cerimoniously draped in
clandestine pools of heat.
the lure of your pillow
keeps me awake in
this conundrum of silence.
pushed through glass, but it
still sends slivers up my spine.
he told me i had to give up
my life of idolatry--
i have my geraniums to
instead, i held him close to
control the distance between us.
this feeling wasn't love, though it
did surge up from the
soles of my feet.
we built bridges of crescent moons
that lasted until morning.
my tightly held sense of order
crumpled in on itself.
drowning out westdrowning out west11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It has not been so bad here -- warmer than home and they call the place differently than we do. You know how we always said Mizzery?
They call it Mizzera.
Auntie J and Uncle Agner have made the attic comfortable for me. From my window I can see hills fattening in the distance and the river veins away from them -- winds right through the pasture.
Tell mother I wear the cardigan she crocheted and no one can tell yet. Auntie looks hard, cause she knows I should be blowing up, but she's disappointed. She tells me eat right cause she wants her new baby healthy and she heaps enough food for two grown-ups on my plate; I eat as much as I can, but it all comes up anyway.
Give everyone my love.
Mother is still too upset to write; I hope you understand. I'm glad you're settled in.
Agner only owns the pasture,
he hasn't a breath of livestock
His job is on the road,
so I'm alone with Auntie
and the boys most days.
The phone rings
relative junkierelative junkie11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
In the swelling bubble of a city
where stop signs are seen
as formal suggestions,
where love is a collision
at the intersection
of lust and one-way chance,
where the dingy aura
of metropolitan paranoia
steals stars from the night,
where plants have evolved
into chain smokers
and clear skies are rare
as winter birdsong,
where smiles are common
company of abetting pitches
or condomed invitations to a motel
that charges by the thrust,
where the abortion of hope
hurts less than the fever of living,
I am trapped as a fetus
umbilically bound to a mother
addicted to speed.
Stop Naming Bits of EarthStop Naming Bits of Earth11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Let them keep their slabs of fortune and safety-
there is fine reason
we listen to songs
that make us sad.
clocks drive you crazy, tooclocks drive you crazy, too10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
clocks drive you crazy, too
1. I brushed my teeth five times today.
2. I take you as truth.
3. I am better on paper (I promise.)
4. Home is portable like a red plastic suitcase.
5. There was a whole table between us, and you had a girl in your arms and I had a boy in mine.
6. You looked at me like a tango dance.
7. These days, mirrors are surprising like ghosts.
8. At 1:58 I arrived at this huge hotel of a house, this incubator, this place I am passing through on
the way to the world –
and never have I felt so home.
once a known angelonce a known angel11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
what if seattle explodes?
thick slabs of lost confession, landing
when fallen like wilten flowers
from someone else's grace,
a summer like this one...
what if the holes in my jeans are symbolic?
symbiotic w/ the concrete, worn above the river,
walking home from resistance
existence is rearing her ugly head from behind the trees...
what if these tuesday afternoons are getting restless?
making plans for us we can't detect
beneath the sheets, the blankets,
the soundlessness of 3 a.m. the morning after...
the span of our attentions sided
one by one from page to paralysis,
hypnotized by the soft swing of loose clothing
tossed behind livingroom furniture,
mapping out next year's history across our bodies
like one from none, or two from one,
quick-guessing the depths of our languages,
Girl Alarm ClockGirl Alarm Clock12 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the sun sets unasked
and rises again without the
But I do not
girl alarm clock
timed in the heat of dreams
that make moan and flutter
quiver of over-warm flesh
smooth inseam of thigh
wake me in the morning
she just barely breathes
pull at her eye strings
make short lashes quiver
a back that reaches for me
while fingers fetal curl
towards the face
and her lips twitch
on hot mornings
I watch her naked sleep
if I am nowhere am I everywherif I am nowhere am I everywher12 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I am talking to her saying our roads
will be all that's left; that our avenues
will turn to altars, set in onyx.
look what we remember of Rome,
all pavements and temples
arranged like vertebrae in dirt
that goes on living, full with prayer;
and as I say this, it occurs to me that in a Mexican bar
in Florence I might disappear
to the streets and run, eyeless
through an eyeless crowd,
(take me, Florence! I am a son among these heartbroken stones,
take me from the marble block lift me out!)
to laugh hysterically; she is pulling me,
her warmth comes breathlessly from the air;
we are foreigners,
we are rain. (I am inventing this,
all of this happened elsewhere, another night)
her face turns to laugh illuminated
and everything else wobbling is blue
and forgotten; lifeboats drawn away
from our bodies that are continents
moving full with rice and squash and sins
named in small homes before saints and fire;
listen. I was not there by the long bar
when everyone turned and pulled us
into the st
On ParabolaOn Parabola10 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
With subatomic subtlety settling on his brow,
he said 'Time's a broken arrow
that points from then to now.'
