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.
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.
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
ProclamationBeneath the spangled, auburn sky,
the silence of cathedrals swells where once
the vulgar shouts held sway, the profane
and the irreverent, the raucous, the bold.
A hush grows ever deeper in the mouths
and in the ears of the sharp-toothed
sycophant and the frog-mouthed boor,
and for once, this once, they listen.
A raffia-soled sandal shushes through the gloom,
bearing in bent shoulders beneath raglan sleeves
and a heavy brow. A confessor stands ready
in every alcove, in every ribs-bare window.
Ready are they to receive those who come.
In robes as black as searching pupils they have waited
for the sinner-supplicant to kneel amidst the standing
and proclaim the new amidst the old --
in a mighty voice of silence. An army of philosophers
can outgrow the need for shouting. Someday
their gaping mouths will heal and they will learn
the comfort of a prayer in the heart.
Even now, their clamorous psalms die
on their frigid lips, and sober thought lifts
Synesthesia - III have learned not to say
when your voice burns under my tongue -
learned not to shiver
at the cold of sirens on the street -
learned not to describe
the pricks and strokes and touches.
I have learned that skin cannot hear,
nor ears feel
(whichever it is).
How strange to think:
I may travel all my life
and never find a lover who can hold my laugh in his palms.
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
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
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.
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
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
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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
A Textual AnnealingA thousand thousand generations
misinterpreting the lightning,
A tumult of attempts, many
mumblings while we burn - each time
most is lost, some survives.
At the whistle of illusion that awakens,
day drops dream on me. I am
thick with swerve: If there are giants
there is a world they walk on.
And for the final faith
to be an inversion: We are
the electricity lunging toward the sky.
ropeswing tides over
ringing and rising on the
radio: stellar splendens
so long, and thanks for
all the static.
every mouth poured
together honeyed and
lectern holds proof of
betrayal on top of the world
angry arched churches
gape wide and toothed
full to the brim
and furious, facing a melee
corrosive curled up on
a cold hard sky
fingers stretched above head
as far and further as far
hurl body forward, stay
distanced, collect up shards
of self on china plate and
leave to be pieced together
when the fighting is over
and the world goes quiet
and the sky goes dim
and the ground falls
MemoriesI would spill gasoline
On my memories
And set them on fire
If it didn't imply
Melting the outlines
Of my being
Spreading the atoms
And losing track
Of my existence
SuspendedWinter has frozen her work now,
secret names shimmering, safe, anguished.
Lulled, we enter it like a rocking cradle,
the white, vaulted room
where frost settles into glass,
where we shrink with the noise of death
drawing itself across the snow.
Our hands are older than our eyes, some say.
Some say our memories are forgiven,
that we’ve come to a place
famed for the absurd,
but this is the part where we light the village farolitos,
like children accustomed to time travel and invisibility,
striking our matches in the dark.