HotlineThe first time I dialled your number I felt a skipping in my chest
the skip that comes with talking to strangers
the skip that tells me that I’m strapped into the rollercoaster, ready or not for the ride.
You answered, and your voice was like a cave,
deep and warmish and mossy
with echoes trapped inside the dark spaces
like a cave to keep me safe from the storm.
I spoke to you and my own voice was like cobblestones,
cracked and scattered
strewn out across a much-trodden road and kicked into the gutter,
like cobblestones with missing bits, crumbling from the elements.
You told me that things would get better from here on out,
that I’d made the first step and
that you would talk to me for as long as it took to get me from one place to another one
or longer, even.
You spoke to me about large things
responsibility and Ferris wheels and distant nebulas
you spoke to me about small things
garden mice and sub-atomic particles and how many spoonfuls of sugar you take with your tea.
You've Endured So Many Storms That You Became OneYou have endured so many storms that you became one.You've Endured So Many Storms That You Became One2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Your mother was a tsunami.
Her emotions came in waves
and crashed down on you like
“this is all your fault”.
Her high-tide flooded your basement.
There’s water damage in your roots.
She taught you how to swim when you were five years old,
but somehow you’ve been drowning for seventeen years.
You once told me that you hid all the knives in your house
so that the waves wouldn’t carry them away.
Your father was a thunderstorm.
His voice shook your house so much,
I could have almost sworn that you lived by train tracks.
His thought clouds
generated enough electricity to light up your neighborhood.
When his lightning cracked you’d count
to see how far away his hand was from your face
before the friction in his bones was too much for him to bear.
You have endured so many storms that you became one.
You are an earthquake,
and my heart is your San Andreas Fault
My Dear Sons and DaughtersFall in love with everythingMy Dear Sons and Daughters2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Fall in love with ideas: anarchy
and LaVeyan Satanism.
Fall in love with solitary back-packing
through Israel or Mexico.
Fall in love with gamma radiation
or tiger-taming, MMA cage fighting
or free-climbing the Rocky Mountains,
but do not fall in love
People will want you
for your similarities to one
or more of their parents;
they will want you
for the outline, the concept of you;
they will want you
because you want them –
they will not know
what they want.
People will take the bed you shared
and fuck other people
in the barely cooled indent
of your absent body
(they will also take your cat,
leaving you with scarred hands
and nothing for them to stroke).
They will promise to never leave you
and maybe they won’t,
but they will buckle you in with them
on the bipolar-coaster,
left flying off unfinished tracks,
and you will have to jump,
They will be perfect
except for little things –
answering their pho
Appear OfflineIt’s easy to miss you in the 21st centuryAppear Offline2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with a little green dot next to your name
with a myriad of ways to grasp across the distance
but my phone has broken
your internet’s terrible
and facebook chat never works
so I’m left to miss you by candlelight
watching a lonely sea
debating a letter
wondering how anyone ever coped
DivorceBefore that day,Divorce2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Sunday mornings had never occurred to me.
I must have slept through their every summons:
I never knew the time sensitive ritual of finding matching socks,
forcing “nice” shoes over misshapen toes,
the silent pact we would share with the warm cushions of the divan
waiting for Mother to ready us, memories that settle in the guts
like a madstone, which I could then pull out of my old cadaver
to save myself in the next life.
There were a few moments. Like that time, in the garage,
basking in Father’s sunrise sorcery as he fired his magic timing light
into the fluttering lungs of an engine, or when he let me aim
the water at his bucket, poorly, while he carved something
otherworldly into stubborn dirt.
I held nothing near of Sundays, nothing sacred, nothing dreaded,
save for the occasional shameful confusion
I would coax from my belly with dogged chimes
of christmas bells haranguing the church congregation
with their infernal sequence, hanging like nervou
ocean lungsyou weigh something like gravityocean lungs2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in my tired expanse. you are
(my once splendid mountain)
my love is the ocean
that has worn you down.
with my monstrous tongue,
i pulled you in.
as you fall,
sweeping peacefully into the depths
and filling each crevice,
i am learning to inhale shores.
some would say i'm suffocating
and bring me buckets of air (only to have it
escape my slippery grip).
no, the tides need something heavy
to make of her
Oaki knew a girl once,Oak2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with an oak heart and guarded hands
(gloved from touch)
uncrossed her ankles,
let naked fingertips
touch well-read lips, and
her heart kind of turned
i miss that girl,
with the oak heart -
she was tougher.
