monster"i feel like a monster" -whispered secrets to a plastic Jesus;pray for swift, holy justice.no - Fate smiles. too easy.so youswallow it down, let itburn deep inside,destroying.i tasted the fever on your lipsand it was metallic[gunmetal]burning quicksilver in your veins,dripping off your tongue.so youwaited for it to consume youlike the monsterthat it is."we're all monsters inside" -broken revelations in the darkness;the daylight was too brightto see our sins by.i drew the fire out with each kissand blew away the smoke:guilt is like a glass hammerbeating against stone.
transition--ingi am -- transition:without you.lingering here --feelings i can't seemto process.let me burn,bright, hot;light up the midday skywith myself.driving in the middleof the roadwhen i'm alone:without you."compulsive behaviors",i'm told, defined:getting -- sorted -- out.i am -- transition:finding myself.
past tensemostly, when I think of you, it's in the words of other people."oh, yeah, I knew him... knocked him down a few times" oreven, "he was a good worker, but always just a little strange" andmost frequently, "he drank too much and ran his mouth a lot".it's not so strange anymore to think of you in the past tense --I asked your father about you, once; "he's dead to me." period.sometimes I think I understand, he was a hard man. past tense.ironic, then, that you pointed blame at everyone but him.eleven years of waiting brought me a few months of lettersuntil you realized that I'm not the same little girl anymore,that now I've wised up to being manipulated and controlledand then I was the one in the wrong; "don't ever write again."I look at those letters sometimes, wondering if maybe --just maybe -- there was something that I missed, some shredof truth or caring, but all I find is the you that I know now fromother peoples' words, and when people ask; "my father? he's dead."
Passions"Miss Storm -- ""Eve, please.""Of course, Eve. If you would, move your left knee up, slightly to the left -- yes, there. Now, tilt your head back just so -- perfect. Three... two..."There was a familiar pop and flash, and the photographer emerged, grinning. "Wonderful! Wonderful, simply marvelous. That will do, Eve, that will do nicely. There is a dressing room -- ""Who may I see for payment, Mr. Evans?" She stood, discarding the kimono the photographer had arranged half-on, half-off of her body for the picture." -- to your left, I -- what?""Payment, Mr. Evans, as we agreed upon prior to this... arrangement."The photographer blinked his watery eyes several times, staring down what was -- in her opinion, at least -- a rather bulbous nose at her. "I believe that matter can be taken care of by your husband, Miss St -- ""No, Mr. Evans, it will be taken care of by me. At once, if you please.""Now, see here -- "Eve ignored him. "Do you have an agent who handles
word vomitit's been so long since I'veheard your voice breaking.(darling, you were alwaysthe best part of me.)sometimes I stay awakeall night, curled up in thespace between my ribs andbackbone where youused to lay your head whenyou had too much to drink.I hate that you left mehanging on the clotheslineto dry, forgotten, likeyesterday's laundryand the crows settled'twixt my bonesto peck outa heartbeatto replace the oneIcould no longerbear.
leavingleaving is a can that youkick around in the streetbecause it's been a long day& it makes you feel better.some days you kick itharder, longer than others,& some days there justaren't enough cans or streets.but the thing about leavingis that when thestreet lights come on,you always end up going home.
Crankempty house but for the coyote howls,cigarette butts smashed in a pie tin. - baby, baby, don't be that way - three teardrops, things best left unsaid,roll in the dirt, see if you get China in your skin.melted faces don't paint pretty pictures;see what you can come up with in the darkness. - baby, baby, that's the way - witching eyes: something coiled, ready to strike,but the poison's already long-ago set in the blood.rain beats steadily on the tin roof,this empty house but for the coyote howls.
I want his wings.Icarus, slashed across the sky,bring me the horizon:for I am a sinking ship.
Post Script (Five Things I Never)Post Script (Five Things I Never)i.stolen kisses in the rainwere not for you and I,hidden in drifting snow castles.ii.Army cap perched jauntilyatop ever-tangled tendrils,I could not even salute a goodbye.iii.all the songs that remind me,but we never had one -you weren't that kind of guy.iv.saltsaltsaltsaltsalttaste it on my cheeksand blame it on the rain.v. taste of cigarettes on yourlips - three words, unheard,cause way too much pain.
Harvest MoonThree a.m. moonlightacross lazy dust motes; atree scrapes the window.Your arm weighs on my hip likewhispered promises of love.
