The Safety of Familiar Objects
Splinters puncture membrane-covered clouds
time and time again her yellow breath
of smog and fog and ink on wet newspapers
sticks to black asphalt covered with May-colored sprinkles
and geometric daffodils unsnapping necks.
A condom wrapper defies the suckwhirl tide and clings to driftwood
and bangles of sky glimmer in a rainbow collapse
of oil. There's metal in her nostrils and linoleum in her eyes;
she slips piles of nails and bloody slime down my throat
along with percussive bells and a flower like stained napkins.
SatedSated11 years ago in Typographical More Like This
Sated, she said, and bowed to the grave
nodding her lips to the thin of the wind
"Now it is june. She is tired of being brave."
Always there, something of missing and him.
Aubades on morning like nebula sighs
clash with the porn star handshakes and slick lips.
Names of the angels so quick fall to rise.
Nothing to know her but broken fingertips.
She nods to the smile and turns eyes so austere.
But the rhyming part of this poem
run run she said to the boy.
run, run, auld songs, old songs.
take your helmet, take your
maybe and take your love and
the following is a
the left and
sides of my brain
there is a pool of oil
on the side of the static road
that i wore church clothes
to see and go
New OrleansNew Orleans10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
So maybe there are too many flowers here
on the ground, and in the cotton;
weaving like lace through red dirt flesh.
Sun threatens necks and marinates eyes;
as balsa-spun bones tell laconic tales of age,
creaking and groaning like old southern mansions.
Mint juleps and almonds and peaches doze here,
and Eve has her fingers stuck down Eden's throat,
splashing sin and decadent fruits all over the city.
Our voices are slow and warping in the heat,
rising like egg steam off the sidewalks.
Honeysuckle flowers bloom with tarot cards
and suffocate the air with a drowsy nectar.
Stars are made to be read
nights are made to be wakened-
our cars are old and half-filled with gasoline,
half-kissed by rust and baptized in mud,
remembering those adrenaline worships
of croaks and crocs and gunshot rocks
exploding like fireworks in the bayou cradle.
Shrimp nets catch crosses and condoms floating in silt water,
bobbing arcs over catfish living in mud.
himBefore I lose my life in this town, I'm looking for a pebblehim9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that smells like anything - the ocean, soil, you - that shit.
Symptoms include an obsession with clocks and a dismissive anything
towards her, the bleak old buzzard who watches with gauze-eyed cataracts
as we walk by, - -we- menacing in white sneakers and suntan lotion - - she -
has been so long above it all that there is no longer any difference between the declaration of independence
and a newspaper article that goes:
Everything was terrible and the people died,
but really she was just having a bad dream.
Really she's okay.
And it was all just make-believe,
and you feel kind of stupid for ever having cared at all.
And the pebble would be shaped like a clear, healthy lung
and burned into it, it would say,
I would follow you into the dark.
In sans serif font, flawless, nothing-eyed,
lining my palm like mouthful of pulpy orange crush,
only stinging where the cracks show, and through them come
the old theo
Death is a Soviet BallerinaDeath is a Soviet Ballerina10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Rehearsal. Dance, and maybe bow.
(and how!) Entrance the sycophants.
Universal trance demands romance-
subsequent shroud that deflects
the crowd genuflects arrogant nod
to God. (Defiantly. Disquietly.)
Membranes are broken. My black-wrapped
legs, distract some pain unspoken
thrown to dregs, notions of broken powder kegs.
Soviet source of choreographed terminus
"Exterminus? So be it," laughed coarse
and hoarse contorting marionette.
drowning out westdrowning out west10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It has not been so bad here -- warmer than home and they call the place differently than we do. You know how we always said Mizzery?
They call it Mizzera.
Auntie J and Uncle Agner have made the attic comfortable for me. From my window I can see hills fattening in the distance and the river veins away from them -- winds right through the pasture.
