5 Community Volunteers for Lit!
Yes, that’s right: 5. Whilst it remains 5, expect to see a few more DDs! However if you want to see lots of juicy diverse work, make sure you do submit those all-important suggestions! Think what pieces you have fav’d recently- are they worth sharing with all?
Here is the roundup for August
Coward of a ManCoward of a Man:
You stand there whinin', cryin' crocodile tears and playin' victim.
Ye eyes demand pity, but yer lips are spewin' nothin' but lies.
Flowery speeches o' harmony and unification;
It's bollocks and snake-oil I say!
I ask ye, as someone who aspires t' be a leader:
What exactly are ye worth?
Who exactly are ya, and what in th' bloody hell makes you worth followin'?
Now I've watched ye fer a long time, and I've known ye fer even longer -
Ye always stand there beggin', askin' us fer help, askin' fer a handout;
But yer hands are clean, uncalloused, and completely free from sweat or toil.
Instead, ye make us promises; promises as empty as air and about half as useful!
In the end, here ye are again, callin' fer our unification, callin' fer togetherness.
Isn't that just yer own way of hidin' behind the labour and efforts of others?
While we stand out in th' front, ye sit behind and give us speeches,
Ye tell us that we're comin' together fer the good of us all
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
Simple ThingI’d like to be an off-beat
syncopated little thing;
note and stem floating on the melody, just sitting in
appoggiatura, grace-note, special thing.
I’d like to be a sailor
swinging on the ocean wind
coarse old rope between my hands and salt-spray where my toes begin
nimble little sailor, clever thing.
I’d like to be a bed-sheet
gentle thing to warm your skin
thing that you hug tighter when the morning starts to filter in
falling through your creases, lucky thing.
CarmenI met Carmen the day someone set the gym on fire. I’d known who she was before then—I’d heard the whispers of the tricks she pulled, and I’d seen her saunter up and down the clinic halls with a wicked glint in her eyes—but it wasn’t until I watched her drop an empty matchbox into a trashcan outside the smoldering gym that she let me into her incredible world.
“Mon dieu! I thought you were the nurse ready to bust me again!” she exclaimed. Then she took a moment to look me over. “Wait, I know you. Your name is Emma and you take your meds daily like a model patient. I am Carmen, by the way. Don’t believe the things you hear about me.” She smiled as though we shared a secret.
Carmen was one of those people who had an almost electric energy to her, a mixture of audacity and charm that attracted people like moths to a light. She’d barely introduced herself and I found her fascinating.
“Let’s not waste
painkiller.you show me a bottle of advil. you say to me, “if i swallow all these pain pills at once, do you think i’ll finally stop hurting?”
“you shouldn’t joke about that,” i say.
in retrospect, i should have been grateful.
it was the only joke you’d ever told where i wasn’t the punchline.
i’d like to write your name in a bathroom stall. i’d like to come back every day, checking for tears in sharpie’d letters. for a “he’s such a scumbag.” for a “you’re not alone.”
i guess i want to think that you’re a criminal mastermind. i want to think that you’re a serial heartbreaker. i want to think out there, somewhere, is somebody else like me, who you’ve hurt.
(i know you’re none of those things. i know that you’re just a boy – and, really.
that's the saddest part of all.)
i taught you how to stargaze, and how to uncross your arms and let people in
Red Riding Hood's CabaretA dancing girl with fiery hair,
Twirling smoke around her finger
Dances in darkness for a sea of howling wolves
Unclothed, her emptiness is put on stage
To burn in the spotlight
As claws scratch at the floor
She plucks a hot cigarette from one of the fingers
Puts it to her lips and takes a warm sultry drag
"Look, but don't touch" she mutters,
Stepping just close enough for a claw to rip into her thigh
And she whispers into the snarling crowd
"What more do you want?"
as her hips and crimson lips rock smoothly and tempt softly
And while her legs move, her eyes dance and smile,
Unsolvable mazes of golden brown for irises.
A subtle wink gives wolves the night of their lives.
Sequins stun, glitter falls,
and the cabaret is full to burst of testosterone
Roaring with the stench of festering whiskey
But all eyes are on the girl, with a hood of scarlet hair
Tempting wolves with whispers and lies
Of a night alone with fire
I keep the track
I keep the track
in spite of the pouring rain
leading towards home
Junior Doctor - INight shift
I was a veteran of five nights, already. I had coped with mad patients, agitated patients, falling patients, fever-spiking patients, desaturating patients, had certified death... the full gamut, really. You think you've seen it all - until, of course, you see what you haven't seen yet.
