Fever Dream in Four MovementsIt is a hot weary dead September that slowly flakes
the dry paper from the wall, spun motes swallowed
by furniture and silvering hair. His smokeworn lungs
are lined with dander and dust, the windows sealed
and curtains drawn. In the corner lives an armchair:
thinning red velour, stuffed with gray goose feathers
half-rotted and polyester that reeks of urine. He
rises, stretches and walks down the hall. A bleak
passage from one life to the next, where December
blisters white in a sunning parlor, where the screens
are rusted and reciting susurrant prayers he learned
in Sunday school. In Florida, he learned he loved color
like Dayglo plastic cut into strips and stretched over
creaking tin frames, piled thick with snow and pleading
It's cold in here! He reads a long old book he recalls
enjoying, toes frozen black-stiff and lifeless, cracking
at the bone, left to fester when he decides he'll rest
another day. In the kitchen, April has warmed his supper
in its radiant rotting boil: duc
IntimacyI asked to be slapped—Intimacy2 years 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,
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 Retrospect2 years 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
dandelion winethe dandelion has made its appealdandelion wine2 years 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
halloween isn't here yetyou, my dear, have a thick middlehalloween isn't here yet2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and gorgeous legs: thighs dusted
golden by hairs sparse, and calves
angular with a coarser gilding,
tapering to a weighted ankle and
elegant feet complemented with an
arch carved by an artist of no less
merit than michelangelo; the ladies
may have whispered of his crafting,
but you were the name on their loudest
breaths: do you know how often i have
thanked god or coincidence that i can
count the virtues in your broad shoulders,
tucked in moral meat and marrow?
and how often i have loved your eyes,
the color of noon sky not quite clear
but not cloudy, either? [please recall
those autumn sundays spent on the porch
parting clouds like we knew the shape of
and your chest, cage to your love of me
and cage to my love of you when we beat
in the same moment; never doubt, never
let that doubt on your smile.]
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.
Two Birds with One StoneToday, I found the fragile yet well-preserved corpse of a robin stuck to a gravel road that, by trick of the eye, churned steadily in the late afternoon humidity; when the evening cooled, I weighed, measured, plucked, and then boiled the songbird in one of Father's new iron pots until its remaining feathers and flesh easily parted from its saturated bones, which were left out to dry in the summer garden until they became as white as your teeth. With meticulous care, I cleaned and then arranged the skeleton in the shape of its natural design before I reinforced its structure with thin copper wires, mounting the finished piece on a cherrywood plaque I signed with my Christian name.Two Birds with One Stone2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The robin now sits on my windowsill, staring onto the grey winter dawn. Its song has never been so sweet as when I imagine it whistling a mournful aubade, welcoming the sun as it rises and melts the snow so it will later freeze into a glittering sheet of ice. As I write this letter, hunched over my desk and fe
evolution poembut I believe to seek unbecomingevolution poem1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
is more cultivated than stretching
out the leaky fibers of a semi-
circular self-image until they
spiral into uncontrollable
forests, cauterizing eyelids;
like picking bones out
of a salmon's chest.
Lonelinessbeneath scaffoldsLoneliness2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it is hard
for a city to sag
you never see the pigeons flee
& when a city can offer
there is no excuse
holding only a question
from years ago
the words have gone
by too many
it is hard
to trust what is left:
a pressing gust
the smallness of a voice
across the still
minister'good morning,' the reverend bellowsminister2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
'what a lovely collection of idols
we have gathered today'
they're a spectacle of a scatter plot on the pews
the bronzed hypocrisy of saved men sitting still,
saints on the neutral ground of benches
is an inconsistency i'll struggle
to reconcile with the jacob's ladders of rough-hewn grace
swooping in on souls or spirits
which have proven to be untouchable
not for sale in even the blackest of markets
speak, preacher. preach. i've always listened piously
and i'm not yet thinking of sunday dinner:
will the chicken be hot will the apple crisp burn
i mimic transcendence of the physical
i, being the gatherer, have bypassed the stone age
for lyres and flutes and lips; our white robes-
i suppose they suit me.
i imagine my forehead set in the grave constitution
of a saint who worries not about the anticlimactic
pressure of dry, even lips
contrasting my graphic fire-fantasies,
devil's work unfit for a faithful child
preacher, name your text.
i'm not a salem
To Him, With Loveintimacy is airing outTo Him, With Love2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
those facts you have held
allowing someone else
to draw his own conclusions about
your vain pursuits of existence.
AnatomyI cannot be the backboneAnatomy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of your moral affirmation;
set aside the scalpel,
burn the phonebook if needed.
the reasons we should not divorcei.the reasons we should not divorce2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
we have a breakfast of egg whites and turkey sausage (mine); coffee and tomato soup (yours); and discomfort (shared). you are unthinkingly deferential and a touch antipathetic, speaking over your bottom lip to the cherrywood table. i bought this table last week, after you asked me why we didn't have a table. i said it was because we ate at the granite island. you said you would prefer a table, and we are sitting at the table now because it's the small things that make our lives normal, but the table does not make a difference when you will not look at me. you say, "we need to talk."
i say, "about what?"
you say, "about retirement. you're bored. and you miss him."
"viggo, why would i be bored? this is what we wanted."
