the sons of flint and pitchthe sons of flint and pitch
as i want to be remembered--
fallen down with the knee-tide
over my forelock, drowned in little water,
but mostly as a man
not afraid to die:
remember me my children
if you have ever remembered
tenor, if your voices have sung for me though you did not know
you sang for me:
remember, we struck a spark!
for such brittle foolish longing is not
what wets our torches or deadens our wood
but show me a good man, raise him up high on a pedestal,
and I will show you
something worth burning out for.
hey boy your tight electric...hey boy your tight electric shoulders dohey boy your tight electric... in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
not suit you- tailor-suited just to fly
like dust for dust we are and we Will too
watch church films Saturday and you and i
might laugh at inquisitions-
THAT will be
like dust in mouths and copper trophies love
is this too bold although you'll never see
the Kalamazoo of dreams and morning
my boy are you quite well your shoulders tense
forget about the lights of failure dear
dear boy forget for me-
HomeIn my head each moment from my past dies over and over again and I dream of everythingHome in Free Verse More Like This
When I reach home and the smell makes its way back to me
Kentucky coils up inside of my brain like coconut shavings
Burps of sadness
In the dew of the incurable day
Its hard to re-piece the things
Shaken from the nightmare of time
Visions leading to new visions
Always trailing away from
There is no way to cure
The disease of desire
We who are not starving
Are eating our own hunger
In search of new soil
Desperate to create new life
I have found my skin
Pulled up my skirt in the wind
Gave into the moon
I sat at the mouth
Of this great bird
As it cried and whined and screeched
And I prayed
And let go of the world
Heard tunnels of flame
In your dreams
Burning their way across the bed
When God Sleeps.I. So it comes to this: pangea tearing itself rawWhen God Sleeps. in Free Verse More Like This
from our throats to pour into squares of newly open sky
where the stars grew aches and darkened lakewater
once bloomed into bruised winters. Somewhere
beyond the thick of snow, prayers are strung
on moon-rattled winds
and birds' teeth tear apart the poetry
of our hands. They will raise something beautiful
from these ruined words.
Continents shift slowly. They are
dirt-bound titans, these beasts;
rootless giants that mold themselves
to fit the vision we hold inside our heads. Oceans sigh
and their tides crawl ever upward.
II. Our shadows become umbilical
in certain light. Unknown children cast
dark shapes of water
to nourish the gardens springing forth
from the dirt's wrist like a eulogy for lost sky.
Morning doves sing because they see what we cannot:
the years between us laid out like miles and our feet
that never mark the reddened earth and
the passion-trees birthing flowers of such cold, untamed souls.
We are walking in the wombs of
Dear VictorI will not apologize because I knew youDear Victor in Free Verse More Like This
when your own ghosts turned their backs to your weeping
or because I thought I could love the bird-shaped organ
calling from inside your chest
I clipped its stubborn wings
when I realized I had been wrong.
I am not sorry for it.
But listen, Victor:
I'm sorry I remember a time
when we were beautiful, our bodies
made luminous by the bitter light collected in our lungs
the atmosphere shaking violently as it
into our displaced skeletons.
We could not recall
our own skin.
I'm sorry I called out for you
in the dark
when no one else was there to hear,
each shaken syllable making a latticework of stars
to gate the fraying night. I stayed up until dawn
renaming the constellations after you.
The bright-eyed moon watched me
as a mad fever rattled her bones.
And Victor, I'm sorry that I could not stand
the fire keening in my throat,
sorry that I exhaled the shells of empty suns
and saw their edges perforate the thick sh
Icarus, Falling Toward the SunHow do you explain your wounded wings, O Icarus?Icarus, Falling Toward the Sun in Free Verse More Like This
How do you explain the shadows bred by your footfalls
and the wheels of night that turn over forests of stone saplings;
how do you explain the way your heartbeats plummet head-first toward the sea
and make themselves into prayers caught in circles of endless light?
