I am Icarus RedeemedEven when every dream had drowned
and love left me choking on dust
and I felt utterly abandoned by
every aspect of my envisioned life,
something in me set on fire.
Oh, I know heat rises
and I'm lifting off.
God knows where it's taking me,
heaven has yet to shut me out.
Oh, my wings are broken
but at least I'm falling free.
It's the impact,
not my plummeting spirit,
that will throttle the light in me.
SeparateYou are on the opposite sideSeparate in Free Verse More Like This
of this window.
Press your palm against the pane,
The heat of our fingers will
fog the glass,
and in this mist we create,
we will finally meet.
Yet You're Still RunningYour feet mimicked your heartbeat;Yet You're Still Running in Free Verse More Like This
Drumming into the ground, panicked.
They reminded you that Earth was turning too fast.
You'd be thrown into emptiness
if you didn't keep up.
If you cared enough,
you'd see the blisters on my hands,
nail-beds cracked from gripping the dirt
as I tried to slow the world for you.
All I Ask (Beseeching the Crows)I want to sing to the crowsAll I Ask (Beseeching the Crows) in Free Verse More Like This
that they might stop their
raucous shouting to
cock their heads and listen.
Up in the branches,
where the wind twists her hair,
my voice carries soft and
is lost in their black-feathered throats.
Were they silent,
perhaps God would hear
the heavy note hanging
in my soul-twisting calls.
AcheIt comes and goesAche in Free Verse More Like This
like an unwelcome houseguest,
leaving me with messes I don't need,
and it never shuts the door
to keep the cold out.
I tried shutting off the lights
and closing the blinds,
twisting the key in the padlock
and boarding the windows,
but as long as light can
seep through the cracks,
this shadow will follow
and dig its fingers into my shoulders.
I bruise easily, it knows,
and it revels in watching
me shift in discomfort
while it grips me.
Like a ghost,
it won't let go.
GodGod is in her rocking chair,God in Free Verse More Like This
wood creaking as she hums back and forth.
I want to climb onto her sun-warmed lap,
breathe in the smell of air dried dresses,
May breezes caught in her floral-print skirt.
Her hands are gentle as they stroke my hair,
her knitting going still when I rest my head
on her knees where her yarn was.
She holds me as I cry.
HeavyWhen you let me goHeavy in Free Verse More Like This
by the side of the road,
please remember the string
that you tied to my soul.
I'm the balloon you inflated
just to let go;
the night is too cold
and I'm sinking so slowly down.
Why'd you have to cut this
the thin wire trailing
from my heartbeat to yours?
Remember the science of
the desolate sky,
because the night is too cold
and I'm sinking so slowly down.
Names and ShapesI have broad shoulders,Names and Shapes in Free Verse More Like This
for a woman.
They call my body
"apple shaped" in that
my hips are narrow.
I don't keep time like an hourglass,
I am not sweet like a pear.
But I still hold the allure
of the forbidden fruit I am named for,
and my shoulders are wide
to bear the weight placed upon them.
A Slower Way to DrownCry me an ocean crashing,A Slower Way to Drown in Free Verse More Like This
its sultry blues rolling.
I am tumbling through the deep,
and I've forgotten I can't breathe.
Salt in my lungs, rattling.
I am buried up to my neck,
my head facing the tides that
come whispering in.
Blink and You'll Miss ItThe wind reminds me ofBlink and You'll Miss It in Free Verse More Like This
the empty space to my left,
which I swear you filled
only minutes ago.
But if I rested my hand
where you were sitting,
it would be just as cold as
the realization that you're gone.
Burning HeartWe built a beautiful pyre,Burning Heart in Free Verse More Like This
and in my heart,
I'm holding your hand as it burns.
The sparks could become the stars,
jewels in Orion's belt.
I'd lace my fingers through yours
in a final act of faith
while we stare down the smoke
cradling the moon,
and each piece of kindling
that crumbles in on itself
leaves me a little less broken.
The light flickers,
so do the corners of your lips.
We needed this.
Everything I Want To BeI want to write something poignant and moving.Everything I Want To Be in Free Verse More Like This
It will make you cry and make you laugh.
It will win awards and give me prestige.
It will change someone's life.
I want to write something hilarious and heart-wrenching.
It will make and break relationships because of realizations of truth.
It will make you think differently than before you cracked open the first page.
It will make you want to read it again and again and again.
I want to write something that means something.
It will be translated into language after language, copy after copy published.
It will be read in schools, but the kids will actually enjoy it. Even after the thing is analyzed to death.
It will make them stop to think.
I want to write something real.
But don't we all, I suppose?
If You're the Bird Today while I was driving home, I looked out the window and saw two birds, a hawk and a smaller bird, of whose type I was unsure. The two of them were flying together, the smaller one above the hawk.If You're the Bird in Philosophical More Like This
It was interesting to see, the small bird flapped and flapped its wings frantically, but in that way it was able to go just as high, if not higher, than the hawk. It was also able to fly just as fast.
The hawk, on the other hand, flew in lazy circle, hardly flapping its wings and gliding for most of the way.
It was interesting. I wondered about it for a while.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Or do they?
