Totems and Godhoodi. As a child, confronting giants.
I take the pine tree as my totem,
learn to love the nakedness of its nether-regions
and its northerly fibers stretched and waiting
for the weft to its warp.
Girlhood is still a part of me as the
learning what I am. In the end,
I haven't climbed a tree in a long time;
I am small, and scared, and ringed round with walls,
and I beg the moon to teach me
to use my pine trees as a ladder.
ii. In the way only young love can.
you are pine chips, and I carry you
like a fetish in my mind.
You are the first vampiric sweetness
to suck the breath from my body:
unknowing, the feeling of yearning;
I am fibrouscelery stalk,
pale and clutching my thread self together.
Watch as I petrify,
stretch until my bones
will not bend to let me drink.
With age I become a god,
brittle-boned and cackling; with age
the osteoporosis will leech my fibers dry
and my pine sap blood will freeze in my chest
to keep me warm in winter.
blue and gold are not just colorsshe had been blue-sightedblue and gold are not just colors3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dawn cracked her forehead.
it was the dress she wore on his funeral
the color of her school flag
the shine in her father's eyes;
she waited in blue and gold.
no, she refused to set a bar
life didn't just come to her.
she earned her place
in her mother's womb
when each blood vessel questioned her
each nerve ending, if she could live
and each antibody, if she was worth it.
see, she doesn't need new dresses.
she has a memory
for each of hers in her locked closet.
she may not wear all of them
(and most she cringes at the sight of)
but her heart
every time bits of her old life
show unconnected dots
she forces back together.
yes, she waited in blue and gold.
but not for you
you threw a smile at her face
that was never hers to take
but you love your girls vulnerable
and you love your numbers copious.
there's a great chance she
hates those colors now
because everyone who waits outside her window
fails to notice there's no movement
bad days.on my bad days,bad days.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i open notebooks like bibles and hold pens like lifelines.
i keep opening the book of my memories
just to see if it still leaves a bruise.
i am covered in the bruises of your hand
your ghost is in my bed. i can't sleep there,
again i find myself miles from home
wishing on stars i can't see
and spitting memories into the ocean like watermelon seeds.
i sit on my longboard like driftwood and send my shivers into texts
like letters i never should have mailed.
on my bad days,
i wear cuts like ropeburn,
like i just don't know when to let go.
i get lost inside the sadness and hold tea thats long since gone cold
as hours escape like small birds set free.
i forget to open the blinds
and paint my fingernails black
and stare at the too-big numbers aligned on the scale i can't stop stepping on.
indulgencei will peel away every individual shade of colourindulgence2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in this seven-thirty pm sky
like stickers on empty beer bottles in the space
between your ankles
i will drink down this crescent moon cocktail
and get tipsy on night air,
clinging to my skin and summer
will run through my veins
but i don't want winter to come)
and sometimes i'll look down and realise
that my fingers are still sticky with sunsets
but i never want to be clean,
not ever again.
dust-centred bones she can'tdust-centred bones3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
say she holds
the world on her
drags her down
like nothing else:
until she thinks
I was never a writer. I: HalfsleeperI was never a writer.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I fell in love, once.
A snowstorm melting from my hair - dripping cataract:
diluted coffee. A dark room filled with language
so beautiful, I almost understood what was said.
Children are getting younger, and this land has no end,
where do you rest your head?
All things are in a constant state of vibration,
a harmony in the space between
our fingers. our hands.
I’ve only ever stopped to listen
A Short Love StoryI counted your teethA Short Love Story2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when you died,
all twenty-eight of them,
because it gave me more time
than counting your toes
and fingers (and thumbs),
or just looking at your face
and telling the coroner:
he's the one.
pigeonhello, pigeon,pigeon3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he says with a smile
like somehow, he already knows
she's been sad for a while.
and she just looks at him,
with her brokenhearted bambi eyes
and she hopes that he understands
because nobody understands,
pigeon, he says,
and he does.
he knows that deep in her heart,
she just isn't happy.
not today, not yesterday,
and maybe not even tomorrow.
he knows that she wants to be happy,
wants to know what it's like
to be filled with sunshine
(and he thinks maybe that's why
she loves sunflowers so very much.
because she thinks they exude sunlight,
and maybe, just maybe,
if she were bright yellow,
she could emanate happiness, too)
she breathes fluttery, feather-soft breaths
into his chest as he holds her,
and he whispers,
pigeon, I know.
the boy with twelve bracletsthe cobwebs of your past clingthe boy with twelve braclets2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to the inside of your ribcage
and gently strangle your heart.
when i saw you for the first time
i had already known you for weeks,
taken part in your gorgeous
conversations and watched you spread
laughter like a perfect virus
among all the people you met.