You showed me the ocean-forged fire
that razed down the seraphim and their halos and seared the spectres
kneeling over your graveside with God's words
stitched on their dirtied feet. You showed me memories
of heaven filled with shapeless dreamers that raised lovers from
the soot and ashes like snowfalls drifting past white sycamore trees
while the empty sun spun and spun around a place
you had never known or seen before and the sky, the sky-
it was not there.
the dawn was breakingi. victor, i think i have forgottenthe dawn was breaking in Free Verse More Like This
how to fear
but possibly i am just dying.
ii. last night i saw my father scrape a needle
from his bone to sew together his crooked lips
and let the dripping moon-glass fall stark against his wrists
like closing guillotines
so i could not feel him write or cry or speak. mother
pinned his tongue to his teeth
and beheaded it like a sordid, mutinous beast
revolting against its own self.
it spat syllables from his mouth
as if they were bitter stones.
i called it a lobotomy, but when she stuffed his eyes with wool
and told him to believe the world was a beautiful place
i realized that killing yourself is not the only way to commit suicide.
iii. tomorrow comes. the new day will fall
like a letter to the atmosphere which warns
about the light and how it breaks the sky,
how the clouds are wounded by its blades and breath.
i will put my hand
into your chest and perforate your heart
to take it raw and fresh and wet,
push against the knotting of your spine
unlearn the constellationsI may carry my voiceunlearn the constellations in Free Verse More Like This
on white-crested wingtips
but I refuse to take the names of birds.
My throat is not a desert
with smoldered star limbs
in place of sand, not a stone
for you to overturn and mark
with gentle cloud prints
or leave in the mud
to be perforated by bright moss.
My song is not made
to be thundered like a body
on the wind, to be bellowed
by the jagged mouths
of some distant, forgotten jungle.
It is made to slide along the edges
of twenty burning suns and rise
like a halo of newfound breath
from the crevice which splits
earth and sea. To break open
like the young, wet-winged dove
born of a glorious mud
which cracks mountains with its beak.
My song is this:
your mouth pressed against my heart
and my heart unfurling like a fist,
like a tree which tries to speak
but finds itself without a tongue. It is
a sky for you to stand in. A cold, unknown
world which opens its mouth in peals of
thunder and cries teach me,
teach me how to sing
as if I were some heavy-handed god
We WereI think we were almost angels once, you and I, with our fingersWe Were in Free Verse More Like This
scraping against the sky like beatific wings-
back when our hearts still rustled with the vernal wind
as autumn breathed red from thin crevices that spilled across the bark
our empty bones;
when we still listened
to the crooning of the ocean as it echoed between each pine tree
and the voices of molting dandelions as they murmured
"All I ever wanted was to see the sun"
because the howling sequoia hollows were too large to hear them
and the nightingales were too free to care.
We twined our fingers as if they were wheat stalks
waiting to be braided into thistle-crowns fit for martyrs or messiahs
and walked together through a pseudo-Eden where the rye fields
treated us like kings; gave us
budding amaranth in a thousand shades of indigo to wield as scepters
and commanded the uprooted plants to genuflect at our feet
with their leaded limbs-
but the water willows
that befriended my sorrow only stood and trembled,
i will teach you how to mourn.my mouth has neveri will teach you how to mourn. in Free Verse More Like This
to swallow the brittle edges
of a prayer,
never felt its walls rubbed raw
by cold stones that swell with grief
against my teeth like
some foreign bird. but victor,
i would learn the tongues of
a thousand gods
if it would make me believe
that you are a little
happier in death.
DionysusI see how you are shakenDionysus in Free Verse More Like This
by a mad fever, Dionysus.
You tremble in the moonlight's
gleaming nectar as does a new,
loose-limbed fawn, heady
with a foreign ecstasy that runs heavily
through your veins.
Your dance is a bright and glowing
beast that rattles the world to its bones.
I can feel it: the stirring storm; the spark
scuttling just beneath the earth; the violent wind
that scrapes soil from its gaping mouth.
Oh! How the night
is a-quiver with wanting
when you sing. In the distance
a cricket scrapes together its wings; strikes a low hum
in its paper-thin breast as it wrings rivers
from the clustered bodies of grapes. The stars
turn violet-flamed in such dust: they are vineyards
obscured by the pale, illuminated clouds
that crawl along the horizon.
As a sickle moon sinks
I see you framed
against dawn's rising light:
your body made
into an altar;
your every fingertip
tasting of frenzied song and
A Small, Good ThingHer mother used to take her out for rides on the motorbike at night. The girl would cling to her mother's jacket, perched on the back of the seat. They used to ride around the island in the dark. It only took half an hour to go all the way around and back to their house. They'd ride by the sea, black as oil in the night, and by the rental houses and the pancake house and the fire house. The daughter would often stay up, if she happened to wake in the night, in the hope that she'd hear the garage door opening.A Small, Good Thing in General Non-Fiction More Like This
After the divorce, when the house on the island was sold and they moved to a place where the out-of-doors at night was no place for women, they would sometimes get up at night to sit at the kitchen table. The girl had night terrors, even sitting in silence at the table with her mother was much better than being alone in a room with the lights off.
