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Feb 9 · 58
no questions
the sun paints squiggles on the table
over rooftops stands heat
but down here i freeze
the city is laid bare in the midday light
and it's the same town as before
where i saw no one but myself
in dusty hotel mirrors
yellowed wallpaper
back then everyone saw what i didn't want to see

i haven't been free for too long
i said
i don't want scenes
i don't want tears
i want to enjoy the short life at long last
there's nothing but the two of us
here in the shade
here, where time stands still
a leaf paints a shadow on your face
and there are no answers
because there are no questions
Dec 2023 · 133
the end of fear
david badgerow Dec 2023
in my mind there is a garden
and a combustion engine in my chest
there's soil beneath my fingernails and
wolves out by the timberline
i'm spinning out into the blackness
i'm dizzy from the searchlights peering in
i'm scared i've wasted the best years of my life
i'm just trying to be honest

in the garden there is a fruit tree
yielding sorrows and sweet things
it's where i go when i am lonely
and i wonder if it can save me

i ask it for the secrets
the hidden treasure of the garden
let me peek behind the curtain
i've been waiting for the harvest
and i want to know for certain
if i was put here for a purpose
is the mess that i am making
really a blessing

i can talk at the stars
from my body on
these sticky southern nights
in the garden in my mind
their light falls down
and breaks open on the leaves
all genteel and kind
and on my calloused palms
and on the bullet in my teeth

and when the wind brings the rain
down from the righteous sky
it soaks the secret compartments
and what's hiding on the inside
the burning pain between my shoulder blades
and the things i tell myself are important
my ***** shirt clings to the engine
and i laugh out loud
from atop this pile of rubble
in the garden in my mind

i'm still searching for to find
what they say cannot be found
but in the pictures it seemed so simple
like a wheel that turns around
it doesn't have an address
and i know you don't believe it
but it's just like joy and sadness
now i'm old enough to see it

the rain stops and the sun
kisses me splendid
bathing like a little white bird
i'm having a golden moment
down in the mole-claw dirt
and what if it never ended
just a quiet kind of singing
at the edges of my dreaming
always repeating the song it sang back then:
there is never anything to fear here
Nov 2022 · 236
on charts
david badgerow Nov 2022
been digging for my heart
it always seems out of reach
but i’m reading the chart
i’m talking to trees

not too sure of the politics
can’t keep up with the fuss
got this coat from the lost
& found, i get looks on the bus

we all glide thru the city night
we’re all taking this trip
we’re all using the same hard drugs
but we’re trying to quit

gonna grow my hair long again
find a wavelength i trust
buy a new quilted cardigan
find someone’s mother
to ****
Oct 2022 · 317
Wednesday the Nineteenth
david badgerow Oct 2022
Dawn breaks on the quiet countryside.
The nightlife ghosts shuffle away to their daytime hideaways.
The strand of oak, bough of pine,
crevice of cypress.
The final inhalation of night.

The early bird janitorial crew wakes and makes sounds
to each other as the sun spreads across
the quivering Bahia yard. It drinks up the dewdrops
and straightens the fenceposts with kindness as it finds error.
The sun finds me, too, naked again, on the porch
and seeks to stretch my skin taught against my frame.
I scrape a toe callous across the brick of the porch step.
It is Wednesday the nineteenth.
It is 6:27am and I am grateful to be here.

As the morning mist unravels in the exhalation
and the crows set to work aerating the soil,
my attention drifts to the breeze and how I can nearly taste October on it. A red-tailed hawk observes this scene as well,
unbothered by the fettering mockingbird,
patiently waiting for the over zealous rabbit
or the confused field mouse to make itself apparent.

The girl in my bed routinely suggests coitus
on mornings such as these, with crispy autumn leaves drifting down outside the window. Which begs to be painted, white chips peeling in the dry fall air, but she says leave it --
she likes to pick them out of the flowerbed
after we ram the bedframe against the interior.
She likes to keep them.

Instead, this morning she’ll settle for bacon and eggs without much complaint. Although she will leer at me murderously
from behind her mustachioed cup of creamed coffee. She won’t tolerate my advances afterward, either --
insisting on her lateness, or mine,
or the cat pawprints
on the hood of her car.

She’ll hum through my comments
about the sunlight, the dew, my personification of the hawk.
She looks over the top of her phone when I mention ghosts, but happily returns to scrolling when she realizes I’m full of it.

And so, then, off we go.
Each with a bushel, and a peck, and a hug around the neck.
The quiet morning has been ruined. Although I tried, I failed to grasp it in its totality, failed to convey to you its extreme beauty.
It lies at our feet in shreds.
I know I will never have
a morning like this again,
not exactly like this,
and I’ve let it slip away.
Sep 2022 · 177
cypress blues
david badgerow Sep 2022
take me down to the river
bathe my body in that brown water
caress me as i writhe and shiver
i promise you hell cannot be hotter
so bury me deep in that southern wet

because last night i found her lying
in a pile of white sheets on the floor
the sunset kissed her ribcage
but it wasn’t heaving anymore
her hand still gripped a ripped page
a receipt from the drugstore

i thought i’d get to be happy this time
i thought good guys had it made
but i’ve only been inching
toward the razor’s edge and
finally i’ve been shaved
and mama i am not happy
i’m starved out and paper thin
i’m alone and sad
and scared and crazed
i’m a ghost in my own skin

so drag me to that ******* river
down to that soft and ******* sand
hang me high from that
big shade giver
the way we always planned
the one that held us as we sat
for hours on warm afternoons
hoist me up and
cinch it tight
above the honeysuckle as it blooms
let me swing and meet my lover
send my *** to that restful night
lie back and watch me swoon
here's a quick one, after not being able to write for awhile. i didn't fiddle with it too much, trying to open the floodgates again.
Feb 2022 · 827
Once Again, the Muse
david badgerow Feb 2022
i still remember her braless
in the summer sun of Vilano beach
she's just wrapped in my undershirt
and glowing in the Spanish wind
she still lives in the tunnels
way down below my heart

we couldn't find wifi
in her apartment so i knelt
at her alter in the whirling dark
but she kept me
at arm's length and touched me
only with her fingertips as if
i was particles in a braille warning
her fingerprints smelled like menthols
i can still taste her skin on my teeth