Bored and LazyIf boredom is the mother of all invention,Bored and Lazy in Free Verse More Like This
then laziness is her under-appreciated
but particularly persistent
Please Define Normal For MeThe teacher standsPlease Define Normal For Me in Free Verse More Like This
before the class,
a ruler in one hand.
She taps the board
and pulls out a marker,
writing in black ink
define normal for me."
Not a sound.
Not a peep.
All the students do is stare,
glassy eyed and hardly there.
Once again she taps the board.
Class is still in session."
blink their eyes.
They look again at the board.
She writes her question down.
"Please define 'normal' for me."
No one dares to raise a hand,
but at least they are awake.
The timid girl, who sits in the back,
her hair dyed brightly purple and green,
barely dares to raise a hand.
"Ma'am, do you mean,
from the dictionary?"
The teachers smiles,
looks at the class.
"No, I don't,
I mean to ask,
what does normal
in terms of people's tastes.
What is a normal person,
It's plain to see,
in the faces of the "popular"
what they'd like to say.
But no one wants to offend
this amazing teacher,
A Tapestry"Thy Hector, wrapt in everlasting sleep,A Tapestry in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."
The thread was pale as new-hewn beech
She grasped it; held it close
And let it rest upon her cheek
For she loved it the most.
She could not find the other shades
That matched his eyes or hair
Though she had searched so many years
And stripped whole gardens bare.
His skin was all she could distill
From tender buds, half-grown,
And as she watched his cheek grown round
She wove, and grieved, alone.
She pulled the shuttle through the warp
To form the woolen weft
And wished that he had never gone
And left her so bereft;
Not just of him, but of her life--
Her child, cast away
Over the broken battlements.
If only he had stayed!
But as she wound the thread around
And beat the fibers close
She knew that he had never loved
Her or their son
I did not save her from the sea.The pond was small, the cattails fair;I did not save her from the sea. in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
The algae drew a shining veil
Across the waters waiting there
For her to come while wandering
And stare beyond the dreary pale
Expanse of fog and starry glare
Upon the pond within the dale
Where she had ventured, pondering
The many dreams she'd had of late
Of sandy-shores and broken shells
Upon a beach along a strait
And of the ocean shimmering
She heard the wave's cathedral bells
Come crashing with a dreadful weight
'Till she, afraid of violent swells,
Could no more see the glimmering
Of pearly foam, nor shining seas
But only turbid tempest-doom;
No more the fragrant, salt-laced breeze
That over all was mingling.
Such were her dreamsnow through the gloom
She still heard gulls with throatful ease
Sing of the ocean, and the tune
Around her thoughts kept lingering.
I met her then, when stormy waves
Were breaking on her weary mind
And I was unafraid and brave
And as a child foolishly
Believed that if we left behind
The little pondth
OrpheusDarkness encompassed me; high-vaulting fireOrpheus in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Leapt and burnt the vision from my gaze
But though I could not see, I strummed my lyre
Until the music swept away the haze
And I could stumble onwards through the mire.
Now I strum no more. What use are lays?
Save to remind me of my lost desire
That I betrayed--let silence fill my days!
For I, whose song once moved the gods to weep
No longer can make melodies from woe--
No dissonance expresses pain so deep
And no music can be as beautiful
As that which I have lost. Let others come
And fill the void with noise--I will not strum.
Sonnet XVII: The TreeA tree grows in our courtyard; let it bloom--Sonnet XVII: The Tree in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Let branches reach to curl around the sun
And cast their sooty boughs in shadowed gloom
Across the cobblestones. Let light still come
To blush a little, warm the cracking bark
'Neath draping leaves, trailed veils across the sky;
Let moonlight still imbue the waking dark
With dimming flame--until the morn arrives.
Then sun glows o'er our courtyard; yet it fades
As greenery embowers all the light
Entrapping rays within its quiet shade
'Till day and dawn become another night
And we can rest upon the stones below
And watch the tree, with all its darkness, grow.
Lake and ForestI am not a daughter of the riverLake and Forest in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Nor am I a child of the ocean
I have learned to love the forests better
Feel the green, and watch the branches quiver
Under squirrels, and all their frantic motion.
I have learned to love the lake's devotion
See the vastness of the stars still shiver
From the ripples, wild and unfettered;
I have caught the stars within my fingers
Dreaming them as liquid as the mirror
Of their brightness, caught upon the waters;
I have learned that nothing ever lingers.
Lake, your shoreline overgrows with lilies
Draped across your surface, light and tilting
Towards the sands that they have long abandoned
For the lullabies of waves. What will be
When the rocking drops have stopped the lilting
Of that half-remembered song, and wilting
Sink within the stillnesswaiting 'till he,
Who has been forgotten and long-stranded
In the sea, upon a lonely isle
Sails his wooden boat to fresher waters
What will happen to those faithful flowers?
Will their love at
MelismaOh chant your high descant and callMelisma in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
The thund'rous roll of heaven down--
The windows round and gasping light
Will tremble in their mortar holds--
Embolden all their quaking panes;
Fix fast to bricks their concrete frames;
The dome above support with prayers--
Each fresco and each stone enscrolled
Your harmonies should wend about:
Organ, your pipes piping must be
The bellows wailing breath in them;
Your iron soul half-stopped, release!
The world's song play for me.