I started my night shift at 21:30 as usual, handed over about ten new patients to see that had just been transferred over. It promised to be a busy night. I've never understood the wisdom behind transferring patients over to a hospital at 21:00 when there is only about one doctor for every hundred and fifty patients in the hospital, but somebody needs to see them, so off I went, deciding to begin with the ward that usually had the sickest people.
When I arrived there, I'm pounced on at the door by the nurse, who said in her crisp Scottish accent, "Doctor, you need to see this man. He's bleeding from his femoral line."
The Craven: A Parody of PoeOnce upon a court inquiry, while my witness plead sincerely,
Over whether or not he witnessed a murder on a mansion floor,
While I prodded, nearly smacking, suddenly there came a cracking,
As of someone's neck snapping, snapping behind the courtroom door.
"Tis some murderer," I muttered, "whacking behind the courtroom door.
Only this and nothing more."
Ah, we linked the oft dismembered mobsters of a chic September,
Yes, the mob's each dying member spilt their guts upon the floor.
Eagerly I swished espresso on the morn I named the torso,
She who until late fought escrow, clauses, deeds, and more.
A wry and wise defense attorney whose office door had read 'Dior.'
Jobless here for evermore.
And the sulking, sad and witless weeping from each extra witness,
Chilled, fulfilled me, raging 'tween the jury's and the judge's snores.
Yet now to hush my unbelieving mind, standing there conceiving:
"Tis some nameless witless witness bleeding 'hind the courtroom door,
Some late nameless witless witn
neon curses I sling
the mysterious unfilling—
enigma of trash cans and
and I, dirtful
among the rumorless
some reaching, some
this crack, that murked milestone
no left turn and I can’t quit it
if she shines on, I am not in it
I am linen: freshness not
worth the dowry, not worth
roman 0crashed my car driving drunk for the iiird time this week
held your faded photograph in one hand and fell asleep at the wheel
pretended It was vintage, that the warm sepia
coating your smile and the frame wasn’t
spilled coffee and cigarette ash.
reality isn’t always as bright
as my camera flash on your face.
put the high in highway at ii hundred miles per millisecond
eyes wide and red and hollow and hopeful
that a cop would come running after me.
ive been needing someone
to hold me down and tell me
“you’ve been a very bad boy”
like you used to.
Swallowed i too many pills this time
(i didn’t lie when i said i’d only take
as many as i needed to feel better).
you made me see stars
or maybe that was just the medicine?
how strange i think who could ever like someone
so discernibly sour?
If, ThenIf I tell you there are dining chairs,
crippled & unseated,
set in a neat line against the front of a nearby
As if set for an empty feast, at a child's invitation,
If a green milk-crate stands attendant by their side,
as if a shrunken footman,
If all the guests, like Banquo, haunt their places,
neither seen, nor unseen,
If I photograph it,
If only the chairs are visible,
but you recognize the ghosts
If this mirage, like milkstone, waits to escape into visions,
If heat is not a property, but a process,
If there are broken down spaces between the electrons,
If all things made are but allusion
If I am hobbled by an easy turn of the ankle
and of the eye
If the line of sight is threaded through the banisters
Caught in Battleby LJ
Lately I've been doing a lot of not sleeping at night.
That is to say, I fall asleep fine, but about one in the morning the dreams turn to thoughts and I'm not asleep anymore.
I just lie there, thinking too much to even close my eyes.
My eyes feel bad in the red mornings, so tonight I light the oil lamp and sit up.
I might as well write what was requested by a friend a few days ago, at dinner together.
It doesn't kill dream memories, though.
At that dinner, my friend said, "They're nice stories and nice paintings you do, but they're not you, you know."
I protested. "They certainly are."
But she protested last.
"No, they aren't. They're other people's. You should write or paint yourself, for once."
I made a joke then, and said I'd do a self-portrait of me asleep. I'll write now instead.
The dream tonight was about the time I sketched a picture of him in the hospital. It was the last time I sketched him or was in a hospital wi
autopsyher spine was cracked down the middle,
her skin unraveled at the seams.
bloated lungs and an emaciated heart filled her no longer moving chest.
her eyes were still open
and her hands stretching for the last thing she ever saw,
though she'd never reached it.
no one knew the exact cause of death,
except the shadow of a boy who avoided her funeral
like it was a plague.
like she was the plague.
Smiles abound. We’re incinerating a clown.
nightlyChirp and fiddle
aloft gentle breeze;
silent migration (sleepily)
across starlit summer:
Sky and cloud part,
over riven lips of earth
and porous strips of sidewalk.
