Archive for the Cassandra Dallett Category

Three Poems by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on August 9, 2019 by Scot

Julia Vinograd: The very definition of poet 


Sending her words out in iridescent bubbles,
down streets lined with houseless
beggars, students getting preppier every year.
Julia was a constant.
unchanged, poet to the bone.
She wrote, and wrote, and wrote –
a book for every year.
With pained legs, and few resources
but the poets and her sister
who rallied to help—
to keep her in her colorful nest of
crystals, stained glass, and poems
old phone and typewriter
to remind us where we came from.
We brought cordless phones, & a word processor
into a kitchen more books than food.
A Zeitgeist in her own right she had
a publisher dedicated to her words.
All those years, all those books.
All I can tell you is she looked intimidating.
I felt judged as all young poets did
by her stern glare, nut shells spit on the floor.
But when Julia liked you
you knew you had m.
the approval of an icon
of the underworld,
of nit & grit
& quality.
She did not hold her tongue
or bother with false niceties.
She was real,
weird & proud,
tough & sweet.
She filled the world with the soft glow
of bubbles & poems
like some kind of beatnik angel
spreading beauty on the winds
of Telegraph.



When Talking Pasta


my friend asks about “mouth-feels”
mouth-feels sets
off talk of food & sex & food as good as sex . The tinder chef
comes to mind,
the way he falls back on his legs
like I’ve never seen,
his huge dick jutting straight out
each time I’m wondering if it’s even real.
Then I take him in,
he fits impossibly, smoothly, made for me, all the pain delicious.
I compare it to the dry and rushed sex
I had somewhere else.
Not sopping wet & throaty like this,
not his whispered
We profess love to body parts. Swear
how good it is to him,
how good it is to me.
How I would suffocate on it.
How I am.
& when I can’t take it anymore, up to my neck happily,
he plates me on the bed, moves me around, strong armed & in control.
He slaps me red & burning.
With him I never feel fat & old, but
perfectly ripe & juicy.
My bruises a badge to keep,
when he’s gone back to his kitchens-
to cook & measure.
His mis en place, flaming pans, cool walk-ins, to scald, braise, & sauté.
Each time I kiss him a silent goodbye
his Uber idling,
I know it might be the last.



Living on the Edge is Birdlike 

(for Brad)

As teenagers, we used to drink
on the roof of Lonnie’s Hotel in the Tenderloin,
on the Ping Yuen projects in Chinatown,
on the Cliffs out in Richmond
a cliff is a cliff even under water
there is darkness, the bottom unknown.
we know blue skin
black hole eyes.
We lived close to death
tried to sleep up on the elevator shaft till the fog came in.
Perched on bathtub,
I said
let’s live needle tip life, syringe slice,
we used broken glass, and pills,
pushed down flights on late nights,
we got high, chests ruffled, invincible.
I kept my worry tucked under a wing.
I don’t miss who you’d become,
but who we were, when at sixteen
you got that job at McDonalds,
brought home bags of cheeseburgers
n’ hid them under my bed.
The ants found them first, but I never loved a cheeseburger more
than your smile and the bounce of your curls.
If you’d grown wings
they couldn’t have put you in the cage,
where you returned
caught and clipped year after year.
My bones are calcified-survival,
molting and staying nearer the middle of rooftops
or down on the sidewalk.
I heard you lived under one
where the dope had hardened you cruel.
I felt responsible like,
if I hadn’t left you back in the cheeseburger days
things could be different
Who am I fooling
my drug of choice was men.
They were just as destructive.
You would have hurt me but I cheated first,
I could feel it coming
Pink Floyd building a wall blankets around me.
You came home late and admitted kissing the sister
of a girl, we called Hoe Anne
We called the sister Spider Legs

after her mascara
They were fast girls like us, raising ourselves,
young outlaws banded together.
You were made for it-
sunshine smile, looking like trouble,
fly boy not meant for this earth.
Some people can’t live the day to day dull,
must live razor edge till pulled plug.
That last shot like coming home.
She beat you down this time
took the light and left an empty sack
where your golden used to be.