i slipped just as she caught her footing
she stood silent and true on the raised edge
she said she was looking for something to
hold onto, "well, what about me," i asked
but her fingers just formed rings around my eyes
to dam the water there she cut the string
that was always between us
she laughed as i was on my way down
through the vines i saw her rising
toward the ceiling

and now any time i make love to someone else
she comes to me projected on any bedroom or
back alley wall she opens my chest
so the Spanish wind can escape
and shows me the places
she inserted the blade
Feb 2022 · 439
in jail
david badgerow Feb 2022
we used to lie awake at night
in the winter months
i kept a warm water bottle
at my feet like it was the old days on the frontier

we used to bet against freedom
and the people out there
"i bet i never make it out of here alive"
and clock the psych patients pacing
with the shards of
bathroom tiles in their hands

or make promises to it
"i'm gonna drink up all the freedom i can find out there"
"i'll snort all the dirt road dust
that the watermelon bus kicks up"
"i'm gonna mainline it directly into my vein
so much that my head gets heavy
and i swing back
and aspirate my one and only dream
and ******* into my blue jeans"
Sep 2021 · 1.1k
henceforth
david badgerow Sep 2021
i'll never give up longing.
i'll let my hair grow long like a prince
and tangle with the leaves in autumn.
let the pinecones fall around me like dead money.
i'll let fall become winter.
let myself become a crusty savage in a cave.
i'll let my teeth clatter against my tongue.
i'll let winter pass unburdened.
let the nights grow long and deepen.
i'll let the slow inertia of sleep come heavy.
then i'll let spring.
i'll let the tangerines ripen on the bough.
i'll let the afternoons stretch long and hazy in front of my feet.
let the fleeting birds find me on the lawn.
i'll let pollen collect in my bellybutton.
let the dragonfly light on my finger.
i'll let my jaw unclench.
let myself be shattered into fragments.
i'll let myself forget the bad stories.
let the rain wash away another year.
i'll let into my raincoat.
let my throat open and sing.
i'll let the breeze take my voice away in the field.
let myself become astonished.
i'll let the smell of the summer mist
enter my nose and stain my cheeks.
let the ocean impress me.
i'll let the sand bring me under.
i'll let myself cry on a mountaintop.
i'll let the sun guide me up a tree.
i'll let rage and calm and joy come together between us.
i'll let my body writhe.
i'll let kindness unbutton the fence i built there.
i'll let this impossible planet get lost.
i'll let america forget my name and orphan me.
let the elastic mirage just lazily dissolve.
Sep 2021 · 174
potential
david badgerow Sep 2021
we had a lot going for us
i had found the glue
the secret that holds all things
together, it was you
you were my perfect place
where the outside noise
couldn't intrude

i swam to you
and you swallowed me whole
Jul 2021 · 1.0k
Sing Inside Me
david badgerow Jul 2021
My ex-girlfriend and I used to play this game, I guess we made it up, called Sing That For Real. So at any time, when one of us said "sing (a song) for real" the other person had to sing it. With sincerity. Whether it was playing or not. Had to put their best effort into it, without any humor or undue theatrics behind it. Any song. You had to just sing the portion of it that you knew to the best of your ability. In public, alone, didn't matter. Over the phone. We would tell each other thru text sometimes. Sure, you could get away with not doing it and the other person would never know. But I never did. I always sang.

Because it wasn't really a game. It was a trick. A ruse to get the other person to open themselves up. To be vulnerable in front of you. Honest with you. To break yourself open--if only slightly, if only for a moment--without fear of judgement or insecurity. Without hiding behind humor or parody, to sing directly into the face of the person you love. Or on their behalf. At their behest. Have a moment of tangible honesty between the two of you. Show that person that you aren't afraid of anything, at any time. Once, at a deli counter on A1A, I sang "Not Fade Away" directly into her eyes. She showed me a secret Beyonce taught her at a pet store in front of the fish tanks. We duetted on “You’re The One That I Want” on the trunk of my civic parked in a starlit cow field. It was a secret promise we made to each other. A private joke, almost.

She hung herself in her apartment 6 years ago today. She was high on *******. She was bi-polar. She was off her meds. She was scared of herself and everyone else. I picked her up. I cut the belt. I puked downstairs in her garden screaming. I loved her so much and I'll never stop singing for her.
Jun 2021 · 714
goddess clean and pure
david badgerow Jun 2021
you uncoiled my winces
with your aching summer breath
desire coursed vivid thru my veins
like the diamond sparkle of dawn-light
we intertwined & you attached yourself to my soul
& when you watched me, i felt seen
--a flower blooming in the basket
on your windowsill in the teeming light
my passion dissolved the disquietude
more simply, you set me free
you rearranged me
you dismantled me
& when i revealed myself to myself
in a swirling mirrored vertigo
i was drenched & purged on the altar

& now the emptiness is the consolation
i carry like a dream in my hands
the silence between us the only refuge
then the rains came in june
& bludgeoned the sky
it groans in despair
my chest doesn't burn anymore
it feels more like a bruise
& i linger among the futility
& wind-ripped flower petals
outside your shuttered window
like a frigid dancer on the brink
of nihilistic oblivion grasping
only for the bottom
my guilt does all of the thinking
in the wasting light
& the last note of your goodbye
barely greets me long-forgotten
from the dim shore--
one last regret--
another secret kept from me.
Jun 2021 · 1.3k
Surgery
david badgerow Jun 2021
i caught a glimpse of her once,
just as she was leaving.
the sunlight cut her face
like a scalpel, and she flinched.
in the doorway, the dogs
barking at her feet, the day's
bags suspended from her frame.

the one with her wallet, her phone.
her purse pinched in the crook of her elbow.
the one with her lunch, also there.
the backpack with her water bottle
and planner riding high on her
trapezius muscles. the ones holding
last night's tears still hovering above her
cheeks.

and she isn't wearing the necklace
i gave her last year on her birthday,
i can see the pale line on her collarbone
where it lived. but why would she?
the ring i bought fits perfectly
in the kitchen junk drawer,
she is unadorned.

