etch-a-sketchhe wrote his suicide note on an etch-a-sketch board.
elmo-red frame, golden paint drawing out the classy cursive logo, white bottle-cap knobs, and a fake digital screen.
a child's dream.
it took him six hours to revisit his childhood for the last time.
[it didn't take that long because he didn't know what to say, but because he wanted to finally do something right.]
he carefully turned each knob, forming darkened pixels into letters, letters into words, and words into spider-silk-thin sentences that would rip and fade, just as spider webs did.
his words faded a bit when you accidentally knocked it off his dresser so you could take it to the funeral.
faded a bit when you went over that speed bump on the road and the little board bounced around a bit in the car.
faded a bit when you walked over to his open casket and dropped it next to his mortician-treated body.
faded a bit when the mini-crane dropped the casket into the grave just a moment too early, and so the death-box shook like a f
fireflies in trainingonce upon a timefireflies in training2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i met a magpie
hatched in a nest of thieves
you might think this will be a tale
about how she grew up
turning story pages
and realized her brothers and sisters
as well as herself
and then she shifted
from evil to good
alas, but no
i came to her with a necklace
which she snatched in her beak
not to mention my wallet
and flew away
to share with her mafia family
but when she arrived at the nest
all she knew was
looking for what was lost
she flew across the globe
with jewelry rattling around her neck
she sat on the peak of the eiffel tower
soared together with soap bubbles in poland
was shot by a soft gun in japan
but nursed by a cup of tea
while i collected fireflies
in an empty jar
so i trained my jar of lit insects
to fly upside down
from her to me
we met again
and i complimented her necklace
she told me
«i have returned from a journey
i lost a leg
i saw the world
for what it is
birds sang about you
i learnt how you plucked
every egg of my family
Nuclear Winter'Mother, tell me again about the sun.'Nuclear Winter2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
She pauses scraping the stretched hide,
thinks. So many images she could give, in words
he wouldn't understand golden, sunrise, light.
Her son was born to cold darkness, has never seen
the sun, animals in clouds, gods in the midnight sky.
Some days, what she misses most is the sky,
more than electricity, than fresh tomatoes, than sun-
shine. The white tails of planes created scenes
of foreign adventure, when only thunderheads could hide
the horizon and the day produced its own light.
Now the horizon chokes on ash and she on useless words.
She never lets him see her cry when her words
become ghosts, unable to puncture the thick sky
and rest peacefully. She has nightmares about the light
from each subatomic explosion that burnt out the sun,
and she's haunted by a notion that there's nowhere to hide,
nowhere to run from the nuclear eyes of God and not be seen.
Before the years of winter, she and his father had seen
mankind linked with hopeful
Harvest MoonThree a.m. moonlightHarvest Moon2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
across lazy dust motes; a
tree scrapes the window.
Your arm weighs on my hip like
whispered promises of love.
Working ClassSmoking is a working class diseaseWorking Class2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
They said; he smiled at this.
Lean in body and broad of mind
With shirtsleeves rolled,
A modern man's philosopher
Who stuttered over the words
Like his fingers did over her chassis
Detroit rolling iron beneath his palms
Grease and lubricant under the nails.
The cigarette cherry glows in the dark
Giving him a hard edge aura
The gloaming settling into the lines
Of his work-worn face
Don't Talk To Me "I'm sorry," I said, and meant it.Don't Talk To Me2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She nodded, her expression unfathomable. "Me too."
There was a long pause.
"Just two days ago," I said quietly, avoiding her eyes, "we couldn't even be in the same room without going for each other's throats."
She turned away. "Yeah," she admitted. "But look at us now."
I continued, "And just two months ago we were the best of friends. But look at us now." This time I looked directly at her, smiling mirthlessly.
"But look at us now," she repeated. Her voice was bitter.
I didn't know what to say. We both stood in silence for a while, pretending to listen to the babble of subdued voices from the graduation party.
