LevitationObserve.Levitation4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
This is how women walk away.
In broken heels
and secondhand jackets,
cigarette smoke in their hair
and no kiss goodbye.
Do not mock.
It is what it should be.
A girl in a car,
hanging a u-turn
on a glistening, empty street.
Her body is a road to be traveled.
A shipwreck to be plundered.
She does not know how she got here,
and she does not care.
And it does not matter.
This is how women smile.
though her cheeks are sore.
Though the wind
is blowing right through her clothes.
Though there is no good music
on the radio, and no food
in the refrigerator.
This is just an impression.
An idea of nirvana.
A slice of real, live ecstasy.
But do not give it a name.
Just show it, wear it like
Tight against the skin.
She is ivory, she is easy,
and it is not love.
It is something better,
fermenting at the
backs of her knees.
Bleeding from her fingerprints.
It is a devastation,
seven ways from Sunday,
but that is how she likes it.
It cannot hurt
Happy HollowLook:Happy Hollow4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I found him in Happy Hollow, the woods that's on the outskirts of the city. He was a little ways off the path me and my sister, Nahla, take to school, 'cept Nahla was sick that day so it was just me by myself. It's not the fastest way to get to school, but we can't go through Northampton or else the bullies that live there will throw dirt clods at us. After I found him I took him to this old shed out there. It's got a hole in the roof but I figured the little guy'd be safe there on account of it's a good ways away from the Northampton houses; plus you can't hardly see it through all the leaves and branches and stuff. His fur was real white and real soft, just like snow 'cept it wasn't cold. It was warm and fuzzy so it made you wanna squeeze him real tight. I liked playing with his ears cuz they was all floppy, 'cept when you made a weird noise, then they'd stick straight up and he'd tilt his head sideways and look at you funny. He had a long bushy tail and sharp little baby teeth
Expedition Letters to GraceDear Grace,Expedition Letters to Grace4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You told me, back when we were visiting Peru and I was feeling down, that I would eventually find my calling in life. I write to you now to tell you, quite happily, that I have.
I can't explain much about it at the moment, only that my sudden absence from the university is for a reason. As I write, I am currently en route to New York City, to visit their museums and get a taste of the culture. I told you before how I wanted to visit New York while I had the chance, and now I travel with purpose.
I will say now, that while what I am about to do may seem strange to you, even mad, I can promise you that I am of sound mind and am determined to see my ambition through. Never before have I felt so strongly about the rightness of my decision. I will explain more in time. All I can tell you now is that I am launching my own expedition, and that it will be unorthodox, to say the least. I write you because you are my oldest and dearest friend, and I feel I can trust you.
Give my best
the hanged manThis little red book you call the human body:the hanged man4 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 have you bookmarked -vii. Sometimes breakfast, lunch and dinner were like art; food was flung from each corner, creating a futile canvas on every wall. I played a scale of musical doors as they slammed one by one. I'm sure I broke a fewi have you bookmarked -4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
vocalchords too. He was always right beside me, yet so far.
But we mingled together. When his hand gripped mine with his feathery touch, it seemed okay to pretend. Maybe my mind still needed to develop, needed watering. Or maybe together we just made feelings obsolete.
iv. And we did.
We sat on park benches blowing smoke kisses and watched movies, that only seemed good because everything else on TV was crap.
Bubblegum. Pot. Gallons of ice-cream. We fed two pigeons and named them Ben and Jerry. We danced to Genesis, even though we both knew that they were possibly the most overplayed band in the world-universe-all-shopping-centers-in-London-ever.
At night we slipped between the park gates and sat by the lake. It felt like the moon was right ne
Puddled GasolineHear me read it! Puddled GasolinePuddled Gasoline3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Someone left the car on
with the garage door closed again;
streak the harsh winter concrete
as I breathe past the fumes.
at its finest,
or some other form of noise
I'm not familiar with.
He will not hear me screaming
when I tug open the door
and you spill out like a puddle
onto my freshly-buffed shoes,
because I will not be screaming
For the first time
in almost twenty years of marriage,
you've silenced me.
