Old HandsGrandpa was always the one to do things
-with his own hands.
He built his house,
our playhouses, tepees and dream castles
with his own hands.
Age 70 he was still climbing our roof,
(the one of the real house)
with his own hands.
So the worst thing
the worst thing
the worst thing was
when he had to watch our hands
-we all had come to help-
tend to his beloved garden
while his hands could do
The worst thing was
when he died
-on the inside-
'I am so useless.'
And I wished,
and I wished,
StrengthMy grandfather was the strongest man I ever met. If you’ve ever seen someone on TV perform some superhuman feat of strength and thought that it wasn’t real, you’ve never met my grandfather. I have seen him rip a telephone book in half. He reached his full height of 6”4’ at the age of fourteen, and by the age of fifteen he had left school to work in the metal works. No one thought twice about it, because he was more than capable of the work and looked older than he was.Strength1 year ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I am not strong. My joints frequently hurt, although I do not think I can convey to you how much of an understatement the word ‘hurt’ is in this situation. Most people didn’t understand why I didn’t run as long or as fast as the other children, or take delight in the frequent football scrimmages that almost all the boys I knew took such delight in. when I told them “I can’t, my legs ache,” they just told me to be strong.
My grandfather didn’t.
defeatheredand this is where we bury our hearts,defeathered2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
between self-defeating personality disorders
and burnt bridges and midnight ramblings
we promise ourselves aren’t true;
embedding our memories in forsaken homes
like it is a conscious decision to shed
our wings (reptiles don’t fly)
and maybe I am the monster of every
myth: wide-eyed and jagged toothed and
looking to regain a piece of myself the
world borrowed, many moons ago
as I falter and stumble over my own unaware
feet, wreaking havoc, reeking of self-acquittal--
all I ever wanted to do was belong.
dreams are flaws much like the hearts we
flaunt on our sleeves, and I seem to
have lent all mine away; I am
something entirely ignorant, in the dark,
believing fingers fumbling can find answers.
they never told me reflections are backwards
and the world spins the wrong way and
hurricanes are really an embodiment
of all our own withdrawals:
but one day, these walls will crumble,
and I will learn to breathe in dust.
The Key That Changed The WorldThe Key That Changed The World1 year ago in Historical More Like This
Deeply regret to advise you Titanic sank this morning, the fifteenth, after a collision with an iceberg resulting in serious loss of life. Further particulars later.
At 2:20 AM Atlantic Standard Time on the morning of April 15, 1912, the largest and most luxurious man-made object that had ever been moved, the Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Titanic, disappeared beneath the calm waters of the North Atlantic about 370 miles or 600 kilometers south-southeast of the coast of Newfoundland, leaving behind her the majority of 2,208 living, breathing human beings— people with families, dreams, hopes, ambitions, and plans— struggling to stay afloat in the frigid ocean water. Among them were the world's richest and most famous and influential individ
the beauty's in the leavingRead aloud here.the beauty's in the leaving2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sweetheart, let's head out. let's
drink up the desert asphalt and that last bottle
of johnny walker blue--
one last toast to the copper sunsets,
to the good earth. a pair of
tailgate stargazers, you and i:
roaming curves across the glove compartment map, until
every foldline is worn flannel-soft
and it'd rather stay open
let's forget route sixty-six. let's forget
and pick up terra cotta dust--
breathe in the mojave. let's pretend
that the world's already ended
and it's just us.
let's leave the door unlocked
every chance i didn't take IIYou tell him about your cancer on a Sunday,every chance i didn't take II1 year 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.
mechanicI want to kiss every aching wound you have,mechanic2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
bandage your heart every time it bleeds,
and patch up your mind over and over
because not a single tear deserves to fall
from your brandy-drenched eyes;
This dripping heart of mine can only feel,
and the healing honey words it flames get caught
in the back of my throat and on the roof of my mouth,
so I only have these passionate guttural cries
to tell you that I care all too much.
In order to fix you up again,
I would need to tear myself to tatters
and trade all of my working parts
for your leftover, fading pieces
but I just haven’t figured out how.
tonight i am old againtomorrow morning i will betonight i am old again1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
two again and scared of the shadows.
i will be two again and i will not
look out the window unless you are
holding my hand,
i will be two again and my father will
be the biggest man on earth again
but tonight i am eighteen, i am
eighteen, i am
holding the world in my chest and it is
beating like a heart (well then it must be my heart)
china digs a pattern in my backbone and i
am red red red red
i am a communist daughter and
the trains to shanghai will leave something
to be desired
i am eighteen, i am
all the life in the world
stacked around a schoolruined spine
and the world moves softly and she
touches me gently with her face
and then slides away.
tomorrow morning i will be
five again and i will be happy,
i will be five again and i will not
look at my body the way my mother looks at her body,
i will be five again
and people will just be pretty, people will just be
people will just be
but tonight i am eighteen, i am
Blue Check FlagThe natural locationBlue Check Flag2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to begin a revolution
is the breakfast table.
