I have forgottennot the words themselves, but how
they wind around each other
like grapevines along a chain-link fence.
I know how it's done: the curt, argus-eyed
hellos to passersby, the courtesy questions
over the phone to keep the conversation
moving, like turning the page of a bad book.
I understand practicality. I understand
the emollient coos, infant-speech;
the harsh backhand bark against
your acerbity; the weeping tongue.
As does the world--even a child
can shed his natural-born cruelty
for a moment of understanding, the precursor
of compassion that can build men.
But it is this I have forgotten:
its ascension not unlike a god,
how to ease them together
into such an immaculateness that one word,
one feather removed would mean
the hard, dark earth, or the cold, bitter slap
of the sea. It is a sort of death
that goes quietly, a third-world death.
To think I had something amidst my grip,
that I could reach into the good light
of each morning, my footfalls
avoiding the crow-footed cracks
of the si
DigitsWe always begin by learningDigits4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
how to memorize the back of our hands--
the quiet veins, each bend and crease.
One day, we'll know other things,
and reference them to the smooth,
deformed moons of our fists,
how they can ray out for high-fives,
to trace out the body of a turkey,
to block out the sun as jets
wrinkle the sky with contrails.
Young, the whole world seems to fit
along our lifelines, between both thumbs,
like a melon--or the tips of our fingers
as we translate the crosshatched biography
engraved on the face of a grandparent, or
the callousness of their own palms.
Isn't it a wonder how most of us never make it
to that age? Even tomorrow, God may
unzip the very sky and pull your soul up
like a nasty root or a dinosaur bone.
Even as we know how each morning rises
the way our hands guide us out of bed,
there is always that chance of darkness,
something so overwhelming and complete,
like an unending dust, that we cannot count
the stars anymore, like our final age of 10,
when we reali
Europe, Twenty-SixAnd there, to the west,Europe, Twenty-Six5 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.
petrichorNiobe weeps.petrichor3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
gold scattered rough across
cracked earth and the last
remains of summer - they fell
like leaves in the arms of the wind.
some scents cannot be captured.
the gods bleed onto rock,
and the stone sends her prayers
in return: petrichor.
listen - the heavy thud of
rain on parched ground;
the monsoon sealing life back in;
the sky bows and kisses earth.
Clockwork GodHe knew there was a simple solution:Clockwork God3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Go back and altar history—
He would work backwards.
The atomic clock would be simple;
one well-placed sneeze would knock it off course,
then he would find the Swiss watchmaker
and explain to him in chocolate tones
that punctuality was overrated.
The Greeks would be a challenge.
It would take the hands of several gods to convince them to smash
those handsome sundials.
Then he would reach into the soul
of the first homo floresiensis who
looked at the sky and decided to delineate day and night,
to make them into two halves,
And tell him that things were just fine whole.
And there would be no before, no after,
No hour, minute, second 'til
his four weeks left were gone—
There would only be now.
MayMay walks softly in ballerina's shoes,May4 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
she's a morning-glow goddess with nothing to lose,
and she's got a secret, but she can't sing the blues,
so she comes and she goes
and I wanna know what she knows.
I wanna know what she knows.
Saw her lying last night in a sliver of moon,
scent of white wine and honey and jasmine perfume
she asked me "why are the good things always over so soon?"
'cause she comes and she goes
I wanna know what she knows!
I wanna know what she knows!
I said "May, what's this secret you've been holdin' so close,
curled up in your fingers like the bud of a rose?
Your eyes burn like cinders they're so broken and it shows
that you come, you you go,
and God, I wanna know what you know,
I wanna know what you know."
She said "it's that first glance of wonder; it's a kiss in the rain;
it's the smell of the thunder and the taste of champagne;
it's the banner we march under and it's drivin' us insane
watch it come, let it go,
Oh they all wanna know what I know,
libya, 2011i. cartographylibya, 20114 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
fly east, a
blows. the sahara
into the skin
of your people.
arrive in time
and your land
to sanded annals
routed. ras anuf, lost.
two killed, five wounded,
viva la libye
under the overpass.
and brown grass,
wait. he turns,
the rebel flag
grab a gun,
a fighter plane
grab a gun,
or go home.
he fancies himself
you fancy him
stupid. and thank
allah, you think,
as he hesitates
over the fence,
he is afraid.
iii. the government channel
everything is okay.
in its place. the
Plane CrashI watched the plane go downPlane Crash3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on another man's soil
and wondered where love goes
when the breathing stops
and how the bodies would find
someplace to sleep
for the night.
