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Day 15 - SiltThere is a downward pull that begins slowly –
Forty years of fine red silt cease flowing through your veins
And settle like sedimentary rock.
Things, and you, begin to taste of copper.
Lavender mists condense as you walk out to fetch the paper
The kettle is whistling or the coffee roiling when you return to the kitchen.
Your lover is waiting, his beard and hair greying slightly:
Sometimes he still kisses you like he did when you were twenty three.
You start to spend your evenings in the ochre light
Of sloppily-painted sunsets which begin around the time the theme for Final Jeopardy fades out.
Coffee cups are washed, sinks drained.
Everything smells of earth and book pages with a hint of Pine-Sol.
The window is filled with the amber radiance of marigolds –he likes to garden,
While you are more careless, killing houseplants by neglect.
You promise to stop disassociating yourself, and to write less in the second person.
You get drunk less often and even jog once in a while.
Day 4 - QuietAutumn began and ended quickly
So now the sun sets early and I spend my evenings in the dark.
Today’s thoughts are quiet ones -
Where we love is where we live and die.
Day 3- North StarIt was dark when I left work today,
And I shivered as the wind slid around my bare legs.
(shouldn’t have worn a dress today, says the voice in my head.)
I try my best to ignore it. I always do.
I swear familiarly, angrily, when traffic is backed up at the bridge again –
This traffic congested tangled metal thing spanning the river
Like some kind of urban jungle gym.
But still it is the northern star of my commute and points the long way home.
I’m perched on a stool in his mother’s kitchen
With a mug of orange tea in my hands and a bowl of chicken soup with dumplings in front of me.
On the way home, my debit card is declined.
I try not to panic.
Day 2 - DetritusI squint my eyes as you kiss my freckled face
my sunstreaked hair out behind me like a banner
As I emerge from the lake with foam and seaweed clinging to my calves.
I make a face. You laugh.
Longing is a savory dish we must sit down to dine,
even as we cling together
in a tired knot with mouths that taste of lemonade and alcohol.
I whisper in your ear “I don’t want you to go.”
The night before we left a storm broke
with rain and thunder, and lightning webbed across the sky like lace.
I came to where you slept,
weaving myself into your arms.
This is the detritus of summer:
pearlescent driftwood grasped in hands worn down by sand.
Filling up our pockets with stones, memories.
A wall of tiny meaningful things we build to keep out the coming of the night.
There are no secrets here but many mysteries
And subtle, half-veiled truths waiting to be made known
Day 1- Cold HandsEveryone said a storm was coming but I did not prepare.
Perhaps I was too flippant or afraid to acknowledge?
Probably the latter –
Avoidance is my middle name.
The storm’s precursor:
Grey skies, and rain hissing its way up my windshield as the wipers, groaning,
Flung it away.
A low front settled into my chest midafternoon at the thought of leaving.
Now, I sit on the couch by the window, watching the rain fall
As the cold gradually seeps from my limbs and my fingers thaw slowly.
But isn’t a blanket a small comfort compared to you,
Immediate and present, mouth tasting of
Sour apple and blood?
Cemetery LaneDriving down Cemetery Lane
Steering wheel gripped tightly, top and bottom, taking sharp
As the radio host mourns the fate of Montana's coal industry.
We'd go behind the school with the Grecian columns
In a parking lot pooled with yellow streetlights, exploring
The darkness my mouth left on your neck.
Driving and breaking too fast
With the memory of the way each bend winds around itself
Like solemn ribbons around the tombstones.
Lying on a bed far from home
Pizza box kicked on the floor and the television flickering with the sound off.
I cannot forget the way your skin brushed mine.
MineThe past four years, I have been a nomad,
A snail, whose house is wherever her back is.
An hourglass constantly turned over and over, measuring
Time until I leave, time until I return.
I'm packing a bag with my toothbrush, my phone, and my fiancé's shirt to keep me warm
i won't be gone long, i only need a few days' worth of clothing.
Life doled out in miniscule increments like the vitamins I portion into plastic baggies
And forget to take when I am gone.
I've tired of living out of packed suitcases and half empty closets,
With a roof provided, but my heart somewhere else.
Filling out paperwork, what is my address?
When is the night where I can go to sleep and feel your arms around me,
Waking up to tangled limbs, tousled hair and no bed else to sleep in?
Tell me when I can put my bags away, throw out my arms and say
This is mine.
BrillianceI wasn't sure if I was falling asleep or drowning. Pastor Abilay had just reached the third point of this three-point outline and I was fading quickly. "The devil's 15 minutes," my father often called it. He would sit rigidly at the head of the dining room table after every Saturday dinner and warn us that just as the pastor reaches the place where Scripture is applied to our lives, we start to drift off due to the devil's influence. I always did, and it terrified me.
Pastor Abilay's sermons were an odd blend of clinical Calvinistic theology combined with the self-assured charisma of a leader whose word was law. His sermons always made me feel as if I were boxed in by walls of water and left me with a dead weight in my stomach. Just as I thought I couldn't take any more, he concluded the sermon and we moved on to the final singing. The presenter came to the front of the stage, hummed a few bars of the next Psalm, and we all began to sing. The song rolled in a rich four-part harmony tha
Come HomeCome Home
The leaves were just starting to fall as Alexander Bartel wheeled his bike out of the garage and left for work. They had been yellow and orange for a few weeks, but red veins had gradually taken over until today, when, at the hands of an incoming cold front, they began to fall like rain. The wind had awoken him early and when he woke up, so did his wife, who glared at him in the dim morning light and rolled back over. Breakfast had been instant oatmeal and instant coffee and half a glass of pulp-free orange juice. Grace liked pulp and he didn't, so they bought two separate half gallons every week. She was just waking up when he left for work but he made it out the door without her noticing.