"this is what i wanted." you are looking at your nails instead, and when you finally look at me, you look at the wall behind me. you ask, "what was he like?"
and i answer, "not you."
i owned this house before i met you; i owned this house before i knew
an open letter to depressionsuicide princess,an open letter to depression3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I think you're half in love with me:
the way that you
follow me about, grab at my ankles,
tighten my veins
would almost endear me to you.
and in a certain masochistic way,
I nearly welcome your knock on my door,
the steady clink of your
instruments of torturebecause
who would I be without this
to carry around?
but sometimes, dear,
you impose too much.
it's all well and good
to write the occasional
poem, to hold you by the hand
of a Saturday afternoon
when I have nothing better to do
than indulge your caprices
but you're not an amusing
pet, a fashionable idiosyncrasy.
not to me.
you are dust in my lungs,
haze in my eyes,
the frantic screaming of a
behind my voice at all times.
when you get too heavy to drag around
you simply pull me down.
would you care to count the days
that you've shackled me to my bed,
without the will even to open my eyes
and see you?
I am not your plaything.
please, leave m
the glass jardancing with marythe glass jar2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
was like keeping several
galaxies in a jar closed tight;
we took a peek for just
a moment and the image of
stars and nebulae were forever
imprinted on our retinas.
we liked to think
that if we turned off the lights
and looked inside we might find
meteors, fireflies, paper planes,
cranes, sheet music, teacups,
soggy books, broken hearts,
broken pianos, those fifty cents
i gave to that homeless man
last tuesday. we might find
a glimpse of our future, together
or not together. in love,
or not in love. we might be druggies,
or prostitutes, bus drivers, cancer
researchers, secretaries, teachers
(if i am a teacher i will corrupt
the minds of all children, i will
let them think with their hearts
and not their minds
and this will destroy them all)
memory consolidationYour smile traces the shape of my lipsmemory consolidation1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
but I've already misplaced
the memory of your voice -
that's what leaves you first.
These months will haunt me for
too long, this bare beach
and this autumn
a tribute to the long lost
greenness of summer,
laughter in the trees
I am cold as the last
slow minutes of midnight,
watching as the sun slips
gently into the sea
Mother Of AllCool orange groves, illustrate summer heatMother Of All2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
under the scintillating star, touching the smallest
twig or a tomtit's claw, lulled by ever-long infancy
forth a new blossom of every possible living thing;
something you cannot will or will away.
Even the least sensitive person acquires a fine taste for mother earth;
less gay but more passionate, more brilliant, more durable
than love. Interrelated energy spurs through bodies, akin to move out of
ourselves, into a world of an empty brain that becomes delight, mother
nature, the narrative of us, mother of all, shouting out humans for sale
when death comes knocking.
virginity is like an envelopemy mother said her mother knew.virginity is like an envelope2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i wonder if she stumbled home like i did,
fifteen and beer-loose
tied to the door like a thunderstorm with black lips
and i wrote a story about disaster,
a quiet two sleds long.
a box full of beads, i swallowed
fifteen needles, mommy. don’t
tell me i’m not sorry.
don’t call me a whore you bag of bones
you lock-loose suitcase do you even
recognize me look at my face my toothache skin
i am not the one with the knife.
my mother never slept with a boy
who didn’t love her never let a boy
sleep on her while she lay awake beneath
the shroud of his skin breathing only
when her voice-box gathered too much dust.
you have to know i didn’t do
it on purpose. he slid beers down my throat
till i felt like a landfill.
i was not yet a crescendo. maybe i was a polka-
you couldn’t tell. i got home
with my legs full of nightmare.
the doctor said xanax.
i said i am a ruin like the ones
we saw in peru.
a balloon in a funeral poem.
GhostsNight time musings;Ghosts2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
hollow-eyed and shallow-breathed,
filling the spaces between clouds.
Quivering shadow skin
And there are voices in the dark,
lost sighs and weight upon whisper;
but, we are all whispers here.
telephones and cortisonePuerto Rico is still asleeptelephones and cortisone2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
while we starfish aimlessly in the sea -
We are like lost men seeking shelter
in a place where the sweating sun
is forever at high noon,
ceiling fans turning slowly
and dewy drops on upper lips.
I am like the skinny girl in an indie movie
who lounges around in her underwear,
a cigarette dangling limper than dirty hair.
A phone rings somewhere.
I am grasping at a dream
like I am drowning and watching
the surface float away, falling
so deep into sleep that
the stars seem to sing.
novemberthe sun is a dim pearlnovember2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
beneath a blanket of gray
hung low from the heavens;
i'm your yellow tremor
paled by the cold, aching
for a proper sunrise.
our aging seasonwinter comes in wavesour aging season3 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
warmth enough to leave you weak
softly slips away
No KerouacYou're no KerouacNo Kerouac3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she said -
no open road of verse,
your life's work painted
in a gaudy yellow line,
slapping the asphalt
like a greedy river.
You don't own a Nikon
or black loafers,
or hop a boxcar
to sleep under stars
they make God himself
inhale too much clean.
You have no cool
lurking in the corners,
giving skin and ink
to strange women;
no green rush of neon
or cheap whiskey
pissing in the wind,
to rape the sunrise.
You just have a mouth
angels could fall into,
your tongue and lips
a lean and tangled beast,
words breaking up
in a torrent
like a cacophony
of electric blue...
desert soulsociety sweetheart, you comedesert soul2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with broom and holy water in hand
intent upon exorcising the contents of my closets
and sweeping out the dust of
my soul's a desert, darling,
and the sandstorms are unforgiving,
so spare your quiet cavalry.
some walls are best left standing, some graves
best left untilled.