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Mar 2023 · 154
Orion's Belt
Shannon McGovern Mar 2023
Motorcycles and mistakes,
I was screaming "I love you"
through sound-proof glass
to a blind man.
Shimmering eyes, like
lures - you in.
Soft pink rose petals,
like damp peach skin
unfurling in the sun
showing smiles that
**** me. Dead.
Best men and bed frames
you kept your secrets and I kept
Hundreds of miles away
I watch the stars, and trace a path
One. Two. Three.
Freckles in the sky.
Freckles on your skin.
I trace my fingers down
your left side and I wish to kiss
the stars. Again.
Can't you hear me screaming?

I love you.
Aug 2020 · 185
Most Days
Shannon McGovern Aug 2020
I used to be
running barefoot over gravel,
galloping ponies, and bending
over to pick up shiny trinkets
And racoon's teeth.

These days I can still hike
mountains and climb trees.
Impromptu dance parties, and
jogging supermarket hallways
in an urgent rush.

But, most days
My hips ache like they are made of
old stone walls, my knees swell
sideways, and dainty ankles crack
in flats as if they were still strapped
to six inch heels.

Most days it hurts too much for brisk,
for swift, for haste.
Most days it hurts too much to roll out
of sheets and covers and let my soles
hit the floor. Rise.

The Devil no longer quakes at the sound of my foot prints, but revels
at the uneven drag of my limps.

The zig zag sway of crumbling hips and crunching cartilage. A ****** swagger subdued by a body
Too tired for its own hinges.

Most days.
Dec 2019 · 186
Shannon McGovern Dec 2019
Blanket forts and battle ships
I have brought the waves and riptides
And the bow and the port and the starboard
starburst, crash and writhe and fall apart
again, onto knees and floors and aching
joints. Through billowing pillowcases and
Fingers drawing light lines in linen
Ballet shoes and blood stained fibers.
Bodies outlined in chalk
colored covers and crime scenes.

Touch the tips of Suns,

Touch the tip
The tip
The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue,
the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.
Tongue twisters like tornados
in the Alley on the coast.

"Run away with me" she bled.
Blanket forts and battle ships
I have brought the waves
and the riptides
And the bow
and the port
and the starboard.
Dec 2019 · 122
Shannon McGovern Dec 2019
Soft tousels of seasoning and
olive oiled
Skin, sweet like honey
ripe and bursting.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Like fruit juices from
the mouths of Babes
In summer heat and
Sticky. Wet
with humidity and sweat.
Warm pools,
rippled with the amber
rays of sunset.
I want to run
my hands through damp
grass and leap over
Sprinklers and dance
until the Sun dies for the day.

Bleeding pomegranate and satsuma
And burying babies in the backyard.
Dec 2019 · 128
The Massachusetts Turn Pike
Shannon McGovern Dec 2019
White socks and heavy breathing.
Like lungs of cinnamon and cigarettes.
I want nothing more

than to fix my little fingers on
word formulations and wine glasses
while you pinch my back in public
and make me choke on fake blood and Dunkin Donuts.

Spread the petals
and cut the stems
before submerging.


Raw vegetables and sticky fruit bear
no resemblance to long car rides and comic book stores.

Ambient. I want to run
sunlight on my face, and stroll
through graves and breathe
in the scent of fresh laundry
and crime scenes.

I want to

drive past childhood trauma
and driveways, where you terrorized
the neighbors and built benches
and danced with Juggalos
in Jean Jackets and Fringe.

I want to weave around
roads in the dark and ****
the monsters as we see fit.

I want to.
Mar 2019 · 195
No Vacancy
Shannon McGovern Mar 2019
"All full up here!"
Windows packed to the brim
with goose down pillows and
little feathers floating from the cracks.

Those, suffocating, small-soft places
Warm like fresh dried laundry.
Sweet and wet and juicy. Mangos.

Hotel California smells like *** and linen.
There's painter's tape on the walls and
a choke coming on. Coming. Coming.

The red light gleams out of the darkness, neon
an alarm clock at 3 am.
No Vacancy.
I'm all full up here, stuffed and over

I'm all full up here.
Feb 2019 · 422
02. 04. 19
Shannon McGovern Feb 2019
“I just wanted it to be Natural” she said.
The morning I stabbed my face
with an electric toothbrush.

Cheese fries and football
I sat giggling over tequila,
wondering why my heart
felt so at home

walking down empty hallways
echoing with murmurs and
waterfalls. Crammed onto
subway cars, and running fingers
over octopi and battle scars.

The words used to fall
out of my mouth like
teeth in a dream.
But they all stopped

until you.

Now they are pouring out
like a faucet.
And I haven't enough
buckets to catch them.
May 2014 · 612
Twenty Days
Shannon McGovern May 2014
We rode home
One rubber wheel after another
Drenched to the liver in rain and alcohol.

"Right family, wrong housemate"
I said as your calloused finger
Ran long the sharp edge of my shivering jaw.

