Mother dearest, please stop crying. Your eyes are red and waterlogged like a heart in a jar of seawater. Those clumsy eyes dropped their intentions again, dropped their bombs without thinking about the impending nuclear winter.
The say grave flowers are watered by tears, by grief and love (and good fertilizer). Considering your ****-filled flash of teeth, you should know. Your heart is a graveyard, flowering with thorny roses and black berries, locust trees and crab apples.
If you shook any harder, you would jostle yourself apart. Rusted bolts twist free of their joints rolled too tight. When you collapse, you'll say it's my fault again. But, how can I shatter your bones when you never let me stand for myself?
This howling monster will eat me alive; that is no question. My bones will grind between its teeth, white powder in a void black maw. I can feel its breath on my neck, wet and hungry like a teenage boy in the dark. This howling monster will not be satisfied with surrender; only sunder will fill its canyon belly. It can rest no moment until it is fed. Those eyes are too full of souls.
This howling, monster will cannot go quietly, growling I EXIST until its throat burns.
I feel like this is my first poem in years. I think it probably is.
I am two:thirty heat lightning. Inconquerable flashes of my elemental fury leap from grumbling cloud to dewy earth, dancing naked under a smoky moon. I am a burning offering to the sodium lamp sentinels looming golden over black tar; there is tobacco sown into my every pore. I am the underestimated weight of fog rolling off the meadow's swollen calf river, the heavy lowing of labor pains, the thick croak of the year's last bullfrog. I am the first crunch of dying light, the gray tinge of wood smoke on chlorophyll burned red. The sting of my icy breath creeps into sleeping eyelids, through every crack in waterlogged armor. My frosty four o'clock is no place for strangers. The frozen silence does not know my strength. I will bend the world with feet of glass. In time, the weight will break my own limbs, expose their green, soft meat.
I am the green shoots of daffodils sharp, triumphantly cleaving the rested dirt. There is yellow warpaint across my forehead, a crown of blistering elegance glazed by wings of stubborn three:thirty ice. I am resilient and eternal—perennial—blooming to a cold, white moon.
My hair smells like you-- Old Spice and popcorn smudged lips. Hold the butter. I want grease dripping from your palms, a salt sea of foamy yellow. We reject kernels bob along unpopped, burnt, steamed to bursting refused the right to blossom.
The neighbors have a noisy truck spitting exhaust onto my rear window. Gray. Hazy. Ugly as the reason you're covered in glitter. You taste like gin and ginger, orange tea and cold chai latte, notebook paper in a dark coffeehouse. The elves are holding hands but your hand is on my *** and this movie's boring--wood pannelling in a split-level apartment above your father's bathtub.
Your mother wouldn't like me. She's a ***** anyway. You tell me she can't cook because she can't subtract. But you're no good at math either, lovely boy. Double your handprints on my ***. Curl your toes to the three-four swirl of my hips.
I am exhausted with the weight of my bones, with the weight of your bones in my arms.
You fell to your knees in the dust of the road, gathered dirt in tiny whirlwinds around you and begged
to know why your robes were filthy. The brightest streaks you had left were where our tears dripped into the handsewn folds. You cried for your blindness, I cried for your tears.
We sobbed to the moon— to Diana, Elatha— the only gods we atheists could stand; their crescents smiled on us. You covered your head while I danced in the tear-stained dirt, sandals tickling the edge of the high road, sending little rocks over and down onto the sandy heads of camels
below. I laughed while you wailed and when I knelt to pull your hands into mine you shrank into your whirlwinds of mud, crying, “Wicked!”, hissing, “Harlot!”
the official version has indents but I'm too lazy to deal with them in these idiot editors that won't take a ******* tab input.