i tried calling out to her, but the dogs,
and she didn't have the time. the earth shakes
and the world sharpens it's blade
again. she turns toward her car in the driveway
and melts back into routine.
a piece of blue-black hair falls across
her face, and i am in love with her again.
but things change, and look how naturally
she goes.
Feb 2021 · 240
learning to fly
david badgerow Feb 2021
you made my heartbeat patter
in the driveway starlight
i was waiting for you to arrive
and i felt wonderful, child-like and perfect

i felt electrified like a timber-wolf
slipping quietly thru silver winter woods
as i watched with patience as
your silhouette emerged
you drifted low to find me
you were a brightly colored kite
an angel flitting in a hanbok
delivered to me by six black horses

you slipped into the soil of my body
like a whisper
i was already halfway there
in one sense and
fully realized in another
when i took your hand
i touched it with my hand
and i saw the secret harvest
growing inside

we were on the edge
of what we wanted
as our hands folded
into each other
into newness
i promised
and you
promised too

and a wind curl
blew our souls away together
a breath-defying disappearance
into the tented sky
into oblivion
into this future
Aug 2020 · 215
a place i could stay
david badgerow Aug 2020
the imbecile boy found love again
walking aimlessly & self-conscious
with the year's regrets falling
behind like fat blossoms in
a summer shower out of
my longing i had invented her
it was by happy accident or
a subtle shift of scenery
in the numinous grove that
i entered that spring with an empty heart
so i wrote her all these songs
so i could live again
cue the hallelujah choir singing
'this is ours, the impossible'

my rib-cage expands
every time i think of her
like recalling a beautiful dream at breakfast
through a yawning smile
my prophetic dove lying next to me in bed
the first flicker of reanimation
with the heat of her veins
interdependent with mine
stripped to the waist
with tresses of her hair across my chest
& shoulder i'll thrive in a forest of it

i launched 'i love yous'
from a sun-lit country porch
& they traveled 300 postcard miles
over roofs & the tops of old elms
to collapse into her ear, exhausted
now i am the pen, she is the paper

she is delicate but
my love has wild-cat claws
& live pink lips above smooth
wingless shoulders & i am hypnotized
by the adoration & light reflected in her eyes
i built this cathedral of words for her
these towers like puffs of smoke
& exultation rising in our slow dream
i carved this river through the broad valley
where the fish nibble at
dazzling afternoon raindrops
while i get lost in her body awhile
this kaleidoscope is a place i could stay

repossession & co-awareness
now we're strolling across the air
together in perpetual acceptance
gliding like the first morning orioles
through six panes of clear blue sky
over the circumambient hills of the new age
toward the alabaster sea
with her bright compassion pressed tight
against my side for the journey
we laugh softly as our hands engage
never again to disengage
Jul 2020 · 198
soup
david badgerow Jul 2020
for my birthday
god gave me ten thousand white birds
so i wouldn't be alone
but i am alone
and for the sake of no one
i'm still awake
hot under the electric lights
deep in my own soup
so i am writing to you
dear lover
i am flying to you
over the asylum's main gate
gliding amidst horns and headlights
and i hope you are home
curled in between cool linens
i am writing to you
in every poem i've ever written
badly, but with sincerity
small-voiced and whimsical
i am trying to love you
love me
i have no shame
david badgerow Jul 2020
meanwhile it's my lunch hour --
the sun burns the cinderblocks pink
12:40 on a thursday with sawdust in my hair
and a piece of lead pinched between
forefinger and thumb fighting the
sudden onset feeling of vivid panic
i'm obliterated by the sense of being alone and
lost outside the plexus of purpose

my docile body is being stretched open
i am churning unsexed and weak
weeping on the steel edge of hysteria
half gouged and puttering beneath
this burden of butterflies in my chest
the girl is a great distance away but
maybe she'll notice my plumage rising
and receding like a brittle sail on a
dark green sea or hear
my cells test the very limits of elasticity
diverging terribly into flamboyant aqueducts
and humming on the wind like
the plow tractor trumpeting in a far-away field

she is a fawn lying on a summer picnic blanket
sprawled on the rolling meadow as if it were a beach
a genuine beauty in the white of the sun's light
wearing a pair of reflective sunglasses holding
her face puckered up expecting a kiss
and a delicate fire surges through me
my eyes are blinded by the green grass
radiant all around her
and my pulse thunders inside my ears
longing to be immersed with her in safety
ripped up by a lust to be accepted and free
and folded together softly against the hard world

i am being hollowed out into electric rivulets
by the painful consciousness of my isolation
by the broiling heatwave of july against
the longest winter of my life
my heart aches in my front shirt pocket
waiting on my phone to light up or ring
and so i fill my ***** glistening torso
with what i hope is a lethal dose
of papaya-coconut water
Jun 2020 · 226
Blood From Peasants
david badgerow Jun 2020
and so there she stands
your daughter liberty
alone and weak
because you left her unattended
in a sundress and fireman's coat with blood
on her chin and her face contorted
for the cameras to see
stupefied on the edge of the gravel pit
with the confetti ash swirling in her hair
and her eyes filled with animal fear
as her slack body slams against the railing
and a swan song swells in her throat

they use billy clubs to beat back the rats
under the skull of the moon and
the fickle stars like frantic pouncing eagles
the neighborhood dying has scratch marks all over it
diamonds etched in storefront windows
and rollicking clouds of tear gas to make it fun
there's a ****** taking a **** out in the open street
and where's the flag? oh i remember
it's snagged on a parapet five stories up
burning in the ignored sunset between
the silent buildings

we are an enormous pile of sentient garbage
coming up from the rot wearing life preservers
advancing with the picket line tide
blowing flashbang death on flugelhorns
outside the framework of the 2-party system
invented by the mongrels in hollywood
guerrillas moving in troupes thru the city streets
filled with exhilarating hope and
plumes of smoke insurgents chanting
violence is american as apple pie

i keep my tv dark to reflect the flames
of the grocery store outside and my insides
feel ripped up, i've never had a shave this close
squish my denim body against the window like a telescope
to hear the growl from the depths under the city
this is the moment just before something big happens

this is the flashover
this is when the panic begins
there's a man in a tree out in palmdale and
i need the morphine to tell me it isn't my fault
i need my pastor to tell me god doesn't lie
tonight the fuses blew out on an entire continent
tonight i wept
Jun 2020 · 135
bonfire
david badgerow Jun 2020
then the immense mass heaves up
and the streets all fill with diamonds
in vivid hot designs
and the country contemplates
the pagan city as a zero.
then the country, driven to pondering,
panics. oh, how the fire frequents the sky
with straightforward accumulation.
it boils the sluggish blood.
there is too much
too much fire in the hands
too much fire in the hearts and eyes
this engine consumes too much
and the fire rages out of control.

