Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing oldi.
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,
Your Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local PapersBut listen to me: I will tell youYour Daughter has Sold Hundreds of Local Papers2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
how to love a bedspread;
a car seat; a sun dress
that you cleaned two months ago.
and should they find her
in the breast of a riverbank
or a cabinet,
I will tell you
facts about scavenger birds;
kettles, wakes and how to chair a committee
with a body on your desk,
as scavenger birds do.
NamelessA nameless creature jammed into a nameless space located in an unknowable location was all that stood between Experiment 726 and what he considered to be the Endless Stream of Creation itself. The creature was large and menacing, but seemingly beautiful to behold. Experiment 726 crinkled his eyelids at the creature that stood before him, frustratingly unable to comprehend all but the most simple adjectives about it. And yet… it was as clear as day and cold as night.Nameless2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Cold. That was something you could call it, 726 mused. It was one of a very limited number of describing words that he could muster about this impossible place, because no matter how much he looked or analysed anything, nothing seemed to make much sense.
“Why come here?” The nameless creature demanded. “And how? No creature such as yourself should even be capable of getting here.”
“I'm just lucky?” 726 tried. “I honestly don’t know.”
for all intensive purposesi am accused of beingfor all intensive purposes2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a category five--
but i will not excuse the way my skin aches.
i want storms.
i remember the way Katrina screamed &
if you press your ear to my chest you will hear the same.
the moan turning into a pitch, the pitch
screaming until the throat is too raw to be
more than a whimper.
the way it stops
silently racked until it bursts forth once more.
i will not apologize for being demolition.
scars exist on every woman
too powerful to contain herself.
Do you know the taste of the universe?One day, when you’re five years old and made out of fractured sunlight and mirror shards, you sit down on the bench of the MAX train. You’re dressed in your winter coat and boots that are too big and one of your parents has pulled your hat too close over your ears.Do you know the taste of the universe?2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
You’re sitting next to your mother, and on the other side is a man that smells like loneliness, something that you’ll later know as cigarettes and alcohol and homelessness. He’s crying quietly into the top of his jacket and you’re scared to look because you’ve never seen an adult cry.
The train ride goes on for five minutes, which is a long time to you, and eventually you sneak a look at the crying man who smells like Portland and loneliness, and he sees you. He leans down until you can see the red lines in his eyes and he whispers to you.
“Do you know the taste of the universe?”
And you look up at him with your little-girl eyes and shake your head because you can’t
despondenti.despondent3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"are you sleepy today?"
"but you were sleepy yesterday."
she stirs her pomegranate green-tea until it turns from clear to purple
setting it on her bedside table and climbing back into bed again.
her fingers follow the bluer-than-usual constellation veins on her wrists and down
to the freckle on her forearm and then the scar on the inside of her elbow
crossing the tendon as if it were crux.
and then she remembered that God hasn't been with her lately.
today is long and sunny but when she steps outside the humidity creaks her bones
and her skin starts to inflame.
she assumes that if getting the mail is a struggle, having a child would be too.
often times when she sets her tea down she remembers that her Bible is in the drawer beneath
along with the crucifix necklace that her mother made her.
her husband comes home late nowadays and she never questions why that may be
because she knows.
she would do the same too if she had a wife who took four different
Divination as a Means of Finding a Way Back 1. I say nothing I am thinking.Divination as a Means of Finding a Way Back3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
For twelve years I have wanted
to do exactly this, but suddenly
pronouncing my own name calls up
the question of who it belongs to
in the same breath Like
Solomon I was born a singer
but in the wrong key and my
chords will not carry me, will not
summon the wolves to me only
packs of hungry dogs
stupid with domestication
but nearly feral And like
a hungry ghost I have learned
not to speak against those
who will give me food
2. A sketch of myself.
He says I must have been born
in the wrong culture, he says. I got a taste of
the crackling heat here, heat to drive you crazy,
and suddenly I open my wide arms for
New Orleans, find myself needing the wind from
the Great Plains. Like a buffalo I have the spirit
of the Sun and I carry it with me. I am a plant
of burnt umber,
brown, ready and waiting like
sage bushes, like the hill you go to that is best
for collecting jun
l'appel du videlet me intensify the outside for youl'appel du vide2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to nullify the agony in your head
drink up, shoot up, snort it all
and i'll watch eagerly as your
pupils contract, veins constrict
as it sets in, and then
the concentration, oversaturation
of color and sensation, the distortion
of time and of your entire reality-
isn't this better than dreaming?
