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Dec 2015 · 847
Holly Salvatore Dec 2015
Aren't you a medicine man?
Aren't your lungs full of blue smoke and jars of dust that your mother collected in Idaho?
Are you confident in the permeability of memory?
Confident in your snake oil cures?

I think I know you
I think I've been waiting for you patiently sipping my beer and humming "golden slippers"
I think the best thing about home is that there are almost no poisonous plants here and the bees rarely sting me

You sang the second verse of "Home on the Range,"
the verse that nobody knows
And I couldn't breathe thinking about what my life would have been if it hadn't been this

I went ahead and bought the miracle elixir
Sep 2014 · 1.5k
Holly Salvatore Sep 2014
You see sod busted up by a long, sepia-toned farmer. He is pushing a plow that belongs in a museum of the prairie. You feel as if this is happening to you. To your insides, I mean. You feel a squirming pancreas, and a dancing spleen. You feel a change coming and you are happy about feeling, about movement, agriculture. You catch a glimpse of yourself in a window and realize that you have grown to be 10 feet tall. You are looking down on the corn; at eye-level with the barn. You imagine  your father, the farmer, would be very proud of the tree you have become, and the windbreak you afford his fields.
So during the depression with the dust bowl and black blizzards a huge threat to agriculture in America, FDR proposed this idea for the "Shelterbelt." Basically he wanted to plant trees all along the prairie in long windbreaks to protect farms. He never got all the funding he wanted for it, but some trees were planted anyway. It just ended up being on a much smaller scale than he had proposed. By the time it was done the drought was nearing its end and WWII was on the horizon, and the whole thing has been largely forgotten about.
Sep 2014 · 913
Love Poem #3
Holly Salvatore Sep 2014
25 and broad shouldered
the sun hits his eyes
23 and half naked, my chest,
the top of our heads

The ocean throws boats off
the edge of the world
the horizon stretches
longways, a hammock

In the water eyes open,
his grin, luminescent,
In the water eyes closed,
the taste of salt, the quiet
way the waves go on and on
Sep 2014 · 1.1k
Holly Salvatore Sep 2014

Last month you saw Marilyn Monroe riding sidesaddle on a bicycle. Her cream colored skirt billowing as she passed you by. You noticed she had aged. She was gray and lined but still beautiful.

Last week you saw Tupac walking to work. He clocked in a few minutes early and kept his head down. During the lunch break he talked to you about settling down and starting a family. He used the word "suburb" and you almost gagged.

Yesterday you adopted a dog who had been hit by a car. You gave her a name and a yard and a bed and grain free kibble. She's fine now. She doesn't even seem to notice her stitches. She sits on the porch and barks at squirrels while you fold clean clothes.

Today you realize you have learned to raise the dead. But only so they don't remember themselves. Only so they have no recollection of who they were before. Only so their lives are blank boards.

You are afraid of your newfound powers, but with Mars in your house you will learn some control.
"Don't bring back your mother," you repeat like a mantra.
You won't feel restraint until the 21st.
Holly Salvatore Aug 2014
Relax. Breathe into it.
You're a hill. You're an immovable object.
You are shaking this whole world
just by being in it.

Breathe into it.
You are going home now.
Like a forest full of birds.
Aug 2014 · 654
Holly Salvatore Aug 2014
We talked about ghosts at work
There are slaves in the attic
Where the floorboards creak
We have seen glasses and plates
break, untouched, Our house was built on Southern ground
in 1861

We talked about premonitions
There were brothers dead in train crashes
Where the steam boiled and metal buckled
And sisters finding body parts in their sleep

When I dream
I see my mother
Are you real? I ask
I can't be asleep again
Just more so now...

She takes my hand with cold soft
fingers she smells like her
hand cream her eyes make little 'm'
bird wing creases her face is smiling
the way it always has she does not
bother with mascara she sits bright
and hunched in tallness

Are you real? I ask
I'm real. She says

I wonder if tonight I'll dream of slaves
The floorboards creaking
Or of brothers
And their hands thrown in train crashes
Landing under metal somewhere
In the woods nearby
Of wholeness,
Whatever being haunted means

I am scared that nothing I do makes a difference I am scared I feel all of history pounding in my head I am happy to see her even being less real, sleeping
**even if she is *more so now
Aug 2014 · 1.2k
Butch and Etta
Holly Salvatore Aug 2014
On horseback, they chase you,
But you are light and you are gaining distance. On horseback, they chase you, and you laugh along with the hoof beats.
Your smile catches sun, and you have never been scared of bullets.

