Not this Island Music
I. What it was never
(on J reading Robert Kelly)
"And after luscious months of living they would say it's not so
very different from what they knew."
It was never the verse, but something thicker
dangerous to the finger; a bait trap
of honesty foraged from a conformed colony by a dominant
drone possessing a new Queen.
It was never the voice, but something tougher
sharper under the skin; tiny lancets
a barbed stinger from a defensive maneuver pumping venom
through a corpuscle of blood and water.
It was never the delivery, disoriented in direction
from an insufficient species of pheromone; so
The Post*The Post5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The blue mail-satchel bumps and sways, brings them in,
rigid with the weight of promise;
envelopes, dessert-colored, a delicacy,
the brittle folds filled with scent,
a creme transfer over time, to me.
I open each with the reverence
of seashells and oceanic loves.
I cut apart the shore that separates us
with a letter-opener, the sound of water.
You have arrived
before your body.
I settle into my pulse
and the resounding ambiance of my privacy
while your words touch my lips.
We stand in our reamed maze of consent--
faces, throats thrumming
on parallel shoulders;
a doorway, at dusk;
a barefoot dance sung over by birds.
We are two of the same one;
the twin elements of time:
now and Then
--before and after--
not opposed. Of the same origin,
a substance pared from itself.
The dawn is your precision.
The long hair of rain,
the history of sound. You stand,
hands over your heart, eyelids li
Caughtin the helium of a nightCaught5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
where constellations ignite
the blood-spattered atrium
of a late summer's sky,
I find myself a comet
shooting the urban grid
in an urgency as I race
a suicidal rim on two wheels
in the blackness between the fires,
my red-shifted thoughts crossing
light years out-of-body
and outliving me
till the awareness of you
slingshots me at Mach speed
to await your arrival
long before it happens,
caught at the last light
so close to my destination,
inhaling the danger of you,
where to idle the demon
begs disaster, even if the
interlude proves a watershed
by Neptune's light, I will
wish to death I had run the red
Emotion The noise is unbearable. It runs through your body and cracks your soul; the sound of fear. It's high pitched, like a scream from a horror movie. Primal. We've evolved in such a way that such a sound sends terror pulsing through us. It's a chain reaction.Emotion5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Your muscles clench; that's the sound of your wife dying. All the worst thoughts pulse through your head; your mind serves only to exacerbate your horror. Eventually, you can't hear the screaming anymore, not over the sound of your heartbeat. The perfect engine in your chest pumps faster and faster; this is your death as well as hers.
Paralysis comes next. That's when you notice the blood. Again your mind races. Surely, it isn't natural to lose that much blood. The paralysis worsens. Before you were tense, now it feels as though your knees are going to give way. That's when you realise i
Learning GodThese beloveds of mineLearning God5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
wend their way through minefields of learning,
dig through layers of deadliness for you.
blinded still by the glitter of my tripwire,
I dance along the edges of these cliffs
believing there is an invisible bridge, casting sand
out into the sky, ready to run along the glimmer of walkway
it reveals, assume
there is no bottom to this gorge, launch off
and grow my wings as the wind hits me in the face
and think I have help to give to my beloveds.
Maybe the difference is that
I have left the ground, and they are still pushing poles into
the next bit of dirt, mincing toward the next buried mine.
deliverance does not come,as does the bell-boy from his duties,deliverance does not come,5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the rough-boned burly man from his cell.
with the calendar days deemed ignorant,
the time-clocks cloak themselves. from what?
natural disasters are nothing, nothing I say,
compared to cold metal making nests
within a womb. and men, are wild -
run rampant through the night,
start fights, take heaven to tired veins and
in blind glory, ignite.
RipcordIt is warm black clothRipcord5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that tumbles my loose head
My eyes shrink softly
below the ragged line
under the camphor blankets.
there is a man at the back door.