in the drifting smoke, i saw bodies
burned to bare bones and the survivors
lunge forward. the chorus girls sprawl
on the sidewalk and are swept away.
the quick flame is the dividing line
the end of the sabbath.

the books all burst into flames and the dancing
is boisterous. my cheek pressed into the wall
of a skyscraper how satisfying. the falling waves
of sparks uplifting and gyrating with the kickers.

follow the long curve of hose-water with
your aching neck and see
the influencers arriving drenched to the skin
in fire-spray to divert the journalists. but they are
helpless and impotent and the edifice slips into
the pavement. this is the unexpected harvest.
and i preach nothing.
Apr 2020 · 122
a sketch
david badgerow Apr 2020
the city is dead
the heart in a tourniquet
i'm in the ivory tower
high above the dull roar
my mouth on a megaphone
but it's hard to explain
a subtle chemical change
we're all cinderella
as the midnight devours
so close your eyes
we'll wait it out
i didn't consent but
you woke me up for this
when i was dreaming deeply
and now everyone else is comatose
we're all alone now
standing behind closed doors
the silence has ravaged me
this raw wound is my home
Apr 2020 · 131
Raucous Stomp for Banjo #3
david badgerow Apr 2020
the world has turned and said
just wait okay
now is the time, okay
you can stop, okay
you can go home
it's okay

the world has turned into
a blue bear
skidding thru a white
floodlight

the sun is a red lion
dripping wet paint onto day
the moon is a wet black dragon
with spirals in its eyes
and stars are the fireworks
that light the way

the men of the world have turned
the tears in my eyes
into glass
my eyes into glass
the world has turned
my body into dust
into dust
into dust
my body into dust
Apr 2020 · 116
Learning to Shudder
david badgerow Apr 2020
I kept my golden hair long and my wings unshorn
to escape the magnet-hold of the earth mother. I am
a flying splinter longing for purity above all; the
ascending son, the moth mad for the light.

I was the great ancient hunter battling the new
psychic terrors and herding the demons of cynicism
and suspicion into clouds like the holy white buffalo
god. Tracking the ghost animal resources of allegiance
and truth against the abject sky of platitudes extended
by industrial *******.

I was waiting to be compensated by the malicious
one for my dainty life above ground. To be whipped
by the same wind who untangled the great sphinx.
To be interrogated by the shape-changing sick god
that dwells on the back side of the moon among
crystallized bat wings and ripped-apart bodies
of the birds we sent him.

I was wallowing in the titanic ashes -- hibernating
to become more human. Tasting the soot of the
death of my father, the sky-king. I was feeding my
body on sleeplessness; meditation, fasting,
occasional flagellation. I was starving out the snake
in my spinal cord, who once grew fat and lethargic on
lager, ecstasy, ******* machismo and astounding
mythologized ***.

I was the paltry son of a weak puddle of indecision
which I have emulated as the sacred king. Drowning
myself in alcohol, living in a dank burrow under
he earth; an oven bird. Existing like mycelium in
the endless subterranean bog.

Inhaling the disparate ether of stardust and
becoming buoyant; then
Exhaling the syrupy ambrosia of solar power into
the blades of grass which grew up through my mouth
and formed a pillow for my silent dreams.

I am the eternal garden boy.
Spading the soil, preparing a place,
sifting ashes into the bedwork from
all my previous warrior deaths. Here I
will grow the abundant climbing vines,
the exotic grains, the fragrant wild flowers
and rare apple trees in geometric design.

And she will approach me there, a sprouted seed --
by the fountain of course, that eternal spring. The
girl of solar fire, the girl who loves gold, and we will
lie together but never to each other. Kissing the fresh
sutures, we will quench each others' souls and be
hermetically sealed together there in the old stone-
walled garden, rolling among the lilies on heaven's
green swell, letting sunlight fall on us like the anvil.

Cloistered, caressing, sequestered in the
warm earth now, bundled together in the sod,
tranquil with the supple bliss of satiety when
every muscle lies snugly like a curved petal
at peace inside the corolla.

Here I will blend rawness into passion,
obsession into desire. Turn brittle
brown manure into shiny green
leaves, luscious roses; Breed
epiphanies from disaster.
Apr 2020 · 115
bulwark
david badgerow Apr 2020
sitting alone again
watching the day die
or, if not die, drift slowly
to sleep

thinking about nothing
except how the squid's ink squirts
over the eventide, the day's heat erased
by night's dense humid gum

hearing nothing but
the whispered thudder of
moth wings and the poisoned rat's
hot song from behind the cellar door

lighting a fresh hand-rolled
i pretend to float away, above this city,
out into the astral plane in a
cloud of patchouli effluvium
into the benign midnight
under the full sulfur-stained face
of the moon, floating alone
in the charcoal belly
of the night sky
david badgerow Apr 2020
come find me in the lurch
with the dogs beneath the avenues
on barefeet and scars on my knees
arms extended in hypothesis into the
sultry sky, bridging the gulf
between god and myself

i am a prisoner who
spends restless nights staring into the void
my wounds, to all appearances healed-over
open themselves inwardly and leak freely
thru the cavernous expanse of my body
absentmindedly retracing my torment with
the callous pads of my fingers in the dark
dancing over my own flesh like a cold stranger
my lips twist into a grimace and my cheeks flash hot
and wet as a bolt of grief sinks itself down deep into me