"You know," she spoke suddenly, "there's nothing about how life is today that I'd have predicted during our last years there." She
the things they should have told ussee, no one really warns us about growing up.the things they should have told us2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
they leave out things like heartbreak and gossip and broken people you could have saved but didn't.
it is this: the girl who holds her wrists and sits alone and tells me no child should ever grow up being afraid of someone who should love them. Her eyes are fierce, and something inside me is screaming but the clock ticks and the moment is past. i pretend i can't hear the pieces of her shatter as they hit the floor.
the next time we speak there are new shadows beneath her eyes and her shoulders hunch as if somehow she could fold into herself and disappear. maybe it would be better for us both if she did. but she doesn't. she can't and i can't and outside the sky is robins egg blue but inside a storm is brewing and the hallways smell of regret.
then, she is gone.
murmurs, rumors follow in her wake like dark ripples over stormy water.
she is gone, lost, taken, stolen, dead. in the halls, her name is whispered, softly, fervently, like a
lessYour phone bills are smaller now,less2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with no long distance calls to make,
and your car insurance reduced to reflect lower mileage
and all those journeys not made, those roads not taken,
those lanes that you know like the back of your hand -
Left, right, straight ahead, right, right -
are no longer driven. You did not see the bluebells wake
and spring burst forth in the countryside,
did not see the snow on the fields, cold horses in their
quilted coats pawing, nibbling, pawing.
Christmas stamps still tucked in your wallet,
and fountain pens dried up next to watermarked
John Lewis writing paper
with no letters left to write.
Weekends stretch out, lunchbreak is a blank and you have more time
but you have less.
THAT POEM (Writer's Block)I sat down at my computer last Thursday nightTHAT POEM (Writer's Block)1 year ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
with the full intention of writing THAT POEM. Oh, don't
play dumb. You know what THAT POEM is. We all know
what THAT POEM is. You with the cigarette train-tracks
charting your eternal drift to nowhere
on the insides of your arms, you
with the sludge of alcohol dripping thick & brown through
veins swollen & slow & pussy as zombies, you
with the eight children whose faces you can't remember
& the husband in the Hamptons whose name you sometimes forget
& the lover who never seems to come around as much as you pay him to you
all know what THAT POEM
is. It's the rhythm beating a dull staccato in your skull
when you've taken something to take the edge off, the weary shadows sinking senseless
into the black-slung cradles hiding underneath your
bloodshot eyes. It's the weight of the gun & the way its metal feels
when you push it against the squelching skin of your skull not to kill yourself, just to feel it,
to know you could. This wa
a picture of a plane.The day her daddy got sent away, the whole neighborhood fluttered with closing curtains and eyes watching through cracked doors. His wife called it a mistake, the cousins called it rape and said he was a pedophile.a picture of a plane.1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And she just kept dipping her fingers into paint and dreaming about kites and the eyelashes on dolls, because she didn't know what any of those words meant.
A year later, he came back, and she washed the sidewalk so he couldn't see that she was drawing their secret in light blue and petal pink chalk.
"Those are nice pictures, baby," her daddy would tell her, but she hated it, because he always sounded sick, and he would rub her back with those big, rough hands until the neighbor's blinds twitched like the nervous wings of a bird.
Aleksander finally made her daddy stop, because he sat on his porch all day with a scratchy blanket in his lap, saying prayers beside a full ashtray.
"Why does he do that?" she asked him in July. "I don't like it when he does that."
He patted her
Let Me Down GentlyI never said I was an angel,Let Me Down Gently2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I'm a feather on its wing,
so when you let me drift
on the next western current,
let me fall slowly down,
I promise I'll land softly,
though you will not find me
where you left me.
Newspaper SuitI am a charlatanNewspaper Suit1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
peddling fraudulent wares
but nobody else can see
where adhesive didn't stick.
And you'd think the paper trail
from the newspaper suit
would give it away
but the pictures keep smiling
while underneath gangrene begins
and happy happy faces
mask the smell
the hanged manThis little red book you call the human body:the hanged man2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
take it up and shake it. Shake the flaking pages
out of it, shake it from endpaper to endpaper
until the last of the phrases are gone; shake it
until it's aching and empty, the soul of a bird.
I will give you new words.
