A Gods DebtSutured together by artists,A Gods Debt in Free Verse More Like This
hallowed out, & spit back up,
( you are afraid. )
Hooks longing for her ribcage embrace;
god-hands that can't seem to keep to themselves
grapple the gargoyle exterior of her deflowered frame.
( spread your legs. )
Red-inked and trembling,
prosetry masked as screams
knots into her anatomy.
BloodI've got a filthy mouth,Blood in Free Verse More Like This
& a house of stars
thriving in my throat.
& I still have yet to tame
this grounded constellation
I call my temple. -Slithering
tongue hissing too many
"fuck you's" against my teeth.
I fear I will write myself hollow-
or until my bones are corroded away
& I am nothing-
an insignificant nebula
orbiting the wrong atmosphere.
But, my veins bleed sweet ichor,
& words are only words, Mother.
ConstellationShe is dream dust,Constellation in Free Verse More Like This
too bitter or wise
for her own good.
A timeless dragon's soul
somewhere inside a
scaled shell, burning
the silence in her bones
alive, honeysuckle sweet.
She collects fireflies only to
set them free at 3am,
crying to an uncaring moon.
& she's begging for the stars
to take her away,
make this house a home
rigged in the sky.
She is already naked fever
swimming through the cosmos
& I orbit her.
RepossessionYour words tore into my abdomen like vultures feeding onRepossession in Free Verse More Like This
the raw emotion their filthy wings stirred up from the dust.
My ribs cracked from the blow.
But, I think sometimes
of how these were the ribs
that should have chased you away from me,
quietly wondering how you managed to
slither past this cage of bone and flesh
to engrave your fingerprints into my marrow.
You were sweat & spice & scars-
a thunderstorm of black and blue sex
jarring and devouring my insides,
shaped a faithless religion
through the cracks & broken shards
of my hollowed out womb.
(I want my insides back.)
astrological.i. On some nights,astrological. in Free Verse More Like This
street lights guide
this lonely heart
to her lonely bed.
ii. In this universe of twilight skin
& mismatched bones,
I wonder just how many poems sleep
beneath the inkwell of her eyes.
iii. My body is a house of stars,
and her palms are black holes
sucking ( me ) into their vortex of
iv. She says, "Pleaseómy moon,
pleaseógive these bones a reason
& I am whispering lovelies
into the sanctuary of her heartbeats.
v. "Goddess temple,
sunset eyes, &
my windowpane love-
Let us eat the stars
Lonely Gods"I wish my body to be a staircaseLonely Gods in Free Verse More Like This
to heaven." She said, "A conduit
of lonely Gods."Swaying
pendulum hips, she, she
was made of stardust.- Scars sleeping
above a city of sweet bones, stirring
like sun-stricken scorpions during
hollow painkiller nights,
mistaking her redred burns
for Apollos kisses.
"Sadly, this body has whispered away
the last of my secrets."
Her Musethese words are not poetryHer Muse in Free Verse More Like This
swimming liquid fire through ashes
of dead phoenix veins.
no, they are rough and callused
with over use, their own faithless artists
spewing black tar from their lungs
in the hopes to one day breathe again.
nothing moves her.
she would rather scribble her heart out
on physical manifestations of her own reality-
on skin and bones she worships like a temple.
"Write of me," he says, "right here."-
planting sun-stricken kisses
along the hollow of her burning throat.
"I want to be where your heart sleeps."
Collection of poetic nothings.We were opal Tuesdays,Collection of poetic nothings. in Free Verse More Like This
tattooed into the
rose garden curve
of my vertebrae,
gliding me through this wild youth.
But, like Icarusó
I was a sky conqueror
& these silk wings
touched the sun.
My inhalations are heavy,
like the earth he bruises
beneath his fingertips
as I chase silence.
"You've got a tongue
made for words." He says
against the arrogant thorns
of my briar spine.
"Learn to love yourself."
How do I say I love you
without saying I love you?
"I want to replace my heart with you."
You are spider silk woven
into my harvest moon
limbs traveling this road map
of songbird sin.
You are not just in my head now,
you are dancing in the lingering stars
of my night-witch frame
& setting me on fire.
You're not bruised enough
to write poetry.
Allow these bones to tell your story, Love.
fly.this is hard for the world around us to grasp:fly. in Free Verse More Like This
these wildfires raging in our retinas
& the sins we wear like demonic similes
on our tongues- they are not enough.
& i am so fucking sorry of saying i'm sorry.
but, tell me,
what is a young poet(ess) to do
with veins made of kite strings?
No wander about it, just lust.You were a mid-morning train wreck,No wander about it, just lust. in Free Verse More Like This
the embodiment of poetry.
& my clavicles whispered too many nothings
about your summer storm hands,
folding like paper cranes
to make wishes upon themselves.
wishes are for the weak-
do something about this quaking heart
& freezing fingers.
I think I found God then,
Storybook AddictionsI want you to love me as much as you doStorybook Addictions in Free Verse More Like This
the thorns in your side; seeds planted and
forgotten and bleeding cyclically.
when the swallowed night drowns and
drains darkness like a trickled lullaby, I want
to be the last thing in your dreams.
I want to be your mistake East of Eden, your lack
of redemption; when they tear apart your paper
flesh with metal claws, I want to be the one you
come crawling back to with bloodied knees.
[right now I am an empty vessel, unfulfilled
and metaphorically obsolete. I want to clear
my throat for once, without seeing the ashes
of my disease.]
I want to love you like a swansong;
breezes make your bones ache and
I am always cold-- no one wants the
wind: it bites and they identify my
prickled flesh as its invitation.
[I wish I weren’t the pendulum
around your neck, counting the days
until you’d finally leave]
I only ever wanted you to love me.
Call Me Cicatricein a sloping curve, the scar covered his backCall Me Cicatrice in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
like an indefinite symbol of defiance. puckered
at the ridges, slithering across his shoulder blades, it was
something special in the way it interrupted his skin
/chronicle incomplete/ I reached out to touch it,
he caught my hand "you always did find beauty
in the broken." they always had more stories to tell.
I was something inexperienced (but never innocent).
