Abandoning PreciousnessThe most important thing about creating art is to create. If you want to be at ease with creativity, you have to immerse yourself in it, and do a little bit every day. Even if that little bit is only to take five minutes while waiting for the bus to come and do a gesture drawing of a man reading his book across the street from you. Or to take the moment to scribble down a thumbnail rough sketch of a concept that occurs to you. Do a little bit each day. Train your brain to think visually.Abandoning Preciousness2 years ago in Editorial More Like This
It can be difficult at first, accustoming yourself to make this small bit of time, because you’ll think:
“I don’t have enough time for it.”
“Art is hard!”
“I’m not good enough yet for that piece I’ve always wanted to do.”
“I’m stuck. Artist’ block.”
These are all excuses. Yes art IS hard. Yes, you might not be good enough yet to do that masterwork that you’ve been dreaming of, but let me le
PromiseOne day darling,Promise3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I'll paint you a picture
of the house you'll grow old
in, with flowers that grow
from its ears, a bright warrior
brave arriving at the front
door beating her chest.
We'll pour the sad
away, fill the space with
baby-songs and pot roasts, thoughts
of old loves in Cuba,
sleepy hands that smoothe away
the cracks in Paradise. Angel,
let me paint in your life,
the hazel stretch between
today and tomorrow
and the colours will run together
madly, make you swallow your cries
Addicted to HeroinesHe was addicted to heroines:Addicted to Heroines2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
those golden queens from screens of silver
that lined his shelves in plastic boxes
showcasing their greatest deeds;
and painted whores,
those sirens and saviors,
who stood half naked on shady streets.
They were steel wrapped in petals,
and petals draped in lace,
in their arms lay warmth,
in their hearts lay escape.
He prayed for strong women
that were not so far,
devastatingly far out of reach.
Though still small,
he would shun the sun
and bask in their blessed shadows.
He prayed for someone to stay
whom he could not,
He vowed not to use angels,
those sweet Nightingales,
who flew away from him in the end – –
to be high on their bravery!
He was addicted to heroines,
to the ichor in their veins,
and the lift of their wings.
He was a frightened boy
hiding in the hollows
of the shell of a man,
fearful of fractures
from his weakness.
On the verge of breaking:
terrified the w
manufacturethere's such reassurancemanufacture11 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
in the squeak creak
of old parts,
wooden wheels leather belts
brittle rubber rain wet glass
there's such horror
in the silence
Rapunzel in the TowerRapunzel in the tower;Rapunzel in the Tower4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Sleeping Beauty at the loom;
Snow White slumbers in a casket;
Girls spin gold in locked up rooms.
Cinderella in the ashes
O! These stories oft they tell:
How Eurydice's at the mercy
Of a man singing in hell.
Another Road Songfor ashAnother Road Song9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
For a given value of love, this
is your song –
Let's run away.
I have bags, a ticket,
sex on my tongue, 8
new ways to say
I don't mind I can't
ever go home.
I don't mind, for a given value
of love, I can't ever go home.
Let's walk on the sun.
Heard a song once, said
it can be done and I don't
trust those stoners but I'd
walk across coals for God,
God makes the sun flowers, so
for a given value of hot,
I'd say you're the one.
aubreyYou are a three-day lightning stormaubrey11 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
that leaves only plastic bags and stray dogs
flitting through the river runway streets.
You are dark purple and blue cacophonies,
searing-white and shredded muscle tendrils,
and seams bursting from blistering electricity—
I am not afraid of you.
My father has whirling weatherveins too,
but my mother coaxed it to his irises and fingernails;
typhoon boy, you too will find your stormchaser.
She will have a flagpole straight spine and sunshine
clenched in her fists like crumpled dollar bills, and
more importantly, she will make you feel okay.
You deserve okay.
SeptemberThe summer was so hotSeptember7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
the dogs stuck to the sidewalks
with the newspapers
and the black metal cans
everyone left waiting on the curb.
You could smell it
in the glass pitchers
on table tops,
and the sheets that never
dried on the clothes lines;
the canvas beach bags
mothers dragged wearily
across the sand
and the ice cream trucks
melting across the highways.