Two Poems by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on August 1, 2017 by Scot

All Roads Lead to Tent City


study the supervillain
grab your semi-automatic
watch the Bundy’s,
hold your package
the tribeswoman
looks like your mother
we order DNA kits to trace ancestry
the companies are keeping
our spit for whatever this dystopia holds
we’ve watched too much SCi-FI
or not quite enough
cause the fool on the hill
has the gold and the crown
Pepsi finger on the button
poor and brown are going down
think of ours as township, favela, reservation,
encampments, squatters, illegals, aliens
build your shelter out of cardboard signs
Please Help
there are people all around us
we’d thought ourselves different
a membrane of respect in the unbroken
till one day with no resume left
as they’ve marked us all felons
we realize toothless
man in the wheelchair
amputated off-ramp beggar
is us
there never was anything just.



the sixties again

and I’m born.
All that Public Enemy-
I was raised on, Paris, and KRS,
finding revolution between lines in Short and 40.
I watched the whole movie last night with no joy.
Recognized the OG, dated a hundred of him-
cold blooded to everyone but his Moms.
It was too late for her-
room crowded with meds, mismatched afghans,
dirty walled Victorian.
We all bitches-n-hoes till death bed.
I can sing you all the lyrics-
all the shit dudes rapped they never would-
do for us.
pussy-money-weed prayer.
Isn’t it all strip-club-church
Chris Rock blamed the misogyny on crack.
He wasn’t all the way wrong-
so, we back it up, flip it, rub it down
our asses so full of love and anger-
we fuck with a vengeance.
Search the tender part, near iris.
Pillow talk dumb shit
you search for a nugget to love.
I loved a thug once,
because he was the only person I ever knew
who spoke in metaphor.
Sometimes you got to ask yourself,
is this dick worth this conversation?
Young MA wonders why the whole world
wants to see her strap
and you think about it,
while he fucks you.
You’re never present.
These times tumultuous
as when I birthed, Nixon Moonwalk
Whitey on The Moon
They killed Fred dead.
We still war, we still march,
I need a gun -a survival plan.
There is a big dick in office
with a little dictator complex.
The oligarchs are coming-
shore up your scarcity walls
that’s that bitches’ n hoes mode.
So bendable and expendable
makes pulling the trigger easy
me or him, me or her-me.
The future doesn’t look like we thought it would-
a kid called thug wearing a dress made of Prince’s lampshade.
small liberties slipping through fingers
unable to pull the breaks.
We roll back.
The only one who gets me-
is an OG on Telegraph outside the liquor store.
He looks me up and down,
says, Hey you remember Blondie?
filling my heart of glass like a fish tank in Vegas
Amazon is the monkey on my back.
Assorted cardboard boxes come-
filled with bags of air
Pal is my Pay.
Maybe I just be buying
random time
and things to fill it with.

Movement by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags , on November 26, 2016 by Scot
It’s more than love
some kind of worship.In bed we are safe
from bullets
splintering the wood fence outside.

In bed they cannot touch us.
Till we reach for devices
and information
when death seeps in.

The ugly roils our stomachs
we rock each other.

I scratch your afro
you scratch my bleach blonde
the dogs are tangled up with us too.

Out there it is all
heart breaking, breath taking news.

The all-lives-matter folks
consumed with fear of Sharia law
we hand them mirror
say look at this terrorist.

The good food in our belly sours
when we see children comforting parents
more parents mourning children.

Over and over they say
we should all have guns.

I don’t want a gun I’ll take my chances
with the sagging fences and wagging dogs.

When we go down
we can go down together
I’ll go down on you and you’ll go down on me
the place can burn while we’re drowning.

Somebody will post live video
while following Pokemon around
why track you
when you can do it for them.

Drones the size of bumble bees, honey
missiles aimed at our heads.

We have a well armed police force
who miss the smell of Bagdad
the power of boot on flesh
crush of bone under wheel.

Every day I buy time between you and jail cell
every night we spend what is bought together.

We can’t join marchers on freeway ramps
We are chained together in our own movement.

Scratching poem
and song from one another’s scalp
with a love more like worship.