I wanted to remember your smell
Even after we stopped having
Anything to talk about

I wanted to remember how your
Skin shivered, warm and desperate
Even deep into my dreams

There was a day when you rode on my
Handlebars and we moved like
Water through canyons

There was a day when we traced
Each other's shadows as big as
Gallows in the dust

I keep having this dream of the spring of 1887: I go out to bring the cattle in, but they are all dead. Frozen to death. And floating down thawing rivers. I keep having this dream of Bolivia: we are cornered after robbing a payroll and I am glad you are not with us.*

The last thing I remember is your smile catching sun
Holly Salvatore Jul 2014
Oceans, mountains, stars, crickets,
storms, the moon, sunburns,
so you would feel my love

Rocks, trees, an east wind,
honey bees, skin,
so you would feel my love

All you have is fear, and I am sorry for you
All I have are empty hands,
and when I try to lay still,
I find I can't stop vibrating

*We are what we have always been
Holly Salvatore Jul 2014
She has the softest paws, like a leopard.

Bodies of ash, bodies of carbon, bodies like hills of coal.

She has the softest paws, the softest eyes.

His brain full of holes and cold and gray. His brain full of holes, like the sky before rain.

She has the softest eyes, like a mother.

You felt dying like living, and you didn't know words for it. Felt dying like winter.

She has the softest eyes, the color of my father's. Caramel.

Ghosts made of strong wills. Ghosts made of leftovers. Ghosts unwilling to leave, confused without their bodies. Only collections of memories, and walking through things they shouldn't be.

She has the softest eyes, even closed. She has the softest paws, running while she sleeps.

Blood and rhythm. Hearts and bones. Humans are things with opaque meanings. Humans are things afraid of losing beats.

She has the softest paws.
For holding.
Jul 2014 · 808
Holly Salvatore Jul 2014
Let us both pretend we can tame each other.
Let us both pretend we're not mountains,
but people who fit quietly inside houses
Let us both pretend that our water runs
slow and thick like blood, instead of
unchecked and tenebrous as oceans
Let us both pretend we take tea like humans
in the afternoons
we are not deer, and we are not running,
we are not hawks, and we've never felt
the squirm of rodents in our claws
we've never felt the lift of a sudden wind

Let us both pretend we can tame each other
with nothing more than our will
That we're not lightning, or tall trees,
or echoes in canyons
older than time
*We are storms and we are breaking
somewhere over to the West
Jul 2014 · 798
Love poem #2
Holly Salvatore Jul 2014
Your laugh is a gunshot
My head is on your chest
I am listening to your lungs rumble
And telling you
You will never grow old
Your laugh is a blue light
Dancing around the room
It is becoming something else
Your laugh is alive now
It is breathing and it is a fox
And it is a gunshot
In my body
Where the bones should be
There is warm honey
Running and I am numb
And I am soft and I am lost
I am a fox
Your laugh is a gunshot
Heard closer to the Tennessee line
I am telling you we are growing younger and younger
My head is on your chest
I am listening to your lungs rumble
Like mountains made of coal
Jul 2014 · 775
Love poem #1
Holly Salvatore Jul 2014
His laugh rolling
The stars above
The river below
His laugh rolling
And now my skin is
So many weightless night-colored birds
Holly Salvatore Jun 2014
I'm not as good at life as my mom said I would be. She said "Holly, one day you'll go scuba diving and you can tell me all about it." But I got stung by a sea urchin. Not even diving, just walking on the beach, toes wet. And now the aloe plant on my windowsill is leering at me. I'm never outside long enough to get a sunburn. Although admittedly, burning me takes more sunlight than the day ever actually has. I'm never outside long enough to feel like a deer anymore. The skull on the counter, still bubble-wrapped from flight, is sightless and maybe waiting to be painted. And I think when it is nailed up I will feel like a deer again, remembering about the antlers and the fear of guns, without even knowing what to call them.
Jun 2014 · 1.2k
Holly Salvatore Jun 2014
I pray to the sun god a lot. For warm skin and fresh basil.
You pray to the stars. You pray for the sky like a yawning mouth. You pray for my father. For my sister and the parts of her she keeps hidden. You pray for people who are terrible at hiding, too, who leave themselves open, ripe as peaches. You pray for fall this year, for the harvest, that it will be consummate and yield bushels and bushels.
You pray that you won't forget anything important: keys; your mother's birthday; how to just keep breathing even though you're convinced your heart is shrinking. And you pray that you will live your life loosely, forever outside. You pray for that tightness in your chest to go away and stop bothering you at night, and for a scythe like they used to use for farming.
You pray that God is real. The Sunday school God who loves you and killed off his protagonist so that you might live like a soldier, unsure of what you're fighting for, but fighting nonetheless.
You pray that God is real but you have serious doubts about any creator who allows colorblindness and then makes the world and the sky and girl you love look like this.
May 2014 · 539
Feast Days
Holly Salvatore May 2014
Pretend that you are a snake