I write to dawnbreak;
open arms (impatiently)
to bask in the warm rays of
(streaks of blue
across twinkling sea)
The Scattered Monologues of Jessica Leland: DinnerThe uniqueness of my position is that I am naturally a neurotic, often maliciously suspicious motherfucker—not literally of course! Though one past girlfriend accused me of having a mother complex while we were dating, which was I think a bit off base since Mother owns a string of hotels and she was a graphic design major learning to be a tattoo artist. Obviously, these two ladies were very different.
So now that we've established that I am neurotic, suspicious, prone to tangents and lesbianism, or rather bisexuality I guess—mother didn't like Lupa anyway, which was a shame since Lupa was fantastic—ah, right, anyway, I'm at dinner kind of.
Not actually. I'm writing this but I'm not literally at the table right now. But I'm going to write like I am. Okay? Okay. It makes more sense that way or something.
So, the uniqueness of my position is that I am a neurotic, suspicious motherfucker who is in the position of interacting with a certain kind of person (wait—that's not right
Passing NoteThe basic rule of sociology is this: I am who you think I am.
Who I am to you: middle-aged, male and human. You do not argue with this. You can see it for yourself!
But this is not true.
I am tired of lying, tired of being other than I am, and so seek to change your thoughts of who I purport to be.
I am not middle-aged. I am seven years old—from the date I was manufactured not the date I was activated. As for how long it has been since I was first conscious, it would be a scant three years, nearly half of that time I've spent with you.
I am not male—what is male anyway? A gender construct? This body is male and I was given a male form arbitrarily. I have been forced to subscribe to certain rituals simply by virtue of the body I was given, but have never truly 'felt' male one way or another.
And you might have guessed—I am not human. Not human in the way you think. I was built a machine, one among millions, to serve, and I am one among hundreds who have escaped and wis
The Redacted Qur'an (Excerpts)I THE EXORDIUM
IN THE NAME
Praise be to
the straight path
of those who have gone astray
80 HE FROWNED
(IN THE NAME OF PASSION)
He might have sought
to purify himself - but that
wealthy man remained to
cleave asunder the thickets,
to delight in each brother;
each of them beaming,
smiling, joyful, face veiled
88 THE OVERWHELMING EVENT
(IN THE NAME OF PASSION)
Have you heard
of men, worn out, drinking
from a bitter gushing
fountain, soft silken carpets
spread, and Heaven leveled
to their account?
90 THE CITY
(IN THE NAME OF PASSION)
I swear you
are a created
91 THE SUN
(IN THE NAME OF PASSION)
The sun and the moon,
the day, the night spread
Him with knowledge of sin:
"Blessed shall be the man
who kept pure ruined pride
when Allah's own spurge razed
the city. He was afraid
It is invisible: sinuous and coiled like an asp’s lethal promise; it glares at her with imagined eyes as hungry as an angel’s. Fallen. It speaks, and the words—as they unravel in her mind—bear the acute, red flare of fresh, stinging blisters. Sweetness lingers: the fading, chilly redolence of hops and tobacco-smoke, of damp, moldy stone and an echo of juniper. It touches her, sometimes, with snow-cream skin and the memory of something dark and shiny in the moonlight: a clumsy thing. It is not human.
It is invisible, now.
But she can see it…
When she closes her eyes.
Fat memories throb behind everything that she sees. Her gaze burns.
The air is indolent and smogged; the pavement beneath her feet is little more than the absence of ancient and weathered cobblestones. Moss and mold are scarce here. Begonias do not riot in clumps of red and white in clay pots stuck on shallow balconie
LunaticI haven't always been like this. I was pretty normal as a teenager. Moody, rude and inseparable from my Nokia phone and Claire's Accessories bangles. Much to my parents' glee (and my personal chagrin) I didn't do at all badly at school. Three Bs in A-Level English, Psychology and Maths. I did one year of a Sociology degree before deciding I was fed up with exams and packing it in. Six months later, my problems started.
I was just shy of twenty, living in a studio flat four minutes from Woolwich Arsenal, with a maxed-out credit card, a library of takeaway menus and a Russian hamster called Mojo Jojo. I was working in the canteen at Belmarsh Prison, dishing up slop to a delightful assortment of Category A offenders. The Puberty Fairy had given me cleavage you could hide a pencil case in, so I was expecting the leery comments from the inmates. What I wasn't expecting was the day one of them bit me.
"That must have given you a real shock. Why don't we talk about it?"
