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Feb 2016 · 692
Sydney Ranson Feb 2016
In September's salt-crusted skin
and vermillion-tinged drop cloth,
when the air boiled
with the double-winged helicopters
of the sugar maple, we spent the night
projecting barking dogs and mice
with grins onto your bedroom wall
with our hands. Streetlight fell on us
in stripes of Egyptian blue
through the window--your body a figure four
and mine sneaking a sweetheart's cradle--and even now
in mid-February it's still September.
Nov 2014 · 1.4k
Sydney Ranson Nov 2014
Let me tell you again about the dream I have where I wake up in a bed across the Atlantic.

The dream where you are settled on my skin, still asleep.

You are all lips and freckles.

In this dream you speak before you wake and you tell me, “hold my hand, hold my hand,” and your voice to me is like god ****** gospel.

When they open, your eyes are not your eyes—they are more like the only navigable sea I’ve ever known, and you’re looking not at me, but past me.

The dream where the air around us thickens and I reach out a fingertip, but when I touch you I go right through you.

Our skins ripple and move in waves as we fade into shades of cerulean that soak into the sheets, disappearing like bathwater.
Sydney Ranson Mar 2014
I would crack it open over the sink.
I would split
               first, the stiff, waxy skin
               then the inner membrane, papery and white and fleshy
and reveal a thousand rubies, nestled in their pulp.
And as my hands glossed, sticky and scarlet,
I would press my index finger to the center of my tongue
and **** the sharp juice with such ardency
that you would become
               the pink in my spit
               and the thick in my mouth.
I would take careful notice not to lose a single jewel,
but to fully consume.
I would not mind your seeds
lodged between my molars.
Perhaps I would even keep them there as long as I could
               because you are my favorite flavor.
And perhaps after your juice has spilled and painted maps on my arms
and dripped from my elbows,
I would piece the shell back together,
tuck it in your chest behind your ribs, and close you up.
And perhaps then,
               when I had licked its walls clean
               when I had emptied its insides,
then there would be room for me.
Feb 2014 · 953
For Tom, in Adelaide
Sydney Ranson Feb 2014
I sweat in my sleep now,
and drench sheets from dreaming
of the three years
when a fourteen and a half hour
time zone difference
was what my every day revolved around.
My tee-shirt clings to
soggy skin that shivers and prickles
with goosebumps,
and continues to remind me
that I’m waking up without
telling you goodnight.
I jotted this down in about five minutes. Just putting it on here as a zero draft for some feedback. Thanks in advance!
Sep 2013 · 2.5k
Couch Conductor
Sydney Ranson Sep 2013
Amber drips from the 60’s-style lamps
on two end tables.
Brassy-orange and bulbous,
they illuminate the tangled tracks.

The light spills onto the floor
like heavy freight abandoning its car.
It spawns the locomotive shadow
cast by my grandmother’s sunken-in couch.

I nestle myself snug between the pillows,
dense and flattened by years of Sundays.
Sundays that bring my father
close to his brother, not a brother at all.

I peer over the edge
and heave a hushed “all aboard.”
Grandma sleeps to unwind
the day’s knot of exhaustion.

Each bone-bleach white fiber frays
from the chemotherapy that robs
her gnarled hands of their strength.
This one-way ticket marks the end of a journey
of a once well-oiled machine.

The exhales of a CSX
spout its peppery breath out in opaque puffs.
I am a conductor, tearing the ticket
of tonight’s traveler.

Rising to my bare feet now,
I sink into the cushion like wet sand.
The train thrusts and in a single bound,
I leap from the ledge and leave my lone passenger.

