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david badgerow Mar 2017
as honeysuckle grows tight on the fence
& the scent of jasmine burns in my nose
i can hear a child's laughter on the hills
& watch your cheeks burn hotter than the sun
when you tell me about your **** addict mother

how she lived in the econo-lodge dumpster for a while
painting cryptic symbols & mountain landscapes
on the outside walls still wearing the unsteady boots
she's had since her life in colorado
but she was scared of someone checking in it
while she slept so she didn't sleep
instead she conversed with the wimpering wind
& used the toy telescope she stole from your baby brother
to sing to the stars so she didn't feel so ******* alone

last summer you say she camped in the graveyard
behind the methodist church in town & spray-painted
the headstones as they climbed up the hill together
because she harbors too much pride to be
just another tweaker with her hand out

she's on guard against wickedness at all times & no longer
sells her love to method-acting men who don't love her at all
but she doesn't wear ******* anymore either because
her last pair were so soiled with *** she burnt them
in effigy on their last night of action

you say you miss her
& wish she'd get sober
but she's never been sober
& that's why your brother
was born with a stutter

she has warrants for her arrest in two counties
& surrounds herself with withering flowers because
she feels dead inside already
when she sinks her face into
the stem of the bulb & inhales she thinks
she is the one thing in the galaxy
god doesn't have his finger in
her stomach churns with hunger
flies hover around her & light on her
big as black crows resting on a dead tree

you say you haven't heard about her in
going on a month & ask me if i think
she's still alive
i say i saw her just last week
i was a pensive beetle perched on the wainscoating
she was stumbling out of a parked car at dawn
to take a wilderness **** down by the river

her smile is no longer a pretty thing i noticed
as she crouched to release the stream of early morning
maple syrup ***** knocking on the biological door
she said she's slept in her bedroom-car
so many consecutive nights that she distrusts houses
says she's scared of walls &
****** outside so many mornings after
that she's terrified of bathrooms
claims an allergy to porcelain
she even feigns an aversion to trains but
we've all seen the tracks on her arms
& the pits in her cheeks like she
sleeps draped across the railroad
at night tempting the cycloptic executioner

but she doesn't sleep at all &
she doesn't dream of you or your brothers or
of the days when she lived in a house
her tattoos have all become crude wax crayon
depictions of sunflower blossoms
needle drags & match strikes
she wraps & braids her hair with gnarled fingers
& bottle caps she finds on the riverbank
she bathes in hysteria at midnight
& washes her swollen eyelids each morning with dew
she fights paranoia with the ghosts in her throat
& stupor with stones from the dark bottom of the river
she is a frail bag of muscular potential living
in a finger-painted 97 pontiac sunfire with
a splintered patchwork windshield
& she is never coming back to love you
david badgerow Jan 2017
when we found him barefoot in mid-july
he was standing on a four-day drunk
tap-dancing in shoe-horn colored chinos
rolled up to his cyclist's calves on the
sun-punched hood of an '04 nissan altima
with shot-out windows salt
in his skin hair & eyelashes
silver bubbling spittle clung
at the corners of his mouth
sparkling dry in the sun-heat

he laughed & said she had a mouth
like a grizzly bear or cheese grater
she was thin-shouldered dressed
in a curtain-and-couch-cushion ensemble
had yellow button callouses on her palms
& lacked the instinctive manipulative prowess
other girls her age possessed
the whole performance only lasted
7 minutes huddled in a bedroom closet
in a blathering forest of unkind giggles
he still has acid flashbacks watching
cutthroat kitchen because she had
alton brown's teeth & tonsils like spun glass

that night he was a heathen
on a mountian made of mandolin
stiff yearbook spines & shoeboxes
full of faded polaroid mementos
he was tank-topped but still sweating
as he stumbled & stood
on black stilettos & soiled blue
cork-soled wedges like
sharp rocks dancing underfoot
dodging the mothball heat-trap
of cotton blend blouses
& corduroy coats overhead

joy division warbled slimy through
the white wooden slats of the closet's pocket door
as she knelt demurely &
took it between her thumb & finger
brought it up to thin lips pursed
above cleft chin & ****** it in
like a big thick j-bird
but she never exhaled the expectant
white plume of smoke he said
when she grabbed ***** as they
swung like pendula below his navel
he almost pulled out a swath
of her honeynut hair
his injured impatient breath
cracked like thunder
in the cashmere sky
above her undulating head

when the mighty chasm fountain exploded
she said he was the flavor of a blue sky burning
her throat sounded shallow & grunty
as she spat him out into a pair
of her favorite aunt's imitation
jimmy choo pumps &
enjoyed a brief nosebleed

when it was over finally he forced a sympathetic
fistful of tramadol down his saharan throat
& tried to stay hidden under the tarpaulin
in the moving blackness wandering alone
through the waning moon's ceaseless maze
behind the perfumed aphasia that kept him high
biting the brittle tassel of a graduation cap
like an adolescent ocelot
feeling like fleeing

