naked kneesin high school,
you tore your acl playing
a sport you didn't care for,
and you hate that scar: pale
thick and protruding, saying,
"look here. ignore the golden
hair that collects at his thighs,
ignore the bruises from kneeling
on the floor. ignore his calves,
the sharp angle of them and look
at me. look at his knees, how
ugly they are. the thick skin
callused pale and littered with
you don't have to stand but
in lines you get uncomfortable
and you never wear shorts which
is okay. i don't wear them either
[for more irrational reasons] and
i think your legs are my favorite
part of you, contending with your
shoulders and chest and biceps,
with your eyes and cheeks and lips
and bones, blueish veins and feet,
your smile and copper eyelashes.
and you let me rub the softer skin
behind your bum knee, smiling
Eighteight.Eight10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i felt most violated
when you denied it—
evidence may have mounted
in the mouths of other victims
but i haven't spoken—
even in the wake of certainty,
family and loyalty
forked my liar's tongue—
maybe it's enough
that you know what you did—
because i can't bring myself
to hate you.
your son's beautiful—
you were my first
and i don't regret that—
in your arms,
i realized myself.
it wasn't my fault—
i received the letter
years too late
has never been sympathetic
in the eyes of those
who suffered to live—
yet, i write for you,
remember your face acutely,
long for the night
we bathed together
and you told me
God hated us.
i wrote a poem for you—
it was long and vitriolic,
full of anger's energy but—
i realized you aren't worth it—
have a nice life,
long and unfulfilling.
you hid food under the bed,
said we were bad children,
did everything in your power
to make us f
untitledseducing the writeruntitled1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
he'll seduce himself
if you're silent.
Misconceptionsthe extrovert isn't—Misconceptions10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
sun in the sky of a million
blue silks sewn together:
that summer to come,
a laundered morning strewn
with white yearning—
and the introvert isn't—
scraping coins in an alley,
smoggy eyes above a mouth like
lines: red-cracked but parting
when stars break gray clouds,
calling on their mica beds
to reflect off his face—
the extrovert is—
the man sweet-talking the first ideas
of his tongue,
waiting for reception—
while the introvert
daliin that second,dali1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
(when the sun beat so hard i could hear
every waving particle, see the color before it was
swallowed; i closed my eyes and felt the concrete
blaring, the refracting windows aching, and each
bird crackling in the parched trees, feathers rustling
and beaks clacking, blackness bleached orange and
my hands sought in the silence of my pockets,
imprisoned and pallid like a dog yapping in that hot car)
a streetcar to nowherei.a streetcar to nowhere1 year 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."
On Wanting Everything to Be RightYou got too comfortable,On Wanting Everything to Be Right4 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
forgot he could make mistakes,
and set your consciousness aside
so he could mend the thoughts
which have remained disordered
in your fumbling sobriety,
despite the years of learning to cope
with the pace of regularity:
scraping the mailbox with his key,
dining out every Sunday,
setting the thermostat to sixty degrees,
and changing despite every effort
to remain apathetic about his plans,
how your name became a constant
in his living equations,
the variable which defined the function.
On the morning you leave,
only your luggage and body will move
through the summer shadows
of oak leaves shaking in a breeze,
and only your barest senses
will know the satisfaction of hearing
his footsteps behind yours,
cicadas composing another song,
a car door slamming shut,
the engine firing up,
though your muscle memory isn't enough
to bring you peace or independence,
money or place or dignity.
When you turn onto Justamere Road,
you'll picture the nightstand
on your side of the
To His Coy Mistress[es]i. earl and lady greyTo His Coy Mistress[es]1 year ago in Letters More Like This
you have often graced me with your soft-spoken company, bergamot blossoms adorning your dark hair, fragrant as your steamy exhalations. you remind me of simple home and something untouchably elegant, pale and supple when i dress your skin with pallid cream and soften your thin, graceful hands. on a bleak winter evening, snow glittering by lamplight, you are a royal pleasure: a warm complement.
i will lay you on the finest saris, those embroidered with gold threads and flawless diamonds that shimmer like your black eyes. you are the champagne of my harem, floral yet astringent, fine-boned cheeks seeking nothing less than perfection. your tiger soul knows your worth, seductive and mysterious; in the autumn, you remind me of leaves ripe with color, falling from my desperate touch: a distant lover.
