Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Kelly O'Connor Jan 2014
On a yellow-lighted main street we pause on a corner
For a moment, our companions lagging behind.
You set down the twelve-pack of beer by a lamp post.
I zip up my jacket. We both grumble, impatient.
I'm cold, you want to get drunker, we both
Shiver. You stand against a stone wall, we face
Each other across the sidewalk. Your hair
Flies into your eyes as you toss your head --
"Come the **** on!" -- at those half a block back.

A couple passes by us, the man in a dark tuxedo,
The woman in a white wedding gown and heels,
Hair in disarray. They stop their post-nuptial trudging, and she
Leans against the building for support to remove
Her shoes. His hand rests protectively on
Her back; none of us make eye contact. And then
Her shoes are off, bare feet padding lightly down
The November-chilled San Francisco sidewalk.

"Hurry up, you *******," I heckle backwards at our three
stragglers. "Newlyweds are moving faster than you."
We glance at each other again, you
Light a cigarette and shake your head. It hits
Me with a chuckle. "Man, those people
Just got married and here they are, walking
Down a street in the city at 2 in the morning."

"Right?" you reply, laughing a little. Our eyes meet
As if sharing a joke. And then we look away.
You cross the sidewalk in two long strides,
And bend to pick up your beer, handing me
Your cigarette. Within a block our quick pace
Has left the others behind again.
Kelly O'Connor Dec 2013
Burning nails, the beginning of the end and black sails for the death of an invisible friend,
Tragic loss resulting from the magic catapulting from my fingertips.
Read my fiery lips:
Give me shelter from your Neptunian storm,
Split the world with a wedge and keep our bodies warm
Kick the trunk of the oak until it bleeds with the fire you stoke
And coke you need and **** you smoke, and ****** Prometheus,
You are only human. But the fire in your blood leaves their smokestacks fuming
And nothing can save you, enslave yourself
With your strong-willed bravery on a rocky shelf.
Roll your eyes, disregard, spit in faces, **** me off
Because I'm the good sister, just tend the hearth and when I speak I scoff.
My name is Hestia, and I don't often stray from the Pantheon
So just trust me on this:
I'll introduce you to the smoldering truths, induce catharsis
And let your body loose, pick up your liver, tend your wounds
As if they were ash and oil, because we alone know justice.
You alone know how you've toiled.
And I can only start to understand your firebrand,
A passionate command. I tolerate you and adore you for your mortal score.
Prometheus, don't let those raptors gouge you anymore.
Kelly O'Connor Oct 2013
The moon is at three quarters which means it’s
A quarter since I last saw you and I
Begin one more one a.m. run down
A street that reminds me how close we are
But something about this town makes me think
Of just before dawn when little girls come at me
With their heads half ******* on, and I take
A turn towards the police station ‘cause I’m doing nothing
Wrong, but before I can veer away, your ghost appears
Out of the atmosphere, and drops me to my knees
Under well lit streets, misflown haphazard flags, and gives me
A one-two-three, and then drifts through me to the trees
And leaves me trembling between empty
Carports and P.O. boxes and thick coastal fog
And I know it’s not the ghost of you but the ghost
Of what you did because you had to
And my analog black dog ticks off minutes inside me
And I get to my feet and keep running.
Kelly O'Connor Oct 2013
These are the things we all are, all face,
The neglected children of a single human race.
The things that fuel us differ;
Our bodies always suffer,
They were made to decompose
While our minds keep composing
       No matter what.
We will all become victims of environmental backlash
In large ways, small ways, our lives become ash
Just watch and wait,
We can stop when we want,
We can't stop when we want,
And it's over
         Just like that.
Your children, or my children, will see this world differently,
A place where convenience is king and ****** is free,
Or nearly free, that is --
Human life still has some status,
If only just to count, but not to weigh,
Not to love or kiss goodnight
         Only to give away.
Kelly O'Connor Oct 2013
You’re walking because you’ll be drinking,
But only a little whiskey,
Or so you’re thinking, to help you sleep.
Just one, just one, just one.
You remember the apartment from before,
The right set of stairs, the same exact door,
A coffee mug of cigarette butts on the porch.
Once more, once more, once more.

Somewhat like sinking you settle down,
Smile a little at everything
Because with your frown it’s a challenge.
Keep focus, keep focus, keep focus
On what’s on the walls, the ceiling above,
Which you know must be a labor of love,
A chronicle of coexistence.
One more, one more, one more.

And you don’t want to push me, you know
That I’m new here
But I’ll go with the flow, it’s just fun and games.
I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you.
Drinks that I recognize and faces I can’t,
I was never looking for a hierophant,
But you’ve been so ******* pleasant.
I see you, I see you, I see you.

How many times have you passed out here?
How many voices live inside your ear?
How many walls do you have to clear?
Just a little more, little just a little more.

Well that’s one use for your school I.D. card,
I’ll bring you your clothes tomorrow,
Let down my guard, and just laugh about it.
No worries, no worries no worries.
Thank you, Lancelot, for handing me the Holy Grail
Someone finally taught me to ******* inhale,
Many tried, and many failed, but
Breathe easy, breathe easy, breathe.

You don’t get me, and the way you speak
Leaves me forgotten and confused,
My bitter medallions bleak, the chain around my neck
Gets heavier, heavier, heavier.
The lights of the airport through the January fog
Blur my mind like a chalkboard
And the floor’s got a soggy, sticky feeling.
And traps you forever and ever and

If your coronation’s based on an old fixation,
And only a little problem,
Then after this conversation you’ll go.
I promise, I promise, I promise
One more old friend, one more new,
And this will be the shot that drops you,
This is where you’ll forget.
Kelly O'Connor Oct 2013
You set the stage, this stage is an overpass
Bleak concrete black sky, and we’re out of gas.
Can’t sleep, can’t breathe, can’t jump can’t
Till you’re pushed off the road and driven down

When love hits it’s a hollowpoint, a strangle-hold pin
Shrapnel cutting like the sand off the dunes in the wind.
You can stay up all night and try to find every
Piece --
Or you can suffer with me

I can’t tell if you saved me or threw me away
When sobriety’s a suicidal Easter day
Your voice sings the machine like it used to in my
For what it’s worth, I don’t know why I’m still around

And these forgotten railways running side by side
Make the iron in your veins my own brackish rising tide
Just lemme drop, don’t cry, don’t stop me
Because I’m finally free.
Kelly O'Connor Oct 2013
My palate makes the switch from heavy hops to rooibos, ignoring
The powerlines and harmonies and busy highways.
There’s a chill in my bones upon discovering something beautiful:
Someone who can play the piano,
The disconnectedness from self I learn to love,
The gradual erasure of self
Apart from the occasional clever word and smug smile.
As love spills towards me like a waterfall from the mountain,
I solemnly realize that I have a problem and the bitter-
Sweet voice replies “So do we all.”
I trust and love that voice more than everything:
More than the wallpaper that has guided my trip up the stairs for years,
More than the cigarette-smoke smelling basement,
More than the front yard that tastes like pine sap and motor oil.
I take to the neighborhood the same way
A shark takes to the taste of blood.
I could write for ages about that basement and the spaces of it I never walked
The corners I only gazed at as if they were the darkest depths of the human soul
And never touched --
Because they felt like ghosts upon my skin,
Because the television cast a glow on them that told me to avoid them.
It lives in my sternum, like the pill which sticks in my intestines
And eats away at the tender membranes til they burst.
Next page