Once a grain, I entreated him
to stop this flow of sand,
'You're immersed in the irreversible
until, entropical, I land.'
In that glass all is hours,
the busted bucket and the spade,
and each collapsing castle
that our spilt ice cream made.
Since his hands are tide
we can all be shore,
when the sediment slides
there is no more.
The Death PoemsThe Death Poems10 years ago in Scraps More Like This
The Death of Starfish and Submarines
By noon, the coastline reeks of it:
rotting fish, rotting soil,
and all the little shorebirds hopping,
hoping to find free breakfast,
maybe brunch. The tourists
infest the scene quick as flies,
drop their oversized towels,
open lemonades, complain how loud
the gulls are—those rats of the sky.
The Death of Grandmothers
She lay broken at the bottom
of her cellar stairs for eight days
before the neighbor wondered
and called the police
and they wandered in
and carried her out
while the dogs protested
and the house protested
and even the limp dead body
protested. Then it was lunchtime
and they left her in the trunk
while they stopped for cokes
and gasoline and talked about
whose wife was prettiest.
The Death of the Butterfly Bush
This year the early frost came unsympathetic
and silenced all the life of my garden.
The monarchs fled to Mexico
and all the little pink flowers
withered from the heartbreak.
The Death of Presidents and P
reali swear to Godreal10 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
that i love mine as much as
you love yours and that
if i could find the words to say it,
i would. if i could
find the perfect words, if i could just
close my eyes and instead of thinking
i love him i love him i love him
think of something poetic and real and un-cliché,
just for a second,
i would. but
i am-he is-we are poetic,
7 Lovely SinsThe7 Lovely Sins9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The Book of
1 This is how you will know to mark the young among men,
for this is the prayer they pray, again and again.
2 It is these who should be marked and minted into lives worth being spent.
3 These are the words they speak in vain,
"Our father who art in us, tradition be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in me as it is in him.
Give us this day our lovely sins1—those of youth and innocence.
And forgive us our deviance, as we forgive those who differ from us.
And lead us not into similarity, but deliver us from the collective.
For thine is the prison, and the scorn, aimed at abnormal men."2
1:3 1 7 Lovely Sins, Quintessence 1, New Testament
1:3 2 Hope's Prayer, Quintessence 43, New Testament
The Book of
1 Behold, these are the sins
for which you shall be told to repent
The Expected Part 1 of 4—Preface—The Expected Part 1 of 411 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
This is a walnut.
The walnut has no name. Its Latin appellation, however, is juglans, short for jovis glans. Jovis is what Zeus was called when the Romans saw him and decided they wanted one of those too; glans means nuts. Jupiter's nuts. It is highly probable that, back when this name was chosen, people meant to say walnuts were nuts fit for the gods. Funny, what the evolution of language can do to nuts.
This walnut is lying on the wooden floor of a monastery, a monastery beautifully situated in the middle of a seemingly endless forest.
This is Friar Mattheus. In a moment, Friar Mattheus will step on the walnut, slip, fall down the stairs, and break two ribs. Friar Mattheus really likes walnuts. A little earlier, he was going to crack this one open and enjoy it. At that exact moment, he had a doubtlessly divine inspiration for a chorale praising his saint of choice. The ingenuity of this chorale's words was that they would only make
faith of a childfaith of a child10 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The whole month of November was spent in preparation for the baby's arrival. With all the care he could muster, and frugal use of an already too-thin paycheck, he spent every free moment assembling a tiny world perfect for a baby. There were bright colors and smooth surfaces to stimulate the neonatal cerebellum. He must have spent an entire week on a place for the little one to sleep, assembling its minutae the way he'd seen done so many times. How fortunate he had some experience working with this type of wood--and providential, indeed, that he'd been born with the proper name.
Imagine his delight then, on Christmas Eve, when in the rush of last-minute shoppers he reached out tenderly and clasped the display's tiny plastic infant in his fingertips. Pretending to sneeze, he tucked the child into a green paisley handkerchief and swaddled him into a pocket.
Joe was never the brightest of men, but everyone was so tickled when he got r
Last Time in Strawberry FieldsLast Time in Strawberry Fields9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Under the shield of autumn gold leaves, she sang, knees
swaying. Sing for John, she told us. Sing for everyone.
Her purple shrouded arms waved, joining her knees
as though her dance alone would cure the country.
The candle's for you, she told a man beside her. From John.
She said she had a home, but we wondered where
and how. Her daily arrangement, when she arrived,
was laid around the circle, roses plump and crisp,
the candle blown out only when the park lamps lighted
at night. She told us of the police and her battle to keep John's
flowers from being swept away, of the dogs not on leashes
and the homeless man's harassments.
