Guardian"A day like today happens--maybe twice in a whole season."
It's all hot sun and achingly blue sky, and you're sitting leonine on the hood of your battered pickup. I wish I could draw just to capture you like this--squinting into the horizon, one knee drawn up to rest your elbow on, hair windswept. I'd keep the white t-shirt and jeans, but I'd add wings: big, dusky gray things, relaxed and resting open on the windshield, pale underbellies to the sun. It'd fit, somehow, with you.
"Remember that big storm they had up north last week?"
"Yeah." I wouldn't have forgotten, not after the charts and scans you showed me. I only saw a mess of swirling colors like an end-of-the-day paint palette, but you saw sense in the chaos.
You ease off the truck and walk toward my white picket fence perch. "The wildflowers bloomed like all hell out by the lake." Resting your arms along the top beam, you gaze off into the distance for a minute longer before turning mischievous eyes my way. "Want to go see?"
all that hasn't happenedPretty please listen to the audio.all that hasn't happened2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i want to remember
the rumbling piano baritones
high notes like hailstones--your hands
running soundless scales.
i want the summer seas
the vineyard overlook, the olive
trees and sunwarmed coasts.
we filled the empty pages
with whole notes and halftones,
oceans and lovesongs.
we lived, we live
inkstained and drowning
through nights thick with words
and days shot with sound.
lovesong for sailorboyRead aloud and explained (somewhat) here.lovesong for sailorboy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i have always loved words as you love the sea
but i have grown to hate
because i have always had words
but never for you.
words for everything
but i have words for this, so
i'll take them
one by one.
the ocean was your first love and
i could always see it in your eyes.
most would call them blue--just
like a swell over a sandbar
blue like the spring sky over a poppy field.
but i don't think anyone
got as close as i did and they're not blue
not shorebound and
they're gray like the steelbellied sea itself
like the horizon at dawn as it
hems you into an impossibly vast canvas
like a demarcation line
or a promise.
one you always chased.
maybe i had a streak of ocea
sirensAudio version here.sirens2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sometimes the mermaids will watch the sailorboys, and green ocean eyes will take in the powerful shoulders and the instinctive sense of balance, and sometimes one will fall in love. and sometimes this love will fill up her chest so much it hurts, and sometimes it will make her reckless--make her swim silently up to the sides of the boats and reach up (carefully, with just the barest sound of water droplets tumbling back into the depths) and rest her arms on the wood that's long since been worn smooth from salt and sun. and sometimes the sailorboy will turn, but he'll see nothing--but when he hauls in his net it will be brimming, straining at the seams, and he will look out over the ocean for a moment, all the way to the blank horizon, and sometimes he will wonder.
and it's easy to love the girls that swim up from the bottom of the ocean with nets knotted up in their
lucidityyou were all dead ends and flypaper,lucidity1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
so when she had her tenth
that week, and woke up
sweat-drenched and howling
like a dying creature, you cursed down thoughts
of thirty-day notices,
and you packed up
and you left the front door wide open
and you started driving.
a state and a half
later, the sun rose,
and she was loose and soft in the backseat
and you could rest easy, making
tiny movements of the steering wheel
to compensate for that little
behind your ribs,
anchoring you north.
the first time you stopped for gas,
you had this impractical fantasy of
ditching the little blue Ford
but you looked at her
and you smiled,
and there would be time enough for that
are such feeble constructs.
one night she leaned close into your side,
her hand tracing patterns across the ridges
of your shoulder blades,
and she whispered,
"let’s go home,"
but she held the wheel still when you tried to
when the oc
syracuseListen to the audio version for the full effect, pretty please.syracuse2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
cloudshot sky like an oil painting and i am watching the
darling, i will swim for you
and swallow every whitecap.
i will pluck myself a coat of pelican wings,
sew them up with salt and spray--
become icarus for you.
you are calling me across the waves, love--
but you pull against the ache
in my bones, the hollow--
the clawing out for unseen sunsets and unturned tides.
i hear you, love
give me time.
i will always listen.
with thanks to salingerAudio version.with thanks to salinger2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it's on those cold mornings
when you are nothing but indrawn breath
swirling and knitted up inside too-big
skin and weightless bones--
when the horizon arches up against
the half-thawed tendrils of sunrise
with golden teeth,
and smiling, begs--
it's on those cold mornings
when leaving is easiest.
the car will be cold, and you will
shiver, and the engine,
much too loud,
will smack of blasphemy
but you will find peace in the steady roll
of tarmac and the yellowing light
spilling across it,
with dust motes kicked up and carried
like fish in the undertow.
when you come to that first
crossroads, it will shock you:
the way the decision hangs there
trembling and desperate--
but there are no right answers and you will not
hesitate. and each successive choice
will be made of its own accord,
and you will roll the windows down,
and draw down the scent of ear
stockdesperatelystock3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we cling to smoothstocked guns
until they splinter
in our palms, and we know
the smell of steel,
and it is an old friend.
