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NothingI used to be lightning.
Power surged beneath my skin,
and in the silence, I heard myself thrum.
I used to be fire.
I burned bright inside, stellar lungs,
and in the cold, I sang myself warm.
Still and dark.
My stone sinews crack.
I am vacuum, deep void of space.
Asteroid dust, floating.
larksongbirds and grackles
wringing meaning from white
fall to silence
Lest we forget
In Flanders' fields, the poppies blow,
and we who walk among them know
that here men fought, and bravely died
with equal courage, side by side;
the lark has overcome the crow.
We touch the Dead in memory –
embrace them through the century.
The earth enshrines their valiant hearts
in Flanders' fields.
The torch has guttered years ago;
the enemy has been laid low.
And though your names should slowly fade,
your blood a better world has made.
Rest you now where the poppies grow
in Flanders' fields.
Mocking SkyThe Texas winter mocks
with dust instead of snow
and bare mesquite to testify with thorns
against a shred of weakness.
The Texas winter gusts
fiercely from the south -
grit on lips, in eyes, on tongues that wonder
where the deer drink.
The Texas winter sinks
in rust and blood and peaches
beneath the horizon. Sweetly, sweetly,
she sips the clouds.
The Texas winter clothes herself in cicada song,
and all the stars applaud.
When our wings intertwined
and I fell into your music –
(It flowed like a trance and
dampened my skin with droplets, pianissimo) –
I could have lost myself
in your sonata storm
and let my chitinous scales wash away.
I knew even then
those strings held you bound
in ways I never could.
Pirate MoonA bloody moon rose, hungry, through the mist
to wash his crimson glow across the waves
and froth the surging whitecaps with the kiss
that sent ten thousand sailors to their graves.
Beneath that vicious moon, a sail was set
as was the fate of some poor, hapless crew
oblivious to the impending threat
that drifted ever closer through the blue.
The moon smiled sweetly, bathing naked steel,
as cannon shuddered through the velvet night
to rend the sodden trader, hull and keel
and put an end to her frenetic flight.
The captain's grin shone redder than his sword
As he o'ersaw the booty brought aboard.
at the lasti have known this place
and here i shall return
to this place i shall return
when my heart is still
and my eyes are white
and my ribs are open to the stars
i have known this place
walked beneath pecans
in the faltering sunlight
when my eyes still saw
i have touched the limestone
with baked skin
The Siren - 16The smile had surprised him, but Mike got over it. He was starting to get an inkling of something, something that would explain a lot. He hesitated to think too hard on it, though; it is a capital mistake to theorize without data.
He looked around. Connie had found herself a drink somewhere and was chatting up the nongendered beatnik, who had ditched the fake glasses and picked up a small fedora. Sandie and the Nacho person had moved off to talk business with a woman whose shirt urged readers to “Eat At Mag’s.” A low murmur had sprung up in the Zone, but still, everyone remained mostly seated. It looked as though no one could work out an appropriate reaction to what they had just heard.
John, meanwhile, had been forgotten. He stood still on the dais, bathed in a halo of dull, yellow light, the microphone still dangling from his fingers. No one had told him to move.
This time, Mike could see the confusion on the creature’s face, even though it was little more
Heard AgainI floated like a leaf
and swung life away,
until the stars began to fall
and gravity went away.
Everything was upside-down
and colors faded to gray,
there came a day when I learned some tortures are self induced-
and it felt better to be astray.
I thought it was strange how we can suffer just by living
being the last one to be seen,
and the first one to go,
living each day as if I were about to pass away.
All it may have took
was that first second he took my wilting body to the beating heart of his and told me 'Everything will be okay'
There came a day when I learned I no longer needed to be afraid.
GhostsWhat scares me the most
Is how people ignore
The others around them
As if they weren't there
And were like ghosts
Drifting through the hallways
Silently wailing their loneliness
To where no one can hear them
Clichei. true love
& you were that one famous line
of a love poem 1863 sonnet
scripted down your spine, verses
of sternum & shuddering heartbeat.
i remember the sheets twisted blue
as the eventide, your eyes like thelassia,
that species of ocean grass. we swayed
to the music of galaxies colliding.
our song was the day the tides
finally curled round the moon's face.
eventides, thelassia eyes, moon
great and heavy as that one lucky coin
that refused to land, to grant a wish
or let luck decide for us. there were
star crabs scuttling under your
oragami skin. & i never realized
all the ways that you folded
until the doctor came back &
you folded into yourself,
please don't tell me it was disease.
