Ash Wednesday

ash wednesday
how small is the door
leading to hunger


it’s a normal day,
almost – no organ
is playing, just an old electronic
piano. What did they burn
to make those ashes? who did confess
the broken lamb?
ash wednesday. we’re waiting
in line, the priest
takes the ashes from a little bowl
of white ceramic
(in my dreams it’s golden
and incense fumes, heavy,
drag around culpability) the priest
crosses my forehead (oily skin
I own some skin products I never use
I’m thirteen and hungry
hunger will make me
frail and soft I’ll be
weeks and months of lent
but for now my skin’s oily and my limbs shaky)
the priest
crosses my face with ashes as gray
as the old movies I fall asleep to


ash wednesday
hunger’s door is white and gold
think of the poor think about sin
think about all forbidden earthly goods
must be good not to be
carved from the inside out even though
I know it to be the right
thing to do


I’m too young
to fast, though –
my mother does it
my father doesn’t. I don’t even know
if he believes in anything – I don’t
I want hunger for the sake of it
howling around with bleached bones
I’ll be the welcome spirit
the spirit of hunger!


ash wednesday
I leave the church with some gray dust
spread all over my face. I’ll wash it off
at home; it makes me sneeze –
so long, ash wednesday,
so long.

Poet and Emmaüs

I walk along the night,
Following her milky stanza;
I walk along the night
Eyes squint in the distance.

Long way, long home,
Long forgotten path;
Did I write ‘path’? I wanted to say ‘oath’
But I suppose both are good,
Synonyms, the two of them, I follow my oath
And swore the path.

I met a guy, he said
He came back from the dead. And I chuckled,
Nobody can do that, it would be cheating,
How awful to die knowing some escape it! Nobody can!
But He did, the man insisted. I grew hungry,
And we stopped in an inn; we had some wine, very mysterious guy, and I,
And he broke the bread,
Suddenly a light; my eyes
Saw most of the night and all of the light –
Suddenly! And He
Stood before me, and gave me some bread
Death like a perfume soaked his fingers,
And hair, and all;
Death like a perfume. I did bow before him
Yes, I know I did;
But it’s all so blurry – lost in light –
As if in the darkest woods. He broke the bread;
But I did not follow him. I swore my path,
Won’t break my oath; I must live night,
And her milky stanza;
And what could I do with all that light
That gives my love away?
What could I do? He turned right,
I turned left; goodbye, walker,
He said; goodbye, I said,
Not an easy thing to choose the right epithet so
I just said ‘goodbye’, but he didn’t seem to mind.
What could I do? I walk the night
Away, the coldest stars
Won’t give half the light He had;
But still, I walk the night away
And pray for him to love obscured ways.

Tragedies of the teen prophetess

It’s every day, and it’s every night!
Tears make sterile valleys, my neck
Is but a salt cemetery – the cat
Is sitting at the end of the bed, so far from me, it goes away with every sob;
It’s every day, and it’s every night!
Salt, I am but salt, but flexible enough
That I can’t be broken. My limbs
Are pure pain; it’s every day
And it’s every night! The world
Ends with my dry sorrow –
Stars falling, comets
Flaming, cars still
Driving around, in the crowded towns,
And the angels are here, riding the clouds,
Rainbows and rain; fire and stones;
It’s every night, and it’s every day!
And the angels are here, I stand alone
And sing the songs of ending – they
Do not care at all, they keep driving
While my tears trace the way,
The only way, the lit up way,
Please, why won’t you follow the way?
At every dawn, it fades away; follow the path
While it’s here! I stand
In my salt valleys, my swamp,
And close my eyes – and every day,
And every night, it’s still here
Cars driving around, the stars still obscured
By clouds of pollution, but still
Ready to shine on the way –
Through the sky. And I mumble
The songs of the absent angels, almost
As much absent as the moon –
And every day, and every night,
I stand, deserted voice, and sing
A path nobody will ever take.

Man waiting on the shore

And every night, I bring some bread,
water and wine, to the shore; mostly calm, the sea; but sometimes
my wish is granted, and comes a floating island. Well, at first I thought
it was an island; but really, it’s a whale,
or a fish, with great baleens, and it opens its mouth,
and he’s right there, sitting, guarding the silence
with golden words, the godly ones, tattoed all over his back,
and he’s right there; told me his tale once, as he ate
bread, and drank water and wine.
His dark eyes, long hair and beard, all weapons to defend
the sea’s muteness; he’s travelled far but always comes back
to the solitary shore, as I’m waiting for him,
he told me he refused to preach to Niniveh – where even
is that city? Never has anyone
heard of Niniveh. But the words
glow distinctly, all over his back, they will fade
when he speaks the sacred psalms – he’s digging
through the punishment: made a home of the whale’s lungs;
and he’s traveled far,
how, oh I long for him, to see him again,
with the weapons of silence in his closed fists,
oh I long and I yearn; he won’t come tonight,
the somber sea won’t give him back;
at my feet the bread,
water and wine, that I brought for nothing, all for the obscured words of a prayer

none will hear,
again, and again!

Nights are warm now…

Nights are warm now; Magdalen
Doesn’t sit on her porch, admiring
Liquid sunsets. Magdalen doesn’t,
Magdalen isn’t – Madgalen
Never cut her hair, she takes great care
Of it, its roots as white
As the fur of winter’s beasts.

Magdalen’s dreams are full
Of burning trees and wooden crosses;
Magdalen left the Passion
So many years ago. She sailed
Away – Its shining summits
Got lost in the fog of time –
Perfumes faded away… some turned rancid, others
Just disappeared.