And stones hewn free from sandstone cliffs
Must echo with their grainy voice,
Their red must bleed the blood they shed
As rosy dust upon the pews
Into the strain roving around--
Their sound is fair and should augment
The strident and the stately hymn--
Become the air! Your dust will clear
But still immortal you shall be
Within the song I hear.
But you, dear voices of the woods
Are lost with every tree new-felled
And quiet as the music stops.
Old flutes can play your tunes for you
They do so when the choir leaves
Sonnet XVI: Forget ThemForget the flowers flushing 'gainst the groundSonnet XVI: Forget Them in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Forget the bird-song spilling from the trees
Don't gaze enraptured at the world around--
Your softened eyes, wind-swept by summer's breeze
And hair caught in the sunlight that surrounds
Your face, fresh from the flush of shadowed leaves
Only remind me of what you have found
Within this world, ignoring all my pleas
To be with me instead--to look at me.
Remember me, whom you should love the most
And I am not a bloom and not a tree
Do not compare us with such flighty boasts
But put your paper down, your pen away
And come inside--please come inside, and stay.
Sonnet XXIV: MayI woke--and found that April'd changed to MaySonnet XXIV: May in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
While I had slept. Oh can it be the first
Of that beloved month?--beloved of Earth
Who crowns her head in flowered trees to say:
"This is my favorite child, worship her
With all your revelry, sweet blooms are ripe
For you to love, remembering the pipes
Of pastorals long-past--remember mirth."
O May of hawthorn trees, O May of blooms
Upon their branches, low like settled clouds;
O first-born day of art and labour brought
Together to remember what we ought
To never have forgot--O May, consume
The earth with joy forevermore unbowed.
EurydiceHis voice enveloped me, and I becameEurydice in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Myself again--I heard it in the song:
A mordent on a note he held too long;
A stutter in his voice. I heard my name
In these and felt a happiness the same
As when I saw him first. Oh, I had longed
To hear him sing again, but this last song--
It was so beautiful. And it remains
The best of human works, though none shall hear
Its sorrowed notes; the lyre's meand'ring tune
Through vast arpeggios and Death's expanse
Except the dead. It will not disappear
'Till all the world's destroyed, and hell's exhumed--
Such music must be worth a backwards glance.
Nicknamesi. Brevity GirlNicknames in Free Verse More Like This
and her hero, Postcard Man,
write radio spots that channel dead lives
to distracted ears.
These are their superpowers:
Brevity Girl finds power in paradox,
and says most with least.
Postcard Man is a writing machine,
a work horse with tireless enthusiasm
and infinite patience for the sidekick who can’t keep up.
ii. The Queen of Snark
Queen Snark graces few with her presence.
Like any proper queen,
she doesn’t mingle with the riffraff
proffering too big smiles and weak handshakes.
Queen Snark is a meteorologist sensitive to rain,
who keeps an umbrella handy
when the mood is too dark for sarcasm.
iii. Logic Girl
Logic Girl knows her way around a story,
picks her way over plot holes and inconsistencies,
takes directions from characters,
charts maps over foreign words and strange topographies.
Logic Girl likes clarity, but not transparency;
puzzles with answers, not answers lacking puzzles.
CopenhagenLet’s meet again in an alternate universeCopenhagen in Free Verse More Like This
where your eyes are brown and I dyed my hair black
because I hated being a natural blue.
I’ll teach you to play guitar
and you’ll show me how to fly,
scholars caught in an intellectual love affair,
a tandem bike going nowhere.
I’ll know you by the gentleness
of your fingertips and you’ll need
no identifier but the slant of my handwriting,
because, world to world, some things don’t change.
Old SoulsDoc says I’m an oldOld Souls in Free Verse More Like This
soul, with my postcards
and letters, and waste-no-words
policy. Doc says old souls still make eye
contact instead of playing with iPhones,
mirrors that stare back, and tell
us who we are by knowing
who they are.
Doc tells me I’m an old
soul in a young body, taming
wild Internets and bringing my words
to heel like a triple score
in a game of Scrabble.
That I was born in the wrong
decade, that I was meant to punch
typewriter keys like a boxer,
that the twenty-first century
wasn’t made for old souls like mine.
Doc thinks I’m too old
to be twenty-three, constantly forgetting
the barriers of my few years.
Like that I never wrote about myself
until he gave me moments
worth writing down, and cared
about the person behind the words.
That I learned who I was by learning
who he was, and drew a timeline
of intersection points where each
node became a poem, and each poem
became a stepping stone.
Doc unearthed an old
soul in my notebook.
Old like a favori
Loving a WriterWhen you read their work –Loving a Writer in Free Verse More Like This
and it is work,
and you will often come second to the job –
it’s best to know which pieces are fictions,
which ones are wishes,
and which parts are for you.
TurquoiseTurquoiseTurquoise in Free Verse More Like This
beads hang from
her throat, wrists, ears,
braided into her hair,
clinking like an abacus.
The earrings from her mother
with a bell laugh.
The tasteless bracelet from
her cheesy sister who shared
her black licorice hair.
The heavy pendant from
her frail grandmother who wore it
fifty years until Winter
claimed three generations.