on stimulants, everything is wonderful
the bricks are beautiful until you hit them
the bruises are gorgeous until you remember the pain
and even then,
they're just colors blooming upon your skin
pause for a moment of clarity
retreat from waking reverie and rediscover
the mess you're in- an instant
almost-sober and everything rushes
back like a bullet train and
you just want to take that last-
don't think like that
ignore the impulse
enjoy this while it lasts
squeeze every drop of euphoria from this
you'll be back down soon enough
you don't need to jump
sniffle a little now
didn't realize your nose was leaking
substance trying to escape
your voracious ap
Complex 57The slick of black, heady oil rolled across the floor, staining the raw surface of the clinic, and the young boy collapsed back into the examination table. He was pale, even for someone who had never seen sunlight, with milky eyes and black spittle hanging from cracked lips.Complex 572 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Of those we've seen, the virus has spread most quickly in this patient." Doctor Ripnar was a tall man who tended to sway when he walked, but had hands as deft and precise as any surgeon and he used them now to steady and restrain the boy. "His blood is turning into the same substance you see at your feet." he continued, "We might have been able to keep him alive long enough to find a cure, but we don't have the resources for everyone."
Adjudicator Lawrence nervously straightened his tie; his pink and sweaty face bulbous with stress. "Everyone?" he asked, "How many have been infected?"
"It's in the air supply, Adjudicator. We're all infected."
The Adjudicator lurched, virulent juices churning in his stomach. He hat
You don't seem to notice (my scars)-i-You don't seem to notice (my scars)2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
He and I were eleven when we met, the first day of the sixth grade. No particular moment served as the spark to ignite our friendship. As children do, we started talking as if we were already good friends, and were inseparable from the start.
There were rumours, but we didn't understand half of the words the other kids had picked up from R-rated movies, and neither did they. We were called King and Queen by a crowd of boisterous first-graders who followed us around at recess. He joined the choir and the school play just because I did. It didn't take long before we weren't allowed to sit near each other on the school bus because we caused too much trouble, and eventually we weren't allowed to sit near each other in class either. One day, more quietly than I had ever heard him, he asked me to be his girlfriend; I blushed and said yes.
We never once invited each other to our houses. We each had our reasons, but never knew the other's: a silent agreement to n
my soul is leakingthe steady drip drip of it in the kitchenmy soul is leaking3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sink has me grinding my teeth
what a waste you said, and in vain
tried to tighten the taps as I laughed
a waste!indeed I am.
you told me, pride is a virtue you seem to be lacking
and I said pride leaves the blinds open and you laughed
and left the the blinds open.
Shiny black patent shoes, I watched as you were
lowered into the ground and wondered if that's where life got you,
if that's where life always got you,
what good is pride anyway?
DreamersShe reminds me that she's a dreamerDreamers2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Her right hand delicately grips a pencil
as she's working equations on a TI-89 with her left
She looks up at me and smiles,
and there are stars, meteors,
spanning across the cosmos of her expression
her countenance reminds me to look up at the chalkboard
that's attempting to teach me how
to make verses sing from pages in a plain 8 by 11 notebook
and I am only armed with
a .7 pencil and a purple pen,
stolen from my older sister's pencil pouch
My hands are inches away from hers
from the desks side by side
like cars parallel parked on a side road
her equations confuse me
until she flips the page
and shows me stories
filled with metaphors of the sky
reminding me that we are both here for the same thing:
I needed a reason to smile
She wanted a lesson in writing
She reminds me that I'm a dreamer
We exchange stories and poems like cigarettes
except the only price we pay is a small portion of our ego
when there are mistakes and flaws,
and we are gra
recappedbath robes andrecapped2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
mini bar vodka;
holds some pride in denial
til second guessings
bring it back.
