wringing meaning from white
fall to silence
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lure me in with silk and gold,
beaded velvet, satin threads
drawn across lips still red with wine.
Draw me down beneath the world
into some secret, wanton lair
while Carnival still beats within our veins.
Wall me up behind the dark
and leave me with my silver chains
to think on wiles byzantine,
Montresor's bleak design.
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.
Indian SummerThe Texas autumn froths
in shades of taupe and cinnamon
and lemon-scented yucca blooms -
waxen belles amid the spikes,
thickets of Jumano spears.
The Texas autumn ravages
the sunscorched clay with burning winds
that chew the live oaks all to shreds
and turn mesquites to kindling.
The Texas autumn ticks along
in desiccated deer
yearning for a sip of winter
to ease their cracking riverbeds.
The Texas autumn flows
in rivers of molten tar
along the curbs, beneath the cars,
The Texas autumn breathes hard
like a woman in labor
and clings to the sun
with gifts of fiery fiddle strings
and a prayer for rain.
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.
The Boy With Oceans In His EyesThere was a time when she left
That everyone knew you still loved her,
because upon each word
Sat a pinched note of longing.
And though the memories skewed your face
Your eyes still sparkled
When you felt her name on your tongue,
and your hands still twitched
When you thought of her fingers within yours.
There was a time-
When you realized she was never coming back,
and everyone knew you were broken,
because tears gnawed on your voice,
When your words were not screams.
And the memories contorted your features
As your eyes filled with rage,
because her name brought nothing but hurt,
and your stomach ached
In the places her hands had once roamed.
There was a time when you stopped leaving home
When everyone knew you needed us,
but no one knew how to help,
because we never heard your voice anymore,
For you were tired of screaming.
And your eyes were dull and full of a hate that we hadn't realized was there;
Your skin was a fire on the bed you never left,
and at night
3.When you asked me to strip,
we both had a different understanding
of what you meant.
See, I thought
you wanted me to peel away
the layers of who I was
so you could see what
As you watched,
I shed the confidence
that clung to me like a second
skin and showed you the insecurity
that was underneath.
I cut away my determination,
leaving in its place the self-doubt
that ate away at me everyday.
I ripped off the laughter
that covered my soul
in an effort to hide the
uncertainty of who I was.
I shrugged out of my ambition,
displaying for you the meekness
that was carved inside.
I stood in front of you then,
baring my soul and shivering
in my vulnerability.
I wasn't expecting you to love me--
no, I never wanted you to do that;
Instead, I only wanted you to hold me
and then show me who you really were inside.
But what did you do?
You turned around and walked away without
a second thought--or a glance back.
And here is where I still stand,
mounted on the asph
Sleeping SongSometimes it's hard to fill the void
When my lips aren't pressed against your neck,
My arm not resting on your chest,
Rising and falling with each sleeping breath.
You'd mutter in your sleep,
Inaudible whispers sounding the sweetest melody.
I could listen every moment
To every sound you made silently on each breath.
Now the nights are too quiet.
My bed is a frozen lake
That used to move with the warmth of your sunshine,
And even the thousand times I take a breath,
I can no longer hear my lullaby.
I cannot fill this hole.
In Search of PunctuationThe exhausted traveler hung his
on its hook, dragging his eyes across
and through the curves
looking for any signs of sharpness
or flatland meadows; somewhere
he might rest.
He found nothing but
rhythmic swells and
the faint hands of an impresario
crafting the journeyrock
below his feet.
I suppose." But his cellular
structure was ringing
in his ears,
demanding audience & sleep.
on bradbury and table dancingYou are not a wordsmith
whatever you might like to think. ('Smith'
indicates precision and coldness and fire:
words are softer than that unless you mold them strong.)
It's a difficult road to follow, and not many
make it past the fork. Choose a path,
Janus says, whirligig keys spinning on his shoulders:
I am a wordworker, with my tools too crude, forming
rough-edged carvings painted with pretty imagery.
Notebooks scattered across the landscape
of a child's room, to be stumbled across,
read, red-penned, in the thick and choking breath of night.
When the bough breaks
a hanged man laughs. He carries typewriters
in his pockets, and cigarettes in the soles of his shoes.
I will never be a word mistress,
whoring myself to the speech of people I do not know and will never know me.
The oven is set to Fahrenheit 452, but the words were already aflame
before they ever took shape under your tongue.
You love everything they've ever written, and carry
unabashed loathing for every syllabl
TedI dream in cold blood
where air coagulates
and legs slip
on plastic chairs.
I like the way blond women
paint their toenails red
and wear tiny gold hoops
in their ears.
I can imagine them
on the chairs -
perfectly still as they
run out of things
to say to me.
of the same questions -
and I just make up answers -
things about my mother
and their sons,
stories not found on TV
or in their magazines.
But they leave me gifts -
mementoes, really -
rings from their toes
lips carelessly left behind
on my glasses
and hair -
clips of fake yellow
and that shade of brown
you find underneath sinks.
I keep them all...
And dream in cold blood.
Glorious TlazolteotlGlorious Tlazolteotl
Glorious, glorious Tlazolteotl,
Your gem-covered hide, both cephalic and caudal,
Reveals the contagion pulsating within you,
A glowing green phage you will spread and continue.
