark the distance of planets
Saturn was 1,019 paces away
so far from the sun

at breakfast with her grandfather
thousands of miles from an observatory in Arizona
Venetia listens as he reads an article about
a new planet beyond Neptune

she is a precocious 11 year old
who has recently read Bulfinch
and knows mythology of the planets

so far from the sun, it is cold & dark
she suggests to her grandfather that
it should be named Pluto, god of the underworld

in this world, Pluto is a planet 3 billion miles away from where she shops,
lays her head, sings softly to herself in the spring & summer mornings
the number is meaningless
she doesn’t comprehend distance
whether measured in miles or feeling

like this mysterious sphere her own orbit is small & eccentric
sometimes cold & disconnected
but protective of satellites
that move around her

there are 300 million people in America
she heard on the radio this morning
the number is meaningless
she can’t fathom the amount
seeing as how in her world, as days shorten & grow dark
she endures the quiet company of ghosts & spirits
though it is also when she misses her mother most

in her still moments, she ponders Pluto the planet
its loneliness, how it was snubbed
declassified to dwarf status
she buys a stuffed animal of the cartoon dog
in solidarity

she decides to contact Venetia Burney
who must feel a sense of loss
as if her own child were being punished

her letter reaches England
is held with elderly hands
read with weak eyes
Dear Mrs. Phair,
I have yet to have as much distinction in my life
as yours did already by age 11. I wanted to give
you the message that even in its dark, freezing
atmosphere, I know Pluto remains rich in souls.


soon after a thin envelope arrives
her name scrawled in a small, looping
penmanship on the front of the envelope
the same handwriting on the thin
sheet of paper within

Dear Persephone,
Thank you for the message. May your
dark season pass quickly and trust that
your life does indeed have distinction. My
best to your mother.


she re-reads the letter frequently
wonders if she lives a life of distinction
or if there’s still time to do so
being childless, she can only look forward
to the ripening of her pomegranates
and to seeing her mother again in spring

she summons her strength and sets off
to claim her space in the land of souls

Poet Out of Practice
Sometimes it feels like my best words are behind me
I shuffle through old poems, re-reading them
It seems like I barely know the woman who wrote those lines
Wonder if I could come close to capturing the detail
That once seemed so easy to notice

To get back in the swing of things
I write out recipes on little note cards
Slowly remember the flow of refreshing ink onto thirsty paper
the return of language, its descriptive nature,
urges me on as I continue with my exercise
re-discovering verbs that move like
boil, brush, spoon, toss, cover, melt
and adjectives that entice like
zesty, warm, wild, blackened, spicy

A small, forgotten ache begins to stir in my hand
I consider the mechanics of writing, the way the fingers
Flex to grip the pen, how the wrist endures
The slow dragging across the page
How the muscles that allow such action begin near the elbow

I put down the pen for a moment, rub my forearm gently
Slowly rotate my wrist, release the joints in my fingers
Hear the clear snap like oil hitting a hot pan

As I go through the process of learning the power of touch
It transcends to my gradual reconnection to writing
The same way capturing recipes
Returns me to language
And the comforting memory of my fingertips
scented with garlic
faint hints of basil & tomato
brings me comfort

Like a sidelined athlete needs to get back in the race
Or the musician needs to rehearse,
the very task of writing anything encourages
the poet out of practice

Your world feels broken today

Your clothes are baggy
angels steal cigarettes from your pocket
devils pray on your doorstep

Your flight to a new American city is cramped
stiff conversation in awkward angles
subway is crowded
packed bubble of humanity
no one is remotely attractive enough
to fantasize about
making tribal train love to
with drums pounding
skin stretched tight over base
deep hollow percussion coursing
like blood
like this machine moving
through underground veins of the city
to revitalize slow senses & push out pain

You are hungry

Your nails have grown long

Your shirt is wrinkled

You can be so unsure
that being even just lazy
takes too much time & effort
& being told what to do is an insult

You make your own drinks

You drive

Your smile is sometimes forced

Your age not easily guessed

You decide you’ll lie less
but won’t be as generous with the truth

gypsies dance in your basement
priests nest in the attic
which campfire will warm you better?

