To Go Far
Woman, you said you wouldn't
leave the world behind. All the pieces,
you had all the pieces in a line and you were measuring
and drawing routes, bus trips back to where
you think things start. This suitcase
on the stoop, then, mustn't be yours.
Woman, you said you'd got a ticket out
and a ticket out for me, that we'd both be
over the moon by now. But you live limpid
in the city lights and I live the same nights
and between us, we can't weave enough of a day.
There is no fading, love, and no saving.
This white-on-white hospital light
you've brought outside with you
is all of your strength. You show up against
grey skies, you ghost in lamplight,
you love your children unborn. They are
dreams, as you're a dream, as is the hand
warming your palm. There is no hand, woman,
warming your palm, you've left it behind, named
for a dream dissolve. So no one is saviour, or victor, or love.
There is just us alone. Why remove us
from the road? Why remove us to jasmine
and this melancholy star? Woman,
This Organized LifeWe are having dinner at a place I cant afford. Carl has gotten into middle age at some point, complete with good posture and brown loafers. Hoping he plans to pay but erring on the side of caution, I order soup.This Organized Life7 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
It is not awkward. We speak easily as ever, despite the pricey menu, Carls shoes, and the last time he and I stood yelling in a room together, each so loud the words became one great indistinguishable noise.
Im so glad we ran into each other, he says. The waiter pours more wine. I begin to assume he is going to pay; that is what a man his age does when he brings a woman to a restaurant like this. You always said it, and its still true: I rely on statistics to predict Carls behavior.
Carl takes another sip of his wine, and I think about you. You do not know where I am. I have avoided thinking of you precisely to avoid guilt, and now I arrive at the thought of you and find it filled instead with weary affection. You do not know where I am
RelativityRelativity8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Grandfather handed me his pocket watch
and spoke of how it saved his ass back in the day.
It was as old as his shoes
and its pointers flickered clumsily,
speaking a language I was yet to learn.
Son, war is a filthy ballet of dust and hissing bullets;
I swear, they were like flocks of doves whose grey wings
split the air into fractions.
I'm just damn grateful your grandma
woke me up one day and told me:
'My dear, when the fields are soiled
by the ever unforgiving rain of souls and lead,
think of this watch. My father gave it to me, you see.
I remember him telling me of how gorgeous my mother looked
as he took it from his pocket and the pointer struck noon.
"I swear she looked at me right there and then', he had said,
"and right there and then we fell in love'".
And I did. I had it with me when that little arrow
punched my chest so hard it threw me to the ground.
About time, too; I wouldn't be here if I had been standing there
for another second.
His eyes shatter
During Murder in the DarkDuring Murder in the Dark8 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
During Murder in the Dark, we played our own games.
We had a nook in the corner where nobody ever came and wed meet in there for a few moments at the beginning of every round, snatching intimate memories under the cover of darkness. It started when we were children, and was therefore childishly innocent; wed tap out messages on each others arms, using a mixture of Morse code and our own kind of shorthand that made things go faster. We were thirteen when he tapped out, Can I kiss you? I tapped back Yes, and we had a new game.
It always was a game. It never failed to send shivers down my spine when, as we prepared to part, he whispered in my ear By the way, youve just been murdered. And I know it was the same for him.
Things progressed quickly and within a year I had my hand down his pants as we were making o
Red DressThe store was not busy tonight.Red Dress8 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Customers wandered in and out, solitary dancers to the muzak that floated down the aisles. Cady watched them with unfocused eyes - her job didn't take a lot of concentration.
"Good evening, ma'am, do you have Flybuys?" Hands moved automatically, packing groceries into plastic bags with unconscious precision. "That will be $11.90, thank you, have a good night. Good evening, sir, do you have Flybuys?"
Her eyes focussed with a snap - he hadn't handed over a card.
There weren't any groceries on the counter, either.
The man's face was unremarkable, the kind of face that had passed her a hundred times that night, forgotten before they reached the door. But, his eyes - they were remarkable, a golden brown that drank in the light and glinted hypnotically.
"Arcadia," He said, "Wake up."