She cheered her hand radio, the firemen
refusing to leave. And she said to us, when the towers
fell, as though her roses compared to lives,
Welcome to my world, World.
The Fifth of JulyThe Fifth of July9 years ago in Scraps More Like This
All night, disturbed
by the whistle and bang
of leftover fireworks, we
found ourselves unable to sleep.
Beneath the sheets, your toes
traced little circles on the insides of my thighs
as you told me a story about a man
who lived by the sea and the woman
obsessed with him. She collected shells,
you said, and left them at his doorstep.
She washed his feet with saltwater.
When he said to her "go home,
there is no life for you here,"
she beat her chest and wept
because she knew that he was right.
In the morning, there was ash
on the street outside of your apartment.
We rose early, anxious for day,
and both fell silent
with the suddenness of emotion lost.
good weather for fishing.good weather for fishing9 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
He thinks it is good weather for fishing.
The second woman
with old hair and powder made from crushed seashells
sips swamp water from the mouth of the man with a flat Crow nose
and he culls her hair with hands, not his alone,
turning her neck into a cornstalk leaning,
whispering "Bia, Bia".
He tells the other one, in stockings rolled to her ankles,
that the Whip-poor-will was out last night halving babies
from moonstones, into the dirt they come from.
And yes, he saw the fox swallowing
up the road with scatterpaws,
a fishing rod tucked behind his terracotta fur.
A tick to tell time by; that water must be teaming.
The second woman hangs her body in the air
long enough to say "I never trust a man whose mama
didn't teach him the piano."
And what kind of fool, with the pockmark face,
lopes in a room beneath the kitchen floor
building trains no man can sit in,
building engines to run on
Love StoryLove Story9 years ago in General More Like This
He develops the habit of always facing backwards on trains. It's not a matter of preference but the intentional development of what he believes to be a character quirk. She is accustomed to red wines lighter than clay and white wines darker than pearls. He eats shark for dinner, as a delicacy. She is vegetarian as a fashion statement. She shot heroin in a past lifetime. He cleans his gutters regularly – is so enamored with the act that he letters it neatly in his planner, every Saturday of the week, six months in advance. He smokes marijuana. He owns a leather couch. She is 26 today. She prefers gin and tonic and prepares one now in celebration. He once gave an ex-girlfriend a fashionable purse made of tree bark. He once broke up with an ex-girlfriend by taping a "fuck you" sign on her window (facing in). She was once broken up with under a brid
The Dolomite Man 1.The Dolomite Man10 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
You are openhanded. Of course you are openhanded.
Yours is a more civilized hand than Gods,
a softer hand, a slower hand.
And your mouth discloses the first great secret of the world.
I cannot hear it. It
is a secret for your mistresses and your four wives,
and for your mistresses and your four wives only.
The child will learn it on his own. You may edify him
this way, you may make a lesson out of it
though I will learn close to nothing.
Perhaps how to make my expressions less vacuous,
my hands softer and more civilized,
my tongue-pallet the purer.
Hand me that Madeira and I will tell you
RUBBER TIRES FOR TANNIN! How perfectly
the aftertaste traipses its tails and trains along behind it,
thick, yes, but gone in the creases.
God watches from the library room, envious
and with locusts.
You sat once,
The Littlest PresidentThe Littlest President11 years ago in Socio-political More Like This
The Littlest President
At the age of eleven I was elected the 50th president of the United States of America. My analysts put my win down to youth (I was the youngest ever to run) and to the unfortunate late-October acne breakout of my incumbent rival, an eighth grader from Massachusetts. I have a stronger faith in the New Rules than do my analysts, who are always looking at polls and running them through sacred formula. I ascribe my presidency to the good sense of America, my hard work at Security School, and the stunning leadership of my handlers.
Once my presidency was officially announced, my face was given another coat of foundation and I was ushered up to a podium in front of a large crowd of my supporters. There was a crashing sea of applause. Most of my supporters were dumpy women in their thirties – just barely old enough to remember a time before we had the New Rules – these were my core demographic, although my handlers dutifully i
Brush StrokesBrush Strokes11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
A maroon line drawn across a canvas.
A splash of color where emptiness craves companionship.
The warm gentle fingers of an artist.
His palette of sublime colors probing the nakedness of life.
Painting a mosaic of shadows.
A breath of emotion bleeding in solitude.
In every curve of color a tale of woe is told.
How each shape is a sliver of hope no longer bestowed.
Holding release only inches out of reach.
Wet fingers dancing across this desperation.
Red dipped fingertips bruising the bare wall.
The chorus of melodies poured on this canvas,
The silent screams of a hopeless artist,
One last miserable look at his work...
Before you open your eyes to the world you paint,
And forget me.