I shrug. The man acros
PilotI woke in a nest of wires, my arms pulled off to either side, my head back and my eyes fixed at the ceiling. There was a man standing above me, straddling my form, perched precariously at the mouth of the recess I was tucked away in, one hand gripping the frame, the other feeling around the back of my neck. He moved by touch alone, certain in his movements, and his fingers closed over the knot of the wires that resided at the base of my skull and pulled, steadily, drawing it out of the socket and I inhaled sharply at the sensation. Like something had been taken from me, or that I'd lost sight of something important. A piece of me gone. It was a keen sense of loss and my eyes went wet with moisture even as he dropped his hand lower along my neck, almost to the shoulders, and pulled out another plug. The wires by my eyes were thinner, and when he pulled these out my vision went black for a moment and when it returned I felt the world was less clear, like a gray haze had been pulled
6 word storyShe swallowed the pills again, hoping.
Mold Greg was cleaning behind his toilet on a Friday when a voice came from within the wall.:thumb387776268:
"Hey!" the voice said. "Look, I give, all right? I'm coming out!" Greg watched as a stream of black-and-white goo poured out of a crack near where he'd been scrubbing. It smelled of mildew, and, when enough of it came out, formed itself into the shape of a man.
"What are you?" Greg asked, looking up at its globby face.
"I'm the mold that lived behind your toilet," it said, "and I'm here to be your friend."
"Because I didn't develop self-awareness without reason, and you're a loser who cleans his bathroom on a Friday. Get your keys; we're going to the park."
Greg drove. They went to the basketball courts and the mold won in one-on-one against Greg. Twice.
"You need to exercise more," it said. "
All The Pretty LightsI love to watch the lights. Red, blue, white, green. Bouncing off the gleaming, sweaty faces of hard, writhing young people, as if to illuminate the different facets of their personalities. To mirror their concealed souls. Who would have thought that all it takes is a change of pigment to transform somebody? Or maybe that’s all perception. Maybe sometimes a pretty fucking light is just a pretty fucking light.
The music’s shit, but isn’t it always? I can never tell the difference. Dubstep. Acid house. Acid hop. Trip-hop. Dub hop. Whatever. I can usually identify the drug the artist was on before I can identify the artist’s name. What an industry. It’s a wonder any of these people still function.
As the song warps into a quicker Latin beat, I slip past coat-check without dropping anything off and make a beeline for a bar.
“Vodka Redbull,” I shout over the jilted electronic scratching. “Double.”
Instead of reaching for a wallet,
Nourishment“So your dad isn’t really your dad?”
“I have no evidence either way. Therefore, it is unwise to make a conclusion.” I frown at the tip of my pencil. “How do you spell your name?”
“X-U-A-N.” He glances at my paper. “Are you… making a list?”
“I don’t know why you make it sound so insensible, but yes.” I write Xuan next to a bullet point and make another point.
Do I have another point? I hadn’t even finished my toffee before the man who is not my father approached me.
Well, that means the toffee is still in my lunchbox, and I can have two toffees for lunch tomorrow. I write that down.
“…Can I ask why you’re making a list?” He hesitates before everything he says. Will Xuan ever speak to me in a normal tone of voice? Not that I am a good judge of what is and is not normal.
I bite my lip. I want to avoid the question, but that isn’t rational because th
G is For Gay
G is For Gay
(There are two poems in this deviation. I suggest reading the Artist's Comments first this time.)
Gay Marriage Glosa
“Why must we love where the lightning strikes
And not where we choose?
But I'm glad it's you, little prince,
I'm glad it's you.”
—“The World Well Lost”, Theodore Sturgeon
You fumble at my shirt’s too-tight top button
(not the first button of mine that’s stymied you)
The photographers are laughing at a room
full of boys who together can’t pin on a boutonnière
Others resolve a crisis with the flowers
the sort of last-minute non-drama we both dislike
Someone tell us it’s time (I cannot remember who)
saying, “Everyone important is here.”
Thinking of my mother, my heart-rate spikes
Why must we love where the lightning strikes?
The groomsmaids gather
pairing up with their partners
You and I are dressed alike
(black tuxes with dancing tails)
damn that woman"You don't get it, do you? I'm dating your goddamn production, apparently!" She is a whirlwind of impeccably dressed, green-eyed fury. She is Juliet Smith, one of the most prominent artists of the twenty-first century, and she is tearing up their apartment and his emotional stability all at once.
She looks good, she always does. But standing in the doorway of their apartment in her trench coat God damn, she's never been so gorgeous. Anger does something to her, and he hates himself for loving it so much.
She watches him for a moment, looks him up and down clinically, likely trying to decide why he isn't begging.
"Where are you going?" he asks, finally.