Tell mother I wear the cardigan she crocheted and no one can tell yet. Auntie looks hard, cause she knows I should be blowing up, but she's disappointed. She tells me eat right cause she wants her new baby healthy and she heaps enough food for two grown-ups on my plate; I eat as much as I can, but it all comes up anyway.
Give everyone my love.
Mother is still too upset to write; I hope you understand. I'm glad you're settled in.
Agner only owns the pasture,
he hasn't a breath of livestock
His job is on the road,
so I'm alone with Auntie
and the boys most days.
The phone rings
AmphiprionAmphiprion10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I have been a bloodless fish tossed about
with wild blank eyes -- whiter than the foam that smashed me
into rocks that flaked my scales and sent them scattering
gold vermillion flashing at the knees of stinking fishermen
that bent to taste me,
one hand in the folds of their trousers where they started to stiffen
and the edges of their boots all caked with guts.
With salt crust forming in the corners of their lips they turned
to face each other, to shake hands or
compare rod size -- I made this community!
A limp queen rotting into water where I lay with seagull shit and algae scum
that floated and coated the mouths of babes and still I heard
carried in the wind to sluice my innards from cliff faces
and flavour all the oceans with part of me.
I have been a wailing cadaver, slinging hooks to ships
and several first mates drunk recalled a mermaid, though they can't
stand the stink of the sediment under their fingernails at night.
With the lack of light and of cou
DextromethorphanDextromethorphan9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It has been three days, and still I cannot bear to change it.
The water is turning a queer jaundice, and the fishy corpse
is bobbing like an upside-down moon in that thumb-hazed sky.
I threw food in the first day, before I noticed the stillness
of the red-finned thing, which I bought at Petco in a bag of plastic glass.
I put him in the blender with the blades taken out, and named him
nothing, genderless queer little floater. He ate bloodworms, and I
kept a log for awhile, to mark the days. I was supposed to get a plant
first, but their creeping vines and lack of eyes gave me the horrors. A cactus.
The bloodworms are still floating at the top, along with dust, skin cells and
him. I cannot bear to empty it, to know the sliminess and the tiny plop
at the end. I still have the condom packet from my first time, and it's been years.
The ramen, just in case. Three days, he has floated at the top, athletic little astronaut-
in apartment b16I throw you as I hear the widow cryin apartment b1610 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
beneath us. I imagine
her to have a veil of make-up running
down her face, or maybe she is bent
in the shadow
of a crucifix or a sun catcher,
starving for some light.
I heard she once went bicycling
over the dry dirt
roads of Italy, and chased the man
she loved into a private
Then in Boston, or New Haven,
she would laugh, throwing
her stockings to the wind
as she watched them parachute
down where the children
They would smile ,
and life would begin.
But, really, as we drag and pull, she
is gone. She has moved past Amber
Street, and has taken
to baking breads,
and holding them
in her arms
as she once held
MotherMother10 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Mother wakes at five thirty in the morning
even Sundays, though the newspaper hasn't been delivered
to me sitting at the top of the stairs.
She squints at me with Hitchcock eyes,
says that my bathwater is turning light gray, it's time to get in.
Sundays, we go to church, which isn't-just-a-social-thing-young-lady.
I'm here because I would neverever ask for anything else
if she bought me a dog.
It dawns, and her voice percolates my future, drip
drip drip, we say Scholarship.
I have a hard time knowing her
without her glasses
and her makeup in its technicolor glory.
She drives me to school every day, to save on parking.
Trucks and equinoxes blow past us as I stare out the window,
drawing pictures in the condensation with my thumb.
She says did you know that Beethoven
never saw the sea? Later we should go to the beach,
she'll show me a picture of a furtive flute of a girl
in a poodleskirt and a yellow-spattered room.
We can walk up and down the sand together
The Death PoemsThe Death Poems9 years ago in Scraps More Like This
The Death of Starfish and Submarines
By noon, the coastline reeks of it:
rotting fish, rotting soil,
and all the little shorebirds hopping,
hoping to find free breakfast,
maybe brunch. The tourists
infest the scene quick as flies,
drop their oversized towels,
open lemonades, complain how loud
the gulls are—those rats of the sky.