Your hands, rough, from digging holes
And coming home at 5 am
With ****** and swollen knuckles

Are the hands, that wash my hair
And hold mine, step in step
And lift me onto kitchen counters

So that our lips can greet and meet
And pull apart, only to reunite
Like us lovers, who long to never be too

Far away from one another.
One block and half, around the corner
or one street and two buildings away

We are never too far apart.
"I'm never going to die"
which is why I only called the hospital and the jail

that night you went missing for twelve hours
And left the morgue out of it.
If you're never going to die

Then I am determined to live forever
So that I can wake up everyday
To the way you look at me

Even though I hate Ska music.
Jan 2014 · 1.1k
Shannon McGovern Jan 2014
All I wanted was to warm you,
rub your skin raw until you felt
the fevered blaze you've ignited
underneath mine, like ironing
out wrinkled flesh. I wanted
to restart your pilot light.
Watch the glowing embers
fall, like ashes from the cherry
of your cigarette, as the kindling
surges and cracks from the fricton
of flint and steel. I wanted you
to smolder, and smoke, and blaze
like the wild fires of the Serengeti.
I wanted to destroy you,
a  beautiful brilliant  bonfire.
Singing away pieces of you.
The tip of the incense.
The edges of of the coal.
The pieces that stop you from glowing,
radiating your brilliance.
I wanted to burn away the parts
of you that douse your  intensity.
The charred black wood.
I wanted to burn away the parts
of you that are cindered.
Dec 2013 · 699
Drinking Tea
Shannon McGovern Dec 2013
I was bleeding into a porcelain
cup watching each drip, drop and fall
rippling into the pool, drowing
my ex lovers in apathy. I could see
their faces in the tiny waves
as they washed and broke against its sides.

My knuckles cracked like nail polish,
skin chipping away and regenerating
like an over-juiced lemon.
Damp pulp and disfigured rind,
bitter and dried up
wrapped around the china.

I placed it to my lips staining them
like liquid roses in a glass,
mixed with mascara and salt water.  
Scorching my throat like breathing in
burnt paper and singed tobacco
as the steam rose up like
heat from the pavement in june.
Dec 2013 · 1.3k
The Death of a Maneater
Shannon McGovern Dec 2013
Her memories are riddled with holes
from maggots gnawing away
at her already decomposing mind.
Rotting away inside her skull
like teeth soaking in sugar water
and Methamphetamine.

She has a basement filled with flutes
overflowing with year old concoctions
made of emotions and the echoes
of the harpy she once was.
They drip down the sides and pool,
coagulating on the floor like puddles
of dried blood.

Tattered and torn négligées and teddies
are strewn about the bedroom, stained
from the days of lulling men to their deaths,
like a siren on the rocks,
and writing the contract of her own demise
by drowning herself with them.

The lipstick is off.
The eyes of Medusa are closed.
There is no web left to spin.

And as her heart passes back into the abyss
it takes what pieces are left of of it,
an eddy of tiny mirror shards
reflecting the faces of those who once
shown into it and have now faded,
remnants, of its once glorious mosaic.
Dec 2013 · 1.4k
Shannon McGovern Dec 2013
I want to wrap
my arms around you
and squeeze.
I want to squeeze
and shake you
and peel off
the layers.
I want to shake you
until it all falls off:
the lonely
the morose
the meaningless.
I want you to take it all off.
I want to see you.
I want to see you naked.
Aug 2013 · 782
Stop Looking Back
Shannon McGovern Aug 2013
It’s time to put the periods
at the ends of the sentences.
To finish the chapters
and move unto the next.
It is time to end the stories
of unrequited love
and heartbreak.
It’s time to stop
rereading – writing
the same sad tales
over and over until
our eyes are sore,
the traction gone
from our soles.
Backsliding until
our hands and knees are ******.
The sleepless nights
too long streaked
with mascara filled streams.
The days of dreaming
and building monuments
to love like castles in the sand.
It’s time to slow down,
breathe, and let the butterflies
pour out from our mouths.
Aug 2013 · 873
Clear Liquor and Water
Shannon McGovern Aug 2013
I need a part replacement.
A cork to fill the aching cavity
my soul has been pouring out of.
I catch its pieces in mason jars
I keep lined along my windowsill.
As daylight hits the vessels
tiny sun-beam explosions,
like waves, wash over them.
It cast rainbows across
my skin, each a fragment,
a tiny memory,
of the magnificent glory
it was when I was still whole.
I want each one to run
like waterfalls cascading
down my throat
catching onto each other
and reforming on the decent.
I want to drink myself back together.
Jan 2013 · 1.1k
Shannon McGovern Jan 2013
These days I long for
the times we drank for hours
getting dolled to the nines
in between shots and dance
moves. Weaving our way
in and around bodies
dark and in shadows,
prowling. We were the big
cats, the ones they keep
in cages for tourists to gawk at.
The ones they fling whole
carcasses towards, to be devoured.
Soul searching eyes and manes
longer than the Nile. Stopping
grown men in their paths with
a single glance. I dream of
the nights we could have talked
our way out of cop cars and into
furry handcuffs with a twist
of the tongue. We would twirl
boys around like tops, wrapped
in dorm room sheets. Winking
and taking them out in the morning
like black bags of trash, one after
the other. Blowing smoke out
our windows and giggling, our
own secret language. Setting fire
to our own bridges and dousing
the flames in tears and liqour.
We were the biggest game,
hunters being hunted, dying
to be laid out like skinned rugs
and ravaged like last meals.
In the end, like lazy zoo lions
we were left with nothing but
the shadows of the Queens
of the Jungle we used to be.
Licking our wounds
and cleaning our paws
in the sunlight as the world
goes on without us.
Jan 2013 · 676
Shannon McGovern Jan 2013
I can only write when my still
beating heart, dances across
the page leaving lines of love
in blood stains. When I am wrought
in two, curled, fetal, wrapped
in others clothes trying to remember
how it was they smelled after hot
sleepless nights. I can only lay
a verse after I have lost my last
chip, and gambled away the last
pieces of what little love i have left.
When I cause myself to cry,
chained by foolishness and insecurities.
I can only say the words when
the hourglass has no more sand,
and the buzzer echoes dimly,
the last seconds a distant time frame.
I wish my words fell like a concrete
avalanche to the floor, rumbling
and shaking the ground, like angry
Gods seething over unheeded warnings.
I wish the truth glowed neon, like the streets
of Sin City. Where you can't miss the signs
and you know, you're exactly where you're
supposed to be.
Jan 2013 · 1.1k
For Greg
Shannon McGovern Jan 2013
There are days I wish I could remember
what is was I said in a state of stupor
and haze. The times I tipped bottles
back and poured them into my soul
releasing demons and their lovers
into the air around me like smoke
rising. Stumbling in and out of sentences,
incoherant thoughts, and blurry vision.

