wrapped in your name is a hundred games of hide and seek, afternoon tea parties, and the squiggles of letters as i taught you to read goodnight moon and if you give a mouse a cookie. we were ten dirtstained fingers, one broken arm, four firefly eyes, two dark heads bowed as if in prayer over your broken-syllabled benediction.
every shopping cart is a cage from when we were wolves caught in the grocery store, growling at strangers until our mother made us get out and walk. the nightlight still plugged into the corner socket glows with every breath you took as you fell asleep when they moved your crib into my room.
one day at school they told you the rainforests were disappearing, and you hid in your bunkbed and cried for hours. when i finally found you, you made me promise we would both give our entire allowance to protect the trees. we washed our hands and said grace and ate dinner, and you never stopped caring about beautiful things.
i taught you how to read, and
daughterI find her in my kitchen, one ordinary morning with the harsh winter sun tipping full through the window. I haven't seen her for six months, and yet here she is, bruised knees pulled up under her chin, the light pouring through her hair like dull bronze. Despite the cold she is only wearing shorts and an old gray t-shirt, two sizes too big. Upon hearing my footsteps she looks up from picking at her nails, covered in chipped black polish, multicolored threads and silver rings slipping down her wrists. Her hair is tangled and long; longer than I can ever remember, and she tucks it behind an ear studded with piercings that glint in the dark strands. Her face is still in the shadows but a smile breaks through the silence and for the smallest moment I am stunned by the sheer momentum of life; the scent of baby powder, fireflies in the live oaks at night, the first time I felt her weight in my arms in a hospital bed, her tiny heart beating like a butterfly against my palm.daughter5 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
I have to sift
the art ofit was too late;the art of4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
far too late,
by the time my gaze found his
across the dim and drunken
tangle of a scene.
his eyes were dark, the color
of burning wood and
dust in a foreign country, the
kind of eyes my mother taught
me to fear, and rightly so;
i could already feel his
handprints welling in a
malady of black and
five-o-clock blue just
beneath my skin, bruises
deeper than bone
as i pushed my way
every chance i didn't take IIYou tell him about your cancer on a Sunday,every chance i didn't take II2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
in the shower of all places, in between brunch plans
and speculations about whether or not the weather
will ever get any colder - hasn't it been the strangest November?
Just the strangest.
You casually mention that somewhere
deep in the secret space between your hips
your own cells are proliferating uncontrollably,
whispering treason and passing down forgeries,
teaching each other the steps of mitosis with alarming intent.
You don't miss a beat as you drop survival percentages
mixed in with tomorrow's rain forecast
and predictions about the game later that afternoon -
easy as breathing, even as counterfeit armies
shred through the soft tissue just below
his favorite place on your spine.
And as you stand there
calmly making conversation
and sharing the last of the soap,
he watches the water
run quiet rivers
through your hair.
ten reasons whyten reasons whyten reasons why7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i can't write:
i can't write because when i do i
take inefficient showers and get in
with all my clothes on and sit there
like an environmentalist on strike until
my jeans are soaked all the way through
i can't write because
when i do i tell my cat, bonnie,
that her name is really beatrice and
that she is descended from a long
line of cat-queens and one day her
real family will come and claim her,
and that's really not very nice of me
to lie to her like that.
i can't write because when i do i don't sleep
because there are all kinds of spitting
things waiting in the dark full of words
and words and words and words and teeth and
tongues that lick the backs of my knees
and neck while i lay in bed listening to
the beat beat beat words beat of my heart and
i can't write because when i do
i try to convince strangers in the
library that they are my soul mate
without using any words, i just stare
them down through my book
and tell them that our children
would be bea
the things we cannot knowand darling, there are thingsthe things we cannot know10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i never told you; like how
i blessed you while you were sleeping
in the hour before the end -
asked the universe to watch over you
and conspire towards your happiness,
covered you with be brave's and
goodness and mercy and light,
fingers touching your spine
like a rosary
and my darling, time is a flat circle
so you are still sitting at my kitchen table,
still asleep with your head on my breast;
we have already come together like waves,
repeatedly, and dark against the sky;
you have yet to walk through the july night
to kiss me on a crumbling riverbank;
i have yet to know if i will see you again,
and where, and
lost and foundwe are awake.lost and found5 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
we are awake in the way that everything is dark and smells like airports and fluorescent lighting, in a way that feels like long journeys and bad coffee. we are awake. i kiss your lips and you taste like powdered sugar and winter.