Children felt it open
up the windows at night
and find a corner
of the bed to smother,
while fathers baited it on hooks
or mowed it down
in flat, dry stripes
as if begging each other
And the crickets just hummed
beneath the corn silk
and the dry mouth
daring the cats to play
hide and seek -
searching for September.
our heartsyour heartour hearts1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
is a tiny wild grey-brown bird
and my love is a pair of cupped hands.
is a tinny flitting silver fish
and your love is a pool, dark and deep.
the moral is,
some things are worth holding still for.
seven hours of who you might have beeni.seven hours of who you might have been2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the breath you took
the moment you fell
lies in the dirt somewhere
between the garden
and the dip of empty earth
where rain pools.
all the lost things of your life
keep gathering in cottony patches overhead
that only the flowers
you have touched
years vine out.
between thumb and forefinger,
the clumsiness of
more than just one
on Judgment Day
your tomato plants
will come out of the earth
carrying your bravery
like beads of water,
they will gesture
with their leaves
magnificent and half-drunk
you left the house
to stand in the historic thunderstorm
the neighborhood dogs,
the ants of
the trees lining the water
and the green in the air,
and the distance
between syllables of river-water
replace the vanishing point
in all your
with the divine.
how many words
you could form
out of your name,
and how often
your hour in the sun
was all that mattered
The Lullaby for GrievingI can carry youThe Lullaby for Grieving8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in a small box
in a moment like this
in a small box
in a moment
I can carry you in my palms
I can carry you in my palms
I can carry you
in a small box
and a moment
Space and room. The earth
is deep, the water vast
and fire takes home.
We live in the air, like fish
with feet, we walk on sand
and there is only one way up
for us. If only there were choices
if the dance moved like molecules,
all the dead would be electrons
lined up in ranks
to skin through
air, water, fire, dirt.
They say we are of one earth
but there is only bone and flesh
on me so make room for another,
make space in the aether
till the cells learn to align.
There is old age in your bones, love.
I can see where your back is bent.
On these days when you are axis mundi
to the turning of the sky, I stalk
the edges. Twenty-three points
I've drawn around you where all
your lovers drew them before and I can see
the age in your bones. Love: seven skies
weigh heavy and you are
The Flowers Are DryI noted your birthday going pastThe Flowers Are Dry8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
another time. I don't remember
your age, but I feel you've moved
to some new place and while I
don't even want to visit, I'd like
to know if you still watch
September passing the way I stop
to sniff the air in May.
You were my first
friend in the bunker - and I may
hate you now by common formula
but I love you in still memory
for holding the gun to my loved
ones in some vain hope that
we could make a run for it together.
And so I love another man
of slow temper and hidden angers.
PoisonAfter the thrill of the huntPoison4 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are still here -
churning me up inside,
making me into something
like a river
or a catastrophe.
I can almost see you
standing there on the porch
in the half-light
of naked wood and nails,
smoking your cigarette -
dressed up like a riddle.
What did you call me again?
Something that rhymed
with Brian or David
that you could only pronounce
with your mouth full.
I let you wear your boots
I let you lie
about your age
and your husband,
and the fact that the library
wanted you for murder.
But you just moved
through my room
wearing my shirt and sweater
like you knew
someone was missing -
like the socks and sheets
in the laundry basket
would follow you home.
You said I made you understand
That poetry did not have to hurt.
And you let me believe
could cure anything.
Of leaving pieces.Understand this: that love is a religionOf leaving pieces.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of birds, of restlessness, of flight.
Of moving somewhere warmer when the cold sets in,
of longing, of leaving, of being
the one left behind, of feathers,
of an empty nest in the heart of winter,
nestled in some firm elbow of brittle branches
that stopped reaching for the sky when the last
leaf fell, bleak against a landscape of
blacks and whites and greys save for one
little piece of red string,
tucked lovingly among the twigs,
so dutifully gathered, piece by piece,
by a creature who had seen winters before,
but made a home for himself here anyway.
RetreatRetreat8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Since there's nothing I can do about love, I've written it
all to exhaustion, I'd better go to the river
and pound this paper on the rocks to wash it clean.
The words come now only to say these things.
I've learnt the art of folding and set armadas
on the water, I've dug holes in the sand with my heel,
buried poems like some dog, like some baby looking for water
who knows that God will come eventually to her aid. I put pen
to driftwood once, I have a photograph.