I fell for his natural enjambments and
inability to meet my eyes. he fell for
the fact I was freshly born (but never young).
our first kiss was under a sycamore tree
that watched the world pass by. he said
he wanted to steal away my words, I knew
he was trying not to collapse. the tree
stood on as our lives expanded into something
entirely new, but exactly the same. "we always
try to build new beginnings to find a way
back to our firsts." but resets don't work.
he held his head highest on the days the sky was low,
for a reason he'd never explain /reminiscent/
I told him, onc
zeroi sworezero in Free Verse More Like This
i would never number the poems
i wrote about myself because that
would be like ticking off the days
until my breakdown;
i was a moth, unapologetically throwing myself
at any gleam of hope; wasting my wings
on industrial promises
colors always felt much more
appropriate for the purple boiling
beneath my heart and the pallid
purposelessness of my head,
but i was born into a colorless world--
no one sees me behind the metallic scars
of my skin and iron grating of my voice against
the grain; no one sees me as more than
gray regret or monochrome mistakes,
no one sees me but
all i ever wanted was for a
fallen god with feathered heels
to believe in me: to pray upon
the monuments i built for
broken dreams and to baptize me
in his tainted tears,
i just want him to be real. more
than anything, i want to be real, i want
to be more than an imaginary friend
to various mental limitations; i want
to trade my liquid skin [evaporating]
for a chance to be
i am a moth and you are the lighthouse
Ephemeral1.Ephemeral in Free Verse More Like This
i wake up and tear the sun
from the sky like this is a
grade school art project and i
am supposed to share something
worthy of myself-- i think
there is a black hole nestled
betwixt my lonely ribs,
devouring anything alive.
on days like these, my greatest weakness
is weakness and i am my own fatal flaw.
we live by mantras and my ears ring
‘i hate every piece of me’
(he put his head to my chest
and heard me dying;
call me beautiful now)
we are the false ends of sunken
universes, we are pieces of
dead galaxies and you are
stardust, †god, you are
i believe that this is all just a dream
by someone with an imagination
bigger than the word “no,” that we
are pawns in a game not worth
remembering, but when i’m with you
i never took kindly to things
that required codependency,
the uncalloused portion
of my frostbitten heart
but god, you are
on how I need youtoday is a six-word story:on how I need you in Free Verse More Like This
I’m tired of waking up
I will peel back your
every insecurity and anxiety
and watch them fall to the floor
like vodka petals, regurgitated mosaics,
I will see you naked and
reborn and you will break apart
into passive aggressive poetic
dedications and unsent letters and
I will hate and love you
for the very same reasons and
I will move on.
catch a falling star, put it in your pocketthere's something about those little brokencatch a falling star, put it in your pocket in Free Verse More Like This
dreamer girls with misproportionate promises
and lingering whispers,
who walk like angels, lost, and trying
to find a way back home;
whose hearts bleed abnormally loud
and resonant- those girls with
shadows like ghosts [dead and haunting],
that make them a flavor
to taint your tongue.
if you listen close, you can hear the
unraveling words that once knit the hollow space
between their bones,
you can hear their shallow sighs like
sun sets for a final time.
you can hear their ticking time bomb lungs
and you can touch their secrets, because they
wear them on their skin. not like wounds,
more like sun kisses or wispy tattoos
ingrained into who they are; you won't know
what they mean until you connect the dots
and find answers in their questioning stares.
they'd like to remain something unknown, because
they've identified the world as a disease- vile and
insidious, with the capability of sinking
underneath your flesh and changing who you are.
checklist of a masochistiiichecklist of a masochist in Free Verse More Like This
you were an untouched sunset,
never before seen and familiar
at the same time; delicately shedding
shades of pink the same color
of your starving voice
and I was most beautiful
with my clothes off, too much skin
intersected by too many lines (never
the near parallel you longed for)
a hazy blur that made the nights
our own watercolor cliche
you were that cheap love song
that never sounded authentic,
lyrics stitched through your
paper skin; chords resonating
from your every wanting sigh
and you were surprised how much
you needed me, from the concrete solidity
of my ribs to the metaphoric indecency
of my thoughts, naked and trembling
for your callused ears (or maybe
it was just me, justifying the way
you skinned my anxious layers
with your ravenous hands,
like underfed beasts)
you were the child crying
at shadows pretending to be monsters,
running from the prospect of
god and death and gravity;
& you were the letter I never sent
"I'm done apologizing for
the person I wasn't befor
defeatheredand this is where we bury our hearts,defeathered in Free Verse More Like This
between self-defeating personality disorders
and burnt bridges and midnight ramblings
we promise ourselves aren’t true;
embedding our memories in forsaken homes
like it is a conscious decision to shed
our wings (reptiles don’t fly)
and maybe I am the monster of every
myth: wide-eyed and jagged toothed and
looking to regain a piece of myself the
world borrowed, many moons ago
as I falter and stumble over my own unaware
feet, wreaking havoc, reeking of self-acquittal--
all I ever wanted to do was belong.
dreams are flaws much like the hearts we
flaunt on our sleeves, and I seem to
have lent all mine away; I am
something entirely ignorant, in the dark,
believing fingers fumbling can find answers.
they never told me reflections are backwards
and the world spins the wrong way and
hurricanes are really an embodiment
of all our own withdrawals:
but one day, these walls will crumble,
and I will learn to breathe in dust.
it's the little things that follow you to sleeplately, i’ve been wasting every minuteit's the little things that follow you to sleep in Free Verse More Like This
choking on inevitabilities; wondering
how many times i’ll promise myself
this year i’ll be different until
i move on to something less
unattainable. truthfully, i’m just sorry
for the ones who still think
and i have been waiting an
ugly amount of years for my
prophetic completion-- a love like
i say you’re beautiful when really i mean
you make my heart stop, like
i was born to meet you or perhaps
i’m actually breaking some universal law
of equilibrium; loving something
i want a love like that:
napkin poems, handwritten
and tender and accidental collisions
igniting a thousand forest fires
beneath my skin; me,
blossoming like a wildflower
on a california highway, basking
in the sun and ignored definition
of earthly limitations. i want to believe
that somewhere, there’s a boy
built of summer sunsets and shooting stars
for every homesick girl who never
quite fit in, t
existentialism and shoddy metaphorsI was violet-cheeked andexistentialism and shoddy metaphors in Free Verse More Like This
diamond-hearted; a work
of art in reverse,
tearing between my ribs
and calling it beautiful,
and I wonder now why they
never taught me this in school;
the sepia-saturated glow life
gives out some point after
you’ve realized wishes are
for those who’ve not yet
woken more alone than when
they went to sleep,
they never taught me all
the reasons why or that
sin tastes sweet. I met
my maker once in a backalley
bar, stormy eyes and peppermint
breath, charming off a hangover;
he sighed, “I know how many
days it’ll take you to give up
completely. I know how many
dreams you’ve sold away and
how many lies you need to
swallow before you can fall asleep.
I know that you’ve never quite
grown up and I know that
you’re afraid of me” he
smiled silent and downed
another drink, losing himself
in the ramblings of a solipsistic
existence where “I” am finally all
that matters (and sometimes
I believe I was built hollow
Drink DeepWe are not yetDrink Deep in Free Verse More Like This
dead, but the
have you believe
that we are dying.
We have rehearsed
the methods of our
We make muses
from nature and
from each other.
We assume, like the
canyon's high-water mark,
that the floods
will not come.
Who am I
to say that
this is false,
that we have
that hold us apart-
(we are ever so slightly
levitating off the ground
and from each other.)
And the streets protest
by rehearsing the methods
of our end.
When our blood
turns to alcohol
and the first thing
they see of us
is the white
of our bones.
lower_casei have not read enough poetrylower_case in Free Verse More Like This
and i am not one to muse
or maybe think
but i do have
i am one student in a freshman course
why so many poets use only
is it artistic
is it sexy
to write as if
you do nothing but whisper
i want to be loud
the survivors of death
to remember me
i will not mutter
like a fetus
perhaps there is
nothing to this
but there is value
in knowing how to yell
and in absolute
Ignore AdviceWrite ten bad poems.Ignore Advice in Free Verse More Like This
Write one hundred
Write and drink.