"I've been talking to a man on A.O.L.." her mother said one night.
The girl looked up at her, knees to her chin and arms around her kne
.SetIt is Akhet, the season of sorrow and silt, and Set.Set in Free Verse More Like This
must tense his sandbreath against the slick of wet
once more. It's always the same: though he's unsure
who started the game, or whose face he wears,
he knows he must prepare for the beginning of the end,
the bite of night and all the slippages in the inbetween.
And he swore he'd bait their breath,
but they'd rather choose death than fear,
with their tombstone legs, arms pegged
in sockets and their locked ears,
burying themselves beneath blocks
built to the sun. They outrun him, every time.
It's a crime. He remembers what his mother said:
do what you're able to keep them faithful,
to keep them grateful under the table.
He wonders where it all went wrong.
So he must sink into the long light, fight wanderlust
for blighted floodplains, and try not to ask why.
There are no answers, only questions.
Even his name is disguised by the way they collide in the dust.
He won't look back to watch the waters rise,
or the blackening of the swallowed
.vesta..vesta in Free Verse More Like This
It is time. We feel the pull of summer along our spines
as we head into hibernation. Bed is short respite for our leaden limbs,
our singed hair. The air aches with the wait of it, where the embers
click and sing like crickets. Snippets of sound from the underground.
"This," someone says, wide-eyed with awe, "is what the insides
of the earth look like" - the world beneath, struck through with
dragons' teeth, pocked with open sores. The slit smile of the crater
in a slack jaw. Our scarred skies are littered with lights, many
mechanical suns spun into the ceiling, glinting like electric sequins.
And in the middle of it all, where our tracks meet, lies Vesta,
incomplete. The heat seeps from her as she speaks neat,
untranslatable lines of words, tapped out as if on a bell.
She's a shell and she knows it, tied heart to hearth. She hears
the earth and extracts, repeats an exact echo. Sometimes
she's nearly crushed by the rush of words, spilling into the air
like prayers, but by now we know
BrackishAfter the wet season, beforeBrackish in Free Verse More Like This
the midsummer night's drought,
I flight for the floodplains, where
the northern downpour bleeds out
and sweeps its love to the mouth
of my lungs. I sleep in the crux
of an oxbow, let my dreams flux
and flow fractured, deltaic. For this
is the way I piece myself apart,
a resolution, my absolution
in a new avulsion.
During the day, I move south
towards the river mouth, picking
pebbles, coral fangs from the riverbed.
A loose tooth is a common truth
in these parts. Bones are febrile,
eyelashes are made of chalk, salt.
Tears turn brackish. They cake
and crack on the flats of my hands.
This is my Pangaea,
this swollen geography,
this slacken land.
The point of no return.
Here, all else ends.
By dusk I meet the saltmarsh
and dehusk, grow halophytic
in the nightlight. I pull out
my hair, my fingernails, and
fill the gaps in my spine
with reed rhythms, saline.
The final rite: turning flesh to grass.
Tomorrow, morning mist
will drag the whitewash back,
ashes to ash.
.apollo..apollo in Free Verse More Like This
Apollo, sleepcrawler, trawls the sky between day and night.
Behind him, the sun enters like a dreamer, shattered. Kite-
boned and obstinate, he soars toward time, dragging the raw
white eye of light, fixed inside beside the solar plexus.
[Just another dead weight.]
This, he knows, is important. There are few things you can learn
from a ball of burning gas and light eight minutes too late, but
from his aerial migrations he's made several notations on life.
One : to shoot stars, you must become bulletproof. Collect your
heirlooms in the hatch of the attic, patch the holes in your roof,
and learn to read braille by lunarlight.
Two : only one who fell was ever an angel. Try to fix fictitious
fractures by splint or flint, one crude paper wing at a time.
Repeat for any rip or tear you find in the fabric of the universe.
Three : he's not star-struck, he speaks only t
.juno..juno in Free Verse More Like This
Summer seeps back into focus once again, and Juno
spends the moonless nights bending back into spilt-
oil images of sleep, lulled slick in a gulf cradle. She
dreams of tar babies, dredged from the deep, sucking
thumbs and fingers that spread oceanwide with the tide.
