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Natalie May 23
At dawn, her unripe berries glint
A bluish milky white—
Pale ova, pure in their infancy;
The lustrous pearls nest in nooks
Between several sprigged fingers
And sit patiently ‘round her crown,
Clustering at her clavicle;
And her hardy skin
Seeps rich with olfactory bliss—sweet
Sweat of gin, balsamic breath
Of damp, green wood.

She stretches at each fingertip,
Yawning, quietly nursing her young;
She bleeds fertility, silently fruiting,
Flowing maternal certainties.
Her round children suckle preordination
And grow and grow.

Each recoils from chill, dry air, nestles deeply
Into its mother’s folds.
It is winter again, and they
Are white as snow.
May 23 · 30
Contagion
Natalie May 23
it made you feel awful—
the contagion very carefully got,
letting the slump in again
and in, and again,
deeper and deeper than ever before,
shaking, trembling, mouth
shut over a sudden darkness
like a token—a dry
communion tablet.
4/29/19
May 23 · 92
Stirring
Natalie May 23
it may all be a false alarm,
but there was a stirring—
something born, very faintly
warmed by simplicity—
a whisper of God,
practically automatic.
like breathing.
4/29/19
Natalie May 23
waking in darkness, he saw
curtains
waving manifold,
their inward edges
delectably touched by carbon light
white as sugar—extravagant—
and elsewhere was black.
Natalie May 23
keep your mind,
your own rotten luck.

you’ll bear it because
there isn’t any choice—

except to go to pieces.
say nothing,

hold yourself together.
think about your certain cool pride.
Natalie May 23
everyone secretly hopes
that a syndrome
—a respectable eruption—
will cause the world to admire
the performance
of the youngest sisters—
of the beautiful, modest,
worried people.

“Is it going to explode?”
Natalie May 23
some are dainty
some are kind

some are precious
some are vile

some are poisonous
and black underneath

some are thin
and corkscrew-like

turning constantly
until morning.

break off the cover
show a buried pit of coals.

when done, skin
scales, or feathers will all come off.
May 18 · 120
Metamorphosis
Natalie May 18
The boundaries of my body are blurred. The once
Blunt ends of my fingers blend and smear, like Rorschach blots,
Into a pool of surrounding air.

The short scrubs of my hair sprout wildly
Like stalks, seeking
As vines of some flowering **** for something to leech on.

I am expanding one moment,
Collapsing the next, retreating infinitely inward,
Drawing in my limbs.

I sponge up all my musings, stifle
My breath, tuck words under my tongue
Or in the penny pouch of my cheek;

Some days I must go mute
And lock myself in the echo chamber of my mind,
Re-absorbing reverberations

Of the sour thoughts that I have shunned
While I searched for peace
So keenly outside of myself.
Natalie May 18
when the sky blackens,
and the full moon brightly rears
its white bald head,
their words resound in my ears
from ghost-mouths and artful
tongues which, like thorny roses,

bloom and snag.
darkness shepherds them in.
and now, in solitude, under the charm
of somnolent night,
words cease to be words alone—
they are life in a breath.
they are lips and teeth
and tongue and cheek,
skin, blood, and bone.
May 18 · 197
Autumn Morning Drive
Natalie May 18
Faded building-tops
Tips erased by smog and haze

Are dulled, washed out
As the sky comes down, smothering the ground.

Flags lay limp, ephemeral trees
Like phantom shadows, dissolve

Into **** heads
Or bare crooked limbs.

Everything is cloaked
In staler colors.