Pretend that the ground you slither on is live coals,
the lilacs are in bloom,
and there is an old woman after you with a shovel

Pretend the coals burn you, belly down,
and the old woman's rusted shovel finds the back of your neck
like a blade

Pretend the lilacs are the last thing you see
as your head is severed
Pretend the coals cremate you more or less instantly

You can be reborn a bird
if you burn all the heaviness
out of you and you can fly away

You can be reborn with legs and feet to skip across the coals
and you can dance quickly so you never even feel their heat

And when the lilacs bloom
in May on Helen and Constantine's feast day
you can wear them as a crown

As if you've never been burned and never felt the sting of change
May 2014 · 426
Reasons I Write (1)
Holly Salvatore May 2014
I wanted there to be a word
For the space between
Her penultimate breath and her last one
There were no words
Nobody makes them like that anymore
If I had to pick one though it would be
A word like a waiting room or
A word like an anvil or
A word like being called on when you don't know the answer

But that moment wasn't so much
A moment as a pregnancy
Of emotions
And it wasn't so much
The expectation of my feelings
Being born as it was
The end of her feeling
Anything she could hope to use
Words for

*If I started writing now I wouldn't even know where to begin
May 2014 · 433
Moments When I'm Free
Holly Salvatore May 2014
After runs last August
I used to find the church unlocked
And I'd lay on my back
Under the altar
Sweat soaking into the
Blood-of-Christ colored carpet
Inhaling deeply
I felt the waves wash over me
I felt the earth breathe
And I remembered one night
I was thirteen
Learning catechism
When the pastor told me
"Human and divine are the same things."

I ran to the church last time I visited home
And found the doors locked
So I laid on the ancient concrete of the parking lot
Exhaling deeply
The pollen and the sweat smell and the cut grass of moments
The blood pounding in my ears sounded like truth
And when I found a cut under the salt on my shin
Somehow it tasted like honey
May 2014 · 589
Holly Salvatore May 2014
He pieces her together: eggshells
She pulls him apart: saltwater
And outside it is always rose-light
And paper boats and some sweet breeze that nobody asked for
Outside it's all honeysuckle vining up the pasture fence

She falls asleep small against his tallness
He sleeps like a dog in the sun
If the truck keeps running
It's a metaphor for their relationship
If the truck stops it's foreboding

She loves him: pins and needles
He loves her: turquoise jewelry
And they're forever burning like
Matches on fingertips
Forever noticing new wrinkles in their reflections
As the mirror stays the same with age

"Do you still think you're going to marry me?"