Each cry is sunken to a slumber, whilst someone shuffles
and mumbles excuses about fishbones caught in throats
and how no-one knew nightmares could float on water.
Only with heels congealed together could the tar children
translate the runes of an ocean beaten back into the ruins
of its own past, or understand how casting hydrocarbon-cut
ruts in the sea floor has scarred the shore. And only Juno,
hand-on-heart-on-sleeve (-Queen of kerosene, the god-breathed
babies and every marine casualty that slept too soon-) can realise
why the insides of the earth were uprooted in the pursuit
of persistently plastic things.
.neptune..neptune in Free Verse More Like This
After the months spent in utero, walking feels strange.
Ground is sound in colour, synaesthesia beneath the heels,
watered down to reveal a horizon of endless blue, and Neptune.
Opening himself like a oracle. He is all mouth: a throat
of thunder, teeth a string of binary numbers. Kether of kelp,
barnacle bones strewn in every bottled message, each letter of
HELP scrawled into the shoreline. A missing-person clue.
Feet rubbed raw, he heads for the ocean, where those water-
logged wishers wash such surface wounds with their salted tears.
It's a pain that's only real when you're reeling, that you can only
find when hanging from fish-hooks and the coral-plugged ceilings
in the backwaters of your mind, though it's hidden behind
every dark glass. Basketcase, they may have said, but it's a fatal
tendency to identify the whole being with one interest,
and this will give him a certain distinction when he's dead;
an heir of tragedy. He looks out to sea, and sees white horses
AstronautOnce, I stood in a downpourAstronaut in Free Verse More Like This
and sought the dark side of the sun.
I could feel it in my rib bones, the pull
of that something, strong and sore
like gravity, or breath.
And that was that: the death of reality.
I had teetered over the edge of reason
and into somewhere more glazed,
more dazed, and altogether
much too perfect.
I wonder if reeled-up life
should ever feel this real,
whether six shadows are more than enough,
or whether colour should be so luminescent,
as intravenous as sound. Can I ever
be grounded enough if I hold conversations
with the ceiling above, or if I crouch
and look for love behind the radiator?
I live on the underside of the couch,
stroking the knit of bones in my wrists.
It passes time. Now, every night,
the light bulb speaks with its own acoustic,
and everything tastes saccharine.
Like an astronaut, I step into spaces,
and find myself etched into the linings
of black holes, a thousand light years wide.
And my only hope is that one day, there may
be someone to cup
Girl GlitchI am found wanting.Girl Glitch in Free Verse More Like This
Every day a little more so, with chips
in the paint, creaks in the joints and the hair
wearing thin. Like an old rag doll, I swear
I've buttons for eyes and a smile of stitches.
They call me girl glitch.
They write stories about me, scribbled
in the margins of their pocketbooks,
about how I cried wolf - how I lied
about nothing in particular, and how
I've a heart with a hungering.
Though what for I am never quite sure.
There are too many things to think at once,
too many colours, too many sounds, pulsating
to the whir of a car crash hymn:
my last coping mechanism.
These are the dog days, when the worth
of each word is unearthed and I speak
in a litter of syllables, a clutter of vowels
desperately searching for solace, for love.
But even I can't translate the hypnogogic codes
I use to speak. Even I don't understand me.
And sometimes I wonder
if I wrote a letter to myself,
sixty seconds in the future,
would I know who it was from?
Liar, LiarIf l'appel du videLiar, Liar in Free Verse More Like This
is the urge to drown
all sense of self - to split
and accumulate bruises -
then to fabricate fables, to
forge fictions as I do
is nothing more than
poor impulse control.
I do not mean to confuse
or abuse the truth. My lies
are like thalidomide -
junkyard art shoved into being,
or the shards of
gasping hearts breaking
out of code. Making mundane myths
a la mort, a la mode; I'm caught
in distortion, pretty as drugs.
Junkie; addict. Liar, liar,
I require a fix of fiction -
the lies I tell and spin to sell.
(Some tears, a loose tooth,
the unravellings of truth.
The sum of myself out of
all that's left to give).
Lady M.Act V, Scene I.Lady M. in Free Verse More Like This
She's sleepwalking again,
white as the sheets she's slipped from.
Eyes open, nightblind, she spoors the shadows
of her mind, treads barefoot on the floor.
"What's done cannot be undone," she says,
retracing her steps once more.