The mind, too, is dull.
Stale people drag in driveling stupor

To places I do not
And never will know.
Mar 19 · 52
when you left
Natalie Mar 19
that august,
when you left,
it felt as though you took
every source of earthly air.
and all i could do
was sputter and gasp
and choke on my despair.
and too **** often
i still find myself mourning your absence in pantomime,
whispering out midnight cries
so no one else can hear how much i miss you.
Dec 2018 · 136
good night
Natalie Dec 2018
your absence
will be my death.
my mind will not let me forget you.
my heart will not let you go.
i see your face as i lie alone—
as i close my eyes
this last time
against the steady darkness of night...
Dec 2018 · 141
Thought Collider
Natalie Dec 2018
my thoughts crumble to bits
under the pressure of my skull,
under the weight of my consciousness.

they collapse to dust, to subatomic
fundamentals
that cannot be broken down
to anything less.

this dust—these dark particles spin
in vast empty space between my ears,
colliding with each other, fusing
into angst and despair.
Dec 2018 · 107
The Zong
Natalie Dec 2018
He floats there near the bottom,
Dragged and anchored like a ship
To seabed by rusted fetters,
Down where ***** shuffle a slow
Ribbon dance, twirling black seaweeds
And long grasses,
Where they snap out a rhythm
In solemn beatnik fashion to mournful
Whale songs like low saxophone moans,
And where the disapproving clucks
Of dolphins’ tongues echo
In quiet communal protest.

His body floats bloated in brine,
Cheeks puffed like wet bread,
Skin grey and shadowed blueblack,
His face slack,
Broad chest beaconed out of dark waters
By dim pleated streams
Of ocean light.
An elegy for those slaves thrown overboard
during the Zong Massacre of the Middle Passage.
Dec 2018 · 98
Untitled
Natalie Dec 2018
the word spreads itself
across my tongue, thick
and stiff as carcass flesh,
bones locked, ligaments
taut, as though tensed
for the crushing tide of oblivion—
the weight of nothingness
instead of water.

my tongue is dense as earth,
cold and steeley
as a silver autopsy table,
and the word lies supine,
exposed upon my lips.
Dec 2018 · 61
Sodden Head
Natalie Dec 2018
wring me out
of everything—
all the thoughts damp
with mildew, old rotten mind,
brain like brown ground beef,
pale with dead blood
and green with fuzz.
wring me out.
when you are finished,
there may be nothing left—
hardly anything left, but
extract this mentality
like sebum from a blemish on my cheek.

There will be nothing left.
Nov. 2018, Ketler Unit ***
Dec 2018 · 63
The Lightbulb
Natalie Dec 2018
i tell time by the switching
      on        and        off
of fluorescent lights. there is no
sunset, only night
then day
and night again.

my head glows alight
with chatter. brain cells burn
inside like the bright
infernal filament of a bulb.
my skin and skull
are made of smooth, round glass.

please
do not gaze too intensely
at my madness, for it is painful
to behold. your eyes
may water, throat tight with tears
at what you cannot fix—
at what you cannot control...
Nov. 2018, Ketler Unit ***
Nov 2018 · 348
quake
Natalie Nov 2018
for a moment
it feels as though the urgent heaviness
of my breath were pushing
pulling at the boughs of bright dead
leaves
and then I realize

that it is only the wind
I begin to shake with dry
laughter at the absurdity
of my thoughts
catch my reflection in a puddle
at my feet
my eyes are terrifying

i mean terrified

trees break through the ground
all around me, reaching climbing
endlessly upward as
towering neuronal bodies
erected as extensions of the earth’s wild head and the earth
becomes an extension
of my being

i cannot seem to control this
but that is all I wish to do

i am crushed by my impermanence
yet I flee to its consequence
planning my ascension
to ascend as a tree
my bones a relic of everything
i was

trees break through the ground
i think the ground is shaking
but it is only my limbs

half-barren treetops mock me
dendritic and unpredictable
phrenic and phrenetic
reflecting body and mind
at every level:

nerves and neurons branch out
to relay messages
of pain agony suffering

phalangeal forms diverge
From a hand

limb and head from abdomen

dendrite from soma cell body
a symmetry to which
there is no end.