Listen up, you little *****, and let me teach you a thing or two. See this skull here, poised and serene? How do you know it’s poised? It’s dead, for Christ’s sake! The only thing it’s poised on in the edge of this stump—“ye olde dead tree” holding “ye old dead head.” He had a name, you know—Yorick—I didn’t make that up. I knew him; good friend of my mum’s. This sword here could have been what ran him through, you know. Coulda got him straight through the gut, and you’re all sittin’ here admiring its craftwork. It’s the fancy hilt, isn’t it, the bright metal chasing its own tail in golden loops. Warm yellow over cold steel, that’s what you people like—spectacle, shine— not dust and history, like Yorick over here. You don’t mind if I smoke, do you? Only thing these candles are good for, really. They’re tallow—stinking, smoky fat made by Jen on her weekends off. She doesn’t know much about candles, but her *****’s Special Draft is the best mead made for this dung heap. Anyway, I gotta ****. Leave Yorick with your tips, and remember: what glitters here isn’t gold, just paint over old age.
I have never needed you more than right now, in this very moment, covered in blood and ticks and grass. You must hear me thumping, beating my need on dead stumps that smell of your **** and gunpowder. I need you. I have always needed you. Your teeth slit my fur and I need you still. Your mouth is my everything, the warm safe of heat dragged straight from your lungs with a rattling wheeze.
I don't know I just have a lot of feelings tonight. Inspired by Rebecca Hazelton's poem series on Fox and Rabbit in a way
You are standing in the rain, humming nonsense. They won’t let you carry a Walkman to the bus stop yet, knowing you’d be stupid enough to throw it away accidentally with your lunch. Your mother packed a spoon for your soup last week. It is still in your pocket, or did you throw that out too?
Why can’t you remember things like that? You’d forget your little pig-tailed head if it weren’t sewn on to your neck and held there with itchy turtleneck collars. Your mother markers your address into everything, in hopes that someone might send back the things you’ve lost.
You’re busy finding other things, I guess— like the loose corner to the grated storm drain where you wait for the bus every morning, almost loose enough to crawl under. Or the miniature floods when the snow melts and you can feel the rush of fast water over the cheap “leather” boots on your feet while you stand there, on a storm drain, humming in the rain and stomping in cold, wet socks.
Remember when your mother stopped walking you to the bus? She does; and she remembers following behind on rainy days with the car, just in case you got too damp.
bleeds through pages, soaking black and heavy into strings of wood stretched to breaking, pressed too tight. Others are scratched into open wounds, dyeing blood reds magenta as they crust into scars. Permanent. Names painted in defiance
for the greater good. Thoughts called into being by blues and reds, and greens, and halting greys as they spill their living guts onto pages lines with ink. Printers’ ink, that is—
different from all the other kinds. Lighter, duller, marking things no one should cross. Making boundaries. Those inks are too cold to bleed, too stiff and flat to stain a **** thing. They refuse to sing because
they are broken, full of tiny gaps and little pores.
Some fingers have this tendency to crack, snag, and rip themselves to shreds. A flurry of something like daisy petals cling, infinite single cell threads waiting for the right he loves me not to fall apart.
Some fingers shed their tired ridges in fluttering crescent smiles peeling from the edges of soft pink nails. They pull away like feathers ruffled out of place in a sudden updraft, bent at too-sharp angles.
Finger skin was always the strongest, never flaking just because, but for the effort of work and teeth. Those hangnails bleed strength. They drip patience, hours of work in restaurant sinks, needlepoint and dresses.
They bleed music, lullabies. A chorus of little sopranos sing to tiny babies in cribs built by driftwood scratched bone-smooth and tough as chainmail.
His brass-plated nickel twists— a tangled rope looping on itself looping around a thumbtack looping around your throat.
Teardrop gems in brass saucers fall in jangling rivulets, streams of crystalline blues. Wrung from shades of sky, cloudless summer and midnight indigo, they shape-shift in shadows drip— drip— dripping from the s-curve of a bronze body crusted in blues, blacks, and greens.
A flower is carved under each jewel, a map of a bird’s nest— a map to a bird’s nest, like he might forget in the small, dark hours of the morning where he belongs.
Home is not dangling from a bookshelf. Through lamplight and sunlight his stares due west.