Keep a notebook with you,
write in public
and make sure that others
know that you are, in fact,
Write a love poem,
then throw it away
because all the good ones
have already been read.
write about the decision
instead of the feeling.
Write one sentence
say to yourself that
this is it, THIS is IT.
and tell yourself that again.
CloudyThere is something worseCloudy in Free Verse More Like This
than writer's block;
it's when the words come in
through the heat,
through the loneliness,
or the sheets with
It's when the words are right
in your head
for paper or someone else,
and all I can mutter is that
my head hurts-
and I need to go to sleep.
Cinema SparksImagine a man and woman,Cinema Sparks in Free Verse More Like This
or woman and woman,
it really doesn't matter;
huddled together beneath
an umbrella as if it
were a tree with long branches
to stop the rain and
block out the sun,
or simply provide a sense
of security if the weather
were to suddenly change,
it really doesn't matter.
For whatever reason,
they are together-
but what's interesting is
they obviously do not even
know each other.
They both clutch the umbrella
but their hands are
careful not to clutch
because in some cultures
it's not polite to
but in this case,
it really doesn't matter.
For whatever reason
they are together
beneath the umbrella-tree;
they are close
whether it is some
common courtesy during a
sparks are flying from damaged
cinema lights above
as they clutch anything-
but each other.
Biology (In Defense Of Free Verse)The heart has four chambers:Biology (In Defense Of Free Verse) in Free Verse More Like This
two muscular atria and
two ventricles that alternate
between relaxing and
throughout the body.
This is one of many processes
that occur whether you
want it to or not.
I can sense your flesh and
when I breathe you in like pollen
or particles of smoke.
You are a part of my lungs
before tiny capillaries carry you
sleeping or intoxicated
to my heart.
Then it seizes up-
pumping little bits of you
through my veins like nerve endings
and I feel you
from my waist to my lips and
inside my brain.
The primary cause of love
is the chemical phenethylamine
that is released by eating
chocolate; or more importantly,
by feeling you against me
and nobody else.
Proteins are given purpose
through tender shaping
into a perfected form.
This can be observed
on a larger scale
It is said
during academic dissections,
that structure and form
But try and tell me
that this freedom before you
To Remember You ByIf you choose to slit your wrists,To Remember You By in Free Verse More Like This
smear something thoughtful
on the walls with your blood.
If you are planning to set yourself on fire,
coat your clothes in copper
so you burn emerald green.
If you are going to leap from a building,
do a flip or something
on your way back down.
If you decide to use a gun,
make it a revolver, play
Russian roulette until you win.
Give us something
remember you by.
To Be Said With A HandshakeI don't writeTo Be Said With A Handshake in Free Verse More Like This
out of any sort of knowledge;
I write because
I don't know
any of the answers.
This is my relaxation
between chasing girls
because having rivals is just
as thrilling as
getting the girl.
Trust me on this.
I do stupid
and I am not proud.
Trust me on this too.
I don't fight
for sport, but I know how to.
but I don't know any of the answers.
If you think you know,
I won't listen
without a kiss
(or a fist)
to the face first.
Trust me on this.
I rarely lie but,
I do stupid
and I am not proud.
Trust me on this too.
Company Of OneIt's so niceCompany Of One in Free Verse More Like This
to wake up
alone in your bed
not having to
tell someone you love them
when you don't.
There's only your alarm clock
and the yawn of cars
to greet you.
AntidoteYellowed wallpaper flowers bloom and peelAntidote in Free Verse More Like This
in the steamy interior shade.
The kettle sings a monotone falsetto.
The clouds are made of moths
flying towards the sun.
I can feel your hands asking me
in the way they cradle your porcelain glass.
I could find an answer if you want to know why
but for now,
just look at all this light.
Shatter PointShatter Point:Shatter Point in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
Can you see
what all the world has-
Done to me
I've locked away my-
I wanna break
My shatter point, my shatter point
I'm up against the wall at my shatter point
A thousand faces keep calling to me into the night
Their whispers drive me further up and away from the light!
Just fall again and-
I want you down and you'll-
Just stop breathing and-
The shatter point, the shatter point
You know that you are up and against the wall
The shatter point, my shatter point
Leave me breaking against my shatter point
A thousand faces keep calling me into the night
I'll waste away in the whispers that taint all the light
Just leave me breaking against the weight of the wall
It keeps me close to the edge until I learn to FALL!
-Chen Yuan Wen, 25th August 2012
You Left Me StrongerYou Left Me Stronger:You Left Me Stronger in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Hey there, it's been awhile, do you remember me?
I guess you might not, since I wasn't very important to you.
You know, I spent so many days thinking about - what I did wrong
I questioned if maybe, I was at fault or if I was screwed up.
I thought a lot about the things you said...
The things that were my fault, my problems.
I took them to heart at first, but then I realised you were wrong.
I realised that you are selfish and ugly on the inside.
On the surface you pretended to care, but like a cancer;
You amputate someone the moment you think they've gone bad.
You hide from the rigours of life and only emerge like a parasite
When everything is good - when everything is fine and dandy.
I used to think that I was afraid of you leaving,
But now I know, that you've left me stronger than I was before.
You know, this was supposed to be an emotional whine; an emotional spill,
Maybe I was supposed to cry tears and beg you to come back, but you know wha
I Can't Devour You, Not YetI Can't Devour You, Not Yet:I Can't Devour You, Not Yet in Free Verse More Like This
I long to taste the sweetness of your flesh,
To roll your meat between my tongue and teeth.
So many times have I come - so close -
To taking that first bite from your neck.
Yet, there is something about you,
A scent perhaps or a sickly sap.
It turns bitter upon my tongue,
Poisoning it; I am left unable to eat...
Much like the caterpillar, covered in spines,
Each bite would spew only bitter venom -
Numbing my senses and dulling the mind;
It would leave me naught but a gormless wreck!
Even so, despite me knowing of the repugnant taste,
I am drawn toward you, like a moth to the flame.
May my wings crumble in the heart of the fire -
& body be turned to dust and ash...
If only for the chance to feast once more!
Ah, my dear - I will have you.
& on that day it will be so sweet.
But for now - I'm afraid that -
I must leave this as a mere - tantalizing - fantasy...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 12th December 2012
I Like To Play With SkinI Like To Play With Skin:I Like To Play With Skin in Free Verse More Like This
My dear friends and watch,
As the feeling of life itself
Crumbles beneath each ounce of pain.
Needles slowly piercing into the body,
Paralyzing nerves and expressions.
A mask of pure horror; living terror,
Kept alive on the barest limit of the border.
Such tempting features,
Leave me eager to slip a knife beneath flesh.
Ripping soft layers of epidermal mache,
Tanned and dried, woven slowly into a loving mask.
And with my latest acquisition complete,
Only twenty spaces remain...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 28th April 2013
WinterfallWinterfall:Winterfall in Free Verse More Like This
Warm blood drips upon the pearl white snow
freezing into droplets that shine and glow
Red like the colour of his once livid cheeks
It frames the sculpture I have carved on this peak
An artwork made so terrifyingly sublime
I believe that such a thing would be condemned as a crime
But woe betide the unfortunate soul
For the poor man stumbled into the freezing cold...