you wore twelve bracelets,
six on each wrist;
once upon a time they served
to cover a mistake you made
when you were thirteen,
but it wasn’t a mistake now
so much as a story
about a boy who was brave enough to keep breathing,
and you kept the bracelets just because their memory annoyed you
when you took them off.
that was what you said, anyway.
then i learned how sure you were
that you were only pretending
to be brave.
you wore a mirror as a face,
silver and starlike,
molded to your features and well-rehearsed
in reflecting just what you
knew people wanted to see
and one night,
terrified of seeing nothing but myself
[and greedy to see your face]
i smashed the mirror.
i expected you to scramb
Metaphorically SpeakingPeople are like books;Metaphorically Speaking2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
full of stories and easily
broken at the spine.
SeafoamSeafoamSeafoam3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is the hush of the ocean,
the glossy paint on your car,
the gleam in your eyes.
It's the ruffle of parchment in the glove compartment
of your susurrating '57 Thunderbird
as we leave the last rumble of brontide behind
on a salt-crushed highway.
Traces of powdered sugar noses
and mint milkshake lips
were cold reminders
of warm nostalgic days
when summer could melt the tarmac
like my bones under your gaze.
whitewashedmother refuses to drink the honeywhitewashed2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she paints our rooms with, for
curtaining the timid female quarters of home
is just as frightening
as a monsoon-poor September.
the kind she weaves
with her own words seem far
sweeter than the jars they make
in the farm down
the tree-cut boulevard.
she hides stories in her collars, spilling
only when her honey jars are raised
her red-hot honesty
and our yellow, foolish,
the forlorn scent of industry
seeps into the cheap marble floor
and cracked bathroom tiles,
till it reaches father's nose where it
vaporizes in fear of being shunned.
father will paint the ceiling blue
because aloof girls make broken homes, sewn seam
by seam to a delusional perfection.
we are perfect, bent at the knees and spine
to the fetus we compare to
but the shoulders we always are.
we dare not tremble;
his reign, unquestionable,
InfernoSeptember is a sultry tangleInferno3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of curly hair and corduroy jackets stretched
over broad shoulders that I've been leaning on,
He won't press for answers
and I won't trouble him with my problems.
So he complains about the weather
he's never gotten used to these sticky, southern delta summers
while I hold the door
and press the call button.
The half-lit elevator drops us off above Dante's first layer.
I feel sorry for anyone beneath,
but I've indulgences to buy
and my own hell to return to.
But there's a light in my pocket
abandon not all hope,
Cookerymy blender does not understandCookery3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
"Accept My Gift of Pineapple
Thou Foul Beast!"
this is a blood sacrifice
and she is sadly unreceptive
I begin the main course
I have cupboards full of words
quick brown foxes
I have half a mind (no, three-fourths of a mind)
to sauté them
the golden eggs
more difficult to crack
than I had thought they would be
(forge? My stove doesn't get
I will spice the adjectives with
I will verb these nouns
throw in a voodoo doll or
tulips! Two! Lips!
Crack open a maraca
and sell you some rhythm
Oh you will love this
you will devour this
You will get up and dance to this
I do not understand
WherewithalOnce I met a girl who carved the world flat just to tell me I was beautiful.Wherewithal2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It went without warning, in the morning when we left our sheets and searched for a bed of leaves beneath my mother's apple-tree; I settled crooked as she leaned against my side, and even as my muscles cramped I wouldn't shift her burden from my shoulders even to walk a free girl again. I was the real Atlas, the true one so willing as to ask to bear the weight of the world on her back for all of time, and you wouldn't know it to look at a ghost like me.
August, I said to her, and when I waited for her calling voice to come back I couldn't stop thinking about the way the russet leaves were crumbling under our spines with every movement; it was like we were grinding gold dust, collecting fortunes with every breath that I felt her lightly shake against me. It seemed like a waste, all this precious metal for a kid too haunted to wear the jewelry that would slip straight through her neck, but I couldn't stop myself
BeliefBeliefBelief2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
She tells him the child is not his.
The old women mutter and cluck
as they slap wet cloth against river stones.
He wraps his arms around his chest as though he fears
he will also sprout with child. "A dove,"
he quietly asks? She points to a blood spot
on her cheek. "He pecked me here." It still hurts
when she touches it. It always hurts.
He loves the child, the cuckold's hatchling. He loves his lying wife.
But he knows she lies. When the old men stumble
into the stable, beards matted, coarse as grain,
he simply mutters, "Drunks," bad wine, betrayal.
One afternoon as he saws cedar planks, sawdust thick as pollen,
an angel catches his hatchling as he falls from a branch.