FirefliesWe kept cicadas and caterpillars in mason jars, but never fireflies. My brother still has a cicada from three years ago, sleeping away under the lid. Grandpa says it'll stay that way for 17 years like all cicadas do, and it's okay to keep them safe.Fireflies in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But we don't catch fireflies; they don't live that long. They say light travels faster than anything, but our bugs are fat lazy things that travel nowhere in a big zigzag. The tall grass lights up with tiny little flashes every night all summer long and all is dark not two months later, but for the time being they don't even know they're dying.
Tumblr GirlsI say I’m addictedTumblr Girls in Free Verse More Like This
to Mad Game of Breaking SuperWhoLock,
in a post just after the novel I wrote
about how addiction isn’t funny,
it messes up your brain chemistry and you
just can’t help yourself, you can’t be held
responsible for what you do while high
or drunk except sex with a woman,
which makes you a rapist
(but you were probably a rapist anyway).
I hate white, cis-gendered men.
Don’t they know it’s so fucking stupid
to hate people for things they can’t help?
It is not my job to educate
you. Because I am one
of the elite, one of the few
enough to know what “check your privilege”
Intergenerationali.Intergenerational in Free Verse More Like This
I scribbled unicorns for my mother
and colored in mandala patterns
for my father,
but rarely got an extra glance
for my artistic endeavors.
I put them on my bedroom walls
instead of our blank white refrigerator,
where I could be proud of myself
(since no one would be so for me).
He’s late on the first day
of class, and I’m not sure
what I’m getting into. It’s the only class
that takes the full hour and a half
and doesn’t even touch the syllabus.
The room is too large for us;
he swings an arm and invites us all closer
before diving right into the first book
of the semester.
I still don’t know what I’m getting into,
but I know I’m going to have fun.
is my middle name.
But he always says hello
when I’m in the department,
and I wonder when I started
becoming so noticeable.
Sometimes he calls me “kiddo,”
and I’m always startled.
I’m not used to being nicknamed
though I suppose I am a kid
HyperawareI know the thumping of blood in my fingers,Hyperaware in Free Verse More Like This
the twinge in my back,
the tension behind my calves far too well.
The bristle of cold is too much
but the silence without the fan is suffocating.
My blankets are too heavy,
settled over my torso like the rock in my chest
but I can’t sleep without the weight.
This awareness is a manifestation of my longing;
for your hands in my hair,
your warmth at my spine,
your shoes on my floor.
This is what I feel when I can’t feel you –
fixations that drive me to insomnia.
Only the trains are any comfort,
plowing away into the night
screaming here I am; there I go
like world-weary tramps moving just to be moving.
Like you, working just to be working,
burning midnight oil and paper
when you could be breathing fire down my neck.
An hourglass between his knucklesHe quit smoking because heAn hourglass between his knuckles in Free Verse More Like This
didn’t like the taste of his own
mortality; bitter, brackish, black
as his lungs. Didn’t like the pull
of nicotine, ashy fingers,
the way a cigarette looked like
an hourglass pinched between his knuckles.
The ashtray began
to fill up again after his wife
died. Every day at first; an entire
pack after her funeral; a box
every three days; one flicker
of light in the evenings spent leaning
on the balcony railing,
watching the city go by through
a veil of smoke and memories.
I bought a pack for him once, just
to use my ID for something.
It’s still sitting on his coffee
table, one cigarette short.
BaptismFollow you down to the red oak treeBaptism in Free Verse More Like This
As the air moves thick through the hollow reeds
I will wait for you there until someone comes
To carry me, carry me down
Third star to the right,
straight on 'til morning,
Follow not weeping violins
nor crooning of angels' voices
but the breeze's whisper
to the bay
to die and rise again
Payne's Grey IPayne's GreyPayne's Grey I in Free Verse More Like This
dolphins take refuge as the
ocean is whipped up into a frenzy beneath
Gulls' screams join in chorus
with the howling wind
as the waves collapse upon themselves.
The salt spray and
smoke from the sinking galleon
Fallen sailors find their clothes suddenly heavy
as icy torrents drag them beneath the roiling surface.
The air tingles with the electricity of
a lightning bolt waiting to strike.
Letter to a FriendTo a friend,Letter to a Friend in Emotional More Like This
I know I don't actually know you "in real life," but that doesn't matter. I've seen your creativity, insight, strength, and wit shine through both your written work and our conversations and have come to consider you a friend (I hope that isn't too forward).
I know you like bees, flowers, and pie for your birthday dessert; and that you don't like making a fool of yourself or people asking you what book you're reading while you're reading it. I know you love your family very much (at least, most of the time) but hate some of the things going on through no fault of anyone's.
From across the internet I've watched you chronicle ups and downs, good days and bad days, and for the first time since I've met you, a birthday- on which we've made the decision to run away to the Mediterranean and build a palace (or was it a mansion?) from all those pennies we wish we hadn't earned.
By the time you read this, it won't be your birthday anymore, but since you've been down lately I hoped
Prussian BluePrussian BluePrussian Blue in Free Verse More Like This
uniforms clothe men sleeping
under a brooding, moonless sky
beside a deep, dark forest.
It is swathed in almost silence;
only the hoot of an owl
and the creaking of the nearly frozen river break it.
The air tastes brisk and clean
with a hint of evergreen
and fresh fallen snow.
The watchman shivers as he looks into the sky
and feels as if he's drowning in a cold pool of water
or perhaps floating upwards into the nothingness above him
on the back of the North Wind.