for a moment
it feels as though the urgent heaviness
of my breath were pushing
pulling at the boughs of bright dead
leaves
and then I realize

that it is only the wind.
Oct 2018 · 226
History We Cannot Claim
Natalie Oct 2018
in the city,
dead leaves skitter across
rough concrete, hushing me,
whispering out my past

and future—brown bodies blown
without the sturdiness
of a branch or root,
cast aside by cold, arid wind,

dropped,
with no one to claim them
but the young, bright children
who like to hear their brittle bones

collapse beneath booted heels,
and the white, indifferent snow
that covers—
buries the broken pieces.
Oct 2018 · 68
Window-Looker
Natalie Oct 2018
I sit squat in the hollows
Of this massive skull.
It is where my weight resides—
Just inside the great cathedral arches
Of the brow bone.
I can look only outward at the world

From these odd windows and lay mute.
Under my door,
A draft sneaks in from a passageway,
And I wonder what now lies beyond.
I can only imagine, for there are bits of me—
Parts of my own psyche that are terribly,

Painfully inaccessible—dusty corridors left
Long untrodden to savage, rotten things
And hidden gems
Locked in safes in rooms
Closed off behind shut doors,
And here I sit,

Separate from it all—
The bad and the good,
—in this cold, dank and empty
Space lined by stone-bone walls, door fastened
From without.
Now some fiend has come

And locked me in,
Locked it from the other side.
I cannot escape. If only I had let the anguish storm through—
Felt it ripping raw against my skin—if only I had not
Stowed it away in some remote
Recess in the far reaches of my mind

To fester and to grow. If only I could now live
Without this severance from myself.
If only, if only...
Sep 2018 · 3.3k
Staring at the Setting Sun
Natalie Sep 2018
Clouds of ambrosia, food of the gods,
Glow pink in this evening light—
Sweet against a velvet blue;
The sun burns the air in fiery orange,
Deeply luminescent like hot metal,
Iron cast ablaze.
I stare at it in awe until my vision goes
Spotted black and green, colors born anew
With each dark
Blink.
Sep 2018 · 2.2k
Worry Doll
Natalie Sep 2018
I have fashioned out my worry doll of you,
your hair and eyes richer, sweeter
than the darkest honey.
Now you are borne from my own hand,
you cannot leave me.

I’ve sewn in a heart to keep you warm,—
amber eyes to charm me—
moulded lips from red Edam wax
and pressed them into your cloth cheek.
They do not stay. At night,
my teardrops stain your linen dress
a briny, bitter shade.
The lines I've painted on you bleed and run.

I love you, all the same.
Sep 2018 · 431
Lamentations from a Tunnel
Natalie Sep 2018
Dark and dankly dripping,
It groans out its low bellied cry,
Not heeding
Stop or stare of rubbernecked
Gawkers with gaping lips, ears, eyes;

Thence echoes a ventriloquy of sound--
From that great yawning throat
To dumb puppet mouths
Of men who stand transfixed by such awful
Lamentations of the Earth’s cold flesh.
Draft
Sep 2018 · 624
Wake the Dead
Natalie Sep 2018
Tiptoe so as not to wake the dead
Who slumber underfoot,
Their empty heads
Resting on mossy pillows of stone;

All their gelid dreams sour with time,
Beneath linen of soil and grass,
Under pounding paces of passersby.

At night, hear them snore and brood,
Chattering, gnashing bare bone gums;
At dawn, they roar and call and hoo,
They whistle through a naked cheek,
**** long-forgotten tunes
Through combs of dry and brittle teeth.
Sep 2018 · 1.5k
Morning River
Natalie Sep 2018
At the edge of morning--broad sky fine
And soft as peach skin--
The sun, a round, sweet skinless half--
Rilling water washes through gullied gorge,
Cresting fig root and tongue of cobbled stone,
Lazing into lacquered lake or placid pond;
Squat and pooch-bellied on flatly floating leaf,
The idle toad croaks his great guttural,
Glutted belch.
First Draft
Aug 2018 · 798
Dead Sun Soul
Natalie Aug 2018
I feel keenly the quiet of many dead suns
Growing inside of me,
A biting blackness
Leaching out towards my fingertips.
It reverberates back, again
And again, swelling in my chest
Until I feel I could burst from the abundance
Of nothingness.