knock it back.
hold the burn like a kiss.
let it tingle on the lips.
refill with water;
reset the cap.
no one will notice
tell a liei. rivers are stronger than oceans despite their sizetell a lie2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
they tumble through sharp mountains
but they never, ever stop
ii. i can rush and pick up sediments
and disperse them where i wish
iii. i'm lying -
i knew you saw it anyway,
there's seaweed in my fingernails
and salt on my breath
Part-Time HookerI inhale smoke and dirty thoughtsPart-Time Hooker2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
(sleeping with a waste-of-calories
with no sex appeal. her heart
the volume of
smell increases as it's
getting hotter than a
I don't mind her
cold hands around my --
burned out lights form a
silhouette; film this on
screen like a dream
you can watch or hear.
but she doesn't scream;
her bones suffocate me
as she's wrapped around
my body -
she's stiff, cold, dry.
sleeping with a waste-of-calories
with no sex appeal. her heart
doesn't beat. )
Until I can't breathe.
GrandfatherLancaster Pennsylvania.Grandfather2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
July 3rd, 1978.
Eighty-two degrees outside.
Driving sixty eight mph down Millersville road
past miles of cornfields
And everything is silent.
Except the faint scream of wind escaping through the cracked driver side window
and the dull thud of tire treading on the newly paved road.
trying to understand,
while trying not to think,
while thinking too much,
while being silent.
And suddenly its
March of 1968
And Calley is calling
“kill them all dead”.
And he sees his daughter,
her Agent Orange colored curls
clinging to her face like napalm sticks to melting bodies;
her eyes burning brighter than Hanoi and Haiphong on December 18th, 1972.
He begins to cry
because its still
July 3rd, 1978,
Five pm, and
eighty-two degrees outside.
But in his mind it will always be March of 1968
or December of 1972,
because for him the war is still being fought;
monks and Morrison still burning;
Saigon is still screaming
like it was on April 30, 1975,
a ribcage drenched in dusti have your ribcage, you said.a ribcage drenched in dust3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
what should i put in it?
i told you i'd always wanted a fire,
the kind that would fill my eyes with starlight
and pump my blood full of passion, but
you're made of wildflowers, you said.
a fire would burn you to ash.
you wanted to fill my chest with
the sound of a train, whistling
far away in the night;
with the sound of rain smacking leaves;
with the sound the wind makes
when it seems like it's trying to speak
and you wanted to throw in the
smell of midnight in august
and the feeling of sand being
sucked out from under your feet
when the ocean inhales,
and the strange little moment of
bittersweet joy you get when
someone else puts your soul into words
and you realize you're not as alone as you thought.
i told you that if i had all that inside me,
i'd ache all the time
and you smiled a sad little smile,
because you already knew that ache.
because you were a writer, and you ached all the time.
i've got it, i said.
Ode to my grocer...The grocery cart had old fruit smashed and dried to its grated floor.Ode to my grocer...2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
"Someone really ought to hose that off," thought I.
I've had this cart before,
and thought the same thing then.
The parking lot was conspicuously short on cars.
Saturday morning is usually busier.
A corporate megamart has opened
just five minutes from here.
I pushed the cart into my familiar market,
defiantly devoted in the face of change
to my beloved grocer, unpolished, unrefined
and unapologetically human.
The Pinova apples are painted vibrant shades of yellow, pink and red.
Perfect in their imperfection. Better there be scars than a thick polish of wax.
And the voices around me are they from Russia or Ukraine?
Is that Farsi or Arabic? I'm too ignorant to tell, but I love them all.
Alien music wafts through the aisles like invisible fog over a transparent bay.
Languages I don't understand, unique rhythms and instruments, too.
Wait! Is that Alsu singing Inagda? I haven't heard that since I was in Moscow.