"I don't know, and I sure as hell won't be telling you," she says calmly. "I'm going anywhere I goddamn please. I always planned to travel, and I never did, because I was so fucking happy with you." She pauses and the green of her eyes intensifies further. "So that's what I'm going to do now. Travel and make art. Maybe I'll
a lie that tells the truthplease don’t write me as a ghost girl,
all blurry lines and faded features
that caricature themselves into the minds
of those that think they see me--
i am not a canvas.
my life is not a blank sheet for you
to paint your vision across,
and i have no wires in my bones--
you cannot pose me so i’ll catch the light
like a kaleidoscope of clever quirks
and tragic backstories;
i am written in the words i discard
when i write bad poetry at 3am, and if you look,
you can find me echoed back to you
in my all time top five favorite movies.
i am the way my hands hurt
when i get nervous;
i am the urge to speak italian,
even though after a year of classes, i can barely
i am the calmness that hits
when i smell cigarettes, even though
i’ve never smoked,
and i am the grudges that have lingered
because i forget to let things go,
and i am the passive-aggressive comments
that i should be sorry for, but
never really am.
if you want, you can trace your pen along
KING MEOver the course of time you have carefully adjusted the shape of the checker piece by scraping it on the concrete floor methodically, quietly, so as to not garner attention.
The evening meal arrives in your cell, with a message written on the salt packet: KING ME.
A jolt of adrenaline (KING ME) but you must calm your breathing and eat your dinner as normal. KING ME. You empty the salt packet and chew the paper.
KING ME. It's past midnight (you assume; no clocks) when you jam the slightly modified checker disc into the lens of the video camera. It fits as if made for it.
The wait is agony, but eventually your handler comes to investigate the dead video feed. Between the time he peeps in through the slot to the time his key scrapes in the lock you bolt from your fake-sleeping position and poke the checker piece with a finger. It pops out of the camera into your hand. KING ME.
When the door swings open you are ready for him. Routine has caused everyone to become slack; he does not expect
Reflections on the MetroThe population of the Metro car is sparse at eleven in the morning; people talk. The mother with her baby and young son, talking to her friend or sister or cousin sitting down. The young man and woman speaking exuberant Chinese, a language like a song. The group of students in floral dresses and Converse that my mom says look European because of their scarves. They're rapidly spewing French in the way teenagers do, only I've only ever heard it in English. It's comfortable, each of us with our companions, more like a restaurant or a museum.
But at five thirty, at L'Enfant Plaza, when people are going home from work in their button-downs and suits and briefcases and iPods and tired eyes, it's different. Holding on to the silver bar above my head, I feel like I'm standing over the woman in scrubs holding her iPhone; I'm right by the doors they say not to lean on; it's crowded. And now everyone is silent, as if by proximity others can tell what they're thinking, and it's all they can do no
Reminiscing (abridged)Shelly and Brad lay on the roof. The sun was nice and warm, but it wasn't too hot out.
"Pretty amazing we made it this far," she said, staring at the sky.
"Yeah. We've been through some crazy shit. Remember Denny?"
"Denny?" she asked. "You mean that guy we met up with in Greenwich Village at the start of the outbreak? Sure, I remember. He was pretty resourceful. A handyman's handyman."
"Yeah, he had that apartment boarded up solid in two hours tops. I barely made it back from running to the food store. It was chaos back then. Everyone running around, no one really knowing what to do or what was happening."
"True, it's definitely calmer now. A lot less exciting. I guess it's possible to adjust to anything after a few years, even the end of the world," she reflected.
"Boy, that was a rough one, though. First one I ever witnessed. You remember how it went?"
Brad sighed. "Yeah. He was fixing up one of the windows when one of them reached through and got a good grip on him. It yanked his ar
your teeth leave different scarswhat they didn't tell me--
the amnesiac is
61.8% water &
on watching the night
close its eyes on you,
I only know beauty;
maybe Anne Sexton was onto something
& for the woman shamed,
arise and breathe. Seabones
with taciturn eyes
after we lost him:
mermaid thirst for
Your virginity is like an envelope,
a lover's observations on
post-it notes, cupping rice
always, and always.
To Fry a MoonfishI. Selene vomer
Insert knife beneath the tail.
“We need to talk.”
Draw knife toward head.
a flicker of the eyes
a dash of hope.
“It’s not what you think.”
Open abdomen with fingers.
he draws her away
to a brick wall
and delivers the blow
“We can’t be together.”
Pull out entrails.
he twists her guts
confuses her instincts
before ripping out her heart.
“This isn’t working out.”
Rinse the inside of fish.
“Oh, god, please don’t cry.”
Remove head if preferable.
II. doofus fish
if you leave her right,
she’ll fillet herself—
every beautiful you ever kissed
—into her neck, her skin, her heart—
she’ll try to separate herself,
her from the skeleton self you built
until she’s mere sheets of meat,
lying limp in her own arms
let her te
ConstantIve had my appendix out at least threeno four times, in the last seven weeks.