"I won't let you get away again," he says,
Knowing she's young and she's fast

She smiles like pawn shop diamonds
Knowing he's lucky to have her
And having never felt so stupid
In her wicked wayward life
May 2014 · 896
Holly Salvatore May 2014
I have this dream
Where I'm driving up a
Steep and winding mountain
Road and the houses are lush
As if they were built for middle class kings
It is winter and the trees
Are all sleeping until spring
I pass through a pale stone
Gate and it's snowing
In my head I am counting
Each snowflake
In case I have to remember them later
I get to 1,058 when my
Mailbox appears
The letters are addressed to me
But my name is different
Than the one I was born with
Suddenly I stop the car
At a clearing and it is summer here
Close up of a black and yellow butterfly

In the pasture there are gladiators
It feels like seconds
But it's really hours
It's a blood bath
Of swords and bodies
And clanging polished armor
Finally they all lay still
But the victor
He picks me up
With his big brown eyes
He slings me over his shoulder
By a creek he sets me down
And when I kiss his wounds
They close up
Without even leaving scars
I wake up and I think I know him
May 2014 · 1.0k
Holly Salvatore May 2014
My mother is a rabbit.
She ate thistle and it pricked
Right through her intestines on the
Way down. I butchered her, gently,
Exactly like a chicken.
And I braised her in a stock *** with
A mustard sauce. Her meat fell
Off the bone and into hand-rolled
Pasta. I didn't eat her; I loved her too much.
Sprinkled with herbs in her greenery she looked
Peaceful though. And someone found nourishment
In that body not much different than my own.
I didn't cry. I only adjusted my seasoning.*

I'm still not sure what it means to be human except to have a moral compass and no ability to turn it off.
May 2014 · 1.2k
Dumb Ways to Die #2
Holly Salvatore May 2014
That grew so
Big it swallowed the sun
Mercury venus earth mars jupiter saturn
Like juicy blinking pacman dots
And pluto a non-planetary cherry
On top

"Kiss me," you said into the
Microphone *"I don't want to die
a ******."
May 2014 · 671
Holly Salvatore May 2014
i. You are lying in a bed with no sheets and you are convinced your friends' parents are alcoholics. You are convinced that your entire life has been woven of slimy, sloppy lies and half truths. And you are convinced that you are a werewolf.

ii. At the chili cook-off two years ago you were wearing red flannel and a bandit hat and you were watching your entire home town get wasted, looking at you like a museum. You are convinced that you have been lied to.

iii. It was a full moon and you wanted to tear your clothes off. Except for the bellbottoms which you wanted to carefully hang up with a finicky crease for next time.

iv. You notice that down the street the Hy-** has closed and you are unsure how to proceed because you know that normal people do not get upset about such trivial things as midnight blue pies and insomniac coffee. You want to sob, but people will talk.

v. You are convinced you are a werewolf and you have been lied to. Everyone is smoking around you and you want only to make it stop. This is where your mother grew up. You say nothing.

vi. Drinks seem to appear in your hands, unsolicited. You have forgotten your ID, but everyone knows you from the papers anyway, everyone knows your family and they sort of apologize for spilling beer on your boots. Sort of.

vii. You crave pies at midnight and this is a "beautiful city" with a square that does not quit and causes quite a few accidents. This is a "beautiful city" filled with people who will never get over the high school quarterback, people who will never admit they have a problem with Stag, though the cans lie all around you.

viii. You are a werewolf and you are convinced you have been lied to about alcoholism. You are upset about the Hy-**, more so than you should be. If you took off your flannel now, you would never be able to get your heart back in your chest and Belleville would laugh itself to sleep.
I think it's ready to post. Who knows?
Apr 2014 · 8.6k
Holly Salvatore Apr 2014
Pollination drones on like
Eternity, today it's all I
Can do not to succumb
To the pheromones of the bees
Time to get planting
Apr 2014 · 836
The Hindenburg
Holly Salvatore Apr 2014
In the fall there were two of them. Wild animals, I mean. New driver's licenses of shiny, longways plastic and long limbs that hadn't filled out yet. She was filling out her Freeburg High School T-shirt pretty well he thought. He was taking it off her innocent body in the parking lot. After the lights at the football field shut off and she kept drawing monstrous hearts on the fogged up windows in the back seat of a car it was almost as if she could let it all go. Hardly thinking about him at all as his hand slid under her waistband and she woke up as he was fumbling with a ****** wrapper. How awkward, she thought, to be a teenage boy with a ***** how tragic, not knowing how to handle a latex balloon when you have it. Like the Hindenburg, she thought we're both going to die some day so it might as well be an explosion and I might as well put on a show for it. She could feel his heart beat in his ***** the way that nobody talks about it and she laughed a little at their nakedness and it was tinny in the climate of their hot breath. I love you, she said.