The Importance of Gold FlecksHereditary.The Importance of Gold Flecks2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I learned the meaning of the word when I was young on a summer afternoon. Too hot to play outside, I was sitting with my dad on our blue couch with the small white polka dot fabric. In retrospect, it was probably a tacky piece of furniture, but love is unconditional when you are small, and I sure did love that couch. I remember my dad watching Winnie the Pooh with me every Saturday morning on its spotted cushions. That day, though, we had a conversation about eyes that I never forgot, and even then, its deeper meaning was not lost on me.
"Daddy, your eyes are green like a cat's," I said.
He smiled, and told me that mine were also green, but unlike his, they changed colors. "Sometimes they are blue. Your eyes were so blue when you were a baby! Big and blue.... Someti
Five Seasons (Alternate) There was this moment, early last May, when I could have glanced up from the book I was reading at the breakfast table.Five Seasons (Alternate)2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I could look out my window and see you standing on my lawn, this waif in a windbreaker grinning at a daydream you're probably too old for. I could bring you an umbrella. I could invite you in for coffee, and we could lose the whole day debating questionable Scrabble plays. We could take to the streets after dark and try to find an all-night diner that will feed us both for less than fifteen dollars. I could fall in love with you.
But I don't.
You go home with nothing but a story about how springtime leaves you feeling lonely. Your roommate blows off a dinner date to take you out for drinks. You send a Chardonnay up to the stage between sets and the singer takes you home.
The new girl at work works up the nerve to ask me out.
I don't have a reason to say no.
Escape VelocityF = G(m1m2)/r2Escape Velocity2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Black – true black – is the absence of light. Darkness is defined by what it is not, by the lack of something else. When we say a black hole, we truly mean that; black. Blacker than black. An absence of not only light, but of time, distance, anything.
The night was scary when I was little. I hated the dark, but couldn’t bear to sleep so long as the light was on, any light, burning on the other side of my eyelids. I used to have nightmares about dark things in dark corners, shadowy figures with shadowy fingers trailing along my spine. I always woke up cold and fumbling frantically for the lamp, but the aura of light just made the shadows deeper and I turned it off quickly.
Black holes are dead stars. Graves. Tombs that bury light, bury it so deep, swallow entire suns, planets, galaxies. Dead stars take all the light with them like rich men spending fortunes on alabaster monuments and marble headstones.
There are four unmarked graves
crystallophonethere is a punchcard sincrystallophone2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like a queen of spades smoldering in an alley.
you hear how the gears churn,
singing faster than we did before
back when black magic dropped like a
pair of socks from the sky with supplies
taped to a note that said
(oh, look at you now)
such a beautiful brain:
runs on gasoline?
have a gallon
or we can call it a balloon,
and a new pair of glasses
for your tapered eyes
(you peel the bark back on the logs,
but you're not sure what you see),
and life says,
either nail jello to a tree,
or keep your
icicles hanging from the eaves,
caterpillars frolicking in the ashes,
your 'Sam, I still don't have your number,'
and your totaled passion:
someone to hang inside out with,
string you up like a steak with.
what the hunger
is trying to tell me
my brain churns like butter,
my insides aflare, my chakras combusting,
A Note on DrowningI am writing this letter for myself. If you have found this letter, please give it to me. If you find that I lack the will to read, if my mind is gone, if my hands are bloodied, tell me at least, that the song is near its end. If I am dead [indistinguishable]A Note on Drowning3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Written in the margin: IF I AM DEAD THROW ME TO THE SEA]
In laying out the bones of my terrors, a solution may be found.
I’ll start before the beginning, when Mother took me for walks on the beach and told stories. Together we missed my father, who sailed the sea. These are my earliest memories, but I remember things had always been this way. We walked together, and I counted my many steps and Mother’s few. When I stretched my legs, I could make it so my path went over only her footprints.
The sand was soft where she had stepped. Elsewhere was gritty, and unclean.
I was young for all of Mother’s stories. Here I will write the relevant one as best I remember.
“A sailor was on a ship. This ship was far of