Playground Pebble GrayThe air was cold.
Beneath a cloud-choked sky,
we ran with winter coats
and Rorschach-splotched cheeks,
the metal rungs of monkey bars
and parallel beams
callousing the destinies
lined out on our palms.
from a corner
where wind-trampled grass
and tumbling stones met
as two fifth grade Gods,
stoic in long sleeves and bare ears,
told a younger boy to lay down
and trust them.
Eight years old and far too wise,
I lost track of my breaths
in the same moment
his throat clamped tight
over the handful of playground pebbles
poured between his teeth
when his eyes were closed.
Breathing RoomI leave chrysanthemumsBreathing Room8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
scattered at your feet on tile floor
like the pencil shavings piled
on your desk.
"The flower of death,"
with Rorschach roses on your knuckles
and the hint of a warrior
in the line of your lips,
you sketch bears with open jaws
and black-shadow eyes
in the margins of your math book
with permanent ink.
The hooded abyss of your gaze
you can't bring yourself to say:
Love is short
and prone to fading.
It's a good thing I don't mind breathing life
into negative spaces.
Things I would Tell Her--C.I want to tell her the thingsThings I would Tell Her--C.10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
I'll tell her when she’s older,
but the information terrifies her.
In order of importance:
she has luna moths in her head,
monarch butterflies in her stomach,
and a feral fetus in her womb.
are collapse-clasped and folded
in her lap;
she holds her elbows like wings
away from her ribs,
ready to flap,
I want to tell her
to keep one hand in her purse
so she can always find her keys,
to keep an eye on the door
and the door always open
so she can run if she doesn't feel safe,
but her cheeks are rorschach-splotch red
and the tension in her shoulders
warns me she's not ready
to hear this.
And there is the possibility that
maybe I’m not ready to tell
I’m just as devastated as her;
that she is surrounded by friends and family
who are violated by a community
where no man can say yes all men.
Mastering MeIn another universe,Mastering Me6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
I have green eyes, curly hair,
and paint smeared across all my fingers--
a war cry of artistry
instead of needlepoint scars.
The pooch of my belly
and the lumps in my thighs
might be from anything else
but the insulin I inject four times a day.
I grow up a child, not a parent,
the master of my destiny
not running away but running toward;
I'm a little bit taller
in spirit and stature,
in all the ways that matter
when darkness creeps under the door
and phantoms howl.
I shave my legs every day
instead of once every month
once every three months
once every only now and again when I feel like it
and I'm confident--
a goddess with the stars
around her neck
instead of pearls--
in any type of heel.
In another universe,
I still trust myself
behind the wheel of a car;
I have mastered winged eyeliner
and smokey lids;
I gave up chocolate
or whatever it is
that brings on migraines
just because I could,
just because it's better for me,
Shucking PearlsMost days, I keep him chained deepShucking Pearls9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
where he can't touch me.
Today, he claws
at the lining of my stomach,
pounds on the walls of his cage,
tears me apart from the inside
because that's all he can reach
but it's still too much.
Most days, I tell myself
the past is passed
and he can't hurt me
if I don't let him
but sometimes the wind
blows in from the south
and rips down the dam
and I'm left
Trust FallingTrust FallingTrust Falling8 months ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
trust your stomach
rather than your mind.
understand that judgement fails you;
senses never do.
trust it even when your gut is
falling. Like something of an
angel with clipped wings
losing its ability to fly.
lofty exceptions of what could be
is never quite what you intended
never quite what we expected as we plummet.
gaining force as we arrow towards it.
in only romance-laden dreams,
nestling their way into our cracked psyches.
love is late night talks--
only a quarter of the night do we truly
venture near an iota of sleep.
eventually we cradle it from head to chest.
Insomniac IndispositionInsomniac IndispositionInsomniac Indisposition8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
I swear that I have iron in my veins
and that bed is a fucking magnet.
I lie in places where nights are sleepless
and the only thing that keeps me company
are the white lights that play in the dark.
My mind playing tenement
for phantoms that sing songs along
and around my fragmented neurosis.
I’m a dying insomniac
and the only thing I hold close
are my sweat-smothered covers,
sheets and bedspreads
keep the dead heads from rising
into the light that first took them.
My bedroom is the cage
keeping me from Summer and Spring.
Holding only Winter in its walled palms
I never really ever seem to meet Fall.
But in the same brisk wind,
it is my haven.