you are the sun's daughter birthed by soil, a celestial soothing who blooms
Eschatological Relapseone. My addictions includeEschatological Relapse5 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
or have included: cocaine, cigarettes,
happiness, sex, that feeling everyone gets
when someone you never loved confesses
his infatuation. Alcohol, humor, pornography,
browsing the internet for poetry, politics,
and photographs of crime scenes. Adrenaline,
caffeine, dopamine, or anything that makes me
desperately horny. Gum-picking, small shocks,
attention, anonymity, but only if they
at least know my name.
two. And it felt like God's arms
in a gentle apocalypse.
IntimacyI asked to be slapped—Intimacy9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
and your palm met my cheek
with constraint, cupped to lessen
the ensuing redness, the responsive tears
that welled but only in my left eye.
There are things like tealights
and dinners after midnight that we agree
to be romantic: that we consume
through antique filters, lace
between our fingers, but your palms
sweat when we hold hands
and I've never liked skin webbing,
nor the catch of calluses—
So, I propose to rewrite
a definition: mostly for my sake,
but also for the sakes of others
who have found themselves wondering
if they might be a-something
because they don't like to be touched
softly on the skin
or loathe surprises of any sort,
who would like to make love
then smoke a cigarette,
go for a jog without meaning insult
to the man in their bed—
Because when I asked you to slap me—
I meant to say I trust you,
a string drawn tautthere are so many new starsa string drawn taut1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
in your skin that i can't believe
each neuron is its own world, alight
with spinning planets and gaunt aliens
in the absence of your name from
a dull life: dim cars on the paved street
and the cat walks sideways here, beneath
a ladder that clatters and you shudder,
i just had a chill, and is this room cold
or are we in the gut of a giant who's strung out
seven days and lifeless, biting the apple and
a dragon, wishing for his mother to coo
es magno: the earth is spinning in the eyes
of a turtle with a red shell who swims in
the flowers ophelia braided, who swallows
supernovas and they pass through his kidneys;
we could burst any minute; a fly's nerves twitch
and tectonics shift, a city laid and babel screeches
between microscope lenses, clutching pallid wife
to child and do you know my name anymore,
do you know you're shivering? do you know
i am the son of your nucleus? i live
Late Monet in a Boy's Bedroomyou have mourned for a childhood spentLate Monet in a Boy's Bedroom8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
siphoning color's touch from men with your eyes
unshut, begging at the heels of lovers who
wanted to know your shadows. you accepted them
into your bed, reminding yourself of such moments when
you lay back: powerless, aroused. his hands knew you
in wide spectrums they shouldn't have, but you lusted
and lust for another whose brush is careless, whose teeth
will paint your neck without praying to consequence,
who will have you jealously, selfishly: who will let you
call him by that paternal name that rots your liver, that
makes your tongue soft for affectations. he was a liar,
but a charming, intelligent man: an artist, blending his
Autumn in RetrospectI became a truant in fourth grade; that may seem young, but no one was keeping an eye on me, my 'teacher' was a rotating face, and I didn't think education was all that important, especially the one I was getting. Multiplication and division hadn't been taught, the recently rebound social studies books ended at President Reagan, and while I could read and even liked to read, I didn't learn anything at school I couldn't learn at the library. The librarians were nicer than the subs, anyway, and the real teacher was on an extended pregnancy leave that she wasn't keen to come off of. I'm not sure, but I think she quit the next year.Autumn in Retrospect1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Papi went to work before the sun was in the sky, and Mami was seeing her girlfriend when he was away. After giving us each a slice of bread, she would kiss me, my sister, and my brother and say she was going to visit a friend. We all knew, even Raymond who was only five, that she came home with a brighter smile than a nice lunch warranted. I was the oldest, so
NamesakeThis letter is addressed to a man I don't know yet,Namesake1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I'm not sure who you'll be in fifteen years or less,
but I am sure that I will send this, unlike every other,
because it will be long overdue by then.
First, I don't hate you.
I never hated you despite the right to,
and everyone likes to remind me I have the right to,
like I have the right to never see you again,
but I think that's petty,
and you've been petty enough for us both.