How horrible this could be!
Such quiet, inward rage...
The mind consumes itself
And turns to feverish delirium,
Enshrouding me in a blanket
Of bitter, tacky sweat.

In this empty, blazoned state,
I swallow worlds of men
Like syrups from a bottle.
O, the ravenous binge!

I devour it all to a hush.
Aug 2018 · 882
Bosch
Natalie Aug 2018
Bosch is not like any man.
He eats his metaphysics raw.
Great and globular,
A sanguine fruit looms forth infinitely.
Stars, like gleaming berries picked,
Lay strewn across his astral dining set.

He breaks bread with the Abstract Entities,
Devouring the Earth and all its mortal sentiments.
He voices his distaste for the fibrous pulp,
Formless nose scrunched and curled
With loathing at the terrestrial filaments
Stuck between his teeth.

Bosch's belly is an endless hollow
Where darkness swallows light.
There is no air, no sound.
Its abysmal blackness knows no bounds.
His hunger insatiable,
He drinks in the Milky Way,
Eager to fill the emptiness
Of his ever-expanding void.
Aug 2018 · 78
I Am Vacant
Natalie Aug 2018
Like the gaping, empty mouth
Of an infant child, I yearn,
My mind an arid expanse.
I live in its dunes as a beggar,
Thirsting for nourishment of thought—
A taste long forgotten by the tongue.
Aug 2018 · 493
Interstate 64
Natalie Aug 2018
Along a dusky road, tail lights glare ahead—
Glowing, beastly eyes of some ****** origin.
There is no going
To be done. The heart and hum of motion has died
And drifted far along the blistering wind.
Pungent smells of death plume
With night-blackened smoke,
The foul breath of burning tires and gasoline sludge.
The air is acrid with it all.
Yellow men in hats and heavy dungarees
Wheel in their stock of the river
And let the blaze drink it dry
With unquenchable thirst.
Aug 2018 · 1.6k
Deluged
Natalie Aug 2018
Her mouth sits agape,
Shallowly wafting stale, dank air.
Each breath drifts down to her lap,
Resting there in a sour cloud.
It reeks of dead fish and swamp mud.
And her middle is drowned in feelings of despair
Which seep sluggishly through the chambers of her heart.
The drunken reflux stains her linen black—
Black as the bottom of some lifeless lake.

She rises from her place at the edge of her bed
Wading through her sorrow—
Through her own viscous thoughts...
She does this
With what little spirit she can muster.

It is the last of what she once possessed.
Aug 2018 · 100
Nocturne
Natalie Aug 2018
Night floats above us like the breezy underside
Of a great, black cloth,
The sky tattered and torn
And spattered with brilliant, glowing stars.

We pull it’s coolness over our heads,
As a child would a blanket,
A temporary shield against the devils
Of our own imaginings.

We are both watchful and resigned,
Knowing that the sun will return
And soon resume its rage, unaltered.
We do not sleep.

Instead, we wait and wait
In shades of black and blue,
Drinking in the coolness.
We wait.
Aug 2018 · 2.8k
I Am a Fetal Pig
Natalie Aug 2018
My limbs pinned and flayed.
A curious crowd of men hover overhead,

Floating faces bobbing closely
Like great bearded balloons.

In a flash of white and sharply gleaming silver,
They swiftly strip my leather skin

And, upon prying the cage, are astounded to have found
Only a cavity in the place a heart should be.

Throughout my warren of vein sits the last true proof
That anything once flowed there—

A thickly pickled ichor to make sickened
Wives’ stomachs turn at their evening roast.
Jul 2018 · 270
Deficiency
Natalie Jul 2018
The ache of this deficiency sustains me.
It grows like a babe in my middle,

Yet the physique it makes is not at all alike.
There is no luster here,

No rosy flush or glow.
No promise.