"Like the undead," he murmurs.
He watches her from afar
the quiver of her lips, the twitch
and falter of her hands. He tries
to understand why she lifts her scars,
examines them under the light.
"The dead don't walk, can't talk- "
She says this every night.
Her whisperings fill the corridors,
the secrets she seeps flood the floors.
And still she shakes, mumbles -
fumbles with her hands. "The blood,"
she cries, "oh, the blood!" Her eyes,
a knife-thrust - a ghost, cut open.
In sleep, she sees, dreams too deep.
"Often," the doctor says, "fractured minds
make their mysteries known only
to the deafness of the dark. God
help her help us all for sins and things
I think, but dare not speak."
She goes back to the shadows, t
Fifty-nineThunder crashes outside and I jump at the noise. I'm not scared of thunderstorms, but I hate seeing what they do to her. The fierce light that shines in her eyes as she talks about appeasing God's anger. The locals are all taken in by it. They listen in awe when she speaks of Him, they bestow her with honours and gifts, they hold her word above all others, they block out the unspeakable things she does in His name, believing that it's all for the Greater Good. They don't know, of course, as my wife doesn't know herself, of the role I play in all of this. They believe, as she does, that the poor creatures come to her willingly, guided by His hand to their own sacrifices.Fifty-nine in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When the storm ends my wife leaves the house, transformed from the sweet woman I agreed to spend the rest of my life with to a force of nature I don't dare reckon with. Her hair is loose and tangled, wild like her white-rimmed eyes. Her mouth is thinned with anger and disapproval as she imagines the atrocities that must
The Trouble With HomonymsI suffered quite badly from Medical Student Syndrome in my first year of studying, to the point where I no longer trust myself to diagnose even the common cold when it comes to my own body. Not that it was ever the simple ones I thought I had - it never works that way. The rare ones, the ones that are hard to diagnose, the ones that have such few outward symptoms that they slip past professionals time and time again, those were the ones I obsessed over.The Trouble With Homonyms in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
That was twenty years ago and I still don't trust myself to self-diagnose athough I'm sure I'd never make those mistakes again. I've devoted my career to those rare disorders that had me so hooked before and I've treated enough patients that I'm completely one-hundred percent confident in my ability to find the most seemingly insignificant symptoms of the rarest disorders and not be fooled ever again.
There is, however, one of those conditions from my student days that I've not yet had the good fortune of encountering in a patient. It's
i could breathe fireshe was a marvel,i could breathe fire in Free Verse More Like This
something so complex
that there is no design
intricate enough to
symbolize the contradictions
of her body
i felled her,
i felt her
a writhing embrace,
she was a bird
a warming feather,
she was a breath
fresh air on a stagnant day,
a beauty unlike rose petals,
more like sandstone
as i watched the moon
give birth to the fire
of her skin.
bipolar IIa week is spentbipolar II in Free Verse More Like This
in throes of excitability,
irritation, unstoppable words,
and ideas with wings of their own-
they soar in their preternatural flight
without a second's notice
and meander along separate currents.
sleep is an elusive,
fought for so ruthlessly,
only to have it slip away,
mere hours later.
i am icarus, resin-winged in thought
and flying til my fingers can
brush the sun.
i am icarus, resin-winged in thought
and watching my feathers drop
until my body
is subject once more
to the relentless rules of gravity.
hitting the dirt
hurts more every time-
physics has no mercy for bruised bones.
refusal to meet my mother's gaze,
to speak when spoken to,
and to move from the cave of my bedroom
i know how the sun feels
when it sinks below the earth,
and the struggle of the moon
as it thrashes to rise.
the endless circle
from night and day
grows so tiresome that sometime,
it will just
baby boyi did a number on myselfbaby boy in Free Verse More Like This
yes i did buddy boy
yes i did baby boy
look at my red hands, oh
look at the silvery streams
i am tearing, baby boy, oh
i am ripping at red seams
do you see my bones now,
baby boy? do you see
the way i shake?
i'm a hollow-ended river,
baby, i'm a sorrow-
you did a number on me
yes you did buddy boy
yes you did baby boy
want you to watch me as i
burst into static
touching every live wire
sleeping with cinders
burning in the attic
want you to feel my skin
when it rips itself asunder
wide enough and deep enough
to slip us both right
you did a number on me
didn't you buddy boy
didn't you baby boy
you got what you wanted now
didn't you pretty boy
a new kind of poeti'm not a poet of words,a new kind of poet in Scraps More Like This
i am a poet of actions.
