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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
Six Second Poem"We're all the same," she said. "Friend, tell me," she asked, "how are we different?"
For six seconds I paused, then I said:
Some of us ..
love more than we hate,
laugh more than we cry,
work harder than we play, but
live before we die.
Some of us don't.
And that, my friend, is how we are all different.
I willI will love you
all the way to the place where ladybirds go to die,
to the lushest corners of the earth
that hold the secrets no man was meant to see
and we will find them, and know them together.
I will love you
all the way to the place where bubbles are made
at the bottom of a glass of cider
that blisters the glass with condensation
as we trade hats and laugh at the way the air smiles.
I will love you
all the way inside a branch where buds dream of Becoming,
where those one-day-flowers stir wooden hearts
into an uprising, into a blossoming life
and we will plant our ambitions there, in the blooming place.
I will love you
all the way to the square brackets that hold our boxes
because you are my best friends, and you will be
as we fold papery hands around paper-cut wrists and cry
and mourn eighty-odd years flown by too fast. Even then.
Even then, I will love you still.
Beyond LoveYou say 'beautiful' like a mistake -
like it slipped out unwarranted
from those dark parts of your mind
that you don't want me to go to,
you say it like that.
You caress like it's worship -
like if you pressed too hard
or took too much, you'd pay the price
and I love those urgent times when
you're willing to pay it.
You teach me love like I'll die without it -
like if you don't defrost me
and my frozen image of myself,
then I might stop breathing
and extinguish beneath my own icy damnation.
You kiss me like you have to -
like we're sharing an oxygen tank
in a toxic, broken-down universe
and you are trying not to breathe
to save me.
You kiss me like that.
You love me, like that -
how am I supposed to resist
a man who loves me beyond his own sense
and senses - beyond love ?
EasterRemember what you love,
you with sand in your teeth
and the feral burn of hunger
in your eyes.
God sends his regrets.
He made you grasping and slow,
in a late hour
when the wine washed low.
Remember what you love.
Fall to your knees in the toss
and the swell, quell
the appetite of the cold black sea.
Beg blessings for your home
and the salt-sick trees.
Reach what lies near:
the fat-faced child, the sweet-soft lamb;
tether the tantrum, trickle the blood.
Offer psalms to what is holy,
whisper the name of what you love
as it bobs in the bleak mad sea.
Stereotypical SuicideSuicide is not a stereotype.
Not everyone has a family,
Nobody who lives for their care,
Nobody who wants them around,
Nobody who helps them through life,
Suicide is not a stereotype.
Not everyone has friends,
Not a person there for a simple hug,
Not a person existing for a reassuring look,
Not a person around to leave the words,
Suicide is not a stereotype.
Not everyone has a home,
No place to live and feel happy in so,
No place to live without leaving again,
No place to live to avoid the truth,
Suicide is not a stereotype.
Not everyone has a love,
Nothing there to hold them in warm arms,
Nothing there for a kiss to remember,
Nothing there to be a greatness in life,
Suicide is not a stereotype.
Not everyone has a someone,
"Don't do it - for your family
They mean nothing to me anymore,
"Don't do it - for your friends"
Friends? What friends? They don't exist,
"Don't do it - what about home
The Elephant ManHe had elephant hands; swollen and tendered
by old age and wiping away childrens' crying
so they were leathered and carefully painted
with a veneer of the dust made by old books,
but when he read to me the pages didn't shake
and his throat didn't contract about the words
like they were enemies to be spat out, bloodied.
Lungs didn't shiver and eyes didn't milk, then.
Now, I see love ephemeral. I see love half-dead
and carving its riverbed path, slowly eroding;
until it can rejoin oceans once known in heaven.
Now, I see him ephemeral. I see him half-living.
I see the fear of burdenship as the only thing
that makes his eyes flicker how Pernod used to.
I see a beautiful, crumpled drawing of my hero
as my grandfather slips, wearily, back to sleep.
sunset soon forgottenin a single moment all her greatness collapsed,
her soulfulness small and full of absence.
i am wild
with infinite shades of yes -
and a careless smile
so kiss me quick
under the sun
(just until the pain leaves)
Beautifully BrokenA tidal wave crashes
Hard against the front of my skull,
Spewing fountains of hate into the air.
They are not beautiful.
A shot glass in one hand,
A pen in the other,
I drink alone in my room
As everything about me falls apart.
I can't heal mistakes.
The higher I am,
The prettier the fountains become,
But they really still look the same.
The world sees such strength,
A stoic warrior in a landscape of corruption,
But inside is a black, charred heart,
Shrouded in secrecy.
I am not beautiful,
Because hate is not beautiful.
DunesOut on the dunes, you could be walking on the moon
Maybe you are, maybe we are; see that planet in the sky?
How much more can be said about body heat, about
Sucking the marrow from bones in a vain attempt to quench?
Disheveled by dust-storms in an ocean of sand, we walk
Blank-window eyes searching for what, some sort of life?
Our feet are heavy, the ground wants to eat them; no moon, this
Now the sky is the color of sand, and there are no stars to wish on
Sweat and dead weight, we wait for the coolness of night
Fatigued, delusional, we see a rusty car approach; we get in
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