Smiley ManThere are those stories in the papers where a person has died and their pets have eaten their faces off, and everyone's always so disgusted by the dear trusted pet eating their owner, (how can you blame the animal? It's efficient.) Sometimes the owner isn't actually dead, they've just passed out, so they wake up and have no lips, and they look like they're grinning. Like a skull.
My childhood Smiley Man was like that, but no eyelids either. He looked like a skull, in that way, except he had eyes and there was skin on his face, just not over his teeth. And all he ever did, really, was chase. So I'd run, and I'd think I'd have got away, but he had long fingernails, so he could just scratch me, rip my clothes. Seemed perfectly natural, then.
I'd go to the closet to get my coat and stand on a box, because I wasn't tall enough, and I'd think I see him, but he was just something out of my dreams, my own, slightly sicker Bogey Man. The Smiley Man. Sounds like a clown. It's always the childish
She Was a Stormcloudshe was a stormcloud, and you loved her,She Was a Stormcloud in Free Verse More Like This
and the two of you took walks and wore
nothing but promises,
broken chains and
strands of pinkish pearls.
and the two of you kissed under trees that attracted silver lightning
(metal branches scraped the sky, and you, always faithful,
tipped your coat over her head to keep her dry.)
but she never stayed that way.
in an instant, she had whirled into the rain
and danced without clothes,
and she left you
with the pain of frostbite on your naked skin
where you trusted her to kiss you warm,
and you thought you heard her laughter
when the sun came out again the next day,
and the next.
she was a stormcloud, and you loved her,
and you didn't know it at the time but
(and they never
...and so i gave you thisyou asked me for a poem....and so i gave you this in Free Verse More Like This
sometimes i fall in love with words
and wish that words
would fall for me.
you want a poem? how about the darkness of the morning
when the sun still rubs the night from his eyes,
the dew on the grass and how your feet jump from the itch.
how about the laughter of a creek or the roar of the ocean,
there, that's a poem.
you want a poem?
ask me about watermelon kisses
or how a blackberry whispers love to the backs of my teeth.
ask me how my lips know every curve of my knees
and my spine knows the unyielding wall,
ask me about sunsets and the giants who paint them,
who gave the frog his croak, and why,
why the ravens never seem to cackle
on those dark and maddening nights.
how about the way the muse and i do things
that make her a saint and i a sinner?
how about the soft hiss of my breath when my mouth falls open,
the crust that sleeps in my eyes until i scrape it away.
this too is a poem.
you asked for a poem?
the way honey drips off a spoon,
Carving Treesonce i spoke to the balding forest,Carving Trees in Free Verse More Like This
hushhushhush cried the wind and he
knifed through my jacket
like flames lick ice like
lovers find reasons to peel off clothes,
i stroked the branches
of the sycamore and
felt its long, smooth trunk and the letters
scraped dreamily in the bark, and
let someone else grow up with our regrets,
let our names stretch and bend
and remind us
that once upon a time we didn't cringe at
warm wet breath on the
backs of necks,
at least i was innocent as i
lumbered back and forth over frozen ground
like some lost and lonely stormcloud,
like some flame guttering before dying out,
at least i was as many cupfuls of insanity as i could swallow
before my stomach
tricked my brain tricked my heart into thinking
"this is all okay,
(and at least my name is not expanding
somewhere in a forest,
carved lazily into trees that
grow and grow in spite of
all their broken love.)
palsied branches and the forest and the moon
Dreamersi.Dreamers in Free Verse More Like This
our backs pressed stories into the hillside.
mine was short and deep
and yours grew long and crooked .
the grass died beneath us when the sun sank below the hill.
"when the clouds change shape,
that's when i leave you,"
and i cried as they shifted with your breath.
"don't forget me."
"i'll be back in the springtime.
try not to miss me."
i missed you in places i never knew i had,
and the night fell down around me and it was all i could do to hold up an end of its black blanket to let the moon pass through.
and when the morning came,
i ached for you.
"babe, don't miss me."
"you say that as if it's easy."
"we're dreamers, babe. everything is easy."
this bed is full of dream-husks.
they keep me turning until the morning.
i am unrecognizable.
i'll be longer than i thought.
the nights are cold here
but i'm more alive than ever.
don't worry about me."
black shadows stole y
Mother of Mine"i have loved you plenty"Mother of Mine in Free Verse More Like This
she screamed as she slipped
away across the street, across the state,
across the country we spent hours loving,
sparklers in our hands and her lips by my ear.
"never forget where you come from."
well mom where i come from
they love you just enough to give you hope
and then they leave you
mom where i come from
hope is a curse because it keeps you from
cutting too deep at night,
it keeps the pills in the bottle and the
knife out of your veins,
sometimes the only thing that keeps you from
what you really want,
it's the only thing stronger than your need to
hurt, now tell me
how can you be okay with it when i scream
"let me die,"
how is it okay for me to hurt while
you hope that
whenif i make it through
i'll somehow still remember who you are
and that once upon a time
i loved you.
i remember where i came from.
a womb poisoned with fertility hormones and
reese's cups and hopes that this one
won't come ou
those burning nights in parisif paris is easy, then easythose burning nights in paris in Free Verse More Like This
is the way i like my love.
there are souls folded into cafe corners,
there are lives we'd like to taste and try on.
(whose empty eyes? whose wrists are these?)
and they will beg of you
"oublie moi, chers amis."
and you will forget them.
paris is easy.
i have probed her underbelly,
felt the warm rumble of the coming rain, and
she has shown me her metropolitan drunkards,
stray cats and
women of the night:
the girls who slither through back doors,
(a feather lost floats softly,
kisses the ground and blows away.