Under trembling turkey-pink-
Heart jangles on the ripcord kick
flay these arms at the silhouette
snatching at the hot light prickles
it is black behind him.
My gorge is dry packed
a dust wall a dumbed jam
and trying to force the tight
broken glass scream
out panic! out panic! out
out out out
is like tearing plastercast with teeth
like defecating a tumour-
the noise thumps!
mouth roof from beef chest,
a solid bark gasp,
coughing a nightmare dog out through
electric waves of naked pimpled skin,
but the room is a black heatpress
and the teeth in the walls sing
that I am still asleep-
don't let him in
foreign object tapping at the locks.
a sepsis stare...
The fairy tale of death
The Horizon and the ShorelineI saw you in the ocean, riding waves like seaweed leaves.The Horizon and the Shoreline2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And you kept your arms in motion
kept waving out to me.
I blew a kiss goodbye,
and stayed to watch you leave.
For the tide's a perfect gentleman, he'll take you out to sea.
Soichiro's RoarMom was a Honda girl. Always was, always would be. She spent her initial years driving a variety of shed-built Volkswagens, which would promptly have a major failure, which would promptly be dragged back home to get a motor swap. The regularity of this business got to the point where my Uncle Mike, her brother, can still pull and replace a motor in about twenty minutes, but I digress.Soichiro's Roar5 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Somewhere along the line, Mom, or Robin at the time, needed a new car, and found herself in a Honda dealership. After approaching every vehicle with scrutiny, and likely yelling at the salesman (though she would never admit it), she bought herself the first-generation Honda Civic, a lovely black (they were almost always black) three-door with AM radio, Power Disc Brakes, and more than enough frugality with fuel to ease her own personal gas crisis.
Somewhere in that little hatch, a love affair started, that would only be foolishly interrupted once by a GMC. As time went on, so did that little Honda, to the
EnvyMaiden.Envy5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The space between us is slant rhyme,
Burning-in, saturation, and exposure time,
Ink curves he drew from a lead line,
The way his fingers fit in yours,
Instead of mine.
You are difficult to hone, granite.
I am prone to severing.
You are a vestige made of stone
That I could never be.
Are you what is happening to me?
Rain and gravity have
Weathered the weaker parts
They leave you standing
Strong, a pyramid, a mountain.
I am haunted: a cliff, daunted
By the sea.
Conversation...Conversation waiting for the TrainConversation...5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It pisses me off when he pretends
to sleep like that
his eyelids flutter and that's how I know he's faking.
Maybe I will live in Battery Park
Dirty grey water slapping against the wall
Why a wall?
That way no hypodermic sand.
The statue's nice, too, when you can see it.
I like the trees best, and the
The bums are interesting
is he someone's grandfather?
Is that tattered satin Broadway jacket his,
or did some drunk stagehand
give it him in a fit of
(kind stagehand in a fit of drunkenness?)
He's hiding fro
Up and Aparti.Up and Apart5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I was four and you were two. My Ma says she remembers me saying how it was such a bother when we had a playdate because you'd take my animal crackers and mash them between your fingers and your mouth but you'd never eat any of them.
I was seven and you were five, and my Ma told me to find a rose to give to you so she could take a picture with her new camera. I couldn't find any, so I went to Old Alfred's field and picked a wildflower instead. But it had a bee, and you had allergies, and you stuffed the petals in my mouth after your Pa fixed you up with the Epipen.
I was twelve and you were ten. You went to a Catholic girls' school and you said if I kissed you on the mouth, you wouldn't tell my Pa about the magazines and the cigarettes you helped me steal; but you didn't tell me you would kiss back.
I was fifteen and you were thirteen, and even though we were tired from racing home on our bikes, you let me sneak you out into Old
Depressing Russian Literature.Guilt is a piano on top of youDepressing Russian Literature.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
instead of a man. Street noises
drain you like bleach on a rainbow.