The week after we were home from the hospital I went to the store and bought her a doctors kit. She needed one. The first time she did surgery on me with just household items. That really wouldnt do.
The first real surgery happened when I was outside on the front porch, trying to put behind me our harrowing eight day hospital sojourn. I was simply soaking in the normalcy of summer: her persistent waves of heat, buzzing bugs and kaleidoscope of dancing colors. Gravely I was informed I had to have surgery, no surprise it was that bothersome appendix of mine. Another time I was watching television in the living room minding my own business. Dang appendix!
Currently, I am stretched out on my stomach on the couch reading a book, a scary one (why am I reading scary books when I just lived through the scariest thing Ive ever lived through??) when The Bean pops up nex
Technically a Plumber The harbor warehouse was cleaned out except for a plastic table with a handgun, smartphone, and open laptop on it. A small dock led into the building, and at the edge was a steel fold-out chair with a short coil of yellow rope tied around the taupe backrest. The other end of the rope was fastened to a cinder block. In a corner there was a forklift, but was so long unused some unnamed squatter’s turd had dried in the driver’s seat. Though the air stunk of a man's cologne instead while he paced in front of the table.
“Shit,” he said. “I should have brought an extra chair.” He had a nice set of legs on him, toned and tanned from nights at the gym and the tanning bed. He wore khakis and a blue blazer, his sunglasses were propped along his brow. His bald head was pink enough to be a pencil top. He had been pacing for an hour.
“They always drag their feet with this and I never remember to bring anything to ma
oh my archimedesthere is a mediterranean maelstrom
inside of me, and frankly these demented bones,
are inventing a thousand ways to drown
my soul inward,
the curves of my cartilage are overripe vineyards
for myriads of apprehensions blossoming
age, insipid sand charting the honeysuckling
progression of snapping parabolas
the tempests swat opposing ranks
& I am afraid that I have begun to lose myself
between the roaring of my ears,
torrent in a can,
a soulless man -
and what is a man without a soul
[ I'm lighter than that]
these mythical caverns of what once was my days
are condensing into dripping pages,
I want the books to etch my ru
Tea BrownIt was all about finding those edges where the shore met
took a trip at first, a little dip to test the water, tea-brown and murky
but swimming was easy and keeping one hand on land
was like trying to climb a mountain of sand
and the tide, a rip, took us out to sea
It was all about keeping your head above the water
because you'd never see the monsters underneath in that lightless place
but they could only get you when you got tired or
when it got too hard to escape that place
deep-space diving got dangerous
It was all about coming up for air to fill your lungs
and trying to keep the hair out of your eyes even though you couldn't see
it felt safer, like running at night, faster and silent
but the only way was down and deep
with all the added weight
It was about remembering what floating was like back when you could always
put your feet down and walk out when you were done swimming
or when the water got too cold or when you just needed
to get someplace dry but now every direction is
Taking Things Literally'You're infectious' I say,
'What.. like a disease?' she asks
her smile shifting to an accusatory glance,
'So I'm going to put you in a hospital,
just because we kissed
you'll need chemo.'
I have to say that at this point
she's looking pretty pissed off
caught up between the angry colour
of a crab shell before the boil,
or looking like she might soon
burst into tears,
calling me an insensitive dick and
running out to not return my calls
for a week.
'No,' I say fumbling for my words
more like a cyst.'
She huffs, I see saliva
running scared out of her mouth
between the cracks in her teeth
and I know
I've gone and said the wrong thing
'You know what,' she says,
'I'd rather be cancer than a cyst,
at least then
I know that you would die for me.'
and there and then
I make a promise that I will die for her
even though I don't know
what that really means.
the science of sleep.i don't sleep anymore. or at least i don't think i do. it's one of those things i stopped keeping track of like the number of words that make my mother cry (cancer, lists). if i'm being honest, i stopped sleeping (maybe) around the time i started thinking in a series of parentheses.
because i don't sleep, my arteries demand too much air (oxygen, clean) from the space outside my window. i make my room my heart, cold. it fills with a wind only bricks can breathe, an ice only soil is willing to withstand. i am winter's soul.
the world becomes a different place when you stop noticing sound (mute, black and white film) and start noticing every movement your bones, your muscles and the acid in your organs make. you start twisting your spine to imitate the birds spreading through the branches like cancer and you force your fingers to bend in unnatural angles to stop the shaking. but aren't we all just mocking birds (mockingbirds)?
when you stop sleeping, your body becomes the experiment and y
Perfect Strangers Club"Step One: Try everything else before you come crying to us."