Send Me the Raintoday, they're all talking about the fires.the people on TV, the voices on the radio,the mouths that open and whisperand softly touch tongues. even the sky isrevealing black plumes of smoke,flaunting shameless and seductive curves.the rain's been too dry and the lightningisn't wet enough, panic isrising out of control in thisburning city. that'snot all;we have a crisis onour hands- the balloons arerunning out of air and eventhe experts don't really know why,and on top of those sinking rubber toysmy soul is losing moisturefaster than the crackling grass under the duress of flame.i'm starting to see the subtle luscious contoursof fumes,surrounding me.i might not exactly be news-worthybut if i catch, thenthe forest might too.i'm considered a reasonable loss, however.they heard it might storm tomorrow. and everybody knowsthat means they'll be safe-because they all talk about it.it almost stormed-the sky spat and thenthought better of it,
mutethings have been easierwithout words &we pretend neither of us care;we stuttersplutterlaughing and chokingon puns &when you bend me over nounsi screamloudergrowlmore fluent.the words are there waiting to be spokenme . you . lovemy dear, we've been mutefor so longspeak to me.
windstorms and labworkafflatus, inflatus, my morning globe,as lithe as your impermanence.and home! dread homes! are rabbit dugs,spoonholed piles of mexican brickwhere nothing ever touches down,nothing here alive receivesthe plains’ poor offering of gypsy light,the ugly wind that meets the mudline.[metaphors]1. a mottled fence2. and how these storms hold faceless teeththat slat their eyes through butter-woodthen purge their guts on wintered florets4. some freshly headless nativities,their polyethylene skirts upturnedfrom violent sacks5. and knowing i’m a soulessspeck i lick at what is manifest beneath your hair each poison taba colouracidfire or lake a brothel and religious studiesi know, i know you never meanto murderor completemebut do not say “live for yourself”.i’ve come online to see the godthat came before me.we are so poorly marriedlike bookend spines of Plath and Hughesup on the shelfare somehowsynon
tree, fiddler crabIt took days to hollow out the soft partsof the trunk, dig out the tree-flesh and sap,polish the raw wood so that when he sat,there would be no splinters. He carved his nameinto the side, like a blessing, a declarationof good fortune, and stowed his forest inside.
the back of your head against my washed pillowcaseI find itdisconcertingthatyou are the Kingof my own Head& that I amsubjugatedby my owntemptationMy bones, yourwelcome mats,cushionedto your insatiablesatisfaction--I find thisdiscomforting,your constantrebirths in mylibido, despitethree years ofsilent therapy,false recovery& worshipping the wrong godsyou are the best musefor struggling artistseverywhere & worstcase of the bubonic plaguesince the bubonic plague--I find youdisenchantedin the middleof any where,peeling flesh,lulling sullensirensongs at3AMI shot a flockof phoenixes& ate Adam'spoison appleyetI remain ignorant and ignored by you--I find Nothing-decontaminateyour stovepipe& leave me be.
despondenti."are you sleepy today?""yes.""but you were sleepy yesterday.""i know."ii.she stirs her pomegranate green-tea until it turns from clear to purplesetting it on her bedside table and climbing back into bed again.her fingers follow the bluer-than-usual constellation veins on her wrists and downto the freckle on her forearm and then the scar on the inside of her elbowcrossing the tendon as if it were crux.and then she remembered that God hasn't been with her lately.iii.today is long and sunny but when she steps outside the humidity creaks her bonesand her skin starts to inflame.she assumes that if getting the mail is a struggle, having a child would be too.iv.often times when she sets her tea down she remembers that her Bible is in the drawer beneathalong with the crucifix necklace that her mother made her.v.her husband comes home late nowadays and she never questions why that may bebecause she knows.she would do the same too if she had a wife who took four different
plumbumshe has a heart of goldand she, a heart of leadand she, a heart of uranium.and they go walking sometimes, the three of them.gold is confident in her worth,untarnishablebought and sold and bought and soldthe virgin whoreand lead behind,heart heavy in her chestguilt from bulletsand pride from pipesand anxiety from irreparable brain damageand somewhere off to the side treads uranium,tumors growing,white skin glowing,thin frame for a dense core.
RatsWhen I was a little girl, I went to church. Our church was an illegal one: the building was unregistered.We would sit on the benches made from stolen floorboards and listen to a man dressed in black as he read us tales of angels coming to save righteous men from evil, their swords clean and their trumpets blaring.The man dressed in black was old. He was sick. His Bible was missing pages.One day in March, my mother turned to me and said clearly, "Masha, I want you to remember something for when you grow up." Maybe she knew she was dying. "God loves murderers."I just looked up at her, thumb in my mouth. My mother was still a beautiful woman. She was young when a man at an after-riot party had given her a child inside of her, a bruise on her face, and a few kopeks for her trouble before running away forever.So I watched the dirty gray sunlight washing through her sickly blonde hair, watched it illuminate the dark hollows of her eyes, watched her face, and asked, "Why, mama?"She ran
respiration.i am shipwrecked fever;kerosene sleep,& she is denied oxygen.i taste sirens on the shoreof her collarbones,& salt-licked sea limbs.but, it's the natural disasterwrapped around her coral spinethat really has my lungs s p i n n i n g.