There are nights I wish I could recall
what you felt like,  a bare treed forest,
wet with morning dew, and the sound
of echoing geese. We awoke
to the distant whines of lonely dogs,
and the knowledge that it would be hours
before we could meld into each other again.

The memories I have, a muffled question
to dance, an honest eyed I Love You marked
by bloodied hands, chewed puzzle pieces,
and freezing to death watching men chase
pig skin down damp turf. I lift my hands
and chase them like fireflies in the dark.
Hoping to catch them and keep them
in tiny boxes beneath my pillows.

But as butterflies do with nets, they slip
slowly through aching fingers,
like the waves tease the beach, washing
against it and then disappearing again
into murky depths. I would have let you
band me, keep me wrapped up in your
tattoos and scars. I would have fed
hungry mouthes and slipped into
secret moments stolen between sheets.

There are days I wish I could remember
what it was I said. And there are nights
I wish I could forget, what it was you told me.
Shannon McGovern Dec 2012
We used to stay up
and watch the sun play peekaboo
with the skyline
and sit in the street
at 4 AM discussing everything
and nothing.
Breaking other peoples showers
in the night
and making love on their mother's
Dining room tables.

Now I resort to ep's and
YouTube videos, just
to remember the sound of your voice
or how your fingers move while you
strum your acoustic and massacre
your drums.

You have made my stomach tense with laughter
and my eyes rain
and you have made me love.

But this will be my last
Poem for you.
My last ode, my last confession.
There will be no more soft sweet syllables
or angry goodbye lines.
There will be no more heartfelt repetition
or cheesy, sing song rhymes.

We have lied
and we have cheated
making Misery moan with pleasure.
We have martyred it,
buried it,
and given the eulogy.

We used to climb to roof tops
and watch the lights dance
across our city.
We used to know each other.
Jun 2012 · 881
Down To A Whisper
Shannon McGovern Jun 2012
I haven't had enough
time yet. The bruise
from canine teeth
and the ones you left
my wrist, are still
sore with promises
and insincere 'I love you's'.
Fresh like grape vines
and still burning with ire
and holes in cement walls.

I still want to kiss you
and tell you it will all be
what it will be in the end.
But throwing lovers
to the floor, like rag dolls
doesn't make black
and navy blue a better

I sit around and scrap
little waxy bumps off of
my face and neck
with homegrown nails
that look acrylic
and as they drag
across my skin
I fight and force
memories to play
hide and go seek
like cutting scenes out
of movie reels.

Don't breathe
you'll only whisper
lyrics of songs
that weren't written
for you and I.
Shannon McGovern Jun 2012
Do you get enough
love? Order here,
and eat. Like the other
side of a telephone line
I know you are there
and I am very happy.

I live off of hope
and coffee.

It's standard
to steal off to the basement
and wash your face
with hand soap out of
a ketchup bottle
wondering whether
or not you put on
deodorant that morning
or if the short ginger
notices the way you
stare over your cup
when he's not looking.

She said, I know I've never
met you but i dreamt about
your tattoo and it inspired
me to lay ink into my chest.