"Good evening, sir, do you have Fly-" Cady's mouth gaped for a moment, and embarrassment burnt her cheeks. She was on the wrong side of the counter
OriginalsOriginalsOriginals9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The conch's twist holds
an old world. Just beyond the glossy rim
where the shell curves out of sight
a half-full bottle plunges
into the sea. The green glass
has no end, its sides spreading
light like a coloured lens. But this ocean
is a dark edge, as if eyes had never lifted
its hard dermis. A wave curls
and becomes icecream in a turqouise bowl. You
are here, looking through spirals at someone else
who is you. The bowl empties
and a cold signifier stings the skull.
This time it is no echo
of the sea's thousandfoot rush, or the tang
of stale salt inhaled from a pinkwhite lip. This time
you are there. The icecream is just as cold, the glass
of beer bottles still shedding jade. But this could be
any beach. And now it matters
that you cannot swim.
Teachers to the DeadWhile we slept,Teachers to the Dead8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you strapped your arm around
my chest like armor and possession,
like this one belongs to me. Together, we are
teaching the things that haunt us
to lie down in their graves.
Here, like this
your demons say to mine as
they demonstrate the art of behaving.
Together, we secure their
broken bodies and set them into six feet of
(but we do not follow
we cannot go in their stead)
They do not know theyre dead. Its
always a blow when we break the news.
They find themselves jealous of our
human skin and our inhaling
(we are too kind
to show that we are more alive without them
that losing them
The Rain CameI dug around for you for days, unhorsingThe Rain Came8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
worms from clods of earth until I found the shine
that meant you lay beneath. You came
out of nowhere, you grew, you wanted to leave.
All I had was a shovel and a packed lunch, five pence
of foreign money, and all for you.
But i ran out too quickly and you wandered
off with nothing - not even flowers
from another tomb, not even stones
or the prayers hanging over long-rested
earth. You just went, in the way
that you do, and now I wonder
where you are and what you do for food
and succour. You mustn't worry.
I worry (who pulled you from damp earth) but you,
you run free. If there is anything you took
from me, know that I was always afraid -
for how you would know I loved you.
Audrey and Napoleon.Audrey and Napoleon10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
When Audrey and I were little girls,
one with long legs and one with brown skin,
we would smear summer plums on our mouths
and crush walnuts with her father's baseball
signed by Tug McGraw.
As we sat on the sunburned
rooftops of suburbia and she showed
me where her kneecap had a cross-stich of
purple cuts from her first try with a pink plastic razor,
I lied about my first kiss; she knew
and let me talk of greater things.
That used to make me love her,
but it doesn't anymore.
I was thinking about Audrey and her chickens last night.
One year, when we both had boyfriends, but still had
sleepovers and compared the sizes of our breasts-
we stood in the mud of the chicken run, and watched
the hens break the necks of yellow feathered chicks.
It must really mean something when a mama goes
mad just staring at her baby who has nothing but dirt
stuck to its back.
I know I asked her why they di
Goldiwhat?So, me and my crew be out walkin, aight homey? Nice day and all. So we be out pimpin the streets, walkin around, doin our thang. You know how it is, right brutha? We be out, enjoyin the sun, hangin with the bruthas. Chillin. But it be gettin to dinner time, and we left us some porridge out to cool, cause we old school like that. Picked up some suga to go with that too, mmhmm.Goldiwhat?9 years ago in Humor More Like This
So, me, my man Poppa Smallz, and my new Suga Momma head back to my crib, bein hungry and all. But we be gettin there and the doors all unlocked. Now, when a brutha bear be doin what I do for a livin, you dont just walk in the door in this situation. So we be listenin, but nothin. Smallz pushed the door open. Feel like he a big man, cause hes the one with the connections, if you know what I mean. That be why we call him Poppa. Cause if we was a family, hed be the head, he think. He got
April FoolsApril Fools12 years ago in Socio-political More Like This
I've been waiting all day.
All day, I've been sitting in front of my TV waiting for the constant war updates to switch to a special report. They will go live to the White House where the President will be sitting at his desk with the same concerned expression he always issues himself.
"My fellow Americans," he will begin, "As you well know, we are currently in the midst of great toil and hardship. It cannot be denied that there have been significant casualties and obstacles facing the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom. But as we forge on, I feel it is necessary to tell you, as well as the entire world…"
"APRIL FOOLS!" Saddam Hussein will scream, jumping in front of the camera. Bush, laughing uproariously, will stand and put his arm around the Iraqi leader.
"Man, we got 'em but good, didn't we!" Bush will say to Saddam between guffaws.