between the split
lips and the bruised hips somewhere
we are defined, distilled
like whiskey and rougher yet
beneath the hunter's moon
summergirlNow read aloud over here. Do give it a listen, won't you?summergirl2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are crowthroated and tumbling
through the aspen grove
hair on fire with sunrise, lungs
full of sky.
eyelashes like wildflowers
and every morning brings
a new spray of freckles
and a sharper curve to your collarbones.
the cornfields hold no shadows
for your lighthouse eyes
and there are no endings in that
ii. you have grown
autumn finds you with broken ankles
leaning on an oak branch
and watching the skies.
crow to sparrow--you are quiet.
summergirl, there is peace in silence,
fallen antlers in your hands.
you will come to mourn your deer.
keep them close.
iii. by winter you have paled,
and like the streams
your eyes have frosted over.
you feel the chill--
there is no need for sight.
whiskey ghoststhere's talk curling up through the smokelacedwhiskey ghosts2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sepia, brushing along the rafters and
making soft, swirling exits
through the chinks.
a friend on each arm, to the last man:
jack on the scarred wood, samuel
safe in scarred leather.
the rest are merely
of the most dangerous kind.
"the boys are talkin bout
eye contact is
economized--only the tightest of glances
to faces, to windows, to exits,
"let them." corner table--the hush
three steps and a mile
away, someone shuffles cards.
wolfish leer and baritone
rasp, rumbling through teeth--
"we'll all be
dark with age and
memory, has heard it all
the night grins on,
dragging with silver claws over the
empty, fullthere are stars at the bottomempty, full1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
of this bottle.
in your head,
there are other bodies--
the song of a roamerAnd darling, I've been gone for a long, long time. Your eyesthe song of a roamer3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
are still that steely gunpowder blue, but your hair has grown long,
and there's a softer curve to your waist
and freckles on your shoulder I don't remember,
and I think,
What have I missed?
You tell me about the weddings
the divorces. You tell me
about the babies
and the losses, and how last year
your dog died--easy, in his sleep--
and there is a hollow lack in you,
a space reserved for things that won't come back.
Long ago, was there a space like that
When did it collapse--when did it
fold in on itself
under the weight of things that matter more?
I tell you about Cambodia. I paint
the jungles for you, breathe the crushing wet heat
of it into your lungs. I tell you
about the kids in Africa
and how the heat is different there--
belligerent and fierce.
I tell you how much you would have liked Barbados,
and how much you would have hated Rome.
And I remember all the things I
can't tell you--all the things I don't hav
into the deepAudio version over thisaway.into the deep2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and the world will crumble, darling, but we will watch the stars--
watch the coasts curl up at the edges and the foam-slick sea drag them under
and history will bloom in brass and copper nebulas,
untainted by the tortured earth and its pleading
flecks of ash below.
but we will watch the stars
watch the galaxy unwind, spirals stringing out
the taste of ozone and plasticities.
the heaving sea will recede--the glaciers
pour their hearts out
the dunes rise up to the sated horizon.
will watch the stars.
and the hungering infernos hold no sympathy.
on the roadhomecoming,on the road2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dragging through the cling
of elsewhere nights
and asphalt haze.
the door creaks against the
of stagnant air--
and it takes you two tries
to find the light switch.
you sleep in the car.
lovely flying stinging thingswasp to the face, and lo!lovely flying stinging things2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
oh my hell holy jesus christ
my god what the hell!
did not spark forth like sacred lightning
upon the offending
lightsdon't be fooled--lights2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the sky is not static.
there is an infinity between any
infinite hex codes
between the bounds of the spectrum--
this is the great secret of the universe, this
cosmic light show
we can't detect--
the changes too small for our
perhaps there is someone out there--someone else
even if he cannot see.
is not my blue--perhaps it all comes down
to the chemicals
the spin of individual molecules that all add up to become
our own blue.
maybe it's all on us.
the cosmos isn't trying because, really--
if i were the cosmos
i would have better things to do.
maybe there is something
in our ability to overanalyze
and oversimplify--our ability
to realize we know nothing
and try again, anyway.
love and sundry beasts .:commish:.Churchbells ring twice and everywhere--love and sundry beasts .:commish:.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in the echoes there are whispers,
sliding quiet along the edges of
logical fallacies. This
is how the world will end:
lovers and lies,
and a sudden
4 Traits of a Damn Good Boyi. drive4 Traits of a Damn Good Boy1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
buddy, you were a throwback. you had a lot of wolf in you,
a feral soul.
i hope heaven has eased the stiffness in your joints
and brushed the gray from your fur
and left you sleek and gorgeous,
a solid pack of muscle with the kind of determination
that can never be taught.
i hope there are lizards for you to chase,
doves for you to launch yourself after
and catch out of the air with a finesse that would make professionals weep.
buddy, i hope someone's up there throwing a stick for you every now and then.
i hope you give 'em hell when they want it back.
buddy, it seemed like the world was a very scary place for you.
i'm not sure why,
and maybe i laughed at you a little--
at the neurotic puppy inhabiting the commanding form
of a hunter--
and sometimes i got angry at you
and your insistence that the world was out to get you
and i'm sorry for that.
it took me years to realize that something must have happened
to plant a deep and unshakeable fear
hallelujah .:commish:.Storm--hallelujah .:commish:.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and the desert inhales,
inebriated on an atmosphere thick
with electricity and promise.