You've been sentenced
to steal words on Sunday
and if you're choking
you can cool off with drink
special, from a cafe a-go-go
filled with people you'll never
know, who have changed
moments in your life, forever.
May 2012 · 1.7k
Shannon McGovern May 2012
It's nice to remember
who I am, ever since
Eros shot a quiver
of arrows into my chest
and spun me around
sending me aimlessly
towards the first
man shaped pinata.
Swinging blindly
into the darkness
of my blind fold
waiting for the thud
of hearts hitting the ground
and shattering into hundreds
of tiny sweets
begging, to be cherished
and gobbled up
by a school yard
kind of love.
May 2012 · 948
Chinese Food and Crucifixes
Shannon McGovern May 2012
I am wiping Chinese
and Jesus off of coffee
tables. Pulling sheep
sheets down from
windows and mirrors
from bedroom walls.
I am trying to swallow
the dog hair stuck
in my throat, from
sleeping with mongrels.
I am watching days
pass on pillows
that smell of sweat
and cologne. I am
watching him finally
fade and pass into
the past. I am
loving you with
seventy five percent
of my heart, but you
have your hands on
the rest and are not
letting go. I am
wiping Chinese
and Jesus off
of coffee tables
and you are
pulling his pictures
down from
my heart.
May 2012 · 2.0k
Alcoholics Anonymous
Shannon McGovern May 2012
I wish I was your little
whiskey girl and you
were pouring yourself
into my bottle to come
drink me up.

But you drained me
dryer than the Savannah.
Now men build boats
inside me, and I haven't
a corkscrew to get out.

I wish I was your little
*** doll and you were
dizzy over me, slurring
I love you's and burning
with me in your throat.

But you don't drink
expensive liquor anymore
not since you spent your money
on losing lottery tickets
and vinyl.

I'm top shelf
but that is only because
you put me there
to forget about me.
And now you drown
yourself in wells,
blacking out
the parts of you
that loved me.
May 2012 · 1.4k
Shannon McGovern May 2012
I lit the candle
with two hydros,
and burned the house
down with a bottle
of whiskey. The next
morning I wandered
through the ashes
looking for shower
invitations and aspirin.

Back in bars, filled
with screaming amps
and glaring ex lovers
I wove my way
in-between old friends
and mating dances,
losing Hemingway
and storm clouds.

I dropped the anchor
in your apartment,
falling mid sentence
into stain ridden furniture
and empty Budweiser bottles.
The only thing I broke
that night, was my determination
on not being a blow up doll
molded after some girl
I was never going to be.

So I laid there kissing
ghosts and shook
with a fever and chills
vibrating like telephones
on silent. And you wondered
where I went once
the door closed.

You can't define cordial as
branding someone
and mailing them back
to a delusional soul falling
in love with them
after. Hot metal
pokers weren't made
for joyous reunions.
They make sure you
always know where
you leave your scars.
Apr 2012 · 752
Dear John
Shannon McGovern Apr 2012
I want to apologize;
write to you, my dear
John, and tell you that
it's not that I didn't love
you, it was that I knew
that you didn't.

I smiled when you asked
if you could 'make love'
to me, like two teens
playing hide and go
seek in a half-furnished
basement with your parents

Oblivious to their
participation in our juvenile
game. We were ****
and half listening for footsteps
descending, announcing,

His memory followed me
onto the floor with you
and I couldn't come
clean, confess
that it wasn't that I
was a mirror reflection
of your former lover,
but that it was his memory
that ****** my mind into

I want to apologize and
write to you, my dear,
John, and tell you that
it's not that I didn't love
you, it was that I knew
that I was chasing shadows
and you were the high noon
Sun, chasing them away.
Jan 2012 · 845
Ringing in the New Year
Shannon McGovern Jan 2012
When  2012 happened
I was sprayed with champagne
in a room with painted dragons
on the walls and my forty closest
friends were kissing and smiling.
Boys with long hair wrestled
and the cab outside honked
until the neighbors yelled
profanities and it fell silent.
Ex lovers ran for cover,
as cigarettes rained from decaying
porches with rusted wrought iron
awnings. A grey tattered sweat
filled shirt read 'you'll be old,
someday' and the skirts
were too short and covered
with glitter. I hid in a corner
on a rocking recliner, dressed
like Audrey Hepburn's stunt double
wishing my lip locks had meant
something other than 'we're alone,
and loveless.' Amazing Grace
rang loud from twenty out of tune
voices, the sound of a cruise ship
colliding with an iceberg in the Atlantic.
I thought about my mother
alone with a dog and a hot air balloon
puzzle, while her family was off pretending
to want to be where they were.
I thought about your grin and who
your midnight moment was with,
and I wondered if you wore the same
masquerade of happiness,
or if like me, you had already stopped
faking it.
Shannon McGovern Dec 2011
and I would have choked
myself to death with a baby's
umbilical chord, singing
the Ave Maria for you,
if you had just asked.
Two hundred and eight days
to be sober of the taste
of your ***** in my mouth.
Only falling off the wagon
once or twice, with a simple
beckoning. But, smacking
my face on the black top
each time, left a few bruises
and violet eyes, abrupt
reminders that there were reasons
I was riding away in the first place.
I think I'd still skin a live jackal
or stick my head in an alligator's
mouth for you. Proving
that you were wrong
about everything, except
my brake pads.
Shannon McGovern Dec 2011
Pearl earrings and a polka dotted
mug, three shots deep
and I'm bleeding tar
and feathers. You'll be
in England and I'll be chewing
on cement trying to break
the rest of my teeth. Listening
to meteor showers whisper
that it doesn't count if the last
sixty wishes are all the same.
I remember you told me
you'd walk the Earth for me.
Would you still? Or are your legs
too sore from lugging the weight
of your pride and malignancy?
Dec 2011 · 1.1k
If 22 Never Happened
Shannon McGovern Dec 2011
I've been thinking a lot about
that first time after the apocalypse
when you slammed me against
the plaster and ripped every shred
of cloth from my skin, forcing tongue
to throat, grazing like giraffes in fields
of teeth.
I screamed for hours, overbearing
the television in the next room
and alerting the neighborhood
to the carnal intoxication in your tiny
bedroom. I would have let you
****** me that night, if I knew
it would make you come.

