morning tea

8 a.m. the burner ignites under the tea kettle.  I locate

the white tea cup for the day, then shuffle through boxes

of teas, as I consider my liver, my energy level, toxins

or mineral stores.  I ask my belly what feels right.

Tulsi, turmeric, dandelion root, nettle leaf?

In winter, it’s spices, warmth and comfort.  Summer,

hibiscus, rose and honey.  Sometimes, I need

licorice, chamomile, lavender, gentle.

Regardless the type, 8 a.m. the burner ignites under

the tea kettle.



an orphan’s grief, obsidian
the force of will, obsidian
the seed of my heart, obsidian
cool and sharp, obsidian
bitter still, obsidian
the child’s thief, obsidian

(obsidian, from You Bring out the Mexican In Me by Sandra Cisneros)

Returning to Florida

Now I know
the reason why
I came to stay
in this place.
One easy look
at the open sky,
so clean and blue,
such perfect space;
With colors and shapes
that calm my mind
and allay
my restless heart.
I don’t know how
for all this time
we have so long
been apart.

-EJP, 2000

The Artist’s burden

The sour acid of nerves hovers at the back of my tongue,
it rises with the deep nagging, the tiny alarm bells
that well up, ringing louder and louder until that cerebral
aspect chimes and I remember-
I taste the proof of my fear, feel the dark pit
of my stomach turn and quiver. But fear is only the crest of the wave,
the full churning body is power and the soul’s love.
The artist’s burden comes into full view, again-
I must create!



   Cassini spacecraft
flies through space and time to show
Saturn’s rings in their glory.


a relationship

I was surprised at first,
and frustrated, at how narrow
you are. Long and narrow. Stark white,
and so narrow. I felt cheated at the rent
I would pay to sleep in you, and what else?
Hang out? Read? Not likely…
Except that one adapts, and I brought
in to you a vintage brass bed,
turned it this way and that,
settled it under the window where the moon
can wink at me. And then a solid wood
dresser made in Tennessee, found on craiglist
in the Bronx, with a vanity mirror to match.
My bed seems far away when I’m at your door.
I hoped the white walls and mirror would throw
around the illusion of space. I hammered nails
and drilled screws to make you mine.
I’ve filled you to the brim with clothes,
jewelry and bins to nonchalantly store
my stuff. I get mad at you for not being
bigger, and then I humbly bail you out
like a boat set to capsize. Sorry.
You are my space, all mine. You are where the rain
sings me to sleep. You house my art. You carry
my tears, my songs, my stacks of journals,
my longings and night time scribblings, and of course,
my dreams, you are where I dream. I promise to
spend more time with you. Love you, E

Imagined Beasts

Medieval marginalia is tender proof
of the urge to doodle,
the early cartoonists and comic
book artists, were they all monks
with righteous tasks? dreaming
and imagining sci-fi-fantasy creatures and such:

beyond the stone walls and fields of peons,
after prayers, what imaginings and sinning.
what need for adventure, creeping in to a dream world and seeing:

A golden-legged beast of three heads perched upon
three long necks, scales and bumps down its octopus
tentacle tail, blue as the deep.  A unicorn horn of green
points at the throats as their dog faces grimace, whine
or laugh.  The green horn of the unfortunate offspring of
a wormish thing and a hooved monkey?  As it stands aloft
its mountain peaks it salutes or threatens its foe-friend.
Which kingdom will preside, how will they amend?

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