i write music in bodies
and letters in veins.
we are magic together.
there isn't a scar on your skin
i've taken for granted,
not a rogue hair or errant freckle
that has gone amiss.
my eyes are keen
and my fingers eager,
and i am breaking my back
trying to love you
from your toes to your teeth.
i look at your scatterplot of skin,
bar graph of body,
and feel my mind reel
at where it wants to guide my palms next.
i take notice of where your hands linger,
on the whiteness of my throat,
the bones of my chest;
i take notes on where your hands linger
on my body and hope you feel
the same static as i do.
sanguinetattoos cutting down my legsanguine in Free Verse More Like This
red and running
miles and miles and miles
and never slowing
means nothing nothing nothing nothing
NOTHING so let me go
your fingers dig into tunnels of my skin
and break and break until more thread
and i am left
naked on the floor
until i am emptier
than that heart of mine
glass jarred and fragile
you used to keep.
what is meant by playing deadthe house looks like helium. it is faded with cold as its body, thickets of slatted wood painted palely. shutters are closed eyelids, unbearable lightness to the miserly scene before them.what is meant by playing dead in General Fiction More Like This
these streets are cobbled and winter-bleached, colours in hibernation save for three bodies of varying paleness lying slatternly in its centre.
bones compounded, salted twigs in white shades bent and broken; there is no blood, just an overwhelming taste of death.
who's that? a bloodless face murmurs from its position on the axis of the recumbent spine.
think his name's johnny, a nearby body whispers.
it's not, the broken limbs in question croaks.
the wind calls for a hush. feet shuffle in stumbling waves, the way they would at a wake, before the judgemental face of the open casket.
are they all dead? a crisp voice calls.
the bodies on the cold road cringe at the sharpness of the sound. a bird rustles the newspapers just fallen from the basket.
a black boot taps a girl's shattere
frustrateevery time you say my name,frustrate in Free Verse More Like This
i hear 'i love you' in its place.
the insistence on apathy,
the determination to stay neutral,
is a constant stutter.
i want you to allow yourself
to want me,
to tell me what it feels like,
to know what i am.
i have nothing holding me back
but two arms like thin vines
grown on another girl.
she is why i am afraid
to love you
what i will not tell youif i tell you, i knowwhat i will not tell you in Free Verse More Like This
you will become a bird
in my stomach
flying forever miles away,
out through my throat,
can never have.
i keep saying the words
i love you
in my head
(i just wish i could
in my arms
beautyif you watch what i photographbeauty in Free Verse More Like This
to know what i fear losing,
see that i am terrified
to live with no beauty.
my pulse slows at the bend of a body
and the light between limbs;
the curve of a stem
and shallow lines of living.
to embody that
is a dream just beyond reach
of another dream.
my heart picks up double time
and my eyes turn window-wide
when it becomes real
that my slender shapes,
my delicate bones,
have tucked themselves
into the bed of my skin.
i feel the shame
burrow beneath my heart.
i swallow mouthfuls
of something that tastes
my reflection skirts away from my eyes,
until it is caught and there it is held.
to look away i need to feel
my camera cradled in the basket of my hands,
white like wicker and smooth,
i play with light until it laughs;
my shutter shudders as it
when breath breathes itself
and everything turns airy,
i am buoyant.
cities and self esteemit is in this new place,cities and self esteem in Free Verse More Like This
a world so strange
it's like looking at your face
in the black mirror of night,
that i realize
everyone is somebody's someone,
and i wish i could call you mine.
your body is a poem,
made up of lines
and reflect light
and hold significance;
and the number of freckles
like new initials
carved into elms and birches
by junior high sweethearts
in the 1970s.
the way your jaw sets a frame
to the birds of your lips,
the cage to contain the canary-
it is a sonnet
wrapped in enough skin
to keep us both warm:
you bring me so beautifully
close to feeling.
in a city as big as god
filling up my every inch of emptiness,
i swear i could get so lost here
that maybe i wouldn't feel
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.
Meditation on ThoughtBegin the quiet storm of fidgeting,Meditation on Thought in Free Verse More Like This
a drum, a drum:
fingers through hair,
the insides of my lids.
My mind grows scrublands.
"What do you mean?" and,
"What do I mean?"
I tend slowly toward the abstract.
Pine trees sprout from my hair,
a forest of church steeples.