"c'est la vie," she croaks,
and in her voice i hear diamonds,
wine bottles and a hundred
the wind that snakes between the legs of
the eiffel tower
has whispered wicked words to me,
she has teased the braille on my tongue and i
learned to read the love in a pain au chocolat, le foie gras,
le vin blanc.
i have learned that pastry chefs
are the worst kind of
paris has been my lover. i have traced
from the blazing pages...because you listenedfrom the blazing pages... in Free Verse More Like This
at the tip of the stair,
the phonograph coughed its secrets
grew up thinking
that pretty women needed saved,
that apples were poisoned and
knights rode into sunsets without getting burned.
but the first one you held
taught you that
magic mirrors never tell them they're beautiful,
and you saw the spindle-scratches on her arms
(because princes have roaming hearts, and they
stay a little while and then
and the one you married wouldn't touch you
"i'm a golden egg, not a tiny pea,"
and you said it didn't matter
but she broke the beanstalk and sent you
and your daughter told you
"straw is straw, and
no matter how i spin it
i will still wear rags."
and when she kicked as you sized her for a
you thought that maybe
some are beyond your help.
then your son became a knight with sunset burns,
and you realized that death does not wear a cloak
because he is beautiful and so
with a whisperthis is how we rule the world,with a whisper in Free Verse More Like This
the forgotten, lobotom-ised,
of a long lost dystopast.
not with a SHOUT,
we do not argue.
we do not even unsheath
we whisper in your children's ears
the memories of what should have been.
the life we all crave.
the death we all crave.
WE do not discriminate
our opinions onto others
pressing the side of the blade
down onto the flesh
all are bitten
with the fever of our belief.
this is how we rule the world,
we tell stories,
we incite a generation
with their own scar/r/ed lungs
with a whisper.
Get upHear me read itGet up in Short Stories More Like This
She sat on the edge of her bed staring at the floor. Within her scope of vision there were many things she could look at. Many things to think about and process. There was a slate blouse that had wilted at the bottom of her bed, or her pale foot placed beside it. The foot looked unnatural there, with no pressure to grip it to the ground it looked unbelonging, like a cast aside prop. Yet she did not look, or think, or notice.
She just stared, blindly, for an hour, her thoughts were obnoxious and churned the paltry paste of self-disgust in her heart muscle, but they were relatively quiet as she repeated over and over in the forefront of her subconscious "Time to get up."
Time to get up. It was time to get up. It was time to get up and get on with her life. It was time to get a life. It was time. It was time to get up.
Unprovoked tears swelled and scattered loosely amid this trail of thought. She kept going, over and over, It
OIt permeates everythingO in Free Verse More Like This
It is the cells. It is the cell
in which I am rotting.
The sheen over my eye,
the flesh I rip from the side of my nail,
the teeth I grind it with.
The tears, blood and sweat.
It is below carbon and hydrogen,
embedded in the air I breathe.
It is sleeping under my fingernails,
It is the undeniable, genetic, atomic truth.
Oh, my oxygen permeates everything.
It is the cell.
The DancerHear me read itThe Dancer in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The night I met Jessie she was beautiful. She swayed to the almost intolerably loud music as if her bones were made of it. She was something unknown. I remember the sharp cut of her hair had run across her cheek, parallel to her carved-out cheekbone. It looked like a wig, I wanted to touch it. I wanted to touch her, and see if she felt like plastic. Who could ever believe that someone so perfect could be so real. I regret that. I regret doubting her reality.
Eventually she bought me a drink; she called it an Appleté but trapped in the pulsating fuchsia lights of the club it looked purple. It tasted like jealousy; sour and eye watering. When I told her this she laughed a little, apparently she'd heard that one before. I drank it anyway. I wanted to slot into my assigned role in her fantastical world.
We talked a little. She served other men drinks. The ones in the shadows could have been my reflection. It was confusing. The
MutantHear me read itMutant in Free Verse More Like This
I am a mutant.
| My skin does not sallow in the sun
and I do not blush jaundice through my cheeks.
| I do not have extra fingers, or toes -
although my spine;
it boasts an ironic vertebrae,
it is a long tally of the hearts I have broken
and when I straighten my spine the bones Pop out of place.
I am out of place.
| I do not have a super power,
I lack exceptionality in all but my ordinariness.
| there is a vengeful bacteria feasting -
on my shoulder places;
Dirty LaundryLoading up the washing machine, and my mind is sprawling around in several destinations far from this cramped room. I spritz my clothes- no, actually I drench them with that spray- the kind that's supposed to work miracles on any stain before the affect fabric even goes in the washer. This was my favorite shirt. My favorite shirt. I'm just not thinking today, am I?Dirty Laundry in Short Stories More Like This
The cotton feels good on my fingers, even though I'm stuffing it roughly into the machine. And all the towels...I didn't learn it until I'd moved out, but Mom was right: washing towels and clothes in the same load led to an outright ungodly amount of lint stuck in everything. I pause. Do I really want to do two separate loads?
Yeah, why not? Water begins to fill up, and I'm dousing it with that lovely detergent that smells so good and pure.
I sit down opposite the machine and just stare at it for a while. It rumbles pleasantly, numbly, and my mind drifts. What a nice sound, surely one could just meditate with i
ApologiesHow many times do I have to say I'm sorry?Apologies in Free Verse More Like This
How many times will it dribble from my mouth,
Slide down my lips and collect on the floor
Before you believe me?
Before I believe me?
"Don't apologize" is easier said when
You can't see the mistakes underneath
After a while, you give up saying it
Because it's not your mantra