I remember his features in his moment of death
Hope and despair, intermingled as one
A shine of reality as he opens the door
and steps into the hell from the days of yore
From then he has passed into my loving care
His body as a shell and so I lay it bare
I paint it with colours, to frame the moment of death
and lay it with the others in the mountain's breast
Here in the silence, within the womb of the earth
You can view the masterpiece that I have birthed
A giant of corpses, sewn with flesh
Tattooed with the faces of eternal rest...
"Ah, indeed I am a genius..."
-Chen Yuan Wen, 23rd August 2012
JudgementJudgement:Judgement in Free Verse More Like This
You are a mewling coward and weakling
Offal to the world, yet too arrogant to admit it!
Unbridled by the feelings of shame and guilt;
A man who was naught but a self-serving sycophant...
Remember the days that you used to spend
Envious of others who worked harder than you
More and more you would curse at their backs
It was an act that blackened your tongue and soul!
Now as you gaze into the maw of the inferno
Endlessly waiting for the judge's call
Read the first letter of every line, and know the fate for which you fall.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 6th July 2012
Player versus PlayerPlayer versus Player:Player versus Player in Free Verse More Like This
Elemental artisttry, as lightning weaves through the air.
I see the bloodthirst in his eyes, the hunger for victory.
A demand to be recognised, yet soon to be silenced;
Perfect and perfunctory - my opponent made defunct...
As I stand above this dying creature;
The flicker of life soon fading from their eyes.
I smile and whisper a word of parting,
For the fool who fell where he lies.
-Unfinished piece by Chen Yuan Wen, 10th April 2012
These Tears Would Come:These Tears Would Come:These Tears Would Come: in Free Verse More Like This
If my tears could tell a story of two -
What would they have to say about you?
Of a boy who spent his whole life seeking
And a girl who found it in the arms of another…
Would they tell us of laughter? Beneath a starlit sky,
Or of harsh words exchanged on bitter nights.
Would they speak of moments, so beautifully captured;
To be enjoyed in memory, like a perfect wine.
Or perhaps they would tell us of an untampered truth:
Of the lonely nights spent longing, for an Eden lost.
Captivated, habituated, to this lonely habit of you;
For her alone, these tears would come.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 31st march 2013
A Pirate Makes a PoemA Pirate Makes a Poem:A Pirate Makes a Poem in Free Verse More Like This
Apparently all it takes
Ta get ye works ta slake
Is a simple scheme o' rhyme
Which takes a minute o' time
Perhaps I'll do the same
It's fair ta play this game
No meanin' in tha words
They just flop around like birds
"Oh this stuff it speaks to me!"
Really is that true?
I'm afraid ye might be daft me thinks
Ye certainly be loose a screw
For if works do not have meanin'
Then they're simply done and dull
I think I'd rather spend me time
Playin' dice in a golden skull
I suppose that what tha people want
Is a simple kind o' style
One that looks as good as ale
But tastes like bricks and bile
"Now then lads, do I get ta be a poet too?"
-Chen Yuan Wen, 10th July 2012
Whispers of the MadWhispers of the Mad:Whispers of the Mad in Free Verse More Like This
Your lips remain painted with the scars of torment
Carved so as to split with every word of speech
The glass that slices through your softened flesh
Bears the marking we know as 'Vinashuka'
And now he lies beneath the falling sand
Drowning in a world that is sinking away
Though his feet will seek the stability of ground
He finds himself caught by 'Vinashuka'
A disturbing word that rings hollow at best
For it carries the tone of a tainted solitude
A heart that has been corrupted by physical pain
Can only scream 'Vinashuka!'
How does a man know when he has gone insane?
To descend into a world where logic is naught
A moon that carries the colour of blood
Shall paint my skin with 'Vinashuka'
I have lost all sense of meaning in this place
There is no where else for my soul to flee
Caught within the whispers of delusory madness
I can only repeat Vinashuka...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 13th July 2012
UndeservedI don't deserve to be an artist.Undeserved in Free Verse More Like This
I don't know how to hold deep meaningful conversations with strangers.
I don't lament at night about a lover I have lost.
I don't watch the white smoke ebb into darkness.
I don't spend lonely nights admiring the true beauty of the world.
I don't sleep restlessly from the truth of suffering within this world.
I don't lie through my smiles or struggle to create them.
But I do think I am a writer.
I am completely, irreparably damaged.
I cry all night over old words and emotional baggage.
I weep over my lost innocence.
I spend nights wishing for skin against my own
I long for insomnia to inspire me.
I beg for worlds to collide so I can breathe.
So am I writer really?
Or just another misguided artist?
My Name is Hollow.Hello.My Name is Hollow. in Free Verse More Like This
My name is Hollow.
I live inside your soul.
Under the layers and layers of skin,
and tissue and muscle...
all the way down where nothing
and everything survives.
(I wish I knew before I trusted you
That lying is second nature to one
with as many regrets as you.)
My name is Hollow.
I live inside you now,
because you gave me the power
in all your virtuous belief
that the world was good
to survive your strength...
(I hoped to God you wouldn't
lie or steal or break what is already
a thousand pieces of a broken soul.)
My name is Hollow.
You let me in when sex
began to feel like an ache.
But the pain felt better than
dealing with the hurt
inside your head, your heart...
(This was always a world for those
that were harder than me
Strength is sometimes a very relative thing.)
My name is Hollow.
I am the jagged lines you draw
all along your skin,
your muscles, your bones...
The sharp edge of a knife,
the scarlet drops of remorse.
(Here's a question now for your
My InspirationYou once asked me what inspired me, sweet love;My Inspiration in Free Verse More Like This
And I shall tell what you want to hear...
It is a girl who isn't clever, but clever in what she knows
and a lost boy who knows exactly where he is going to go.
It is the scent of cologne and smoke and lovemaking
and a man who wears his heart on his sleeve
It is a woman who has always believed in her lover
and he will let her down no more
It is a sick man who is whole again
and the wife who stayed by his side
It is a writer who has found a brand new muse
and the paint of the artist who draws her lover
It is the words of a poet whose trust is renewed
and the warmth in the words of the person who finds love anew
It is the broken hearted girl who is loved and doesn't know
and the tears that are caught in the hands of the unknown lover below
It is the boy with the tuneless guitar who plays it anyway
and the door opening just as you're walking away.
It is the chords of a song which is yet to be sung...
and of course, the sound of a rainstorm wh
You call it Judgement, We call it SinEmily needs the words to understand that she isn't being unreasonable. She just wants them to mean something and not be a string of words which flows into itself over and over again.You call it Judgement, We call it Sin in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She doesn't like her name either. Not because Emily isn't a pretty name but because she would rather be called something she feels like. (She has never quite forgiven her parents for choosing her name for her.) If she could, she would call herself Glass, because that is what she wakes up feeling like every morning. As if crystallised pieces of glass are edible and her insides tingle as she swallows them whole.
