The dust has settled onto 2013 already, but that doesn’t mean the enthusiasm of the community has dwindled. In fact, with events such as the complaints challenge and the DD suggestion drive, we’ve seen some fantastic community driven initiatives!
In terms of Lit DDs- well let’s just say some of our CVs have scheduled DDs a month ahead because of the volume of good suggestions. Please keep them coming, it means a lot of us to showcase work other’s see as DD worthy just as much as our own eyes!
Here is the roundup for January:
It Began With Ashes - Prologue.
"Are we being followed, father?"
"No, Astartes, we are not being followed."
"How can you be sure? You didn't even look!" Astartes whined. Struggling to turn in the saddle behind his father, Astartes craned his neck to look back through the night. The dirt track meandered this way and that, winding through the Emberfen Forest. The path was hard to make out amongst the muddy browns of the woodland, made all the more difficult by the thick canopy obscuring the glow of the stars and moon overhead.
Nicolas shook his head, scratching idly at his flame-red moustache. "Don't let your eyes play tricks on you, son there's nothing out there."
Beneath them, the horse continued its steady walk as if it were plodding around the yard back at the family home. 'If an animal doesn't seem bothered, then why can't I shake the feeling that something isn't right?' Astartes scolded himself.
Trees stood to attention as far as the eye could see in the night, which wasn
SouvenirsWhen her mom went to check the mail at breakfast, she returned with a thin box in her arms.</i>
It was a package from her father.
Her dad was sort of like a traveler... at least, that was what she assumed he was. His job always had him jumping from city to city, country to country. He'd been to almost everywhere around the world, and every few weeks, he would send her a letter with a little souvenir from his stay. This time, it was a miniature Eiffel Tower.
So he's in France again, she mused, studying the two-foot tall replica. A small chuckle escaped her lips. It was about time he remembered to get it for her! He really should've thought of buying it six visits ago. She opened the small envelope attached to package and read the letter inside with a fond smile. When she finished reading, she stood up and excused herself from the table. Her mom answered with a sad smile as she nodded.
She raced up the stairs and headed for the Gift Room. It was a special place in the house just for h
Sharing Communion Amongst Creation -DFC Day 30I.
The sun stretches her caressing hands.
Balancing on the horizon, it seems.
Last rays of day scatter across the lands.
As through a glacier, the light gleams
Over meadows and memories past,
Dripping off cardinal's wings into azure streams.
Galloping alongside stallions unsurpassed,
Golden beams falling with prancing leaves
And slipping into cracks of canyons vast.
Shadow wraps around illumination like sleeves.
Billows as smoldering incense in sacred art.
The day has left, has hastened like ghosts and thieves.
Shade stands resolute and rampart.
Rapt with the veiled, vanquished moon.
Hidden in devious clouds, the waves devoid of heart.
Luna moths glow like enchanted rune.
Catatonic branches creak languid and livid.
Stillness will be overtaken soon.
Rapturous applause is thunder; vivid
Echoes shake the stagnant air—
Bludgeoning and blasting what was once timid.
Rhythmic electricity fractures the sky with flare
To maze its way down, pricking Earth.
Stars hide their shine in such dark
Dear Teen MeDear Adolescent Self,
I know, everything sucks and you don't want to hear from some lame-ass old person. Lame-ass old people try to tell you things like this all the time, but they're just stupid old people that can't possibly understand. You don't respect me because I'm not in a band, I don't have black hair, and I don't look awesome. I don't write screamey songs that speak to your weasley black soul, nor am I Tim Burton or Freddie Mercury. I get it, past self. I get it. Frankly, I don't want to hear things from me either most of the time. As lame as I may be, just hear me out for a minute.
There's this thing you should really, really try, and it's called being happy. No, I'm not high. Yes, this is really quite terrible and hokey. Shut up and stop judging me for a minute, I'm trying to help you, you little twonk. Also, start thinking of absurd insults now, it will help you in the long run.