As if it would change anything anyway.
(explosion effects)
Apr 2014 · 443
All Things
Holly Salvatore Apr 2014
There's new grass
Growing where the Bear
Laid in state
With fine chaining dandylions
And quick cutting ramps
Lou's wool socks hang
To dry on the porch, the
Color of her

If I asked nicely, the sun
Would not quit today
Pulling up green shoots from
Her death bed
Yesterday was fodder
Yesterday was mama crying
At the close of another time
The wind pulling my hair and
Telling me secrets

Nature is gentle
A pillow of birth
Where the Bear
Laid in state


*all things are new
The garden and the grass seed is coming up now. It doesn't even look like winter took anything from us
Holly Salvatore Apr 2014
"I LOVE LOVE!" She shouted, speaking to herself in third person.
It was then that she seemed to float away
A balloon on Macy's Day.

It seemed I was the only one orbiting earth,
watching those performances of daily life applauding
for a well-flipped omelet a superbly
fitted glove a full tank of gas at $4.00.

I couldn't believe my luck

Terrestrially, there were husks sipping coffee
and rasping and rustling at each other
Privately, she was buying real estate on the moon
I LOVE LOVE! she shouted
Dancing like an egg on a spray of water
a declassified military satellite who through some dumb luck
had escaped the pull of gravity and won
Marveling at the moon rock
on her finger, even a stubbed toe just seemed
like the ideal opportunity for extorting kisses.
And it glinted in the light.
Everything was fine.

Down on earth it seemed all the wine drinkers
were toasting to us cheering as we terra formed
the moon.
*We couldn't believe our luck
as we rolled back our stone.
"Dancing like an egg on a spray of water." From Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer which I read from time to time. And suddenly this line meant something to me.
Apr 2014 · 1.2k
Jumped the Fence
Holly Salvatore Apr 2014
The world is raw
And reeling
You are kneeling
On the cold side of the
Road pulling grass out of her
Downy fur feeling the still-
warm blood soak into the
Knees of your skirt and
You are feeling the hurt of
Intestines that are
Not your own Ropy, Uncoiling,
Stretched like homecoming banners yet
Homeless in the dirt
Your lips are bitten
Raw in the fury of the heartache
And your head is
Reeling drunk and there are mudslides
Rolling from your eyes taking your mascara,
Motherhood with them
And pooling at the bottom of your chin
Dissipating in drips
Her blue eyes rest like
Heavy-lidded sea glass and you
Remember a time when they rolled
Like waves full of new worlds
And you choke on the past
And you choke on her fur
You feel the crush of a
Starched and polished night
Falling fast
And you choke on the headlights as they pass
On down the highway
And you fall asleep holding her hoping
Your body will be enough to bless and
Keep her warm Hoping that your
Breath will be infectious as a cold
Until jarring hands pull you out of
Highway grass and flashing lights
Drive you back down the road
And you lay her body in the yard
On a red blanket
Soft fleece like blood and loose guts
You're alone now and you lay your body in the
Seeds, the pool of blanket
And you fall asleep holding her Whispering
­Like a stuck record

God writes "No." inside your swollen eyelids
With a ( . ) it's final
**Pause for breath
Mar 2014 · 538
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
If the world was a child
I'd make it sit in the corner
And think about its wicked ways

If love was corporeal
I'd sew it to my side
And bind it forever to me

If the Mississippi ran drunk with whiskey
I'd become a steamship captain
I'd become a riverboat queen

If my father was a rock
He'd be an impossible
Immovable monument
To sweet sweat and mulish heads

If my blood was honey
I'd bake off little pieces of my body
And feed it to the men I meet

If fear was an end table
I would throw out all my coasters
Leaving stained bare wood behind

If relationships were chemicals
I would mix them into medicines
And always label them properly

