On marrying a workaholic.Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to lovesomething so much that you dedicatedtwenty-eight years of your life to doing it,overqualified and under-appreciated.Then I wonder how your wifefeels, knowing your first marriagewill always be fourteen years longerthan hers.
TheotokosGod attended a Lamaze classwith a teenager too afraidof the judgmental looks to go alone,and quietly smiled at the instructor eyeballingthe strange pair – a barely-there slipof a girl and a gentleman with kindhands. He led her to a woman namedMary, who had her first childat thirteen in a less acceptingtime, when the condemnationwas worse than the morning sickness.
Open Parenthesis(A very old young manhas no apologies, but, perhaps,many regrets, contained (rarelyvisits his mother) in parenthetical(did not keep up the gymnasticsregimen) asides (tossed the keysto his buddy and let him wreckhis ’78 Duster and his knee).The brackets of his shouldershold all the asides that forgea life – the periodic funeralsand silent ellipses followinghim across the map and down,here, to me, waiting with an openparenthesis.
Transmission LostThe transmission doesn’t reachhere, past snaking gravel roads undermountainous shadows; the voicesin the static are corrupted, shortcircuiting in and out of focuswith each click of the dial.We are similar, you and I,nameless voice in the void –you, invisible, intangible, inaudible;and I, imperceptible, inarticulate,hibernating under mountainsuntil brain waves become words,and words become
AsthmaHis apartment is an aquariumbut he needs a birdcage;his lungs are shivering,breath stuck like cold molassesin his lungs. Sheets ragged as hisbreathing tangle around the bed,white waves surging, cresting,drowning.His inhaler is in a shoeboxwith the other mementos of 1976;a bicentennial quarter, a flatcapfrom his paperboy days, and a letterfrom Sally Keepers, whose kissleft him so breathlesshe mistook it for an attack.He’s in that Chevroletagain, knees knocking the backseat,fighting to breathe, inhaler lostsomewhere on the floorboardand she’s kissing him, drowninghim, and he can’t get enough airbut he can’t get enough of her either,blonde locks lashing with electriccurrent like a defibrillatortrying to get his heartbeat back to normal.He rummages around the shoeboxuntil he finds the inhalerand presses the trigger,sighing to himself. It nevercould have worked; she tasted likecigarettes.
A Lesson in ForgivenessGod joined the KKKfor about three hours,long enough for a memberto spot the black fleshunder His sleeve and ripoff the hood to find a faceas white as a vampire.While the Grand Master stammeredapologies, He smiled geniallyand patted his shoulder,because God forgives everyone.Even dickheads.
Closed ParenthesisA very old young mantold me I belong in Pittsburgh,where it rains 200 daysof the year and all the peoplehave blue eyes. City bustlewould overwhelm my Southernsensibilities, but, perhaps,I could use a parentheticalof my own, a brief asidein a longer life where lazydashes become machine gunexclamation points.And when I hit Return,the tangent ends, foldedbetween those shouldersin a closed parenthesis.)
My conscience lives in the back of my throat.You know that unreachable back corner at the top of your throat, where the cavern of your mouth becomes a tunnel? That’s where my conscience lives. Every time I’m about to jump some poor, stupid, innocent sod, that little pocket back there starts itching and no matter how hard I try to reach with my tongue or jam my finger down my ear canal, I can’t stop it. Like fairy wings or angel down is brushing against your better judgment, messing up your shots.It gets so bad I can’t help but cough, and that’s bad for my line of work; you can’t have the target on the alert when you’re trying to murder them. My associates used to call me the Silent Raven – now they call me the Swooping Chough. It makes me want to wrap my hands around their throats, but then I start coughing all over again.
BenedictionsGod joined a monasterysomewhere in Europe, wherethe churches are oldbut the people are olderstill, overlaid hands soddenwith faith and speckled with dust.He rose before the sun and prayedto Himself nine times a dayamong his brothers of the cloth,who mumbled psalms into their palmsand knew they were heard.
Turn my words against me.I want my words to takeroot in your stomach and growup your esophagus, the calyxof your tongue brushing the edgeof your teeth until the words blossomfrom your lips in a slowexplosion of elegance, jawlinetrickled with nectar, charminghummingbirds and honeybeeswith the promise of butterfly kisses.