As I was SAYING, you spend far too much time and effort on being miserable. Part of it is the ho
Ottumwa ShamanIn Iowa, weeping willows dream of
Tigers, born in pagan fog, their
Coat of stripes singing shaman
Songs; shrill symphonies of grief.
Heaven tilts, crashes, and we race
The dirt to get away. We drink the
Earth with bullets of air and grow
Dizzy, light-headed from breathing
Some far off flame. Perhaps a poet
Who braved the fog of Ottumwa, and
Caught fire. Every cowboy has his
Six chances before high noon, before
The fog forms wispy jackals to take
Them home again. Every son inherits
An empty gun, six voids to fill with
Answers, skimmed and guessed from the
Covers of books their fathers used
To read. There is no other way.
In sleeping, I have been to Iowa,
And I learned where wiccans go
To make their bed. I do not know now
If I had dreamed the weeping willow,
Or if it had bent low to dream of me.
In Iowa, there is no such truth, only
Depth, and the shaman's song of grief.
the trouble isi'd like life to be
quiet and lovely
like distant church-bells
chiming through snow,
muted by the smell of
an old book and the
feel of a fire warming
me into my chair, and
a mug of tea, steeping
the moment in hushed
gratitude, easily in reach.
Apologies to LaoEach day is its own microstep--
since I woke from my mother's womb,
I longed to mimic new words, trammel
the sound until it blossomed
like a newborn, and oh how I birthed
stories--told them how I wanted
the author's sacrosanct title
once I've grown. But growing meant
learning the practice of citizens
and their due contribution: beast-slaying
nature of please, thank you,
an apology: sincere
or not. Then there is time--the first
breath of nine, exhalation
of five, the suffocating mandate
of overtime. You grow used to it:
the cyclical disappearance of parents,
pervasive need of sleep, a home-
cooked meal's gradual transmogrification
to a microwave's impatient beeps,
the drive-thru's static, monotoned voice
by a man who has already learned
what I am learning: to cherish
the alarm's morning hymn over my mother's--
now I'm rarely late for work--can navigate
those can-lined aisles, the cold-grey
of the warehouse with deep strides
until I lose track of every step within
my eight hours--my mind
May 9th 2006
People always told me death was a numbing experience, that I wouldn’t feel the pain for quite some time. It has already been three weeks, four days, and twenty-one hours, and they were wrong. I felt the loss of you that very second in the dreary hospital room. You were barely conscious, but Robert and I talked your way into a private room. Small, and unnaturally white, but I know you preferred the privacy over the bustle of the wards – cheery blue-gowned nurses, and the sickly aroma of flowers hurriedly purchased from the hospital shop by hoards of reluctant relatives.
I didn’t bring you flowers. Instead, I brought you photographs, pulled straight from the albums in the spare room. The first was that photograph you took of me with your very first colour-film camera in 1975 1977. I had to take some time to remember the year; you know how I get sometimes. It’s the one in which I’m holding little Annie in her
The SculptorBefore he would have harvested a tree,
hacked off its limbs,
torn it from the earth,
shaved one by one its cells - its outer core,
until it was what he believed it was,
no more a tree.
Wiser, he walks deep in to the wood,
underneath a forest giant he stops,
looks up in to the leafy branches, sighs,
climbs and sheds his tears upon its boughs.
The TimesI was printed on the evening of November 27th, 2008, just as the weather was turning from chilly to cold. I was tomorrow's news. At the moment I came off the press, I told the future. I knew things before the rest of the world; it was wonderful. I knew what my purpose was: to inform as many people as possible about the world's happenings.
As I was put to bed, bound against my brothers and sisters, I dreamt of being passed around a construction site, making sure all the workers were aware of which sports team triumphed, and which celebrity was getting a divorce. I dreamt that corporate peons debated over politics, and the state of the economy and which policies would be most effective in fixing the existing problems. I slept contently, snuggled warm in the middle of a stack, ready to be shipped out the next day and sold to whoever wanted me.