The SnakeBoredom was universal.The Snake in Short Stories More Like This
Temptation was only felt by a selected few.
Eve, for example, was tempted by an apple and the voice of a handsome snake. So persuasive that snake: so sly and silky, picking the angel Eve from her sweet Eden as easy as plucking a blackberry off of a thorn-less bush. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Moriarty could relate to the snake. It was a wonderful creature; he'd taken notes, pretending to be on the side of the angels when really it still had a toe in the devil's parlour, keeping its place at the head of the table in time for tea. As he sat in his hideout, Moriarty smile to himself. How foolish people can be, he thought. How quaint. Aren't they funny?
The computer that perched at his fingertips glowed, the screen still active. It was uploading something. A series of zeroes and ones streamed like a waterfall: green on a black screen. They reflected in Moriarty's eyes. It was a key. A key that didn't even exist. He smirked to himself again, delighted with
FrenzyDrip.Frenzy in Short Stories More Like This
All of it. Give it to me. Every drop. Every drip.
Give it to me. Now.
I lied. I lied, it wasn't pig's blood, it was the thick, red juice of a man in the street: ash-burned, empty headed, veins pumped with drugs and wine and beer and fear. He cried and struggled under my grip and oh, how he satisfied me. I don't know why. I don't care why. I was trying it out. I was bored. I was having fun. Do you know what fun is?
It changed me. The fog. It changed me. My fall is coming soon and my heart how it thuds and leaps and spins and tries to fight the angel inside of me that begs and shrieks and I want to tear it out, shut it up by any means necessary.
I want it all. Iron and booze and ooze and fire.
I want the sensation of blood on my chin, my face, my hands. The meat in my mouth exploring my tongue and teeth and lips and throat and I want that crack. Pop. The snip and snap of bone and flesh and the silence that follows and makes me dizzy. There's nothing wr
LogicLike living without airLogic in Concrete Poetry More Like This
Or water, I'll be
Growing older by the second, becoming a corpse before your very eyes on this sofa as the
Indecipherable cells in my head will crumble and rot and decay without its sweet satisfaction. Please, I
Crave your logic, your puzzles, your ideas, and I'll drink them like the vampire's Sunday wine.
Appetite Comes with the Eating1. The real horror of OctoberAppetite Comes with the Eating in Free Verse More Like This
is the winter, the rising darkness.
It's said they caught him weeping,
heard him babbling about the steam in the snow,
the brown mass that had been a person
his little girl, dead from the cold.
He ate his wife and daughters.
And when the villagers came for him,
he let them take himto the tree
in the center of the square, where he hung,
discolored with frostbite and gangrene.
They called him Wendigo,
gave him to the spirit of the Dying Season,
and hoped that he would rest.
2. My ancestors had a word for his kind
They would have cut out his heart
to stop him from feeding.
He walked again.
Ate his fill of the town that killed him
and marched south, slept every spring
to wait for the Season of the Dying
to come again.
3. I saw the flesh-eater once, in my youth
in a Massachusetts town
near Boston, out on a frozen pond.
I saw his face beneath the ice,
saw his teeth bent with bone-crunching,
before he disappeared into the black w
Rooibos TeaBreathe deep the chai hazeRooibos Tea in Free Verse More Like This
a muse of eggshells and grandma's lace tablecloths,
cradles the tea kettle to her chest
and abandons Latin words and names
flotsam and jetsam dribbling
irrelevant among the little red tea leaves;
the driftwood of genus and species bumping
against the shores of the South African scrublands.
She hovers orange and indigo,
a quavering flame of dreams
and drained tea dregs
divination with a soft-spiced voice
at the bottom of the mug,
never quite gone
a flock of Van Gogh crows
frozen in their hayfields.
You've Been Looking at Virtues, All WrongYou've Been Looking at the Virtues of Child, Man, and Woman All WrongYou've Been Looking at Virtues, All Wrong in Free Verse More Like This
In the end we're all myths, hermaphroditic deities.
Our names are the most real things about us.
i. My mother named me for the Virgin
and I carry her legacy in my blood
she is my spirit animal; the creature
who crawled first across the placenta line
outside my home. In truth, I imagine all
are wolves or coyotes drawn by the smell
of fresh blood.
ii. There is no purity in childhood:
we are simply jesters with blistered feet
and the pu
The Wedding of Sparrow and FoxOne morning,The Wedding of Sparrow and Fox in Free Verse More Like This
Fox left his den in search of food.
He searched the ground and found nothing,
and searched the trees and found nothing,
and finally looked to the sky,
where he saw a sparrow with lovely, shining feathers.
For a while, Fox simply watched, gathering his courage,
then finally he stepped forward and called out,
What are you doing up there?"
Sparrow whirled and wheeled and called back,
"I am enjoying the feel of the wind in my feathers
and the sun on my back."
Then Fox asked, "Won't you come down to earth and speak to me?"
Sparrow looked at Fox's lustrous, russet fur
and thought of Fox's kind, soothing voice.
But Sparrow remembered the stories Grandfather Aesop told,
and so he also saw Fox's gleaming teeth.
"No thank you," Sparrow replied,
"For the breeze is too lovely and the sky too blue."
So Fox thought for a moment, and then said,
"Then why don't you sit on the top-most branch of that tree?
