Ink ::Chapter One::One
She bumps me with her hip and I whirl to her, bewildered. Unfazed, she grins and this dank subway lights up. Her hand lifts, holding the cool metal spirals of a notebook. My facebisected and shattered by the blue lines, like blades in neat files. I stare because I can't help myself and my ink twin stares right back.
The subway is crowded, crowdedhundreds of people mill about where millions of others have already milled. Some shout into telephones and some shout at each other, or at the subway itself, or at the world. It's noisy and damp and cool. Shadows lurk in the corners, but this girl shines like a beacon.
That smile never wavers as she rips out the page and holds it out to me between two fingers. I take it and it feels warm against my skin. I look at it again, then at herher face, then her perception of my face. God, that smile is electric. She tilts her head and her bangs brush across her cheek and it feels like a punch in the stomach. A winkand
summergirlNow read aloud over here. Do give it a listen, won't you?summergirl2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are crowthroated and tumbling
through the aspen grove
hair on fire with sunrise, lungs
full of sky.
eyelashes like wildflowers
and every morning brings
a new spray of freckles
and a sharper curve to your collarbones.
the cornfields hold no shadows
for your lighthouse eyes
and there are no endings in that
ii. you have grown
autumn finds you with broken ankles
leaning on an oak branch
and watching the skies.
crow to sparrow--you are quiet.
summergirl, there is peace in silence,
fallen antlers in your hands.
you will come to mourn your deer.
keep them close.
iii. by winter you have paled,
and like the streams
your eyes have frosted over.
you feel the chill--
there is no need for sight.
lovesong for sailorboyRead aloud and explained (somewhat) here.lovesong for sailorboy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i have always loved words as you love the sea
but i have grown to hate
because i have always had words
but never for you.
words for everything
but i have words for this, so
i'll take them
one by one.
the ocean was your first love and
i could always see it in your eyes.
most would call them blue--just
like a swell over a sandbar
blue like the spring sky over a poppy field.
but i don't think anyone
got as close as i did and they're not blue
not shorebound and
they're gray like the steelbellied sea itself
like the horizon at dawn as it
hems you into an impossibly vast canvas
like a demarcation line
or a promise.
one you always chased.
maybe i had a streak of ocea
the beauty's in the leavingRead aloud here.the beauty's in the leaving2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sweetheart, let's head out. let's
drink up the desert asphalt and that last bottle
of johnny walker blue--
one last toast to the copper sunsets,
to the good earth. a pair of
tailgate stargazers, you and i:
roaming curves across the glove compartment map, until
every foldline is worn flannel-soft
and it'd rather stay open
let's forget route sixty-six. let's forget
and pick up terra cotta dust--
breathe in the mojave. let's pretend
that the world's already ended
and it's just us.
let's leave the door unlocked
with thanks to frost Now with a reading.with thanks to frost1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
two roads diverged in a soulless dawn
and you pull over,
idling on the shoulder of route 50.
it's a polaroid morning and
the world is as grainy
as your eyes,
and one million miles
is not far enough.
it plays back, filmstrip,
blurred along the length of
and here you are:
facing a choice between
this loosejointed, hollowbodied
this is what
ConversationAnd I've been telling you, you know, how heavy the sun feels and how it makes my muscles jump like a bird's wings as it flutters gently down on a windowsill. I still have those glass bottles on my mantle where the morning light hits themstill there, full of colored water and seashells. And maybe I'll tell you how they light up the ceiling in blue and green and pale yellow just like they always have, like nothing ever changed.Conversation3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I smell you on the sea air, sometimes, when it rushes in past the thin white curtains you helped me hang. They still bounce with every gust like exuberant dogs. And I've been telling you how the salt has most assuredly worked its way into my marrow now, and maybe if someone were to put me in a pie they'd find it too brackish for their taste. And then I wonder just how much you taste like the sea.
The ocean beats my heart for me nowadays. Even inside, even at night, I can feel each breaker rumbling through my sternum and radiating along my ribs. And I've been
you need to have a plan...so here's toyou need to have a plan...2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to some forgotten shore.
2. fall desperately in love with
i. the ocean
ii. the sky
iii. the honey sunrise and
iv. the steelgray winter dawn.
soul-deep into the water and
4a. search out the requisite words
i. from behind white and blue curtains
ii. and underneath clam shells
iii. and in the wakes of fishing boats, and
4b. pluck them from the ceaseless
scrawls of sunlight
against the slopes of waves.
