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zebra May 2017
i breathe
one breath at a time
each inhalation linked to the exhalation before it
yet every breath stands alone
there's something tenuous about it
this soft machine is on thin ice
devoured by time in innocent increments
like a moth nibbles away wool

my heart
little gorilla
wearing itself out
rubber glove with a hole in it
weird luck

my eyes are bright
solar blue ball lanterns

if you saw me
you would say
good bones
river of envy

yet all hinges
on a muscular rhythmic pulsating machine
like a determined jaw chewing
jumpy mouth

yet on the verge of betrayal
a glitch
karmic indecision  
in destinies wheel house
a red fist locus banging

ones immense sense of self
a vainglorious elaboration
built over a small pulsating muscle
innocuous

dumb blood flesh knot drumming
scarlet tribe
throne of my very soul
great sovereign
old man in a crib
splitting open of its own accord  
a sudden rip from life
to a dead sea eternity
the final frontier

starless night
ryn Aug 2014
Street lamps play
As they have before
Dim walkway
Leading to a door

Careful steps
Strewn leaves
Breathe between gaps
Skulking like thieves

Rustling trees
Otherwise nothing
Mind at ease
Heart rapidly beating

Usually stops here
Usually I'd stir
But still in slumber
I drew closer

Eyes on door
Familiar scene
Stood here before
This dream I've been

Up the patio
Door was ajar
Accompanied by my shadow
Stretched far

Tunnel vision
Dripping eave
Door handle beckons
Hand raised to receive

Usually stops here
Usually I'd rouse
Allowed to enter
This time... This house

Handle I seize
Door seemed light
It did not freeze
Hinges did not fight

Revealed the insides
Scanned surroundings
Unlit lights
Stairs climbing

Footsteps I heard
Coming my way
Sounds absurd
But yet I stay

Usually stops here
Usually dream is done
But still was clear
It only had begun

Darkened figure
Descending on bare feet
Beauty light as feather
Ever did I meet

She did not see me
Planted at the doorway
Impossible it may be
Nothing did she say

Walked right by
My eyes followed
Seconds fly
In eternity they burrowed

Usually stops here
Usually I'd wake
Yet still I'm here
Chance I'd take

Stood at the fridge
Back towards me
Under siege
My mind set a flurry

Fridge was opened
Light casted her silhouette
Her back darkened
Curiosity grew fat

Illuminating beams
Accentuated her hair
Like golden streams
Flowing with flair

Usually stops here
Usually I'd startle
Connection did not sever
Continue I was able

Spellbound I gawked
Rooted like a tree
Wide-eyed I stalked
This siren before me

She drank
Not knowing I was there
Stiff as a plank
I was locked in a stare

Finally broke free
Shifted my weight
She turned to me
And then said...

Then it ceased
Then I awaken
Surprisingly pleased
Slice of heaven

Who was she?
Silhouetted face
Perpetually...
Mysterious grace

Foreign albeit familiar
Strange but true
Now rings clear...


It is you...
Based on a dream I had.
幽玄 Jul 2018
Coming by
To what seemed to you
that the other wanted to chat
It was opposite to an expectation
automated is such pessimism
Why not give it a second thought
falling through to such idealism
Either way all that was left
was their own discretion
Piled for me to discard
along with this repulsive ashtray
I feel what you need
that isn’t what was said exactly
Twinge was the sting
seemingly numb to them
Maybe a simple postcard would suffice
Little what words could do right?
What little could words have done to excavate
your attention from the deep water
Your without seeing your day melt away
There is a healer
somewhere
paving way to vulnerability
The hinges welded together
your bureau has no way of breathing
Ancient could these ways be
coily haven risen from your depths
Untouched by an intimate hand
Gone missing from
what is floating
toward your sound
les image has you going there
Don’t leave me behind
I’m without your liberation
Grace me with your discreet thoughts
over and over
Glimmers found in your darkness
See me lie inside your eyes
greatly absorbing
Show me what has not been already given
Shower me sensibly
Give what was given to you
Take me lightly
Don’t dispose me
lower us beyond these
Warm hide
Structure–disheveled— to your liking
stays open for disarrayed stares
A requiem for slightly
held memory
Gone on to mystery
‘nevermore’
washing up from your shores.

leftover.

It is hard to see those swaying around you to the tune of your madness that actually care, right?