i am alone here
lost in listlessness gasping
for breath on this tumbled mattress
alone as i've ever been
with the clang of the bars and
the muted squawk of the captain on the radio
when it rains i am alone with it
alone too out in the sun and grass
and concertina wire
alone with the impatience and courage
particular to the condemned
listening to remote nestlings
howl themselves hoarse in the treetops
searching for the motherbird come to
subdue and nourish them as i am hoarse
and i am searching

oh beautiful mother please find my
withered eaten heart discarded like
a cut flower and sanctify it

my heart breaks again and again
under the reiterated gusts of shame
my memory thrusts against me

come and find me
look down here
because some of us will not see
heaven when we die
instead of tasting the delicious picnics
in paradise accompanied by angelic
flute-and-lute bands we will be caked
in layers of fresh **** constantly
raw sewage on our raw skin with
hairy black cellar rats singing the blues
***** by wild beasts dragged by devils
thru the packed streets of hell consumed
by a hopeless desire to start a new life of
chastity but there will be no second chance
just the eternity we deserve
Mar 2020 · 125
& my heart melts volcanic
david badgerow Mar 2020
my favorite time to see her is in the morning
so when i found her in the kitchen
with the orange dawn sunlight
swarming in on her face, i was elated
i felt a rectogenital tingle

she was in last night's liquid eyeliner
& a faded Prince tshirt & just a
bikini bottom as she zigzagged her hips toward me

i ran quickly thru the things
i wished i hadn't said last night
& watched her face bloom into
a pout i was born to kiss

she smelled like new shampoo
& the half joint sitting in the
conchshell ashtray sending its musk
ceilingward in ribbons

when we embraced she let me grab her ***
& that's how i knew all was forgiven
then she sashayed to the percolator &
returned blowing softly on a bulging
mug she ate fruit while i steeped & asked her
what our plan was for the day

"the beach, dummy, look at me"
which i did & she followed my gaze
down & nudged her **** to the side
to tease me with its unfettered sway
& the shifting quotation marks of her *******
against her stretched thin shirt

i slipped into an involuntary squint
as i brought the smoldering paper up
& pinched it to my whistle my gaze lingered
on those coral pink lips but
she kept her eyelids lowered
wrinkled her nose
& stood with one hip out
the other knee bent into the apricot light
& stared not at me but at the
dust motes floating in the soft warm mosaics of light
bouncing in time with the pulse from her temple
& my heart melts volcanic
Mar 2020 · 173
A Perfect Sonnet
david badgerow Mar 2020
Cody -- hey buddy -- something
I want to ask you about;
Are her eyes still ice-emeralds
And her skin like a cloud?
Do you think Allison will
Sleep with me now?
Does she still have a soft-spot
For dreamers; down-and-outs?
Red-eyed poseurs, beautiful losers,
Fuckbois, dry-drunks, and fidgeting louts?
If so send her my way
Or tell her give me a shout
I'm ****** up, I'm so lonely
They just let me out.
Mar 2020 · 99
sunrise on lot (for Cass)
david badgerow Mar 2020
it's a pink morning
and only just quit raining
-- a faint milkwhite drizzle
so the sidewalks shine
with the sun's slanting rays
and the grass is all so vivid

my face and chest are warming
where the halation light spackles me
thru the branches of the
cottonwood tree i'm reclined against
-- my spine matches it notch for notch
the air is thickly humid and leans on me
thru the hazy light and the quietude burns
my conscience clean

i sit still and pious letting my ribcage
expand and deflate gently in the slow seep of dawn
i sit and listen to the earth wake up
i do not disturb the red spider on the geranium leaf or
the softly purring girl who shared
her dreams last night with me
i only catch a sloping breeze as it twists
across the parking lot

the first intimations of her waking are feline
-- the kneading grip of her sharp fingernails
on my thigh, the arch in her back as she rises
out of the sleeping bag into the alkaline brightness
to let her nose brush against my cheek and put
a sweet and overripe morning breath kiss on
the corner of my mouth

i wonder what kind of bird that is
singing tentatively over there
i wonder where my cigarettes are
and if there's any cash left in my sock
i wonder also what her name is
and then it all comes back to me
and with the bird i'm humming
the opening melody
of Cassidy
Mar 2020 · 94
electrolosis
david badgerow Mar 2020
she has endless power
over me because I
gave her my warm body
to wrap herself in & when
she did I had fireflies living
in my heart-chest & sometimes
she'd hum to them a lullaby thru
my chapstick smeared lips
or lure them out by
tickling my ribs & calling herself
mrs-my-last-name

that was two winters back but
I can still hear her perfect white teeth
& tongue bounce as they pronounce
the last vowels in it
Mar 2020 · 123
plea
david badgerow Mar 2020
single & ready
to cling mingle &
sing fling jingles
in a string ******
or be king tingle
& wring Pringles
crumb thingies out
of your box-
spring & belly-
button ring in the
mornings.
Mar 2020 · 106
the sun, my cat, and me
david badgerow Mar 2020
there's a complicated relationship
between the sun my cat & me

so she wakes me up and i travel
to the kitchen. i fertilize her bowl
with a sprinkling of kibble or a left-
over half of a chicken blt from the
night before & she gladly eats it &
scurries off to claim the last warmth of
my sleep-spot for a pre-dawn nap
she's waiting for the sun to rise & warm
her completely

so what am i supposed to do?
she will wait there i assume until i return home
i am suffered then to toil in the kitchen for my own dinner
now the sun has gone again since it's burned me
quite enough after i put on pants & boots & reflective eyewear etc. this morning and for what

the sun has graced my skin
with her perfect smile
but now it's all dark
there is no reward
the moon is seething jealous
& the cat hasn't been fed.
Mar 2020 · 122
quickie
david badgerow Mar 2020
hey looky here i'm
sun-browned & painless
barefoot & shameless
spent several hrs today
on the beach
w/ a girl who prefers to
remain nameless
Mar 2020 · 108
still life in overall jorts
david badgerow Mar 2020
i'm just a silly boy
in a punk rock tshirt
at a local swamp show
shorts cut highwater
above the knee i'm
trying to not smoke
cigarettes anymore
or do as much coke
& that's not working
& i'm trying to convince
this girl to roll my bones
& that's not working
so i told her i live my life
without a harness or
a safety net & i told her
i play piano mostly jazz
i told her about the tiger lillies
back home that bloom & grow
the size of a fat man's head
told her to shut off her phone
& i told her how twilight mutes
the soft bell of the sky on
the coast if she's willing to get
beach-sand ***** & i told her
about the skeletal driftwood
borne by the tide like a ballerina in flight

but i didn't tell her about the scars
in my eyes or on my heart
i didn't say anything about
where i got the shirt & she didn't ask
& i didn't tell her i'm gonna
write her into a poem
Mar 2020 · 94
porcelain
david badgerow Mar 2020
remember when i held
your hair up while you
danced slow against me?