Second, I would have kept the secret
where it burrowed in my flesh
and let it fester through my cells
until they found a chemo for thought:
something toxic to take toxins,
but we've tried that before, haven't we?
Third, I did not tell her what you did to me,
only what I thought you did to him
because you became a monster
when my pain was no longer exclusive but,
fourth, I don't really believe you're a monster,
and I'd like to talk, someday.
Maybe after you receive this
or maybe after you decide you can explain
or never want to.
Last, if you never want to,
You always tell me the same storyHe's in love with a scene from the winterYou always tell me the same story7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
that occurs on a trip to Washington,
when the dark is constant and the trees jog
like legends alongside the highway;
as his eyes fall half-sleep but his senses remain
taut and vigilant, sweating on the wheel,
pitching nerve to the sound of branches cracking,
bristling under his wind-torn jacket;
the time of evening when the sunset rests
at its very highest, bright and sudden as Heaven,
an aureate glow around the birdsongs,
the stench of roadkill muted by a golden frost;
a taste of nirvana,
an instruction of faith,
the blatant existence of God,
lost as soon as he rounds the bend.
Thou Shalt Not Commit--have you ever been in the bed of a committed loverThou Shalt Not Commit--7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
when someone else's name is on your tongue,
and you saw him yesterday: that wallflower who drove
your patience past its limit, whose waiting hand
stretched you to the length of your intimacy until you cried
mercy? the man who loved your every interest, craved
the workings of your ideology, sought after your pacing mind
more than he ever witnessed your lust? and you think,
if i had been a more stable person then, i would be talking
the first words of my guilt: debilitating the trust
which does not come so easily but he wanted every broken
piece of it, sat around the edges of conversations where you
became what you fear most: an infatuation,
an idol still revered in his dark eyes, but
you always liked his smile: how he romanticized you in the light
that emanates from your being.
Cicadas in the HibiscusThe WastelandCicadas in the Hibiscus4 months ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Planet Earth is dead.
The Biospheres are pristine,
He breaks ships for cash
but has never flown above
the smog and rusting.
They revolve like moons
with a hundred white faces.
Billions look up.
The Garden of Eden
"Let's feed the Earthlings,"
cries a human. She wonders
Extinct flowers bloom.
The day cycle ends and she
watches the dome split.
were renamed by the Founders.
She finds Orion.
The Dark Star
He collects spare parts,
amasses a ship in months,
then learns to pilot.
"There's no need for a
license to kill, kill, kill, kill,
She sees him coming,
but says nothing. The glass
erupts to soundless.
They watch from the ground
and color televisions.
Some cheer. Some sicken.
"And measures have been
taken to ensure no more
Spheres will be damaged."
The borders tighten.
Someone starves in Coal City.
Planet Earth is dead.
19:38-21:23i have not prayed since i was a child,19:38-21:231 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
unless You count the times i disregarded formality
and addressed You coarsely or candidly.
that's not to say i don't believe in You
or have disavowed your Grace,
but i think everyone's noticed You don't pick up the phone
or maybe You just have a lousy secretary.
i'll make this very brief because
and i have work in a few hours;
when i thought i saw You on the horizon
somewhere beside the setting sun,
taking the shape of a cloud more violet than the others,
were You there or am i desperate? were You there
or was i reaching for nothing?
You don't need to respond,
but i'd appreciate it.
A Cloudy June SunriseI had been awakeA Cloudy June Sunrise6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
since rain fell against the window:
exciting the glass
but not disturbing your sleep.
Instead, you woke to the alarm and found me
revising my thoughts on humanity,
our frailty and guts.
You asked if I was okay,
if I needed anything while you were out,
and I answered, "Just some sleep."
Unconvinced, dressing hastily,
you promised to come home earlier than you had
any other day that week.
"I just want you to know
you can bother me with those obsessions
that make you feel evil
or at least a little fucked up,"
you said before leaving, though I can't blame you
for assuming my pessimism.