Then you can enjoy the blue sky, and still talk to me."
And Sparrow couldn't
I Have No Names for all My Teacup BabesI feel always like I am starting over.I Have No Names for all My Teacup Babes in Free Verse More Like This
As a magpie I gather trinkets under my pillow,
bay leaves and bags of herbs to bring the next lover to me,
to call the next dream-face forwarda picture
painted in the tea leaves.
But truth be told the start-again
is never clean, is never gentle,
and the sweat of all that labour
is a fire on my skin, telling me
I will never resist its wind-cry.
The moon comes when I call, to help me;
midwife, she is, and she carries into being my new selves
like the babes they are, teaches them to
fill long footsteps like hers.
Truth be told, I tire of the destiny
I was given onceI am a teacup,
and I cling close to my china womb,
to my cup tipped over, upset
by careless elbows.
I imagine Mother Moon climbing her way back to me
on the backs of pine trees, sweeping across the Appalachians.
Delirium Sings a Song for MeYesterday I was a little girlDelirium Sings a Song for Me in Free Verse More Like This
with blueberry stains on my fingers.
But todayI am
a Baba Yaga in the woods,
standing tall on knobbly chicken legs,
making stews of children's hearts.
Beware the magic-weavers in the dark.
But I must be a siren, too
with salt on my lips and flowers in my hair,
but with eyes black, black as crows.
Beware our sing-songs, little one.
Surely I am a cello.
Play me like an instrument
my body is no longer me.
Strip me down to my bare bones and tell me,
what am I?
I have a face but no substance beneath.
That drumming you hear in my naked ribcage
can only be the sea.
I have no identity.
I am a creature of the air,
rash and whimsy,
My mind is the green-purple gray
of the nights before stars.
My heart grows cold, my heart grows cold.
Already old, already old.
A mad girl's mind is awful drear,
and I've got fishes in my hair,
yes, I've got fishes in my hair.
Won't you take my hand, Alice dear.
We are nearly
Mermaid SongI have tried to love you.Mermaid Song in Free Verse More Like This
But you have become
little more than an evening in pale watercolors
the shadow of Monet.
I have decided to leave the lilies as they are.
Perhaps in later years, with desperation,
fearing the thinness of my thin limbs,
the creaking of my spider fingers,
I will go to wander those gardens again,
hoping for the promise of Eden,
clutching beads in my weary fist.
For now, you are fleeting as mermaid song,
brief as tall spires in pink and green beneath the sea
I can never touch them.
Our connection fades,
a violet mirage
disappearing within the swells.
A wave breaks
the silver froth wipes the sand
clean and perfectly brown.
Green my Flesh is, Green my TressesHis is an autumn kiss, wet and smelling of rainGreen my Flesh is, Green my Tresses in Free Verse More Like This
and blackening leaves.
Our dance begins toward evening.
he is a crouching spider
giving his venom—
silence over my throat,
his gift of drowning.
Green—he wants me green as death,
as the ocean-water,
as his ghostly face raising to the surface.
On the kitchen table,
a vase of flowers like spectral faces.
He is a knife in the skin,
a root in the soil—poltergeist
stealing the color from my eyes
to fill them with his own frozen silver,
leeching the blood from my veins
to give me new ones, green
and brittle as wallpaper.
My body is a flower, feet like petals
and I his stem, unfolding.
My hair like sailors’ knots
and he a Davy Jones—
in my eyes the dark ocean
with which he floods my throat.
Green my flesh is, green my tresses.
I am a snakeskin shed and green
like so much old blood.
When I am Old I Shall be Like Vincent Van GoghWhen I am oldWhen I am Old I Shall be Like Vincent Van Gogh in Free Verse More Like This
I shall go about in an old straw hat
with my ears bandaged, for I will not need to hear.
I will lie in hayfields
and watch the crows fly into a sky so blue
it reflects the hell that is waiting for me.
And I will cackle to myself
and wait to become an ornery old scarecrow
with a stick so far up my ass it keeps my aging spine from slipping.
when the darkness comes for me, I will put on my purple funeral dress
and lay out tea and cakes for the reaper, for I can't see a reason
not to be civil about the whole thing.
Heaven IsNot built of stone round temples grandHeaven Is in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
where mighty Gods eternal stand,
Nor in fine lines of poetry
that capture His divinity;
Not in a painting, nor a song,
though in these arts such grace may throng;
Not in the vaults of sacred halls
where pious men to prayer are called,
Nor in the vast and endless sky
above the firmament espied;
Not under rocks, nor in deep pools,
in words of wise men, nor of fools;
Not in the dark, nor light of day,
nor in between where shadows play.
I find my Heaven in your eyes
where all of my own prayers reside.
Sometimes I wonder what it meansSometimes I wonder what it meansSometimes I wonder what it means in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
to always live with broken dreams:
Did I, in taking aim so high,
set all my hopes that they should die?
Or was it right that I refused
to live as other people do,
instead devoting all my words
to lines that will remain unheard
by one who turned her back on me
and gave in to society's
demand that she must live deprived
amongst those living simple lives?
Did I, in speaking only truths,
pre-ordain myself to lose
and, in so doing, forfeit you:
and this bleak life, unknowing, choose?