The Hangover 11/9/16 by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags , on November 22, 2016 by Scot

Woke up to sunshine blind
stumbled robot to French press
not a nightmare
reality show elected
bookish folks are weeping
thinking, feeling, humans are weeping
our queer and trans family is weeping

Good thing my tubes are tied
I’m so sorry young women
they will take all that we fought for
women weep
hand over mouth
one hand covering the entry to our wombs
people of color
marching fists raised
born in this struggle
continue to rise
hold one another strong
school bus bullies are in control
they feel our bodies belong to them

I speed through quiet streets sad
at work I meet red eyes
shaking heads
hate is stronger than us
celebrity is all that matters
rage wins anger rules

all my friends say-
What do we tell the children…

Dear world-
We’re sorry…

We know that climate change is real
borders are bullshit
we are all immigrants and can do nothing but
extend our beaten hands to the sick, the hungry,
the poor, we are tired
one paycheck from homeless
we are those kids picked on
by the red-faced white boys so full of venom
we wonder what they’ll strip us of
protections fought and died for

Families who fled gang land
and guerilla war
the salt of the earth
make tacos and papusas on my block
make rice and dumplings
I want to hug them close

I’m eating oatmeal the sun is shining
like it shined in Nazi Germany
it shined on Tutsis and Hutus
it is shining on the rubble
in Aleppo and Mosul
I have no answers
only fear
only sorrow
and this sun shifting softly
through tree branches
on my back

Dressed for Success by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags , on November 16, 2016 by Scot
I remember having my pussy grabbed 
coming from a party
my skirt was short
but my arms interlocked with friends
in a wall of merriment
he reached up and grabbed anyway
before we beat him with his own radio
this is for our daughters
who we send out to the concrete of The Mission
The Fruitvale The Financial District
the inner cities now suburbs
suburbs now ghettos
invisible from golden towers
silky white faces packed into the belly of The Town
when asked who was from here only one replied
all else transplants
what are we running from
the pussy grabbers are everywhere
80 percent of posts refer to anxiety
this Indigenous People’s day 
the hate so palpable
redder than red face red states
there are scary clown warnings on the news
the scariest clown of all threatens
on all channels zero
what a time to carry your pussy like an ax
to mother like a polar bear
in this endangered fall
come hurricane season
come storm of my eye
I come swinging baseball bat
a pussy bow at my neck
a knock-off
Gucci sweater to hide
my naked rage inside.

Off The Tracks by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on September 27, 2014 by Scot

It’s a fact there are too many rape poems
or just too much rape or rapey-ness
too much talk of raping boyfriends and punching fiancés
the women who marry them
and I understand those women I do, been there
got my ass beat and the word rape didn’t even come out my mouth
but I was bent over and around and drunkenly pushed down
dick in my mouth cause his friend said it was good, said I would
so drunk I sucked dick in darkened playgrounds more than one
and sober I went to see a boy from the neighborhood
the lights were off when I got there, he led me into his room
his friend in his underwear waiting for me
both of them groping me strangely in the black room
and even though I knew they did it just to tell the fellas outside
I kind of liked the mysterious hungry hands on my body
but I hated the dance and the trickery involved
sometimes I refused them and sometimes I invited them in
even though my aunt yelled at me
cause one time they left their nephew waiting in the dining room
he was bumping around the hallway looking for them
and she said “He knows what you’re doing in there!”
four hands can be better than two
maybe because I realized how scared of me they actually were
when I was close to orgasm their clueless hearts beating fast
and nervous under my palms
smooth brown chests California Curl greasing my pillow
gold chain medallions hitting my face
and in the end and forever I owned it
no one ran a train on me
they were my train
a chain of men I went through and keep on
when I tire and replace them
men are funny
always around
standing in line, dick in hand
waiting for a turn.

Ripping up marriage material by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett on November 25, 2012 by Scot

Kneeling in rice that’s what love is like to me
My own weightiness wounding red
grains to bone
I Beg to be lifted by armpits
Always in trouble I try to talk my way out
A spinning firecracker I hiss smoke
Sometimes we are good and drunk
A glass too many and I want to fight
You cry face red too emotional you say
Sobriety doesn’t help much I’m frozen
Can’t glue my cracks bleach my stained teeth
I worry you’ll leave to get high
And I can’t be that reason
The reason for you on the wagon or under its wheels
Neither one
I’m an asshole I know
But here goes; I don’t like to fuck the people I love
It’s too disappointing and real
I like to fuck people I don’t love so I can pretend to
People married and locked up
after acting out
in a sweat
I pull my clothes on and walk away.

Two Poems by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on April 29, 2012 by Scot

I was the girl they whispered about

big as I was
I still felt the brush of crumpled paper and orange peels
bounce off my  shoulders on the school bus.
Me stubbornly staring Dad’s Chevy skully
out the window
When I got up the nerve
to look back everything went blurry a swirl of pale faces
like the girls in the Carrie locker room
I’d wonder if I was just paranoid.