Indecision becomes a washer & dryer
you can't stop putting things into
& taking things out of all through
a painful fluorescent night. The
brain becomes smoke, a hidden stash
of dark red cigarettes, dipped in
formaldehyde, waiting for you.
Depressing Russian literature
becomes your best friend & you
can't remember what it is like
to have a flesh & bone best friend,
a soft voice at the other end, someone to cough up
pounds of dirt and flashlights and floods with you.
Fun becomes self-destruction in the form of 47 grams
or too much coffee in the blood.
Death becomes a run-on sentence
wraps its arms around you, puts its
mouth all over a frozen horse.
Health becomes a science,
frightens you with its bones,
pulls at its skin like polyester.
Today is a miracle, & yesterday
was one too.
Haikai no RengaThe Tools of Poetry #1: Haikai no RengaHaikai no Renga7 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Written by Dick Whyte, Phylis Johnson and Reginald Webber
Summary: This text details the mechanics and philosophy of the Japanese poetic form known as Haikai no Renga. A group of people comprised of both professional poets and so-called 'non-poets' (preferably) gather. One of them comprises a starting line, a dyad consisting of a paradox, or contradictory statement. One might be I am blue, but I am not blue, while another might be I am sad, and yet I am happy. In Western terms this might be considered a piece of philosophical nonsense, an absurdity. Each starting line reiterates 'I am being and yet I am not being'. This phrase is an impossibility surely? Classical Western philosophy often asserts this view. As Aristotle writes after Parmenides, That which is not could [not] in any way exist [or
Europe, Twenty-SixAnd there, to the west,Europe, Twenty-Six6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
was a skeleton
that wasnt made of bones
and carried no flesh,
stretched taut across the skyline
and motionless, as if taken surprise
by the sudden black of night.
We gazed across the city,
electrified, two small eyes
peering out from the bright skull.
You lifted your arm,
fingers splayed like dark eyelashes
to catch the bright orbs
of streetlights on the horizon
and cupped them in your hand,
like small candles burning,
flickering luminescent in the midnight pupil.
zzznight's limbo is retrospective,zzz5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
lights whim & akimbo and the shadows are epileptic
but stiller than still this is me leaning on my windowsill,
testing nonsleep's nimble rim till I tumble upwards etched & wrenched come early morn,
thinking what my wallclock must think of time & I
hounding sane, sound sounds, dreaming of the brick tongues of fireflies
and the many realms of the weather.
have you ever tried miming a dialogue with a handheld moment
only to find its spasm as warm as a cat's ninth life?
and that the past that the present has passed is a limber lie
from the moment your eyes pretend to memorize it?
well, sorry, I don't speak eyeese. if I try it's all wink & wheeze until language comes along.
at least then I know what to call it, one of its manyshaped names.
that's what monologue gets you, negotiations with pieslices of time
till your throat is dry & spidery and you're dying to be tired
but the glow attracts litt
Shattering.A woman says take me home and you are struckShattering.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
by the fear that you will not know how to touch her right, that you
have unwittingly made it this far without her knowing that
this was not supposed to be your life, a life your father
does not speak of and your mother doesn't understand, her eyes
heavy and sad. This is the kind of life that the dishes
will be the undoing of, a glass handled carelessly one day will
break in your hands and that will be the thing you finally
can't handle, your body crumpling against the sink, the weight
of your mother's sadness, the bitter emptiness of your father's
goodbye on the phone, your last trace of him, sterile and distant,
the endless ringing of every attempt after, the acrid taste of
the day you stopped calling, the despair, this life was never
what you wanted.
A woman says take me home and you say yes,
because how could you not?
From Alpha Centauri with LoveI'd like to write you a messageFrom Alpha Centauri with Love11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in hundred-foot high flaming letters.
It would tell you
you no longer needed glasses.
A passing spacecraft might mistake
my words for a signal
that the earth was running out of air
and, though we are very sorry,
there is no safe place for them to land.