The Death of Grandmothers
She lay broken at the bottom
of her cellar stairs for eight days
before the neighbor wondered
and called the police
and they wandered in
and carried her out
while the dogs protested
and the house protested
and even the limp dead body
protested. Then it was lunchtime
and they left her in the trunk
while they stopped for cokes
and gasoline and talked about
whose wife was prettiest.
The Death of the Butterfly Bush
This year the early frost came unsympathetic
and silenced all the life of my garden.
The monarchs fled to Mexico
and all the little pink flowers
withered from the heartbreak.
The Death of Presidents and P
The Curse Of Formal VerseNothing is harder than writing formal verse;The Curse Of Formal Verse10 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
We struggle and we try to wrack our heads,
But all words fail, our poems are a curse.
The creators of such forms were most perverse,
Taking pleasure from poets wishing they were dead.
Nothing is harder than writing formal verse.
A failed writer shakes his empty purse.
He is determined to, once more, be fed.
But all words fail, his poems are a curse
The Villanelle, The Sestina; a hearse
Waiting for that poet, writhing in his bed.
Nothing is harder than writing formal verse.
An inmate of an asylum calls the nurse
He tried to write a sonnet in his shed
But all his words failed, his poems are a curse
Do not laugh off these forms with words so terse;
Even the masters have been quoted to have said,
"Nothing is harder than writing formal verse.
When all words fail, our poems are a curse."
The CordContentsThe Cord10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I. "Tomato Stew"
II. "conversation with the neighbour"
III. "Man in No.3"
V. "On the Road (part one)"
VI. "On the Road (part two)"
VII. "On the Road (part three)"
VIII. "untitled document"
IX. "Motel Room"
X. "Hospital again (insecticide)"
XI. "The Separation"
XII. "Before the Law (timber wolf)"
XIII. "conversation with the mother"
XIV. "another document"
I. Tomato Stew
she's crying away in that little room of hers, what does she want now? leave the
wooden spoon resting on the pot bubbling away limping down the corridor the
screaming grows from a muffle into hi-fi eardrum perforation. she looks helpless
in her confines but I know the stew is going to overflow. tomato stew ambles beyond
lipped edges, rush to the stove turn down the heat, bubbles exhumed with a hiss
leaving chaos on the floor ceiling table drawers cutlery statue chairs and the sink.
but she won't stop the antichrist screaming, i'm late for work and the flo
the sea salty sweet withthe sea salty sweet with10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
birdcry (the sea salty sweet with)
the sea was his womb;
the salt the waves the sea
the boy, he counted waves:
and said: I'll live to be that--
-- old man drowning & crow-
birds cawing &
let's pretend he is deaf:
and the waves have number but not
the sound of rushing past quickly. the
old man doesn't stop drowning, though
a croak, silent & open-mouthed desperation,
carries him under.
7 Lovely SinsThe7 Lovely Sins9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The Book of
1 This is how you will know to mark the young among men,
for this is the prayer they pray, again and again.
2 It is these who should be marked and minted into lives worth being spent.
3 These are the words they speak in vain,
"Our father who art in us, tradition be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in me as it is in him.
Give us this day our lovely sins1—those of youth and innocence.
And forgive us our deviance, as we forgive those who differ from us.
And lead us not into similarity, but deliver us from the collective.