Your voice is strong

You live out loud

Your heart is well-equipped
to handle more
but still only desire shares the bed with you

You bend like tall bamboo in spring storm
to seductive curves in words

Your bank shots have too much english

You have cash

You’ve got wit

You dream in color
sin licks at your window
mercy waits in the alley

You are comforted
by amber waves of grain
whistling somewhere you can’t hear them

Your TV is broken

no one understands

turntable is slightly warped
& this record won’t
this record won’t
this record won’t

Reasons Why I Didn’t Call
for Brendan Constantine

Because I was responsible for the moon & it needed tending.
Because I was too light-headed from all that singing.
Because I was discovering the joys of life without underwear.
Because I didn’t know what to say.
Because of the way you sometimes say the word ‘radiant.’
Because I was in the throes of a personal renaissance.
Because my hair has grown again to the nearly perfect length where it brushes against my bare skin, down around my shoulders, and distracts my attention from things like phones.
Because I thought it was too late.
Because I wanted to write you a poem instead

surprisingly, they were kind of hard to see
hidden there on the underside of her wrist
she called them her little scar-lets, like her name
small reminders of her twisted storytelling
before she’d realized what she was doing
the water turned pink, then a darker scarlet
she’d only begun the story of her life
a history etched in skin
scarred letters, her own tall tale
she’d stopped when she saw her own blood
thought how the color reminded her of the cross
painted on the rock at Joshua Tree
a tribute to Gram and his Nudie suit
and the quote near it about how the sun
comes up without him, it just doesn’t know
he’s gone

she really didn’t want to hurt herself
it was more a desire, an urgency
to write on anything, anywhere
to capture every detail of what made her
who she was
she had the histories of her heroes
all swirled up in her
Jimi, Janis, Gram, Jim, Marilyn, River,
Kurt, James, Townes, Hank, Amy
how they’d died before their time
maybe before they could be truly treasured
and how more mystery heaped on
from their tragic, talentless deaths
that’s not what she wanted
she wanted to be known before that
a legend in life, not after
but the line between her reality
and the ghosts she kept as company
often blurred
so that night she took the razor to her wrist
began the downward stroke of the first letter
she didn’t come close to finishing
she wears long sleeves now
carries a notebook everywhere she goes

she’s just getting started

Season’s End
the first season of living was winter
life started in its dark hours
moved slow among shadows
breathing still as time passed

when I feel light now these past mornings
I think on this first season that has passed
fallen into memory
like lovers
and it makes sense

of course I sense the natural lightening of earth
can almost touch the hope
that seems to drift
against my wide front door
& the new ways the afternoon spills
into this room, now in its new season,
remind me of old poems,
dusty magic and the way your body felt
against mine that morning

when I walk to get coffee
the ease of this lightness pours over me
even like the way the sun will burn hard today
into the wood, worn & beautiful,
that sings me to sleep at night

the trick is to shine and not burn
to have and not to hold

The Best Poem I Ever Wrote
I scribbled some words about
love stories & growing old
when the wine took me over.

I slept easily, used full length
and width of my bed, didn’t
curl up snug but spread out
my limbs, like a bird in flight,
like a fearless child.

In the morning, I moved
at the sluggish pace
of my hangover.

No headache, but a sweet taste
in my mouth, a slow mind
in a rapid world
as the details of my condition
came pouring back over me.

I vaguely recalled writing something.

I became eager to see
what I had captured,
like a trapper wishing for a mink.

I picked up the pages,
read about love stories
and growing old. Love that
goes beyond death to tell
its story on tombstones.

My eyes suddenly
dropped down to notice
a long black stain
on my flannel pajama bottoms,
spots on my shirt.

With further investigation,
smaller stains on my skin & in my sheets
where I found the pen, left uncapped.

I slept in a pool of black ink,
that stained nearly everything but the page,
and that long black permanent stain
is my best poem.

The Breath Before Hallelujah
you call on something greater than you
you say “Smother this room with light
and let me be unharmed.”
there are different ways we burn
little fires that start
when your hands are in my hair
invisible sparks of secrets
hang your sorrowful dreams up
in my attic
already papered with purple shadows
of nightmares I’ve released to the walls
spoken their truths like a prophet
with a fiery tongue

I call on something greater than you
I say “Help me tend the fire
and let me be unharmed.”
I burn in ways that cause little damage
small flames that smolder
at a constant rate
release aromas of my secrets
I hang honeysuckle & lilac up
in my rooms
built slowly from fantasy & natural light
of Sunday mornings spilling wisdom
like water that soothes
my fiery tongue

