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Kiernan Norman Oct 2016
I crack soldiers inside crocodile batteries. I roll my shoulders. Everything squeaks.

I never meant to drop your hand like that. I'm a lot. it's time to claim the mute emergencies I've tucked into your days When you weren't looking. I'm the strain on your hip, I'm the hair in your sink. I'm always simmering, always smoky, always a little slow to  blink and I'm not enough salt.
I think God stuttered my name the first time he said it- I can never remember how the vowels go. If you think my tongue is too big in your mouth you should try it in mine.

have you ever written a letter and sent it to heaven? I used to do that every time it rained. crayon on paper, paper on asphalt, then you left it alone and it disappeared.

on the school bus in 2nd grade a girl was slouched down in her seat, crying. the driver stopped the bus and went to her. he was stiff denim, leather skin, cigarette fingers. 'what's wrong?' she didn't feel good. 'I don't know what to do about that.' the helplessness in his face made my ears ring. I never feel good. that's when I started thinking my bus driver was God. I kind of haven't stopped.
Kiernan Norman Mar 2016
Shut off the sky if I ask you to-
grab my world so brassy boring
between its battles and its courage.
I’ll arrive with cold hands and you
can bring the ghosts.

I smell dirt in the day and undo
things as I roam.
I don’t listen when logic roars,
but let it loosen in the sun
and sing my prayers through its marrow
like I’m blowing glass,
like I’m hatching galaxies.
June can wait a bit,
verses still spin sad
where you used
your knees on the good nights.

I tried the dancing.
I tried bleaching the blackened veins
and rusting ribs that held me together
with a smile brighter and stiffer than ever before.
It took a mirror and a shiner to remind me that was pointless.

Before was fumes.
Before was whiplash.
Before was my chattering teeth learning to limber over the back fence then dive into the novels
of your hands.

Before knew my night skin was something to flee and
that all betrayal
starts with moonlight,
isn’t that right?
Before knew that travelers
and wanderers
were taught to survey treetops and look to their shins,
but now I just jump.

You said you’d return with a body that wasn’t mine.
It’s okay if you lied.
I’ve tried to swallow the world between sheets
with a thawing mouth and sinking hips.
I’ve tried to whittle the scenery down to bad habits
and foxes tucked into the hills,
Illuminated just when you thought they were gone.
I’ve found a geography where our jokes are meaningless,
where our hearts are no longer the same,
and it is too gorgeous for words.
Thank you for allowing it.
Thank you for avoiding it.
Kiernan Norman Feb 2016
Shut off the sky if I ask you to.
Grab my world so brassy boring between
battles and courage.
I provide the cold hands and you provide the ghosts
We know constellations listen from melting harnessed skies
then share stories of their bigness.
June can wait a bit.
My verse spinning sad where you used your knees on the good nights.

Born alive, born with the thinnest layer of skin
Finding comedy in the ripped pages
Cutting phonetics apart
Witling words, truncate.

Shakespeare was an afterthought.
I’m bowing in the middle of the scene, I’m shaking off applause.
Punctuation becomes a commandment
I reverse and misuse.
Commas mean breath and in their place- used in succession,
mean run through corn fields like you’re being chased, like your fingers are full of cramps.

Injecting poetry like insulin.
Hoping it will seep into your bones
and strengthen the foundation
like the milk with you ice cubes you
had to drink with dinner.

Envy the women on nick at night who want new dresses and new babies and don’t scrape their insides out in front of readers and audiences because they’re bored and maybe not sure if they’re real.
again, not a real thing
Kiernan Norman Feb 2016
The museums all end eventually.
If coral lipstick claimed
the way regret seems to-
I'd never stop talking.

I've been forgetting little
pieces of each full moon
across the weeds
of the world.
I don't think anyone minds.

I dreamed your soul attached
to dumb little details
while my body stretched
out against the absence and
I wasn’t that sad anymore.

I don't  swallow feelings;
I feast on poems.
I play with fires howling
In my ribs and
extinguish names
like we rehearshed.

My days are cheap but I’m burning soft again-
like nothing stole my miracles,
like I didn’t lose eleven months with you
tangling my tongue.

it's something else now,
something less like summer brave
and  more like feathers
stitched together
just pretending to glow.
Kiernan Norman Oct 2015
A blinding fall
reflected off lakes in greens and browns
almost a year removed
from wide-eyed walks across
the Borden Avenue Bridge,
counting steps and calculating
just how many sweaters
you’d have to layer for it to seem accidental.

November was dragging
and you weren't trying to impress.
You drove to school
and didn't go to class.
You thought I’m flexing,
you thought I’m finding my feet,
you thought thinking was overrated.