remember i leaned down
to kiss your hot neck and
the grin you struck me with
made blood flood to my ears?

remember how our sweat swam
together and we both almost
lost conciousness that night
then bleary-eyed i fell asleep
on your tummy?
Mar 2020 · 85
no problemo
david badgerow Mar 2020
zappa blows cartoon music
out of a cerulean blue kazoo
in my kitchen while i
eat greasy cold pizza
out of a crusty cardboard box
& petunia the kitten gnaws
on my sock ankle achilles
& it's in moments like this
that i'm a-ok with being alone
my **** could stay soft for the
rest of my life no problemo
i'm beautiful alone i tell myself
out loud & petunia stops chewing
acts like she understands me
but i know it's only
temporary this feeling of adequacy
& full-time fulfillment tomorrow
i'll wake up cold & lonely again
& pining for smooth thighs
& butterflies
& a girl whose two best friends committed suicide
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
Nov 2016 · 1.4k
wrapped in heat-foil
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
Aug 2016 · 1.4k
turul
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 ugly 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
Apr 2016 · 765
spelunking ever inward
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.
Apr 2016 · 1.1k
leglock
david badgerow Apr 2016
I still don't know if
I've ever "made love"
but if I have
the first time
was definitely with you:

******* on the ***** carpet floor
of your best friend's house
in Tallahassee. we knocked
tattoos against the coffee table
both our knees red
rugburnt from scooting the length
of the living room + hallway.

we moaned into each other's mouths
as our friends passed out drunk
not seven feet away
we tried three positions & your
body told me the last one was your
favorite so we bumped bellies
pulled each other's hair
your chest on my chest
your shoulder blades
drenched in moonlight
small in my careful hands
stars camped in our eyes
you bit my
lip too hard.

I'll never forget the wet way you kissed
my salty forehead as we
climbed connected onto
the couch, but the most vivid
memories from that night
are your legs
still quivering but clenched
ankle locked together at the
***** of my back, & falling asleep
inside you because it
felt like the right thing to do.
Mar 2016 · 958
the boys
david badgerow Mar 2016
she calls me
she calls me & I don't answer
she calls to say her grandma
is failing fast & the twins
aren't sleeping & they're angry

come on over I say
I only have two calloused hands
& a sixty hour work week
bony feet & a bottle of
chocolate wine & I ask if she's ever
slept four on a full sized mattress

the boys will be fine I say
bring both elmos
a set of pastel paints
& you can run your fuzzy-sock feet
up my legs & warm your small hands
on my space heater heartbeat

grandma will see good Friday
& easter sunday I say
& probably even her own
late April birthday
barely audible as the boys snore
like miniature sawmills
through peppermint toothpaste
ringed open mouths

the last thing I feel before sleep
is her smile stretching across my
bare chest & her hands catch fire
& wander toward a cooler spot of skin
Mar 2016 · 1.0k
toga party
david badgerow Mar 2016
it's Friday morning &
we're up early sitting at
the windowsill after
shuffling as one self
down the carpeted hallway
toward the miraculous
coffee kitchenette with her
knuckles belt-buckled around
my hip bones & her head
tucked into my breastplate/armpit

still in our peejays
shirtless in sweatpants
rolled to my knees &
she's wrapped in the sheets
but still vulnerable with one
bare tattooed ankle living
in my lap

we're waiting for the sun
to sing an orchard symphony
to our skin & burn last night's
clear coat off the pane
so we can laugh & pull weeds
in the garden & share a
bath bomb afternoon or maybe just
jump in the river holding hands

just as I began to wonder
about the green/white/striped
thong she let me ****** off
last night & if she replaced it
she stood up
arched her back to
stretch out the dimples there

winked at me

& then she dropped the sheet
Feb 2016 · 1.0k
been having these good days
david badgerow Feb 2016
lately i've been having these good days
i don't have sad wet cigarette saxophone nights anymore
i watched the sun wake up six times last week
i found a blue bucket of tulips &
gave them to a bald-headed krishna girl when
she sang to me on the sidewalk

i hired a boy to hide in the foyer
& peel a fiddle if i rouse from sleep during the night
or whistle through a harmonica
if i'm wet-eyed during breakfast
i finally got rid of all the pictures you stuck
to your side of the dusty bathroom mirror
except the blissed-out polaroid of us
perched on an old oak tree limb
like a couple of soft doves versus the turreted sunset

i deleted your number because you don't call me back anyway
i stopped mailing letters to your father's house
i haven't listened to the Plantasia record
you bought me since you left
i never feel the gray heat from your
staticky hand warming my shoulder
i forgave you for the blood in my kidneys
& old smog in my mildewed vinyl lungs

i sleep under the running green vapor light
of the moon & stars instead of the frothiest pillows
rippling on an ocean of sheets & project quilts
i finally scoured the lipstick stain from my collarbone
after what seemed like two years
i forgot how your armpits smelled
i sewed all your sundresses into a shower curtain
& i never see your delicate ribcage
peaking through the streams of hot water



i hardly ever notice the noose
you left hanging in our apartment
Feb 2016 · 1.2k
thereminist
david badgerow Feb 2016
maybe you were right: i never brought
home flowers or chocolate
cleverly arranged in the
shape of a heart and
i couldn't afford a day at the spa
but i'd always sit with my bare ***
on the cold bathroom tile for hours and
feed you toasted bits of cheese on ritz crackers
while you cried in the bathtub i'd
braid your hair as you
let your fingers wrinkle until
the water cooled off too much your
******* got hard and bubbles
stuck to the cut of your shoulders