In the morning I stole away
with a few forgotten kisses
grinning like the Daliha
and building castles in
my mind. Dreaming
about going back to the time
we first met in an empty sculpture
classroom, with my face flushed
and eyes averted, trying to breathe
and slow my heartbeat, knowing
your ex-lover was murmuring
quips in my ear.
On days like this I wish
that you were Botecelli
laying brushstrokes to your image
of me being blown ashore
by the winds; that I was still
your Venus, and that 22
had never happened.
Dec 2011 · 737
Colorado Air
Shannon McGovern Dec 2011
My shirt smells of you tonight;
like maroon sheets and air conditioners,
but I'm still blowing my nose in it,
filling the crevasses with little pools
of shiny slime, reminiscent of old
nail polish.
Maybe it's because I'm too cheap
to buy tissues, or toilet paper just isn't cutting
it for me anymore, yet I'm pretty sure
that I needed to find a legitimate
reason for my nose to be intimate
with the gentle cotton fabric, without
giving away too many inappropriate
notions of affection.
I've found a way I could press
you against my face,
like the way my nose normally fits
in the nook of your neck,
when I'm nuzzling you at night.
It smells the same as you, minus
the cigarettes, and it still makes me want
to graze my teeth over your earlobe
and tease my fingers along the edge
of the elastic on your boxers,
even when you're fifteen minutes away
and you passed up ******* me to spend time
with Brian.
Dec 2011 · 961
Joan of Arc
Shannon McGovern Dec 2011
I've walked too far for armor, baby
to arrive at clashes and war cries
and the festering soil riddled with
still-beating hearts.
Can you hear me exhale, into damp
air filled with exasperated throats.
Dried up from night terrors and
*****'s moans.
I'm still running, from the purgatory
in between Now and Then.
But the only moments I find myself
stuck in, are the sticky sour memories
of liquor ***** spiderwebs made,
sprayed across the enclosure.
You can't walk backwards up the stairs
or you won't know when you've arrived
and magic eight ***** can only tell you
so much.
I've come too far for amor, Sweetheart,
but I am still only baggage and loose change.
Oct 2011 · 1.0k
Dressing Like a Pin up Girl
Shannon McGovern Oct 2011
When I realized I had fallen in love with you
I slit my wrists to stop the bleeding.

I used threads of your hair I had stolen,
from a voodoo doll to sew them up.

But it seeped through my sleeves so I tye dyed
my shirt with phlegm, feces, and ****.

After it was dry it looked like your face,
like finding Jesus or Mary on a pancake or in coffee.

You're my messiah and I would wash your feet
with my hair but I haven't any, cause I shaved it off
when you left.

I wear hats all day now, my head gets cold, and the beanies
smell like hair oil, shampoo, and follicles.

And sometimes I wonder what you would think,
of the way my hair matts down from the pressure and heat.

Kind of like the way you bedded me down with the same,
weight and warmth of blankets and body hair.

What do you do when you haven't eaten all day
and you're scared of being fatter than your significant other?

Paint your nails **** red and hope your heels are high enough on Saturday.
Shannon McGovern Oct 2011
Once we danced along to the same
sweet song, that you composed so
softly on acoustic chords.

Now, it is just a beat you keep
in time with, banging on pots
and pans like a child throwing
a tantrum. It's not my fault

your girlfriend looks like your
kid sister, or that I ******
your best friend
because you were too busy

maintaining another meaningless
relationship with 'the love of your life';
A title you give away like the generic
trophies parents get personalized

to cheer their children up when
they lose. Eventually, they'll realize
they're all the same, and changing

the name on the plaque doesn't
make up for failing. Like picking petals
off flowers, the only one that matters

is the one left standing in the end.
But the next time you go plucking
daisies from fields, and steal

their manes for predicting
the future. I still won't believe
in love. I never did.
Sep 2011 · 1.1k
Sailor's Delight
Shannon McGovern Sep 2011
This floatation device doesn't work
so well anymore, not now that night
is falling and the chill sets through
my marrow.
Currents were made to drift,
and so they do. In and out
the tides swell like lovers
falling into and out of bed.
All the rocking has made
me dizzy, and the seasickness
and nausea pools in the water
like shark red undercurrents
and skies at dawn.