5. make time for
ii. and other
SmokeYou smoked, and everyone hated that. The cigarette would hang loose between your knuckles, tendrils of smoke mimicking the tracery of veins and tendons that stood out along the back of your hand. You could do the most graceful French inhales, and sometimes you'd lean in close and grab me and kiss me, blowing warm smoke into my mouth. The scent would always cling to meI'd drag it back home with me and there would always be a fight over it.Smoke3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You were sparrowlike, all taut pale skin and prominent bones. Your hipbones jutted slightlysharp elbows, sharp knees, a sharp jaw softened by cornsilk hair. When I ran my fingers down your back I could always feel every vertebra in your spine, a steel column anchoring you down. More smoke. More fights at home. You never belonged here and never would.
Lay back. Relax. Anythinganything you want. I'd close my eyes and forget to breathe because I knew you weren't mine. If anything, I was yours, a toy that trembled and kissed back.
the cure for everything is saltwaterand my voice is choked with pebblesthe cure for everything is saltwater2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and my veins are thick with ink
so i'll bleed out all my lovesongs
wash them down the kitchen sink
and i'll tell you that i'm leaving
and i'll flee this soulless town
for the silent sea is calling
and i'm not afraid to drown
and i'll search out quiet islands
let the blank horizons be
drench my soul in every ocean
sink my heart in every sea.
sirensAudio version here.sirens2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sometimes the mermaids will watch the sailorboys, and green ocean eyes will take in the powerful shoulders and the instinctive sense of balance, and sometimes one will fall in love. and sometimes this love will fill up her chest so much it hurts, and sometimes it will make her reckless--make her swim silently up to the sides of the boats and reach up (carefully, with just the barest sound of water droplets tumbling back into the depths) and rest her arms on the wood that's long since been worn smooth from salt and sun. and sometimes the sailorboy will turn, but he'll see nothing--but when he hauls in his net it will be brimming, straining at the seams, and he will look out over the ocean for a moment, all the way to the blank horizon, and sometimes he will wonder.
and it's easy to love the girls that swim up from the bottom of the ocean with nets knotted up in their
all that hasn't happenedPretty please listen to the audio.all that hasn't happened2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i want to remember
the rumbling piano baritones
high notes like hailstones--your hands
running soundless scales.
i want the summer seas
the vineyard overlook, the olive
trees and sunwarmed coasts.
we filled the empty pages
with whole notes and halftones,
oceans and lovesongs.
we lived, we live
inkstained and drowning
through nights thick with words
and days shot with sound.
north pacificAudio version thisaway.north pacific2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
icewater and tumblestone beaches, and i wonder, clifftop,
if the fog tastes like forest.
the ocean carves its histories
in the driftwood--creation stories and
lullabyes worn smooth,
bleached to a polish.
it might be sand shifting but maybe--
maybe i can feel the whalesong,
low and deep
thrumming in the hollow spaces of my bones.
i envy the seabirds
who have more room to feel.
feast, feistwe, the scavengers--feast, feist1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the foxthroats on the fringes.
we do not
A Love Story in Four Actsi.A Love Story in Four Acts2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I loved a blacksmith once, back when the sand still clogged up my soul. It was only far after that I began to love the desert too.
Underneath the casual noise--glass on wood, heat-smothered conversation, worn cards slapped down in careful triumph--there was this low, thrumming quiet that wouldn't be broken. He spoke in sepia undertones. "We're getting out."
Hot iron smells like hot blood, like blood that's been poured out under the white Arizona sun. It's something you don't forget easy, like the taste of whiskey or the plasma patterns left on your eyelids after watching fire all night. It sticks.
My childhood was fed on medical books, and I've got this pain right behind my eyes and I wonder if this is what it feels like being lobotomized. Of course the brain has no nerve endings, but the hurt has to manifest itself somewhere.
suffocation keepthis city suffocates so we don'tsuffocation keep2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
no, at best
we sing in sign language:
the hushed glances, the solidity
of shoulder blades
let's leave the choking crowds
and chase out somewhere
where the wind blows
wide and rich--
where the knotted songs in your
to take these beartrap ribs
and let us
rosemaryyou licked your lips when i walked inrosemary1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
smelling of woodsmoke. there was a weight in the air, and the empty space
felt unusually antiseptic.
somehow i wasn't surprised to find you perched on the old
rocker granddad had built,
your fingers tracing a labyrinth of grain.
your voice surprised me.
i sat on the floor,
spine rooted to the doorjamb.
i let you talk.
my eyelids were branded; when i blinked
the plasma echoes of the flames licked over your sharp edges.
the moon hung low and weary and it seemed too light, still,
to ask you to leave. hospitality
has always been measured in lumen. so i heard not your words
but the erratic rise and fall of inflection,
and remembered the way the fire sucked through the perforations
in the washing machine drum. feeding.
there was a brief insistence in your tone, and i
started paying attention again.
the question you swore you'd never ask.