because you were there when
my mom's little car died on a backroad
under the old black tree
that scratched up the sky
you pulled your pants up
over ruby knees and asked
me to fix your bra
smoked a cigarette lying upside down
across my damp chest
facing my feet and
made me make a promise
while i traced music notes into
the soft flesh of your back with
my ***** fingernails and found
the cracks in your porcelain ankles
with my tongue

you said my love for you is
something that will never make sense
and you never know what to do
with your hands when i'm kissing you
but you moaned the chorus while
i sang verses into your bellybutton
and tied a couple fingers to the
soft web of hair behind your ears
we were like two locusts
fighting in a gossamer heap

two weeks later you were dancing
in my kitchen like a daffodil drunk
on robotussin wearing only striped
peppermint legwarmers and
authentic dreamcatcher earrings
so i bought a theremin from
your favorite pawn shop
and taught you how to tickle it
and as the wind picked up
whipped your hair into a
crucial comet's tail and rustled
the caterpillar from the windowpane
back to it's home in the wormy grass
i could hear the warm whistle
it made when you played with it
alone in the bedroom

i am crying now while
driving down highway one
recalling how your nose crinkled
when you smoked crushed roaches
or the way your hair tasted in the morning
and how you used to spit a
little bit when you laughed
and i can still hear that haunted echo
even as the saltwater swells
and splashes past the rocks

that sun machine is just
a distant memory now
but it left burn marks on my skin
and the floor where we tumbled
and fought the first time
i called you beautiful
Jan 2016 · 1.4k
on writing (hemingway)
david badgerow Jan 2016
write at midnight. edit in the morning.
write on a mountain. edit on a beach.
write inside a dream. edit & exist in reality.
write in a fever pitch as starlight kisses your cheekbones.
edit in the cold dawn light without excuses.
write loudly with Bjork screaming into the curtains.
edit in silence.

write as the clouds gather around the gibbous moon.
edit as the sun crests the hill & burns away the fog.
write inside, cozy under a blanket.
edit naked, cold on the front porch.
write asking questions.
edit demanding answers.

write blindfolded with your fingers waltzing across the qwerty.
edit bespectacled or with a monocle.
write like a mass ******. edit like a suicide.
or better yet
write like a homicide. edit like a detective.

write toward the open sky with your legs outstretched before you.
edit facing a clean white wall with your knees against your chest.
write because you are innocent. edit because you are guilty.
write during a fit of hyperventilation.
edit during mammoth exhalation.
write with complexity. edit into simplicity.

write, as Hemingway did, drunk.
edit, not sober, but hungover.
see your flaws in the sharp mirror of a headache.

write during sloppy explosion. edit during precise implosion.
write with your head in the clouds gnawing at the cumulus.
edit with your feet firmly planted in the ground.
write during violent collision.
edit during calm separation.

write with a pencil on soggy paper in a hot shower.
edit with a red pen sitting in tepid murky bathwater.
write among raucous laughter & banging skillets.
edit in secret while the kids are asleep.
write like a sadomasochist.
edit like a psychiatrist.

write while running on your tip-toes.
edit while lying flat on your back.
write in several languages with abandon.
edit beside a translator dictionary.
write as you are engulfed in fire.
edit with an extinguisher.

write with careless fluidity.
edit without assistance from amphetamine or coffee.
write with a full bladder,
standing up,
jitterbugging,
squeezing the tip of your *****
closed--urgently
squirm & trickle
your ideas onto
the porcelain page.
expanded thoughts on the misquoted author's advice.
david badgerow Jan 2016
my neighbors all say they can hear me singing
as i sink back down into my earthbound body
still tweaking my ******* with my eyebrows
arched & tongue still stuck lolling in the corner of my mouth

i'm confronted with a syrup mixture
of humiliation & guilt when they find me
in a fetal bundle in the early dawn light
bathing on the mattress ablaze with spiral light from
the window blinds

my shame is a palpable cartoon ****-cloud
of self-awareness as they
stand in awe & fear of the mysterious throbbing phenomena
attached between my hipbones

but in that moment of splendid transcendence
when my wet throat echoed the chirping song
of the radiator before they caught me
i was breathing vapor bent over a shovel violent hot chest
heaving like an attic full of abandoned possessions
liberating suppressed vivid stardust
memories & chanting ecstatically
sweaty complexion kneecaps quivering
like plastic water-bottle minnows
trapped in a meat locker releasing
stress from the bulbous pustules
collected on my face & soft jawline

liquid parts of me chased the low cirrus clouds
through long looping tunnels carved into the taut
blue january sky meadow as silver-tipped steam
hissed from the powerful glands in my armpits
i tried to regain control over my own
turbulent chaos almost crumbling

i heard sock feet stuttering in the foyer
& suddenly they appeared eating a winter peach
under the doorway trellis or with an armful
of fresh-cut flowers between the hallway of tall hedges
slack-jawed eyes vacant like so many broken windows
witnessing a spring butterfly devour a snake while i weep
into a magazine feverish with well-earned fatigue
left hand keeping a tight grip on my only future

later on i'm standing outside on a thriving carpet
of fungus as sunlight glares off my freckled
chest & the damp earth breathes aggressive moss
onto the trunks of old trees
crying bitterly because i
dug this hole in a dream of fitful sleep
my friends must always be high
because they all say
i'm bringing them down but
i'm scared one day i'll wake up
& there will be nothing left to say or
i'll have concrete where i used to see teeth

everything tonight is real
that's a lie but i'm going to continue
whispering it to myself like a mandala mantra
the sunset was almost unbearably beautiful
& i stood defiant with my back pushed against
it between hard edged pillars
of self-destruction & self-fulfillment
as it wreaked its havoc on the opposite sky
gray radio static warped through my ears
when i finally felt spiritually large enough
& my eyes clouded once again
with spontaneous emotion
Dec 2015 · 1.1k
swallowtail butterfly cocoon
david badgerow Dec 2015
tonight is an
old-enough-to-vote-scotch-in-a-coffee-mug
kind of night i'm in one of those moods
where it's hard to communicate anything specific
i'm delving deeper into the vast emotional cavern because
i haven't found someplace open yet to flourish
& i haven't reached my usual vibration so i'll just bolt
the door wash my hair with hand-soap
because i'm a ***** guy with a ***** shadow body
i'll sit down in the shower to relax the muscles in my legs
watch the tears streak down the clear shower curtain
& accept the same marvelous sensation of wetness
tumbling across the skin of my face pooling in my top lip dimple
& soaking the soft yellow flannel splayed open on my chest