No one is happy
as it is far too early
but everyone is there,
(If there is no
it is definitely time to revolt.)
Attention! the lady of the house
demands, tapping a butter knife
on her coffee cup.
Lace up your boots and let’s march.
Ben grabs the breadknife,
Heather the greasy saucepan. Dom
whips the tablecloth from under
plates of half-devoured toast
and waves the blue checks aloft.
and Ellen clangs two spoons.
At desks chairs are empty,
gaps are unminded,
Tablecloths fly over the
highway, and spoon bands sing.
HomesickI am the river's son,Homesick3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my arteries flowing turquoise
and turning to rapids
rushing around my frame,
filling me with this sense
of buoyancy, minnows
tickling my sternum.
I am the river's son.
My palms caress each
silty shoreline, every
battered bank and bend,
and these places I know
so well become me
as my fingerprint,
even the bridge above me
inflamed by the afternoon
sun-glow, burning rusty and
the steel blue sky.
I am the river's son;
I bring my home along
like hermit crab,
where I step
I pull water from the earth.
Sumus de stellisA GbmSumus de stellis1 year ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
empty trees with empty branches
lonely horses on lonely ranches
why do they run in circles, love?
lives like that reminiscent of --
sweaters stained with false regret
the tears of those with oxygen debt
B B A
An Old AugustI watch youAn Old August1 year ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
in the amber afternoon,
sun on its midway
you won't let me help
only half of them
make it to the bowl.
I smile back
at your playful eyes
It feels like
an old August,
in my stomach
some sort of sadness
some sort of joy.
Last night's thunderstorm
has left the ocean agitated,
Life is nothing
but a vacant place, today
and we shall
let it be,
let the world
wait for us, today.
on my piano bench,
I play for the cat
a winter Debussy
I could tell
love poem from a pillar of saltthe words 'i love you'love poem from a pillar of salt1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
have always tasted like forbidden fruit
an apple offered by a helpful serpent-
sweet and fleeting but
the words 'i loved you'
just taste of
i always thought that leaving you would be like leaving gomorrah
that i couldn't help looking back
and when i did i'd feel an ocean dry itself beneath my skin
but this is so much quieter
and so much worse.
my knuckles taste of blood,
there is no new testament here
just old testament fire
just lot's wife standing on a forgotten hill
rocksalt freezing her outstretched hands
watching her hometown burn below her.
there is no forgiveness here
just mutual loneliness
just a lost religion and a broken girl
far too tired to play pretend
watching you fall apart behind me.
shrinkingplease, don't tell me how beautiful it is that i've parted my thighs like the sea.shrinking2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
because there is nothing pretty about the tears in last nights dinner, or the way my hands shake around silverware. i am not poetry, but a language lost --in the spaces where flesh used to occupy lies everything i needed to say, kept as the only thing i could ever bear to swallow. if you try to write sonnets about the scars on my knuckles or the arch of my ribs, i will tell you in nine syllables less that this is more than abstinence and foggy reflections. i will tell you how my little sister can carry me in her arms like a child, and how my father can hardly navigate my bedroom floor without touching the brown vomit stains that makes his brow heavy. i will tell you how it feels to hold your own heart in your hands, to feel it break and skip like an old, worn cd. i will tell you how i am nineteen and fishing through musty boxes of clothes from my childhood, only to find that not a single pair of sh
She Was With the StarsThe amber girlShe Was With the Stars1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
was preserved perfectly
and her silky hair and porcelain skin
gleamed like a doll's
But the scientists weren't able to keep
her soul burning
because though she was in the
glass case filled with chemicals and fluids
and they were desperately trying to pump
oxygen into her lungs,
her mind was still up in space
with the stars
So the sun was extinguished
despite the cries and mournful screams
because they had
and the many who looked up
at her light and glory
slowly began to rot away
And so not a single thing was solved
Oh Childyour bones are small,Oh Child1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
like your heart,
they've never been broken
stay away from the world
i hope you never
that dreams only
last for the night
American GirlDear Maybe-Mama,American Girl1 year ago in Letters More Like This
I was not a mistake.
