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
Who will perform the autopsy?There is a forest painted in
scorching red, fire blooming
beneath its dirt-caked skin,
smoke skimming leaves
as plumes of flame snicker
behind the tail of a doe.
Coals coating tree-trunks,
hungry for life, it devours
the same way they ravaged her
when she said 'no'.
Bright eyes morph into murkiness
as the inferno marches.
When rust washed down
her throat, she did not scream,
only begged for them to stop.
Beneath the ash,
they find her body.
RecipeYou said you like your girls
a little psychotic
with a dash of instability,
so I showed you my recipe
with shaky, bloody hands.
Clothes were discarded
and you broke my rib cage open
and shoved a needle full of cyanide
i n m y l u n g s.
(Your insanity was my life support
and I lived off of your insidious words.)
And just as I made friends
with the Grim Reaper,
you abandoned me
and said I was too fucked up for you.
How ironic is it
that my creator
was terrified of me?
He said he liked his girls
a little morbid
with a dash of insanity
so I cut my chest open
and showed him my p o i s o n - f i l l e d l u n g s.
He grabbed my barely-beating heart,
caressed my sunken cheeks
and said, "This is all I care about."
Wasted FleshFlesh, flesh,
Such wasted flesh...
This able-bodied meat.
Defiled by drugs and impurities.
A mind born with clarity,
Yet so blatantly abused.
No harm did you suffer;
Other than harm self inflicted.
Disregarding the hopeless gazes,
Of those who were born without.
No good, no good;
This I cannot abide...
I shall take this flesh from you,
And it shall be tended and made anew.
A gift to those who are deserving,
Of the very gifts you cast aside...
Now then, my dear,
Do stop your screaming.
It will only be painful,
Until your heart stops beating.
- Word of Chen, 1/6/2016
Is It Love?If I hugged you,
would you never let go?
If I kissed you,
would you cherish that moment?
If I reached for your hand,
would you take mine gently?
If I needed a shoulder,
would you let me cry on yours?
If I needed to talk,
would you really listen?
If I needed to scream,
would you do it with me?
If I needed to go,
would you come with me?
If I fell for you,
would you catch me?
or just let me hit the pavement?
And in this dark harvest of season
My life has completely lost reason,
For which or against to decide.
All lost in a savage and endless, bleak tide
In sadness and in kindness
In light and in darkness.
In a boat made of hope
I shall sail to tomorrow,
In a winding hurricane
Made of treachery and sorrow.
There's a spear, endless, and colossal spear...
Piercing, slashing though my head.
Starting somewhere in heaven,
Ending somewhere in hell.
Fighting, burning, crying, crashing.
Are the armies within.
In my head they are all thrashing.
On the heaven's and hell's whim.
To be light or to be darkness.
A perpetual array.
It's not merely my choice,
But the choice of the way.
It's an option of the voice,
It's a thin line of gray.
Is it a choice forced by fate,
Is it a pre-set time and date?
Or a choice to which I myself sway?
But here's our story anyway .
"Nothing that I do will matter.
As all things will merely shatter!"
All my hopes thus darkness scatter,
As it shoves me a decree.
As it si
The Church of Self-LoathingAs the candles raze the air to illuminate flaws for his inspection, I confess a horror as I realise that the Minister wears my face. He preaches with my swollen tongue and carves a judgemental scowl into my forehead at the sight of me.
He demands a blood sacrifice; a distorted evolution of self-flagellation. He wants my contrition and I want absolution from the sin of being alive. I manage not to flinch at this decree with a well-practiced reverence. I genuflect, draw my sleeves to half-mast in a silent salute to his dominion over me, and wash up to my elbows as best I can in the blinding black. Blood pools between stony-faced onlookers diluted with the sacrament of self-loathful tears, the only testament to my belief: “I am not worthy”.
I think of youAs suns set afar and mountains flame
And eagles, turning, turn to fire
Ash cold, alone I lie
And think of you.
Black EyeThe sense of dread you instill with your look
makes millions quake as if the whole Earth shook.
The world is well aware of the moves you make
But it’s impossible to predict the form it’ll take.
Their sharpest of scholars can’t cleave your disguise,
but I see the darkness that is haloed in your eyes.
Like an inbound disaster you deliver despair
when upon the land you fixate your stare.
Your visage is venom; there’s no point in hoping
that the people can rest with your black eyes open.
With fear as your feed, your appetite amplifies,
and I see the darkness that is haloed in your eyes.
Your timeline, your being, is immersed in obscurity
‘cuz a black eye needs no light to see.
It’s only when you surface to prowl for prey
those opaque orbs emerge to blot out the day.
I see the darkness that is haloed in your eyes;
the shadowed glare that hides your lies.
I sense the sickness plastered oln your face
and know how it spreads with its fetid embrace.
an atheist's prayerdear god,
i planted no tulips in autumn
and no tulips came in spring.
how silly of me, then
to mourn the empty garden,
to long for fields of amsterdam,
to kneel at night in cold dirt,
i’ve learned there is
a certain ache in lacking
a thing never had, that small itch
whose relief is two seasons past –
so god, if you can hear me,
know that i am homesick
whose name, like yours, i know
but whose flowers i cannot see.