How dawns the morn so very bright and bold
that night's dark face can only turn away;
and all our dreams in sunlit skies are sold
as eventide gives pardon to the day.
She feels the cloak of dreams unclasp their sway
and fading softly spun into the gold,
that she will rise from sleep and make her way
ere morning grows another second old.
SelkieSelkie3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I know the ocean's gentle, rolling waves -
the treasures in its dark and murky depths;
and deep within its grottoes and its caves -
tis there the fey will lure me to my death
I met a girl so fair of face and skin,
her wanton kisses wrapping me within -
that all my senses lurched and crept away,
to lock me in this wet and slippery grave.
FlamesThere are flames whereFlames3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
his head should be -
forty pieces of silver
a dressing gown, a pipe
a poem left in the fireplace.
This man promised you a winter
so warm and bountiful
spring would be ashamed.
He called you by name -
not the one that father knew
shoved under his bible
But the one left behind
in the branches,
in the bucket of brambles,
and the columbines
buried at your feet.
Stone angels on the battlefield
surrender in the grass.
What did his face
even look like behind the curtain,
counting those coins
and loosening the damp earth
from your shoes?
MinotaurHer minotaur bows lowMinotaur3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of a deft approach
some way in
some tiny gift
an offering of rain
left killing on the grass.
She senses him,
the bristle of jaw
jarring the forest,
and the long white of her arms
the value of fear.
But his eyes
go blank at her glance,
the snare of heat
at her wrist,
and his warm flank
telling her new myths
are for bleeding.
KitesI watch your kite disappearing -Kites3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
slowly slipping through your fingers
like a defiant act of love.
The laurel wreaths I crowned you with -
sweet Adonis to a maid,
shivering on your cool, wet skin.
I said that I could set you free
but you never would believe me.
CometYou told me to be a comet -Comet3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to grow new wings
and sit out on the roof
and watch the men gather
like seals upon the rocks,
their voices threadbare
warping the wooden pilings
underneath their feet.
You said I was a magnet -
north facing and truant,
missing my arms and legs;
while out in the street
the rain made the dogs go mad
and all the poets were starving
and swallowing their fathers.
You promised you would
take me back with you,
your charity in my pockets
and let me wash myself clean
in your lily pale whys-
my belly slit like a barbarian,
warm and inviting you in -
Both of us remembering
to lock up heaven's gate
and leave no traces
of our bleeding
or any silent sounds
our mothers could identify
and send to call us home.
Bone BlossomsBone Blossoms3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a ghost of iris-
blue so pale,
it slips off the page
You know the scent;
you borrowed it
from some girl
who was your best friend.
You slept together in the same bed;
she borrowed your sweater
and kissed you
when mother was not looking.
You fed her books
left out in the sun,
ripe as the boy
She put her hand
one warm night
and asked you
what it made you think of.
you said -
teal and purple,
feathered like summer -
like the summer
when you were five
and the heat
just could not keep away
and the sky went out.
SwansStrange how the swans did not returnSwans3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to the lake that June,
almost as if they knew something
the rest of us did not -
some savage instinct or glorious flaw
christened and drowning in the water.
Their nests had been plucked clean, deflowered -
the eggs all gone,
the water choked thick and spiteful
The dock stood as always - knee deep in reeds
and apathy, the bald wood
showing its age and wobbling.
The tide brought its witness -
the wide, yellow maw of pollen
forbidding the surface to move.
You stood on the shore and poked
the sand with a stick as if expecting
it to to get up and walk away and surprised
when it did not make a sound.
I wondered what you were thinking
while you stared out over the water,
holding your breath like a bucket of stones.
Your lips never moved but I could hear
you talking -
blithe and unseen sounds nestling
in the crater of late afternoon.
And the kites kept their distance
all summer, never noticing the mercury
bursting from the thermometers or how
Old MenHe watched the old men gather in the yards,Old Men3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
reflecting on their misbegotten youth
as they hunched over checkers and their cards;
and pondered how aesthetics and the truth
were once pursuits left only to the gods
turned out for trade and trickery in sooth.
That knowledge culled and ransomed in their prime
would only serve their memories with time.
RedThere is nothing discreet about this love -Red3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it hangs on my chest,
a defiant noise -
the scent of something luscious
stretched between your hips.
Your back arches
in a way only Psyche can feel.
You wear it
in a cheap red dress
that comes apart like midsummer
in my hands
as we flaunt the stars,
the stones under our skin
stretching the bed frame
till we crack.
And I fill you up,
your arms a battle
raging in the waning lies
MorphHe pinned the butterflyMorph3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to the card,
the dry rot
of blue wings
in the warm room.
it seemed a stranger,
not the imago
unfolding in the jar
of the wet season,
but a legless pupa
RoadYou said Kansas was too flatRoad3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and dry, nothing but a sullen map
in the dust as the truck lumbered
down the highway.
I watched you slug back
bottle after bottle of malt liquor,
tossing the bodies in the back seat.
Dead cowboys you called them,
your jaw spoiling for a fight.
I kept my hands on the wheel
and watched the heat move sideways
through the wheat,
trying to pretend your chin lived
somewhere else and that the sun
had something more important
to do than watch me drive.
We ate egg salad sandwiches the way
your mother made them - too much salt
and celery and without the crusts
and drank grape soda warm and fizzing
from the cans and I prayed the rain
would soften the landscape and
lull you to sleep.
The radio was a better friend than me
peeling the vinyl off the dashboard.
I listened while Glen fixed another
heart in Wichita and you drowned
your hangover in some dogeared novel
you found in a gas station bathroom.