we are awake at 4 am because it is cold, and because we have to be.
the car starts on the 3rd try and even though the temperature is near freezing you roll the windows down and the night crashes in, chapping your lips and tangling my hair in long, cold ropes. you hum a little in the driver's seat and i can hear great expanses and guitar strings and a jealous acoustic melody that stirs somewhere just beneath my spine. i touch my finger to the back of your hand and i can feel the tides ebb and flow, life gathering in the space between us, stars sprawled like madmen somewhere high above our heads.
i take pictures of the night sky, the glove compartment, our hands twined on the steering wheel. i take pictures of the darkness out the passenger window
someday i will cut my hairsomeday i will cut my hair,someday i will cut my hair1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
let the dresser do her worst
will watch the ends go first, light
from holding all of the sun, hear the
sharpness of the shears, will feel
buoyant, and alright
and leave the dark waves behind --
someday i will bind my hands
with golden bands, will let a
man lace his fingers
through the spaces between mine,
palm to palm, squeezing tight
like a promise kept
but not yet, not yet -
for now i will spread my
griefmary sleeps beside me, it is morning; we aregrief3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dream-sunk and tangled in her quilts
honey warm and bathed with sun, we are berry-stained
and slow-breathing, lips purple
from last night's wine -
it is morning; we are softened creatures
and the light has come to hold us.
mary's phone is a wasp, a bramble, is a vaguery that
we cannot be bothered with. it is morning and
mary's phone is wrathful, insistent, needling us
into a sluggish consciousness. we break the
surface without grace or tact and
it is morning, and he was just here
he was right here and he was breathing but now
he is gone; he has passed through, passed on,
passed into the other, the ether, the endless,
the place we cannot follow, has passed
away from mary, from the green and the gray,
from the earth that bloomed when we
were not paying attention, from the sky and
the hearts of the trees.
mary, it is morning; it is morning for mary and
she is disassembling before my eyes. i place my palm
flat on her spine and feel t
room 211there is a boy and i say this, notroom 2115 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
because he drives too fast through
the foothills in the raw of evening or
because he runs with the sundogs
in the latest rays of the afternoon
light, no -
i say this because he is dying
and in a way, that makes him just a
little more alive than the rest of us
oh God he breathes and breathes and
i can see eternity and the rise and fall and
rise of each rib underneath his skin
and the scrape of oxygen makes me think of how
i never kissed the place on his chest where
the demon now rests its bony head and
still, i cannot say
bring may flowersxbring may flowers4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The first time I met May she was crying simple, petulant tears, because she never got the flowers April promised her. I took her hand, so small it was nearly childlike, and promised that before it was all over she'd have so many blooms; azaleas and orchids and dogwood blossoms, that she wouldn't know what to do with them all. Her smile was so bright I almost felt bad making a mark on that perfect skin, but she offered her arm without hesitation and I drew a line through the first box.
She was pretty, in a plain sort of way. There wasn't anything special in the tilt of her jaw or the curve of her spine, but there was something about the way the light lingered on the windowpanes when she was around and stayed a little longer in her curls that made everything that much more alive. Her teeth were as white as the cotton-hearts that would eventually dot the countryside like a strange snow, and when she laughed every stalk and shoot leaned into the benediction until nodding buds turned t
every chance i didn't take Iyour hand in mine as you prayedevery chance i didn't take I1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
to a god who might save you.
your suicide note and the words
to your father, brothers, oh christ,
my tears on your shirt as i
sobbed for everything i had lost
and the god who did not hear me.
the river stones under my legs and
the lights on the bridge in the night.
bruises on my shoulders and i hope
they never fade.
your big truck and the scent of
jasmine and the moment i realized
i was happy.
hand out the window
full of mississippi wind.
hair wild and skin stung.
you are beautiful
and i was beautiful for you.
your legs between my knees
as we flew down memphis streets.
the roar of your motorcycle and my smile
that was wider than the open highway.
the wind that took my blue dress
as i watched you lift the gun
ready, aim, trigger.
weak ends.monday.weak ends6 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
today is the first time in a long time that i have woken up afraid; afraid because i cannot see the sunrise, and because i do not remember who i am without you. we listen to the weather report on the radio, and your fingers are freezing in mine.
