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Kiernan Norman Nov 2020
I’m considering breaking;
something big and essential and shared,
like a four-way traffic light, or a water tower,
or smashing every lightbulb I’ve ever used,
and letting the glass shards spread across
The grocery store aisles,
And I’ll shop for spinach, and caramel, and greek yogurt barefoot,
To show everyone how tough I am.

I’m considering disappearing into the November winds,
I’m untying my apron as a walk across the yard.
I’m already forgetting what the dishes look like
and when the utilities are due-
I’m already exaggerating what I’ve got, and
intonating superstitions toward where I’m going.

A gaggle of humans fleeing the tolerable
should push, should glow and guess,
should smile while they walk away,
shaking off their receipts and sunken science, gratefully.

Ahh, it feels good to decompose -
so good,
so, so good.
Have you tried it? Really tried it?
Anything anxious, or stiff, or sad
sprouting inside of you is severed-
pried out of the baseboards with the hammer’s claw,
and flushed down the toilet leaving a rusty stain on the porcelain.

But then,
then,
you become radiant.

You become a mystery; searing and traveling,
wrapped loosely in oils and gauze.
You become an emblem;
the blackest sun, the proudest eyelids, vaguest plans.
You become a fable,
picking scabs off your fingers, roaming sweaty markets,
utterly dissolved.
first poem in YEARS
Kiernan Norman Jul 2020
Punctuation becomes a commandment
to memorize,
to moralize,
to misuse.

A comma means a breath,
it means looking up at the sky and feeling very small,
no comma means you run through the cornfield like you’re being chased like your fingers are full of cramps like you forgot your shoes like the tornado siren is wailing and your not welcome anymore with a door.
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
decades
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.
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