If my sister was a dragon
She'd blow glass from sand
With every breath

If the mountains breathed like human beings
I'd climb inside their inhales
And never come out again

If my mother was water
She'd flow wild and abandoned
Weaving canyons in her path

If my bed was a time machine
I'd go back to my first kiss
And just keep swimming

If I was a wolf
I would howl and howl and howl
Until I drowned out everything else

*Saying take and eat take and drink do this in remembrance of me
Mar 2014 · 825
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
When he says he wants a family
and I say I want everything is it
too much to pluck the moon from
the sky and carry it in my back pocket?
Rather than his hand there I like
the feeling of not being pregnant
I like hot air balloon rides and
sinking into the earth after rain
when he talks about the future
it's a pie chart and a clearly labeled
and concisely drawn graph and
when I talk about my dreams
in the morning they are vapors
and LSD my words mean absolutely
nothing I weigh less than a slice of
bread mostly meaning happens in
between things or when I hear Paul
Simon whispering lightning in my ear.

*Our children would be green-eyed monsters
Just imagining an old friend
Mar 2014 · 1.2k
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
Fog covers my eyes
Sores cover my tongue
My lips are chapped as
Sandpaper against the nights
Last night I died,  I don't
Losing my chapstick
I don't
Remember getting home

Birds outside my windows
Bellies already
Gorged on worms and
And petals spread wide and webs
Spun silk in the tired light
Yawny as the day goes by
Mar 2014 · 493
Dumb Ways to Die #1
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
Tuning his piano
Lid open
Musical mechanical
Guts exposed
Ear to strings
When his cat
Knocked the lid closed
Human mechanical
Guts exposed
Mar 2014 · 1.4k
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
After one bite
Of grimy
Teeth sinking into
Mottle red (and green and brown)
And yellow skin and crisp
White flesh

An explosion of giraffes
Full of shrapnel
All the colors
Gazelles jumping
Into and out of and through and around
Flaming hoops and elephants
And zebras and hurricanes with names
Names she never knew existed
And existence like a bolt
Of lightning struck the very heart of her
Churning her insides chaos
Theory and all the colors
Hyenas laughter
And painted ponies leaping out at her
Grinning as her insides
Cooked like thunder and she
Found herself
Screaming like a panther
Hiding under dappled leaves and strung out rain-flecked hair
Crying like a baby over
An apple core
Mar 2014 · 1.2k
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
I like that he goes
Barefoot to the mailbox
When it's
Cold out
I like a lack
Of foresight in a man
And I can imagine the frost
On the grass flicking its tongues
Between his toes licking
Up the last morning
Of sleep and warm comforters
Mar 2014 · 758
Train Song
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
Me and John lying in bed
And on the train tracks is a
Groan and shriek
A metaphor for rambling

O, that whistle sounds like Holly
O, that whistle sounds like John
O, that whistle sounds like going
O, that whistle sounds like gone

Me and John lying in bed
And on the tracks is a dying away
And on the ceiling are familiar shapes
The moon makes

O, that whistle like my mother's voice
O, that whistle like a charge
O, that whistle sounds like running
O, that whistle sounds like God

Me and John lying in bed
And in our minds are separate thoughts
And in our heads
And in our hearts
A metaphor for getting lost

"Oh, that whistle,"
Whispered softly
"Oh, that whistle,"
He agrees
With a quiet understanding
With a nod
O, that whistle calling
As our lives are getting gone
Mar 2014 · 357
All That I Wish For You
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
Fly away little bird
Sleep around
This country is too beautiful
To settle down
Mar 2014 · 445
Holly Salvatore Mar 2014
She swallowed the sun:
The secret of my warm bed,
Universal happiness,
And cinnamon breath,
breathing through a mutt
Love my baby girl
Nov 2013 · 1.2k
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
My father believes my mother is a hawk
Circling above him building bonfires
I think my mother's soul was born again into my dog
I can feel her there when we hold paws
My sister believes in a heaven
Where good people get their everything
And float
Over streets paved in Tiffany diamonds

I am outside.
My dog barks at a bird in the sky
I twist the ring off my finger
The stone flashes in the sunlight

