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Anchor WormYou were the disease I caught,
the fish I never wanted,
clouding the water in my tank.
You were the gravel
caught between my scales
and the algae on the walls at once.
I was swimming, my betta fins
drifting in the stillness,
dreaming of Siam, widest waters.
But for you, less than a guppy,
I'd be an eel,
electric. Never to be caught.
I'll dig you from the floor,
crack you open, and drink your skin,
but gasping, catch the pearl in my throat.
No one once told me about the extra arm
on my starfish, which would
separate, and grow into another.
On the wireIt has been some
years since the birds,
perched on the electric
wire, flew off to sea.
And you watch,
hoping to notice, a
distant wing, the size
of a dust mote,
or the snowflakes,
which melt when
they come in contact
with your fingertips,
which type away at
the keyboard, saying,
you miss the birds,
and the snow too,
and wondering at
the pause in connection
speed, as something
settles on the wires.
UndertakenI should have looked for snakes
when I went hunting for the dragon
And when they dragged me through the streets
I saw Saint Agnes holding her branch
I was not under it, but saw her eyes,
tears lingering, then
nothing but pools
deep in the earth
the roar of the earth swelling in my ears
blinking at the creatures,
Father Time's chest rose and fell,
and I into that hole,
deep in the ground,
where rabbits dwell,
at least until spring.
The Pain SellersThe bone jackal,
in his boat, his black
eyes and teeth,
he says, I could cut a deal,
I could give you,
the beating heart
in return for the stomach,
I respond, that the
earth is humming;
it is my entire
belly, and heaving
up the gardens,
like hurricanes in
my throat, the whole
river then overflowing
onto the banks, into the
papyrus, inkless, drowned.
The waters of the inner Nile,
then, caught in bowls,
sold to pain sellers, merchants
who specialize in honey medicines,
I catch myself building
my own sarcophagus,
eating beetles, while
his wild dogs dig up
DaddyThere was a metal door
between his office and me
and sometimes I'd drive
cars into it. It was a garage,
before. Then, filled with
hidden in desk drawers
like buried treasure,
sacraments for nosy girls.
When outside he finds
the holy departed, he
calls me for a plastic bag.
He picks up my cat,
wracked with rigor mortis
Daddy gives no eulogy.
But calmly he hands us an offering,
repeating the Psalm,
"Why don't we get some ice cream?"
The Ice StormWhy would I wake at all,
to find my lips unable to part,
and the heat of loss,
threatening to thaw this
winter, into a lake?
And so, I cannot move,
I'm melted to the spot, and
you, captive in the snow,
awake in forgetfulness.
I wish that I had been warmer,
not sinking into the agony
of hibernation, that I had
counted the drops of rain
that glistened in your hair,
before I breathed them into
that swept us far apart.
Seven Day SuicidesOn Monday morning, I ripped apart my wrists, and let the insides flow out.
I pooled outside of myself and waited for the end, because everything was ending.
The end is not the beginning, hopefully. I'm too tired to begin again.
On Tuesday afternoon, I shut my head in an oven, and baked like the cookies
That I baked sometimes, on happy afternoons. I don't deserve anymore to be covered
In sugar, just swept away on the noxious fumes, to the places I can't crawl.
On Wednesday evening, I took a swan dive from the 12th story, a perfect score,
A perfect landing. A winner I am not, but the pavement is so welcoming.
It doesn't judge, just stretches out, black and endless in every direction.
On Thursday night, I took myself to the gallows, and kicked the chair down with my foot.
There I swung, in the moonlight, skin reflecting soul, broken neck to heart.
It's not poetically inclined, but just another night without music.
On Friday, before sunrise, I took my medicine prescribed from now until ete
AbsintheThe Bohemian Method
When Amelia woke, she knew she was not alone in her room. She sat up too fast, felt lightheaded for a moment. She tasted blood in her mouth and felt a slight trickle from her nose. The room felt dry, warm. The air smelled like fresh tobacco.
"I like it when you bleed," a voice said from the corner of the room.
She turned and saw the man, lounging in the chair by the vanity, cigarette in hand, the glow reflected in the mirror behind. He grinned. His teeth were very white, very even, even in the darkness of the room. Her heart was hammering.
"You," she said, struggling against the quaver in her voice.
"Me," he responded. "Always me."
He stood and approached her bed. With his free hand, he pulled a tissue from the pocket of his suit coat and offered it to her. She averted her eyes and took the tissue, dabbing at the blood.
He was incredibly tall, and his features, while attractive, were almost unremarkable. Almost, were it not for his eyes, which, even in the di
The Cellist's WifeAubrey is holding her again. As he has held her every day for many weeks. She is his one true love. I watch him from the doorway of his studio, embracing her. I envy the way he lays her body against him, the way his legs fit around her so perfectly, the way they seem made for one another. He told me, when we married, that he would never love another more than me, but I can see it. He adores her. And how can I deny him the beauty and purity of his love? The world is so lacking in a love like theirs. When he slides his bow over her strings, the singing of the vibration, there is nothing like it.
Aubrey's cello is the woman he longs for, the one he desires. Late at night, I know her music fills his dreams. When he and I make love, he is filled with her humming.
Aubrey is playing in legato, the notes flow like water over one another. He is unwilling to part from her. I lean against the doorway to watch. From the corner of his eye, he sees me and looks up sharply. He is still sliding the bo
Static Smudges and Smears
The newspaper is illegible:
Crop circle smudges from heaven,
Or maybe sieved through the soul's portcullises
Forever closed off to the dangers of the world;
So, instead, I trace the fault lines in
Broken mirrors plagued with fingerprints,
A desperate attempt to read and
Ascertain the present and
But cannot seem to discern which rifts
Are simply my faults and which fault
Is actually my life line,
Where and when do they end.