These are the things, these are the only things,
anything else is filigree and distraction, a women's magazine
in the waiting room before the white coat comes
with guarded smile and pulls me in. These
are the only things I know of, my only blocks, so if
I don't build other things, if there are only seas, only boats,
only boats, I am sorry. Should there be revolution
and not lovers, should there be other pain, should
the ground beneath my feet not make me tremble, not even
be a phrase anymore - I don't know. There is nothing
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
let go, little bird--hope is the tired little bird at the bottom of your heart, the one whose tiny wings are broken and bleeding, the one that won't stop flapping uselessly at the sky, like it's going to take off, take off dammit, even when it's fading by the second and dying in a heap of feathers, and it breaks your heart to see the optimistic flame still sparkling in such innocent eyes.let go, little bird--4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i'm writing this to tell you that i don't know what i need. i'm writing this because i can't pull any fancy metaphors from the back of my throat to save my pride this time. i'm writing this to see the look on your face when you wake up and wonder why i keep running away.
hope is the thing with feathers, my broken baby bird. hope is the trust in those newborn eyes that makes you burst out sobbing although you never know why. it's the razor-sharp edge between happiness and pain, the line you try to fly on crippled wings, my little bird, just to save someone stronger from having to walk it for themselves.
Spring CleaningThe sickening slam-dunkSpring Cleaning3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
his heart made
when it hit the floor
like a soft boiled egg -
so she scooped it up
and fed it lovingly to the bird,
wondering why the litter pan
had not been emptied
and the kitchen smelled of sweat.
Her husband took up
too much room
along with the credenza
stuffed in the closet.
She couldn't get the vacuum
round them both.
and his shadow was eating up
too much daylight.
A Dreamer BlessingMama, I met a dreamer.A Dreamer Blessing9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
All the glass I'd broken, I thought
dreamers shy from edges. But in between
the cracks - it's in between the cracks
where you break your mother's back
for how she let you become
such a dreamer - in between
the cracks I found someone, Mama,
who won't shy from ledges
I hear the heart grows callused.
You wear it on your palm and heave
against the ground, you and your novel
ways to fly. So what comes from you
has passport, but what goes in breaks skin -
guerrila love, no trust,
ash to dust, blood lust,
in which to recover
let's never go home.
Let's never go home.
This dance lives in the aether,
let's breathe what we can't
swallow, let's swim when we
can't fly - let's spin ourselves
what casing God allows
for now, and try not to break.
Let's promise to leave
when we can't stand.
Mama, I met a dreamer.
I glued up all the glass and built
these ledges. But I have no wings to fly.
Sonata in the Key of AeolusISonata in the Key of Aeolus4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Reflects my mood.
The wind's whisper comes gentle
tonight, stroking harp-strings and
heart-strings, stalking the keys
so softly, she sings silk; her
whistles blow lullabies. Her breath
brushes back my hair, a simple
stirring of the air, but a caress
just the same? "And yes," she
breezes in my ear, intimate as
lovers, "tonight you are mine, dear,
and I am your sweet Zephyr."
Yet I have known her fierce
and proud, sounding howls to
pierce men. I have found her
with teeth bared.
On those days, her gales and rage
dissuade. I stay away. Power
in her pride, she pelts and
thrashes, singing hell to the rafters
she sets the lights to swinging. She
buffets, blusters and shoves, her harsh,
shrill shriek pounds our eardrums with
scorn, our gloves and scarves no barrier
to the chill in her lyrics.
And when she screams her torment to the sky,
I long for days when she is but a sigh.
Of Bagels and the StyxThere's a sign above the platform exit that lights up about one day in ten, and it reads:Of Bagels and the Styx4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Due to guerilla deity activities, this station is closed.
Thanks to security measures in place, nobody has been harmed."
Far more rarely, the second sentence doesn't light up, but either way, what I see is: "Good morning, Simon. Today you will be late for work." Fantastic.
With the rest of the Baker Street commuters, I step back onto the train which will now be taking me away from work, rather than towards it. The doors close with that slightly disapproving tssssk and we glide away.
I hate it when this happens. It's not the lateness I mind; employers in the city have always been pretty understanding about lateness for rogue-religious reasons. I hate it because between my station and the next we have to pass through the Styx.
The physical river was diverted under the tube, of course, but the souls of the dearly departed have rather stubbornly continued to
Lady With Cellohow like an organLady With Cello1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
a cello is
to hear the
garble and to
inward— pluck it out
cellist on a bench
in curls, stiff
she is scared
knee feels the back
is a lift
in Rhode Island
a log with
shakes his head
does he dream
does she flood him
in all the dawning
places I can’t breach?
RustThe dwelling rustRust6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
swells this hollow garden
and somewhere in the yard
a tire swing goes flat
against the skyline.
It chokes the autumn light
in the silo,
the crush of
mums and ragged berries
It bubbles in the percolator
steeping still life
in the caul
of early morning -
the red-brown crumbs
of breakfast toast and jam
growing ghosts upon
And deep inside
I still hear you waking up
the soft salute
of morning voices
stirring the wind
outside my window.
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.Chloe2 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