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RibcageThe clean white
of your ribcage
the grout as if
the white pattern
spicy gumbo in
pots and fried
bananas in rum,
sweet on your lips,
the syrup dripping
onto the floor.
GalumphingEvery girl who wears a dress
(you must acquiesce, true more or less)
has blonde hair and blue eyes.
I would cut them down to size
they're all such worms, you know
(t'was brillig in the slithy toves)
They take their cards up,
with a laugh, tilt their cups,
to their lips, (how they drink!)
they drink me away and think,
(As in uffish thought) their fingers,
on the door, and mine how they linger
on their throats, I would (not) won't (crack)
vorpal blade went snicker snack.
Won't you, won't you, join the dance?
If they're not here I might, perchance.
But I hear their voices, see their fear,
the ocean they would make of tears
Hold my hat, watch me disappear,
(oh my doll, we're all mad here).
The MeteorologistShe’s stretched
as thin as the air in the stratosphere
and her rain
she catches in a great tin can,
pocked with holes,
but they make a music
when they slide down the sides.
on summer days,
I can still hear chimes
but the sky’s as still as her eyes.
The Prince's Last WifeIt must be confusing
to lie down every night
not sure if you were going to be with
the man or the bear.
Sure, he's always been a man by night,
but then he's a bear by day,
with those big, sad, polar eyes,
still trying to control his massive limbs
like he's the master of his own destiny.
And yet you find those white hairs
on your good clean sheets,
on your silk pajamas,
mingled in your morning tea,
which is always waiting,
hot and steaming,
despite the fact he can't carry it in his paws.
And he watches you dressing yourself,
pulling on layer after layer, wool and wire,
because he shoots the cold
right through you,
with a nuzzle of his nose.
And he never has to dress, though at night
you can feel his skin,
and the goosebumps that line his humanity.
It must be confusing,
to lie there at night,
hoping he'll be the bear,
coming to eat you alive.
The ApostlePaul came to me and we stood
on the battlements
for seven hours:
The incongruent spaces between our legs
and the thorns that are buried
in our ribs,
make these moments ache.
The point somewhere, digging into
He still struggles with blindness,
and it's all too much to congratulate him
on the papacy
because I fumble against the rocks,
feeling their roughness,
take the tips of my fingers,
pin drops of DNA,
leaving a sampling of my faith behind.
PantophobiaLate at night there were
the creaks in the floorboards,
kept my eyes red.
In the morning, the sudden
siren traded places with
And I knew I'd never
sleep soundly like
when they crawl
deep under my skin.
No, I'm wide awake
at midnight listening
for the sudden gunshot,
and broken glass.
Some day I'll catch myself
standing in an open field,
wobbly arms and legs
terrifying the crows,
so they catch
the passing gale,
and flutter away,
past Oz. Past this cell
where there's nothing
to fear but fear
Genuine FlameWhen you spark,
the genuine flame,
you ignite, the wails,
the roar of the earth.
You light up,
like French absinthe,
Consuming the sweet,
the heart of Péle.
country in the trenches
of the Pacific,
islands of heat,
Bursting your seams,
you wake the creatures
from the deep,
who will one day,
sit across from us
in smokey bars,
offering us more beer,
lighting our cigarettes.
Clamshell CathedralsLeaning candles I've not found,
Only endless fields of weeds
At the bottom of the ocean.
You cannot cry with eyes
Like mine. But there are voices,
Whispers on the waves.
Silken skin fills my head
Wrapped around me for a time,
Then falling out like feathers.
There's a pearl inside me,
Hardly polished. Gone to die
At the edge of the water.
AllergensA brush with toxin
There's hay fever,
and then there was
snapped the oak,
split the elm's heart.
Roots like piano wire
smothered the surface,
rotted the core.
Lips to the bark,
scattered the leaves.
untitled 3my chest compresses and
any last fears
about the shapes
of our faces
try me, try me, try me
pinocchio in loveoh
can tell a white lie
and lead me to a place where all
donkeys can enunciate better than your boy tongue.
only show me a lone heart, pinocchio, since you know where it roams--so helplessly.
your pine-knuckled hands do not need to shake and your hollowed chest does not need to echo your false, metronome heartbeat--you will be alive soon.
biopsyput me under, cover my face, stuff my lungs with your chemical lies.
if they were to take me apart,
slice open my chest,
peel back the skin keeping me whole,
they would find:
a. one heart, slowly ticking.
(they would not find anything,
but they would have to say they did.
after all, girls can't live without a heart.
they forget that i'm not the first:
a score of girls walking even though
they should have faded long ago.)
b. each rib curved so perfectly,
a shield around my lungs.
(a cage, keeping my breath from bursting
out of my skin. know that this is just me,
held together by nature,
unable to lose control of myself.)
c. two sacs of cells, nestled beside each other.
(no first-hand smoke here, no sir.
only second-hand dust, only
things i could not get rid of,
only bits of places i've been,
caught in my body.
postcards of memories i can't see.)
d. a skeleton, still and alive.
(sleeping, with blood cells being produced
in the hollows of my curves.
the rattling of my bones cannot
tu me manquesMost days I miss you in English
On the worst I miss you in French,
You are missing from me
I am lacking in you
a vital part
as essential as air
A lost immune system
that can't keep illness at bay,
There is no single word
that covers a lack of you,
I miss you out of language
But French is the closest,
tu me manques.
demonsi stole flowers from the neighbor's garden for your grave today.
hydrangeas were always your favorite, though after you passed
i allowed your garden to die along with you.
in the distance, fadingi never said my goodbyes,
one rainy night
out of my window,
rain puddles, pine trees
the night slowly froze everything,
ice humming its way
into my lungs,
skies breathing snow.
when you wake up tomorrow
frost will cover the tree branches
and i will be gone.
The Rising July HumidityBy the edge of the pond
our clothes on the ground
Nobody but airplanes could see us,
and the dirt was settling,
the truck cooling,
the grass unbending
from our bodies.
and sob of cicadas,
and heavy breathing,
as we dove under,
catching air like fireflies
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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