The Girl Who Dreamed of Bees
sunlight swarms into her room
while she presses sleepy hands into her eyes
pushes hair casually from her face

she begins to tell me her dream about bees
comes alive
busily working out the details
faint, soft scent of lemon
rises from her skin
white down comforter
slips from her naked body

I am drawn to the curve
of her hip, smooth as a flower petal
I slide my hand over it

we share these pure moments like honey

she is at the point in the dream
where the bees sting her
they are, of course, also drawn to her
sweetness, to her unashamed beauty

she wonders what it all means
but I know that she is like melissae
and they are this goddess’ companions
as she continues to discover
the power of their medicine

I leave her
curved and warm in her bed
my mind still buzzing
with thoughts of her skin

The Kind of Smoker I Would Be
Sometimes I wish that I smoked
because it would give me something to do
during those times when I find myself waiting
or those times when I want to run away from people
their conversations or their arguments

I would at least have something to occupy my mouth during its silences
when it only wants to feel some pressure against it
without effort, without asking

Because that’s the kind of smoker I would be
silent, alone, taking it in and letting it go for myself
the way I would kneel and clutch my rosary
with sunlight shaken down from heaven

But I am not religious

I believe in something that I don’t know if it could be called
God or Self or Sun and Moon
only that there it all is and here I am in it
and I am satisfied with that knowledge
don’t want to investigate mysteries
like what lies beyond darkness of an April sky
or if something will be affected
if my body is returned to the earth with its skin and some clothes
or if it is scattered as ashes
my bones baptized by fire in death
far from the holy waters of birth

Ashes of the cigarette I would smoke
would be mingled in a bowl or a pot with the others
that I would then mix with water and
try to throw on the potter’s wheel
but I am not a sculptor either

I fall in love nightly
with the bare forearms of musicians
and secretly thrill myself
with the wonders of their mouths
that might press against mine
without effort, without asking

Like the way my cigarettes would
burn and live and die
by my mouth
these kisses exist quick and sweet between us
without regret
with love and not sorrow
because it has been so nice
to not be sad about love
for so long

I would snub out the cigarette with ritual
to end its burning and satisfaction

Celebrate it with hymns for its graces
and for all those that will come after
to also
burn and live and die
and to know my mouth
in its silences

How my imperfections please you
is difficult to understand.

But I will greet you with bare skin
stand ready to accept your touch
eager to return it
to mark your outline with my lips
color it in with sighs & words of encouragement.

I arrive empty-handed.

Nothing tangible to offer
that you could clutch
at dawn should you
wake from a disturbance
in the night, a change
in its humming frequency.

Nothing you could carry
gingerly, or press into a book.

Nothing to offer but these imperfections
empty hands
lips to trace your outline.

Sometimes the moon is visible
when I travel to your rooms
and I wish I understood twilight
but it is the in-between time
the mind translating language
without effort
so you can understand its meaning

I may never know
the moon’s intention
or understand how my imperfections
please you
but I can greet you with bare skin
color in your twilight outline
with my lips

Two Beer Buzz
north out of San Antonio
on a two beer buzz
was like a little piece of Texas heaven
you were with me
all the way

going up in an elevator
with a two beer buzz
on my birthday
you kissed me in the darkness
best gift I ever got

on a plane headed out west
high on a two beer buzz
snuggled up to you
and your mystery
the only way to fly

let’s head back east
get a two beer buzz
at a quiet little club
walk back to our room
holding hands

take me down south
for a two beer buzz
and a lazy afternoon
drifting off to the
song of cicadas

When You Go
your CD player broke about 100 miles ago
all you can get through the Arizona desert
is AM radio that cuts in and out alternating
between preaching & Hank Williams

Hank’s heartbreak & high lonesome rolling
partners comfortably with the litany
of sins & redemption that pervade
every life lesson & reinforces your belief
that religion & music do the same thing

whether it’s Jesus or John Lennon
sinners & songwriters
are just trying to save us
from ourselves, hoping to teach us
things they’ve already learned
so we keep going back to them
when we feel like we can’t keep going on our own
we find solace with them
just like you do now on that dark road
on your way home, thinking of me
and the ways we each find strength

last night before I turned out the light
our house’s sudden silence
rang in my ears
I didn’t know which I missed more:
its bustling energy or that
sustained silence

even now as I sit in the garden
enjoy a warm November morning
while you’re away, I miss a certain
quality of life when you go

so turn up the radio
while I transmit this unique prayer
and we’ll soon see each other again
somewhere between
the melody & the message

