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.
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
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-
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Wishbonei.Wishbone in Free Verse More Like This
You taught me that every river has a ribcage
filled with crayfish and cast-off pebbles
and a whisper where the heart should be.
If you look the currents in the eye
you will find a wishbone jutting from the gaps and
gasping for air, a stray limb or
misguided root that has forgotten
how to grow toward the sun. Grab both ends
until the fault line stretches all the way
to the ocean. You will hear it splinter,
the marrow dripping out like hot wax or
some frozen nectar
bled from unsuspecting sky.
This is where the evening
splits in two: one half scribbled hastily
on the back of a shedding rainstorm and the other
devoured by lightning-glut
and forged into the trunks of willow trees. The horizon
is not a boundary, but a reminder that the stars
are not immortal and even light must sleep.
Watch the night at quarter-phase. The moon
like a pendant from the sky's breast--
it is only the husk of another dead planet
whose corpse came too close to our gravity.
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
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
PeopleI wonder if you'll read this.People in Free Verse More Like This
The words on the computer screen are mesmerizing.
Deep enchantments magic
older than this world
surface in the white spaces.
Pleasure moments fill every page
and visions of hills we will one day see and buildings and stars
drip down the walls into puddles that decieve
like my glow-in-the-dark nail polish,
not so dull in the darkness. can you see the hidden kingdom?
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.
Eight Prayers: Truthi.Eight Prayers: Truth in Free Verse More Like This
watch the brilliant cacophony
the clever din that hides
the purest whispers.
the violent secrecy
keeps my dreams alive
hard-wired into the cold machinery
of a hospital room.
staring at the cold
let the apocalypse motions
5-4-3-2-1 Judgment Day
seize up in ice-cold stone.
living the world alone.
what do you read
in teacup hearts?
the honest tea leaves
tell the tale of words gone by.
watch the magnificent skyscrapers.
what hides behind their iron shells?
beware the anonymity
of city streets.
flash past the graffitied mirror
of the subway windows.
Where has my heart gone?
.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.
.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.
.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
.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
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?
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
Rag and BoneWe're in the cellar six feet of earth belowRag and Bone in Free Verse More Like This
the berth of the sun. The air is sour, choked
with dust balls and the smell of pressed flowers home
to our rag and bone collection
of junk. Here, fragments of our past
sunk beneath dust resurface broken shells,
toy boats and the water-logged faces
of old photos. The ghosts of childhood float
round this mute room as if passing through
the chambers of the heart. But it's this debris
of memories that keeps us anchored still: for we
have always been hybrid creatures,
fixed in double exposure; the flint-stitched
children of junkyards.
But despite this jumble of spareparts
and all our patchwork surgery,
there's something missing -
for if you put your ear
to the floor, you can't hear it breathe,
and the chest in which we rest
is wooden. Outside our silver-tongued sleepscapes,
these walls are dead; vaulted - and there's
no message from beyond. The lips
of our bric-a-brac limbs twitch
without sound whilst we founder
in the depths
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).
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
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.
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 143I know you know the words,Bitlets 143 in Free Verse More Like This
now set your life to music.
BibliophiliaTo all the books I haven't read:Bibliophilia in Free Verse More Like This
I have become your bookshelf
of dusted titles and busted spines
with arms that are full of fantasy
and romance and a head full
of memoirs I haven't written,
their lexicon curling my tongue
around five dollar word-plays
just behind the sheaf of my teeth.
With definitions straight to the point
and description airy and lofted
a dictionary defenestrates pages
that whirl into the night, petal
papers gliding like elegant
prose in a blank journal.
There is no table of contents
to map your way; follow the veins
ink leaves in the margins of my palms
because the books I've read tell me
if they give you ruled paper,
write the other way;
you are someone else's collage,
all the worn sad evidence of humanity,
stirred and sorted by a poet
because good books,
like bad people,
don't give up all their secrets at once.
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
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.
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 was Eros once.I stuffed my throat,I was Eros once. in Free Verse More Like This
and pockets full of roses.
I tied myself up with heartstrings.
I set myself on fire.
Muddy PorcelainWhat am I to do with all this silence?Muddy Porcelain in Free Verse More Like This
Or shall I coalesce
and the soothing,
of tender Phantasos?
I am no rough beast,
but sometimes feel that way:
how it was
when I was free.
On NietzscheWhen you gaze longOn Nietzsche in Free Verse More Like This
into the abyss,
it feasts on
that never had an answer.
anxious to be heard.
its hunger never sated
for burning, blinding lights:
it gazes also into you.
SolitudeWhat are you thinking about?Solitude in Free Verse More Like This
I'm thinking of the velvet lies
that shackled me,
a broken slave of morning's star.
I fill my mind with compound eyes,
dripping from the wise,
that crawl on ragged wings
all over ragged me.
Friends and enemies
make an exodus:
and beat me with their echoes
until I fall on sharper futures,
Puppet of the massesI doPuppet of the masses in Free Verse More Like This
and I don't
want to care...
They saunter in
and stroll right out
of both my ears and mind.
The footprints that they leave
are burdens borne
aloft on shoulders grave.
I'm just a poor boy,
nobody loves me...
Oh, to push those burdens
back to whence they came!
But better off am I
to try on Tartar's slopes,
which lie and cheat and steal
and oft deceive my mind
until it burns a flame
of never-ending pain?
But I do
and I don't
want to care...
Hang from sword-thin threads,
now within my mind -
and they are made of words,
like care and you and I -
do I on weeping wrists
and lonely bleeding eyes.
Somehow standingAll I seeSomehow standing in Free Verse More Like This
is weeping silence,
sewn into the rhythms of my life
sound inside my cage,
with dull routine.
I have wound myself,
Did it help?
I simply found myself
a spring, coiled,
I'll eat what ash
can flavoured be,
and build my walls
with friends of silence
and weep my clockwork tears
through drying veins
and cracking eyes.
Blessed Carnal ValentineThere is somethingBlessed Carnal Valentine in Free Verse More Like This
in the meeting of lips
I will never lose the taste of you...
It burns upon the end
of tender tongues,
and flows from roses
that in passion blush.
It wanders through my veins...
It wraps itself
within a heart
strengthens the pulse
until the world around
It's you, my sustenance and heartbeat...
It brings the mind
blessed carnal valentine.