when the ball drops & the piano coda to Layla kicks in
i'll melt under the sweaty first-last moon of the year
as it sneaks up behind me bathed in the creature light
of the television shining out from the silent second living room
of my sister's house the one with the chandelier
& it's no surprise i turned out this way

last year i felt as cool as raindrops gathered together
in the shade of a wide tree & now i've never felt so alone
in my whole ******* life at least then i had roommates
to not give a **** about me because i'm nothing
i've come so far but sometimes
i'm still so scared i can't breathe
sweat trickles down my rib-cage as i re-inhabit myself
& next year i'll continue to dig myself out of this concrete hole
of low self-esteem this deep urban well of trembling
amateur sadness & feigned calamity maybe learn to not
blame them or make the tree feel guilty for blocking
the small bright sun from shining on my puddle because
i am no longer defenseless against my own racking fears
but right now it's too hard to see tomorrow's sunrise
from the wan of today so i'll just sleep out by the pool tonight under the stars to wait for it's richness & apprehend it's depth
if i get champagne drunk & can't
slide open the glass door i'll shiver my shoulders
& cry soul-struck blubbering in my sleeping bag as the
fireworks or flashlights cut
a Morse code dirge through the thick elm trees

the smell of spent powder or snuffed out candles
hangs like a noose around the throat
of the street with the fog in the morning as i brush
my sleepy-eyed teeth with my finger
i'm remembering the only summer you & i spent
together between college semesters
as you were getting over your ex-boyfriend i helped
by keeping pictures of you hidden in my room until spring
you said he took steroids & you liked a guy with muscles
so i did push-ups every morning before anyone else woke up
i did whatever you wanted in bed all night
but it didn't matter because you always left
as soon as you came

the weekend you got your wisdom teeth out
you made me promise to kiss you everywhere
except the bottom half of your face
starting with the swallowtail butterfly cocoon
of your collarbone or your belly-button at the bottom
of the neighbor's swimming pool
& you held your breath for me between
your swollen catch-me-if-you-can smile as
billows of your flaxen hair
floated into my open mouth
i was pretty sure i was the only guy
you hooked up with that desolate summer
but i was wrong
Dec 2015 · 875
peppered citrus incense
david badgerow Dec 2015
honest, the ones that hurt the most to write
are the self-love poems because
they remind me no one's around
to do it for me. they're also the most rewarding
to finish for the same reason. sometimes i sit at
the hickory writing desk my grandfather built
waiting for clarity to be chirped out of the bulb of a
trumpet or true love honked longingly from the
fever nose of a saxophone but it never happens that way.
instead i write my feelings -- veined hand curled
around a crude pencil with gnawed erasers at both ends.
or idly scratch the flowers from the wallpaper
while the moon looks down like a twisted bottle-cap
smashed in half by macho fingers into the gray
asphalt sky primping its reflection in the pond,
i think that someday i'll learn to love myself the same
way, by facing all my bad parts in the sharp mirror and my
friends abandoning me. each time they do i hold church inside
my own individual heart on sundays or saturdays,
huddled tight on the first frozen december morning around
a hymnal fire altar, only standing to **** or light another
stick of peppered citrus incense. but right now
i've got a crumb of real turkish hash
and only spittle left in the wine bottle reciting Keats
to the empty moon-painted cow field across the brittle fence
and laughing with lilac bulbs pasted on my face, watching
a low cloud thread itself between the skinny
barbs of pecan tree fingers as i wander through
the orchard. the stars hop restlessly like chigger bugs
and sparkle raw in my
swimming-pool-blue eyes but the ones that
blink back really aren't stars at all.
Dec 2015 · 974
Eyelashes
david badgerow Dec 2015
last night i stayed up late after the sun kissed the horizon's eyelids and wrote poems as letters to all my exs and some to my one night stands lying to them about not being scared of the dark anymore and that i don't recall the exact shape their outline made on my bed sheets.
this morning when the sun rose pink through my window i
did not lick the envelopes instead i lit the corners with
matches and shouted out their names to the walls in
my bedroom. my feet did not take me to the
mailbox instead i'm standing on cold toes
naked in front of the bathroom mirror
waiting for enough warm water to
collect in the tub for me to bathe
in. tonight i'll drink the star-
light that spills out on
the cold kitchen
floor tile and convince
myself i've never truly been
loved by anyone; that i've gotten
here by sheer force of will. that i'm
fearless and invincible while my fingers
fumble with the heavy pistol and my tears
write her name in the folds of my favorite shirt.
tonight is another late night holding sepia pictures
of her because i'm scared to go to sleep alone now. my
whole body hurts when i think about the new empty closet
space she left and how her hand would find a nest in the soft
crook of my elbow when we were walking anywhere or the fresh
shock of electricity when my fingers first found her fingers and her
fingers tied my fingers to my other fingers tight around her waist. my feet ache, because the first time we danced it felt like i had swallowed
a gallon of violent purple hummingbirds and my earlobes are
burning swollen because her painted lips aren't here to cool
them down. her finger nails found the place between my
shoulder blades naturally and i feel so foolish because i
gave my whole self to her but it was an unwanted gift.
it's three in the ******* morning again and i'm
writhing under the thick down blanket but her
velvet toes aren't tucked deep into the small
of my back for warmth. before i choke on
my mistakes and crush my fat tongue
with a bullet i just need to ask her
why

why did i lose you to him?
why are his hand prints on your hips?
why does he get to wake up next to you?
why can't i think of a good excuse to call you?
why did my right foot disappear when you left me?
why does his morning breath get to tickle your eyelashes?
why can't i remember what your nose looks like when you laugh?
why isn't my pillow as comfortable as your bellybutton?
why do you have nothing to say to me anymore?
why does my mouth still taste like a bird's nest?
why did you take my cast iron skillet?
can't get the format consistent on hp and i'm tired of trying to **** with it.
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