The rain is usually an indication
that you're entering the eye,
where it is calm for seconds,
fingertips tingling, twitching,
waiting for the explosion
that rips the sails from above
you, and sends you plunging
into an eddy.
And when you are tossed overboard,
watching your ship thrashed between
the waves and weather;
waiting for the searchlights;
don't set off your flare at the first sign,
or you'll lose your S.O.S to the sea.
This floatation device doesn't work
so well anymore, not since you left
with what's left of my wreckage,
and the farther we drift apart,
the more I feel like dying.
Aug 2011 · 1.4k
Buffalo, NY
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
The dusk smells like the dank moldy parts of the basement, old and decrepit. The days are short, like lives of butterflies. Only stray cats roam the streets after dusk like men in trench coats looking for your children. This is where the buzz of sports games fights through voices like car accidents, wafting through the air with the liquor that fuels them. The mix of rotting seaweed flesh and burnt cheerios intoxicates the wharf, drunker then the teens in their parent’s basements. Anyone can tell you where every **** store and Tim Hortons lies, where bass and basket ***** echo in the roads of chicken wings and blizzards. ‘Beautiful River’ you are where the hearts are strong as bison and tongues sharper then sabers. Yet among the old eyesores you'll find the hope of a city. It screams through the rusty and cracked windows; negligence made mosaics. Based on a pride that runs deeper then it's waters, the strength of those who reside in this urban Crayola box crown and shine like the tips of the waves cascading past the falls.

and the streets breathed
as crows rose and took the sky
crying in anguish.
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
Each pad sinks deeper into the soft
smushy, slush that was once hard like
Oak paneling in an old farm house.
The snow melts into calm reflecting pools
but constant spring is not a blessing
to the pink skin underpainting
of the great white bear.

He is not in a gold rush,
or a hurry, but he cannot swim forever.
The rising tides will bring the whales
closer, and only leave oil
and Caribou behind.

What shoes should you wear
when the ice goes renegade
and leaves you all but stranded
on a liquid isle?
Polar bears do not dock their boats
in Bernard Harbor,

so check your snow shoes
at the door and be prepared
for pirates. For when deer
jump eight feet into
pools, predators
should still know how to hunt.
Aug 2011 · 1.1k
The Killing Time
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
Light; form shadow; cast shadow
and it drags on, and on.
Across the ridges in the marbled concrete,
like the dark hiding behind, until the light ends.
What is it like, to have your head

separated from the rest of you,
and cast to the side? Like the head
of the Afghani citizen, skewered
on a rock by the barbarians who trudged
through, and ended the light of the unarmed.

Casts for crayfish, to sew their claws
back on so they may hold their heads
up high into the dimming light,
as Canada steals the sun away.
Bridges for peace and walls
that break between river and canal

where teenagers row, stroke after stroke,
down past dead deer and graffiti.
Where the two Puerto Rican brothers
hid the pieces of their mother in garbage bags,
after they chopped her up,
like minced vegetables. He said

the helicopter hovered
feet before their boat, while black
plastic bags rose from the depths
filled with carbon dioxide made
from decomposing flesh.

As my hands danced across his back
I told him I walked along that wall
to watch fireworks, or catch glimpses
of a weasel that lived within the rocks.
The wall was not built for the disposal
of mothers,

but for the seagulls. So that they can drop
their prey against it, until the shells crack
and their warm innards
are spilled out upon it
like the hot Afghanistan sand.
Aug 2011 · 800
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
Like western ice melting and pooling into puddles
filled with crimson Caravaggio blood.
You moved your hands like I was something porcelain,
something breakable.
The sheets became giant waves filled with debris and pollution
crashing against sea glass and lime stone,
and you still thought I was something incredible,
something unreal.
The walls creaked and breathed while the room heated,
filled with secrets and Christmas lights
that dimly lit nothing but shadows and silhouettes,
and you still thought I was something crystal,
something beautiful.
The marks and scars and memories caught my throat
suffocating my face under layers of empty pages
and water stained notebooks,
and I thought I was something untouchable,
something tainted.
And you laughed and ground palm against cheek, mortar against pestle
and I smiled and thought you were something extraordinary,
something honest.
So more like snow dissolving
into the depths of bottomless oil wells, I blinked
and disappeared into something dangerous,
something wonderful,
something real.
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
I crushed it, and it regrew anyways.
The hypothesis, was more romantic,
than tossing and yearning all night
over losing teeth in a giraffe fight.

Your hypothesis, was more romantically
worded, than a thesis on how birds die on impact
when colliding with a glass windowpane,
retrieving teeth lost during a giraffe brawl.