Emily lets the words call her names sometimes. She writes them on her knees so that she can remember them. Sometimes the words call her a whore, and sometimes stupid, and sometimes a loser and sometimes a tramp (She has never learnt that loving too much is a crime and boys with pretty eyes sometimes lie.). She sits in the bathroom with a pen the colour of blood and writes them carefully
Teaching Summer to BreatheSummer will always remind me of hot, sweltering nights spent drinking sangria, through the dripping fairy lights of your bedroom window. A sticky, starry sky looked back at us, the glow of the moon almost golden in the heat. Fourteen meant we weren't growing up fast enough and a liquor cabinet key seemed to hold the answer to that problem.Teaching Summer to Breathe in Emotional More Like This
You taught me how to drink that night.
(You also showed me how beautiful it was to just hold your breath till your head spins and reality seems like it is going to fade further and further away.)
Six summers ago I met a boy who liked to tell me how much like summer I was. He was big boned and thin skinned and the first time I told him he wasn't mine to keep, he left handprints on my skin that reminded you of a canvas covered in autumn leaves that you saw in New York. Then you proceeded to break every single window in his house (Yes, even the one in the attic he loved so much.)
You taught me how to smile through heartbreak that night.
Austenesque Therapy“Hello.”Austenesque Therapy in Free Verse More Like This
“Good afternoon. Why have you come to see me today?”
“Because I had to.”
“I see. So tell me... what’s bothering you.”
“I lose my breath because I can’t believe that this is all I am going to be.”
“What is wrong with what you are?”
“I’m not loved.”
“You have your friends, your family-”
“Come on, you know what I mean. The devil-may-care-what-the-world-thinks, passionate, can’t-breathe-without-each-other, catch-you-when-you-fall-kind-of-love.”
“I don’t even know how to begin to find it in this world.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I prefer living in my books. I like how that makes me feel. And then I’m just disappointed.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“It makes me feel sometimes, like I am completely unreasonable to say, that in a time of smart phones
This is Not a Story about SuicideI am not here. These are not hospital walls. This is not a nurse who is speaking to me. That is not John unconscious, lying in a bed that faces due North, and that is not his mother trying to explain why his bed should always face North because he hates sleeping facing South.This is Not a Story about Suicide in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
This is not happening.
I am not taking a deep breath. I am not walking down the sickly white corridors with their bleach scent. I am not buying this cup of coffee from a cafeteria lady who is working at an hour that is reserved only for intensive care patients. This is not the way back to what is not John’s room.
That is not his heart rate dropping, and I am not running out of the room, screaming for help. We are not being pushed out, that door does not have a red light that claims intensive care, it has not been all night.
That is not John’s doctor explaining how they were not able to pump his stomach completely and it is not John who flat lined. That is not an empty hospital bed. That is not his moth
Crayon SoulmatesDear Stars,Crayon Soulmates in Free Verse More Like This
I have a bone to pick with you. You see, when I was six, I called myself the nowhere girl... and I coloured myself a soulmate. I made him on crumpled sheets, with broken pieces of crayon, on a playground that was too busy wondering whether growing up entailed stealing their mother's cigarettes and their father's dirty magazines (I suppose I was already wise enough to know that growing up meant choosing one of the many ways of breaking yourself in two.)
I hope you remember him, stars...he was important to me (My best friend threw that drawing away on my seventh birthday and told me that someone like me was not supposed to have such dreams.).
He had hair as ebony as deep onyx and a smile that never grew up (Peter Pan would have been proud). He was magic in soul form, and smelled like cinnamon and the earth after it has rained. His eyes rivaled a lions on the best of his youth, his words were story shaped. His skin was an ink coloured canvas of wonder and even in crayon
Astrologically Challenged“We need to ta- what are you looking at?”Astrologically Challenged in Free Verse More Like This
"Oh...but I thought you didn't like them."
“Actually, I hate horoscopes. They lie every single damned time.”
“Not to me they don’t.”
“Sure. You were saying something.”
“We need to break up.”
“I fell in love with you before you were the boy who sang about my problems in your songs, and before you tried to evolve me into your version of a better me and before I saw how you treated your neighbour’s dog and before I knew how much you believed in horoscopes.”
“What’s wrong with horoscopes?”
“Nothing, except for the fact that you never really thought of it as a novel idea that you share the same day as one twelfth of the world.”
“Well you aren’t-”
“I’m not so perfect myself, I know. You loved me better before you read my poetry and understood how damage
Never Let Him Look South WestThe distance between Dublin and Boston is approximately 3000 miles. You told me this when you were staring south west with the kind of madness I have only seen in sailor’s eyes when they lived in lighthouses too small for their giant ship dreams. It should have worried me, that glint in your eyes. I just dismissed it as one of your navigational tantrums.Never Let Him Look South West in Emotional More Like This
When we went to the pub later that evening, you told me I should have the fish and chips, but the way you like it, with more vinegar and no tartar sauce. I said that made it too salty, and you told me that was how real sailors ate their fish. My reactions always were slow to your behavior. I believe the expression ‘at sea’ was applied more often than not when you spoke.
I never thought that the walks you mentioned on the beach when we were children had any more to the idea than the romance of it all. So when you told me you belonged to the sea, I thought you were talking about your soul.
It never truly meant anything
a siren's song.her ribcage burst into flowersa siren's song. in Free Verse More Like This
as her lungs swam to sea
and the world was silent
-like a film set on mute-
as it watched her dance
into her coral grave.
she grinned and laughed
and all you could hear
was the metallic scraping
of her tongue on her teeth
as her coppery laugh
fell into the ocean-
like a penny onto concrete.
her hair was a tangle of seaweed
drenched in brine
and adorned with salt flecks
that caught the sun in waves
crashing along the shoreline
in the treble notes of symphonies.
ensnared in wanderlust,
she ran towards the current
in hopes of finding herself
among the lost.
she wore fish-scales
on her clavicle
and sung her way down
to the bottom of atlantis.
the ships out at bay that day
only remember one thing:
she sunk like the titanic,
her bones tearing at the seams
and all that remained of her
were two hands
(whose knuckles were mountains
and skin was land)
receding into the curls
as the earth drowned into the sea.
and there was nothing left on the horizon
the artist.01.the artist. in Free Verse More Like This
the sky was earl grey
and the clouds were steamy sips
and i wanted to drink it all.
the leaves were star yellow
and the bark smelled of coffee
and the bakery was selling a moon made out of cheese.
there was an old man on a bench
he threw his wedding band in the sewer
i cried for him.
the birds were dreams
and the mountains, my obstacles,
tally ho young adventurer tally ho
i ran into an artist today
he drew signs on corner post buildings
but he also gave his lunch to a homeless boy.
my mom holds black holes beneath her eyes
and for the first time in days, she spoke to me,
"i'm worried about you. try to make some friends?"
dear mom, i am trying
i played chess with a man in the park
i helped a girl find her parents
i am content with who i am, mom,
now i am just trying to help others achieve the same.
i ran into the artist again today
and he taught me how to paint
and then he smiled at me and said, "you're different than the rest."
we made plans, me and
Some Lovers III died on a coldSome Lovers II in Free Verse More Like This
day, numbed fingers flexing,
grasping at the last traces of embers
withering in the grate.