On the whole, Grace was not very supportive. She acted as if she didn't believe him when he said he was going to work and had taken another job on the side for extra money. He always said he would help her achieve success as a writer but now she had taken the new job and rarely went to her
A Legacy of WisdomYou have scribed your words,
wealthy wreaths of wisdom,
on paper never torn or worn.
You have etched your passions
on my brow.
You have left this wallowed world
victorious; eyes resplendent
with the wisdom you wrote and wrought.
Your passions shall echo in my ears
And should I stray into some
sullen storm, or get caught in
the torrents of the monsoon, Ill know
that Lears been there before, and
Ill not swoon.
And if Hades doors open up
before my stranded soul, and scorch
it with the heat of hell, Ill recall that
I am not the first Dantes been down
there as well.
And if on my death-bed I mourn
the life I wasted on wine and stale
chocolate bars, Ill recall Wildes words and
hope that, though long in the gutter, I did
glimpse the stars.
NonexistenceI pray to a God I have never seen,
who lives in a world that has never been,
to save my heart that has never felt,
from eternity's failures, eternity's guilt.
My feet step on grounds no men stepped before,
my lips taste the poison, bitter and sore,
yet it does not kill me,
does that mean,
that I am immortal,
or that I've never been?
I pray to a God that may not exist,
while the iron shackle tears up my wrist,
to tell me the difference of being and not,
to show me the memories that I forgot.
My mind flies to places nobody has reached,
to learn that the stars are nothing but bleached,
spots on the dark, they're not even light,
I think that's 'cause real light brings nothing but fright:
It's bound to discover
all crimes, neatly covered.
I pray to a God because maybe he is,
unlike me and the world,
in them I miss
something to reach.
AnarchyScream the anthem of the anarchist!
What is it? Exactly.
I won't tell you; make it up.
Go away. Blow it up.
Burn it down. Deface the town.
But don't give in,
Never -- no.
That's the song we all love so.
Freedom past extremity.
Far away, in my backyard
I own the world; I am a bard.
I wear a beard and shave my head;
All the normals want me dead.
I won't give up; I ramble rave.
You'll never make me behave.
My brother, loser, freak, meek geek
You know-- the beatnick, hippy, punk--
The rock bands my parents debunk--
We treasure what we cannot have:
No allegiance to any flag.
out of Gardenwhat sea
how it is welling your eyes a wet mess
where urchins of the ocean will spill to howl their elegy
where mermaids will turn widows
once brine has swallowed whole their sailor babes
stewarding the land instead
is why i never set sail with you
but to lay in gardens, oh
a bed sheet rotten by the ultraviolet
and our laps full of stars
what black soil will pervert your knees there
where moonlight will mirror out from your teeth
to run fanatic toward cosmic space
after bathing in the space among us
where walking air pushes every dust
one of sun-dried butterflies
one of beaten rug with broom
one of honey bees minus harvest
one from sands of human crust
when traced is an orb monster, Jupiter
around your left breast, so that nipple
a blood storm just under the skin
and asking where you sowed the marigolds
is only to hear you choke the words time and water
in the same sentence
to hear you say there will be no rain for a week
while an ocean is
the plasticized quantum theory
une voleur honteux
slip of the tongue
in each saturated pore
spectrum rehearses its symphony
crooked whispers of a flute
a glimpse of blue infinitude
quiets the confines of los alamos
¿quién es él? eso piensa
paralysis in the peristalsis
jewel in the vitreous humor
until it watercolors
the poison of psyche
papillae the plagues
oxidizing ash and ember
a quivering effigy
splinters the moon
the mirrored hand exhales
swept the epileptic ceiling
dissolving tendrils of mahogany
detached from the retina
tranquil, the deception
the film frame fades
captured in the mercury
Perspectives of a Hallucino...Comfort. The softness of the basement couch. Misery loves company.
Trickling through my fingers. Whispering across my face, her disappearing
lips trace across my cheeks. The smell is sweet, but she is rough against
my throat. Her smell isn't so much intoxicating as it is suffocating, yet
the smoke paralyses my senses and touches my soul. Her street name is
undeserving of her effect on me. Forever, she shall be known to me as
Mary-Jane. I will never know her beauty.
Snowflakes fall, blood is in the air,
Covering white figure of pride,
Lying forceless on the ground,
Having no strength to fight with the snow,
Nor even with reality,
Which drifts down from the empty sky,
Where the moon cannot be seen,
Where birds cannot be heard,
At which wolves can only howl.
Holding DeathHolding Death
I held death today.
It wasnt so black or dark, it was just
Five chances at it;
Five spurts of dirt snake their way up the embankment.
I feel lightning ricochet through my bones
And thunder cracking, dimly, through the headset, fading off in a little trail,
A wisp of whitish smoke.
My aim is good
But too much awe grips me
Because I have learned the art of taking life.
The scent of clover beneath my feet,
Bees bumbling into my goggles and tiny insects of sweat
Crawl down my spine.
I squeeze my lids shut and suddenly glimpse
A frail gilded hummingbird,
Its beauty matched only by its futile
Frantic beating of wings against air.
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.
I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.
At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.
I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
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