Worded, like the thesis about how birds die during impact,
each line of the letter dripped with invisible ink,
like colliding with a glass window. Pain
is only fleeting, if the end comes close behind.

Every line in each letter, drawn with invisible ink,
doesn't sound in the pronunciation, which
is only fleeting, if the end line draws closed behind.
So close your characters behind you, and don't let the draft in.

Does it not sound in the pronoun, the annulment of which
leaves every thing indefinite, and incomplete.
So clothe your characters before you, so they don't let in a draft,
and catch a cold from ****** or being indistinct.

What leaves everything indefinitely incomplete
other than the ability of the mind to hypothesize,
and catch a cold in the **** state of being extinct?
The inability to reconcile your metaphorical heart and instinct.

The others, they, have the ability to hypothesize,
about what makes us toss and yearn at night.
I forgave your inability to reconcile. My heart: pure instinct.
So you crushed it, and still it grew anyways.
Aug 2011 · 3.5k
One Night Stands with Ex's
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
Her eyes burned from ammonia and snow as she shoveled the driveway
in the parts where the cat litter failed to appropriate traction.
This is what cars are for she said before she slipped away onto a twin mattress
next to pile of laundry and a pillow of books.
Sleeping with dryer hot clothes is only comfortable until you realize
you are still alone and loneliness is only formidable when you know it is indefinite.
So she folded each item into a pile and wondered if a suitcase wouldn't be better
than her dresser. But running away is not an answer like pit bulls and vipers having daughters, even though they ran out of formaldehyde and jars.
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
"The only thing wrong with love poems, is that the poem outlasts the love"
- Unknown

He said that he loves
the way that I laugh, because it shakes
and moves my whole body.
I got drunk and told him
I loved him after a week and four
days. I didn't remember in the morning.

I could never imagine him in mourning,
he was too good of a lover.
Even when he was tired and four
a.m. came faster than the spins and shakes
of alcoholism and ***. Everything in him
makes my mouth grin and gasp more than anybody.

He told me I was cut off after four
Long Islands, an archipelago in a body
of stomach acid. I had to shake
my head and laugh; In the morning
I kissed him as if I loved
to be woken up at five a.m. to blow him.

I have only ever been in love
twice. That's more than most can shake
a stick at. So, never listen to your body,
it lies like it is pathological. With him
I swear we have only slept apart four
times since that first morning,

and those few nights without him
made me wonder what I did before,
and if this time, it wasn't what I didn't love
about him that made my body
uneasy, but the thought of the next morning
alone, which made my hands shake.

Until now I've always been for
a lack of lips on the face and body.
They have never given me quivers and shakes.
But when his mold with mine in the morning
it makes me think that maybe falling in love
wouldn't be a millennia better with him.

I swear it is not just your body that I love,
or the way your breathing shakes my bed in the morning
But that I can tell them, I was never happier before.
Aug 2011 · 963
Chipped Nail Polish
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
My friend died last night,
his mother said,  
so you should probably stop smoking.
But he was more concerned with giving
away his dog and shooting himself in the face.
Blowing raspberries didn’t stop
the advancing train that left bruises
on either of her shoulders,
or left her compacted
and hung-over the next morning.
And she was screaming like a banshee
trapped inside a locket,
when he finally bent her over
and said You are beautiful,
do not let anyone ever tell you any different.
She might have lost the polish
from driving a stick shift for an hour
or chewing them, worried about
deer leaping into windshields,
but that is why lesbians don’t paint their nails.
So when he finally slammed her foot
into the side of his dresser,
all she could do was lay there
and bite, losing more of her sheen
into the divots she dug in the skin on his back.
Aug 2011 · 6.4k
The Ten Rules to Anal Sex
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
He is rougher then being dumped
from the saddle of a bay mare,
but perhaps she shouldn’t be riding
******* past vineyards of red rusted vines.
And if she is on fire then she should probably roll
or climb into a hot tub on ***** Thursday
and put out the flame ignited by the thought
of hoping to God his parents can’t hear her.
She had always wanted to know what it felt like
to slaughter someone. So when he placed his palms
on the arch of her back and massacred her lips,
I imagined her smashing his skull against a brick wall.
And when she is in the bathroom washing him off
her hands, with a published poet in the next stall
she shouldn’t yell *******, I’m not a flower
and start listing off the ten rules to **** ***.
Because no matter how many times she uses him
as her own personal merry go round or slams
back beer after beer, he will never die in a coffin
so that she can say he is already dead and
Aug 2011 · 3.1k
Deciduous Forests
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
Your hair is thick and dark

evergreen branches that glide

against lilac petals 
made of powdered sugar.

I wish your hands were not so rough,

when you mold my body out of clay

you leave divots, not as deep

as tire tracks in snow
but tiny deer prints

left behind in secret

the kind where the mystery

makes you follow them into the thicket.

Strum that song again, 
the one you played, laughing

at the silliness of knowing

every chord, even though we both

silently love it. Don't talk to me

about intimacy problems

because you know I would have

loved you, more

then children with fried dough

the kind that comes from county
and you can't look at me

like that, with painful eyes

'cause we're both guilty.