Whippoorwill am I,
and my fingers stretch
to build me bridges of stone,
a whole cathedral of bone archways.
My Michelangelo eyes sit restless
in a face of white and green marble.
The smallest drop of rain
against the window
and my thoughts collapse
I must begin again.
There is a secret
as the drops of water
roll down the glass.
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.
Raising GirlsThere is nothing in the world but hopeRaising Girls in Free Verse More Like This
that our children will grow up to better us all.
Little girls are a force unto themselves;
in groups they generate their own universal laws,
demonstrate hitherto unknown patterns of gravitation.
We must grow them properly, create their
simply darling little angelfish dresses and teach them
daintily, without running and creasing
their starched skirts,
from the cloying, pink jellyfish tentacles:
their barbs are black and purple, spells
bursting open like hydrogen bombs over
the Pacific islands,
black magic, sea ink,
a body shape too thick to be proper,
mouths painted red and wide with too much laughter.
"One musn't," and
"it is rude to"
Ha'adamI was born beneath the signHa'adam in Free Verse More Like This
of the hazel tree, ideal for
wands or divining rods.
On my bad days, like Merlin I
look backwards on the days that are to come,
carry the memory of my future forest-prison.
But on days when I am fearless,
I become Morgaine and I
turn my lacy leaf-petticoats
to face the sun.
I Didn't Mean a Thingi need a song.I Didn't Mean a Thing in Free Verse More Like This
i need something to cling to,
something besides hollow words describing things that
i need something in dreams and chords and A Major,
like the porchlamps and streetsigns and morning drops on roses.
i want journal entries blaring radio-tune one-hit-wonders
out open windows, even in the rain,
just to be different.
i need a reminder of where I've been:
story book tales of days before i was broken and you were guilty.
yet you have always been guilty, haven't you?
and you've always been forgiven.
i have watched every line fall into place
on your once perfect face
as i drifted back from Mars
listening to you claim I never meant a thing.
Never meant a thing.
and, baby, i'm ready for springtime
and days beyond when i don't even remember your name.
because with you the inflections of every statement
lead into questions i can't bear to hear anymore.
i have searched for the answers in trafficlights and gospels
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.
Moonshinei.Moonshine in Free Verse More Like This
we watch the moon
shedding her pockmarked surface
for the smooth visage of womanhood
you and i follow suit
and peel back layers of clothing and skin
to find the nervous long-legs underneath
do you think she's beautiful?
we are reluctant to wipe off the colored powder
that made our little-girl faces older
we hear our voices die
little by little
but grown ups don't cry.
we're not allowed to cry.
and no matter how much we struggle
we will watch our little-girl dreams
hang empty and fading
as the tree branches block out
the stars in their orbit
throw the ashes to the wind
and we listen to the sea
as it plays a meditation on death
and carries pages of poems beyond our lives
truth blends into the lies
and the crowds at the train station
Divination as a Means of Finding a Way Back 1. I say nothing I am thinking.Divination as a Means of Finding a Way Back in Free Verse More Like This
For twelve years I have wanted
to do exactly this, but suddenly
pronouncing my own name calls up
the question of who it belongs to
in the same breath Like
Solomon I was born a singer
but in the wrong key and my
chords will not carry me, will not
summon the wolves to me only
packs of hungry dogs
stupid with domestication
but nearly feral And like
a hungry ghost I have learned
not to speak against those
who will give me food
2. A sketch of myself.
He says I must have been born
in the wrong culture, he says. I got a taste of
the crackling heat here, heat to drive you crazy,
and suddenly I open my wide arms for
New Orleans, find myself needing the wind from
the Great Plains. Like a buffalo I have the spirit
of the Sun and I carry it with me. I am a plant
of burnt umber,
brown, ready and waiting like
sage bushes, like the hill you go to that is best
for collecting jun
Only as Old"Frail bones predict what fragile minds can't detect,"Only as Old in Free Verse More Like This
He trailed off slowly, "And my bones are achin'."
The air around me hung low and depressed,
Sticking to the back of my throat like a stormy syrup
I'd tried to swallow down.
I peered out the kitchen window
And caught an inklet of patched-over-grey sky;
I wondered what was in store for the day.
Impartial to the gloom outside, we stepped out onto the back porch;
Grandpa wobbled out with his cane in hand and we waited.
In the hushed stillness the trees traded birds
Robins, swallows, whippoorwills, and cardinals.