Black Coffee ComfortHer eyes absorbed the atmosphere,Black Coffee Comfort1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
throughout the years.
I watched reticent as they spilled
of birds' wings
and of kite strings
on afternoons in the park
before her face cracked like pavement
around her astral eyes
and she lost her youth.
But here it felt
she'd earned her 'aged' instead:
in a dusty two car garage
where a bullet hole interrupted
the back window's face:
a scar to dominate
the willows and sky.
And no one still persisting
can be sure
which side of the pane he struck,
whether he stole someone's breath
the way loneliness does.
There was a black coffee comfort in
our asks and answers:
"Who's left in the world
that loves you?"
"Only one, and not me."
2820 milestag-along games i play with my guilty conscience2820 miles1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
as i am drawn running towards the sea
away from the cold atlantic and over the mountains
through misty moors and smoky shacks
into the land of giants and ruffians
past god's own blessed children
i'll rest in the foothills, sleep under the stars
forget why i came, leave my boots in the rain
eventually sing indie rock in memphis
cross the styx and enter no-man's land
sun stroke burning my brain
prairie grass tickling my bare legs
the flames will scorch me as i continue
questioning myself in dreams
visions beleaguering my addled acts
texas taking its toll, dusting me over
when i reach the desert i want to finish
i wish to relax, to lie back and rewind
but i must go on, i am not finished yet
the red clay reminds me of why i walk
the cactus appears as an omen
the roadrunner goes ahead and turns back to help
the promised place is nearing, i can sense it in my soul
a searching light is cast, and i want to respond
it is the final stretch
a nameless emotionfate and irony are the same god, you saya nameless emotion2 years ago in Scraps More Like This
and i waver
between your rough voice and
the lightness of your touch.
you tell me,
the world ended years ago
and there is no need to
in that tiny moment
between night and day
i believe you,
like most things
i hold close
it is all ephemeral.
the moon rots inside my chest,
still where you left it;
my ribcage vacant,
composed of decaying
as we pretend the world still exists.
How to Pocket a Man's HumanityFirst, convince him to adoptHow to Pocket a Man's Humanity1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
a rescue cat, fat, days away
from slaughter. Find one mis-
sing half his tail. The pair
will purr in tune; this step
is important. Next, rush him,
him and his rescue, to their
home, and then keep them dry
and healthy. Move deliberate-
ly, with articulation. Shape
the sound. Watch cat and man
sup together, sleep together.
Spring happens upon them, as
it does, and the man and his
rescue walk along the bridge-
less route to the forest and
grove without wind. Convince
him to let rescue race aloft,
to the distant hill-top. And
he will, and he does, and he
is gone. The man screams out-
ward into the meadow, scream
after scream weaving through
stalks of wheat, but nothing.
No clicks or mews. A nothing
against the rust of night on
the horizon. Help the man to-
ward his doorstep. Help keep
him apprised of the treeline
and its shadows. Finally, he,
rescue, appears, and the man
grabs your collar and shouts
and walks and runs and stops.
Rescue has brought home life
Locked Wrists--Haunted Dreams"You have the potential to be beautifulLocked Wrists--Haunted Dreams6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
under someone else's stars,"
you tell me as you lay us down,
curving your body to mine
and shackling my wrist in your hand,
"so why is it so hard for you
to let me go?"
I don't know how to answer that question honestly,
butterflies fluttering against my throat
as you sweep your lips across my skin,
persuasions meant to mystify
I shut my eyes
and flex my fingers gently;
your grasp has turned to iron
and my palm tingles with angry resolve.
You fear I'm letting go,
losing you to clouds and daydreams;
I'm afraid to remind you
of your hand chained 'round my arm
and the ways in which our lives entwine.
You whisper pretty lullabies
as you wrap me ever-tighter,
and I want to tell you I'm not leaving
(in fact, I'm terrified to)
but choking sobs are all you hear.
