wringing meaning from white
fall to silence
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.
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.
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.
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.
Verso VToday, the sky dreams of pearls
and weeps for want of wind.
The chachalaca, silent for once,
huddles high in an ebony tree.
The dust is wet and dark and will not blow today.
World-saver (A starter)“This one,” said the Oracle. “This one will save the world.”
It spit out a gene map, one with far too many chromosomes.
The President picked it up and spread it out so the others could see.
“An animal?” he asked.
“A world-saver,” the Oracle replied. “The subject will be phenotypically female, outwardly indistinguishable from Homo sapiens.”
“A general?” asked the Chancellor.
“A world-saver,” the Oracle replied. “The subject will prevent the destruction of the planet.”
“And the planet’s people?” asked the Minister.
“Yes,” the Oracle confirmed.
The Professor frowned.
“Where,” she asked, “can this individual be found?”
The Oracle hummed.
“No such organism is presently in existence,” it said. It sounded amused, though that was impossible.
“Then it must be built,” the Professor said.
They took the gene map and turned to
NOTHINGThe devil is in my television
Antennae horns replaced with cable
Siren Temptress Bitch
Hawker of all things useless
Bloated trucks with testosterone voices
Drugs to ask your doctor about
Car insurance for cars
Life insurance for lives
Lives condensed to an hour
for the short of memory
Voyeur TV 24/7
Ersatz reality and faux news
Six hundred channels and
nothing to see
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.
I'm All That's Left of MeI’m All That’s Left of Me
She put her lips on the fountain when we were kids.
I've kissed too many people to still be mad about it.
The first time she slept in my bed I had visions
of my grandfather decaying in his coffin.
(The scuttle of tiny legs and a far away buzzing)
I woke up to a thousand pairs of eyes staring at me.
Hers were closed, but her mouth started moving.
“People who dream about the dead often attract flies.
I’ll tell you my nightmares if you tell me yours.”
It was winter and the windows were closed.
There are flowers that bloom once in a life time.
The things I see during the day prepare me for the night.
A family moved into her old house.
They don’t leave beer cans on the front porch.
For some reason that makes me sick.
The only picture I didn't burn is of her
looking past the lens and straight into my eyes.
Everything else about that life is gone.
Sometimes even me.
This is the worst day to tell me I’m blind
Saltwater Burnsmend your brittle
poet fingers &
nurse your static head
cherry lips &
blue, blue fingernails
[girls like you are
Love HurtsHe had a smile on his lips
But embers burning in his eyes.
His razor-blade fingers
Would cut into her wrist.
He disguised his black heart
With whispers of sweet nothings
And hid his need for control
Beneath a veil of concern.
"Love hurts," he would say.
She would lay awake at night
"This pain I feel is a burden of love; at least I’m not alone."
And she would explain away the bruises
Until she had herself convinced
That the mark upon her face
Was from walking into a door
And the broken glass
Glittering red in her skin
Was the result of her own foolish mistake.
Even as her blood
Would sluggishly drip onto the floor,
His snarling face would soften.
He would gently take her
Into his arms
And whisper the words,
"I love you."
So she would forgive him
Because “love hurts.”
And she knew the hands
That had come crashing against her
Were also capable
Of wiping away her tears.
And the sharp words
That exited his mouth
Would be erased
By the press of his lips
Upon her t
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
quest(ion)ingi built a tower to the wrong
the clouds are dark;
silence to skyline,
a night wrought brittle
i slipped wistful,
wasted hours hanging
heavy to heart-
and rhythmic glory
invades my breath,
a never-still accompaniment
to the fugue-
state of my
we could have been gods,
but the sky is a maze
and we are
he was a cathedral
of meaningless echoes,
a beauty that skimmed
his sound was
a lost child playing
at being (pro)found.
a man undone by age
his song rung brittle
through the cracks
of a ribcage made weary,
breath and shallow
his was the war,
a death hollowed
at the center of
his voice fell precise
throughout the dark;
opening what was once
closed, a gentle coalescence
of kaleidoscope harmony.
the incomplete karyotype1. The First Mendelian Letdown
One by one, we unload our Punnett Squares.
There are traits we could cradle like nostalgia.
Some of us spent entire childhoods scrubbing
away our freckles, hoping either to extinguish them
or to capsize them like floating candlelight.
Some of us cried when we drew blood, not because it hurt,
but because that's when we realized that we were
blacktop scribbles, chicken-scratch genotypes.
There are traits we wish we could toss away, but like coins.
Recessive claims heads, dominant demands tails,
but when our inheritance rolls into the gutter
we have to know what we're worth
without our pocket change to back us up.
We mourned of Mom's miscarriage
as its ultrasound, a sprouting
of fingers wrinkled like
second generation snap peas.
Eyes unopened, we never caught
maternal or paternal reflection,
either blue glass or cold steel,
regardless of what he looked through
to see the sun.
There once was prodigy
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."
newshours no longer whittle into days
strangled and uncalendared;
forbidden rituals of a new dark Eros
clothesline sheets and bed throes → blunders in a blue face
and sensing your reversals, i’ve grown and grown impossibly old;
god’s bad math:
infinities as remainders.
however they lapse
i spend the better part of them
burning through the flyleaves
for mandalas sealed in hell bank
for ashes of your epilogue
for the end of throats
in songs and news.
no one can regret their past
but of futures . . .
like when planets will re-purpose you
into interstellar fruit bats or thyme pulled from the brink of comets
and you’re wondering why i'll never find you
when datebooks write us in the living.
Watercolor DreamsFlimsy watercolor dreams that
can be erased with a few teardrops
cannot make you feel alive,
but my chest was so hollow that
even a dying star was enough
to set my eyes alight
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
automated< !DOCTYPE html >
< html >
< head >
< style type="text/css" >
font-family: "univers condensed";
color: "that strange milky-grey shade the sky turns when everything is static and slow";
background-color: #000000; /* don't make that joke about the darkness of your soul */
font-family: times new roman; /* i don't know, something sharp and serif */
text-align: right; /* weren't you always? */