The cars whir and hum alongside me.
Deafening metallic wind rusts the edge of the rug.
I’m still waiting for her return,
and in denial that it was her last train.
Sep 2013 · 1.6k
Sydney Ranson Sep 2013
August still catches in my head like that Manhattan melody
        when he was my little vial of Novocaine.
        when the moon showed her face and we slept on my floor
and our knees and hips and
shoulders—all the hinges of our bodies—washed with
a twilight of mauve and Bordeaux.
And one night he painted me with
two rows of clenched teeth—dipping in and out of white pools of Selene.
I have a bed now that he has left
        with sheets that billow on the right side,
        with real blankets that aren't hospital blankets.
And he is my little vial of Novocaine
that took a train to states away. And the miles
between have left me with a weight in my chest that I'm sure fell from
his suitcase. I've got
        bones made of buildings,
        and a metropolitan heart,
        and a steady smile
knowing this same moon hangs over him and that borough.
Jul 2013 · 1.1k
For Keeps
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
We can close the three-hundred and some odd mile gap
and stand silent for a second with our
                brainwashed gazes, glassy and glazed.
I’ll drive five hours to find the boy with the tired eyes—
the boy who made me promise.
                It’s for keeps.
We can spread a blanket and I’ll show you
the big and little dippers in the soil sky
                (they’re all I know how to find).
We can touch and whisper in a composition of exhales
and our two tongues that hide behind our four lips—
                yours that mask the gap I don’t mind,
                mine that I bite until purple and bleeding—
will drip with nectar, syrupy and saccharine,
which we will cup in half moon hands.
Jul 2013 · 1.3k
Teeth Like Lloyd
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
I feed my appetite with your voice. Your fricatives pirouette on my tongue. Each sibilant hangs on my teeth, then slides off and leaves its wax to pile up in my throat. I cough it up and collect it in a jar. It sits on the shelf in my basement and becomes familiar with the musty cloak of yesterday’s wet laundry. On the shelf, there are jars of swollen strawberries and gritty half-skulls of pears, blackberries like bundles of balloons. But in your jar, suspended in their own sugary liquid, are ripened vowels that arabesque when I give the jar a shake. I wipe the damp film off the metal lid with my thumb. Now I’m sitting in bed at 2:00 a.m., scooping your words from their glass house with a sticky index finger, speckled with seeds, semicolons, ellipses. Each dig gets me closer to your older, sweeter language–closer to what I’ve been craving. The last drops cling to the jar’s lip until I tilt it to mine, and I’m full-bellied, staring at an empty jar. In the bathroom, I slide a finger in my mouth until it reaches my throat and the words come up and fill the toilet and overflow onto the floor, puddle around my crooked toes and stain the linoleum.
Sometimes you have to try and explain love in weird ways. This is one way of doing just that.
Jul 2013 · 644
Watching A Person Breathe
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
In sleep, the lungs balloon.
Air fills their walls and sacs where it can,
like saltwater waves cresting in inhales
and exhales.

They release and crash
as ribs slide tides of breath
shallow within the core,
where we cannot hear the volumes
of the waves that drift us about our nocturnal coma.
of the waves that drift us about our nocturnal coma.that we never feel how far from the shore
we have been taken, up and down.

Our chests, we have moved them
but elsewhere.
The ribs crack like driftwood
in the choppy current, and float
from the diaphragm of the Atlantic into
our chest cavities.
While watching a movie in my best friend’s dorm room last year—three of us squeezed on one extra-long twin-sized bed—I realized I missed out on about ten minutes of the movie because I had zoned out on watching them breathe.
Jul 2013 · 584
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
Like a snake unhinges its jaw—pink cheek exposed—

to something warm and whole, I unhinge you over and over and over again in my mind when I need to shed away every time I told you I would visit,

when I need to shed away that night we drank a cheap six pack in my tangle of blankets,

when I need to shed away the songs you wrote about blue eyes,

when I need to leave only the raw, scaly bits of you—the bits I scraped away at and made real, not the girl four hours away with the name I always mispronounce,
not the pieces she only barely notices when you leave her side, or the pieces you left for me to find, scattered on my windowsill.

I unhinge the moment your forked tongue first formed the words “I love you,"

the day I took pictures of you playing my guitar with the missing string—you said you didn’t need it anyway.

I think about the wrongs we righted when I slept in your car with your hand on my head, and I know I can’t come close to chewing our problems over, so I swallow them whole.
Jul 2013 · 1.1k
Forgetting Tennessee
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
For months after,

        I tasted you in the flowered mug we took shots of Jim Beam out of—it went down like hot velvet.

        I saw you in every sliver of my Grape Hyacinth eyes and constellations of freckles.

I’ve halved you into here and there—into miles of unwelcome blooms.
Jul 2013 · 733
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
She has thin lips that rarely touch—painted Merlot

and sheltering teeth—those perfectly aligned, white-spined novellas.

And when she speaks, her satin tongue presses out sweet breath

that hangs on your head like a daisy halo.
Jul 2013 · 958
Anatomy Of A Hungarian
Sydney Ranson Jul 2013
I remember when I surveyed your bare shoulder blades

and the directions they tilted

as you raised your arms to light and
puff and flick,

puff and flick,

and how I measured the distance between

right and left bones that peak and plateau separately,

but are linked by my favorite unapproachable spine.

— The End —