Come here girl, you know there’s no point in skulking. This is what you deserve. You know I’m not responsible. It’s not my fault you can’t cook right. Don’t hate me for my sense of duty. You’re so frail; even that chicken-wire crosshatched skeleton can’t hold you up. Get my newspaper. There’s simply no point in weeping.
Sometimes, I thought your eyes looked waterlogged, wet enough to pour floods of biblical proportion. I knew you as an ocean; you slipped through knobby fingers with each pulse. You growled like waves, and growling, you beat salt into sunburn with the ferocity of three thousand hurricanes—no more, no less. My palm fronds will always sway for you.
But you never swayed, stayed, or even said what you meant as your whitecap words washed blind over coral. You stung though, full of bone shards and plastic. Let’s face it, you’re filthy. You smell like oil and death. Your rotting weeds strangle the pilings of flimsy gray docks.
Bare skeletons cast their shadows from your temporary closets, and bruise your casual grins with their bleached-bone fists. You left here this morning with a carry-on just to find three bags checked in your name.
Someday your luggage will know continents, leaving trails of letters, love songs and photographs. You will not see these places, these ancient beauties, like she did, through the dust of your travels beaten grey from army green foot lockers.
Little white tags crumble dates and loneliness into your sheets. Your smiles come slower; your tendons ache in their restless sleeps. The years of calloused fingers fumbling latches in the dark leave your nails jagged and ******.
But you carry her voice in your suitcase always knowing her weight would sink into your bones.
A redux of "Ghosts in the Snow". hashtag new year new me
John purrs the question through tiny crackling speakers begging responsibility from the irresponsible at best, begging for peace and a season of rest.
I lost a war, John;
I tripped on hope and arrogance and earned forty six new badges of valor; I fell from the rafters of a fantasy bridge to the cold reality beneath and I broke bones-- ribs and femurs, radii and hum'rouses.
I have met Marc Antonys and Brutuses, Pagliachis and Heathcliffs, and met them in myself. I have sobbed into futons ripe with nachos and socks and I curled in another's arms wishing they were yours.
I have loved and lost and saw God in a graveyard; come down from dopamine dreams to black widows in my sheets. I have tried and failed and given up, found the one mistake I'll always make and the one perfume I'll always hate.
I lost a war I never had the guts to fight. So this is Christmas, John, and I'm still a mess.
A friend of mine told me I was in love with you, of all people-- my jaded romantic, hopeless and cynical, fictitiously crafted.
I told her she was wrong emphatically-- that I didn't fall (in love or otherwise) for boys like you, uncertain and determined to be anything and everything-- mostly because I refuse to allow you to be right.
playing with enjambments as a break from my finals. otherwise, a silly piece.
The evenings cold enough to require a sweater but still too warm for the biting winter wind, to cut through our clothing like hot knives through butter; these are the not-quite nights, the dusks of the almost-autumn and the too-late summer, with the drizzle dripping requiems for sunshine longings and July dreams.
These are the nights that I am torn between walking alone with the chill in my bones, sedate with the cold but alive, or begging for a body to drift alongside, radiating an unreciprocated warmth; someone with hands stuffed into night-bitten pockets, too cool and stiff to really chatter but hoping for the shared sympathy of frozen, rain-speckled skin.
We are gliding across the fallen leaves-- the dying brethren of the trees-- that crackle slow beneath our feet like summer candy wrappers, drifting. But we’re still slowly freezing, shrugging threadbare shoulders under threadworn sweaters that still reek of the past. And we’re still gently waltzing, disinterested fingers on uninteresting waists trampling scarlets and golds under careless heels in three-four beats.
As the twilight fades into ink, a hollow, whispering breeze reminds of the clouded distance between us and the heavy, rain-laden sky.
It is almost five a.m. With each thump of the echoing bass, of the synthetic revenge and heartbreak, angry percussion wraps me closer than your arms ever could-- tremulous and heavy, more absolute than the sunset fictions you contentedly let me cling to. A venomous chorus drips from my lips, once-swollen eyes now itchy and dry.