For thine is the prison, and the scorn, aimed at abnormal men."2
1:3 1 7 Lovely Sins, Quintessence 1, New Testament
1:3 2 Hope's Prayer, Quintessence 43, New Testament
The Book of
1 Behold, these are the sins
for which you shall be told to repent
there’s a drawing room...there's a drawing room hidden insidethere’s a drawing room...10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my right pinky. I go there sometimes when I can't
sleep. I have found all I have to do is bring
some peaches and imagine I have a red hat on
and it will let me in. I realize that this is where I keep
my poetry, and where I kept that poem I wrote
in my dream, which I thought I had lost. It turns out
it was bad, anyway, but it was dripping with honey
so I licked it and stored it away under my left middle toe.
that is my storage closet.
my soul is located in the back of my right knee. I visit
when I can and talk to it through high frequency brain
waves when I can't sleep. it's nice, but very boring and sometimes
I don't like what it has to say. but it's my soul, and do your
brain and soul have to agree, really? God will meet me there
on occasion when I'm feeling lonely and
then he'll move and whisper into my left ear.
I can see things out of the palm of my hand.
I yell at it to start the show! Start the show! but it is limp
and can only show me a scrol
chewing the impossibleDraw me laughter,chewing the impossible7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
describe a color to me,
spread a rumor with me about the taste
of water, rhyme a word with orange,
love me more than i love you,
pronounce caramel correctly,
make love in three different languages.
Unfold yourself like a newspaper
and flutter into the world, barking mad,
inky and smelling
of the comic section.
Eat love. Eat in general. Tie your little brothers shoes.
Conquer grief loudly
with crayons or kisses
Two scoops instead of one.
Finish that song, sleep in.
north station"why is it you always come home covered in blood?"north station5 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"because i never bring a change of clothes with me."
"is it your blood this time, or someone else's?"
"oh, it's rebecca's."
"why is rebecca bleeding?"
"i think she's stopped by now."
"glad to hear it, but why was she bleeding in the first place?"
"right. rebecca got hit by a train."
"gosh- is she alright?"
"yeah, of course."
"shit, good thing. man, what happened?"
"i told you, rebecca got hit by a train."
"no shit. i mean, how did she get hit by the train?"
"well, see, she was on the tracks at the moment the train was-"
"fuck off. you know what i mean."
"i'm just messing with you."
"are you going to tell me?"
"not really, no."
"because you're an ugly fucker."
"yeah, you are. hey- don't touch me."
"shit- it's not like i want to. just why are you covered in blood?"
"rebecca got hit by a train."
"yeah, i get that. but why are you the one who's bloody?"
"i was too close."
"you were by her when she fell on the trac
what really matters iswhat really matters is9 years ago in Open More Like This
The sky went in labour as I drove from the supermarket,
my breath hopped with smoke that surged from lips
like clusters of people, as if it could be a good thing
to give yourself yellow fingernails and a bad cough.
The snow was not falling, but climbing
higher up the whiteout of my jaw line --
I closed my eyes and I was afraid,
crowed in a movie theatre, it's dark
there but that was okay
because it was meant to be like that.
But then it was no longer okay --
My lungs needed extra help, I did not have anyone
to press my irises against, to snapshot this moment with
and tuck it away in the splits of my left ribcage,
where these things belongs.
I wanted to butcher my heart with heavy calories,
I blinked and did not want to hate myself
anymore. I thought maybe,
cells are meant to be re-born
into something more like heartbeats
and chocolate cakes, made to be eaten and maybe
hipbones are meant to be private, for lovers only
to see them with their hands.
And maybe my sto
TrenchesShe's aphasic. She doesn'tTrenches10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
cough mustard gas
from rice paper lungs.
Her armies have learned
it's habit to fight,
lose a black mud trench
and retake it
five hours later.
For one million casualties,
one hundred yards were gained.
is ten thousand men down,
and she crawls
over their bodies,
fingers and toes
with dirt, blood,
and blue flesh.
Sometimes I'm so hungry
that I feel full,
sick and clenched.
my empty hands feel
like they're holding something
in Lieu of a Liein Lieu of a Lie9 years ago in Scraps More Like This
Our sky squats
hostile and sad;
what a wail of rain
and wind when
a hardwood throws
several hickory nuts
the runt squirrel
will be shoved
from the nest
and be reared
by the shaking
hands of man
man will soon
surely as his wife
surely as she
loves cold men
but not so much
does she love
If I Were A LineIf I were a lineIf I Were A Line7 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I think Id be curled,
billowed and swirled,
and slowly unfurled.