The way you hum
is so sad
like you live
an ordinary life
she said, turning her back
on the window
to face the television,
the noise drowning out
I tried to remember how she looked
without her clothes,
naked on the porcelain tiles
that night in Seville,
when I said the moon
would stop for her
but the engine drowned out
another doomed doomsdaymankind set their clocksanother doomed doomsday4 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
the omniscient unknowing
slept through the rapture
ResolveWalk in the sand, drown your dry cracked feet in the ground.Resolve4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Step on ideas of glass empires, visions of what the dust has been.
Beyond the curving dunes you feel the antispace, the vacuum of possibility.
Step forward, human child, relentlessly drawn into the coming dayfall.
Light shower your nakedness in the potential final dawn.
Leaving red steps in your wake will show your juggernaut resolve,
and you must point your heels in all directions. Let nobody think
that you were ever sure of where to go. Mark the journey,
because it outlives the destination that will devour your body.
Nothing runs like the horizon, until you lift your eyes.
atrophy of the mindI've got two brain cells left;atrophy of the mind4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
one's standing still
and the other is chasing it.
to its tracks;
a plane crash
cut in half -
My mind is running down my face
and I can't find a cup
to catch it in.
conscious (of this fact),
of the moments
My ears fell off a while ago,
if you are still talking
I can't hear it.
to your skin,
'til you sleep
I've sewn my lips shut tight,
even if I said something
you wouldn't understand.
the way you
AttemptSilence was never written down.Attempt4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
This is the silence that I know:
night hovering outside the window, fingers
stuck above the gaping mouth of keys
and their strange, twisted teeth. Sometimes
the keyboard is a congregation of people
stunned by the light of the monitor;
they have lost their language, the voice
that spoke of history, offered hymns, knew God.
And that is when I step away, like an apostate,
and find a new sort of silence, my hands
guiding a book through its life, page
by page, the black stare of the television
just across the room. Sometimes a car
may growl by, too much like an animal,
and I'll glance outside that window
and witness the shuddering bits of its light,
always just ahead, evasive as prey.
Perhaps then I will discover something,
through this unnatural noise that dissolves
the silence of twilight, words lifting
from the page, a turn of phrase, a simile
that tells me that silence is like a bridge,
an overpass I h
Hansel and GretelWhat kind of motherHansel and Gretel5 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
sends her children out
without their shoes or coats -
nothing but a trail of crumbs
to find their way back home?
They all find their way here.
Maybe it is the scent of holidays
freshly baked inside my kitchen
or the sight of spice drops
glistering in the rampant dusk.
The children like my house -
my rich ginger carpets
so easy to get lost in
and the pink pillows
puffed and glossy with promises.
They do not notice me watching,
how my fingers slip around their wrists
to measure their meager lives
or how I can smell when
they last ate their supper.
They only smile at me
and beg for more chocolate
in greedy little voices
and ask if they can see
what's baking in my oven now.
cyclic motioni. every sad story starts with love.cyclic motion4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
ii. there is you sprawled across the bed
with your ankles tangled in cotton covers
and the golden waves of sunlight
breaking themselves through fissured glass
to drip into your hair like bright honey,
your hands reaching upward
as if they were young birds waiting on wings.
you wept for those flightless, wet-beaked children
anchored helplessly to your wrists
but their hearts were not as weak
as the foreign fist beating in your chest. they collapsed
and only left behind
the impressions of dying constellations
they had scratched beneath your eyelids.
iii. at dusk i watched the night take you in waves, glowing,
and said you were the most beautiful thing
i had ever known.
it was a lie. the want of a thing
is always more beautiful than the thing itself.
these are the quiet things we do not tell--
the secrets touched only in the dark
when hearts are laid open
and everything else forgets to exist.
iv. i whispered that to myself when the last shadow
Lord, I Am Ashamed.Sleep and ILord, I Am Ashamed.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Have grown distant lately.
Back when the air I drank
Was more naïve,
We were friends sometimes
And sometimes enemies.
We bickered and loved
The taste of the wind,
The song of the chickadee,
The color of dreams
To warm my life.
The acres of that country
Are now reduced
To a single small lot
Encircled by a
Gray cyclone fence
That holds bitterness
Rather than keeping out
The worries of the world.
But I suppose
I don't really notice it,
Trees used to whisper to me
Of an earnest jay
Building her nest
Or of two squirrels
Caught up in the heat
But who really detects
Over so many
My own skull throbs
As if I'm diving
Down, down, deep
Into a scummy lake.
What breaks my heart
More than anything else
Is that I don't recall
My familiarity with the sky.
With silly and necessary things
To realize I've forgotten
The Parable of the WriterThree writers came to the table, manuscripts in hand.The Parable of the Writer7 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
One writer said,
"I wrote this piece to be edited. There is plenty to be cut and moved around."
Another writer said,
"I wrote this piece to be published. Between these pages you'll find everything people want to see."
The last writer said,
"I wrote this to be read."
Then he set his manuscript down, and walked away.