Dedicated to: his resounding lilt
kB 2 Sep 2018
Feet hang lazily
As I finish my stitching
Canvas skin limp limbs

Burnt leaves for a brain
A heavy hinged hollow box
Becomes a fresh heart

I’ve sewn me a boy
One that cannot run away
One that wants to stay

I program his mind
To connect only with mine
Lock love in the box

Run hands down the threads
Awaken him from his sleep
Eyes open in fear

Graze hands down soft throat
Stir his chords let him speak free
Fill lungs with a kiss

It’s my ragdoll boy
My best friend and my lover
And I have his key

He just looks at me
“Don’t be scared you are my love”
I tell him gently

“What am I doing?
I’m not supposed to be here
I don’t even know you”

Desperate staring
He looks scared and so confused
I don’t understand

“I stitched you gently
You are my perfect man now
Together in love

You will be happy
I can show you everything
I will be your muse”

I filled up his mind
Put all my love in his heart
What did I do wrong?

“My love cannot be
Forced by you or your stitches
Or locked in a box

My mind is my own
I don’t want you to change it
I want to be me

You cannot just make
The perfect boy to love you
Life doesn’t work that way”

I shuddered with chill
My own stitched up heart races swells
Tingles to the tips

I split the seams open
Rip out the tattered heart box
Watch him hit the floor

My hands are tremors
Shaking over the keyhole
I open the box

Nothingness and hollow
Dirt hinges and fine cracks
Have emptied my love

I had filled the box
With all of my own soul’s love
So now I’m empty too

I will lay down now
Next to my tattered doll boy
Together in heartlessness

Within my soul’s death
A black truth that I cannot
Make someone love me

Mind scurries with thoughts
That I cannot love myself
And that’s the worst part.

~kb
RaeAnn Mar 9
I stood there in the doorway,
The last line of defense.
The second it’s hinges release
Temptation overcomes me.

6 steps to the bathroom,
Where a hundred pills await.
I haven’t heard their call in years
Now they’re calling me by name.

4 steps to the office
Sweet relief each place I see.
Plastic protection pulled away...
But who protects the blades from me?

9 steps to my bedroom
Where dust covered glass rests.
Its bitter fluid floods my mind
And fills the hole inside my chest.

12 steps is what they say
And the nagging ache will wane,
But 12 steps in which direction?
Because they all will numb the pain.
Bellissima May 27
Through creaking doors
walk my ideas of people.
Cracked frames, bent and sullen.
Groaning hinges, bones
bruised and rusted.
Khoi-San Oct 2018
Out by the handle
Into the cold

In with a candle
Brave and bold

Out by the handle
Battered and sold

In with a scandal
Whithered and scold

Out by the handle
A little bit old

In with dirt sandles
Covered with mould

Out by the handle
To the door he hold

In with a hand drill
A true story is told

The hinges ******* off
love handles I hold
Told to me by a vagabond enjoy
Lexie Mar 1
Touching is not a sin
Within these pillars
The temple of my body, I call home.
There are no prayers to be found
Between the dryness of my lips
And where you left me
With the wetness of my eyes
Singing its hymn to the martyrs before

Their hands have gone cold
In the silence of my secrets
These martyrs knock their bones together
As if trying to make fire
Could turn back time
As if their ivory stamina
Could voice its plea
There is blood on the walls in their temples

I hear the foolish cry out
With a voice that has never known lack
That condemned buildings are only meant to be torn down
That the bricks of my house were meant to return to dust
Buried in the mortar of my memories, blown in the wind
Unbuilt with no remorse
Leaving mortar scars in the earth

If the walls of my temple could speak
Her concrete lips would part
Revealing timber teeth
If her tongue was not sewn shut with shame
She would begin with a whisper
For she has never brought her voice up from the basement before

Her breath, stumbling over the threshold finds its footing
A guttural cry makes its way forth
A voice that blows doors off its hinges
A voice that only does cosmetic damage
As it attempts to touch your heart
Where it has never been reached

The cornerstones
Begin to talk
You were told even the stones cry out
It is too late for them now and too dark
The sky was almost crying
The heavens on the verge of tears

It is too late
I came undone
Because you can't tether fingers
As much as I wanted to tie ropes
To the nerve endings of my extremities and pull with all my strength
Pull them back to my heart
So they could be safe
Feel safe
Carry to the grave
Words I could not whisper to you in the dark

What prayers could I offer
To a temple torn down in anger
What words would I give
To the grave of my being
Whose hymns still ring out
Into the night, crying
Dust to dust
Ashes to ashes
Rohan Press Oct 2018
there is no reconciliation.
we're bleeding like paint
in the rain—
wilting flowers
colourless in
our greys.

sometimes your eyes
double, your words
curl my cheek, still lingering
to brush stray strands.

i'm open inside out;
when you turn away
i know the hinges are closing.
i remember your words:

"someday, with someone".
Wade Redfearn Sep 2018
The first settlers to the area called the Lumber River Drowning Creek. The river got its name for its dark, swift-moving waters. In 1809, the North Carolina state legislature changed the name of Drowning Creek to the Lumber River. The headwaters are still referred to as Drowning Creek.