You smoked cloves on benches,
let bracelets rot off your wrists,  followed every ‘person
you may know’
on Twitter.

Holed up in libraries across the Shoreline, you read Vice,
posed for pictures with strangers
and made friends with Cat Marnell but she never texted back.
You played with words in a way that started to smell nice.

December was still lucent,
your curvy cheeks and sloping
thighs receded into something new-giggling and compact.
When you skipped finals
and failed every class,
you shrugged, deleted the emails
and got really into makeup.

Winter was a dizzy dazzle of
new pills and old clothes and
a pallor that crept just on the line of
***, glitter and death.
not done/ relevant I just don't want to lose it.
Kiernan Norman Oct 2015
June took root in the same way you learned to scream
but now it's fall and you're trying
to sing.

It slipped away from muddy lids like lifting a veil,
like stepping into a bath,
(toes, sole, calf. toes, sole, calf.)
and crawled unseen behind apartment-light echoes;
crooning sultry half-truths,
weighing down vascular walls.

My heartstrings aren't laundry lines but the conversations
we never finished (last night, last week, last year)
hang from them; pinned to sheets, unbothered.

It's pulling on my sleeves;  heavy and damp.
The wind isn't howling but
I don't want to hear about the dream you had
where I was a Priest,
where I was hitchhiking,
where I cut off my hair in a taxi's front seat,
and gave it to you in ziplock bags.

A hazy sky; slow and sweet,
coats my traipsing moods like honey
and sticks to the bottom of your favorite mug
(yes, that one, with the chipped rim and your rival
high school's logo.)

We're still here, springing forward and listening.
It's growing, humming cold verses in a new language
while we watch his name take shape in the mist accidentally.
You don't mention how fiercely I'm blushing and I'm grateful I don't have to laugh it off. Some days laughing feels worse than puking.

We are still here.
We are still.
We are.

I'm looking for something important and I won't know it until I see it.
It's morning, it's warmer and we lift our chins to coastline.
I blow smoke upwind;
today physics is purely speculation.
Today I feel like secrets are extinct and I'm certain the day is so much clearer through my Atlantic eyes than their protesting embrace.

You can keep June, I'll take the sky.
Kiernan Norman Sep 2015
I need more souls around.
the knife I chewed up sharp
sways and dangles a glaring charm,
(and a charming glare)
double knotted on a piece of rope and
tucked under my shirt.
It bruises my breastbone when I jump.
I’m always jumping.

I don’t cut paradise into pieces anymore.
I take it all in with one quick bite.
I’m hardly chewing;
I never learned to savor
and it hasn’t rotted me out yet.

Late last week I had an idea.
I told the room:
(thirty eyes squinting,
a dozen minds listening,)
‘Let's get together and refuse
to acquire a taste for civility.’
So what do you think?
I was only speaking to you.

I've been playing a private game
all summer and I keep scoring.
I wear long skirts and eyeliner
and keep my mouth shut.
I trapeze across centuries and well traveled
roads with my long hair
and track the pontential and power
assigned to my quiet smile
and gentle pout.

The world can be mine with a
flick of my wrist, a lick of my lips-
But I don't want it:
i'm here to expel, not to endure,
the point is to leave as light
as possible.
I won’t win until I have nothing left to carry.

Tonight I'll just seer sailors;
soldiers call to me
like I’m their sole daughter, their soul daughter,
dripping green jewels and deep, brown
curls onto tan toes and
dancing in the road-
(eyes decidedly closed,
rush hour.)

I gulp in smoke from their pipes
while spinning circles in the dirt.
My voice trails over tree branches,
my lungs smolder and ashe.
I smile sweetly-slow.

When I do meet their gaze-
(measuredly striking; a tender,
lingered look which veers me from gypsy to divinity,)
they tense.
They call out
You are my Odyssey.
You are my Wild Waves.
you are my Purple Heart.

Skipping stones over oceans and puddles,
I keep nodding and careening.
I keep coursing and coiling,
keep slurring my words,
refusing my name
and pocketing your promises.
I gave up on air-drying my skirt,
(You are not what I’m thinking of.)

I’m only a little bit of what’s left--
everything we tried to know,
everything we only read once-
everything we left in footnotes of
essays, under passenger seats
and tangled in the bed sheets
of that swollen-heart name
no longer spoken.
I'm only the woven wires
and reins braiding bold
acrylic cities across knuckles
and palms, flashlight
illuminated and glowing.
It's new skin shimmering in the
daylight, pearling over
and throbbing awake
in places only I can see.
trying different style
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