Autoimmune ~ by Lydia Swartz

I kill you all the time but I don’t mean to. It is an inevitable result of you trying to kill me without meaning to.

You dress up like rusty edged love & make sure my fingers will lie. Silk, they’ll say, & satin, as you cut me to the bone.

My beloved allergen, you make me crave you. As blood leaves me, I yearn for more infection.

I am crazy in love. I love how you make me feel. I love how you dull my senses to anything else. As my throat closes, I want my blue lips to close around you, to taste you one more time.

Instead, I kill you. I starve you. I lock you away from my need, where you cannot be seen. I drive past your house, but I don’t go in.

There are those who say our next encounter will be the death of me. There are days when I think that is a perfect way to die.

Lydia Swartz, 2013


A wise man can …

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.

Bruce Lee

Ode to a Prophet

he is sharp

his teeth filed on the hard bones of life

fangs which pierce the soft exterior of our self perception

wounds inflicted with words

penetrate the armor of a dominant psychology

a psychology seeped in illusion, abandonment, betrayal


do we sacrifice the prophets to our fear

is the messenger anything more than the vehicle of spirit

giving himself in service to his society

moved by the numen that possesses his soul

educating through the fires of a life lived as outsider

madmen and fools

one we will worship

another we kill


how we dismiss he who is born from the victimization

at that hands of those we emulate and represent

we are they in our coverings of modern culture

we protect them, bathing our fears in the labels we assign

an attempt to distance ourselves from a child

an offspring of our uninvestigated assumptions

a prodigy of our efforts and those of our ancestors


better perhaps

coddling our ignorance

to name him murder, rapist and thief

to give him the crimes of our genesis

our crimes which birthed these bones he was raise on

the scraps of this culture sharpen these teeth

puncturing the safety of societal myths

we have created a prophet who tends to our wounds

he removes the ancient denial encrusted upon the exterior of our minds

and we in return

murder him for his compassion.



b.turner  1999


The Skeletons’ Closet

You didn’t realize, when I opened the door and invited you in,

Told you to make yourself at home, offered to hang your coat,

That a closet would be opened

Where skeletons live

And monsters wait for a chance to come dancing.

Or maybe you did. Denial makes things possible

That an attentive mind would not allow.


And so we sit here, chatting,

And I notice the generations of ancestors lining up behind you,

Hoping they too will have a place at the table.

Laying out their desire to have their grief acknowledge

The way one lays out a winning hand of cards.


Ancestors, complexes, archetypal identifications

How can so many figures pack themselves into one invisible piece of luggage?

How can so many demons jostle about in one mind

All and each of them hoping to be invited in,

To sit here with us and share a cup of tea.


I offer, and you say “no.”

But the work goes on anyway. Because monsters never care

What the ego wants. There are tyrants in their midst

Because even though they came to keep you safe

Way back when,

Now they think they own you.

That’s why you come here today.

Because you think I know something about these closets

And this baggage and these tyrants.

Because you think I know something about how to make tea.


And I am always sorry my dear, but every time I ask you how you are,

I’ve given you back the responsibility

For getting to know each and every one of these others

The work will always be yours

You come to me not because I’m particularly helpful

Only because I understand the language of monsters

And its useful to have a translator every now and then.

Because I know

That when you open that door

And look in the closet

The skeletons you see

Are always you own.


Here, give me your coat,

I’ll make us some tea.


b. turner


civilians we call ourselves

as if this war

we send others to fight

is civil.

little scraps of flesh

stick to every surface

hands, face, sweater

they’re in the door lock

as you turn the key.

the civilized

have no eyes to see

action and motive

to wake up and take note.

eyes flew away

when they built that walmart.

one dollar swim shoes are

more important.

b. turner 2010

Blessing Birds


each person in my life brings me a present.

each present is a prayer, a blessing.
i write each present as a word on a little slip of paper.
because they are prayers, not all of them have manifest yet,

i pour the presents, the slips of paper into the inside of my body
the slips of paper turn into birds which fly off
into the infinity that is inside of me.
they will return when it is time for that blessing to manifest in my life.

it is very sweet. i watch how sweet,
watching listening… to this feeling,
these birds, a-wing on the air.

some prayers are answered now. like one from kiomi.
i can see how some are closer and some further.
it is like earth and river…. this feeling
that has now become birds.


6/27/99 6:15 am