A lion among sheep.There are ghosts in my bloodstreamA lion among sheep.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
kissing concrete cells &
the bedroom eyes of nerve endings.
( foreign words
engraved into my marrow, birds in my chest
& wars not yet fought between my hips. )
I've taken myself apart every night
since I learned how to swallow a pen
limb by steady limb.
Passed around by grabby hands,
a sold, & borrowed daughter;
I am a lion among sheep,
drunk on life & ink.
With a crack of bones, I've fallen So love is a funny thing.With a crack of bones, I've fallen3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It sweeps you off your feet. It sweeps out your insides. It sweeps away everything else, whether you like it or not.
Falling in love is like falling into a cloud.
At first, it's not scary, no. It's beautiful. You're up high- so blissfully high- with billowing pushes and pulls of gorgeous white around you. At first, it's the most amazing thing you could ever think of. You could ever feel. The kind of feeling that can't be induced by the most potent drug. The kind of feeling that lifts you above all else, annihilates any ailments you'll ever have.
You collide with a beautiful array of a winter wonderland, a world of soft, divine dreams, an end to your hardships. Suddenly anything is possible. Suddenly, everything is possible.
And then you keep falling.
You don't realize it. Yo
The InkwellWhat is it?The Inkwell3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
But how could I explain.
How does one tell others
what it's like to go insane?
I sit in my thoughts, and drown in my head
the gray world I dwell says I'm already dead
It starts at your finger,
but maybe your tongue.
a big black splotch- where had my skin gone?
I waved it in front of my father-
told him to help me, I said
"Won't you get it off, why won't it come off
I've washed it and popped pills and done all I can
but this blotch just won't come off."
so he took me to the hospital,
but not because of the spots
he took me because I'm crazy,
because he said
"there's nothing there at all."
So I look in the mirror and see them
crawling up my skin.
I can just feel them in the back of my head
telling me to sin.
And they spread so fast and only I see
what they're doing to me.
To everyone else I'm just like them
just a human being.
The more I try to get them off the more they just come back.
They all weigh a hundred pounds,
I can't carry them all around.
Heavier and heavier
the demons always winyou can fill my heart will all your might.the demons always win3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
try to weed out the sorrow lining it's depths.
whisper to me that i will not fall,
tell me that i won't lose it all.
you can kiss me on the lips, after you've licked away the tears.
and sit and wait for me to come home
as i run off to fight the shadows in my head
with your heart as my shield and your love as my sword.
but the demons sucking like leeches, plastered to my skin
creatures made up of evil and sin
their warm steamy breath rotting my flesh
they will always win
you can listen for the explosion,
and surely you'll see
the demons, and all that she's done to me
the woman, who smells so sweet-
who's so pretty and smiles and shakes your hand-
if you listen for the explosion
surely you can see
what she was doing to me behind her curtains,
you'll watch the blood snake down the walls
taste the acid of death in the air-
when you reveal my body you expose your deepest fears.
but the demons, laughing, they won't care
you'll only be
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
a string drawn tautthere are so manya string drawn taut2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
blue stars in your skin
but i can't believe
each neuron is a universe
alight with planets,
gaunt aliens signing god
in the absence of your name,
dim cars on the street,
beneath an awning
like a glowing orange womb
you shudder saying,
i just had a chill,
is this room cold
or are we in the gut
of a giant
who's strung out
seven days lifeless,
biting the apple,
wishing for his mother,
the earth is spinning
in the eyes
of a turtle
with a red shell
who swims in the flowers
who swallows supernovas
and they pass through his kidneys,
we could burst any minute,
a fly's nerves twitch,
a city laid,
between microscope lenses,
clutching wife to child,
do you know my name?
do you know you're shivering?
do you know i'm the son
of your nucleus?
i live in your cheek
and die at your
the last four yearsI tried to read between your linesthe last four years2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when you didn't know how to be subversive.
I wasn't socialized like this;
honesty isn't in the nature of my storytelling,
reality blurred into concepts and
spit back in too many words,
so I'm sorry I misunderstood
everything about you,
and I'm sorry it took me this long
Census of Ghostshe now resides in susurration:Census of Ghosts2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
shaken from our summer sheets,
flags drawn taut and shuddering,
and wispseeds rising into the light
with their dressing gowns unbuttoned,
planting onto my lips that name
i've tried to hang with himself;
on a late morning,
while folding your laundry,
i found him again and held his tongue
when he yearned to speak of love
that once transpired in his passion,
or maybe it was the infatuation
of surrealists: brown skin but touched
upon each other,
marking the insignificant with brands
of remembrance: like the crinkling of
tinfoil or the crisping of smokers' lungs
or the thought that cigarettes are only
romantic if you can witness their glow
or hear them faintly burning—
white ash rests on the dashboard
and his fingers are caked with rust
in my flashbulb drug collections:
the color of blood that's been drying
in my mouth while i try to recall how it felt
to hold someone who might have come
and remained forever breathing
if that letter had never reached my
nirvanafeigning euphorianirvana2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the outskirts of joliet,
i saw You between red glowing streams:
weaving the horizon like a tapestry,
recycling gold beads from a pale morning sari,
dyeing blue-violet fever, shivers
leaking from my head down my arms,
resting in my belly beside You—mixing veins in the night,
embellishing the road with thoughts
of creation: You spin a thread and it unwinds,
fraying at the ends where the cars break the asphalt
and i convulse,
spinning out of control—You doe-eyed like the kid
who crashed his mother's car and dies heavy beneath
that semi, stuck in the pitch dark, oil blearing opalescent
under the gaping taillights—streetlights—headlights—
on the outskirts of joliet.