.a sign reads:idle hands wanted
Modes of InteractionHe comes to class without his jacket.I miss the introduction,too busy staring at the sharpangles his shoulder bladesmake through his pale yellow shirt.Too busy trying to conceptualizethe change such a minute detail makes.I almost don’t notice the sling.Then he shocks me againwhen he snaps into teachermode; remote, professional,yet charismatic as ever.The distance closes as the lessonwears on, and vanishes whenthe last student leaves, and I findmy friend, still there, waiting to walk me home.
He doesn't write poetry anymore.He doesn’t write poetry anymore,even if he still collects it, reads it, saves it, treasuresfaded verses from his wife the way connoisseurssavor vinyl over metallic rainbows on disc.I don’t mind not knowing, but I can’t stand not asking.The record needle hits the groove wrong;he stumbles over words that aren’t there,rummaging for an answer he doesn’t really have.He doesn’t write poetry anymoreand his confusion is strangely endearing.But there’s a lyricism to his words that I love,poetic lines inserted between the daily grindof character names and who said what;voiceless boys in white and draymen carting the dead to saltwater lakes,elegiac undertones that haunt historians and forlorn painters.He doesn’t write poetry anymore –except when he does.
SynestheticSometimes I taste test names;Anita – sharp citrusand lemongrassfor the ann-i,a tortilla for the taa.Brad – I likeits weight; a slabof marbled chocolatemelted on my tonguebefore the last letter.Charlotte – somethingsavory, but sweet; porkmarinated in honeyon sweet rolls.Doug – vanillatinged cheesecake;a dusting of grahamcracker shavings;an Oreo with no filling.Elena – spiceand heat radiate –eh-layne-ahh – a coronabursting fromthe second e.Fletcher – it’s syllablesmesh like mashedpotatoes, lumpy yetconsistent.Gladys – driedlemons and staleSpree candies, rattlinginside and empty pitcher.Hawthorne – brackish,the leftover remainsof a magnificent feast,the apple still stuckin the boar’s mouth.Imogen – leanand stringy. Greenbeans and chickenbroth at a small,weathered table.Jules – red velvetand hot peppers, a weekold cake with hardfrostin
Caramel and AshesI named my first child after my favorite breakfast; Nichole, oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon and cashew pieces. Sensible, but sweet, she wore turtlenecks and flats all throughout high school. My second, James, was like the lunch I had every other day in college – provolone and turkey on sourdough. Sturdy, hardy, jack of all trades. James could build a new clock just as easily as fixing the old one.People keep asking me to taste their names. Like names are ice cream cones, and I’m the only one that gets a lick. Strangers in the hallways know about the girl who eats names like potato chips and aren’t shy about asking how do I taste, Willow? Like I haven’t heard that innuendo before.My third, Willow, inherited my gift. Willow was bittersweet; sea salt, caramel, a little rosemary. She’s a lot like her father. She named the cat Zion for being a combination of her favorite flavors – lemon-lime, vanilla, and grapefruit.I don’t know if the ta
The Morning Star Concert HallGod’s favorite concert was a ‘98jam session in a hellishamphitheater downstairs.The producer bookedthe big ones – Hendrix, Cobain,Joplin, Johnson – one nightonly, fallen stars rise again!Saints they ain’t, but Godhas one ear for prayersand one for souls wailingsoul into a void with no echo,no applause, no expectationof anything more than their ownrelief.And when you’re top billingin the Morning Star Concert Hall,the fans are the only comfortyou’ve got left.
The Problem with OmnipresenceGod went to the optometristbecause His eyes were full of graveyardsand tombstone-shaped cataractsclouding His vision.Sometime around the eleventhcentury, the lush green iris of Hiseyes had faded to the colorof peeled paint; then, over the decades toblack.The eye doctor couldn’t findanything wrong, but he prescribeda pair of bifocals to make Himfeel better.
Directions to the end of the worldTake the first path you find.Go straight. Keep going.Past the grocery store; pastthe gas station. Leave the postoffice behind. Ignore all rest stops,ice cream shops, and stoplights.Toss the map – you don’t needit anymore. The city is dustbehind you; cross the state border;leave the country. Swim acrossthe ocean, walk over tundra,then ice. Keep going.If you fall off the edge, you’ve gone too far.
NaPoWriMo: Day 2sometimes,i have thissudden urge to cutmy hair.most of the time,i just wish I were anythingother than me.a rocket ship, a bird-the sweet flavored smokeI promised my girlfriendthese briar patch lungswould not in.hale.instead,i have fallen in lovewith the strangest of things-eyes that intimidategodless boys.the way my scarsplay hide and seekwith her hands. -the love lettersthat start and endwith kissespressed against limbs.i make promisesi know i can not keep.but if i were a liari would say i was tiredof writing to the stars.
