soft like silken honey.
Your words ever venomous,
glimmer like sugar,
itty bitty sugar crystals,
bending light as they
pass between your lips.
The Promise of LandIn a vision, speak, I hear you
whisper. Your voice, the wind,
so softly on the waves
breaking high on the shore.
The sound of promise, the sand
when the wash recedes, your voice,
more than any other, is the wish for land
to a drowning fool.
Father, Son of ZeusHe’s always been the tall man, warlike, arms at the ready.
As a child, I’d watch him ball his fist and raise it to the sky,
and in his shadow, watch him block out the sun.
I’ve seen him, giant’s son, uproot trees with his bare hands,
back flexed, shoulders squared. The tree,
ancient dryad, gnarly and bleached, clutched at the earth
with her roots, but soon found herself bowing before him.
Those same hands, scarred and calloused,
left no enemy intact, that begged for his attention.
He’d turn away at taunts
—fighting the lions in his head—
of the fools in the parking lot or shopping mall.
Fools who’d eye him up and down while stabbing
countless daggers in his back with their muttered curses under breath.
Fools seeking to measure themselves against Hercules.
Returned from battle, bloodied, eyes reddened,
brows tightly pinched behind his darkened shades.
He’d quietly shut the front door and see us, his family,
and let the thunder from h
Party FishHello little fish. You’ve popped all your pills.
Why are you here, in a cooler full of strangers?
You’ve never danced a day in your life. You’re
forgetting how to swim, flopping around the deck,
hoping to pass yourself off as a predator.
Dragged from the pelagic deep; gasping for water.
Go ahead and press that menthol inhaler
to your flaring runny nostril, and fight to breathe.
Your eyes, used to a dark of the Pacific depths,
blur in the strobes, sunlight for eyes that have never seen it.
Bathe in the colors that ocean depths can only hide, the colors
of light you never knew you wore all your life.
Too exhausted to move a fin, collapse in the cold ice.
The other fish have stopped moving. The cooler
is emptying. Your eyes are stuck open.
The Secret to good PoetryShow me the honey comb in her hair. Show me
how it bleeds amber on your shaking fingers; how
your fingers part the honey waves as you caress.
Don’t tell me you ran your fingers through her blonde hair nervously.
Play me the sounds of the cello in your breathing. Play me
the tune of a low bass rising to a treble, faster. Crescendo.
Play me your breathing as your fingers strike the note of his body.
Don’t tell me your breathing was deep and heavy.
I want to see what love is, fading spots dyed into your skin. I want
to see the plums planted in your flesh, bruises left by lips seeking
to conquer every inch of your neck. I want to see the love in the kiss.
Don’t tell me love is anything. Show me.
Colored Man Chapter One: My ChildrenA sudden tap at his bedroom door brought John back to the present. He had been staring at a little hand painted portrait of a dog sitting in the middle of a lawn. Again the tap on his door came slow and deliberate.
“One moment,” he said setting the piece down. “I'll be right there.”
He straightened his blue collar and brown belt then walked over to the front door. Peeping through the peep hole he saw them. The men in the black suits came to collect him. They appeared as if someone had cut and pasted the same person ten times over in his hallway.
“What can I do for you fine gentleman?” He called through the door.
“Mr. Carlon we're here to take you into custody. You are accused of a color violation and as such must be immediately taken to the House of Eyes. Please do not refuse or we will use force.”
John unlocked the door and presented his wrists. The men in suits restrained him and proceeded to lead him away. Another group of men walked p
Working ReflectionsFrom a commuter bus window, I watch
the world. All these cars, meant to go
over rushing streams and dirt roads,
over long paved roads and dimly
lit tunnels, could drive a thousand miles
on this island, but never get anywhere.
From this window I can see people
rushing to be where the buildings stand
like giant stone idols to paper vomiting
gods, or memorials to human decency.
There in masses, knelt prostrate
in leather thongs and chains, praying
for a dream that never comes. From
this great wide bus window I see
my reflection pondering every word
I write in memoriam of the dream
I'm told must die.I refuse to put down
my pen, to cease my scribbling on
the empty spaces between humanity
and the blank page. I do it not
for immortality or the glory of a coin,
but for the memorial of the human being
I watch slowly die. From my miniscule
window on this bus going nowhere,
Empire of DustCan you dream it? Can you build the sky?
