Thursday, November 29, 2012


Peggy in "Change+ing Room," at Fahimeh Vahdat's exhibit, October 2012

remove glasses and
slip under black cloak
I peer through a slit
pressing down on thick eyelids

            inside mother’s protective womb
            cushioned in layers of fluid, muscle, bony pelvis, skin
            you cannot see me but I hear you
            hear everything

in silent blackout
breath condenses
under synthetic silk
            forming heart, lungs, ovaries
            limbs curled into trunk

walking through a crowd
space clears for me
like a road opens for an ambulance

            you do not know what I will become
            you do not know the generations of women’s rage I embody
            to you I am a bump yet unconscious

sensing my silent steps
conversation stops
sitting still I become invisible
eavesdrop on the last time I was in Turkey
and dinner plans
downtown or third ward?

            gestational I am carrier
            of my grandmother’s untold stories
            the egg that would hatch me
            formed in her womb
            as she carried my mother

eyes glance then dart away           
better to not look
an unspoken complicity
let’s not talk to her

            what lengths will you take to ignore me?
            what would I reveal given the chance?
            what threat does the curve of my hips present?
            clavicles, cleavage, clitoris?
cloaked and alone
in the eye of my own churning hurricane
I must hide my hands under black cloth
afraid of what they will commit


Monday, November 19, 2012


summary of my past weekend in detroit, with thanks to meiko, marcia, robby, colette, erin, nerissa, jess, grace, shea, and shout out to mary oliver

be outside at dusk to watch the first stars appear
make this your nightly prayer

as you step out of the car
lost on highway 23
a shooting star from leo soars directly overhead

a million eyes in the sky
now you can gaze back at the stars
that watch you as they always do
they ask:
what will you do with your one wild and precious life?

let your uterus speak
your kidneys and lungs
your perimenopausal thyroid and pineal glands
let your ears ring when you dance in front of the woofer
you will lose your hearing one day anyway
just as you will lose everything
your mother’s silverware
your father’s publications
the burden of your reputation
stomp it underfoot on the concrete dance floor

promote shamelessness
as a step into the emergence of interconnected self
infuriate as many people as you inspire

move to detroit so you can throw away your bras
to embrace the reality of 49 year old breasts
spent on nourishing your young

choose what is most impermanent
like stir-fried vegetables for grace
on a tray carried to her house each night at 5
value what is most ephemeral
snow melting before it touches the sidewalk
tail of the meteor disappearing into night sky

boycott the media and create your own news
by learning ukulele and writing songs
fill your car with drums, your kombucha jug and record albums
leave everything else behind
forsake the sham of middle class security
your 401K, health insurance, a pension
spend your savings on avocados, limes, and mixed greens
make guacamole your new currency
place yourself at the mercy of strangers
cross double yellow lines to make u-turms on train tracks
after all it’s never too late
let your phone battery die and rely on telepathy

stand on your head and gaze out the window
at bare trees older than your house that needs tuckpointing
listen to the foghorns detroit sunday dawn
if the stars can fall
                                    no problem
                                                            so can you

pkh 18 November 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


for Milwaukee, Growing Power, Will Allen, and all our local farmers

in 21st century post-industrial milwaukee
city of foreclosures and soaring joblessness
the earth calls us forth to heal her

she’s been paved over, toxins dumped, trees sheared away
with emptied houses
closed schools
lunch programs cut
where is her silver spring?

industrialized then abandoned

we remake the earth
worm by worm
black gold

new earth smells like morning
like renewal
smells like community

ingesting all that we have discarded
the worms welcome it all
tree pulp beaten and bleached into paper
processed foods moldering and slimy
throw-aways of our material world

wriggling red worms
like the earth coming alive
the earth has been waiting for us to come and renew her
withstanding temporary devastation
by industry run amok
she knew we would return turn

turning over the compost pile
sift and sieve
nourishment everywhere

city hall gardens of mustard and cabbage
we walk through and graze during lunch hour
bovine, leaving hoofmarks of work shoes in the earth

beat your swords into plowshares
trade in your gun for a pitchfork
the weapon of choice

after all anyone can take life
but only the brave can make life
make kale and collards that survive the wisconsin winter
worm by redworm
polypropelene hoophouses the new native architecture
covering the milwaukee landscape

those who grow their own food
grow their own souls
families and communities

the worms teach us how to re-weave the fabric of community
neighborhood harvest parties
corn roasts
catch up on gossip at the local farmer’s market

worm by worm
mother earth’s revolutionaries