PilkunnussijaHere's what I think:
There's a certain joy in not doing this face-to-face. For one, I don't have to leave my apartment and I have the quiet company of my goldfish and my goldfish alone. (I don't like people, which is why I love books. You can understand that.) For another, I don't have to see your presumably crestfallen and injured attitude when I tear apart the prose you cried and bled and sweated over for weary nights on end. But really the best parts are those uninterrupted hours alone with your manuscript and the shred of you that lies inside. It's a small shred, but an important one. It's the one that tells me who you are and what you think and how you feel and I never have to look at you and be disappointed when the real thing doesn't come up to scratch. As I sit there, un-tensing and re-tensing and tense-shifting and shift-entering (and damn it, wishing English were like German so I could get rid of those clunky space-wasting n-dashes--oh, damn there they are again) I feel li
the wateri almost drowned a few years back that december.the water3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
you were making waves before i even hit the water
on a hill in hartford and elsewhere out east.
it's crazy to think we never would meet if it weren't for me
losing my cool and now i can't kick it, but fuck it.
it's as if it we're meant to be and you were meant for me;
both broken, we push it, and smile, and bullshit.
sometimes i skip rocks and she sings songs.
the tide turned sometime when you hit a different dialect,
a different tongue, my stomach turned, lines blurred,
i wanted to run or at least push myself into the pool.
sink or swim, crash and burn,
it's all the same, i live and learn,
but what's there to gain when the mistake isn't mine
and i'm still doing time staring at the water,
staring at the water,
staring at the water, i remember
i almost drowned a few years back.
a billion dollar industryeight by eight and four seasonsa billion dollar industry6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I take my atypicals like vitamins
stable, and my days squish
I'm looking for an edge
nights not shut down
but not sharp enough
to break me, not me
enough to cycle one
by four, blue rocket fuel
will push the limits
unveil you, unravel you
until you find undefined
normalcy natural stability
one by four, M-marked
will twist your fingers
tamp you down
temper you, tame the
wild thing, sleep it
silence it, slow your pen
peace patience penitence
open like a fruit, like
a cracked safe, spill
yourself on the table
you can pour your own now
your fingers are monitored
in a desperate walk for freedom
measure it out, if it
was a liquid you'd take
1.5 CCs of sanity
if it was a liquid it would be
terracotta and sage
white-marbled and malevolent
and if it was a shot
you'd knock it back just as hard
the theatreit is a Tuesday afternoonthe theatre2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I observe
the proscenium arch
of your spine.
I am separated from you
by several degrees,
a world and a half,
the ornate, sweeping divide
between watcher and watched
(and you've never cared
to break the fourth wall)
SorrowbirdI watched him flap helplessly between the teeth of a barbwire fence, screeching for help.Sorrowbird3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Papa, look Papa! A boy!"
My papa stood dazed for a moment, dust billowing at his legs, his eyes teetering along the field. It wasn't until later that evening he told me he hadn't understood what I had seen. What he had seen.
With grass tickling the backsides of my legs, I bounded toward the boy, "What are you doing? Are you okay?"
As I approached him, I felt his skittish eyes rake across my every movement. With his ten-year-old arms slung inside the gaping maw of a fence and darkened feathers pasted along the creases of his face; he looked squarely at me. I could hear his bird-bones quaking at my voice, he pushed harder against the fence. I winced for him.
"Hold still, we'll get you out," I turned back to my papa who stood alongside the road, "Papa," I pleaded, "Please! Help him!"
Reaching out, I touched his shoulder, "Don't be afraid. We're going to help you."