I died holding your hand,
the hand I accidentally fractured
when I pushed you too
harshly near an edge
and you flailed to find
a more elegant way
to fall and then
I heard the scaphoid crack
but I didn't. I heard the cry
first and the pain came later
but you held my
I died with my arms
held over my head,
pinned down to the sheets by your solid
mass, fingers entwined
with yours until I
could no longer tell which bones
were my own. I baked
in the aftermath of the dying
heat and felt the blood
back into my fingers
before forgetting again
as you sighed into my neck.
I died on a cold
day, but I never felt
Stories of feelings with no names i.Stories of feelings with no names in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The feeling you get the day after sending a letter, and you know there is no possible way that the recipient has received your message, let alone formulated time to write a reply. You still get just a little hopeful when you hear the mailman drive by. You rush out to the postbox a little too quickly and are disappointed by the pile of free coupons, bills, charity flyers, and a late Christmas card from Grandma Moses.
A sudden awareness that occurs during funerals that you are going to die. You are dying right now – your cells are shedding like snakeskin scales and your hair is turning silver and every moment is one less than before. You will never know which moment is the last one because you won’t be around to count the grains in your hourglass– and, somehow, this knowledge both sharpens and dulls the grief of saying goodbye, like a blade that loses all effectiveness once it’s already
One Way TicketI have always known that I will die on a train.One Way Ticket in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I used to wait for Death at the railroad tracks. Some days I would kick off my shoes and balance on the rails. Other days I would lie on the tracks and count the stars. He never came for me, but it's okay I understand.
I saw him once through the window of a passenger train, scythe leaning against the glass. He was reading the newspaper. He glanced up long enough to see me waving and offered a nod in return. I watched him go as long as I could, until the last car was a dot on the sun, and I finally turned away to find summer was now autumn and my shoes were full of dust.
I crunched my toes in the gravel and sat down on the cold railing to wait for his train to return.
Seafoam and AshA girl once told me she was conceived by the ocean. "By" not "beside" her skin was the color of new seafoam and you could follow her green eyes into the deeps and drown there. She had a soft, papery voice that sighed in and out and dark hair that cascaded past her shoulders like dried seaweed.Seafoam and Ash in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was born along the sea strand, where the ocean met solidity and pounded it into tiny grains. Perhaps she was delivered in a clump of seaweed or crawled her way out of a pink conch shell and learned to swim before learning to walk. She carried an air of calm serenity that rippled around her like an aura wherever she went, content to flow instead of fight.
I met a boy born from the fire tailing comets rushing through the atmosphere. His hair was a shock of red swinging upward and he lit up entire rooms with his presence. He always spoke a little too fast, the words rushing from his mouth like sparks off a firecracker, flickering and dancing. His golden eyes flashed
PalmistryI always look at my hands too closely, tracing the creases as though they really could tell me the future.Palmistry in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
They say that the future is in our hands, but my hands are full of asymptotes, potential paths that never quite cross and taper off into infinitely smaller lines that go somewhere I can't follow.
Fragments - Nostalgia Edition1. I wrote it a thousand times on my 1940's typewriter, practiced the words mentally a million times, mouthed the sentence into my pillow every night for years but only said it once, aloud, to your casket.Fragments - Nostalgia Edition in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
2. Every tea party with my eight year old little sister was a very civil war. I wore my sunhats like helmets and my lace gloves like gauntlets, my tablecloth was my battle flag, and the first (and last) battle began with the final cookie and ended with time out on opposite sides of the house.
3. He used to build birdhouses and hand-size coffins in woodshop class. Never clocks or derby cars, nor trinket boxes or small bookshelves. Only birdhouses. Only tiny caskets that could fit in your palm.
I never asked but I never had to after I saw him bury a blue jay shot by his little brother with the very first thing he ever made in woodshop class a slingshot.
4. My grandmother had a never-ending spool of yarn in her knitting basket. I know because I never once saw her buy anoth
SuperimposeHe doesn't look like a gymnast. He's all button down shirts and frazzled grey hair framing wire spectacles, a picture perfect professorial archetype down to the very tips of his frayed shoelaces. But he was a gymnast once, or so he tells us, and I believe him because he smiles like he knows something while he's chatting before class.Superimpose in Sketches More Like This
It's strange to see that image superimposed over the current one the distinguished professor in pressed khaki slacks and a jacket, worn brown loafers exuding a faintly courteous manner (you can always tell them by their shoes), and a ring on the fourth finger of his left hand versus the athletic kid who went to college for a semester and grew nine inches too tall to keep doing what he loved so he took up a tennis racquet instead. Gymnasts don't wear suit jackets; no steel mill worker has such manicured nails. But the images are all there, flickering just under the surface and bubbling up again when he's recounting stories about his days in Pi
SurrogateI stopped using his full titleSurrogate in Free Verse More Like This
because it started sounding too formal,
and it’s hard to be standoffish with someone
who swaps albums and memories so generously,
who loves German chocolate but hates the smell of oranges,
who knows me by my boneless,
drowsy form on the couch and by my words.
And maybe one day he’ll ask
me to drop the title altogether and call him Brad,
but I won’t.
Because it sounds too much like dad,
and I’m afraid of slipping up.
LavenderLavenderLavender in Free Verse More Like This
her pale, coppery hair
and warm skin tone
or so she says, lightly.
I might believe her tittering,
if I didn't know the poison of hair dye
chemicals wafting on my tongue
or the lie of cologne
on her silk blouse.
The feather-down throw pillows
aren't soft enough for my head
Blue StarsI learned that the sun was a star a long time ago sitting in an old wooden desk built for second graders that somehow found its way into a fifth grade classroom. I remember decorating it with pencil shavings and permanent marker that turned out to be less permanent than I had hoped.Blue Stars in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I learned the sun was a star just like the millions and billions of dots I saw every night and never thought about it again until years later. The sun is a star. Our life force comes from the stars.
The distance between the sun and the Earth is 15 x 10^7km. Light travels at 3 x 10^5km/ per second. That means it takes 500 seconds for light to reach Earth. So if some force yet unknown to science were to blow up the sun right now, we wouldn't know for eight minutes and twenty seconds. Which is to say, just enough time to run and buy a bottle of sunscreen.
You can die happy with your perfect tan at least.
But then there are blue stars. Blue stars are a million times more powerful than the sun. That's not hyperb
ApparitionLittle girl,Apparition in Free Verse More Like This
You have out-grown
Yourself, and these
Childish notions of
Monsters in the closet.
She holds her breath
Until the sun rises,
Because no one taught her
How to sleep
With her eyes closed.
There is this
Delusion about you;
A belief that if
You stay awake,
There will be no darkness.
It is damaging you.
Cold and silent,
With her darkened fantasies,
And remembers a time
When she was not-so-
Into unrecognizable shards.
You have found your only
From all the lifetimes
Too fearful to live.
Too lost in your waking dreams
To see new realities.
It will all
Be over soon.
Comatose RendevousThe narrow spacesComatose Rendevous in Free Verse More Like This
Between typewritten letters
Are just large enough
To lay in.