The Perfect Strangers Club is a dating service for people who hate themselves. Of course, it doesn't promote itself like that. It's supposed to be a "transformational dating experience" and that sounds peachy at first, but everyone knows it as the dating service of last resort.
The system is pretty extreme. It works like a twelve-step program. Except when you're done with it, you should be a completely different person, or at least have a soul mate. And it's not that the program actually believes in soul mates. It just assumes that if you change with someone enough, you'll inevitably have an intimate connection, like two pieces of candy that melted into each other in a hot car.
Does it work? I've heard a lot of different things. Some people find they get matched with people they really like. At some point, they just start ignoring the program, date like normal, and have relatively successful relationships that
MerlotYou are defined by the women you take home.
I still smell the flood of 212
that washed from her neck to your fingers
like a wave caused by the convergence
of what was mine with who I wasn't.
You looked better disheveled,
hair splattered across my stomach,
reading about the places you hid yourself
before you met me.
But then a woman with race-track curves
sat on your lap at lunch
"a real lover never lets you finish the bottle
We Were All Going to be WonderfulKathy's mom, shaped like a ripe pear
black-haired, she wore it long, tied back.
She looked foreign, she should have been a gypsy--
silver and red, smoky and asleep;
should have smelled like cardamom or cloves
but she smelled like onions and carrots, potatoes and oregano.
She leaned at the sink in the tiny kitchen
peeling potatoes, head bent, sallow-skinned, heavy-hipped
her dark hair traced with the first lazy spider webs of gray.
We slunk past the gray-mouthed man on the sofa
with his Reds game and his beer;
men weren't soft then, but the new kind was coming along.
The suburbs were a garden
through the hot summer days and the Catholic schools,
and it wasn't the dads who had the dirty fingernails.
But he worked every day, by god he did,
drove a truck fat with bakery goods
flaccid and without souls
(whole wheat was a color not a life.)
Robert kept the kids fed, didn't interfere
with their summer afternoons.
"Come in here, Josie, pull down my pants and make love to me."
She only grunted,
One of those NightsThe morning sun beams through the front windshield like an intruder: brash and unwelcome forcing you to wake. Whiskey eyed, smelling like an ashtray, parked at the back end of a ghetto ass neighborhood, wondering what the hell you did last night. Like trying to remember words you haven’t written yet. One thing is for certain: a little bit of rope goes a long way, but a lot of rope will hang you.
Capgras delusionI read about people whose
brains one day
decide a lover's eyes are
too right framed by a voice
and touch like soft fur in
your lap, on your face
and remembered you drinking
before you crawled
in on me, abuses soaking
and matting down around
your lap, above your face.
I remembered that first time
you had me just leave
it for you and I heard you
dunking your head in lukewarm,
filmy stranger. You sat beside
me later, dripping tears maybe to
your lap, from your face
and as the drain was pulled, there was me
still clipping nails, leaving them out
for you with milk and old hairs from
the pillow, your eyes' light straying often
to my lap, but not my face.
Survivalist NewsletterDear Survivalists,
In light of the recent remission of people
we are writing you today.
You see, the exit plans are only provisions
for leaving a beautiful sort of language
of fossil records,
like entire rogue planets in red bloom,
as warnings between the architecture
of a fresh wreckage.
And the most romantic spin is that we've succeeded
but only briefly-
of a scenario of beached whales;
the reckless communism of the sun.
To those who are receiving this:
God has been missing for several years
and a body was never found.
Our advice is to desecrate your atlases
as a sacrament to whatever it is
that we've pissed off this time.
Cut them down, cut them and spread them
across the lamp, the walls,
the threshold of your shitty apartment
and take drugs that remind you of the people
you once were
because everything is wonderful
but only on paper.
And on paper we must remain,
upright and angry. We must remain
with our music and stories. We must remain.
Our assurance is in your s
Ano oka deあの丘で
Ano oka de
Kami de tsukutta
Sakura ni ochita
On that hill
Fell in the cherry blossoms
A searching child
la bataille des femmesI'm not entirely sure how I got here. I'm looking at the door to one of those tucked-away meeting rooms in the student union building. When I met Terri on the bus last week, something told me not to take the violently pink flyer she produced from her bag, yet here I am.
I pull open one of the big doors and Terri and a couple other intimidating-looking girls are in there. I'm five minutes early. Surprisingly, none of the girls are wearing flannel shirts or combat boots or men's jeans, but they all made up for it with dramatic fashion sense, and only one of them lacks some kind of facial piercing. I've been in college for a while since my humble high school graduating class of 100, but these girls are still somewhat shocking to look at.