Uncertainty lingers in hearts and minds
I was Butch Cassidy in a past life.
For Megan. There have been some strange coincidences in our collective unconscious.
Nov 2013 · 4.7k
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
Shaking campers
And I sleep naked
The man beside me
Rests like a mountain
Stillness calls out to him
A bird -- then
Nov 2013 · 931
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
Flash of modesty
As he gets dressed in front of me
Fast hands and mismatched
Hiding white skin and brevity
Nov 2013 · 2.0k
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
Hope fills my lungs
and with every word
I breathe
truth truth truth
And do you know what I'm saying?
The world is alive with
ideas and innocence
Nothing ever felt so real
so clear so vivid
as this moment
I had been sleeping
having the most delicious dreams
until now
awake to honesty
bittersweet reality*

and I prefer the imperfections
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
So I miss you in the spaces
Where your hands go
The between times
In our sleeping
Where maybe we aren't even touching
But I can feel you
Hear your breathing
In the spaces in between
Sweetening my blood
Flowing thick
Like mesquite honey
Hummingbirds in my stomach hovering
And drinking
their fill

And I'm enough for something
Sustenance for something
Other than me
Enough for someone
Who sees my betweens
And puts his hands
Where they need to be
Warms them
On my belly full of flowering mesquite
Nectar for the humminbirds
And bees
Nov 2013 · 697
Holly Salvatore Nov 2013
Give me another
Minute alone with you
Give me another
Kiss on the lips
I want to feel that
Collision feeling
I want to feel like
I have plans again

when i was 6
i learned to float on my back
eyes closed against the sun
and i zoned out floating
made it all the way to the middle
of carlisle lake
where i woke up
but couldn't swim yet
so i treaded water and
floated away
eyes closed under the sun again

Give me another
Dinner in a tiny college kitchen
Give me another
Twin-bed-sleepless night
I want to feel that
Flying bullet/speeding train/sound barrier
Breaking feeling
I want to feel like
I don't have to make plans
I want to feel like
All roads lead in the same directon
Like I don't need directions
Like you're my direction

I feel like a cartographer
Lost in space
In no discernable direction
Sep 2013 · 1.1k
The Drinking Daughter
Holly Salvatore Sep 2013
Oldest of two
Responsible for none
She was always a daddy's girl
And a morning person
She quit a lot of jobs
Before she turned 20
And when she wasn't planning to marry someone
Exactly like her father
They were ripping each other's heads off
Over nothing

She had strong shoulders
Not as broad as her sister's
She started swimming later
She was always more of a runner
Than anything else
Her parents should have known
Not to let so many hopes
Ride on her

Because life savings didn't translate
Into education
Her nose was always sniffing in the wrong books
Nothing on the booklists
Flouting authority was her favorite thing
So all of daddy's money
Couldn't buy her a degree
And all the lectures
She didn't attend
Couldn't make her see a dream that wasn't hers

Truth be told
She wasn't aiming all that high in the first place
A sturdy library
A cottage in the country
A dog
A tattoo sympathetic
Honest-eyed husband
And then she picked all the wrong ones

With every broken heart
And every finished book
She called home crying
"Dad, I can't do this. I am so lost. I see the destination but not the path."
She'd been drinking again
Frequenting tattoo parlors again
It would be a lie to say he wasn't disappointed
When she could have been
A professor, a musician, an author
Or president by then

"It'll be ok," he said
And when she asked why it couldn't be better than just OK
He asked "have you been taking your meds?"
She hung up

And thought back to a time when the whole world tasted like
Beer and pretzels
Before she even knew what beer was
It was a picture on the wall
A curly-headed
Naked girl
Tiptoe on a stepping stool
Making pancakes with her daddy
So when the sun came up
Breakfast would be ready
Sep 2013 · 1.8k
Holly Salvatore Sep 2013
Those sleepless summer nights
Sweat pouring from every crack
In thinly layered sunburnt skins
It was all *******-on-the-floor
And *******
Living out highschool fantasies
Like the cool kids

Life before 22 was all a dream
Of midsummer swelter and
Salt water
In the mind of the dog
Chained up in the universe's yard
Tethered to the ether world
Racing rabbits through space
While I was turned into an ***
Staring at the mirror
And my expressionless face