You and I
Are crafters of flesh and bone;
Made of weathered canvas
And stitched together with
Sweet dreams on lonely nights.
Blood falls from your lips,
Staining those folded
You make so well;
I like to catch them
When they fall,
And toss them back into the air.
Crimson-colored pieces of you
Splattered about the walls
And the inside
Of my mouth.
(You taste of melancholy,
And masked, uneasy lullabies.)
I would happily
Bear the red smears
Of your steady fingertips
If you run out of
Allow me to
Spread my ashes
Over your ribs and
In the hollow of your throat;
You would look beautiful
Covered in faerie-tales
Made of soot.
I will sing to you as we write
A few more,
Beds of coal,
Disguised in silks,
Promise dirty wordsmiths breath
In the wake of
And restless eves.
I can see myself
Insomnia and Body PartsThere wereInsomnia and Body Parts in Free Verse More Like This
Timeless moments spent between us,
In those instants and hours before dawn;
That time when we traversed
So far away from this
Wretched house and into
The most delicious darkness
That time before our tidal waves
Came crashing down on us again.
I would do anything to
Drown with you.
The softness of the flesh
Between your knuckles, the
Exquisite map of
On your palms;
They were like a lullaby
To my sleepy fingertips.
The breath of your mouth
To teach me to close my eyes
And fall asleep.
Your contented whispers and
Observations of the sky
Showed me then how to dream.
I had no idea what home could be like
Until those seconds and infinities.
As you traveled the expanse
With the curiosity of your hands and
The rebuke of your lips,
Because you always liked
To fix things
That were broken.
Never AfterWhen they buried you,Never After in Free Verse More Like This
It was face-down,
Arms over your head.
I want to make-believe
I'm just hiding
Under the covers.
I'll make them all
You and I
Stood on the roof
With mason jars,
Telling the heavens how sorry we were.
We have to make the angels
I have fifty-four jars
Of dirty rainwater.
Complaints of monsters
In the closet.
Each time I shut the door,
You stared into the mirror.
I can still see them.
I walked you to the dock
And helped you
Find sea glass and
To fill your pockets.
We tied and anchor to your feet.
I'll send you a post card
When I get to where I'm going.
The angels must have
Been so sad
Because it rained
Left UnsungHe has a pretty tune in his heartLeft Unsung in Free Verse More Like This
With the lyrics plastered
On strips of delicate, ashen paper
That crumble at the slightest touch.
They hang against the
Edges of his lips,
Trying to pour out,
But ever uncertain
Of whether the wind will carry their weight.
Lacklustre StardustPaint something withLacklustre Stardust in Free Verse More Like This
That hang just at
The tip of your tongue,
And cross the gaps
With your fingertips,
The way you used to do,
Before the stars fell
And your bones turned to ash.
There used to be solar flares
In your breath, and
An icy vacuum,
Longing to warm,
Behind your eyes,
Before you fell into
That stole your light.
Across the nothing
Of the cosmos,
Searching for what
You claimed to have
For the purpose of
Living in your past
(Before your stars fell).
No one will see
That the starshine you had
You cannot bear the thought
Of allowing your
Particles to scatter-
You cannot comprehend
Going to sleep.
Nine Times Nine Times NinePretty boy,Nine Times Nine Times Nine in Free Verse More Like This
With golden eyes,
Keeps fallen stars
And beautiful words
Inside of glass bottles.
He hangs these
From the ceiling, on
Twisted into nooses.
Made from silver and gold,
Joy and sorrow,
Crowd littered corners in their jars,
Gathering merciful dusts.
Black cat takes a photograph
Of another life to live,
Crossing the paths of
Adding their years to his collection.
With golden eyes,
Sleeps near his treasures
Protecting his stolen ages.
In his ninety-nine
He grows younger
To the greedy games of men.
He ties birdsong and
In between his fingers
And pins snowflakes along
With sweet, warm breezes
To his palms.
Of smothered weeping,
Bliss gone unsung,
And captures moments
Between the points of
And the creaks in floorboards.
With empty eyes,
Sterling and TarnishedYou're a knightSterling and Tarnished in Free Verse More Like This
In shoddy, bruised armor
Made from porcelain and burlap and
Beautiful, melancholy obscenities- those
Three-syllable hammers to
The back of my skull. My
Heart stopped in the middle of the night
And I never ceased to smile.
We spoke of learning and teaching
As I day-dreamed
About your hand in mine, about
Hushed reassurances and I wondered when
This "soon" you spoke of would be,
How many breakers I will be
To reach pretty words
From a lifetime ago;
There is a way to you that
Makes me forget nothing
Pieced together wrong and as
Rain-stained as you
Could possibly last forever.
You intend to prove me wrong, though.
I know it. You hear the doubt under my tongue
And wish to remove it. You could
Out-live a thousand and one supernovas
Just so I might hear you whisper
Your I-told-you-sos in cosmic dust.
I promise, though
Not to crumble
Until I've caught all the stars
In hinge-lid jars for you:
They'll light our way
When I inevitably pull you from t
Two Cents and Mirror ShardsShe wears her worth around her neckTwo Cents and Mirror Shards in Free Verse More Like This
In the form of
From ninety-three years ago
And rusty locks,
Strung on an iron chain,
Along with broken
Keys that go to
She knows of
She finds them, on
Street corners and in forgotten,
Treating them like
And long-lost friends;
She hangs them near her core
To try and remember
Where all the pieces go,
Where they all come from.
Maybe one day.
Is made of a shattered mirror
In the hopes of
Being able to see
Something that isn't on the outside.
She is not sure
Exactly what that is
None of her parts match;
She constructs herself
Out of odds and ends
That others have thrown away.
She is cracked,
She would not know
How to fix herself
If she was whole.
She strings up
Old bottle caps and
Passages from decaying books
While she tries to fasten together
Shards of glass
That leave empty spaces
She loves them
How else is light
Supposed to shine through
Without a few ho
AbsurdityTo ponder upon pretty insignificanciesAbsurdity in Free Verse More Like This
In the stead of heartfelt thunderstorms and
The castaways between tired brain cells
Seems to somehow
Make this ocean a little less daunting.
I've discovered that
The chemical nature of
Willow tree kisses in the wintertime
Is identical to that of
Cloud-watching in spring. It's silly to think
That there is such a thing as inspiration
Located in the spaces between his fingers
Or in the dance steps the wind must take
Over the hills and far away.
An ache behind my sternum, like
Some horrible, nameless disease, just as the mourners
Who walk the rows of gravestones
After twilight. Though, I cannot
Fill the stagnant air with the scent of rose petals
And corpses as they can. They sometimes
Appear to me as angels
Who have been caught in nooses
Made from petty,
Worldly desires. While they choke
Under the weight of their own bodies, I
Forget how to make his lungs work
And then my heart stops beating.
I think that the
Expanse between the back of my mi
FlamesThere are flames whereFlames in Free Verse More Like This
his head should be -
forty pieces of silver
a dressing gown, a pipe
a poem left in the fireplace.
This man promised you a winter
so warm and bountiful
spring would be ashamed.
He called you by name -
not the one that father knew
shoved under his bible
But the one left behind
in the branches,
in the bucket of brambles,
and the columbines
buried at your feet.