And you think yourself a winner
keeping me locked into your game,
petty promises and broken breathstrokes filling space between us,
but you don't see wha
walk on your own, into the sunDear sad people,walk on your own, into the sun1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
I was raised to believe that the sun turns purple when humanity learns to glow
but lately, the warm wooden library I sat in turned cold.
In the summer I'd pick up the heaviest explanation of evolution and smile at it like a proud amphibian,
in the winter I'd write thickly about praying to a stagnant universe.
In the winter, I'd forget I'd evolved.
I once dreamed that Jesus gave me a tour of the Old Testament heaven.
The ocean water slapped itself onto the course sand,
which rose into brown dripping bones that stood tall like the rod that cracked open a footpath.
"It's up to you," he shrugged with sluggish eyes.
I wondered if I belonged in your world.
Why do you write so many letters
to your pills and lovers and priests and ghosts?
In one deep sleep, sloppy Jesus gave me a choice,
and I chose to write my own letter to a raised razor nightmare, running and raw
that peeled down a woman's cheek as sh
Slow, LoveI am a box of bones; attic-drenched,Slow, Love2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
gathered in the grief of storms.
I am a catalogue
of failures, listed alphabetically
for ease of use; God knows
why, since no one ever looks
beneath the covers.
the heroin heroinehow can you save someonethe heroin heroine1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
with tattoos and track marks?
they called him Jesse
and I loved him, I loved him
too much for my own good.
he was a burnt-out angel
with weathered grandfather wings
and an aluminum halo.
"please," I begged, incessant,
"please, stop. you're better than this."
I wrestled with his addiction
as though it was my own,
destroyed syringes straight from
the crook of his elbows.
I always knew he had one true love,
and it sure wasn't me.
his arm was pale and thin
around my shoulders,
pale and thin in the masquerade lamplight,
where he pierced his veins
in belt-constricted solitude.
one night, as I paced
with his bent silver spoon
clutched in my palms,
he told me that he needed it,
oh God, he needed it.
he needed that one slow descent
into black oblivion, that one place
where nothing existed to hurt him.
for the first time,
I realized my place.
whenever he kissed me,
he thought not of my lips,
not of my tongue.
he thought of a cool chill,
i will rest by the river and bloomi have eaten so many cherries i have lost count,i will rest by the river and bloom2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my fingers bundled up with their stems, my teeth aching.
with the fruit flesh still threaded around them, the seeds
look like little organs, little stone hearts:
i eat them all, every one. maybe they will hatch in my stomach
like bitter eggs, and a thousand hundred giant trees will
grow slowly though my bones and my bloodstream, maybe they will
burst up and out through my mouth. i will be a bleeding flowerpot,
a forest floor with shoes, an incubator. i will be the zombie
apocalypse of cherry trees. i will grow my wooden teeth through the roof.
my bad decisions will touch the sky.
my raspberry heart.i:my raspberry heart.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he was the hard rock of the city, and i
the orchestra of the forest—
where his cement sidewalks ended, my
dirt and shrubs began
on a summer day, he told me
he liked the way the sun looked
in my trees. i blushed so hard, a wildfire
almost burned me down
i kept noticing his billboards
glancing my way. i let my leaves
land on his apartment buildings, and all
his traffic lights turned red
he reached into my brush
and picked my raspberry heart, neon
shining in his eyes
And by their hands shall you know themi.And by their hands shall you know them2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Long fingers taper,
thin between each swollen joint,
rounds of bone that can’t be lost,
like the purple-scarred stomach skin
from one year’s crackers-and-coffee diet,
the bass guitar calluses on numbed fingertips,
the panic attacks and Xanax collected
after ODing on heroin,
going heartbeatless in a hospital bed
while his veins were pumped with activated charcoal.
Like sausage links, his square-tip digits
not much longer than my own,
but larger, like I thought his heart was.
The fingers making my sandwiches,
pressing lower back and shoulder blades
in a goodbye-for-now hug,
wrapping gauze over my wounded skin –
the same fingers that did not grasp at my own
when I walked out on our two years.
The permanently sun-tanned hands
that once carried me on morning walks down the beach
are thickening with age like tree trunks,
and perhaps inside are the rings
for every one of his seventy-four years,
thin rings for years of hardship, his divorces,
his losing battle wit
ChrysanthemumChrysanthemumChrysanthemum2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Last night, I dreamt of us.