TeatimeIn January, Elsa got new neighbors. She greeted them with apple cinnamon tea.Teatime4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It gets so cold, here, they told her, shivering in overstuffed parkas. Snow had turned to mud in their front hallan unavoidable side-effect of moving in winter. Elsa nodded along to their complaints and observations, silently brewing the tea in their kitchen. They were young; they had big plans. Allison and Steve, newlyweds, just starting out. They sat on the cold floor together, sipping with chapped lips. The house filled with cinnamon.
In April, Allison knocked on Elsa's door. We're pregnant! White tea in a china teacup; the taste of flower petals and champagne. The last caffeine for the next eight months. Elsa let her keep the cup.
In May, Steve bought a carseat and a crib. Elsa helped him carry it inside. Flat-packed, but heavy. Sturd
The Rumour of IcarusIcarusThe Rumour of Icarus4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there is a rumour that your father killed you, that
he bent your wings until they broke and then
told you, "Fly."
If this rumour is true, then it lives in the throats of
those fragile boys who wear your death like Cain's mark,
whose tender hands split like swollen tomatoes when
they pluck strangled seabirds, whose
arms slump beneath the weight of their father's genius.
And this rumour lives on
the under-skin of their eyelids so that when they die
or simply sleep
they dream of their fathers
or maybe just of Daedalus, standing with
his hands full of feathers and wax,
their blood-flecked down under his fingernails.
your face is gone, icarus, you are a warning & a tragedy &
the patron saint of boys who will not listen but also you are a god, icarus,
a god to these boys and still, when you fell
said Bruegel in oils, Auden and Williams in verse
no one gave a damn.
they also say that your father strained the sunlight into an amphora
and told you, "Dri
How They Flutter ByElusive quarry indeed.How They Flutter By5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Bright-faced youths may scamper
Through sunlit meadows full of fluttering
And yet, at end of day, return tired
But eager to try again, as children are.
What of those too old, or too slow?
They'll run too, or perhaps just watch.
The glittering prize, promised
And so often savoured in anticipation
Proves always out of reach.
Easy, after a while, to stop and rest.
To forget those dappled hues and their dancing flight.
Retire, and pretend they never were.
Seek solace in other, greyer things.
Or remain forever haunted.
Gazing, maybe, at those more fortunate.
And in envy
Or in memory of sunny days long past
Their collections might sparkle yet.
Cold stillness belies their fate, in truth.
Dreams, pinned under glass.
Romancing CottonSomeone told me that the balled-up almost was growing inside her likeRomancing Cotton4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a sapling, that soon the girl would be all swell and wet. What she said
was, "don't leave". Her ego was a white sheet caught on a branch, the
type of fabric my mother treated with contempt. Frippery, beautiful
but impractical: keeping it alive was like trying to catch a bubble with
The wind carried the sickly smell of opium and morning sickness,
signals of a spring in which fingers like white spiders cradled
the beginning of bloom. Hope seemed at once skin-near and star-far.
What I offered her was not a marriage proposal, it was a murder
of crows slipping across the sheet of day. Union makes for ardour
and sweat. We were trying to build a body bereft of bones, with
phrases shaped like small sharp pins, like dove-fletched
arrows, like abandoned godsrelatively, you're
beautiful and there are always greater pains.
I assembled cribs, prayed to the god of broken things.
GraceMother, eighty-four, took UncleGrace2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
James for a ride yesterday.
Drove her brother to the cemetery
To visit Daddy and Mike.
After, she called their flowers lovely,
Then asked, "Where's Daddy?
Where is my Husband?"
For the first time in fifteen years
I dream of Mike, him driving up
In Mother's big Oldsmobile,
Then waiting. We talk, he nods.
Now, I realize he has come
For Mother. As the old ones say
To take her home. I go to her
Bed, grab her hand. I'm waking,
Mother's hand cooling in mine.
