Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hope Over Experience

Your voice pooled around my commonsense.
I pulled white silk through my brass ring,
dropping hints at your pigeon-toed feet.
 A pulse jumped under my blue-veined skin
a mosaic of pain breaking out like war.

At the rehearsal, Mother in her flatline calm
bombed our drinks with cherries
and posted a curse above the published banns.
 We sat there glumly, holding back her hands.

Before this devolves into a narrative of hindsight-
your heart grows numb, the kids burn down the halfway house - 
you should know I’ve come prepared: keys jammed
between my knuckles, a map of alternatives on the dash.
 Right beside the rigid Mary. Right under your lucky dice.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mother's Landscapes


Friday, September 05, 2014

Poetry Contest

Eighth Annual Poetry Contest

$1,000 Awarded for Poems of Provocation & Witness

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2014

Benefits Split This Rock Poetry Festival
April14-17, 2016—Washington, DC


Reading Fee: $20  / Deadline: November 1, 2014 / Simultaneous Submissions Okay (See guidelines)

Submissions should be in the spirit of Split This Rock: socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems of provocation and witness. This theme can be interpreted broadly and may include but is not limited to work addressing politics, economics, government, war, leadership; issues of identity (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, body image, immigration, heritage, etc.); community, civic engagement, education, activism; and poems about history, Americana, cultural icons.


Natalie DiazThe most recent recipient of the Holmes National Poetry Prize, Natalie Diaz is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community. After playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia for several years, she completed her MFA in poetry and fiction at Old Dominion University. She has been awarded the 2012 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Literature Fellowship, a 2012 Lannan Residency, and a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellowship. She won a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published in 2012 by Copper Canyon Press. She currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, and directs a language revitalization program at Fort Mojave, her home reservation. There she works and teaches with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language.  


First place recipient receives $500 and the opportunity to read her/his poem at the 2016 Split This Rock festival; second and third place receive $250 each. All three winners receive free 2016 festival registration and their poems published at  Up to three honorable mentions will receive signed copies of Nude Descending an Empire, Sam Taylor’s newest book.


Submit up to 3 unpublished poems, no more than 6 pages total, in any style, in the spirit of Split This Rock (see “About The Contest”) online at  Simultaneous submissions are okay, but please notify us immediately if the poem is accepted elsewhere.


SPLIT THIS ROCK  /  1112 16TH ST NW SUITE 600  /  WASHINGTON, DC  20036  /  202.787.5210  /  WWW.SPLITTHISROCK.ORG

Thursday, September 04, 2014

ThrowBack Thursday

                                                                       "Sisters" (NFS)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014



 Say a phrase over and over and its meaning sloughs off.
Sounds collide, saturating you. You go still beneath your skin.
The girl whispered "my Dad died," and there was nothing
to breathe in the cabin. 

She pulled her treasures from her bag--a string of magician's scarves.
The red carnation appeared, a bent and wilted thing, thumbed
with effort to make memory last.        

We mended the dangling flower-head with gum and nail polish
knowing the fix would finish it for good.

When she left, she held her funereal flower tight.
Never mind how the petals littered the ground
like the opposite of confetti.

--first appeared in Stirring

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Message from Home


 All that August the house seesawed
between heat and wet. Bedraggled
relations in souvenir shirts wondered
if they’d brought enough clean underwear.

We exchanged gifts
earmarked for the junk drawer.
The front door swelled shut
and I cased the window like a thief.

They split into cliques,
filling blackout hours with clannish grievance.
I wondered why until my head ached.

When mornings cooled and we recognized
the coffee steam for what it was, we divided
snapshots, reminiscing already, energized
by the idea of parting.

In the wake of kissed air and reconfigured goodbye,
I stood at the door waving, long past the hour
that would have them turning back, frantic
with apology; and rushing into the house,
convinced they had left something precious there,
something they would recognize if they ever saw it again.

-first appeared in Town Creek Poetry