& when i asked him
i said well these experiences probably
helped you build some character right

he laughed & assured me of the
isolated nature of this watercolor
snapshot event & said
one day david

he said maybe one day you'll
learn to not measure your self worth
against the traumatic mouth mistakes
your pants have made
david badgerow Nov 2016
there's a secret place i found to keep my fear
to hide my tenderness & be vulnerable --
it's next to the smallest bones in your inner ear
the fluid skin blanket of your swooping neckline
lily-soft & somehow stiff enough to break
open my seed-pod heart

the one i thought no one could pry apart
but with rosebud ******* -- lips --
the figure of biblical magdala takes me
away from a lone satsuma tree raising its
shriveled offering from the crippled earth
on sunday strolls through duckpond parks
kicking cobbled streets of augusta block
or scooping water at me smiling in cutoffs
on a hot hometown riverbank

you came to me on barefeet out of the smoke
& rain silence where i was invisibly sobbing
where heat-lightning waltzed
sneaky-pete over the prairie
& what are you if not a rain -- a zephyr
flowing through stone temple
just as the dry-mouth dog days of summer
brought hell's fire across the southern field

so i've abandoned the hermetic existence
& buried my old dead shell with a
harp song hail glory to the contortionist god
vaulting off the balance beam in the
back of my mind beneath the
rain soaked topsoil of dawn
among the mound palaces
of ants & mourning mud hornets
while the gray shadows of the magpie
dance & writhe on the mosaic faces of
the trespassed lupine forest

& the sun still comes up on time big
gold fluttering like a delusional cicada
over the empty pink street
i'm still fidgeting because
clouds with tails like jellyfish sting
with rooted memories of azaleas but
you kiss away my all my latent
restless gypsy fears & keep the harsh
light dimmed or wrapped in heat-foil
in your front dress pocket & you only
give it back to me in brief drips --
pinches -- wet tongue kisses --
we talk with our eyes as only animals
can our butts in the damp sand
beside the breathless sea where streaked
clouds seem free to finger the horizon
but are cut by the city skyline --
a switchblade
david badgerow Aug 2016
she was a peregrine
& appeared to me
shimmering in the
primordial morning
between purgatory & hell
talons like a crucial valve-handle
carrying me outside the gaudy dream
my heart's vagrancy
the latent tendency i had
of putting chemicals into my body
despite the **** consequences
one man's poison
another man's high

now sunlight fractures into spectra
wind blows thru century-old oaks
becomes tangled in my
******-length blond hair
as we march hand-in-hand thru
these narrow streets
the pinched labyrinth
the last dusk light
this swamp

she was a peregrine
the hungarian turul
genteel brown eyes watching me
howl at the midnight moon
& yip like a fox at the first dawn light
now she shares her own
breathy yelps with the pillow
like fumes of lavender
sprayed in a strand of oaks

i know for a fact she has claws
she swore she'd never use them to hurt me
but sometimes i let her anyway
i need to feel those
dead fingernails buried
in my living shoulder-blades
propelling me into a new kind of manhood
redeeming my weaknesses
weaseling into my shorts
pains & insecurities
melting like cloud's spit down the windowpane
lazy & safe on a warm sunday
morning wrapped together in the skin
of this gyrating palace

this is no longer casual desire:
joni mitchell sound-tracked
our first makeout sesh
as stars bloomed fat
behind a surly multitude of clouds
over a tar-colored lake
so if you think i'm ever letting her go
you're a *******

pants-on-fire
david badgerow Jun 2016
I've been stabbing at
the promised land until
my veins collapsed
because drugs make the sun
shine harder than its ever shimmered
in all my life & sometimes
I hear the stars cry
as they fall

because I've fallen too
& my blue eyes have
cried harder this year
than they've ever shimmered
in all my life

but I'll never sleep
in the gutter again

I won't bury
my head
underground

& I'll never hang
by a thread instead

I'll build up a mountain with my life
until I feel the throat of the world
swallow me whole

& when it does one day
maybe you won't
remember my name
but please don't forget
the things we laughed at together
or the sound of my voice saying yours

I swear to God I'll remember
your fingers forever & I'll never
forget the secrets
you whispered about your scars
or the time we threw the lock
on your aunt's bedroom door
while you were babysitting
your youngest niece
david badgerow May 2016
i long to live quietly inside a hurricane
whirring thru a dingy tralier park in
an alternate world where my young pink
heart hasn't been reduced to live
under the floor pedal of your mother's
foot powered sewing machine
in the forgotten attic -- a surrogate
universe in which my name
became more than
a delicate vocabulary
flicked easily away
from your tongue
david badgerow Apr 2016
didn't sleep. instead I found
a wall in a cave & grabbed a
chipping hammer & tore it down.
finally broke thru to starlight
at 4:12 this morning.
***** bruised fingernails.
discarded piles of red clay pain
swept into outside corners.
spelunking ever inward. steve knows.
shed some tears, dave, he says.
shed your fears.
warmer in the new cave.
less damp.
room for a rug.
room enough to grow a plant.
room enough to grow.
self-perpetuating seeds.
dawn was a stranger I welcomed inside.
sleeping stalactite makes back tight.
I will wake & stretch when the sun is high
overhead like a cat in a woven basket.
mountain water trickles underground.
do yr homework.
yr body is yr home. put in work.
my body is my home. work is work.
yr body is my home. input work.
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