It's barely audible when speech first slips.
Eyes, bulging, cut for a sign of approval.
Poison's potency grows stronger with
each intermingled droplet.
Generationally viral syllables
snag another piece of decency.
In quiet corners of the country,
they're huddled around each other,
venom dripping, though fangs retracted.
Serpents hiss to one another and teach their young similar sounds.
Forked tongues slip from unexpected places
when whispers become rallying hisses.
Poisoned bodies pile once
every hidden reptile sees reason
to show his scales.
pins through my temples
the temple of dogs
a god is an all-seeing,
pines in the roadway
the splintering fork
tore through thick curtains
denied them all warmth
push through the ether
to snatch the obscure
a rippling skin
all beneath is impure
pull back the gums
and bare every tooth
each breath now a bat
knock all of them loose
If I were a betting man,
I'm sure I'd be homeless.
I'm an addict, and I fixate
on feeling my endorphins dance.
I'd win one and maybe another
before I chased that ghost into the grave.
I know that, being cut from that cloth,
my obsessions need to be healthy
at least until the healthiest of them becomes
In that case, I guess they're never really healthy,
just excuses my brain makes for its mistakes.
I saw a man sitting at the southbound Getwell exit the other day
holding a sign that said,
"Homeless and desperate.
I'm not cut out for this world."
Maybe he's right,
and my misshapen outline
will never align.
I shook off digital restraints, and it felt
like the elephant stood up.
It was instantly apparent that
I'd cupped my hands beside my eyes
and regretfully forgotten what
I'd tattooed on my leg.
For good measure, I lifted the leg of my jeans
to ensure the inkwell was still full and pinched hard
right on the words.
The pain quickly dissipated,
and I laughed aloud at my ridiculous
and painfully literal manifestation.
Now, I'm basking in that warm familiarity,
that freedom I've neglected to enjoy while
the quill was soaked and waiting.
Reality is perceived
through your eye only,
being part of a complex machine
that has created pulses
through an organic network.
Conductors of electrical current,
instead of painful injury cause
branches like roots to reach
further into a world being newly discovered
And, like roots seek nutrients,
the mechanical self seeks
re-connection with every
single thing whose marriage created
whose knowledge encompasses
In younger years, my rage was general.
Its spines pointed in varied directions and darted
like colliding rocks through space.
Today, I learned that it changed.
Its points sharpened.
Its aerodynamics, in time,
were smoothed and honed.
It speeds towards any force
that works against her.
Beware, any imagined good that
turns cold against her warmth;
for in an instant, I can
will the spiny rage into a
speeding, pinpointed collision.
Beware, for in an instant,
I am every devil that's ever lived.
I know I can swim,
but once the wave hits my face
I forget and start splashing spasmodically,
gulping water in uncontrolled breaths.
Sinking, flailing, and sputtering,
my brain tells my body,
"Cup your hands. Bicycle kicks.
Synchronous downward arm strokes."
The panic is everything,
and my limbs miscommunicate.
I am a malfunctioning mess,
with water where air should be,
chaos in place of calm.
In that turmoil,
something always reconnects.
Moments before drowning, I resurface
and inhale, sucking in air like a
newly exhumed chasm.
The terror slowly subsides because
I know I can swim.
I paddle, exhausted, back to safety and rest
I write your name, a mark
on the proverbial chalkboard,
a self-imposed discipline
a natural selection, reaction;
a line of chalk erased away
in a cloud of carcinogenic smoke
frantic, a fever malaise
hurriedly smeared in passing
cross the sidewalk to the blacktop;
I argue with the space
between everything you owe
and the conjoined twin cars
holding hands on the beltway.
A response to see
not to see,
and that was never the question;
knowing isn’t half the battle,
that's plainclothes prophet speak
reciting the parable
of the prodigal son
A burst of light
a nuclear holocaust,
Bury yourself in the wobble
Of my hips, honey, smother yourself
In my thighs. It's desire's got you panting
Like the hot afternoon and I'm just the moon
To bring you down. Take off your crown.
It's just us here now. Bury yourself
In my sighs.
And when the river opens
Take your boat down to the coast
And be my most, my many. Be a penny
Sailing down from the Empire State Building
To its happy destination. Be a sensation,
not a thought. A taut wave in space.
The boat nudges into the sea--
And the mo
The opposite of sleep is disrespect. The light
is yellow; you ran it. If you're early, you're on
time, if you're on time, you're late. If you're late,
please break glass in case of emergency. Work
starts at 9 am, which means you need to wake
at 8:30 to have time to shower, 8 to make
breakfast, 7:30 to wash dishes. 7 for good luck,
6 for the max amount of sleep you can get
tonight. In a darkroom, people are left alone
for hours. The light is red for a reason.
Photographs are developing. You should be, too.
Focusing on the big picture is
not one of my strengths, at least not
at first. Everything is covered in dust.
Dusting can't be done until surfaces
are cleared. Surfaces can't be cleared
until things get put away. Things can't
get put away until older things are
thrown out. Et cetera. Until
there is a floor, there is no floor. With
no floor, there is no room. No room
means no guests. Et cetera.
The first step to cleaning is accepting
that the first step will almost always
feel like the wrong step. The room
will get more dirty before it gets clean,
life will get more complicated before
things get simple, the world will go
on spinning even w
When the parade arrives he is entranced, a child,
fearless, with light shining in his eyes. At first,
I am skeptical—embarrassed at the offbeat
clapping, uneven dancing—but rhythm
aside, his wonder comes alive, a smile bright
after being buried under pursed lips for far
too long a time. Hardly fearless, I dance too,
starting uneven until I wonder why I worried
to the point of wandering from happiness.
In office meetings where everyone talks,
the walks of life display most sharply:
they're delighted to hear what you have
to say, just wait until after they speak
their line, voices wine-dripping, rich,
questionably refined. Speak your mind
with patience; your presentation's first,
after theirs. There's a hair's breadth
between fervent and furious, none
afraid to approach it, but most not
curious enough to cross it
until the clock strikes their time
to shine, their goals in line: "I,
Made face with the carver today.
Carpenters and sculptors sat by and
watched as I manipulated
and he mutilated.
It was our masterpiece.
Our b-b-broken fragments were fantastic.
The altogether wonderfully
empty expression and beautiful,
bold, bleak blankness were a
Fuck perfection, I had thought.
Fuck this polished window that shows me
the horrific grin in my reflection.
THE HORRIFIC GRIN IN MY CONCEPTION.
Changed the water in the tin today.
Blew the ripples across the skin where
hundreds of tiny black floaters squirmed,
so lucky to be fallible.
Flew out of a window to catch up
with that scent,
pleasantly drifting skywa