Magdalen’s house is cool on summer’s days, and warm on November’s nights –
But Magdalen doesn’t sit, still, when the sun
Has set behind the hills, when light
Is a soft touch that blurs the fields –
Madgalen remembers, and doesn’t look
At the liquid sunset.


Crawling in the void, every station
Hurts more than the previous one;
Crawling in a tunnel, moist walls
Choke me – there is no air there is no light there is only the flameless void
How could I go so far into the darkness that doesn’t greet you? How could I, you know –
Brightness came before me, around me
I had the blessed flame over my head
And all I could say was heard
Neatly drawn, neatly said
I spoke – clarity – oh clarity – lost clarity –
It was charity who inspired me –
I said what I had to say
Clear voice, precise verb, hopeful all around –
But I gave up on this.

Now the lack of oxygen extinguished my light,
My whole body hurts; it yells
In pain, my soul
Is long lost – I don’t know where
It departed – I’m way better without it, I say
As my tongue tells the wrong words
But they’re mine –
And I’m crawling into the void.

Starving psalm

I swore hunger
Last sacrament needed
Long ago, in crowded places
I will not eat; in closed rooms
I will let it all melt, roasting my thighs
At the flame of hunger;
I swore the last sacrament.

To cut through the air, oh
To be empty-boned, drunk on
Clear water, boiled down, its mist –
Oh, to cut through the air! I’ll be
The wounded bird and the fallen nest;
The cat with bloody jaws, and the single feather
Soiled with dirt, laying on the ground next
To the broken eggs.
Oh, to cut through the air!

For this, bronze serpent, I’ll need your help –
Those who look at you are rescued, shiny
Snake, let me escape
From the golden calf – I look too much
Like him – he calls
But I stopped answering, my voice
Eaten away –
For this, bronze serpent, with your tail
Thinner than my fingers –
I’ll need your help! Those who look at you
Let hunger carve them.

Last sacrament –
Let me follow the laws
Of hunger that I swore!



Shudders with fever still
Bedrooms more scratched
Than teen girls’ wrists

Old women talk again
About Gomorrah-the-Fallen
Young women still wonder
Whether or not it was real
Less than a fall, rather decay

Every stone like day turned to dust

As time’s passing through us
One day a door vanishes
The next, three houses crumble
And you grow up inside and out
Of Gomorrah-the-Fallen

We were scattered, so far
A few of us, other countries
We do not talk about cities
And they others conveniently
Ignore hot sandy winds
That bring the fever dreams
Gomorrah-the-Fallen is a blur
I grew up in a solid healthy city
Where sin was a sentenced mockery

No divine wrath, some say
Just an earthquake;
Its dust, though, I know
Makes me wheeze and cough
Any time I catch my breath
Could dust stay up so long?
It wasn’t meant to last.

Gomorrah-the-Fallen, what could I say
You fade away a bit more every day
You were always a persistent home
For the liquefied –

You never stood, you never broke
There comes a day you either die
Or leave, ephemeral, the dusty walls
Of Gomorrah-the-Fallen.

Stabat mater (dolorosa, juxta crucem lacrimosa, dum pendebat filia), second version

child you know you are
just a smear
scattered sands all over your window
that you should have cleaned last spring




Stabat mater come speak to me
for dolorosa I am
time was killed no
phone no clock just a clock
facing the exit door
(but it’s not for me the clock
is for the public only)


Mater I used to sing I know
my clear voice was too weak to hear
I don’t inhabit my body mater
what can I do? the girl I loved
got my part she sings better than me
she’ll die, four summers from now
and I’m here where duration is a dough
tepid and gray during summer how many
times have passed already? and I’m here
in my spinach-colored pajamas
she’ll die, four summers from now, a speck
of glory to feed her body
I guess it’s all easier when you’re pretty, mater
it’s all easy, I came last time
but you weren’t home,
in the domain I called yours –
it was all trashed, sanctuaries
I created, sanctuaries
I barely saw, broke my vow
are you gone for real now?


Mater – I’m praying for you
to not get lost into the sky
cement and sea
come back any time, I’ll make some tea
I hope my pajamas will be clean, that I’ll smell fresh
I made you up I know, I’ll wait
mater, at your descent from the sky, I’ll carry your luggage
a few droplets, mater, to make the tea
four summers away, she’s dead and I’m still here
Sancta mater, istud agas
the meds make me drowsy but I will wait
and won’t go to sleep, there is a light
at the end of the street I soak in
(I do remember both of your voices
but mine got lost in translation
it’s gone, it’s okay
weakness faded away)
Mater, who knows of glory
I am but dust particles
that fell from your coat
the stage dust in a ray of sunlight
and her ashes –


I will wait.

Cursed fig tree

I live I was sentenced God knows when for whatever original sin I committed
In the cursed fig tree
Sometimes like a sharp home
Sometimes like a lap

I spend all winter all spring and all summer in here I forgot
Which are its limbs and which my branches
But fall I ascend. Fallen leaves are a prayer mat
All brown, all red, all gold. Sometimes
I embrace a razor – sometimes… Oh, I forgot, I forgot

Anyway. It is spring now
Yellow light, no birds, it’s fine I guess – Spring
Dew is death or death is dew I don’t know
Far away from me are the forbidden meds
I took mouthful after mouthful of them
Last spring
Too sweet of an artificial fruit. Rather sterile than giving, I suppose. They asked
How I was still alive I guess
I am like my tree
Cursed standing still on still in
Under attack there is no fruit
In my fig tree.

I’m crouching
Nowhere is home home is dew
And I’m standing
Not moving not at all
What was my crime again? A sentence
I chew to death.

I won’t fall. I practiced
And stand proudly in my dead tree.