Work in Progress
My house is a work in progress
a structure
a deconstruction

I move slowly sometimes
and then a miracle might burst suddenly
right near my…

windows never let in enough light
always seem to be keeping something from me

I get angry sometimes
but every now and then
bliss tumbles over me unexpectedly
and I touch your…

bed is not always made
but that doesn’t bother me

our clutter and stacks of memories
take up valid space
equally cause our moments
of ease & disease

My heart is a work in progress
a muscle
a bloody source

I like to imagine
your favorite past-time might be
to read poems to me
from right outside my shower door
-the words get worked
into my weary skin-

Without scent, their texture
is your voice
fluid & gentle
uncomplicated magic

This love is a work in progress
a deep well
a constant struggle
we share its common misery
eat from the same plate
agree on its delicate nature
quietly celebrate its unique joy
by softly touching our…

instincts might confuse us sometimes
hang heavy like the air tonight presses down
offers no relief
provides no resolution
has no miracles, no bliss, no magic

But if I lie quietly in my bed
windows open, stripped to the skin
move only to the rhythms
I remember of your breath as you sleep,
all of this city’s lovers can be heard
a chorus of construction
building with each breath
a new balance
creating with each climax
a new color
to add to every work in progress


I have released 2 CDs: “A Wing & a Prayer” and “A New Leaf”

About “A Wing & a Prayer” (released Sept 2000)
Available from CD Baby

Features 17 of Lizzie Wann’s original poems, captured precisely as they should be–intimate, organic and true. The range of sound is distinct across every piece as some are voice o¬≠nly, while others include music to produce a different feel for each poem.

Produced by award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Berkley, the CD features the talents of Berkley himself, Calman Hart, Gregory Page and John Katchur. Nominated for a San Diego Music Award in 2001.

“4 Stars…Goes well with Janis Joplin, Irish whiskey and love…In her breathy yet solid voice, Wann looses poetic observations — local and worldly — on daily life, love and the comfort in uncertainty. A Wing & a Prayer is part art celebration, part loss, and a fully insightful, intoxicating display of the English language’s intrinsic melodies.”
-Troy Johnson SLAMM

“Lizzie Wann’s been blessed with a voice that is exceedingly pleasant to listen to. Soothing as soft purrs from a cat, it’s free from hoity toity affectation — a rare treat in the world of the spoken word and poetry readings. The lyricism that conjoins poetry and music emerges when her pals join in. Speaking through their guitars, they subtly enhance the spoonfuls of imagery, steamy sexuality and love dished out by Lizzie.”
-Dylan Roberts digitalcity.com

About “A New Leaf” (2006)
Many of the poems were inspired by “The Game.” It is no longer available, but these are the poems on it:

1. Best Poem I Ever Wrote
2. Phantoms & Flights
3. Breaking the Weather
4. Aero-Dynamics
5. My Pleasure
6. Poet Out of Practice
7. Final Approach
8. Scarlet
9. Night Full of Charms
10. Two Beer Buzz
11. Divine Intervention
12. A New Leaf

I have also released the following chapbooks:
Familiars (1996-self-published)
Naked Wrists (1997-self-published)
Complicated Skies (1999-Inevitable Press-Laguna Beach)
12 Windows (2001-self-published)
Baseball Poems (2004-self-published)

I’ve also been in numerous anthologies:
51%, a di-verse-city odyssey,  A Theater of Poets, Beyond the Valley of Contemporary Poets, City Works, Driftwood Highway, Incidental Buildings & Accidental Beauty, Magee Park Poets Anthology, Ocean Beach Poets’ Circle, Poetry Calendar, San Diego Poetry Annual, Sheila-Na-Gig, So Luminous the Wildflowers, temper, The Comstock Review, The Writing Center Anthology

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Christi Chaffee says:

    Hi, Are you having any house concerts this summer? have you checked out Rocky Votolato or Dirk Hamilton? they are both excellent and make for a great house concert.

    Cheers, Christi

    1. meetinggrace says:

      Hi Christi,
      Thanks for your message! I no longer host house concerts but there are plenty going on in San Diego. Check the San Diego Troubadour for some listings.

      take care

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