"We sure did, bro!" he will reply, nearly in tears. "At first I didn't think all these months were gonna be worth it, but every single person in the worl
argument The last time I spoke with you, it was like breathing underwater. My lungs were filling up, so that thin words kept swimming out of my mouth and I coughed up phrases that didn't make sense. Every speck of twisted logic you managed to shout suddenly fit, and I found myself wondering if you had been right all along. It was too bright. You were too loud. I didn't know what to say, and the fish were swimming all around me and brushing my shivery arms and my skirt was floating and freezing my bare legs. My hair was seaweed. My tongue was salt. I was not as pretty as a mermaid.argument8 years ago in Biography & Memoir More Like This
I'm not sure how, but underwater you were the most sensible person alive or dead. Your arguments, usually ridiculous, rang strong and true and made me look like a stupid foolish little child. My retorts were sloppy and ill-re
Don't Know Love, Can SwingI Don't Know Love, But I Can SwingDon't Know Love, Can Swing9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Well-versed in the syncopations
of love's first calls and fully read-up
on the sonnets available from the muse,
this park swing finds me an avid follower
of a new way. I don't know love anymore,
but I do know swinging in the park. And I find it
hard to fathom that there is any depth
left in the subject that cannot be
plumbed by kicking the ground hard
and having your heart lurch into your
mouth indecently. Love is,
after all, only an abstract way to trip
yourself repeatedly and blame it on someone.
And heartbreak is every scraped knee, gravel
and blood embedded obscenely in each other.
I'd rather wager my fortune on a swing
tied with ropes too long, than a man
tied with words and promises
to me, tied with words and promises -
No, I'd rather fight gravity, lose
and fight again, than love a man
and love a man and come down,
hit the ground and love a man again.
TributeGail was born on the first of August 1942, the elder of two. She grew up in New York City, marrying by age 22 and producing three children of her own.Tribute8 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
She'd tried her first cigarette when she was eleven. That shouldn't surprise you; in those days there wasn't a Surgeon General's warning or for that matter, any other public service messages.
While she enjoyed motherhood well enough, Gail also had a restless spirit; she was happiest when she was working, helping others, or driving her car. Accordingly, just before her 53rd birthday (and with her children grown and flown) she lost forty pounds and fulfilled a lifelong dream: qualifying as first an ambulance driver, then an EMT, for the local fire department.
She threw herself into her responsibilities with newfound purpose, losing even more weight and finally finding the strength to quit smoking. One young woman credited Gail with saving her life when she'd had a seizure at work. And she once made the local papers as one of several
MayflyMayfly10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
When we were mayflies our wings were
worn from wire screens, but the tentative
beats of your belly chimed like iron.
And it occurred to me that through
the breeze of burning leaves our eyes
were open to wasps and weeds.
Good LuckI want to have my dog put down, the man said for the second time.Good Luck8 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Lisa had asked him to repeat himself because his voice was low and gruff, he had an apparent tendency to mumble, and she was positive shed misheard him the first time. It wasnt possible that he was saying what it sounded like he was saying, unless it was in reference to a different dog than the one sitting patiently beside him.
There was a rule about leashes in the clinic, but Lisa could tell the dog was under perfect control. She could tell that if the man moved, she would move, as though adhered to his calf, unless he told her to stay, in which case she would root herself to the smudged linoleum, until compelled to move by his call or considerable physical force. Lisas father had raised lambs, back in the time when lambs lived in enormous pastures and fences were unnecessary. He had a pair of black and white border collies then, and they exhibited the precise brand of attention she
claycowardice runs deep, like a rich vein of redclay8 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
through the bottom of a Colorado river.
so I gathered that clay, scooped it up in my hands
and packed it, carefully, over my face
until it covered every inch; and my lidded eyes
were merely dents in the thick tan façade.
this was cleaner
than the traditional, Oedipal method
of blinding oneself.
alone, the clay
was not enough. I stayed inside
the house, too, under cover of a sturdy blue roof
that cordoned the horizon
because out here there is too much sky
to hide from.
and I ignored the phantoms
still flitting in my ears,
because they spoke of the kind of roses
that wilt and melt in the rain, dropping their petals
to storms and in truth I sometimes think
they look even more beautiful
that way, spreading and curling and darkening
into decadence, like glorious pink-frosted cake.
but I dont want to be weak
sometimes, when we watched movies, Id scratch
tiny eyeholes in the clay, so I could see
just a litt
Smoke and Mirrors.Possibilities and eyelidsSmoke and Mirrors.9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of love or something similar
Effortless and seamless
of something similar
while pseudo lighting glistens
on the rain outside.
trapped in cages of
wearing bruises and screaming
"I hope I die on this, this day
release me, the Saint
they called Valentine."