Three p.m. on a Sunday.
Anxiously hungry, I stay dry, out of the pool’s cold water,
taking the light, dripping into my pages.
A city with a white face blank as a bust
peers over my shoulder.
Wildflowers on the roads. Planes circle from west,
come down steeply and out of sight.
A pinkness rises in my breast and arms:
wet as the drowned, my eyes sting with sweat.
Over the useless chimneys a bank of cloud piles up.
There is something terrible in the sky, but it keeps breaking.
Another is dead. Fentanyl. Sister of a friend, rarely seen.
A hand reaches everywhere to pass over eyes and mouths.
A glowing wound opens in heaven.
A mirror out of doors draws a gyre of oak seeds no one watches,
in the clear pool now sunless and black as a cypress swamp.

Bitter water freezes the muscles and I am far from shore.
I paddle in the shallows, near the wooden jail.
The water reflects a taut rope,
feet hanging in the breeze singing mercy
at the site of the last public hanging in the state.
A part-white fugitive with an extorted confession,
loved by the poor, dumb enough to get himself captured,
lonely on this side of authority: a world he has never lived in
foisting itself on the world he has -
only now, to steal his drunken life, then gone again.

1871 - Henderson Oxendine, one of the notorious gang of outlaws who for some time have infested Robeson County, N. C., committing ****** and robbery, and otherwise setting defiance to the laws, was hung at Lumberton, on Friday last in the presence of a large assemblage. His execution took place a very few days after his conviction, and his death occurred almost without a struggle.

Today, the town square collapses as if scorched
by the whiskey he drank that morning to still himself,
folds itself up like Amazing Grace is finished.
A plinth is laid
in the shadow of his feet, sticky with pine,
here where the water sickens with roots.
Where the canoe overturned. Where the broken oar floated and fell.
Where the snake lives, and teethes on bark,
waiting for another uncle.

Where the tobacco waves near drying barns rusted like horseshoes
and cotton studs the ground like the cropped hair of the buried.
Where schoolchildren take the afternoon
to trim the kudzu growing between the bodies of slaves.
Where appetite is met with flood and fat
and a clinic for the heart.
Where barges took chips of tar to port,
for money that no one ever saw.

Tar sticks the heel but isn’t courage.
Tar seals the hulls -
binds the planks -
builds the road.
Tar, fiery on the tongue, heavy as bad blood in the family -
dead to glue the dead together to secure the living.
Tar on the roofs, pouring heat.
Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon,
obtained from a wide variety of organic materials
through destructive distillation.
Tar in the lungs will one day go as hard as a five-cent candy.

Liberty Food Mart
Cheapest Prices on Cigarettes
Parliament $22.50/carton
Marlboro $27.50/carton

The white-bibbed slaughterhouse Hmong hunch down the steps
of an old school bus with no air conditioner,
rush into the cool of the supermarket.
They pick clean the vegetables, flee with woven bags bulging.
What were they promised?
Air conditioning.
And what did they receive?
Chickenshit on the wind; a dead river they can't understand
with a name it gained from killing.

Truth:
A man was flung onto a fencepost and died in a front yard down the street.
A girl with a grudge in her eyes slipped a razorblade from her teeth and ended recess.
I once saw an Indian murdered for stealing a twelve-foot ladder.
The red line indicating heart disease grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating cardiovascular mortality grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating motor vehicle deaths grows higher and higher.
I burn with the desire to leave.

The stories make us full baskets of dark. No death troubles me.
Not the girl's blood, inert, tickled by opiates,
not the masked arson of the law;
not the smell of drywall as it rots,
or the door of the safe falling from its hinges,
or the chassis of cars, airborne over the rise by the planetarium,
three classmates plunging wide-eyed in the river’s icy arc –
absent from prom, still struggling to free themselves from their seatbelts -
the gunsmoke at the home invasion,
the tenement bisected by flood,
the cattle lowing, gelded
by agriculture students on a field trip.

The air contains skin and mud.
The galvanized barns, long empty, cough up
their dust of rotten feed, dry tobacco.
Men kneel in the tilled rows,
to pick up nails off the ground
still splashed with the blood of their makers.