April 15, 2009
Today, my little sister and I
Will go to select a coffin
For Mother. Eighteen years ago,
I went with Mother to choose
Mike's. Yesterday, my Mother died.
Like a kaleidoscope twisted,
And twisted, the world
Broken, scattered bits of glass.
Starting Over, Growing UpI was sick of the pink,Starting Over, Growing Up4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It was on every wall,
And every accent color
Was more pink.
I wanted white
A clean slate
The color of a new life
A new beginning
I asked you to help
We wore old jeans
Ripped band shirts
Nothing we minded ruining.
Me, being cautious,
I let you go on the ladder
And rip down the lights
A pink chandelier
We stripped the walls
And brushed over them
Using a massive paint roller
We turned the walls white.
I threw out the pink bedspread,
Tore up the pink carpet,
Ripped down the pink blinds
And pink valences.
Three weeks later
We sat back to back
In my new room
This was a beginning
The start of a colorful life
One lived in the bleakness
Of the every-day world
starspunobserving the romanticismstarspun3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of hooded cemetery kids,
smoking cigarettes pretending
they are not dead.
you were always so sure
about my uncertainty,
all my pick up lines
we built the heat
of the evening from the solidity
that two teens at the park
is the stuff of teen novels
(cliches dim on
our leaf-gold horizon)
your eyes darted
from the gray expanse
of the churchyard & wandered
i wanted to ask you
if i could follow. shove
the words aside &
remember that i came here alone.
i remember our innocence
in the static b e t w e e n
about how youth without you is th-
awing out the lines in my whittled-out eyes.
look to the hooded
wonder what we'd have been like
if we grew up as nothings,
like them. teenage
nothings with chiseled
marble in our
out of our parents' adulterated
lies and the excitement of alcohol.
i settle for a star.
it's almost as luminous
as the after
The Cartographer's DaughterEvery night, he would fold her into his arms before she slept. Creases grew into her, turning brown with wear, and she loved them. When she woke up in the night, dreaming of darkness, he would take her to his desk and draw for her a map of her face, turning it into another world. Tracing the contours of her smile, he would scrawl a warning, "Here be monsters", whispering to her that she was a dragon when angry.The Cartographer's Daughter4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As she grew older, she populated his maps with creatures and peoples from the books she read, or her own creations. He taught her to draw, and to write with an old inkpen, in a cursive script her teacher could make neither head nor tail of. She made him angry once, drawing in the drying sand with her finger, and smudging the ink. When he was angry, mountain ranges grew across his forehead and caverns opened in his cheeks. Here be lions.
Walking home from school, she knew the local area inside out; from the maps he had drawn and taught her. He would copy them onto o
A Flowerwould I, I wouldA Flower4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
walk in Hiroshima, a flower
cannot say much
underneath cypress trees
we can believe
pyramid builders used stars
to map something there
sand in my hand, sand
back to where I gathered it
the cypress branches at
night canvas us like a pyramid
as it should be, with light
coming down in shafts
I'd have a flower for every
thing we ever did that needs one
that is an uncountable amount
of flowers and we
cannot count the stars
in a universe we do not understand
anemic, broken, and growing up anywaywhen my sister was five, she dictated a letter to me in her strong little voiceanemic, broken, and growing up anyway4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
while dust drifted in the sunshine
of our creaky old room.
dear me [she said],
barney is the best. i will wear blue all the time even though i'm a girl. my heart beats without me telling it to and that's pretty cool. i think people always feel better if you tell them you love them. i will always smile because i have dimples when i smile.
"did you write it?" she asked, and i told her i did, every word
with the chunky yellow pencil i'd fished out of my school bag.
i handed her the letter, and she folded it up carefully
and she smiled.
when my sister was fifteen, she was a little bit broken
anemic and pale, with unsure hair and shaky hands.
when i came home to visit she whispered to me that
she didn't understand
and when i asked her what she didn't understand, she said
she wrote another letter that night.
dear me [it said],
this isn't a suicide note. this isn't another angsty poem. this