But, as so often is the musings of fools,
This too is meaningless.
The Life BeforeBig courtyard with
Garments of silk,
Bracelets of jade,
Young girls with their
Thick black braids,
Old ladies with
Bound feet and canes.
And when they go
They leave behind ashes
And pasts aglow.
The life before
Only grandma knows
But what happens
After she goes?
SubsideMy tea has run cold.
It has fallen down my throat
And has frozen the words that sought refuge
In the caverns that dig deep into my flesh.
I swallow it down
Just as no one else around my blazing breath had;
Trading persecution for redemption.
Such a blind fate as the one I choose. Yet,
It is in the broken-in jacket that my body has become that I recede into
To find a warmer slumber.
The Angel in the House"Dearest?"
"Dearest, there, did you hear ?" But his voice trailed off with a glance at her blank little face, tilted at him with feline confusion. He rose the paper to the level of his nose and rustled it nervously. "Don't trouble yourself, I'm sure it's nothing "
Yet there it was again, he could feel the vibrations in his chair! His wife's obvious inability to hear it made him loathe to admit this, however, and he slouched lower under the breakfast table, observing her over the top of the business section.
She was an uncanny creature, he had to admit. Their courtship had been brief and perfunctory, more compelled into occurrence through their families than any actual inclination. And yet, he had come to love her in some fashion. The silent way she slid about the breakfast table; the sweep of dark hair against her pale forehead; the classic curve of her nose; her dainty, dexterous hands fluttering as she cleared up the plates. There were times when he wished he could em
fall morningscigarette in hand
he said something about October,
smoke and breath mingling with the fog,
scarf wrapped thick around his throat,
but you didn't really hear
past his cold red-tipped fingers
slick and silent secret-keepers,
leaves sheened with yesterday's rain,
wax-coated gemstones rolled out
the product of your genetic anomaly,
the gods dashing themselves against the rocks
[he still doesn't know what happened to your mother]
you were tattoos all the way up
vines twining around your arms like dark green barbed wire,
martyr's ink hair shirt
and your toes went numb in your too-small
laces dipped in portal-smooth puddles
pigment leaking into the pearl-grey sky
little soft hands wrapped around the handle of your useless umbrella
you were not alone.
Black RibbonsYour initial presence was merely a scent of sickly sweet black cherries followed by the shock of emerald eyes that left my balancing on my heels. In my fantasies you carries a gilt dagger hidden in your vest and an aura of mystery, an invisible vapor hanging about your shoulders.
You twined silken jet-black ribbons of paranoia through my hair and into the fabric of my thoughts with your elegantly dextrous fingers. Your eyes studied me from the depths of every gemstone ring and your footsteps echoed through the empty hallways of my very veins. I tried to lose you in the twists and turns but I lost my own conscious in the maze of my naive and vulnerable sepia-toned mind.
My craving for you overflowed the small chalice of reason in my head, and the poison dripped down my throat with a searing acidity that dissolved the structure of my being, slowly and painfully transforming me into a creature of tormented madness and unanswered questions.
PyroLet me paint you in violent hues,
Warm skin in red and burnt orange
Ignited in the fires glow.
* * *
The first spark strikes excitement,
Anticipation for the burn as
We set the temperature to rise.
Fears flare my scorching passion,
Terrors chill can not freeze the flame.
I'll coax the all engulfing fires
Rise and grip your fragile frame
In its choking embrace.
I crave the acrid smoke,
The stench to flood my nostrils,
Burning hair and blackened flesh,
Tantalising feast for the senses.
Your screams are intoxicating,
Tearing through the crackle of flame
To caress me, like rough velvet
And I'll shiver
Basking in heat of your demise.
Skin blisters and cracks,
Flesh peels from bone.
Know it will leave you ashen and pale,
Empty husk of your former beauty.
* * *
But awash in flame you'll glow divine,
Beauty in hues of red and gold.
And blackened from out it's molten core
Till the fires can burn no more.
A Farewell to MoleskineI chose not to water your Oleanders.
There was a reason, but it has dried in
my mind like those magenta petals.
You stopped buying me first editions,
when our friends claimed they made
me seem pretentious.
They didn't know about the ketchup stain
on Catcher in the Rye, or the highlighter
I took to This Side of Paradise.
They didn't know anything about being the oldest
book on a shelf- The fact that dust yearns for the
attentive breath of life to set it free.
Words are not prisoners in a flower pot.
They do not die with ease.
I remember now,
I didn't water your Oleanders
because they made you seem
Promises to KeepDusk, the late ashes of summer.
The earth is loose beneath my feet.
I strain my eyes, searching for the
piercing glare of headlights.
Help is not on the way tonight.
Is it common for man to pray for
blindness, so that he may finally see?
An owl has stalked me for miles,
circumnavigating the merlot sky.
She taunts me with the answer.
I come upon a car, abandoned in a ditch-
The same one I crawled out of hours before.
I want to take my shoes off,
to drown myself in that cornfield,
to let the tallest take me.
But, then again
Planting Cactus in HurricaneIn the heat of summer,
humidity came on like
a soaked blanket,
And you stood outside
in your ugly striped shorts,
the female Napoleon
leading your troops;
hibiscus from your aunt,
Mexican funeral flowers,
hoping, as you gripped your
coffee mug, that they would
survive the altitude.
And when the neighbors
brought us funeral food,
they gawked at the cactus
on our front porch which grew
to be taller than the house.
It looked like a strange dancer,
her one leg raised, as if she
leapt out of the pages
of the books you gathered
on foreign lands from the library,
hoping we would never be content
with such rubbish soil,
that we too would jump up,
higher than the roof,
like your displaced sunflowers.
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