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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
an actthere is a patch of death screen blue in the sky
too obvious to have been painted so it must be natural,
they could've painted it to trick us into thinking so,
no answering machine for the representative of god
except for the rubble smouldering on radiowaves.
the ball was taken away from you by ten bodyguards
escorting you further from the field where only bigger animals play.
i am the bull charging at the matador.
i am the lone center forward running straight into the net.
because you will never
you pay for maze entrance tickets with brain attrition
and every wall is a grater
you pant and itch bumping into migraine
tissue crumbs in looping tracks
triple agent code name ari
find what you hateon my skeleton alleyways are built,
gaps and craters. suicide pact-bound teens
walking into lava.
i spied on them like an nsa angel.
a xenocryst pricked my toe.
i was the one veering off the fiery sidewalk,
and saw chunks of motorway half-
regurgitated, ashen smegma
fallout. the language into which
my onanistic fire
suddenly everything had meaning
first of all,
there was someone watching over
our wreckage. and it was
mother ships of the mooncatastrophized ...
there's somebody else on the moon
and tasting skin in batches
and saving all they've learned until
the mother ship returns
but it's been heard
she's involved with superstitions
that she's wandered off to find religion
a devil daughter turned
so loose your lips
and let it slip -
there's somebody else on the moon
cache of hornetsit's the interstice that always kills ...
(no emphasis on keeping clean)
and it's a bad, bad night
who stalk jurassic scenes
while below our glowing
nuc a grist
of wasps have balled to death the queen
... roiling in their honey-coated
omnivores wet dream
thanks for eating methis house keeps spewing out
our chewed bodies
with rombus marks from rombus teeth
the faint blue light
and the dark rooms gave us.
The JackalThe jackal cries by night.
The jackal hunts by night.
The blood is let by might;
The soul is failed starlight.
Though the jackal weeps,
He spares none, who show mercy;
For it is not his way,
And traditions are only broken by the weak.
PurgatoriosI have sat in the mouth of Satan and heard his words,
Tasted his fear.
You also were there and rushed headlong into the black hole.
The sand caught fire and we ran,
Naked, noble, slicked limbs and flashing eyes.
I rejoiced in my torment, and still I ran.
"Sorrow, not loathing has fixed itself so deep within my heart.
It will be long before it is stripped away."
Time slowed and we were forbidden to run.
They ran around us, but you grasped me from behind
And I could not kiss you.
Higher we climbed, past greedy and virtuous,
Lovers and killers and tyrants, all
I am not sure if lingered long in the place where sins are burned away,
What penance we made
Or if the time for making penance was long since passed.
But when we reached the peak of Purgatorios,
We drank of the river Lethe and forgot.
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
[transmissions of a dead girl]i am the
moon: i am
the silver pill
to weigh down
into leaden eyes--
i am the
of the dark.
the stars are
all dead in their
you'll be safe, dear,
as i am the moon,
with all of your
(i am good bye and yet,
you think only of romantic
i am the moon.
i am the crescent
and dead altogether,
i still die.
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