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 Papers3 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.Nameless3 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.”
DreamersShe reminds me that she's a dreamerDreamers3 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
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,
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
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 573 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
for all intensive purposesi am accused of beingfor all intensive purposes3 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.
You don't seem to notice (my scars)-i-You don't seem to notice (my scars)3 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
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.
Star SwallowerShe'sStar Swallower5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
her head, a stadium drowning with applause.
yet its seats are empty like the notebooks
where armies of words should be marching.
instead she dismantles clocks
thinking she can play with time.
behind the mountains lurks a darker reasoning
a twisted labyrinth of rationalizations
hidden from the suns brilliance.
Years alone beneath the bleached fluorescent
reading those already dancing in the moonlight.
she is living a literary half-life through them
hiding from the symmetry of the writer.
licking salty rocks of excuses.
saving her secrets for posthumous excavation.
decades of productivity left for moths to chew.
you're throwing coffins into the sea
with each day that passes wordless.
denying us the sweet whistles from inside your skull.
meaningful, impacting stories only you could pen.
Stop climbing broken staircases
towards the pale summer stars of obscurity.
these are still fruitful years of beauty.
remove your armor.
claw beyond your fears.
allow us into your wonderla
the science of usacceleration = gravitational pull / massthe science of us7 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You didnt send my heartbeat into a frenzy the first time I saw you. It was a month or two before I started feeling the little palpitations inside my chest and made sure that my hand accidentally brushed against yours every now and then.
(I wanted to make sure you got used to the feeling of my atoms colliding with yours.)
I told myself it was stupid and simply physical. You werent pulling my heart strings, you were toying with my belt buckle by smiling at me across the room and asking me to spend time with you on a Saturday afternoon. I was sold by the time you pulled into my driveway and my name slipped from between your lips.
(Sweaty palms and twisted vocal chords told me no one said it quite like you.)
I promised myself this was strictly a one-way thing. I feigned like I felt nothing, and in my nervousness I became the witty jackass. You laughed at my barbed-wire jokes and sped through a red light while I was watching
Part-Time HookerI inhale smoke and dirty thoughtsPart-Time Hooker3 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.
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?3 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
The Importance of Gold FlecksHereditary.The Importance of Gold Flecks3 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
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,
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)3 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.
my howls are silentI, too, see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. We are decomposing too early, our souls dying before our bodies can catch up. We are silently ravenous, a quiet craze in our hearts, not quite the same as your generation, Ginsberg. We do not shriek "Holy! Holy! Holy!" as we burn. We drown soundlessly.my howls are silent3 years ago in Letters More Like This
The overeducated, proud products of postmodernism dissolve in a lukewarm soup of ennui, bored balloons filled with hubris rather than helium. Fragile dolls with flaking bones and hair and skin like flowers wilting, weighed down by indomitable wills and insecurities... these plastic girls starve to death and diabetes in the car beside me, fantasizing about food in the passenger seat. Former nymphets gouge symbols into themselves, the bleeding crags physical outlets for the demonic depression, for the memories of beloved older brothers molesting them in the living room, while her mother sits at a hospital bedside beside a fading father.
I see the most remarkable minds crippl
It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulahi.It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulah3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
June's hauled her here again and
she's tapping at my classroom window,
A gazillion tiny fingers rapping in succession
(When she said "invitation" I didn't realise she meant
soaking half the country, the spike in umbrella prices has
nothing to do with me)
What's worse than an impatient child
is one with the whole atmosphere as her battering ram
when she tries to say something the urgency brims over
and one million exclamation marks
is beginning to sound like static frazzling
out on the pavements
She is without choice: when Cloud mother tips her out
she must go, and go she will
caught in an obtuse cycle, fought over by heat and
gravity wanting to claim her as territory
thrown about in their wiggly intersections she
falls, rises, and falls again.
Her talent is splitting herself up,
a single place, and then everywhere at once.
She has mastered the skill to the point
that she is a fractal in the air
even before she hits the ground.
She is a cell in a body 66 percent water.
She is a s
Whale Songs of the PacificListen, the girls swallowed by whales are the ones that grow up lucky.Whale Songs of the Pacific3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Listen, no one will warn you about the little boys with the magpie eyes and the fists swinging splinters of glass. No one will warn you that their smiles are sweeter than their words are sweeter than their souls are sweeter than their intentions. No one will warn you of the sheer weight of the world.
Listen, sometimes girls are fragile. Sometimes girls are frothy. Sometimes girls let boys nuzzle "I love you"s into their necks and sometimes girls drink the wine of believing them.
Listen, sometimes the boys really are sweet, and little girls' tart puckered mouths can't taste the difference.
Listen, writers are the ones that drip fishhooks down their throats to coax out their hearts. Writers are the ones who fling those heart-hooks into the sea even if they have a message but not a bottle. Listen, sometimes fish swallow them. Some of those fish sink to the bottom of the ocean with the weight of the world in those heart
l'appel du videlet me intensify the outside for youl'appel du vide3 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
Conversation"I am driving in a Hummer. I am on a two lane highway. I was listening to Counting Crows before panic threatened to cut off my air supply. Air supply is a band. I have no idea what they sing. I'm pretty sure they were a clue on Jeopardy once. I…I…have to pull over so I can breathe."Conversation3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Omar put on his blinker and steered the over-compensation-mobile to the shoulder of the road. He fumbled with the lock on the door and his heart felt like it was going to burst through his chest when he tried to get out of the car and couldn't. Seatbelt. It was just the seatbelt. His hands were slick with cold sweat by the time the belt whizzed cheerfully back into its place and he managed to slide out onto the shoulder of the road.
He was glad it was so late and glad that the highway was so deserted. He was trembling so hard that the change in his pockets rattled and he never would have been able to speak if someone had pulled up and offered to help. He hated for people to witness his panic.