Shackled yet protected
to the worn springs
that hold me up,
keeping me from fall-
ingraining ingratiating ingrowth
into the inner circle I never had,
but engrafted upon me.
More than anything,
I am like newborn birds I cannot see,
the main difference is I never left the nest
to actually spread my wing di
100 proofi.100 proof9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
It's easy enough to traipse through memory,
accelerant in hand, almost graceful
as you pour gasoline or alcohol
over memento mourning
that already feels afire;
easy enough to toss careless
flames over a hunched shoulder.
To let the world--
to let yourself burn
for just a little
It's a tired adage,
but all fires must go out.ii.
I want to advocate the harder road,
the furtive glances behind.
The padlocked door
seams warped by bitter days;
weren't the days meant to
get better, eventually?
Surely there should come a day
when you can smile at the shadows
and mean it.
Surely there should come a day
when 3 AM fades almost to mythology,
when the vices don't hold you
My head is a war-torn field
all a-litter and trembling;
and I cannot help but wonder
how I continue to burn,
Just Don'tDon't tell the people that they are close to God.Just Don't8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
Don't tell them that he hears
the half-broken whimper from their strangled voice box
that is wrapped tightly shut
( so the demons don't hear and intercept our hopes )
with the fraying cord of our dreams. Don't.
Don't tell the people that they can be heard.
Don't tell the ants
that the watchful eyes that hover above them know nothing
of their struggle
and do nothing to assist them.
Do not break their dorsal aortas with your clumsy
malnourished ideas about eternal love. Don't.
Don't tell the people that they can be heard.
Don't hope to cure meningitis
and malaria with a well-placed verb
or a splinter of metal into vertebrae.
Some people are not to be saved that way.
Don't tell the people that are close to the
GangrenousThe bloated tongue full of heliumGangrenous10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
that escapes the ephemeral and lifts up, skyward –
is stuck in a congealed throat
draped with the closed curtains of bile and blood
souping a dam across her vocal chords. No more words.
The hair is brushed, later, out of its nooseloops
until it is straight and lies flush with the velvet,
in a box only just big enough to bury the dreams of a life
lived without pain
bubbling out of the now dead lips with each breath.
Skin soft turns hard – in the way that all girls do as they age
but she does not age.
She couples only with the wooden box, painted falsely white,
that covers her body and face.
It is the concealer, the mascara, the war paint never worn.
The chemicals of her unusually sewn-together body,
combine in a way geneticists cannot explain
to exude the only smell it can. Of her –
but it is not the familiar any longer. Not the smell of milk and dust.
Now, the acids boil together, to purge her of her pain.
The familiarity of her fades
32:3I poked holes into my palms32:38 months ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
when it came time to pray.
Hoping that maybe some of the holy liquid
into the cathedral floors
and into bones holding up sinners &
saints. I thought
God would understand my sentiment of knowing
departed people and the segments
that drove them mad.
The Sundays that stood churchless
in the yard, outside by dad's
always told me stories of the whale
that swallowed the man that swallowed
his pride that ate his faith
and ended up a new whale with hands
as big as baskets.
To this day he hands out bread
in his fresh-baked book of poems
and waits for me to poke more
tiny holes into my tiny hands.
Half-praying a please.
overflowI tried to show you all the broken bones in the cupboard,overflow1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the cobwebs beneath the staircase;
all the schisms, and chasms,
and chinks in my a(r)mour
but your finger touched my lips
in a curious sort of way, and you said
hush, darling, don't say a word
none of that matters anymore
so I tried to shut away the ghosts
but now they're out and about
and coming for me
and I have no hope of escaping
with my heart so chipped and faded.
Obsession Shifting (006)A study in obsessionObsession Shifting (006)8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
with things we couldn't touch,
we lurked just inside the shadows
the school awning lent us
and watched the sun rise.
after a full moon
were always easiest for you;
you told me stories
with almost-relaxed hands
as your tongue
curled around words
like I could respond,
like you didn't leave me mute
when you left me bleeding.
One small dandelion bloomed
just past the edge of the stoop
with a grin
that was mostly human,
plucked it before the sun peaked
and tucked it
into the tangles of my hair.
I learned that morning,
with your palm cold
against my cheek,
that you weren't only
made up of nightmares--
that I wasn't only
made up of numb skin.
but i hold my hands out, ad infinitumpolysemous kneels and jaded,but i hold my hands out, ad infinitum4 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i curl ambiguity against
the collapsing walls of
letters folded into wings
and gone again.