And this bulge which I see exists merely
As a faulty figment in my mind's eye.

The only fluttering kick I feel
Is the vacant, restless quiver of my gut.
Natalie Jun 2018
I do it slowly so no one notices.

There is subtlety
In this practice of prolonged self-destruction.

Too quickly,
And everyone will see the act.
Perhaps it can be said

That I am a student of Stanislavsky:
I imagine my death until it becomes truth,
And I do this until there is nothing else left.
May 2018 · 89
Fine.
Natalie May 2018
We let them believe
We are fine--
That the pain we write on our skin
Is just a typo,
Not an epitaph
For who we once were--
A eulogy
For the child's spirit they killed.
May 2018 · 169
Murk
Natalie May 2018
The air is thick
with a palpable sadness.
it drifts in from the heavens
and settles densely
like wet sheets upon the lowered heads
of the people down below.
I soak it in,
as a supplement through the skin.
I lie in its heaviness.
Apr 2018 · 182
Harbinger
Natalie Apr 2018
My tongue is bitter with the salt of life.
I have ****** it of its marrow.
The hollow bones clack and rattle.

Mortality lingers like an itch at my side
That sinks in through the skin
And crawls its fingers forever outward.

I drink my fine, black mornings,
An unsavory sip. One's teeth
Would whine in agony,

Like gravestones in the wind.
Apr 2018 · 130
Lunar
Natalie Apr 2018
In a day, there will be a ****** death.
A sorry mark of my womanness,

It comes like clockwork
To remind me of my waste.

I am a lukewarm pool
For leaves and tepid amity.

And this is just the monthly drain.
The condition sits well with me.

I am not ill, nor grossly deprived of love.
I am not drawn to that convention.
Apr 2018 · 651
Catherine of Siena
Natalie Apr 2018
I am desolate, hollow
As the shaft of a feather.
I float easily among the rest,
Through fields of grazing bovine,
Heads bent to pasture.

My belly whines.
The noise it makes threatens forfeiture
And begs nourishment, a rest
From this emptiness.
I push firmly on it to shut it up.
I do this many times. It is a nervous hour.

With each passing day, a righteousness
flows through my every dry and shriveled vein.
This denial of self eats at my humanness.
There will be but spirit left.
Apr 2018 · 879
Eve
Natalie Apr 2018
Eve
On the edge of my windowsill, I sit
And count the little black and bustling heads
Clustered down below.
There is Life

In the pinnacles of the trees I tower over.
I feel It, breathing coolly down my neck.
I am soon to be reborn,
My countenance now aglow.

This is my precipice.
I will soar down from my mountaintop
Bearing word of reclamation.
I will sow my bones like seeds upon the wind.
Apr 2018 · 1.7k
Cuckoo and Its Nest
Natalie Apr 2018
My pupils scatter and drag.
I dream and eat the round, brown beads
In fitful sleep, my tongue pale and sallow.
This consciousness will not float.
The lids clatter shut like a kettle drum cooker,
A thing alive inside, more or less.
There is an echo,
Scuttle, and a cough. Strangers in the cellar.
There is no rightness to this, only sacrilege.
The unjust man chatters in my skull.
"Go home, go home!", I cry.
The sense of it all withers with the passing of the years.
Apr 2018 · 507
Tranquil
Natalie Apr 2018
I am dutiful, a docile child.
Mother tucks me in, again and again.
She need not keep me under lock and key,
So long as she knows that all is well.

I swallow my eternity,
Once in the morning,
Twice at night.
It is a bitter thing that drains
Ebullient, frightening laughter from the maw
And eats at all solemnity.
I am pleasant on the mind and secure,
A safe with nothing to hold.