the storm that blew through in the night shattered my bedroom window, and i breathe you in like burning driftwood as you help me clean up the soggy leaves and broken glass. i cut my finger on a jagged edge, and neither of us speak as you help me wash off the blood, because some wounds leave you with nothing to say.
my room smells like smoke and vanilla and the way you used to touch my skin. now we lay like parallel lines along the mattress, silent and unable to breach the darkness that separates our bodies. i fall asleep crying and in the morning there is salt on my eyelashes. i leave before you wake.
i don't kiss you anymore, and my heart is so cold. you are my best frien
Written LoveItalic represents the inner depths of our emotions, an endless well of truth. Within lies the rawest image of the self, the naked reality of vulnerability, doubt and discovery.Written Love6 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Will I ever find love? Am I destined to be alone forever?
It also depicts instant sparks of thought, blurted words mute to the world.
Shes cute! I wonder if she could ever like someone like me. Did she just smile back at me? Was she being polite, or ?
Bold equals bravery, chance and gamble; the lion heart in which shaky words express daring suggestions, challenging the fate of solitude.
Want to go for a coffee sometime?
Can I call you again?
Bold lettering calls for faith, hope and trust. Self esteem brings it out, jumping from the white of paper, but even the timid can brave life with its encouraging energy.
Underline is exclamation. It is the reaction to news, the call of passion or the declaration of triumph. It can be coupled with t
To Dream of FallingI dream of falling.To Dream of Falling5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It's not a dream common to angels. After all, we have a pair of wings--or two or three--and we can use them. We float upon the air, dance among the stars, shape the clouds with our breath, and so on. All that lovely wordplay to describe an indescribable. A joy, a graceless power. Flight.
Humans dream of it often, I am told. It makes sense. They have no wings save for what they create with their hands. Airplanes, hang gliders, helicopters. Kites. They are obsessed with the sky, more so than the angels themselves, many of whom will fly three thousand miles rather than walk across the street.
And yet I dream of falling.
And in my dreams, I always start out as what I am--a bookish secretary pushed into a role never intended for him--and I always end as a human.
And the first thing I feel is falling.
Sometimes I jump off the edge of one of the Heavens.
untitledon our last night on earth you held my hand so tightlyuntitled4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it felt like every promise a boy ever kept to a girl. you
smiled down at me, lion-maned and strong-boned, hanging
constellations and broken guitar strings in my hair.
we talked until our voices were frayed at the edges, bodies
twining like rivers in the quiet of your bedroom. you made
me so beautiful i could hardly stand it, and so broken i
could hardly breathe.
the next morning you stumbled into wakefulness with a sigh,
arms tightening around me. you pressed your lips to my neck
and i felt the smallest of words escape: stay.
in that moment, i knew -
i knew that nothing would ever be more important
than the freckle on your lip, o
surface tensionshe strides like a sea walker,surface tension4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
each step rippling outwards
in search of a kindred being.
this echolocation finds nothing-
angry waves crash her delicate signals
now as confused as her footsteps
balanced upon the water's skin.
she falters and begins to sink-
a dangerous game to play Jesus
and not know how to swim.
soft hands slap against the cold hard surface
as she flounders for a grasp on reality.
her belief keeps her afloat
the water stings her face,
evidence of struggle and suffering.
her figure frames a distorted self portrait
as she crawls back to her feet-
on the other side of sane.
Why Peter is not a poet.Cole is eleven. Age matters in October, when twelve is the only difference between the haunted hayride and the shelled corn sandbox. Age matters when a boy says the word "shit" in school (and Cole does). But age doesn't matter when the same boy has both sneakers dangling over the edge of a 250-foot grain silo, his hands sweaty on the rungs, the state of Nebraska breathing vacant and honeyed and infinite below him. For the first time in his life, Cole can't be quantified by the candles on his last birthday cake. Cole is young, but today, he is worth saving. Three facts about Cole:Why Peter is not a poet.5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
1. His eyebrows are the most expressive arches his body has to offer.
2. He's so terrified that his very expressive eyebrows are threatening to take up permanent residence in his hairline.
3. He does not have suicidal tendencies, and later understands--for the sake of his mother's heart and Officer Roy's bladder control--that his strategies for
until the mountainsi will remember you like this, always.until the mountains4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i will remember you vital
i will remember your skin wild as an animal
your body slung lazy and volatile, the
mountains in your shoulders and
summer in your eyes.