To glory, to glory the blesséd Plaguemother,
Your dedicated calling before any other,
You loudly proclaim without hesitation
Her Love for the world, the Plague for All Nations.
And never shall you rest, unless you are tired,
Until her Holy Plague has infected each shire.
And then you'll rejoice, with pride and celebration,
And hopefully, too, learn the art of procreation.
(© 2013 Cassander)
(Tlazolteotl © NeoGeen)
Grow UpSo what, she's gay
Just leave her alone
She is human
Like you and me
She is still the same person
You knew and spoke to before
She just told you a secret
She thought a friend should know
She trusted you
Well not anymore
When she got the courage to tell you
You let her down
And treat her as if she's nobody anymore
Why can't you just understand?
It's perfectly normal
And okay to be gay
It's not a disease
It's just a part of life
I hope she knows
I'm still by her side
And like her for who she is
She is my sister
That is all that matters
Black HoleIn the center of a galaxy lies a dark vortex
As young stars branch out it eats away at the old
From this path it will not flex,
For none will it a second withhold
No sun is too big, it devours great power,
Nor, any moon too small to escape notice,
They are all pulled into its depths to disappear forever
Though, it also the force that spins the spiral
The engine that drives, from which purpose derives.
CurrencyWhat strange currency
exists between the tides -
the murmur of
something bronze and round
imprinted gravely with the day,
and thin sheets of seaweed
curling up against my feet.
A mermaid's purse,
black and withered,
dwelling in these rocks -
and the bright
riviere of whelk
and conch to
cross the palms of selkies
in the mornings;
the glistening sail
in men of war-
lapis blue veiled
and veined just below the surface,
as one slick whisp of silver
darts between my fingers
and drifts into the
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Tempest of FireO daughter of thunder,
slayer of dragons (and of men),
why dost thou torment me so?
For which sin must I reside in this
purgatory of despair, this abyss
which allows no escape
nor ray of sun... nor hope?
If I, like a holy one, were to pray for
redemption, wouldst thou forgive,
or would thy spite remain?
Like a fire that burns through
a man's soul and scatters his ashes
to the four winds;
would all mem'ry of us then cease?
Remember the before time, when
love govern'd the days and nights
and peaceful dwelling places
were ours to delight in.
I pine for thy touch, thy gentle stroke,
for the words that caress'd my very being;
soft laments that brought this man to his knees,
This solitude, my love, is worse
than a thousand hells.
If I were to traverse a thousand miles
and yet, thou were not there to greet me,
of what good would this life to me be?
I call to thee, but thou remains distant,
thy silence more deaf'ning than the horn of battle.
I beg of thee once more
panegyric for heliosthe sun died
in the early hours of morning
in its sleep
burned out in
everythinning spaceshape glory
we held a funeral service
7:13am on the ninth of october
when the light should have let its fingers
grasp hold of the horizon
pulled itself upwards
begun to peer over
a vision in goldstatic overexposure
we touched that celestial body gone dark
carpet of mourning whispered hands brush a star
soft cerulean eulogy sung stark
by shaking wrists
fumbling in the black
over the remnants
of a sin too big for burial
the vast harmonics of a creek
too thin, ethereal
the parable requiem of a sun
too dim to see
The 16 in Nietzsche.The Scientists.
We remade our eyes of plastic
because we can wipe them clean
without pain: at night our skin
has been fitted with lights and we
altered the chemical pattern
in our brains to forget ourselves
or maybe the rest of you,
life is hard without numbers
to describe it because the Earth
is an irregular rock floating somewhere
inconceivable: and I am even more
a mystery, a contradiction seeking
a definitive despite the logic
the only continuity
I'll rewrite us again. We are nothing
but an idea of the issue and its
resolution, the bum sleeping in the back
of a truck or your quantum physics class,
always borrowing notes but acing
those tests, drawing a crowd with nothing
but an idea and a voice to speak it,
isn't it charming to be alive?
Isn't the world so beautiful through
the right fish-eye lens?
I think if we think hard enough
it'll turn over or at least I'll pass this
our spirit aches at every slight
we imagine and every victor
in such a chasmic city
who could suppress this poetic seizure?—
interstate shadows amble away
from their owners with every passing second
eternal midnight’s a roadtrip away
in regurgitated vehicles
we scrabble for nine-month redemption
and in the trunk we lock up turbulent tabloids
and environmental brochures we pretended to read
and we build our nests
in the heartbeats between skyscrapers
valet parking intervenes with caution
but is no less obscene for it
and for all the concerned faces
the ecosystem still falls prey to the hungry egosystem—
a lattice of vanity scrawling its signature
i’ve been pacing
the same gasping streets
thinking about predestination and how many times
i’ve got to wake up before i rise
and i’ve been searching everywhere
for a rabbit hole
to fall into
in the end i decided to dig my own
so i slipped thru the city’s ribcage
struck straight into the serene heart of Central Park
only to drown again
AyePoWriMo, n)"here is the city limits"
she said, in a voice
softer than holo-silk
and it was staggering,
the malachite ocean
at night, the company stars
above turning universal.
the titanium wall pulsed
with a geothermal red.
she took a cigarette-
and smoked out the faint
outline of an ancient, native
dragon. the hubbub below
silenced for curfew.
"this is the violet electric,"
she said. "this night is a voice
and it will be heard."