29 October 2005

night sounds

island cats are hopeless romantics
they spend the better part of each night singing
tortured songs to one another and making
love until
4 AM

The birds need to work on their harmonies
and their insomnia
no one would hire this band
not even for wedding or bar mitzvahs
especially with the bird who sounds like he is
gargling in the bottom of a tin bucket

island dogs bark at shadows all night,
and dust, and ideas, and trees, and
my window
they are mad, these dogs and when they
see me I imagine they envision a big chicken leg
in their minds like on cartoons with classical music

but the worst, the absolute worst,
are the roosters that crow from
3 AM until 6
as if lazy Réunion farmers
just can’t stop hitting nature’s snooze button.

28 October 2005

en boite

charles mézance charles le méchant
the night club was loud and your breath was heavy
I could feel your pretension a kilometer away
but somehow in the midst of outkast and French pop
we clicked glasses and talked about Kerouac
Kerouac! imagine that, I thought myself lucky.

charles mézance charles le professeur
we picnicked on the beach and you told me how
you are a French teacher by day
editor by night, spoiled catholic boy from the north of

so French he bleeds Bordeaux, and bleeds often

‘this isn’t serious this isn’t serious’ says charles
as he peels away my dress
he’s got the catholic guilt hardcore and a handful of heartbreaks to boot
I think I’ll be as permanent in his life
as the bite marks he left on my hip
but I must admit
I am obsessed with the idea of him.

19 October 2005

give me my green card bitches

18 October 2005
Subject: the act of eating an omelet for breakfast

Mlle BLUE:

We the undersigned hereby declare that under order of the French government you (formal) are in no way legally able to partake of omelet for breakfast until the following accommodations have been made.

The department of omelets (DoO) will need expressed written acknowledgement of your desire to have an omelet for breakfast. This will need to be signed and postmarked at least two (2) weeks before other paperwork can be filed.

The department of omelets (DoO) will need copies in triplicate of your birth certificate, your passport, and your working contract signed and notarized. One copy of your birth certificate must be translated into French by a certified translator, another needs to be translated into Creole and further another must be translated into twin speak. This will also need to be made into triplicates, signed and certified.

You will need proof of housing in the form of a copy of a lease, a copy of an electricity bill, and three (3) pictures of yourself (black and white) in your bathrobe at 2 AM drinking rum.

You (formal) must also schedule an appointment at a DoO doctor to obtain a certificat de médecin to prove that you are physically able to indulge in omelet eating. This appointment must be scheduled three (3) months in advance and must be requested in writing at least two (2) weeks in advance of the advance. The doctor will also need a translated copy of your birth certificate.

After this has been filed five (5) times in completion, you (formal) must have a signed contract with the supervisor of the department of omelets (DoO). You can schedule an appointment to see him on Tuesdays or Fridays. He has breakfast from 8AM until 11AM. His lunch begins at 11:15 and lasts until 4:30 PM. His office closes at 5 PM, except on Tuesdays and Fridays when he closes early for dinner.

Finally, you will need 17 original copies of this letter. If you so choose to eat an omelet before this paperwork is complete, you will be immediately deported and stoned with lava rocks by members of the French government. If however you are a member of the European Union, feel free to visit the department of omelets (DoO) prefecture office and enjoy a free omelet every afternoon.

Very sincerely,
the French government

13 October 2005

the hike

it seems obvious to write about the steep slope of the mountain
the scent of tropical flowers heavy in the air in the early morning

its poetry to describe the sense of humility in the center of a mountain so substantial
one small footstep on the ancient soil
the beauty of the clouds that seem to pass just feet above your head
a view of the blue ocean from the top of the peak
the heat so sticky like the curry in the towns in the impossible crevices of the landscape

but all I want to write is how we walked so high in the air
feeling euphoric, accomplished
only to be reminded that, even in the middle of the Indian ocean, this heavenly island is French:
as the other hikers took a breakfor coffee and cigarettes.

12 October 2005


today my brother is 24
because I am far away I will not be able to see him today
but I hope he is
somewhere warm
with food like lasagna and beer
plus a comfy place to sit where he can drift off to sleep
and dream of asian ladies.

if I could I would grab a huge Creole cloud from the sky
wrap it in paper and write
‘to luke’ in curly cursive letters.

11 October 2005

the first time i cried in Réunion

I had made it two weeks into the endeavor

I knocked on his office and I already knew
it would be dire
Monsieur L’Intendant
(he had the kind of cheeks that melted into his chin)

I had spoken with him two days before and
he had been callous
his voice was like gravel, very hard to understand
and when I asked him to repeat himself he would

sigh hard
look at me with disgust
and repeat what he had said in exactly the same manner, covered in gravel

at this point in my day I had already visited an apartment
that would mean suicide to live in
dark, dank, dead apartment
(the creole woman letting it smiled crooked and said
you are so pretty for an American)
I had called others, many
always problems; I just want to sleep somewhere that’s mine

so I looked at him
and I asked if he had something for me
he looked at me –laughed- and said
we had a place for you yesterday but you didn’t come yesterday so we gave it to someone else

I paused and said
I called yesterday and the secretary said there was nothing for me
and he laughed again; he grumbled
you must have misunderstood her

and then it happened.
my French ran dry
he knew and I knew that I did not misunderstand her
and he was laughing and I was at the end

my head filled up with water and the pressure it caused was unbearable
I couldn’t stop it, it started seeping out through my eyes
right there in his stuffy little office with one window for escaping
right there in the grey school in centre ville
right there in his territory covered in gravel for snacks and Americans

and he laughed again.

my suitcase

one poetry book, one feminist book, and one law school book is what I allowed myself
two white skirts
pink dress with polka dots
lotion that smells like sunshine
the lingerie I bought for alisan and never got to wear
four pairs of sunglasses (movie star, laid back, and pin-up); two pairs of shoes
one blank journal, black & white
a washcloth in bright yellow
5 by 10s of people I love
rainbow of camisoles and an old t shirt

I brought necklaces impossibly tangled
dental floss and liquid eyeliner
my new pink bikini, my old turquoise one
(ok, so maybe 2 books of poetry)
there is my perfume [light blue]
a slinky pair of panties
about 5000 bobby pins and no hairbrush
umbrella, Tylenol, and my whitetrash slip for sleeping in
-- the slip, that is, not the umbrella or pills.

05 October 2005

a conversation

So how old were you when you lost your virginity?

Well, I don't think that is any of your business.

Hmm. Well I was eighteen. Old I suppose.

I don't know. If you think its old then it is.

I've slept with 9 people since then.

Any Americans?

No, not yet.