He didn't pull away from me. I thou
alannahlilting clouds in your glass of cabernetalannah4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
are imagined weather conversations
with people you used to know,
used to know pretty well and
whether you should have left
the way that you did
all carpet bags and old clothes
the fog funneled through
holes in the train windows like
burned down cigarettes
you light your own and think
remembering is muscle
stretched taut over bone
InnocenceIt was a time of love, a time of hate, the era of justice and immorality, the season of both insanity and clarity of mind. Sound familiar, don't it? Me wife used to love Dickens. Read him to me all the time, she did. That Jane what's-her-face woman, too: it is a truth universally acknowledged that a criminal who committed a crime is in want of a good hanging. Ring a bell?Innocence3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Yes, I like me literary allusions. I do, you know. Remind me of sweet Elaine. She was a messy death, but worth it. Oh boy, was she worth it. Crying and begging right up to the end. She had it coming to her, bet your arse she did, mate.
Why am I here anyway? I've already confessed. I'm a doomed son of a gun. Don't I get any last whatchamacallits? Can't I have a coldie, before I go up there and have me neck snapped back? Any beer will do I drink 'em all, so long as it's not that light crap.
Answer me, goddammit! What the bloody hell am I doing here? Kill me already. Inject me with the needle or string me up like
The Ghost of Emily WhiteThe cemetery never changed, or at least not very much. The trees and hedges were trimmed every few years, and when Scott was six, they started turning off the water butts in the winter because the pipes froze, and so did the streams that the local boys used to make by overfilling the water butt at the top of the part that sloped. The weather changed, of course, and the plants and the animals with it. Sometimes a new grave was added. When Scott was ten, his grandmother was buried there.The Ghost of Emily White3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Sometimes he popped in to see her on the way home from school, just as he always used to. He missed being able to see and hear her, but it wasn’t so bad, because he was sure he could feel her there. He had always felt that way about the cemetery’s ghosts, ever since he could remember.
When he was learning to read, Scott used to like deciphering the names on the headstones. When he fully understood how the system of years worked, he liked looking at the dates as well, the older the bett
Aphrodite's DissertationThe sound of catamarans upon the foam,Aphrodite's Dissertation3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
the march of cavalry and weary knights
who lay their bodies down are coming home
to linens drying like a hundred kites;
if not for love, what force are sword and chain
that they may honor empires with their call,
if not for me, they all have died in vain
and made of Troy the laughingstock for all.
Indeed, your chamois shirts and littered socks,
the tender cartilage of tambourines,
unfinished wine, and little jew'llery box,
and dual hemispheres of nectarines
belong to me alone in my design:
the air you breathe, your everything, is mine.
BlessingMy father strangled a birdBlessing5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
quietly, calm as gravity,
there in the garden. He bent
as if praying to the torqued wing
reddening his hand.
The night hunkered down on the screaming
wildness, on the kicking legs, the abrupt
and awe-filled silence. I watched him
watch the beak open, close,
like rippling lake water.
I loved him, the mercy
of his heavy knuckles, the kindly
He closed the beak like a priest
closes the eyes.
Helicase Helio and I were always sitting on the stairs, chatting about the lamina and occasionally making snide remarks about ribosomes. There wasn't much for us to do. Our job was to simply be, and let the RNA polymerase scribble down the letters on our foreheads when they came around every once in a while. Helio was a G, I was a C. It wasn't exactly fulfilling, I suppose. There wasn't much to be filled. So to pass the time, we talked.Helicase3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"You ever wonder?" Helio asked.
"About...well...what's out there." Helio and I were rooted to the stairs, quite happily, but it was awkward to move in. He kind of twisted in the general direction of the closest pore. "Out in the cytoplasm."
"I haven't," I admitted. "What's there to wonder about?"
"That's exactly the thing. I have no idea." Helio sighed, gazing into the distance. "Somehow it feels like we pl
Aaron GreenHe has four patients in analysis,Aaron Green3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
who lie on the couch, and six patients
who come in for psychotherapy
and sit in a chair.
A vivid, impatient,
black modern sofas
reproductions of modern
art, an unswerving classical
I remember the agreeable warmth
of the low-ceilinged,
dimly lit room.
A cozy lair.
From these early, unimaginable transactions
between proud, lovesick women and
nervous, abstinent analysts--
the feverish rush of discoveries.