Will you take the clay and help the world mend?
When all is dust, will you refuse to die?
Hear the sound of the crumbling stones nearby,
and feel the parched earth tremble to our end.
Can you dream it? Can you build the sky?
You broke the seal and let your arrow fly
which made the rain twist and rend all the men.
When all is dust, will you refuse to die?
We built our towers to touch the high
and whispered irreverent in our sin:
“Can you dream it? Can you build the sky?”
When all was pleasing to the greedy eye
you found the hunger and asked it, though blind,
“When all is dust, will you refuse to die?”
There is no one left to weep, none to cry,
or even miss our empire or mind.
Can you dream it? Can you build the sky?
When all is dust, will you refuse to die?
The Desert in MeSomething in me feels of sand. Of flesh slowly
rubbed against the grain of the sort used
to strip the surface of wood. Each minute
of everyday, though I walk with my back straight
and eyes forward, I feel it scrape. Every organ
and bone in the center of my body is felt slowly
worn by the movement of being. In being alive
I feel the sand like coarse salt in freshly cut
meat press into my gut, into the imagined hollow
where the soul is supposed to be. Though I am used
to the sensation of the sand in my ever present wounds,
I can never get used to the sand filling every vein
and spilling over the breach of my waking mind.
The sand grinds in more than just my gut,
but in the corners of my eyes, in the corners
of my lips. It grinds in between my teeth
and pours out of my mouth in obscenities.
Work in Progress: Matchlock PoetStand the gun with its barrel up and remove
the cap from the powder horn. Tip a little
of the powder down the barrel. Ram the shot
and a paper wad with the rod until you hear
the packet sink to the bottom.
She sits all alone eyeing the letter in her hands
curiously as if the letter would talk. Her fingers
move as if trained to do so, shaking as if it is
the first time she traced a line. Her lips purse
as if to kiss an unseen person before the utterance
of a word. Issued from her lips, she reads out loud.
Thumb open the cold lip of the breach cover
to expose the pan. Pour a little powder into
the small bowl and close the cover shut.
Take the match cord in your hands and blow
until the cherry glows. Pin the match
to the firing arm, and lift the gun to your shoulder.
Her lips tremble as she issues each word in a voice
reserved for the quiet corner of a library. The tip
of her tongue dances around the curve of every vowel
and consonant. Gingerly the tongue meets teeth
and the teeth meets l
he made me cry long hoursI think the man who opened
the Starbucks door for me today
knew that I was broken. I think,
as he rushed to get the door
before I got there, he knew
my arms would snap off if I tried
to open it myself. I think he saw
something crooked behind my
straight teeth. I think crying
is my job and a day without bawling
my eyes out is a fucking holiday.
just so you know, I've learned how
love works: it's you doing nothing
and that meaning everything to me;
it's me doing everything and that
meaning nothing to you. we're broken,
you know. like a song on repeat, I've tried
countless times to fix us. I even volunteered
to be a janitor to sweep up all the pieces.
but I can't fix something that you broke. so
will you just leave me alone already? I'm not-
look closely, I have 34 syllables just for you:
my lips can't speak so
I settle with the open-
ing of hips instead.
I am begging you
to please be careful when you
pull off my tight pants.
I have mailed the notes-to-self
to my eye sockets, the ones tha
You make me cry. : Why?You make me smile,
You make me laugh,
You make me cry.
I make you cry?
Yes, you do.
Because of my heart.
Does it hurt?
It weighs me down everyday.
Then why acknowledge me?
