An Abbreviated Family Dictionary

There are bits of family which defy description. I do not mean that metaphorically. They know you are trying and they will resist.

National Poetry Month

Some poetry months are more fruitful than others.

April 2015

16 Definitions


When you are far less terrifying hovering over the sleepers in a rented bunny suit.


The museum of outmoded rearing tactics, all requisite corners and striking planes.


All the busted pinball games your paneled attic can contain.


"At some point you have to move past her neck," says the rent-a-cop.


The time you can hide in the gel green light under the floating dock before someone panics, plus or minus thirty seconds.


That time in your life when all of your friends are Franz Kafka. Franz in the driveway, elbows on the car. Franz at the sleepover, rolling dragon dice. You will come to understand that this era really stressed out your parents.


To study the vocabulary of casings yet refrain from dropping the wad, dropping the shot, crimping the shell.


The reason a young lady taunts her lover in front of her parents with her allergy to peppermint.


When your house rules include let's not speak of the dismemberment.


Faux Victorian vs. mid-century modern. Bleached sheepskin throws against a tight, patterned weave.


To hover unanchored over the drowned town in your five-room rented houseboat.


To tear their house apart anew night after night after night leaving just enough country home to mourn among the shanties and the strip malls and the ad hoc boat docks.


All three vectors betray embarrassment to those who watch from the fourth dimension.


These jagged edges were in fashion once.

The Ritual

You kick the earthquake machine. While lightning bugs blink in witness you kick it like the fucked-up world just gave you its shins.


Erma Bombeck undercover, kicking ass and solving crimes in her well-stocked, groovy bookmobile.

April 2014

3 Definitions


A friend's good mother lasts forever.


That bamboo pagoda made eternal under glass. How folks don't know they come to see it not you.


In your time of mythical seizures it was the wires in the darkness and the crusty glue circles on your skin and deep in your hair.

April 2013

1 Definition


All the fabric ever woven by your sister's dusty loom.

April 2010

17 Definitions


When the plow rolls over you, you stand up and make babies. Then you slice them into pieces like some younger, less forgiving plow.


I'd walk a lonely mile for a yoga joke.


Next door, someone collected aluminum cans, naming each one for a holiday. Christmas, sigh, crush. Easter. New Year’s.


I know you. No, I mean it: I really know you.


Larger than before, our apartment seemed two apartments joined. We could’ve doubted everything, but chose only the one incident, which sounded like a psychotic episode.

A Letter

You’ve a different potion now. Hold out your hand. You’ve a different potion now. Hold out your hand. Hold out your hand.


Well-water. Hide of the gator which once served as atmosphere. Empty rooms as passages, sparks to the basket of fire.


Dark closet behind clean clothes. Behind limbo. Just past a state of uncertainty, just inside a pocket enclosed by uncertainty and solid walls.


Her father held her hand. She was not one. She was not. She was not one of those.


1) Without question. 2) Naked. 3) Alone.


Say it again. Say it again and don’t dare stop.


You catch it from cereal. By extension, a lifelong habit of predicting the illnesses of relatives.


The pace you keep. When you speak, the language you speak. Otherwise, you don't speak, and in that sense, you cant.


One of each day. Synonym for “extol” having the additional sense of standing on a barrier island and feeling one is an active part of the barrier process.


Living on sugar, hiding the cream.


He’s fish. She’s chicken. They’re fruit and wheat. Where do they live? Together. What do they eat?


An expression of misunderstanding or “getting with the drift.” Otherwise, the first and most ambiguous of your siblings.