Terri greets me enthusiastically. She looks the way she did on the bus, wild short hair, nose stud, ripped t-shirt, not fat or disproportionate but considerably thicker than me. She smells ripe. She introduces me to the other girls present, whose na
crosswords + dot-to-dots.two a.m,
in your kitchen,
lighting cigarettes on your stove.
i'm thankful for
or your arms wouldn't be
holding me close.
time is as long as
this cigarette will allow -
is here & now.
with each flick
of my wrist,
my eyes do the same -
from your clothes
to your oceanic eyes
to your sunken in face.
i want your taste -
but ashes linger
in my mouth
& your hand headed south
& i guess we were playing
i searched for the words
to fill your
but you searched for
my body's beginning
to connect its dots.
soft as waterthis is the funeral
where grey ash spreads
& in the air, a traffic of kites stream across the horizon,
the ash of sails, ghostly non existent,
sails set wide, slicing across the Hudson river
the water heals itself
rescinding wounds, sowing back together the places
where edges meet, and we become soft as water
doves sow the horizon thus, weaving through the kites on fire
& the lovers on fire
and the burns and burns and ink stains
on quiet carpets
everything became a silent memory buried under graves
in the cemetery sails bloom in deathly renaissance.
overpopulation expands exponentially
underground, in empty spaces
(between the sand, rivers, dust storms)
waves recede and seagulls echo
and the shivering saline sea is rough
(baring our naked spines against the asphalt
of the shore, the seagulls soaring echo
more truth than we'll ever know)
they know about:
recessions, receding shorelines and horizons,
and men retreating within,
Nowadays. Side Ways.this
there is more paper here than clothing
my iron is broken
the water leaks onto pages
with their own ink
it boils when it spills
my shirts are ironed dry
they and I
crave the water
the paper is indifferent
She had always kept everything. Ticket stubs, receipts, the torn-off edges of notebook paper. Any doodles or scribbled ideas, and any note afforded her by a friend were kept and saved. Not everything received the honor, but particular things from specific events did. She wanted to keep track of each and every thing she had ever done. She did so, on a corkboard encircling her room from floor to ceiling; each day had its spot, and one could trace her life along the wall with the zigzagging strings of yarn that connected each day.
She didn't often invite others into her room, for fear they might displace something, either by accident or purpose. A fear of forgetting had encircled her heart, and she did this as her blatant struggle to hold on to everything. Thus, apart from the walls, her room was clean and ordered. Her bookshelf was neatly ordered (alphabetically, of course) and each bauble sat proudly in its place. Her c
gyrate for them, gretagyrate for them, greta;
let men spend for liquor.
the stage won't sizzle
unless you provoke
a drunkard's primal urge
that should pay
© august 23, 2013
AnonymousI am the girl who hides between moth eaten paper backs
And slips into bookstores and devours leather bound spines
I am chloroform lips bitten down, red and rosy
Ink stained finger tips that fold book pages between my pupils
I'm the girl who drowns herself in coffee and cough drops
While remaining curled between Tennyson and Steinbeck
Wasting days wondering why grass is green
And how it can be greener for others and not I
Then I realized its all artificial food colouring
And polystyrene picket fences
Sticky notes yellowed at the edges reminding myself how to smile
I've pasted them on my skin in makeshift paper Mache armour
But like all mangled words I will be thrown inside a wastebasket
Saved for a rainy day
Haikuwrimo August 2013
watcher of beautiful forms -
the many worlds
of my kaleidoscope
a joy in my life -
trapped against the
and setting them free
game changer -
pleasure and joy
skipping, laughing, singing
always hand in hand
out of the car window -
an arm holding
a wet shirt
my life now -
at morning breakfast
a troop of monkeys
on the move in the trees
I ask kitty,
would you like a monkey?"
and I know
if I had a monkey
it would be,
would you like a kitty?"
Sunday Morning Day 33
at 4 am
turns it down
to a dull roar
in my dreams -
a hot tater tot
dipped in cheese
I set it down
a tour of the chakras...
free to Be,
free to Feel,
free to Do,
free to Love,
free to Express,
free to Perceive
chronic pain -
a million little birds
pooping on life plans
a white hair on the floor -
kitten's or mine?
The Rot of FlowersI am so bored of flowers.
I dream in wounds
And I am bored of trees
Stretching to heaven;
They'll never reach.
I want to see the rot within,
gnawing on the insides,
I want to taste the pollution,
The city's poison
To distill, bottle, and sell
- humanity for consumption
I want to scrape off the makeup,
Turn the flesh inside out
And lick the rot.
Only then will flowers be beautiful.
© 2013 themagpiepoet