Because it's full of love for you.
human time capsuleevidence suggests I
spend my energies on
friends who end up enemies and
more or less the rest of me worn
thin from splitting them from me torn
limb from lingering memories born
blessed unless the less you see seems
better than the best of me and
I forget how to forget myself so
sometimes I'm someone else or
else the effort's unaffected
(I'm in pieces/you're collected)
every breath an
in all directions)
each truth unearned
to cry and be heldhe's awake and he's cold and he's
crying in my arms, whispering songs
singing the sound of the rain into my ear
tears are falling on our cheeks
our skin swallowing the water
we are naked and calm
beneath the cinnamon tree
our skin cracking as its leaves land in our hair
holding dry leaves in our hands
holding them to our hearts
he's kissing my shoulder
the wind blowing my hair
onto his spine
my skin is bruised and cold
but he holds me as my eyes cry
into his heart, soaking the leaves
our bodies drifting and fading
into sleep, the leaves awakening
our skin cold and dry- the leaves alive
if the leaves were our hearts
blowing in and out of the wind
landing in our lover's hair
soaking up our lover's tears
falling asleep and awakening
with the seasons
ten things i miss about us.10.
i miss you hugging me and holding me tight to your body. the way you read over my shoulder and how you would pull one million hot air balloon strings just to sit next to me in class.
i miss the way you would smile at me.
i miss how when i came to class crying you would ask me whats wrong and i knew that you actually cared. the concern in your eyes took me where i knew i wanted to be.
the way your eyes would shine when i walked into the room.
i miss talking about the future us. how you were going to ask me out to dinner one day and how you never wanted to let me go.
the way you smelled so good you could taste it. just so you know, you tasted like sunsets and skyscraper mountains and beautiful unbroken dreams.
i miss the text message you sent me at quarter past one. my mom told me it was too late to be texting but i didn't care, because that was the night you told me i was beautiful.
i miss the games of twenty questions. sometimes they were over the line b
the girl who didn't get shoti am all aches and pains and coffee stains--
am i the smell before rain, the blood in your veins?
my life is composed of memories and scraped-up knees,
failed attempts at surgeries
of my mind and of my heart, of whatever stops me
when i'm trying to start.
i am all the shores they never graze, that haze
when the sun burns rainwater on roads.
i may feel warm but know this--i get cold,
i get frozen stiff and when i'm bent i won't fold.
the marrow of my bones hold blue-grey skies,
murkier than the rampant clouds in your eyes
but when i'm rib-caged i still have someplace to fly.
i am all the forlorn poets, for i've lungs and a tongue,
i'm rung and stung and a song unsung.
there are secret meadows in my mind, with
lacklustre dews and tarmacadams that shine;
it's where the blood of my bruises tastes like wine
and the words in my throat tunefully intertwine.
i am all the streetlights telling you 'no',
telling you to 'slow down', and eventually, 'go' --
am i second hand smoke? does sp
again and again and againi had something to say
about how i can't understand
that i could ever describe something like the sun or the sea
because the sun is just the sun
and the sea is just the sea
and you are just you and i am just me
about what it's like
to have not slept for thirty six hours
drinking coffee and chain smoking
because that's all i really have to do
about the way it feels
to explain that i just simply
want to be in love you
without using metaphors or poetic language
because love is not a lunar eclipse
about how i never understood
and unnecessary like breaks
and i am no hemmingway
about finding it hard to remember
how i was ever really happy for you -
and realizing when i finally think about it
that i am just a liar
laying on my bedroom floor
listening to bright eyes because it's the only thing i want to do -
not because it's poetic or
because i know that life doesn't work like that
virginity poemtonight is another stumble
into new areas blinded in darkness.
our bodies are new,
an indeterminable amount of space
between them and all i want is closeness-
the space to fold
like a bedsheet above us,
to spend all day
in a cloud of breath
and a daze of you.
my muted heart is bursting
with fire, the sparks licking
firewood, the embers kissing
i have had this title sitting in my notebook,
"the problems with being a virgin"
for so long
that i am not a virgin anymore;
i want to shout it to the gods,
to the moon and sun and stars
that i have made love,
i have felt another life in my body,
that i have felt,
what it is like
Lost and...“I’m Lost.”
I say to you.
my eyes remain
locked to the ground.
I can barely
make out your feet
within the murkiness.
I’ve always been Lost.
“No, you’re not.”
You simply say to me,
as you intertwine
your fingers through mine.
You walk forward, leading me,
somehow knowing exactly
where we are going.
No, you don’t get it. I can’t leave.
There isn’t any point to this anymore.