The Opus Of The Everythingthe ocean floor, the twisted sea andThe Opus Of The Everything4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
all the flying jacket bees, and all
the flying birds and he, the one who
caught the glint of spring, who laid
it on the downy dew, the crispy green
of May fescue, who saw the plans of built
up lights that burn to light a thousand
pools of dripping rain and puddles lay
on any given night or day, the brick by
brick, the mortar spread, the snap of sugar
sweetly felt, the brine that made it
through the cloud, the opus of the
everything, the great and wide, the heat
of flame, the sun in cold but sunny sky,
the sound of when a child laughs,
the opus of the everything
My Sign? Exit.My Sign? Exit.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Levon leaned his head against the cold steel of the shower tube, letting the jets of water assail his body from all sides. As the sweat of the previous night's activities rinsed away, the more subtle indicators of his exertions seeped in. Both his head and kidneys ached from the soup of chemical stimulants and depressants he'd drank, sniffed and injected with the woman now sleeping naked in the next room.
Dimly pulsing warnings hovered in his peripheral vision, reminding him that his kidney augments were still on standby, having been parked the night before so as to not filter out his buzz. While he'd been busy not sleeping, they had been sifting through the different compounds in his bloodstream he'd forbidden them to remove, tracing their signatures for any information about them that may prove relevant. A brighter warning flashed, the proximity alarm on his equipment locker had been triggered. It would seem his night time entertainment was awake and nosing around. The warning strobe
SignTwo-fingered peace on routine lipsSign3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
meant a pack and a half:
day, night, the angled light between--
first light, last light--the darkness
revealed after another haunting dream.
For years, whisps left the remnants
to extinguish (tray, sidewalk, beneath
a trekking sole), ephemeral life
that knows the yellow, brick-lined hole
of the mouth, the inhalation,
the minutes of pause. Never cause:
the slow, 8-hour degradation of a job;
new miracle, new accident: another
WIC application; the alwaysness
of death: the hugeness of big business.
It does not know that, nor the subterfuge
of time and its enatation--the depths
of a new century. Its impending ruination.
It only knows now, the solemn moments
amongst the calm of smoke, tug of a newborn
breeze. Even if just to cope, it is a signal,
arriving from each new-torn pack:
index and middle fingers juxtaposed,
a new light burning brightly in between.
BeastYour loveBeast4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is a curious beast
her voice disappearing
down my spine.
Its back is boar brusque,
bristling between the sheets
where dark hangs
and its legs
like fine gazelles -
lithe and sweetly haunched
against my sighs.
I love its strong flanks,
brindled like the wind,
stripping back the air
that haunts this room
and the swift pelt
of its belly
in the chasm
where only the moan
of tangled breathing
breaks the silence
finding your lullaby.this is for you.finding your lullaby.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for all of you.
for those who are but are not.
for those who believe love is just a chemical reaction.
for those who are nothing but static on the mainstream radio.
for those who will never know forever.
for those who live in the highs and lows of the roller-coaster ocean breeze.
for those who hurt themselves because they're afraid of hurting anyone else.
for those whose cries have been drowned by the summer rain.
for those who have been mistaken for God.
for those who battle a thousand soldiers of themselves just to find who they really are.
for those who are nothing but natural disasters.
for those who sink somewhere between electric blue oceans and shimmering rainbows of euphoria.
for those whose insanity makes poetry - and those whose poetry drives them insane.
for those who are weighed down by gravity.
for those who have found equilibria in a heart that is caught in a chain reaction of passionate apathy.
Undertowwith our bodies madeUndertow5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of lunar oceans,
it's no wonder
I keep returning to the sea,
hoping to find you there
for it's where life ends
and begins anew-
the offshore breezes of
your breathing, the
undertow of kisses lurking
the riptides of passion
wearing down a resolve
that won't keep me
in good stead much longer
in spite the fact you're gone...
the chemistry of my body
and of yours makes me
listless and listening
for a message from the depths
how it endssomewhere in my mindhow it ends3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a little girl is on a swing, saying
i can't wait, but i will.
who is she?
and somewhere else,
a man gets off a train alone
just as the rain stops
and the skyscrapers pull their wet shadows
off each other.
i sigh. it turns into a yawn.
it turns into sadness.
this is a poem--
this never happens.
or rather, it's something that only seems to happen.
so don't worry.
it's practically harmless.
it should probably end:
nothing is certain, but everything is familiar.
but it won't. it will end:
"forget it," i say.
i have a crystal ball
in my head
and over and over,
this is all it shows.
maybe i should have begun this by saying
nothing can enter the source.
maybe it would have changed things?
too late, too late.
i sigh. how is it that everything
is best defined as not everything,
that i can say tulips go walking by
& the sound of rain at that moment would tear me apart