please don't mention the fact
that there was a constellation
blossoming underneath your skin
as if it excuses the metaphor
of your candle-eyes dimming.
i was there for the treatment.
you weren't, rag-doll girl. you
hung limp as wet clot
Otherwise Good ConditionI have worn the same dress
for four days, because
I am sick, exquisitely
black and gold, your drunk
dimestore Nefertiti. A
white stain announces
itself, a muddy star:
here. Undo yourself,
those sallow words you drink,
let the silk fall loose. I've got
a face like dirty laundry
and burial grounds --
What I touch becomes
unwell. I wear my hair
like it pains me,
like a little girl
sucking her teeth
at cars, the caked little
tombs of sugar that crumble,
under the hot milk
of the sun.
Bad Mouth Habitsi.
I carry God around in my lip like he's chew,
spitting his name out in poems like potholes,
I make everything a simile
for the hold he has on me.
When it comes to men,
I've the appetite of a Roman housewife,
I take, I taste, I tear,
swallow and then then toss up
for the next course.
I don't kiss anyone so dearly
as the glass pipe bridged between lips
Jameson, you're an Irish Lad,
a young ram of bucking proportions,
I let you rattle around my mouth
til I herd you in
Sometimes there's nothing so sweet
as the jack-hammer of angry words
or the steel trap clamp of silence.
I exercise my oral rights in
FisheyeYour honest words perch upon brash lips,
teetering on thoughtful intentions; a super hero's cape
embroidered with moth holes, gossamered secret identity
shielding the crestfallen heart you disguise as armor,
forgotten about with a forced amnesia
until its lonely beating rips a hole
through your defenses.
I'm your kryptonite and your sunshine
the thing that makes you human, and weak,
and a villain to the unloved,
and my savior.
I'm the have and have-not,
the desired and the disdained
for your every rib aches to feel the pressure of my palms
and the tangle of my fingers witching for your marrow;
your every fiber argues my nearness and my absence,
and your heart murmurs a welcome and a warning.
You retreat from the latter,
because hope was never meant
for someone like you.
I've been wanting to tell you for so long,
your honesty is a lie.
Copyright © 2012 Jen Fowler
All Rights Reserved
regret.there is a certain time of night
that every song on the static radio
makes me cry,
and i want to break my skin
and pull you back in again.
and it is then
and only then
that the loveliest memories
strangle my lungs,
and i remember
sobbing into your pillow at 3am
because i felt so alone,
and you turned out the lights
and held me close
until i could breathe again.
and i swear i would be fine
if that night could be tonight.
here i am,
alone and alive,
and i don’t have a place
in your head or in your bed,
so let me share with you instead
these lessons i've learned in regret.
i know now
you only touched me
how you were programmed to touch.
i was just another machine
The American Legioni met this guy called god. he sat next to me and my pint. he was gangly and dressed in a long beige bath robe, and had an unkempt beard. the slob. he sat in the right and i in the left, inquired about my family and i about his, but wouldn't shut up about his son. "the one and only" he says. i asked him how his son was doing, and he said "o, nothing between him and heaven." then like a seventy year old nun in the 60's he told me i ought to go to church more often. with all this religious talk i figured him a priest, but he said he lived upstairs. what kind of priest lives above a bar? i paused. well, maybe that does make sense after all. so i asked him, as i do everyone i meet, do you think you'll go to heaven when you die? and you know what he said? he said, "i was thinkin' paris."
poetry for non-poetsI guess he was wrong when he said
'you are poetry'
because all you were made up of
were line breaks and phrases
that never, ever went together.
The disharmony between your heart and lungs
was something he liked listening to,
just thinking there was a thunderstorm in your chest
but never considering that maybe
you were hungry or drunk or hurting.
No. These were all so beautiful
and worth writing about in the dark.
But I guess the best decision he ever made
was to pull his head away from your shoulders,
take a good long look at your shaking form
and run farther than he ever thought
those bent knees could take him.
KnifeRemember that little human
boy who couldn't read aloud -
who couldn't hold a pen
because his slick corn oil skin
kept sliding past itself?
Boy, oh, boy.
And he was born a hundred
years too late for his cowboy
dreams. He rides herd on the
maybes and the somedays.
He sang a knife song - one
that sliced up the rigid spines
of teachers and parents alike
and parted them before him
like God-spoken seas.
Deft elision somewhere between
his teeth and tongue, lyrical, his
words in other men's mouths.
Knife song honed with lime,
polished with manteca.
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