Ottumwa ShamanIn Iowa, weeping willows dream ofTigers, born in pagan fog, theirCoat of stripes singing shamanSongs; shrill symphonies of grief.Heaven tilts, crashes, and we raceThe dirt to get away. We drink theEarth with bullets of air and growDizzy, light-headed from breathingSome far off flame. Perhaps a poetWho braved the fog of Ottumwa, andCaught fire. Every cowboy has hisSix chances before high noon, beforeThe fog forms wispy jackals to takeThem home again. Every son inheritsAn empty gun, six voids to fill withAnswers, skimmed and guessed from theCovers of books their fathers usedTo read. There is no other way.In sleeping, I have been to Iowa,And I learned where wiccans goTo make their bed. I do not know nowIf I had dreamed the weeping willow,Or if it had bent low to dream of me.In Iowa, there is no such truth, onlyDepth, and the shaman's song of grief.
A ParenthesisYou were (a parenthesis, that pausedthe daily, mundane stuffof life;a bundled breathof fresh joy,and borne in the wonderof love.Gasping and grasping,'til in quiet you laidstill;and I, my Child,lie in quiet, stilltears).And now, that is all you are,and still so much more.
MeanderingHardly a mountain, though on lowering days its head sits wreathedBy the mists of a passing front, aged and befogged as bygone eldersDoddering about before there were names for the malaiseThat hazed their thinkingAnd from this modest crown there slouched and slopedA long shoulder, meandering down to meadows belowPausing now and again to coddle a pleasant hollowCasting a sloping pitch enough to rush a torrentAfter a sudden showerSeldom poolingIts glint and glimmer burble among the stonesTo join a rill and plash and swirl and putter about a rootIt's there I'm apt to wanderNot much of a path, hard passed and thornyAs twisted and narrow as the thoughts of bigoted menTreading there finds stern resistance and stones to turn the footThe clatter and crunch of brittle leaf acorns pop and skitterA plenteous crop, beyond the appetite of wild things at forageLeathery husks abound, pignut hickory the ebon stains of walnutOn taking pause the quiet lay, a
we should celebratei.i tried to think of pain as a flower,first it blossoms and then it wilts away.but i won't let myself disappearalong with it,i won'tgive you that. (it's not the agony that makesme scream, it's the flavor).ii.and you whispered softly"i'll rip your heart out and replace itwith a song,it's christmas soon, andwe should celebrate". you've always used my scars as a calendar, as a way to remind yourself "today is tuesday and i still exist".iii.(it's morning now becausei can seethe sunlightthrough my eyelidsand imaginea bright summer day,the flowers arebeautiful,sodamnbeautiful).
cosmic background radiationThey say that the big bang was not an actual "bang". It was really just static. Static, like the interference of radio waves. Of course, the universe did not happen instantaneously. The big bang took 760,000 years to happen. 760,000 years of static, and bang, the universe happened.I get myself together and actually go out. I go to see the New York Philharmonic perform the works of John Cage at Lincoln Center. I walk out during the second movement of 4'33". There's a very small difference between life and death. I walk home, my chin pulled down against my neck. I hum a constant note, providing myself with my own tinnitus.I focus on this note. I cross Broadway where the walkers cluster on the curbside, awaiting the turn of the traffic light. People talking and the bioacoustic noises of their bodies moving. I walk against the signal. The tires of taxis scrape against the road. I go west on 65th Street, past Brooks Brothers and the slimy sliding of the revolving door, past vans parallel
FiftyPlease understand: I do not wantto want this (you).I realized at poem nineteen-of-fifty:You (college-borne) are a new you,I (weaponized) am a new me,and the new me still wants the new you.
They Also Serve Who Only Stand and WaitI don't know when we first went underground. I don't even know if it was one mass exodus, a swarm of mankind trickling through the earth's crust so vehement we carved our own caverns by the force of trampling feet, or whether it was a gradual process, perhaps even a repetitive one, a family here, a neighborhood there. For all I know, the echo of the damp subterranean machine has always reverberated off the cave walls, created long past by the Angels, who think of our well-being even while they shake their heads helplessly at our flaws.They say that those who remained on the surface were raptured away in a great flash of light, like a million suns converted into raw energy all at once. While it was rumored once that the flash was our doing, our own horrid creation, we all know better now. It was the Maker who brought it forth from the void and cast it onto the earth's crust, as though shot from an immense sling, taking only those who were brave enough to trust in Him. We, who live in t
earth circuitAnd when the sun sinks, the earth's skin crawls:I. I wonder if this awkward creature would notice me the way I notice him.He's so tragic at his throneI stare after him longingly.And yet,He never realizes that I'm the oneWho forever basks in his brilliant beams.If only he knew how much brighter he could burn[with me]He'd light up the universe.II.I heard him speak of thirst, once.The quenching lust of the stars had run dry.So that night, I brought along a jar of acid.(And how it gleamed in his glow).I handed it to him, wrapped in taffeta ribbons,screamingI wish curdling joyOn my gurgling boy I love his eyes, now Clouded white like milk from a poisoned tree And his throat, Swollen and clotted And his lips blue as the faded heavens I try to get him to laugh but His body is stuck and
la musica dulceheartbeats are psycho--somatic, dear;the ocean has swallowedme whole.hay una guitarra bajomi almohada, ysueño de música cuandoestoy solo.you came here withcity smoke in your lungs,and iforgot to breathe.
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