Each tiny daylight is
a new rapture.
ChloeChloe was born in the pouring rain and blinding dark, under a thunderstorm that cut power to five counties and lingered for days. Her first memories were damp and earthy and fresh--watercolor paintings of wildflower fields, thunderheads, and pale yellow dawns.Chloe3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She grew up with summers swimming in lurid heat and trembling cicada calls; in winters soft with snowfall and tree limbs upraised to the icy light. She was a tiny sun in herself, glowing effortlessly. Plants reached up to her, swayed with her voice. Given enough space and enough time, her hands could have delved into the earth and come back up trailing with trees and vines, with berries falling from her fingertips and thick pale roots curled around her wrists.
I met Chloe in the middle of one electric summer, when the heat was aggressively breathtaking and I had to continuously swipe sweat from my eyelashes. Chloe was a breath of undying spring--cool to the touch. She tasted like almonds and cinnamon and clean, wet dirt, and like
summer somewheresomeday sweetheart,summer somewhere1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
we'll settle in slow with the tides
and the salt,
letting the ocean in through the
wide open windows.
someday we won't refill the tank
and we'll roll up the drive on fumes
and let it sit;
let the paint peel instead.
it'll all be a watercolor wash of
blue and yellow, and the whispered
will leave my bones.
A Love Story in Four Actsi.A Love Story in Four Acts3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I loved a blacksmith once, back when the sand still clogged up my soul. It was only far after that I began to love the desert too.
Underneath the casual noise--glass on wood, heat-smothered conversation, worn cards slapped down in careful triumph--there was this low, thrumming quiet that wouldn't be broken. He spoke in sepia undertones. "We're getting out."
Hot iron smells like hot blood, like blood that's been poured out under the white Arizona sun. It's something you don't forget easy, like the taste of whiskey or the plasma patterns left on your eyelids after watching fire all night. It sticks.
My childhood was fed on medical books, and I've got this pain right behind my eyes and I wonder if this is what it feels like being lobotomized. Of course the brain has no nerve endings, but the hurt has to manifest itself somewhere.
SmokeYou smoked, and everyone hated that. The cigarette would hang loose between your knuckles, tendrils of smoke mimicking the tracery of veins and tendons that stood out along the back of your hand. You could do the most graceful French inhales, and sometimes you'd lean in close and grab me and kiss me, blowing warm smoke into my mouth. The scent would always cling to meI'd drag it back home with me and there would always be a fight over it.Smoke3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You were sparrowlike, all taut pale skin and prominent bones. Your hipbones jutted slightlysharp elbows, sharp knees, a sharp jaw softened by cornsilk hair. When I ran my fingers down your back I could always feel every vertebra in your spine, a steel column anchoring you down. More smoke. More fights at home. You never belonged here and never would.
Lay back. Relax. Anythinganything you want. I'd close my eyes and forget to breathe because I knew you weren't mine. If anything, I was yours, a toy that trembled and kissed back.
ShayI open the door and the apartment is dark and musty cold--that antiseptic not-lived-in kind cold. "Shay." I fumble for the light switch, then hang my keys on the hook with practiced finality. Door locked, backpack dropped, and I'm in the living room. "Shay." Nothing.Shay3 years ago in Scraps More Like This
There's piles of assorted belongings everywhere: books resting on crumpled sweaters--a belt and a plush toy--empty picture frames on dusty shoeboxes--glass jars full of colored oil. It forms a trail, sharp-cornered and lazy, to the bedroom at the back, and that's where I find you sleeping belly-down on the floor.
I should wake you up and make you dinner because I'm sure you forgot to fix yourself anything, but for a minute I lean on the doorjamb and look at you. Your shirt hiked up a little bit around your narrow waist to small to hold up all but the skinniest of skinny jeans. You're always been thin, almost dangerously so, without seeming to try. Your hair curls in tendrils all over your shoulders, down your back, across
suffocation keepthis city suffocates so we don'tsuffocation keep2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
no, at best
we sing in sign language:
the hushed glances, the solidity
of shoulder blades
let's leave the choking crowds
and chase out somewhere
where the wind blows
wide and rich--
where the knotted songs in your
to take these beartrap ribs
and let us