By High school being whispered about was a challenge
each day  I’d confront them
more outrageous
Hair chopped ragged with sewing scissors
dresses made from pillowcases armholes cut
near the top by my Sponge Bob shoulders
the bottom grazing my crotch
thick thighs pushing it up
unsure how much I was actually showing
daring them
in their Izods, Levis, and shit kickers
to look
to say anything
so they whispered, snickered always seemed to already know
who I’d gotten drunk and fucked at the party.
Art teachers loved me I made earrings from Barbie accessories
collaged crazy things and liked spray paint.
Other teachers grew nervous
I was too serious too fidgety
A scribble of writing on a wrinkled paper
C- at best.

On Haight Street they still whispered
the girlfriends,
hated me
I only hung around dudes
to be around testosterone drinking and fighting
got my combat boots twisted behind my ears
by young punks in alleys
they laughed and whispered
but none of them
wanted to fight me.


Barn Razing

My first kiss
Tommy Toflin
in the hay loft
till dawns light striped
through cracks
and knot holes
in wide boards.
Hay is not fun to roll in
it scratches flesh red-raw
leaves your skin burning long after.
Tommy was a terrible kisser
drooled down my chin
his fingers gynecological
in their probing.

The barn made me nervous
with my fear of spiders speckled grey sacks
and the ladder to get up there
three stories straight up
gave me vertigo.
Swinging  my leg over the edge
to step on to the loft
caused hours of anxiety.

Within its  tall, tall sliding doors
a rusty tractor and combine
sheep coming in and out chewing stupidly
I learned to milk goats here
to get grain from a  silo
cut open fresh bales.

Stored my furniture
between coastal moves
Till it burned to the ground
the volunteer fire department hose
too late and too small for the blaze.

After it was gone
leaving only a smoldered black square
Mom found pictures of the barn raising
looking a hundred years old
I was too young to remember.
In black and white,  long haired
t shirted hippies
holding beer bottles and hammers
in happy, industrious chaos.

Revolutions by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags , , , on November 30, 2011 by Scot

They just completed the French
then Haitian, moving on to the Industrial.
But isn’t that a different kind of revolution?
I think as I drive the plastic rental car.
And didn’t they finish with Haiti kinda fast?
I wonder if that Craigslist boy
was named after Toussaint L’Overture.
I’d wanted to ask him if his parents were revolutionaries,
if he was white and black or Latino,
But I knew he didn’t want to talk about
a single thing from our real lives
only the fucking we did hurriedly
in his girlfriend’s bed
the fantasy that I would come to his job at the Hot Tub Shop
fuck him on his desk.
I liked the idea
but would never make it.
In fact I thought,
wouldn’t be back to his twenty something
messy  new appliance filled apartment.
They were young enough to always be out of toilet paper
but have piles of  flat irons makeup and high heels.
He wore his weed like cologne.
I was afraid if I went back I would fall
for their dogs Cali and d Boo
Cali was an older version of my beloved mini pit
she whined at the door when we fucked
Boo was a retarded looking white haired chihuahua
I also had a little soft spot for
I smiled over at my son.
Wished I had studied anybody’s revolution
in school other than the Boston Tea party shit
A revolution I could relate to
wished us fat Americans had the hungry guts
of the Indians the farmers
the people
of Ecuador
who chased  the notion of privatized Bechtel water
right out their door
blockaded every street
with wood and couches burning tires anything
shut the whole shit down
not this- maybe I’ll stop by occupy after work
after I go to the dentist, after I get my rocks off

kind of shit I do
not this  sign the petition on Facebook revolution.
I hold all this in
smile at my son.
Glad someone is teaching him
as magnificent as the Haitian revolution
and that what he had taken away from it
was not to burn your sugar and pineapple fields
you might need them some day.
Nobody in my white high school ever mentioned Haiti.
Not in my black high school

I’m That House by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on August 3, 2011 by Scot

I’m That House

we bought
when I was ten
the rotten one
no floors to speak of
snakes in the clapboard
raccoon skat and remnants
of squatting Hari Krishnas
deciples of the blue bodied boy
in an abandoned farmhouse
we were not the first hippies
to touch down
on that moon soil
we changed everything
the overall
Dad felt comfortable in funkiness
left me always trying to put things in their places
these days I don’t trust my own decisions
I’m running out of stories
ready to fall back in love
he pulls away
I’m confused
enough to follow
these woods are dark
with I told you so.