Id sweep over a page,
if I were a line,
with the wind in my hair,
and my heart laid bare.
Thats what Id be,
if I were a line.
If I were a spot
Id be round and fat
(now how about that?)
like an old, well-fed cat.
Id have drizzled and dropped,
if I were a spot,
pittering and pattering
with a slight hint of smattering.
Thats what Id be,
if I were a spot.
If I were a colour
Id be a rich red,
like a painted deathbed
or a sword to the head.
Id lunge for macabre,
if I were a colour,
made oh-so dramatic,
my thoughts all sporadic.
Thats what Id be,
if I were a colour.
But I am a human,
so pale and flawed,
and easily bored,
(wishing I was adored).
I twist and bend
(these hinges, you see?);
my shape is no other
than the one I can be;
My colour, it changes
because I am a human:
a human thats me.
Lotus -- ApologueLotus -- Apologue7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
蓮 -- LOTUS
once upon a time, there lived a pair of lovelaced sisters bound by string and tied by laughter to a travelling circus that roamed the wonderwise world.
A MARVEL, came the crier. AN ANOMOLY IN ITSELF.
the stage was always the set and the mood was always dark. they wore a new story every night because it was the nothing they always knew.
FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OUR RINGLEADER RECEIVED A STRANGE LETTER, the crier always brayed, hoarse like radishes grated in the sand.
IT WAS FROM THE QUEEN OF KIRIBATI, A PROUD ISLAND NATION. SHE HAD BEEN BLESSED AND CURSED WITH TWO PRINCE-PRINCESSES-- A COMMON AFFLICTION IN THEIR COUNTRY, BUT ALAS, THESE DARLING TWINS COULD NOT LEGALLY MARRY, AND SO THE ROYAL LINE WOULD BE BROKEN. WITH TEARS IN HER EYES, THE QUEEN REQUESTED THAT OUR KIND RINGLEADER CARE FOR THE GIRLS UNTIL THE MATTER OF ASCENDANCY WAS RESOLVED.
QUITE CONTRARY TO THEIR ROYAL BLOOD, THESE TWIN PRINCESSES ARE OF PLAYFUL DEMEANORS, FULL OF LIVELINESS AND CH
Margot in PiecesMargot in Pieces9 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
I'm meant to be a writer, say I, but my mother doesn't understand. She stands over me and my tiny room, towering like a giant. She is the birth beast, the originator, she gave birth to me, and yes, she could kill me too, no jury would convict her. But then with imagery like that, perhaps I'm not quite the writer I claim to be.
Writing won't pay your bills, Margot. Writing won't get you married. Writing won't feed your family. She says this in a warning tone, the type mothers always use when they want to appear benevolently concerned, or at least hiding the self-loathing at having created the worthless beings they call children.
No, but writing will save my soul, I want to shout back at her, but it doesn't scan well, the words aren't enough, they need to be reconsidered, rewritten, reedited, perhaps double-lin
I fell the night He roseit was Easter Sunday, the year 2004I fell the night He rose10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when in a series of gulps
I lost my innocence
and ol' man Nelson told me stories in my grandmother's house
his old guitar singing the lovechild of a blues, jazz, country, folk orgy
but I'm thinkin' in blue skies instead of gray now
and I know he was justa wannabe Injun pothead
being melancholy on his ay-
Yea I followed granny's example
'cause my head was ahurtin'
and they were like the horde of blue skittles
hid from the masses since the beginning
and I tasted the rainbow
but my memory's jogged for miles now
and I know the orange bottles made them as gray as
the hair on the robots in retirement
wearin' diapers 'cause dey jus' don' kno wen dey gon' go
so here's to chemical tesseracts
mixing the first note with the last
while ol' Willie just braidin' his grays
and I'm wond'rin if I wanted a headache
in that chilly Easter living room
but my eyesight's been well adju