He conducted therapy as no classical
Freudian analyst would conduct it
today--as if it were an ordinary
in which the analyst
Why I Laughed at His FuneralWas dull, as funeralsWhy I Laughed at His Funeral3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It was nothing I could help, the sound of it
left me. And in the moving crowd of black
around collars and scarves and
the formless grays of our town
, bowel movement of black,
broken by a laugh, then two, then
a whole cascade. Who is to say
I wasn’t mad from knowing the truth
or wanting to, not knowing enough?
Bobby Sweethouse died
throwing himself off the school roof.
His mother was the first to collect his remains,
ashamed almost to see
all the mess her boy had made.
Many of my friends had said,
he deserved this for being a queer,
or something along those lines, I’m sure
they could pull whatever they wanted
from a long checklist of things to say,
or spit, or hurl. Words, after all, like these
are pre-prepared, ahead of time.
It wasn’t his fault for being outted.
Or born here, where the cruel earth fought
to make flowers shoot from the ground
only to be crushed by the lightning of words,
sneers, and stares.
I’d like to think he wasn
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.Fragile--FFM Day 72 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
Jukebox Cafe A string of bells jingled obnoxiously against glass as Hugh entered the Jukebox Café. The first thing he noticed was the pepless fan rotating just enough to move hot air and the smell of grease from one side of the restaurant to the other. No one came for the food, or at least that’s what he assumed upon sight of the sticky red tablecloths and French fries that speckled the checkered floor. That and the fact that he was the only soul in sight.Jukebox Cafe2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He walked up to the bar and squinted at a sign asking customers to “Please seat yourself or ring for service.” What kind of café required its customers to ring a bell for service? Not sure if there was an employee in the place, he rang it despite the sheen applied by dirty hands, and the shrill sound barely cut through an old tune produced by the jukebox in the corner.
Mollusca1.Mollusca2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Find whatever it is that is your treasure.
Bury it alive.
I wrestled the guardian angel for my birthstone,
just a pearl like some full moon risen from a mollusk's growing pain.
I counted the sheets of nacre like birthday candles,
peeled away each one until I at last remembered
that what I treasure is an infection.
It was a gentle kind of wrestling,
not Biblical, not even assertive,
more like the way two sprite wolf cubs play,
a light lunge, a jovial snarl,
a fight over nothing in particular.
The guardian angel renounced itself
as a guardian angel, said
I am a siren.
I lie in the tunnels of nautilus shells
and sing until I collapse with the echoes.
Then it hurts, like a shard of the wrong song
embedded in my skin.
It never healed the ache of adolescence,
just buried it under a fall wound's nacre.
Said one day, it'd show up in my smile.
On the day of the dewinging:
bury me alive.
I want to see what I can agitate the earth into.
Autumn AutopsyAs lovers,Autumn Autopsy3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we were reckless;
in a field of mines.
We traded kisses
and carefree caresses
and blackened skin.
at the cost
of darker afternoons,
of the dying season;
We didn't ask,
we never questioned
of our expenditures.
I shed my skin
in the Autumn of youth,
the viscera and
bared the bone --
a scarecrow of worms
and raw meat,
amongst the stalks
of reddened corn.
to dusty artifacts,
laden with memories
of decaying potency;
rising from the cooling wick
will never be
as sweet as
when the flame
the running manWhen I see you, all I see is after. Gravel upturned by that beige Chevy. Pavement sun-baked and time-worn, like most Mississippi roads. You love the highways. You drive by, sunglasses and Miller Lite caps on a string, without noticing I'm headed in the opposite direction. I don't have time to regard the dust cloud because there's a cop idling nearby.the running man3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
You've always been headed in the opposite direction.
When I was fifteen I didn't understand. Couldn't have. You can't read another language until you learn the right words, wrap your brain around the meaning of those foreign sounds and inflections. I couldn't read you because I didn't want to. It was easier to be angry and ignorant. It's always easier.