Charcoal streaks and trickling down rivets
in faces and the lonely
hearts tonight will be worse.
Ugly beauty queens will dine
with a wolf
and the fiends tonight.
gently sketching music notes and whispers.
Love From GabrielI left word with God that I'd borrowed a bookLove From Gabriel9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
off him when he wasn't looking - not one of the big ones,
just a collection of verse by someone small
who never left the mountain and drew water from
a well in the ground. I was afraid he'd say, "Take
the big one, it's got better poetry and more words,"
but it's hard to read, no chronology or timelines, all arrows
through the heart and I'd rather read what a man on a mountain
wrote than what a man on a mountain heard
I must be a little broken, then. Good folk
read all the books, good books are especial, but I shy
from the heft of prophecy. If I dig through my skin,
will I find my own? I don't think so. When I was 8, I thought
the air, the trees, would speak to me and this would be
the voice they'd all heard. When I was 8 I thought
I was the second that had come. Now there's a couple
of eights more, and no love from Gabriel coming my way.
And I know.
I Wish You KnewYou made me fear it.I Wish You Knew8 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
You made me fear what words
would come from me and whether
they'd be good enough. Until it turned out
I had no words good enough, not for nothing,
not for love, you made me fear making.
Now I fear making love
with words. Now I fear my brain's
taken a moment off every ten seconds.
Now I fear there's nothing in my head
anymore that doesn't get blip. Blip.
Blipped once a minute and the real poem's gone.
I took these little green pills so long.
Now I fear I'm not yet thirty but my words
are grown, and lived, and ailed, and died, and gone.
My mind won't latch, won't hold.
It strays like cows grazing, it runs at dazing,
it stops; it dazes. You made me fear
there won't be anything on the next line,
fear I won't finish in time, fear I won't finish
a rhyme, fear I'll rhyme too much and lose
my poet cred. You made me cry
inside my head and I'm
that there's too many
ways of seeing
that I don't wish I was blind
I just wish I was a better sea
Ear DropsHe has my lipsEar Drops9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and my ears
so it is
all I can do
to hold fast
to this chaotic
A Carpenter's DaughterA Carpenter's DaughterA Carpenter's Daughter9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
This memory song is late in coming.
The joiner was broken before his work
was complete; the hammer is silent now.
The saw and the rule are dusty with age,
his workbench torn out two summers past, but
I still remember the smell of pinesap and resin
and roofing tar. I am a carpenter's daughter.
My father created cavalries of wood,
sawhorses to hold steady the workday load.
These rigid chargers of lumber, emblazoned
with chalk dust, like fierce warpainted steeds.
His children rode reckless like savages on
mounts of sticky white pine, hammersong
like hooves striking flint, ringing out around.
Across the horizon of my distant youth,
I was enthralled with my father's level.
The forging of alignment, the truth of it,
a tool that quarters no compromise.
A carpenter trims the world and makes it
flush and planed and square, but now
the bubble is no longer between the lines.
He told me not to weep for the mighty trees
who cleaved for the axe with honor and grace;
The QuiltIt began with the dreams. Minute, stabbing dreams that hit me in the back of the neck like torpedoes, shattering my rest only minutes after I had passed into sleep, leaving me shell-shocked and frightened in the seeping darkness and crowded shadows.The Quilt8 years ago in Horror More Like This
I say dreams - and not nightmares because they were not uniformly horrific. Not, at least, in content. But they all shared one thing: they were physical in nature received not just by my minds eyes and ears, but by my whole body. And one other thing: never in any case was I transported, as is usual, to some far-off dreamscape nor even to any reconstructed scene of my everyday life. Only in the confines of the four walls of my bedroom would they play out.
The first that I can remember saw me lying in bed with my face to the wall, as is my habit. I could not see anything because I was asleep, but somehow, I still had an awareness of the room around me. To the extent that rather than being cocooned in the warmth of s