It is, after all, the disease I came fitted with,
as well as my tongue of choice
when problems convolute,
but that morning
the sky was so beautiful,
and what I needed to tell you was this:
I offer my poetry
as a blatant exhibition of trust
for you, for your curiosity,
because I didn't believe any man
had inherent goodness
until I met you.
love's austere and lonely officesi.love's austere and lonely offices1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
ronnie picks rose petals
and eats them, chews the pink to yellow
in his cigarette teeth. his sister, peggy,
asks how they taste, and he says, "good,
like whimsy and perfume," and picks three petals
fat with pigment and water; she tastes the first
and likes the second and the third is the sweet on her tongue
when ronnie dies of liver failure. she eats the reddest
blooms on his casket.
if tommy were a girl and jenny a boy,
the children would be perfect:
tommy with impish nose and nymph hands,
jenny rumbling with the rooneys from new city,
and mother frets for both their blond[e] heads.
peggy buys the twins paletas
but ronnie spends most days with grandpa.
he comes home and tells jenny they're blackfoot:
she could have been a warrior woman,
tommy a medicine man,
and mother wouldn't fret when tommy kisses jason.
ronnie is sixteen and thin.
willy is the youngest boy and clings to skirts,
plays with dolls because eva smothered him. tommy
pushes him down the stairs because jenny w
I didn't hear what he replied when she askedLast night, while cultivating a high,I didn't hear what he replied when she asked9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
watching others laugh with their mouths pried
drinking from the first cup I was handed
to avoid conversation,
I saw a man whom I would not dream to love
but drew me tight with an aloof smile; he was
so suddenly there
that I thought I'd imagined his appearance
until someone was on his arm,
asking his name.
Our reflections were side by side
in the mirror on the far wall of the dark bedroom,
surrounded by tea lights and skin flickering
in warm shades of brandy and honey;
I recorded the angle of his jaw,
the shadows that carved his cheekbones,
and the easy way his lips wrapped around words
that were never eloquent
but always the right thing to say.
He was distant
but alluring; he did not draw a crowd with broad gestures
but with a voice like a beacon at sea,
providing direction to drifting sailors who wanted
a story, maybe a moment
in the orange eyes of someone whom they knew
though no one could place a finger on why
A Walk with ButterfliesSeptember is violent.A Walk with Butterflies3 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
It keeps its mild weather
beneath bled clouds and branches,
some splitting pears on sidewalk
sweet like dumpster water,
a brash disillusionment
then red then brown:
sixteen pinpricks of ooze
sliding off rubber.
I am violent: compressing image
into seeds and imagining laws
of creation, squeaking
behind the name
or maybe it was a fly
but he is violent: and September
leaves to come again
with a color,
one I can't fathom.
I have your number, SeabirdHis bathroom is small and bleak. The mirrorI have your number, Seabird6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
shows your reflection in seven colors which
haven't been named on the red-blue-yellow
spectrum. Your eyes are shaking like eggs
and he hasn't said your name in a year. You
think of everything he calls you: Jay, Jaybird,
Rose if he's playful. He told you particles of
every man he's slept with are in the carpet
when he pulled your head back to look into
your pupils. Your eyes are black. They run,
raw and rotten from fluorescence overhead.
He told you the shrooms weren't the same.
If you don't like LSD, you might feel better
trying something more natural. It grows
like marijuana: from the ground. But so does
every poison you can think of. You're natural,
bare with shades you can't begin to fathom.
Something like sulfur is in your nostrils. You
touch the furry rug and think of Vishnu. He
has so many arms to carry you. Jesus only has
two. The church was broad and heavy. It sleeps
in Chicago, beside a park that smells like piss.
He opens the door,
dandelion winethe dandelion has made its appealdandelion wine1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
to wine and whimsy,
but it's plucked regardless of nostalgia.
[i am that lion's ragged blooms, and you are the strong winds that blow my meek seeds away, and he he is the brawny child pulling me like another weed passe. and there have been other gardeners with hands mortared in black veins by fertile soil, savaging between tame dalmatian tulips and mums the color of fat tabbies embellished by aureate mornings; there have always been these potted plants prettily set as if all of creation planned them so.]
and its roots remain tucked
In the good earth,
flirting with raindrops and shelved reverie.
[i am the pariah's cure tisane caught in the red dragon's talons and resting in the part of feathers bright on a charm of finches as their form shadows their flight overhead. i can be opium, and you and him are but another pair of flared-nostriled, flushed fools. the crescent moon lives in my eyes to cause yours mist. i am the apparition