What happens to women without
Running fingers over bare
hills, hoping to once again

be covered with fur trees

thick and dark. So catch me

with those that match

your pea coat that smells

sweetly of cigarettes

and stories only known

by haylofts and cotton pillows.
Aug 2011 · 1.9k
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
The way the dragonfly

across your chest stares at me,

through a lawn of pinwheel hairs;

and the way your beard

tickles me in such a way

that I believe at any minute

you are going to accumulate 
flannel and chop me a tree

subtly confuses how I feel

now that we have played

a skilled game of ring toss.

I am used to our conversations

while you drag quill and ink

across my skin and leave scars

in all the right places.

But the way you look at me

a masterpiece to be devoured,

and poisonous makes me

ask if you can scratch my back 
for hours,
but ******* get raw

being rubbed like sweatshirts

against bare skin all day.

I don’t know how I feel about

palindromes now, 
but I know how you feel

when you make it snow inside

and hand-rolled cigarette

smoke fills the room

chasing ferrets through sheets

leaving bruises in the shape of dental x-rays.

How does it feel,

Once all of your tattoos have met?
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
You can only see half your face
when you press it against a glass reflection,
wondering where the other half goes.
Like evergreen ferns
wrongly named, in the end
they too will parch and crack
like the smiles and various shoes
that surround me as I lay
on the cold, stone tiles thinking
of all the names I have never known.
You can dial my phone, with guitar calluses
but the ring will just be an empty echo
of all the unanswered calls that left us
half-knitted sweaters and woolen scarves.
The ones that only kept us warm long enough
to blaze that last cigarette, lighting
our way into the darkness. You can fade
my coat and bleach my mane
but I will never be a palomino
in a dark jacket. So marry me and I swear,
I’ll scream until every vinyl skips
to repeat and that same song plays
copying notes in your head.
Watch my needles fall you’ll need them 
for the bonfires in the summer
when you burn me away and roast
the other skewered pigs on display, fruits
of well thought deception and the thrill
of the chase. Put me out
with jazz music and your hollowed
tree-trunk-promises so that only
the smoldering is left. Shot’s fired.
Here’s your twenty-one gun salute.
Aug 2011 · 772
The Last of Women
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
The clichéd shower the next morning
left skin bloodied jerky
hot with brush burns and soap stains.
This doesn’t happen to concrete walls,
but even the Berlin fell.
But months later when another
whispers “darling” to me
my squinted flushed cheeks
******, *****, prostitutes
know many. But none
are names like this.
Cause when I let him run
his mesh palms
over my face. I choked
on the dust
of all the memories
I ground and blew away,
dandelion seeds.
It burned as acid
fingers mounted my throat
and a thumb of needles
sewed my mouth
shut with embroidered thread
made of beer condensation.
The inebriated venetian blinds
reared and “shush please don’t”
swam the air, as the pacific poured
from my eyes. I said to her
“You let him strap me to his back,
a saddle pack filled with jars
of intoxication”
She said “Its not like he ***** you.”
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
You smell like laundry detergent, mongrel, and marijuana
wrapped in strawberry cigar papers. The way
the couch smells warm of people
prior to the heat and sweat we produced
on its rough synthetic fibers
that left me brush burns. Of French fries
and cheesy steak hoagies caked
to your apron as big golden
grease stains. You smell
of a soft shower, the nothingness
smell of water, that is still a smell.
Of loofah drenched with cobalt body wash
that your mother bought, not quite
feminine enough, but nothing you picked out yourself.
Of turquoise Listerine, the first and last time I had to wash
you out. Pineapples and watermelons, latex
and the salty smell that could be sweat
or *****. When the air is mixed with gasoline
and ***** ground winter snow,
filled with rock salt. That’s what you smell like,
in case you were wondering, her jacket
smells of you.
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
A thin chain of a broken beaded necklace
separates you from
illumination. The muted metal *****
are smooth under your finger
tips. Clicks, mark ideas
like they mark the presence of
tacks in your soles on
Some things are better
in the dark. The strumming
of guitar strings, a cough.
The slide of skin
over velvet glass. Vinyl
hands wrapped around a globe,
turn it. Left, left, right, right,
metal twists, snug against
rivets, grinding, a dull black
nose. Shake filaments like
fractured electric fence
marked by a flash. The last
moments of daylight dropped
behind a horizon, made of
creamy silk pleats to shade
the glow. ‘Til the chain lights up
the room.
Some things are
better in the dark.
Aug 2011 · 544
Shannon McGovern Aug 2011
I couldn't love you any less than I do,
I've tried.
I ate my tongue like a sponge breaking
apart after sitting in a bucket of suds
weeks after the car has been washed clean
of the mud we sprayed on it's flanks
fighting and kissing like two magnets
meeting for the first time.  
Separating us is like pressing
the opposite sides together,
they'll only want to face each other again,
once you've stop trying.
How could I love you any less,
when you're the only thing that is keeping me
breathing in my own poison.
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