there's something.there's something—there's something.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i don't know if i can tell you
or just leave it on a wordless breath
with the rest of these confessions
that pass from my lungspace
to your neck.
but i'm not keeping secrets;
there's a garden of seeds unsprouted
buried in your fibers, where i
laid my last guilty conscience and
slept unsoundly, pressing my hands
to your chest, clawing until my nails
were black and gritty.
and i'd like to tell you, make sense
of the nights i just can't. i just can't
when the azaleas are dry and the rattling
begins at your thighs, when your touch
is the gardener's seeking my tongue
for rain water, asking for another
someday, i'll climb the trellis and
end your drought.
a streetcar to nowherei.a streetcar to nowhere2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
rough and tearing,
bought by the yard
or cent-marked minute,
spin a skirt
that won't last a winter,
and snort ballerinas,
hope he's flexible
thin and shimmering,
don't stay another minute,
clear the aisles to say
so he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
by a craving spark
crisp and burning,
thin black ash
like your real name or
just something i can call you,
something that won't make me
feel like i'm talking down
to you. not because
i respect you, i never—
no i don't think i
respect you, but
something soft like i can
pretend i'm decent,
or normal maybe, don't
look at me, i didn't pay to—
where are you going after this?
and maybe i won't laugh."
Why I Can't Love a PoetHe said you're beautiful likeWhy I Can't Love a Poet2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
black birds on a gray sky or
a tree that's recently died but
holds its last green leaves until
they wither and crack, swept away
by a northern wind bearing his name.
humanlylet me explain:humanly4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
i am many things half-heartedly, and only one thing certainly: i am human. but nowadays, does that even mean anything? sometimes it means perfect but sometimes it means utterly imperfect. i suppose it just means uncertain.
i read a lot of books to try to figure out how the world works and what it means to be human, but no amount of reading could ever teach me. you learn when you talk to people and see the way they move their hands or the way they shake their heads. you learn from the way they love you or betray you or hurt you or support you and then you learn how the world works, because the world is made up of these people.
i once told myself i was broken-hearted, and i think at one point i was. but now i think it's better to call myself broken-boned, cracked like a fragile eggshell underneath a strong wind. though i think the pull of the earth is enough to break almost anyone.
just keep this in mind: the world's still growing, and so are you.
let me explai
You're Never Touching AnythingCarnationsYou're Never Touching Anything2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
have grown inside my eyelids,
pollinated by june bugs
flecked with bright recording colors:
We were away
from noon till morning,
froze in amber
because the horizon twitched,
of the damp sidewalk
planted in my skin.
He sat at my left,
picking week old plastic
and throwing it
onto the sandbar
for fish to eat:
I soon planned
on Gabriel's blanket,
a circular fountain
hadn't turned on yet;
with nothing louder
than the lake
on the shore:
Our sun rose higher
and bleached my consciousness:
I wake up
with mosquito bites
and flaking wool-worn elbows,
braiding stringy petals
with thanks to salingerAudio version.with thanks to salinger2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it's on those cold mornings
when you are nothing but indrawn breath
swirling and knitted up inside too-big
skin and weightless bones--
when the horizon arches up against
the half-thawed tendrils of sunrise
with golden teeth,
and smiling, begs--
it's on those cold mornings
when leaving is easiest.
the car will be cold, and you will
shiver, and the engine,
much too loud,
will smack of blasphemy
but you will find peace in the steady roll
of tarmac and the yellowing light
spilling across it,
with dust motes kicked up and carried
like fish in the undertow.
when you come to that first
crossroads, it will shock you:
the way the decision hangs there
trembling and desperate--
but there are no right answers and you will not
hesitate. and each successive choice
will be made of its own accord,
and you will roll the windows down,
and draw down the scent of ear
Two Birds with One StoneToday, I found the fragile yet well-preserved corpse of a robin stuck to a gravel road that, by trick of the eye, churned steadily in the late afternoon humidity; when the evening cooled, I weighed, measured, plucked, and then boiled the songbird in one of Father's new iron pots until its remaining feathers and flesh easily parted from its saturated bones, which were left out to dry in the summer garden until they became as white as your teeth. With meticulous care, I cleaned and then arranged the skeleton in the shape of its natural design before I reinforced its structure with thin copper wires, mounting the finished piece on a cherrywood plaque I signed with my Christian name.Two Birds with One Stone2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The robin now sits on my windowsill, staring onto the grey winter dawn. Its song has never been so sweet as when I imagine it whistling a mournful aubade, welcoming the sun as it rises and melts the snow so it will later freeze into a glittering sheet of ice. As I write this letter, hunched over my desk and fe
I Don't Miss AdolescenceMy sister asks if I'll do her makeup.I Don't Miss Adolescence2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Mami promised she would;
now she's tired and screamed
when Maria reminded her
senior prom is tonight.