This is the still serenity of the predawn slumber, the yearning of the yetsummer, the quiet before the birds begin scavenging through grass, trash, and recycling. I protest-- tongue, fingers heels teeth and lungs restless in spite of themselves.
You have chased me out of bed, across dew-dampened grass, over uneven pavement as treacherous as your voice. You follow me.
Sleep is merely a forlorn memory peering sadly from a forgotten heap of warm cotton thread, whimpering futilely against the anxious pulsing of overworked headphones and overthought peculiarities.
You introduced me to this time of day. You summoned it once with impatient chords and a staccato keystroke melody, casually ignoring the plaintive honesty I willingly accompanied you with.
But the sunrise casts a strange glow, I guess-- rosy and well-intentioned, fickle and fleeting, like your grin or the capricious depth of the summer sky.
No one remembers that wandering blue the same color as her eyes; but it seeps through your pores, curls into the caverns of your chest, an aching in azure only because you let it. You have bathed too long in the sun. As the scarlet sunrise erupts across your shoulders the sky settles into your lungs.
But don’t trust that sky, that constant companion.
That sky is a cannibal and it will eat you alive.
I'm torturing myself tonight with my backlog because why the hell not?
Waltzing syllables cast shadows from your closet and slowly bruise your casual smiles. “Can you still feel my breath warm on your skin, the weight of my head on your chest?” Rebuild your walls in tribute. Lock her away deep within.
You left here this morning with a carry-on just to find three bags checked in your name.
Someday, your luggage will know continents, leaving trails of letters lost, love songs and photographs, and the distant echoes of softening tears. Will you have loved these places like she did, my pining nestling? Your feathers molt in the shadows of sorrowful beauty but waxen wings only melt in the sun.
You drag your suitcases behind you bogged down in the billows of dust.
Luggage tags with scattered dates crumble loneliness into your sheets; your smiles come slower; your tendons ache in their restless sleeps. The years of compulsive movement, the calloused fingers fumbling latches in the dark, have left you chasing unexplainable ghosts. Nuzzling voices draw close in your agony alone, whispering from trail-beaten zippers barely closed and barely clinging to overtired carpet bags.
You have carried her voice in your suitcase always knowing her weight would seep into your bones.
We don't fall like rain or like snow or like New Year's Eve confetti in sweeping graceful arcs; we fall like atom bombs.
We fall like atom bombs, ignorantly whistling our way to the ground. We fall like a firestorm scorching Dresden to smoldering ruin. We fall like night-- completely, unforgivingly, thickly, coldly.
We fall like angels from twelve stories high, singing love songs to concrete to drown out the sirens. We fall like pennies from the Empire State, flung from the observation deck-- carelessly, mercilessly.
*Maybe falling makes us mighty, but we're falling just the same.
I sat outside for hours last night. I sat outside under the same July stars twinkling new under an icy, November moon, shoulders still bare and hair tied back, looking for the misplaced summer in an anxious fall.
I didn't find it. I found cigarette ashes clinging to the fur of my boots. I found crystalline fog glazed cold to my skin. I drew childish hearts and arrows in the ghost of my breath and traced glassy teardrops clinging to sweatshirt sleeves.
I sat outside for hours last night until even my lungs stiffened with the cold. My clavicles stung with the prickling of snow and my fingertips ached with the effort of clinging-- to grass, to wood, to paper, to smoke, to snowflakes falling through liquid-like air, to memories, to monsters, to you and to me.
But I couldn't hold us. We slipped like water through my clutching hands; we melted like rocks that never even were. We dripped, trickled, and fell like rain, and we evaporated in the blaze of an ending Indian summer.
I sat outside for hours last night listening for lost crickets hiding sadly under leaves. They buried themselves too well for me, better than you ever will, it seems. You float, always just under the surface of an endless, salty sea no matter how much concrete I pour for your shoes. You never leave.
But I sat outside for hours last night perfectly alone.