ResurrectionLike a corpse, incapacitatedResurrection in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
in this tomb
so many years:
suffocated in the stale darkness
without life's pulse
to stir the desiccated bones
of my once vigorous spirit.
I heard your voice once more, like a shard of
light seeping through
a sharp crack in the heavy stone
lid of this sarcophagus, and
Like a corpse, reinvigorated
and emerge into the world with fresh eyes:
those few warm words
were all it took for you to breathe
life back into this broken soul.
They all think they can fix meThey all think they can fix me.They all think they can fix me in Free Verse More Like This
But, what if I'm not broken?
I'm supposed to be in pieces?
What rule is there,
that says all people must be whole?
But still, they all think they can fix me.
With a sensual caress
or a wholesome home-life
or violent, unbridled passion.
Each has her own prescription.
I'll push away every hand
Each distraction is only that:
just a numbing anaesthesia
that can only mask the symptoms,
leaving the cancer
They all think they can fix me
but I know better –
and I've a feeling that now
even the cure would
Every momentEvery moment is precious,Every moment in Free Verse More Like This
every second together
worth a lifetime,
and we'll cling to each as though
it is the last:
for experience has taught us
that it often is.
Each waking breath
and cherished –
the only reason to succumb
is to wake in each other's arms.
The weight of every passing
and treasured in its shared
Momentary DeathEach time our gazes meetMomentary Death in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
my rhythm skips,
and with each missed heartbeat
my sight's eclipsed.
For with each word divine
I catch my breath,
each time your eyes meet mine:
a little death.
Empty skiesUnder grey skies vast & wide,Empty skies in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
pressing in from every side,
I weather a veil upon my eyes
that slows my step & breaks my stride
a yearning void that's never filled
though with distractions over-spilled.
For, though I've all most men could want
and drink from life's most fruitful font,
without you here to share these days
the clearest sky is always grey.
Hand in handWhile sleeping we walk hand in handHand in hand in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and so are never parted.
We wander free in our dreamland
far from the broken-hearted
whose day-lit lives are troubled deep
and with stark truths are shaken.
While we're at ease now in our sleep
the nightmares grip their waking.
I once believedI once believed in love that's trueI once believed in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and hearts that never waver,
but my reward was bitter scorn
for all that I once gave her.
I gave my all and trusted in
the love that she returned:
I leapt into her passion's flames
not fearing I'd get burned.
For little did I then suspect
that love could ever die
or, worse than that, that all along
the whole thing was a lie.
I once believed that every phrase
she spoke would last forever,
but all the words have faded now
and all the bonds have severed.
I've found my tears againThough I was long without these friendsI've found my tears again in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I now have found my tears again.
I walk once more in shadowed lanes
as nightmares blank give way to pain.
And, now the ink more freely flows,
inside, the darkened canker grows,
the silence swells its crashing din
and sorrow rears its head within
the breast that long was crushed & numb:
no longer to that void succumbed.
Instead, my heart is tossed & reels:
its throbbing pulse afresh I feel.
I Am EyesI am eyes, that unholy duality.I Am Eyes in Free Verse More Like This
Six deer browse in the dead field;
they have survived late fall
with its plague of men and guns.
I am eyes, turned to the pregnant sky.
Pockets for hands, thick wool for feet,
but eyes take the cold head-on.
There is clamor far away. There is cackle and bray.
There is grumble and wine, there is raw meet.
Handed over like suspicion, taken like greed,
like gold from the cocoa-skinned hide-hidden
lesser gods, there disappears my world.
But I know nothing of this. I am sleepy.
I am eyes.
There Hid the Sacred HollowThere hid the sacred hollow,There Hid the Sacred Hollow in Free Verse More Like This
gentle with fern and old pine
where my heart thrived when it was very young,
when life stretched endless like a yellow day.
I understood that whatever I lacked then,
I would yet learn, or I would find.
But it was false anticipation-
mark of the very young
who sleep too long through a dappled day,
who nestle in the succor of the sweet fern
and old pine, of the sweet yearn
DecemberMy hands areDecember in Free Verse More Like This
black with soot
and shiny with grease;
the embers lie low.
The air grew teeth.
We sit alone
in our separate dreams
and entertain the shade
of what was lost.
Our fingers will twitch
with phantom pain-
our mouths will run dry.
Everything I am,
by a fistful of
words with teeth;
as heavy as gold,
as poison as lead,
and I can't write poetry
because I said I would
leave you alone
and you never leave the lines-
you are there between them,
Witches MarketMidnight fell like an old black bird;Witches Market in Free Verse More Like This
I meant to wait for you.
There were tables rich with
amethyst and pearls,
and fragrance by the fistful,
mint and petrichor.
I meant to wait for you.
You were gliding through the haze
with your knotted bag half full-
shadows flicked their tongues
above your knees;
you meant to look for me.
Moments ran like mice;
a silver pot, a cup of tea.
She stank of vinegar and thyme-
the hand was hers, the heart was mine.
Her iron eyes reflected flame;
she took my lungs, she took my name,
though you had meant to look for me,
and I had to meant to wait for you
amid the black salt and the brew.
Ash for the handle,
Birch for the brush,
Willow for the cord that binds the twigs.
StiraboutThe ghosts of a thousand CeltsStirabout in Free Verse More Like This
haunt where you lie, heavy as time,
dream-quiet in ochre and grey.