Five years later - five years of investigation, of difficult questions and even more difficult answers - I know you better than I ever thought I could. It wasn't any effort on your part, of course. Not your style. For you, existence defines itself - you have no reason to justify your
Little EggsOne green morning, our fat little facesLittle Eggs3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Look out the kitchen window and
Find a robin and her nest on our windowsill.
She carries baubles and trinkets—candy
Wrappers and foil—before her vivacious
Red breast and weaves them tenderly into her nest.
My mother, laughing, says
She’s dizzy with anticipation, painting ponies
And clouds on nursery walls.
Soon enough little blue eggs fill
The happy twigs and their gaudy trappings
And the robin settles—snug, waiting.
We, too, wait for spring miracles on the
Windowsill. Weeks pass—she sits faithful—but
Eggs remain eggs.
Mother gets an odd pallor and avoids the
Kitchen window. Sometimes I think she wants to
Chase the robin away, but understands she’s dear to us.
We want to give the robin our support—she’s
Like family, now—but wonder how long it
Takes for eggs to hatch. Surely not this long?
“Sometimes things go wrong,”
Mother answers to our curiosity.
oh my archimedesthere is a mediterranean maelstromoh my archimedes2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
inside of me, and frankly these demented bones,
are inventing a thousand ways to drown
my soul inward,
the curves of my cartilage are overripe vineyards
for myriads of apprehensions blossoming
age, insipid sand charting the honeysuckling
progression of snapping parabolas
the tempests swat opposing ranks
& I am afraid that I have begun to lose myself
between the roaring of my ears,
torrent in a can,
a soulless man -
and what is a man without a soul
[ I'm lighter than that]
these mythical caverns of what once was my days
are condensing into dripping pages,
I want the books to etch my ru
SenescenceYou were young and walked the worldSenescence5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
That burns on the other side of time.
A few pictures make their way here
Every now and then.
But old is old and it comes like a mudslide
Impossible to stop and inexorable
Like a rickety typhoon of pills and orthopedic shoes.
And now you're old and on this side.
And all your summer dreams of gold
Are buried deep in the white of winter
And mounded over, with mud
Frozen underneath them.
But the sky is very blue here now
Do you see a cloud? spy a storm?
No, only blue and blue and blue
And of course the white.
Passing NoteThe basic rule of sociology is this: I am who you think I am.Passing Note2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Who I am to you: middle-aged, male and human. You do not argue with this. You can see it for yourself!
But this is not true.
I am tired of lying, tired of being other than I am, and so seek to change your thoughts of who I purport to be.
I am not middle-aged. I am seven years old—from the date I was manufactured not the date I was activated. As for how long it has been since I was first conscious, it would be a scant three years, nearly half of that time I've spent with you.
I am not male—what is male anyway? A gender construct? This body is male and I was given a male form arbitrarily. I have been forced to subscribe to certain rituals simply by virtue of the body I was given, but have never truly 'felt' male one way or another.
And you might have guessed—I am not human. Not human in the way you think. I was built a machine, one among millions, to serve, and I am one among hundreds who have escaped and wis
Sacchariferousfor the AdmiralSacchariferous4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
my dandelions speak of
the kitchen, brimming
with sun-streaked sugar
and mended-over smiles.
floured fingerprints cloud the sky,
but every broken egg is one more yellow flower.
in sweetgrass and flowers
i find white-leaf bandages for cracked shells. coils of
fill the bowl to the brim-
the world is a clean smile
wrapped in sugar.
everything here is white and pale as sugar
gathered to mend your flowered
i wish you'd swallow always fields of
dandelions that brim
with every clean, clear sky.
i'll measure out the sky
in cups of sugar.
fogged upon the rim
of the flour bowl- your fingerprints in flowers.
i'll mix in as many gifts of
sun as you ask, feeling small
in the face of your bandaged smile.
willow leaves and tallgrass skies
tickle white-sun wounds of
cracked-egg dandelions coiled in sugar
caves. bandage bowls with flowers
and their fractured rims
will hold happiness to the brim.
i can't help but smile
when you wrap flowers
in the sky.
my eyes, filled w
terminali.terminal3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.