(maybe they're fluttering,
gliding, soaring, drifting (away))
i cannot fly and
nor can you.
and my voice is clawed
into the branch where i was born
and i am not st. vincent;
i cannot birth in reverse.
no matter how much
i try to carve the words
out from my jawed
but this love and sadness
is baroque, climactic
i look for you
in the attic of my mouth
and the basement of my hands--
i hear you in the corner
of this dystopian (uni)verse
and know better than to reach
for you now,
the room will only fall in on us.
Parchment ThinYou left pencil lead bruisesParchment Thin8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
smudged on my thin ivory skin,
your harsh fingers tracing the lace
of the baby doll lingerie
you pasted to my curves.
The angel wings
tied with tape around my shoulders
(the missing piece of innocence
you thought you could borrow)
weighed me down;
with flat eyes
and marker-blotted lips,
I watched you admire your handiwork.
A nimble flourish of knuckles later,
you slipped me between the plastic
of your photo album
and left my name dripping ink
in the corner--
just another parchment doll
too fragile for holding.
CensorshipEvery time you tell meCensorship8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
I need to
"let that shit go"
"quit holding a grudge,"
you stick another layer
of metaphorical duct tape
over my mouth.
The problem is,
you ask me what's bothering me
and push me to tell you
even when I know
you don't want to hear it.
Be careful, please.
I might not tell you anything
Chain SmokerYou string cigarette buttsChain Smoker7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
around your neck
to remember the girls
crushed like still-lit cherries
beneath the steel toes
of your boots.
lips stained cyan from knocking back glowsticksvibrant irises spilledlips stained cyan from knocking back glowsticks9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
like spray paint
macabre graffiti -
a salivating artist's
Crying Wolf (003)Three daysCrying Wolf (003)8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
after you tore the moon
from your empty eyes
and threw it back,
there were more ghosts
haunting the high school halls.
A permanent trail
and frantic apologies
stained the floor
and ended with a pile of souls
heaped at your feet.
You made horror movie history,
the boy who changed,
the wolf who cried--
dirt still blurring
the lifelines on my palms,
forgot how to be anything
but the girl
the madness started with.
Bitlets 149I want the ability to sayBitlets 1498 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
I don't know what I want.
Letter to BeethovenPerhaps it was not your aim after allLetter to Beethoven8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
To describe the moon to a blind person,
But when I hear Piano Sonata No. 14,
The splendid, yet lonely, moonlit night
When you wept
For the loss of your hearing
And where I now sometimes weep
For the loss of my sight.
It's a shame you grew tired
Of people loving that song so much.
I wish I could have told you
That it was because you managed
To derive beauty from pain.
On Seeing without SightPATIENT 1 - a young boy of ten-twelve years; was discharged from hospital one week after operation. He is in his bedroom, surrounded by wooden objects and shapes on paper.On Seeing without Sight8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
BOY: Depth? What is depth?
DOCTOR: Depth is the third dimension, other than length and width. (motions with hands)
BOY (bemused): Dimension?
DOCTOR (holds drawing of square and a wooden cube): This drawing has two dimensions: length and width. This wooden cube has three, including height.
BOY (struggles to reach wooden sphere): This is depth? (holds sphere with both hands, ogling)
DOCTOR: No, that is roundness. The sphere has depth, though.
BOY: I don't understand.
PATIENT 2 - a young male slightly older than Patient 1. He is in a hospital bed, preoperative.
DOCTOR (presses wooden cube and sphere into patient's hands): Can you tell what these shapes are?
Moon Branding (001)A loner in denimMoon Branding (001)8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
and faded band tees,
you were on the hunt
when I met you.
Hitching a breath--
you caught a piece of night
in your black abyss eyes.
It lodged there--
that haunted you.
and one missing moon later,
before leaving me
to the vultures
and the dawn.
Vapor Locked--C.Ennui-Vapor Locked--C.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
Bored without the excitement
of loving you.
my blood is oil,
a dark sludge
inking my veins;
it comes out in words.
it just slows me down.
Wretched sputtering organ
Last dregs of you siphoned
from creeping sludge.
I hold the gears of my heart
in a trembling hand,
of cherished memories
on the floor at my feet.
stuck in park.
The key to my heart gone
with the back pocket of
my favorite faded jeans.