It’s strange to think that exactly half of my DNA comes from you, and yet we could pass each other on the street and not even recognize each other.
I’ve never really believed in searching for you, my biological family. I never asked my parents the heartbreaking questions that Hollywood makes small, blue-eyed orphans ask: “Why didn’t my real mother want me?” I’ve never believed in any of that, and I don’t expect that you’d want me to, anyway.
But if we ever did meet, what would we even say to each other? I don’t speak Chinese, and you probably don’t speak English. But, in case you’ve ever wondered about me, here’s a little about myself:
I look different now. When you last saw me, I weighed less than fifteen pounds and could fit inside of a kitchen sink when I needed a bath. But today I am 19 years old and I’m probably taller than you – the nutrition in America is dif
Small TalkIt's dripping with logic and reasonSmall Talk1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the question you let gently drop
onto the table between us,
“So, tell me about your life.”
And I'm watching it carefully
telling myself it won't bite
it's more scared of me than I am
and I can capture it with glass.
And I can't rest the answer there
because it's bigger and scarier
and this one will bite will sink
will tear apart the careful stitches.
It's too big for this table
and I can't put it onto you
so it weighs heavy on my neck
and the silence stretches further.
Storm Music They say when I was first laid in my mother's arms, she gave me back to the nurse and said, "No. This is not a child of mine."Storm Music3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My father is the "they" I mean, the only one I heard tell that story. I guess he figured she meant it, because right away he took me as far from the Zuni reservation and my mother as we could get.
I don't remember being a little baby. I mean, who does? But I know my father drove his old car, with him and me and supplies, for miles and miles and miles. I hated that car. And he talked a lot, my Dad. He'd say, "Hey, freak. We're gonna cross a state line again. Mark it on the map." Or, "Hey, ghost boy. I gotta stop here for a few days. I'll set you up in a motel."
When my father said "set you up in a motel," he meant he'd get some half-drunk Indian to watch me, or more likely, to watch TV. He always went somewhere else. Some of those Indians fed me and some didn't, just like my father. I mean, it's like when I
Clayeffervescent acrossClay2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is the canvas where
Painting NightsDear Emma,Painting Nights3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The truth is I'm not a painter.
The truth is I followed you here from that flower shop on Whitmore Street, two and a half months ago. Please, keep reading.
You actually took my breath away when I glimpsed you holding a bunch of lilies in your slender hands at the flower shop counter. You stunned me. That's never happened to me before. I was watching you turning the bouquet left to right, you seemed in awe of the flowers' beauty. Your eyes, your perfect smile, the way you held yourself. It was not a conscious decision to follow you here. I think I was in a trance. I know how it looks; I know it sounds like a movie.
When Miss Vale said it was only the beginning of the painting course, lesson two, I signed up, paid my money on the spot, just to follow you into the room.
Just to keep seeing you. Just to be near you. I know it's crazy.
I stared at the back of your bobbed hair for that entire lesson. In my mind I was shouting for you to turn around
ExpirationWith you I always feel like I’mExpiration2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to break in the wrong size of shoes.
Sometimes I sit and stew
over how you’re seventeen and
you think I’m a princess
the trapped-in-a-tower kind
and how you wear suits and talk about politics
and think you know the world.
My throat interrupts with an affronted gurgling sound
sometimes when I think about you,
you deal out advice where it just isn’t called for
you quote science-fiction to justify war
and you’re seventeen years old and you think I’m a princess
and you just have no blooming idea.
Darling, one of these days I will tell you my mind
But until then we’ll never fit
I’m afraid –
that even after that day
you’ll still be trimmed hedges and
Missing PersonsI live in a world of fear.Missing Persons1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I am not the only one who is afraid; no, every person here fears the night, if not for themselves then for someone they love. Mothers fear for their children, husbands for their wives, children for their sisters and brothers. No one fears for their friends; no one has friends anymore. No one dares.
It wasn’t always this way. I remember days before the fear, before the world was so paralyzed with its own terror that it forgot how to live. I remember walking through a park after sunset just for the pleasure of it. I remember being late for an appointment without anyone beginning to plan my Memorial. I remember life before people began to disappear.
It started slowly, coming on so gradually that it’s hard to say when it became normal for people to vanish on their way to the grocery store, or while walking the dog. Suddenly it was completely ordinary to see houses fall derelict, their owners mysteriously vanished somewhere beyond our reach.