'can i stay?'
i looked away from you then,
through the window,
and all i saw was a sto
syracuseListen to the audio version for the full effect, pretty please.syracuse2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
cloudshot sky like an oil painting and i am watching the
darling, i will swim for you
and swallow every whitecap.
i will pluck myself a coat of pelican wings,
sew them up with salt and spray--
become icarus for you.
you are calling me across the waves, love--
but you pull against the ache
in my bones, the hollow--
the clawing out for unseen sunsets and unturned tides.
i hear you, love
give me time.
i will always listen.
field notesi read some poetryfield notes1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
just for the sound--for the words lilting up and down
and the thick, honeysepia
polaroids unmisting in my head.
those are the poems i never understand
and the only conclusion i can draw is:
there is apparently
some supernova poetic awakening that comes
with the loss of virginity
and basically i need to get laid.
empty, fullthere are stars at the bottomempty, full9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
of this bottle.
in your head,
there are other bodies--
whiskey ghoststhere's talk curling up through the smokelacedwhiskey ghosts2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sepia, brushing along the rafters and
making soft, swirling exits
through the chinks.
a friend on each arm, to the last man:
jack on the scarred wood, samuel
safe in scarred leather.
the rest are merely
of the most dangerous kind.
"the boys are talkin bout
eye contact is
economized--only the tightest of glances
to faces, to windows, to exits,
"let them." corner table--the hush
three steps and a mile
away, someone shuffles cards.
wolfish leer and baritone
rasp, rumbling through teeth--
"we'll all be
dark with age and
memory, has heard it all
the night grins on,
dragging with silver claws over the
letter to a little me1. these are the anniversaries that will stay with you,letter to a little me7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
for better or worse:
things go up in december, as if the coming of a new year
gives the old one a kick in the pants.
look forward to decembers.
time likes to tie weights to your collarbones with silk ribbons.
right now i am two years into a subdued grief,
five years into a wild regret. but don't be scared;
just as many feathers balance out the iron.
i am three years into something truly
2. you will get better. the words on the page will eventually
come a bit closer to the pictures in your head.
by the way, you think in pictures--you don't see that now,
but look for it. use it to your advantage.
stop with the heavy moralizing. you try too hard.
you will abandon false modesty and snobbishness,
as you will find out that they are not attractive qualities.
you will, however, trade them in for navelgazing
and perhaps a bit of haughtiness and pre
ChloeChloe was born in the pouring rain and blinding dark, under a thunderstorm that cut power to five counties and lingered for days. Her first memories were damp and earthy and fresh--watercolor paintings of wildflower fields, thunderheads, and pale yellow dawns.Chloe2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She grew up with summers swimming in lurid heat and trembling cicada calls; in winters soft with snowfall and tree limbs upraised to the icy light. She was a tiny sun in herself, glowing effortlessly. Plants reached up to her, swayed with her voice. Given enough space and enough time, her hands could have delved into the earth and come back up trailing with trees and vines, with berries falling from her fingertips and thick pale roots curled around her wrists.
I met Chloe in the middle of one electric summer, when the heat was aggressively breathtaking and I had to continuously swipe sweat from my eyelashes. Chloe was a breath of undying spring--cool to the touch. She tasted like almonds and cinnamon and clean, wet dirt, and like
in which my dreams decided to be Twilight.you come to from lack of oxygen, as wrong as that is. reflexively, you tilt your face to the side, away from the clinging cotton of the pillowcase. you hurt in too many places to catalogue. he is a warm weight, shifting ceaselessly, pressing kisses into the curve of your spine and murmuring soft russian between broken inhales. pleas, apologies. prayers.in which my dreams decided to be Twilight.1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
opening your eyes takes more effort than it should, and you are greeted with blossoms and constellations of blood on the pillow, the sheets. your voice, when you manage it, sounds as ragged as you feel. 'dmitri.'
his fingers clench into the mattress on either side of you, and you feel him trembling against your back. he rasps your name in return, call and reponse. 'katrina.'
you heave up onto one elbow and turn to face him. it hurts--every half-healed bite splits open again, and the wash of scent hits him like a bullet. he clutches at you, burying his face in the bloody crook of your shoulder.
'shh, shh.' you stretch your hands up
let's start a fire“Can I get you anything?”let's start a fire2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She shifts, splaying herself along his couch that is quietly becoming hers.
the empty glass on the back of his hand. “A drink?”
“Yes, please.” A luxuriant stretch. She watches his pupils drag all the way down the curve of her hip before continuing.
“I’d like a glass of Kafka—distilled, mixed with
dark rum and a splash of Dostoyevsky—poured
so sweetly down my throat and
chased with a lungful of smoky Fitzgerald.
“I wasn’t aware this was a book club.” He pours a soda before joining her, taking
a biting sip in the half light.
“There are too many book clubs,” she says, hooking her legs over his.
“Too many streetcorner ladies and their lace-veiled
threats over coffee and New York Times bestsellers.”
She harbors a
derision for New York Times bestsel