If you squinted hard enough at the sullen shrubbery,
You could spot the caterpillar creeping to the underside of the leaf.
That's when I looked at Grandpa,
And saw through his eyes nature receding
At his prescience of a storm.
"Grandpa, how do you always know?"
He chuckled and simply said: "The world tells me."
It was left at that, but years later I have found
That the world is only as old as the person to whom you speak.
Retrograde Scents from inside the suit intertwined their intentions with the sights of tangled and tessellated hair illumed by firefly LED's, spiking my circulation with memories and murmurs of dopamine.Retrograde in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I took her by the gaze; she steered her sight away from mine. I led her through a glance that involved no scuffling of hands.
She was one of two wayward strangers passing in the cosmos; two separate glances met as objects in motion tending to motion. People aren't the same however.
Drifter was the term we were known as, people cast off of vessels and ships, mostly by accident, condemned to trudge about the universe until starvation kicked in or their oxygen-starved filters were finally incapable of operating. My unplanned departure from the mysteriously flaming
Disapproving of Daily Deviations On the topic of Daily DeviationsDisapproving of Daily Deviations in Personal More Like This
I like the idea behind Daily Deviations, featuring a new set of artists and their work every day by putting them in the spotlight of deviantART's footer is a great way to spread their work to others. The system by which they are selected I believe is not perfect as too often I see the same ^Community Volunteer selecting a featured piece of work without a suggestion for days on end. So obviously, there are some things that need fixing.
Most obviously, deviantART portrays its most highly regarded feature as an award, which confuses and irritates the hell out of many members. Before you continue, I ask that you favorite this journal and I will FEATURE your work, not give it an award.
I've always been aware of the trolling, jealous and upset commenters on works where the masses have decided it is not worthy or deserving of a Daily Deviation. To them, they have worked hard and seen others work toward
Bitlets 159Women keep to their curves:Bitlets 159 in Free Verse More Like This
pregnant navel and breasts
and hourglass figurines.
Men have their angles:
elbow jabs and erections
and chiseled figures.
SalatShe rotates gracefully.Salat in Free Verse More Like This
Today, she practices prayer behind the pillars
near the stairwell of the student commons.
Yesterday she could be seen in A building
by the rec room quiet and alone; content.
Monday I saw her situated near C building,
where I assume she has been studying art.
She rotates because it is salat; Muslim prayer.
When she prays her hijab falls over her face
in small folds, silent folds, worrying folds.
I’ve never seen her hair do the same.
But I push my bangs out of my eyesight,
cursing their constant presence and yet
adapt to my poorly-cut lengthy male strands
and pilgrim on by the makeshift masjid
in the student commons at the college.
I’ve never seen her.
I’ve never seen her rotate gracefully for me,
like an American woman would for a man:
“How does this look? Do you like it?”
She is not seeking validation; rather,
she rotates for herself so she doesn’t
hear the grin of the atypical American male:
Bitlets 322Don't ask meBitlets 322 in Free Verse More Like This
if I would do it all again
because I'm not finished
and I don't quit.
Bitlets 143I know you know the words,Bitlets 143 in Free Verse More Like This
now set your life to music.
Wishing CranesThe street-level apartment,Wishing Cranes in Free Verse More Like This
abandoned from wear and tornado
last spring, tells us love stories
in graffiti inscriptions.
Close enough to the road
that it leans looming over it,
the complex slumps, unused,
except by an eight year old boy;
old enough to have been told not to
and young enough to not understand.
He has hands that stutter—
because he folds paper
like he seals envelopes:
He has a mind that isn't reluctant;
why wish upon a star
when the beings
that can grant wishes
are in the spaces
Together, his head and hands
craft paper cranes.
Between knotted levels of rope,
cranes spread layered wings
and bob, breath-like,
He molds shapes
out of hangers,
nestling his dreams
into metal and numbered pages.
He has soul in his eyes
and heart in his palms;
why doubt the beauty of self
when he can craft it
from discarded treasures?
A sound heard from his right tightly
to loosely on his left: an injured bird
is cultivated on t
Bitlets 95My head is a lawn.Bitlets 95 in Free Verse More Like This
I pull hair out
like I'm pulling weeds,
treat my scalp with shampoo
like I'm using weedkiller
and the trick to tilling mania
is letting the weed take root.
Things I Would Tell HerI want to tell her the thingsThings I Would Tell Her 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.