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.
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,
wasting the wise, the sad, the beautiful.
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.
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
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
Cancer The plane wades
through cotton corn
seeded by vapour
trails - these clouds swell
as white tumours
gorged by rain.
Like brain scans,
earthly and ghostly
on a death canvas
lit by fluorescent finalities.
more options available in dropdown menugoad your gods into breathing underwater.
quip quickfire quarry at your quintessential being:
hark, hiss, hush a serial name. a feared real pain.
a slow-speaking drain of constant osmosis, pull yourself
up out from among the fallen, pull tug twitch violent
virulent, vascular. clad your misery scantily, dress
your sadness with promiscuity. let the skin show
through the fabric, let the blood pulse&pump&pray.
counterbalance in syntax, in tandem, in tears: this
is something you understand. you, the boy -- wait,
no. scream. scratch your dresses from your closets and
rip your vocal chords up, bleed your chest dry, cry. fall
unweighted, backward. be sorrowful in order to keep
from apathy all that you are, all that you could or
will be. you cannot empower yourself, you have not
the strength, wasted it all on pouring your long hair
down the sink to tangle in the sewage, spent yourself
as a power source for other people. there is no fuel
or electricity to be found. your hips are too fuckin
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These are the Old Ones,
the ancient transmitters,
pine radios that broadcasted
before the earth grew legs
Twig satellites collect
the earth's signal
and relay it back
Some lay fallen,
bark stations that
let beautiful moss
bloom in the riverbeds
They are the steps for soil.
amber resin clouds
drape sunset curtains
over the intricate life:
palace to postcard.
Factory smoke to a cloud.
At the peak,
the world burnishes
in a blonde bronze.
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
speaking in tongues (#12)simplicity aches
on the inside of my cheek,
knotted by teeth
and anxiety alike,
i bite the letters
like an obituary.
until the words
arch of my jawline,
my screaming affection
as they never
left their sender.
i fail to realize
the mess i've made
until i open my mouth
and all that spills
is aged red wine
that my sadness
has gotten drunk on
since i learned
what love was.