Inside, the oven is out.
There is a storm turning,
Two cities over. Nothing to fear.
Someone has closed the shutters,
Venetian blinds blinking.
The tenants are sleeping, the house is cold.
Apr 2018 · 247
When You Drink
Natalie Apr 2018
It is not the taste you are after--

The caustic, lingering bitterness, no.

It is the change.

The small but definite step from haggard man

To bright and solemn sage.

You put the crystal to your lips

And drink eagerly, each breath that fogs the glass

An imperceptible whisper of your grievances.
Natalie Apr 2018
What do you mean?
Well, what did you say?
What words or what whims
Did you mean to portray?
The furrowed black letters
Do not mind you at all.
They may seem aloof,
But they will heed your call.
So let go, and be free!
For if you do falter,
The words on your page
Are quite easy to alter.
Apr 2018 · 223
The Tongue
Natalie Apr 2018
Take hold the loose and bubbling tongue.
Unfetter the ridgid, crumbling flesh
Shoved
Into the snail's shell.
Shake off the jumping fly
On the edge
Of crust and dribbling sweet.
Let the languid breath
Float free.
Unedited stream of consciousness
Mar 2018 · 781
Effigy
Natalie Mar 2018
Stiff, stiff as some barren tree
You stand,

A Greek goddess carved from cold marble,
Stark and white as an eye.

Where is the blood, the rose-colored flesh?
Some savage thing has eaten away

At all the softness. There is but tooth left,
Gleaming all over—pale, blank, and paltry.

Have all the world's mothers left you to dry?—
Mothers like the one that once slumbered in you?

It is shriveled with you now,
Your face, a sunken visage.

Wavering beanpole, you let your hair
Into the wind and stumble over nothing,

Nothing, all this nothingness!
Your body, your cheeks are bitten fruits,

The apple gone. This frame is but a filament,
A thing half-seen,

A crescent etched from this moon.
Mar 2018 · 1.7k
Strange Whispers
Natalie Mar 2018
Words, words, worms! My mind is swarmed
With them. Ants file in through the sticky
Canals, chattering, stamping their little black feet.
They use me. I am their harboring medium,
A visitor in my own head.
Black, empty mouths flutter and dance and signal
Amongst themselves, crowding my skull,
A murmuration of phrases and guttural sounds.

I mustn't tell fully what they say.

They draw forth black and bubbling swamps,
Wicked crows, the yawping millions, pecking,
Pecking, gouging with yammering beaks
At every smooth, young innocent.

There is death in this tumult of words.

Let it not take me.
Mar 2018 · 85
Compos Mentis
Natalie Mar 2018
I do not know what the trouble was that caused this.
It was soft, supple, and bright.
It was whole, and I watched it all I could,
My mouth agape with love and joy.
I hugged it closely to my *****, like a babe,
And felt the fluttering thump of livingness.
I held it as it dried to dust.
What loss! What dissolution!
What betrayal of trust!
I am soiled with the ashes of what once was
And what could have been.
I wash these blackened hands again
And again, yet the smell,
The burning stench of rot
Has soaked into my very flesh.
I tote it now, like a badge, the black hands.
I am a murderous brute.
Mar 2018 · 64
The Beast At Hand
Natalie Mar 2018
I am wary of these arachnoid beasts.
How foreign they seem!
They are resting now,
Curled delicately upon my lap at each folding joint,
Looming faithfully.
They cling to me, and naturally so.
Yet, we are not one entity.
They are far too elegant
To notice me, their blundering mother.
They suckle my blood dispassionately,
Yet it is painless,
A numb event.
Mar 2018 · 87
A Place to Rest My Eyes
Natalie Mar 2018
I began to notice,
During my sixteenth year,
That my heart pulled to some other haunt.
I longed for a place to rest my eyes at night--
A place where I could escape the droning hum
Of man fixed to machine--
Where I could gaze, at midnight,
Upon the light shining through pinpricks
In the taught, dark sheet.
I began to feel deadened by routine,
By the icy glare of headlights
And blinding, bold storefronts.
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