i will remember you in snapshot progression,
last night's snowfall prising reality from our grip.
i will remember your kiss with the
taste of smoke always, always.
i will remember the sandpaper on your tongue,
the ash in my hair, the way the dragon's breath
curled from your lips like a dream,
cynicism only gets you so fari've been bleedingcynicism only gets you so far1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
for quite a while now, i've been
watching the sun rise through the webs
of skin between my fingers
i've been stitching up my skin like it's
an old pair of jeans, like tearing so easily is
i think it's because this skin isn't
mine, it's an amalgamation
of other people's expectations and
screwed-up pieces of paper and
morning coffee or
and breath made for a different set of lungs
i've been living off
caffeine and insomnia
for quite a while now, i've been
talking to the moon through the diamonds
on my window pane
i've been throwing myself into the glass like i'm
a sparrow, like i'm a blind bird
i think it's because i don't know any
better, i pretend to be the queen
of the universe inside my room and
the ocean inside my teacup and
the lullaby i don't know the tune
or the words to
and a lover wrapped in plastic for the holocene age
i've been dreaming of
for quite a while now, i've been
thinking about running throug
a pause: your hand in minea pause:1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
palm to palm
like our skin had always
spoken this language,
always been fluent
in the fingerprints
of each other.
Graffiti Dreams in Black and White The strokes are dreamt permanent,Graffiti Dreams in Black and White2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the only lasting demarcations of claiming existence,
and the collective artists who painted them majored in Biology,
or Accounting, or English and Professional Writing, or dropped out
as so many do when they wake up.
The poet paints them into existence with his words:
“ideas are illusions, and all words are untrue.”
And we nod our heads and sip our coffees, indeed,
put a price to labors and words and even to thoughts
because we no longer want freedom if it costs us the freedom
of saving face and keeping pace with the ebb and flow
hindsightShe called him Benjamin, because it soundedhindsight6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
strong, like a name that could move
mountains, or put food on the table for
a family of four.
He called her Hallelujah, because
it sounded like the way he felt
when her fingers brushed his cheek.
She called him Fahrenheit, Lion Tamer,
He called her Skinsong, November,
She was his prayer; thin breath on
freezing windowpanes and barefoot
secrets on the bedroom floor.
He was her safety net; wide eyes and
hands and promises in the coldest hours
just before dawn.
He called her Jumper because
she was always looking over edges.
She called him Wes because
that was his real name.
he called her Taste of Tears,
Hearthold, Stay With Me,
he called her
drowning with himthere’s this boy i work with.drowning with him1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
he is five.
he wears long sleeves
and shorts with holes in them
that are only kept together with
small clothespins and thin threads.
his hair is always cut close
to his skin, though his bangs are left
just long enough so it covers his eyes
and i know no one can see them.
but i always watch him.
only sometimes i will allow myself
to watch over someone else, even though i know
this boy will only continue to follow me.
he asks me to play,
he asks me to speak,
and sometimes, he even asks me
to hold his hand.
they are always cold and strong,
with calluses and chipped nails
that dig rough into my skin,
and his voice is always hard ice,
roaring like pounding hail through a storm.
but most of the time, he fights.
he hurts the other boys. they are small
and they fight over pieces of chalk,
over shovels and pales and who gets to play
on the swings, but they throw punches
like i’ve seen adults do.
sometimes i look at them
and i see the ripple of muscle,
nineteenwhen i was 19 and beautifulnineteen5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i watched you watching me,
my hair light and full of sunshine,
skin young and stretched over
long straight limbs, whole and
just waiting to be broken.
we swam in your father's pool and took your little brother out to lunch. we tried to make christmas cookies in july but i dropped the eggs and just before i could start to cry you threw the bag of flour on the floor and i blinked through a haze of white, the fine powder settling into the creases of your smile. we spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the floor and laughing so hard that i cried anyway.
when i was 19 and stupid
i let someone who was not you
kiss me on a picnic table
under the spreading leaves of the live oaks
in the cold 3 a.m. chill, and regret
began to taste like home.
you spoke, sometimes, about the pull of the ocean or the way the winter branches looked at twilight; like frozen ink, injected into a network of veins against the greying sky. i murmured back, weren't we all just pa