You Never Sausage a Place
(You’re Always a ****** at Pedro’s!)
South of the Border – Fireworks, Motel & Rides
Exit 9: 10mi.

Drunkards in Dickies will tell you the roads are straight enough
that the drive home will not bend away from them.
Look in the woods to see by lamplight
two girls filling each other's mouths with smoke.
Hear a friendly command:
boys loosening a tire, stuck in the gut of a dog.
Turn on the radio between towns of two thousand
and hear the tiny voice of an AM preacher,
sharing the airwaves of country dark
with some chords plucked from a guitar.
Taste this water thick with tannin
and tell me that trees do not feel pain.
I would be a mausoleum for these thousands
if I only had the room.

I sealed myself against the flood.
Bodies knock against my eaves:
a clutch of cats drowned in a crawlspace,
an old woman bereft with a vase of pennies,
her dead son in her living room costumed as the black Jesus,
the ***** oil of a Chinese restaurant
dancing on top of black water.
A flow gauge spins its tin wheel
endlessly above the bloated dead,
and I will pretend not to be sick at dinner.

Misery now, a struggle ahead for Robeson County after flooding from Hurricane Matthew
LUMBERTON
After years of things leaving Robeson County – manufacturing plants, jobs, payrolls, people – something finally came in, and what was it but more misery?

I said a prayer to the city:
make me a figure in a figure,
solvent, owed and owing.
Take my jute sacks of wristbones,
my sheaves and sheaves of fealty,
the smell of the forest from my feet.
Weigh me only by my purse.
A slim woman with a college degree,
a rented room without the black wings
of palmetto roaches fleeing the damp:
I saw the calm white towers and subscribed.
No ingrate, I saved a space for the lost.
They filled it once, twice, and kept on,
eating greasy flesh straight from the bone,
craning their heads to ask a prayer for them instead.

Downtown later in the easy dark,
three college boys in foam cowboy hats shout in poor Spanish.
They press into the night and the night presses into them.
They will go home when they have to.
Under the bridge lit in violet,
a folding chair is draped in a ***** blanket.
A grubby pair of tennis shoes lay beneath, no feet inside.
Iced tea seeps from a chewed cup.
I pass a bar lit like Christmas.
A mute and pretty face full of indoor light
makes a promise I see through a window.
I pay obscene rents to find out if it is true,
in this nation tied together with gallows-rope,
thumbing its codex of virtues.
Considering this just recently got rejected and I'm free to publish it, and also considering that the town this poem describes is subject once again to a deluge whose damage promises to be worse than before, it seemed like a suitable time to post it. If you've enjoyed it, please think about making a small donation to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund at the URL below:
https://governor.nc.gov/donate-florence-recovery
Third Eye Candy May 2018
in the weeds where the dark bees
believe in dark dreams; savoring the frostbitten
nostalgia of wet mittens and smokestacks
hacking hearth-smog and dingy bitters
against clouds from a nameless
grudge... spawn from downcast holly.
where red berries
gasp for yellow
in the crotch of a wooden Fluegelhorn
sprouting from the branch
of a hedge without
Lips.

But a mouth full of snow.

II

in the weeds where the dark bees
believe in atoms of uncorrupted joy and pollen.
where they collude with silent majorities
and swindle sunlight for a spawnsong
anchored to the beak of a kestrel...
shrieking the maniacal disquiet
of a perfect moment.

rattling the hinges -

adored.

without
a key.
Denise Uy Sep 2018
I'm not great like the ancient Greeks.
My door is tattered, unoiled, and it creaks.
The glass coffee table now in pieces,
mirroring thousands of broken perspectives.
The clothes on the floor, reflecting the messy
internal view of my life.

But I can fix it, can't I?
I could oil the hinges of my door,
brand new like it was before.
I could buy a stronger table,
no longer dysfunctional
and unable.
As for my clothes, I'll just fold them back.
It's really not a daunting task.
Some parts are easy, some are pretty tricky
and repair takes time but go on
and fix your life.
Note to self: Start changing your life.
Evan Stephens Sep 2018
Anger soaks the room abruptly,
I'm thinking of you.
Cleaning out my black bag
I find my tarot deck, waiting
in its green tin tomb.
I shuffle and deal across
the face of one of the paintings
I've been working on,
a red face scratched out.

The brown lid of night
hinges closed hard,
and lamps take up the slack
with yellow spittings.
I draw the Tower,
the Ten of Swords,
the Hermit.
Past, present, future tenses,
all corrupted.