And we just drove
with the sound of people
SerpentI run low to the ground and humble,Serpent3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
caught parallel and thin
without legs or feet -
just a bare belly
to bow and scrape to no one.
I was a siren,
out of place and uncomfortable,
tucked behind the wild weeds
and the smell of fruit
making the tree boughs lazy.
But a green flash
took her breath away
and she thought me
BikeSaturday was the last time she couldBike3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
remember seeing him.
He was riding a bike home from the library -
an ancient blue Schwinn with its back fender
dangling like an acrobat.
He wore a pea coat and his mother's
old fair isle sweater, the yellow
wool sweating and gasping
as he pedalled down the street.
She noticed his hair needed cutting,
that it tumbled over his collarbone
as he leaned on the handlebars.
His face looked so much like his father's
at that moment - the black coins of iris
swallowed by too much white and his jaw
chewing the February air that descended
on the buildings -
the quiet rage that good men harvest
mingling with the snow
upon his cheeks.
CreeperPeel the glass backCreeper4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from my cheek -
my eye hanging like a lazy fool,
watching the air,
slippery with whispers
descend upon this room.
I said I would grow on you;
my last words
curdling the milk
left in your cup
as the curtains yawned
and walls wept
behind your chair.
Trust comes easily -
flat and distended,
disturbing the dust
left growing on the porch,
pulling up the roots
rotting in clay pots.
And you just watch
dusk roll over us -
Virginia Creeper and blind men
with a slice of grey -
holding up the ceiling
where the paint bleeds
and startles the moon.
Through the Looking GlassYou're Alice through the glassThrough the Looking Glass3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and hidden from your brothers -
Jacob, sloe eyed
with words that stuck
to the roof of his mouth
and dirty palms,
his feet terrified of running.
Michael - drowning,
thick with dreams
and the burden
of a mother's troubled love,
his voice unable
to find its way home.
You wanted to stay a child,
and chase rabbits
through the garden
and wear a crown
to tea parties
like the other girls you knew.
Not play house
and bury what you couldn't feel
deep enough to lose you.
Escape From OzJust a simple girl,Escape From Oz3 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
who hates her life in Kansas,
waiting for a house to drop.
The yellow brick road
will take her away from this
in a pair of killer shoes.
LanternsThe neighbors scattered crumbs across the yard,Lanterns3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
lighting lanterns where the hawthorne blazed,
gathering honey comb from the beehives -
the restless weight of summer in their aprons.
Lighting lanterns where the hawthorne blazed,
we watched them wander down the mountain -
the restless weight of summer in their aprons,
bruising stones with their thin paper shoes.
We watched them wander down the mountain;
the neighbors scattered crumbs across the yard,
bruising stones with their thin paper shoes,
gathering honey comb from the beehives.
MonsoonMonsoon season -Monsoon3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the wind forgets
the shape of this land
and how the world spins,
paled with longing
to be still.
Air hung out to dry like laundry
we forgot and
the brisk taste
pooling in the fields.
The windows are drowning,
wanting only to sleep
as we watch
that tether to the sky
loosening the birds
and the tree tops
against the clouds
until it is thick
and the wet grows
like a mountain
pulling up its roots
BrotherMy reluctant brother -Brother4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
grey suited hair
and that scar
beating on your lip
like an unfortunate rhyme -
long have I thought of you.
Your pockets are shallow wastrels
and in the crisp folds
of your trousers,
I find that time
is a leper -
an ill-fated star
that pocks this dream witted night
and turns my tears
to sober music.
For I have found your hopes
a hollow thing -
your promises a cold frost
for my supper
and all your pretty words
the still birth of my misfortune.
SubwayThe chug-a-lug churning of trestle trains -Subway3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
sulfur spewing in darkness and dusky domains
wheels whipping wildly - sonorous sounds,
hurtling haphazardly and grazing the ground.
While cars carelessly trace the track,
passengers patiently bracing their backs
and daydreaming about destinations.
Why Poets DrinkChrist,Why Poets Drink3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there is a reason poets drink.
Abstention feels bad -
infertile and stuffed, swollen.
It does not sell books
or win those brass
angels on ribbons.
Tonight my lover is bourbon,
distilled in some soul
south of Carolina.
It plays tricks with colors
and the sounds on my tongue.
It grows words where
none have loitered for weeks
and handfasts me to
the rest of the world.
It is ransom -
a jest of seasons
and my bone idle brain
PretendThis is the part where youPretend3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
pretend to hang on my every word
and I try not to notice your hand on my thigh.
I will pretend to care about Flemish art and jazz
and you will pretend to
You will say God is a fragment
and I will say Nietzsche had it all wrong.
You will swear blue is the new red
and I will swear your face is not the loud
animal you want it to be
and that charities are honest men.
You will promise to read my poetry
and I will promise to love your mind
more than your father ever did
and in the morning
we will pretend to be strangers
AloneI sit alone and mark the time -Alone3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
aware of how the hours crawl -
with solitude a friend of mine.
I find my thoughts a careless scrawl,
meandering among the days -
myself the loser in it all.
I view my world through lonely haze,
aware of loss on which I stand
and never think to mend my ways.
There's not a soul to lend a hand;
there's not a man to call me friend.
SkinHow did you put on your skinSkin3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Did your lover
zip up your pale flesh
or did you belt it
casually under your dress?
Did you unfold it lovingly
from the wardrobe,
the sachet of Monday
clinging to the threads;
or model it for your mirror -
the hide and seek
of pink and ivory
running the length of limbs
as if asking to be smoothed
And at the end of the day
did you peel it down
and watch it drop
to the floor
or slip it under the door,
hoping it would remember
the shape and feel
of how life left you?