This must be how cancer feels
Growing increasingly smaller
In a world where cabinets
And aspirations grow increasingly taller
She met the devil
For coffee on diagnosis day
But the deal they made didn't take
Her hair fell out
And her body atrophied anyway
She found herself
Floating far far away
Her blood coagulating like
A broken thermometer
Of mercury

Salvador Dali painted this fall
The house of salvatore
Minds gone to roost under warm eaves
Staring fireplaces
Hungry couches and singing windows
It's all ******* drooping like clocks
And derailing thoughts
The local biddies
Cluck their tongues
At the absurdity of infinity
And the girl in Ace Hardware
Buying shoepolish to hide her tan lines
Yawns, as her boyfriend feels her up

*Meanwhile I collapse
Like a house of cards with a flick of the wrist
Thinking about life's mathematical beauty
So I've basically been losing my mind and the only thing I can compare it to is surrealism. Which incidentally I have always enjoyed and I usually paint in a similar style, but I don't like living it.
Sep 2013 · 2.5k
Holly Salvatore Sep 2013
He tied his love to the railroad
Tracks and the
Fears that were part of
A matched set
Tied them down good
And left them screaming

The Baltimore and
Ohio derailed that day as he
Threw away the towel that
Read "Hers" while "His"
Hung there alone and

Like the black and white
Silent movie life he had fabricated
He poured a single scotch and
Soda and thought of the children
He'd never have to have
Heard the gospel-flavored whistle of the train
And his salvation
On the railroad tracks
Sep 2013 · 942
Black Lung
Holly Salvatore Sep 2013
I'm a matchstick
With a sulfur head
Dying out quick as I'm lit
But God
How bright I burn
For those few seconds in
A darkened mine
How I shine
Reflections in ***** eyes
And lantern light
How I singe the fingers
Of black lung victims
Lying underground like
Spent matchsticks
Holly Salvatore Aug 2013
I. That summer the radio
Played nothing but Cat Stevens
While I hummed harmonies
In my first car
It was a wild world indeed
when kudzu overtook
The cornfields
All the ears were foreigners
The leaves basked in light
That dead-ended on route 15

II. That fall we spotted UFO's
Shining over the municipal
We chased them across the
To the high school cross country course
A dirt track running
Through the woods
And when there was nothing
Alien lurking there
Our hopes fell
Faster than the stars

III. The following winter
Three inches of ice cut the powerlines
Impounded our school supplies
With the outtages
And the temperatures plummeting
Seventy percent of our hearts froze
All the parts that were water
Expanding our chests
Like balloons
Expanding our vision too
We thought this was the beginning
Of the end of St. Clair county
We though we'd all get out someday

IV. By spring the graveyard smelled
Like lilacs
And dead town elders
Came out to dance in the scent
We played capture the flag there
On school nights
And the cops could never catch us
Behind the headstones
Of our family plots
We wrote our own epitaphs
"I was water and I could have been
A fine wine"
*I fell asleep in sweet green clover to the sound of smalltown sirens...
Aug 2013 · 686
Holly Salvatore Aug 2013
I love him in the morning
When the sleep rolls off his skin
And is buried in wrinkled sheets
With last night's stale sweet nothings
And my scent

I love him in the morning
When he just barely cracks his eyes
And it's as if he's seeing me for the first time
I think when his alarm goes off
The whole world
Stands at attention
For John... of previous poetry fame
Aug 2013 · 1.9k
Holly Salvatore Aug 2013
He couldn't stay for tea
He was afraid he might feel something
Upstairs instead of in his
If he had been thirsty
I would have shown him a metaphor
For dehydrated relationships
Gallium spoons dissolving in any hot liquid
Solubility tends to complicate things
We lose pieces of ourselves
At body temperature
Boil down impurities
A reduction of our leftover parts
Our leftover lust
Aug 2013 · 859
Nikola Tesla
Holly Salvatore Aug 2013
He is my currently
And the current
Running through me
Nikola Tesla couldn't separate
The electricity from my blood
Or the veils from my eyes
Or my future
From the present
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