But who's surprised?
I derailed it all myself.
Only the cat,
the palette knife,
and the lonely guitar
bring life to days
made thin with the grim
solipsism of therapy,
intolerable solitude,
and the conviction
that I am unsuited
for all of it anyway.

Of course, sometimes
the depression rots away
back into the sickly loam
where it first bloomed.
It's replaced by the mocking
low-key mania that howls
half-hopes, that each throb
like a throated singing bowl
combined with the profane
drone of an air conditioner.

In those moments,
things get done.
Bills get paid.
I reach out to other people,
breach the indifferent yawn
I feel between each of us.
I splurge, scrape a stool
up to a bar, borrow
an acquaintance for an hour,
or else drink hard liquor alone
until my teeth sing and drown.
Marigolds Fever Aug 2018
There once was a woman who lived in a barn.  Her walls were painted picture blue.  When she crawled upon the floor, she thought my goodness I've never done this before.  She ran out to the farm to see what was the matter and yelled what am I going to do with all this cattle.  No one to help her.  She felt all alone. she thought to herself, I better adjust my tone and she began to whistle and hum a note or two. Them off in the distant land, she saw the shadow of tan.  The shadow yelled have no fear I am your Italian man!  She ran back in the barn and tied the hinges tight and scurried around in fright.  She spoke to the picture on the wall.  She said Grandma, I did ask for this at all.  She began to cook and make the worst lasanga bake.  Even the ricotta cheese was fake.  She said surely this will send him away.  When her pan of fraud was piping hot, she invited him to smell the ***. He grinned a big grim that even his mustache looked as though it would win.  mmm mmm mmm he exclaimed as he touched the tin.  She rolled her eyes and thought this man hadn't known what I bought.  She politely said sit down and enjoy, for a good meal is needed for a big boy.  She stepped in the kitchen and snickered as he took a bite and thought if this doesn't **** him I might.  She heard a scream and ran back to the table.  The man was gasping as he read the ricotta label.  She said what is it? what is it?  Is there something wrong with my gable?  He laughed so hard he could hardly breathe.  He said this is the ricotta my mother ate when I was conceived!
Lexie Dec 2018
Our hands clasped together
As if they were storm clouds deciding
Now was a good time to begin the rain
Fear pushed us together
It is only fitting that she should pull us apart
The storm came down
We had been warned
When you know a broken heart is coming
Doesn't make the breaking any easier

The lighting struck
I began my undoing
My thread count dwindling
Down to four or five strands that you could loop between your teeth
As you pulled the words off your tongue
Sewing them into my hands with a needle like point

This is leaving
No.
This is being left
I was a swinging door to you
All that mattered was that my hinges were oiled
It never mattered if the locks were working
Because you broke locks even when I gave you the key
When you couldn't break the lock you broke the door
So I let you kick it in
Because the trembling of my hands was for the thought;
That if you didn't break the door
Then you would of broke me

The storm reigns on
It's always raining in my head
When you tell me it's just a little water
It's not that I'm afraid of getting wet
I just can't fathom drowning in someone else's depths
That their salty tears would run down my face as if I were a windowpane
I cannot feel for you
What you will not even watch me go through

The storm rages on
My feet are wet
I stand barefoot in puddles
I would knock on your door
You would answer
To have the pleasure of slamming the door in my face
It would be the same as if you had slapped me  
I turn the other cheek
Until I have the courage to turn away
Because walking in the rain
At least it washes everything away
Anurag Mukherjee Oct 2018
Words are made of thoughts.
I wish they'd intrude. I am lonely,
unemployed with a nine to seven routine
of various activities.

A malignant trend courses through the head.
Broadcasting it outside in the realm of trust
where I am blank but set to go, it would have
the appearance of a finely ambient glass of chocolate milk.

Sometimes I'm asked why the relevance hinges on me.
If I had to say, it's because I keep getting vignettes, like something
out of a beggar's bowl, a wooden saltiness
that becomes increasingly less involved. And, like, everytime
I think about it, it's something similar to trying to walk
on John Carter's Mars; and all of this trivial, like, asinine
things can never match up to the draw, the pull of
whatever has been dropped, whatever has been shorn
unevenly like a badly eaten candy-bar. Or something.
I don't know why it has to be about me.
I don't, pull my weight, and recently I feel cold in the summer;
I have slept under a bedsheet since June.
That's not what this is about, or what I, want to project.

This isn't a prerogative, a jarring hiss of due-dates
incoming inevitably. I just ****. Which is not a surprise,
like organic web shooters is a surprise, or, thinking up
something like a dead polemic of a sewer draining
the sordid leftovers of a consciousness.
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