"I shaped the angel out of air," he thinks, so desperate
to believe that a dove pecked his wife, and she swelled with child.
My Mouth, a GraveyardI buried my wordsMy Mouth, a Graveyard2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
under my tongue
& turned my teeth
Here lies hello,
too shy to be uttered,
just left to wither
while my fingers tapped out
& here lies goodbye,
so scared of being alone,
it left the roads between
me and we empty.
Love died the day my
heart started beating,
when it pumped out
too much sense &
not enough courage.
Sorry was found murdered,
its meaning stolen,
the day it would have been
I smothered help with my claims
that I didn’t need it,
then I forgot how to breathe
& no one could see it.
My mouth became a cemetery,
& I chewed on petals
to keep the smell away,
but no matter how many
happy poems I recite,
my words I can’t revive.
For the love of birdsThree little birds pitch on my doorstep.For the love of birds2 years ago in Visual & Found Poetry More Like This
I keep them in a jar
nothing I have is truly mine.
I am only the lonely,
waiting for it to come back to me.
nine fifty sevenyou are wide, animated eyes likenine fifty seven2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a couple of pale moons in a velvet winter sky, and
limbs that stand like willows against the
suburban scape behind you, soft grace in your
sure stride, soft sincerity in the slight curling of your
lips, sweet with a salty aftertaste or bitter with a
spicy edge, i can't decide,
but your aches and pains echo like
a thousand orchestras playing Rossini to
open amphitheatres, and i can hear the sound
soaring across open plains to where i am
where i stand, between black buildings and slate roads,
i am rouged cheeks and deep scarlet lips with
cigarettes perched between them and billows of smoke
framing my face, blonde hair pinned back,
wearing a black turtleneck, i am your film noir
femme fatale, but my big brown eyes seem
reproachful in your gaze, after all,
i am a living facade, and the world is my
disappointment, and my own reflection is my
we're both so disillusioned we can't see beyond our own stars
and the atmosphere seems to condense
DormantWinter is a blank slate,Dormant3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
but not like Rousseau's
sucking out warmth like poison
leaving only windburnt frost
tacked to the window pane
all we remember
is the numbness
skittish steps across the ice
snowflakes pasted to our faces
smoke rising from our lips
dragged across bleak clouds
winter has us captured
bound by fur and walls
drifting in our eggshelled silence
bone cold until we birth ourselves by warmth
emerge from our shells wet and heaving
uncurl our fingers one by one
joints crackling like fire at our backs
until spring comes
drip by tender drip
old wounds thaw
we are found raw,
graced again by feeling.
waking upand imagine my surprisewaking up2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when my insides bloomed
into so many dandelions,
and in a single breath
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
where i dance alonei. I mistook a shy boy for a thunderous one in the days when I lived inside his lungs.where i dance alone3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
ii. I wanted your hands in the early morning, or in 8 o' clock light. (Does it matter? I just wanted you.) Hands like paper cranes, hands like wind chimes. Then we could've been like lovers in a parody: "I love you, I love youno, I don't. But you are beautiful." And while I was not your lover, neither was I your queen. Either way, you wouldn't hold my heart.
iii. Our fingers would've taken flight and then the rest of us, too. Then you would've known of the ballroom in my chest, the migrations inside my body, of the tiny secret nothings that make their way like monarchsas if by instinct, as if they have been here beforefrom ballroom to piano hands to the museum that is my mind to my stomach. But you are the only lost boy afraid to fly.
iv. I was a foreign land and you would not dare travel without a map. But I do not possess a souvenir shop in which to purchase one. I am a des
silver stitchingwe broke each others'silver stitching3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
without [like fevers]
knowing the cause. i could
have held you to my chest
like the sun
and told you it's okay - and it is -
but you blurred your outline with
tequila and anti-depressants.
i overdosed on guilt. i killed us,
i gave your heart
a pacifier to soothe its
a vespertine hauntingi was once six years olda vespertine haunting2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and i was once cradled
in the tired arms of a
who could only cry
and she'd call sometimes,
"Cass," she'd say,
"baby, i've been drinking again
and your father left -
baby, he left and i can't find him."
i'd put her books away then
and try to find the pills
she never wanted to take.
"do you think he's hiding, Cassandra?"
"no," i'd say, and tie her hands;
i was so much more
of my father than i would have liked
to be, "he told me you need these."
"oh no i don't, baby."
"yes, Mama you do."
goes the goddamned weasel,
just in her
it was silent in my room and silent
when she slept
but i was only six and the world
made less sense
to my squinted eyes and
disoriented speech because
the night was her haven -
i was her haven -
she screamed and turned
enough to make the earth's
rotation seem slower
and hours get longer
and the tick drag
fucking tock seemed more
and more interminable
than the f