.tiny heart drummingin your chest, i canhear youred gravy pumpingin your veins, i cansmell youyou are such a freshmeal, and i can almosttaste you
slowly, and then all at onceand for once, he slips on his wedding ring, to cure the monotony. it slides over his knuckle, a perfect fit, and in the morning release of sunlight the silver gleams at him. it glares, calling him a liar: she is not a whorehouse and you are too broke to own her, you harlot, you. he buttons up, tucks in his shirt tail, and buckles his belt. the clinking of metal parts is the only sound in the room besides the dusting of her breathing beside him. and when he's gone, the only thing he leaves behind are the bruises on her collarbone.-you find him because you're lonely, (well, it's actually the opposite.) he finds you because his wardrobe is black and his shoes are scuffed and he asks you where your castle is. you're the only princess he sees 'round here. the rain soaks into his shirt and he curses it, grinning. and damn girl, you follow him, because you think you see some kinda warmth in his ice blue eyes.-it takes you days t
.he told me prayersare uselessand if i really want hisforgiveness, i should get onmy knees and beg
( 4/04/2014 )Everything here is so fuckingloud and this dragon eyed girldoesn’t feel like filteringanymore.She doesn’t want to answerthe phone today, either, so-she stuffs her ears withsilence, andher mouth with newnamesas she kissesswollen knees.She’s ponderingsocks now toowiththeir mixed &matched indecency.Real ladies wouldn’tdare step outsidewearing one pink& one green sock,only,but she’s no lady.-A red lipped hermitholding a knife to herown throat, screaming-writewritewritewriteidareyou!maybe,who embracesthe sun andthe rain on her facefor the first timein weeks.Oh poets with yourpretty words andold souls,this is what truewriters blocklooks like.
a cure?they say Van Goghused to eat yellow paintso that he could getthe happiness inside of him.sometimes,especially on nights like this,I wonder if that would work.I wonder if the pigmentwould seep into my intestines:would spread through my veinslike an elixir:would curl and coil and castbrilliant lighton every angle, every aspectof my body.I wonder if endless trialsand retrials of drugscould be replaced by theoccasional dose of cadmium,lead-and-oil pick-me-up,liquid sunshine, intangible dreamI swear I can almosttaste.I wonder if it would donothing morethan make me sick,curled up on the bathroom floorand left choking on a lifethat I can never have.
.they say that you are thework of the devil; you'll haveblack orbs for eyes and a tongueas sharp as your fathersand i hope you will not feel a thingwhen they pull back your blanketsand carry you out, when they leaveme with nothing but creases
eight ways you've made me small1. I wishthis was for you.2. my journal pages - thebrown one with all our monologues -were jarred with hollow vows oflast poems ofloving meloving meloving me;letting you slip into a comaof bad memories, watching youfall to your death offa cascading cliff of diseaseand dis ease.it was nevereasy for meeither.3. there's a reason I askwhether you're grey(dark white, elusively black, in between)or blue (behind the clouds, under wave-foam,whateverthefuck runs through the back of mypalms); I'd rather haveyouthan the armsthat once held you half-heartedly. you had always beenmy harmony and Iwould have killedto have been yours.4. it could never have been just me, the wayit could never have been justher.5. disasters are not beautiful,but how is it that youmanaged to make my inner liningsconverge into bowsand explode into wings the verynight you decided to rebuild your wallsto a lower height?6. I wish
how to be a poet: the basics.kiss all the peopleyou know you shouldn't,solely for the reasonthat they look goodin stanzas. look at your scarslike mothers peer into cradles. then makemore; make yourself intoa symbol for infinity,or at least try,because it never works. patch yourself up. say, "darling, you're okay," while staring at yourself in the mirror with your hairdamp and your lipschapped (refer to stanza one). change. grow. it's what we like to read, isn't it?miss the people in your lifeuntil they leave,and then miss yourselfas well. screw everything up,and then write about itlike it had to happen.try to believe it, ignorethe voice in your head that hissesand groans in your sleep,behind your eyelids."baby, you're a fuck up,you know it know it know it".try to carve the hummingout of your bodyby exit way of your veins. be hospitalized. give in, give up,play along, stop writing. get better. but then you start writi
CarcinogensMy hands smelllike antiseptic solutionand cancer, becausethe peroxide won’tcleanse your cigaretteashes from my nails,and the cremationjar is still smoking.