She says, "I have a hickey on my neck,
something she doesn't want to cover,
and you've always
done a better job
of highlighting the subtle graces
of my structure,
the angles we share."
but I can't pick you up."
So she arrives in a flourish of exasperations,
telling me all the family business,
waving her nails in my face
and talking about her extensions.
"Do you think we need yellow concealer?
I plan to take pictures,
and the last thing I want
is to remember him
every time I look back,
the purple ghost
of high school regret
on my skin."
"It's not a problem.
Just close your eyes;
when you open them,
you'll never be able to tell
he touched you.
Maybe you'll forget him
in a couple years,
as time washes by
and new experiences
dull what has already passed."
She sets her purse on the table
shaking her head.
Control TheoryI'm drawn to broken extrovertsControl Theory2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
who wear their brash affectations like silver medals—
with dark prideful eyes and an open yearning for
another chance at the gold,
upset slung heavy around their bruising throats,
willing to change at the slightest suggestion
of another impending failure.
of victors and survivorsFear is a poison that rips through my bloodstreamof victors and survivors3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and tears at my arteries and fills my vision with red -
and all I can do is sit here and let it. Submissive,
but not passive: that's the difference.
For the first time, I am blind and caught in
utter darkness, engulfing and suffocating,
and I find myself thinking there is nothing here
that is not a tragedy; not me, not you, and not
even the constellations that we name after dead heroes,
or the meadows that we name after wars,
or the scars that we name after nightmares.
I am poisoned by terror, slowly seeping through
the marrow of my bones, inching closer and closer
to something resembling a soul, and I plead
for an antidote, but am told that I already hold it
in the pale palms of my hands, and would find it
if I would only uncurl my fingers and unclench my fists
long enough to drink.
When I write, I feel a rare moment of barely holding on,
of teetering on the edge and regaining my balance
for a sweet instant, of recalling memories burie
her depressions used to wrinkle the bedsheets.she lay around for hours, then called out,her depressions used to wrinkle the bedsheets.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
"i don't know whether i'm too old or young for this,
but i'm just too tired to face today and tomorrow
might be the same. will you get your brother for me?
i left him at school this morning, and i'm not sure what time
he needs to be picked up. i've been forgetting so much lately,
so maybe i should work less, take a vacation somewhere warm,
or sleep until the year settles its dust. but we can't do that now,
can we? responsibility's a bitch, jorge. don't get married,
at least not to someone you'll divorce."
like a good son, i collected adrian from the pavement
where he'd been waiting too long,
and his teacher asked me whether or not that would become
an everyday thing. i said, "it's not my business,
just my blood," before we walked to the running car waiting,
the fumes growing impatient and curling above
the cold that made my brother shiver. he wore a coat
traci bought him, one from a store i didn't know the name of,
and it was strange to think
A Relationshipone.A Relationship2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i liked him
because he knocked the ash
off his cigarette
with his left index finger;
he was drunk
and burned himself
when he forgot to pull away.
i ate two apples
and three rice cakes. he asked
do you always do this to yourself?
the first couch was red:
soft synthetic fiber that inhaled
quivered beneath our touch,
i like dogs,
he told me,
but i wish i owned horses;
he had a pony, once,
a shetland that hated brushing,
and we laughed.
i was the first to say
i loved him,
but not before he
touched my collar where it
i let him pay for dinner
and my train tickets.
do you always do this to yourself?
when i told him
i didn't trust my
i came home at six,
and he had quit
those cigarettes and asked
i do the same;
on the couch,
now brown and plush,
he left a pack
of Newports and said
found them at work.
at a movie,
sensational and scalding,
i touched hi
acridi.acrid2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a dead bird rots,
stomach heat-split and picked on,
feathers stuck to the concrete
when he peels it up.
he pours kerosene,
holding one shaking match lit—
fat melts, entrails crisp,
marrow dries and bones crack,
ashes rise against the wind,
falling on gray buildings.
in his midmorning dream,
the phoenix soars.
untitledseducing the writeruntitled2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he'll seduce himself
if you're silent.
you still love himi.you still love him2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
the bare bulb flickers, and aurora's bones quiver, porous with constellations. she is named, she believes, for the mottled color of her skin: black, purple, green, yellow, and blue erupting on the pale night sky. when she tries to bend her arm, it hurts, and he says, "just rest. just rest. just rest."
they freeze over.
he meets daisy at the clinic. she is yellow in the cold but tans in the summer: blossoming daintily, shimmering with pollen, beautiful amongst the long wild grasses. she whispers and presses a flimsy little card onto his palm; "i can tell you're better than the others."
aurora accepts her methadone.
in the arctic, the sky splits; aurora rests beneath the flickering sun and the snow melts, blistering.