Stone angels on the battlefield
surrender in the grass.
What did his face
even look like behind the curtain,
counting those coins
and loosening the damp earth
from your shoes?
ProdigalShe made hot chocolate that morning -Prodigal in Free Verse More Like This
the kind that sticks to the mug
and burns -
and baked an apple cobbler,
deep dish warm with butter and fruit,
for the prodigal had returned.
She turned out the sheets
on his bed
and hung his jeans
out to dry -
the bright flag of denim
announcing his return
to everyone on the street.
Slowly the neighbors trickled in
to wonder and gape -
offerings of spiced ham
and ale, brown bread with raisins
and freshly knitted socks and mufflers
in soft merino shades -
all bundled as if in tribute.
They wanted to see
if he could still sing Amazing Grace
in his fine tenor voice
and drink the men under a table,
his fists the only answer
left lingering in the dark.
They hoped to see
the tall buildings
in his cheeks,
and the alley's long shadows
bruising the skin
at his temples;
and maybe he had stories
birthed in wine
and women's hips that would
steam the bite
off their jaws
and make their wives blush.
For a city left its mark,
as if proof was needed
MoonlessThe moonless eveningMoonless in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
turns its back against the sky
and leaves it empty.
Perhaps the morning
will come back with its hands full,
holding up the sun.
RedThere is nothing discreet about this love -Red in Free Verse More Like This
it hangs on my chest,
a defiant noise -
the scent of something luscious
stretched between your hips.
Your back arches
in a way only Psyche can feel.
You wear it
in a cheap red dress
that comes apart like midsummer
in my hands
as we flaunt the stars,
the stones under our skin
stretching the bed frame
till we crack.
And I fill you up,
your arms a battle
raging in the waning lies
RachelI will call you RachelRachel in Free Verse More Like This
was all he said.
It suits your mouth, your dress,
the combs in your hair,
It fits the starlings at your feet,
the crows in a perfect vee
at the end of the sky,
the low voice of locusts -
And it remembers his handprints,
just how you took them off
and pinned them
to the hem of your skirt
and wore each letter
bareback like his thorns.
Man as SurgeryI'm an appendectomyMan as Surgery in Free Verse More Like This
slice and flap
like a turned out pocket
kissing the surgeon's lips
I'm a tonsillectomy
high above your wires
a new frequency
of birds crashing
I'm an amputation
nip and tuck
of dangling leg and arm
left for friends
to sever on the street
with white picket teeth
to cloud your face
freckles popping like stars
or morphine clogging my arteries
just bleed out
where you left me
and the wide world waiting
for you to happen.
Cat LadyWhen I grow oldCat Lady in Free Verse More Like This
I will be the crazy cat lady
all the neighbors talk about.
I will dwell
in a house of sycamore
and live off taffy and gin,
and paint my ceilings yellow.
I will dangle carrots
off the clothesline
and only bathe on Sundays.
I will keep 47 cats
(or maybe 63)
and give them names
like Cumberbund and Camembert
and let them sleep in the kitchen sink
where they can dream of midnight raids
on the pantry-
of sardines poached in pepper sauce
and mocking bird and beetle pie
and we will fish off the crumbling pier.
I will tie bells to their tails
to warn the birds
they are invited for a meal
and watch them flying over
their wings a tell tale
sigh of autumn weather.
And at night we will curl
up on the porch
fur bristling under blankets
and October's jumbled moon
to dream of chasing
mice among the rafters.
AnneSuch a tiny neck,Anne in Free Verse More Like This
spare and white,
the starched linen
tarnished in the savage heat.
The scaffolding ached
beneath her feet
and the crowd went silent
as she knelt,
the block a cruel nursemaid
to her tears.
Confession is a futile gift
and treason did not sit well
upon her shoulders
where the sun
beat down on her.
No one felt the word of God
in the father's banal words
and the axman was her final
CometYou told me to be a comet -Comet in Free Verse More Like This
to grow new wings
and sit out on the roof
and watch the men gather
like seals upon the rocks,
their voices threadbare
warping the wooden pilings
underneath their feet.
You said I was a magnet -
north facing and truant,
missing my arms and legs;
while out in the street
the rain made the dogs go mad
and all the poets were starving
and swallowing their fathers.
You promised you would
take me back with you,
your charity in my pockets
and let me wash myself clean
in your lily pale whys-
my belly slit like a barbarian,
warm and inviting you in -
Both of us remembering
to lock up heaven's gate
and leave no traces
of our bleeding
or any silent sounds
our mothers could identify
and send to call us home.
Summers Lost god died today. or maybe it was tomorrow. i can't remember.Summers Lost in Free Verse More Like This
to sewer lines:
like a wish
on a dead star.
the feeling of gritted teeth
and fingers crossed
until they break.
like a scalpel
and a brick wall
against my throat.
and i was
when i said,
swallowing cinder blocks;
stuffing steel under skin.
on my cheek,
like book pages:
"where have you been?"
Sick.life slouches against the doorSick. in Free Verse More Like This
[i think i can hear it crying]
sickly grins lick my lips;
rub the undersides
of scream-sore throats
stained with the sweetest sort of bruise
screams all my own
swallowed in cotton lungs
pressure in my skull
fire in my veins
holding the skin i had
clinging tighter to fragility
and i just can't find
the strength to cry
the night stretches on for months
i shake like a leaf
A Stranger'I would promise you until always ends, but I want to live forever.'A Stranger in Free Verse More Like This
dripped off his thin lips.
something like saliva
and coughed-up calligraphy.
dancing to the surface:
a parody of laughter--
pallid and festering.
'you're a stranger, so why should i care.'
'you'll vanish today,'
to sticks of flesh and bone.
'not for the first time, i hear--or the last.'
a harsh white sky.
spume and spray
like a too-taunt sheet.
longing for dreams.
pulling me down.
shining and smooth:
like the last moments
of falling asleep.
'i want you to stay a stranger.'
Icarus Dreamsi am runningIcarus Dreams in Free Verse More Like This
with kites on runways;
slipping smiles into the breeze.
throwing paper airplanes
fluttering dreams in turbines.
i could've called anyone
there a liar--
but i only found me
inside my head.
and if i learned
i might not
afraid of flying
with the feeling of
between my fingers
Cutter 'what are you scared of?'Cutter in Free Verse More Like This
she was too pale to be held against the sun: so she leans against it until you can't see her face.
her eyes were chalk-smudges on blackboards, blurred against a backdrop of white-washed walls. her outline was all fade-out and lace, as white as winter could be.
her words were quiet like stains are, clinging to a curtain in the window. just trying to blend into the pattern, or at least not become part of it.
and when she breathes her chest swells with see-through lungs--hoping that if you focus, you'll see right through her glass skin. after all, she's just a smudge of the wrong varnish in your eyes.
she shudders, and tastes all that's hollow drip down her wrist. and today, it looks grey instead of saccharine. regret honey-fills the cracks in her over-dried lips and ice-splintered skin. inklings of every word she forgot how to say. since, of course, they never made it past dead-deaf ears anyways.
knowing you'll never notice she's crying. crying for ever