Warm as an October moon,
soft in a pink-cheeked dawn,
you wake to honey and cream
under my hand, butter melting
into a strawberry kiss,
Going BarefootGoing barefoot is notGoing Barefoot in Free Verse More Like This
food for the desperate;
air for the gasping;
touch for the trembling.
Going barefoot is
juniper moss and ostrich fern;
the voice of the raven;
the vision of an owl.
this is the important part.
Thistles don't want company;
and rocks will wait in ambush
for your toes.
Never leave the trail.
Going barefoot is
the sway of limbs,
the scent of man.
Sometimes, I pull on shoes.
Water For TeaHe was glossy with sweat,Water For Tea in Free Verse More Like This
he was streaked brown.
He was unexpected.
Something simmered on the stove-
I turned it down for he was there,
in the half-light by the door;
I think it was water for tea.
The air went thick and fathom blue.
There were fingers in dark curls,
there was wet and bubbling warm,
there was bread with butter for tea.
He grew like mystery, like turgid weather.
I drank him like hope, he left pearls on my lips.
There were fingers in dark curls,
there was water for tea.
Time, Spaceand nameless things-Time, Space in Free Verse More Like This
the cold, the unrepentant
are nearer to God than I to you.
Petty deaths spring forth
erupt like cannon fire
till I am down, I am on my knees.
and the shades of thought bleed thick
as wounds; take what is offered you-
ten miles from the trenches, myself,
into your arms.
water processspirit-sloth and overdone;water process in Free Verse More Like This
wonder-lost and undercome:
you are trenchant, sweet love.
you planted early mornings-
I lay coffee-drunk and thin;
the stir of your brown hands.
The Cat MistookNo zebraThe Cat Mistook in Free Verse More Like This
but the old mare;
she bumps the stall door,
seeking sun with blind eyes.
only the neighbor's dogs
drunk with escape;
the ferment of wet woods on a grey day.
The cat mistook itself for a tiger,
not knowing that the caught vole
was one of a vast race--
that it had happened before.
The Dream Song of AnonymousThis is based off The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. It might help to read Eliot's poem first, if you haven't before.The Dream Song of Anonymous in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Shall I stay, then, alone,
When the dawn is straying from the sky
Like a child roaming the sea;
Dare I stay – amidst parades of kings,
The rising revolution
Of tranquil days in silk-spread beds
And colours of mayhem in blacks and reds:
Wind chimes that jingle without judgement
Without affront –
And follow the questioning wind, without answers –
Oh, do answer, "Why not?" and
Let me stay, and dream of a candle you lit.
On the beaches the men wander alone
Driven speechless by siren song.
The house fairies lie beneath the windows.
The sunflowers that house imps hang above the windows
Droop their petals precariously earthward at dusk
And hide from the night sky in cement cracks,
Hinder gravity come dayspring and soar sunwards,
Stir from their pot, rise fr
IndiaThe sea took'd me...India in Free Verse More Like This
And oh my country of newlywed clouds how I remember you, dust and rain
and mud and spice in air. And in summer, baking roads and hot languages; a million
dialects, or eight hundred: I never learned you, I never will. I only loved you and I think
that is not enough, perhaps it never was, but how do I know? I know loneliness,
and how can you know that? I was a child, am a child, am something less or more now
And how can you think of beauty? Do you hear yourself? Your radios are blaring
noise; your television shows are preaching idiocy to a million people
who hear and conscious or not, listen. I've been away from you so long
that my tongue has unravelled. When I tried, people assured me
I was tongue-tied. Someone told me I spoke true, but I have never
answered you. You have never asked me to.
There's a sadness in me somewhere, now,
it could be hiding in my soul but the
RemembranceThe last to go is something fading,Remembrance in Free Verse More Like This
leaving behind a trail of once-was, as bright
as the light bulb in the bathroom,
you realise ruefully, when the light goes out
and you’re left sitting on the toilet seat,
poetry magazine in hand. Thank God
you still remember where you keep your spectacles!
Thank God for those little flowers, R-something, as far as you recall,
for remembrance, worn scandalously by a goddess of something pink;
flowers your son floats on water in a bowl, which perhaps held
two sleepy fish before, but you couldn't say for sure.
For you’ve been broken down to pen on paper pinned to a fridge,
a childish portrait in ballpoint blue; down to a hollow in
the pillow where your white head rests. Yet you insist and
insist on being more than only the smell of you on your clothes.
And it's an unhappy wonder that wonders why you get up every dawn
to wander with purpose, somewhere, but instead stare at your feet,
Anthropomorphism for BeginnersThe sun is subdued velvet,Anthropomorphism for Beginners in Free Verse More Like This
and the sea is dressed in
tumbling crow feathers:
the birth of a pearl is like a god.
slow, unfurling like snow,
inhuman in a sea of mud.
Lend him hands and a home,
build him bone and shape him,
something smooth like silk,
like wispy wool.
The divers are burrowing
under liquid glass,
untwining soggy weed
to search for shells
for pearls, the pearls!
with hands that scrabble
for god, who is worth too much.
for the burnished bubbles
of milk are cherished
above and beyond
from the doves in flight
with feathers of silk
the divers, like doves,
are free but
but not the pearls,
for the sea is a raven, ugly in love.