We were together on a mountaintop,
I was sitting on the edge,
With my legs dangling above the bottomless pit,
With a lone, white chrysanthemum in my hand as I pull the petals from the stem.
While you were standing above me, looking on, languidly,
None of us wanting to say anything,
My own mental battle sewing my lips to one another,
Unable to speak,
While you were probably trapped within your own mental depths;
In my mind, I was debating between venting and jumping,
Simply over the fact I didn’t know what that look was in your eyes,
But I think that’s probably the point, that we’re no longer of the same kind,
Maybe I changed into something I’m unaware of, maybe you were the one to transform,
But I don’t get the same feel of what used to be,
This is foreign to me,
An unapologetic feeling of extreme apathy,
And that is the unfortunate reality of this situation,
No matter how long
how to be a poet: the basics.kiss all the peoplehow to be a poet: the basics.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
you know you shouldn't,
solely for the reason
that they look good
look at your scars
like mothers peer into
cradles. then make
more; make yourself into
a symbol for infinity,
or at least try,
because it never works.
patch yourself up.
say, "darling, you're okay,"
while staring at yourself in the
mirror with your hair
damp and your lips
chapped (refer to stanza
one). change. grow.
it's what we like to read,
miss the people in your life
until they leave,
and then miss yourself
as well. screw everything up,
and then write about it
like it had to happen.
try to believe it, ignore
the voice in your head that hisses
and groans in your sleep,
behind your eyelids.
"baby, you're a fuck up,
you know it know it know it".
try to carve the humming
out of your body
by exit way of your veins.
be hospitalized. give in, give up,
play along, stop writing.
but then you start writi
When Our Stars CollideTo the girl who is suffering from a gravitational collapse,When Our Stars Collide1 year ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
In the depths of an August summer,
when you are unnecessarily sad,
remember that there is hope
assimilating and fixating itself
into the crevices of your stardust eyes.
I wish I could take all
the things about you;
fold them into your fingers so
you could touch the galaxy
that resides in you.
You believe that when we love,
we are in love with part of ourselves;
for we are made from the same
star particles dancing across
the universe until they separate
only to find each other again.
dragonfly wingsi. There is an entire generation of humans who grew up learning how to be murderers,dragonfly wings2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
learning how to wound creatures for an audience and a laugh, and oh
how they love to laugh, pigtailed executioners
and torturers of all that frail life
that could be contained in a quiet garden.
ii. They take spiders by their bellies and put them one each on two ends of a stick,
and they poke and prod and push until one decides to eat the other,
for there must be a duel, there must be a death, or there is no fun,
and the children will race off to find new things to hurt.
They take dragonflies by the wings and stick their jewel tails into electric sockets,
playing god in their pajamas, leaving peanut butter fingerprints
on the little pockets of heaven they find and fight over,
keeping the pretty pieces for their scrapbooks, like you could trap life
beneath scotch tape and label it between lines red-blue-red.
iii. Well maybe they know better, if you want to believe there's a muted brilliance
What a terrible thingSometimes life is painful,What a terrible thing1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
not for a discernible reason.
Not for a route to something better
or a perversive remedy
for a wound long forgotten.
Sometimes we drown in it,
in the not yet,
the not quite,
the not at all.
Sometimes even our eyelashes
are too heavy,
and keeping our eyes open enough
to see the truth is asking too much,
and other times?
Other times the truth is
the bacteria binding in your blood
beneath your skin
- it's inside -
and it knows how to feed off of you.
it wriggles until at last -
it lets its forceful pair of hands
slip tenderly under your ribcage
to compress -
down on your lungs
until they are flat
and stick to themselves,
and leave you gasping;
oh, oh the truth.
What a terrible thing!
(aftermathematics)with passing time(aftermathematics)3 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
and spending dimes
i've got(ten) precious,
precocious all metallic
and isolated behind alloys
or bars; ally, lie,
calculate the dreamscapes
sells in idle transactions;
idyllic complexities that dance,
g(r)asping in clasped
hands curling together,
a stutter at the slightest
i've got a diamond
all wildfire kaleidoscopes;
but you're offering
no more than pennies
that clatter in the b(l)anks.