I Mean to Get You AloneYou have sharpI Mean to Get You Alone2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the stuff I imagine heart attacks
are made of
I'm bent on selling you a handful of smiles
to distract you from the fact that
I have almost nothing to say
and now you're steering this conversation
in a direction that suggests you've
forgotten that I
don't watch movies or do much of
anything but work which maybe
explains why one glass of wine gets me
wrapped around you
car to streetlight
breeding curious onlookers and my insurance has
you're leaning in and all I can think is
I don't have insurance
2: the first questionThe first thing I noticed was the fez on her lap. I saw it as I scanned the tube for empty seats; a flash of red in the corner of my eye. It perched delicately on her thighs like a small, unassuming puppy that stared at passerby with large eyes, silently daring them to challenge its right to be there. I gaped at it; the train started forward with a jerk and I had to grab onto the metal pole in front of me to keep my balance. The ungainly motion of my body lurching forward caught the eye of the fez's owner; I saw her look up at me quickly, then duck her eyes down to her hands, which were diminutive and pale and folded neatly in her lap, just behind the fez. I sneezed loudly into the sleeve of my trench coat and she smiled. It was for barely an instantóand, it was probably an attack on my limbs and their length and the strangeness with which they movedóbut it was enough to cause an unfamiliar tug inside me, not unlike the movement of the train.2: the first question2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
i won't quit there's not much to taste when years of nicotinei won't quit1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
sit heavy on your tongue, stale like week-old bread
and vintage cheese, but you won't quit.
no, you won't quit.
because once upon a time all you tried to live for was
your next cigarette, and every cigarette you lived
for was a battle won.
no, you won't quit.
because once upon a time you swore
you could taste her still with each inhale and every
cigarette broke your heart, but filled it too.
no, you won't quit,
you won't quit.
Fireating.Your showcase act,Fireating.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
toes the line between
distance edges closer as her
heart rate stalls.
Your glitz girl,
knows the time it takes to
her balance was performance but she
fell for you.
carbon monoxideIt had been Javiers idea for the tattoos. "It'll keep you safe, Diego. No one will touch you." On the streets, no one had touched Diego to begin with. In order for Javier to earn the tattoo, he had to steal. When he stole the teenager's purse, she screamed and only chased him for half a block before giving up, but Javier didn't stop running. Back at his friend's apartment, when they opened the Coach bag and dumped out the contents, besides lipstick and a compact mirror, the wallet held cash and credit cards, a little iPod with the headphone cords wrapped around it and most of all, a digital camera. It had been a lucky find, and they'd sold everything but left the camera to Javier, who would use it to take pictures of his brother.carbon monoxide3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Diego agreed. He agreed because Javier scared him at the best of times. "If you don't get this, you'll die, Diego. Someone will get mad and put a bullet in your head," Javier emphasized this, formed his hand and fingers in the shape of a gun and pressed his fi
hindsightAt one time, we followedhindsight2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the fires of July like fools in love
with heat smothered on our raw anatomy--
but fall has wrought our kindling into cinders,
carried it away on the earth's currents and sighs.
Here we see the girls with pressed skirts and
polished Mary Janes catch drifts of oak leaves,
pale-downed arms reaching for the bleached clouds
of late September,
and when the boys with all their chivalry abandoned
come searching for pig tails and rounded thighs,
we watch the snow eat an old world
from our separate park benches.
Cigarettes lay crumpled on the ground,
dead soldiers from our last war.
But when I open my eyes again,
I see the red glare of crackling embers
over my shoulder in the naked past.
The snow, shapeless in the winter air, catches
against my mouth and tastes of ash.
Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing oldi.Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing old1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
Coupons and sales magazines
have become more than just junk mail
and the holes in my pants
seem more patchable
and I wonder just how much
my sparse jewelry would fetch
if I said I saw the face of Jesus
in the glimmer of my pearls.
I am beginning to miss the sea I grew up on
so much that I will read bad poetry
just for the mention of a salty ocean breeze.
I feel landlocked and sometimes I'm afraid
that I will never see the world
until I have retired from it.
Faith says her life is full of asking.
I wish mine were full of answers,
but I too have many questions
and only Time will answer them for me.
My mother just turned sixty
and her eyes when she looks at herself
in pictures from the '70s
makes me realize
that my time, however long,
water-colour emotionsyou can't buy happiness, but you can buy tea, and thats kind of the same thing. i've been told that i have a knot inside my chest,water-colour emotions1 year ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
like those of the inside of a tree truck, eternally circling and looping. thats kind of how it feels, heavy and unstoppable.
if i have a tree inside me, then maybe that could explain the shaking, its just the westerly winter winds blowing and
making my far too fragile limbs bend but never break. i soak the tea leaves into the roots that are deep within my
fleshy heart and hope the capillaries will carry to wherever the aches are most ingrained and unnatural.
mother told me three winters ago that she could read the leaves and tell me how my skin was going to grow
and how my head was going to think six summers from now. she told me that my precious head was ever tired
over nothing and my chests storm will ease after one final hurricane, that despite its best efforts will
not destroy me, simply leave my skin a little tougher and my m