If the words were bright enough
they may carry to the edges of the nearest
star, and there split in two.
Observers on Alpha Centauri
interpret it as a dialogue
on the subtle machinations of string theory.
In translation it becomes a bestseller
on Dagobah 7, and is summarily
taken out of print.
When atmospheric lensing distorts my message
you may scrye the meaning
from the warmth of the words
as each letter spreads itself beyond its boundaries
and becomes a wall.
As Chinese textbooks tell us
no walls can be seen from space.
So, maybe no one knows the words
I write you-maybe no one is looking.
If they were, they would see a rope
twisting up through clouds-as thin
but strong enough to climb.
TattooHear me read itTattoo2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I splashed black ink onto your spine;
unintentional as I frenzied and fawned
to try and catch the elusive thought.
You patiently waited for me to return,
out of breath and triumphant, with my trophy.
We hung it on wood next to the elk.
In my haste to write of the love of you,
I'd written in you. I'd marked you as mine,
as my words intoxicated your weak heart.
The ink had permeated your flesh, your blood,
until it silted, deep inside you,
a permanent, unedited, tattoo of our love.
SaudadeI am painting wallsSaudade5 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
In the full-to-brim rooms of
Houses long burned down.
31:12N, 121:30Emy Dear i just noticed31:12N, 121:30E3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my balcony is shaped
and the wind is billowing
the moon up, up to-night
in her dusty purple garb
and i think
no Dear i do not want
to leave here: where men
build bridges over oceans
and live inside of mountains
like river dragons
where the sun shines
not at all at noon but gleams
like an orange at sundown
where the moon walks home
surefooted to where my neck
Train taint constraint conceitTrain taint constraint conceit11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a train journey
night, she sits serene
on the opposite seat,
and her gaze drifts to
skybirds on thermals soaring swooping emotionless joyful.
advancing, the Inspector of Tickets, the Taker of Fares
in his municipal in his green and strident waistcoat authoritarian
stride peaked cap tickets please tickets please tickets
she doesn't have a ticket. money
is alien-tainted hate-polluted isn't worth a damn
to her, let alone railway tickets.
she calls me to the open window – So
she jumps as the train starts to slow - So
she glides to the ground
and turns to me calling follow.
with her - i don't know, not
with her voice at any rate. hidden now
by a wooded glade still calling
For Nelson MandelaIn this cup, I once held the world;For Nelson Mandela5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you were so tiny, skin like starlight
against my worn and tired hands.
In the years and the hate,
I could not always keep you
close. I gave my life
to piercing the darkness
and you, cupped in these hands,
you gave me light. You forged
my knees straight and standing
when I wanted them to buckle. This world
I have tried to build
is suddenly empty -
these cracked fingers, once etching
the course of the river of history,
no longer hold water.
PallorI cried myself sane and thenPallor5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
moved on. How strange, that a man
can split open like a rotten peach and find,
at last, nothingness. How strange to realize:
only then can sunlight enter his veins.
Death dissolves us. Nothing has changed
but everything is different. I spend an hour
pressing my fingers against a wall, the skin
whitening as blood retreats.
There is no regret, no fear. Only a man
who whitens against his final four walls,
the empty chair, the selfish and wandering grief.
Only a man whose face slowly unravels and the way
I wash my face, make dinner, let myself forget.
On the Northside of TimeOn the Northside of Time5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was a good day for the dogs and a bad one for the rabbits. I heard the big black dog howl his chase call through most of the afternoon, sometimes near and sometimes far. His little white shadow yipped along behind him. There were long pauses between yips heard. That little dog had short legs and needed extra wind and effort just to keep up.
The air outside was cool and sharp. The dogs ran under the last autumn leaves I could spot out there, out past the meadow. Some of those old trees in the grove stayed green the whole winter long. Most never did. The hunt through the big grove must have been exciting for the dogs. Not for smaller and younger animals.
The dogs came back when the setting sun put sof