The next morning was cold and blustery. I was so excited about being sold that I allowed the wind to ruffle my pages, since I couldn't move on my o
her head, a stadium drowning with applause.
yet its seats are empty like the notebooks
where armies of words should be marching.
instead she dismantles clocks
thinking she can play with time.
behind the mountains lurks a darker reasoning
a twisted labyrinth of rationalizations
hidden from the suns brilliance.
Years alone beneath the bleached fluorescent
reading those already dancing in the moonlight.
she is living a literary half-life through them
hiding from the symmetry of the writer.
licking salty rocks of excuses.
saving her secrets for posthumous excavation.
decades of productivity left for moths to chew.
you're throwing coffins into the sea
with each day that passes wordless.
denying us the sweet whistles from inside your skull.
meaningful, impacting stories only you could pen.
Stop climbing broken staircases
towards the pale summer stars of obscurity.
these are still fruitful years of beauty.
remove your armor.
claw beyond your fears.
allow us into your wonderla
The Homeless Shelter The morgue was colder than Douglas expected. He jammed his good hand into his pocket, but the fingers trapped in his cast were exposed. The cold bit into them, and he prayed they would go numb soon.
“Detective,” the coroner said as he came out of his office. “How nice to see you again. But to be honest, you weren’t the detective I was expecting. Where is McKenzie?”
“Probably hiding under his desk. I got roped into coming down here to talk to you.”
“Hmm. I wonder what I could have done to make him avoid me. Well, no matter. I’ll be with you as soon as I finish signing these release forms. It’s always bittersweet, letting the corpses go to their loved ones. I feel like a bond has formed during our time together.”
ich liebe dichdaylight wakes me up and i turn into the green moth on the windshield.
a few months ago i would have died to be someone with the same kind of pulse
as you. i wanted to know what it felt like to breathe your same
air and listen to the fabrication of your words, your lies like lists of things
you wanted me to hear, essays crafted to the palaces of my mind.
you knew what i wanted because you know the architecture of so many women—
not seeing my poisonous nature, the blisteringly sweet aftertaste that crumples
you into me again, again, again, each hit better than the last. together
we chase the dragon, needing more and more of each other
to understand what it means to be alone.
being alone is different than screaming into the pillows as sunlight peers through
the blinds, a curious onlooker. i never remembered falling asleep but i always remember
how strange the light looked, and my nightmares before i woke up being crushed
beneath your arm. my neck was sore from being jammed into the
The Solipsist's LotThere's something about yourself that you don't know. You probably don't remember the circumstances very well, but I do. If you enjoy things the way they are, if you revel in even the smallest speck of ignorance, you need not read ahead. I won't force you. But from what I know of you, you don't like secrets. Especially not when they are about you.
You see, when you were born, so at once was everyone else. Your mother, she sprang into existence, just like that, the instant your tiny infant brain achieved the smallest semblance of self-awareness. Woven out of the ether, she remembered everything that never happened, and she looked down at you, cradled and squirming in her loving arms.
"Oh," she said. "So here is life."
The doctor was there too, although a moment before if there ever was a moment before he was not. He just nodded, smiling assuredly, and said, "Here is the beginning."
i think we've got it bad.the long dirty road has wheels printed into it and buildings jutting from its sides, cars stopping completely, submissive to all the too-bright light. it's freezing but i feel okay, i feel whole. i feel like i could step outside of myself and the numbness of it all wouldn't let anything touch me. the essence of me. the idea of me.</i>
you wait for me under the street signs with your heeled shoes and too much black smeared around your eyes. it makes you look sad but maybe you want to look sad i don't really know. your hugs feel like a mother's. we're going to a party, some great musician's with golden toilets in his loft that likes prostituted girls like you and maybe a guy like me at his house because we're warm and smudged, the unreadable, undetectable ink. you don't even talk to me, you just hold my arm like a child with your skinny legs steering me the rightest way
we get there, we finally get there, and i decide i want to be mindless, breathless drunk all for the fun of it while you go
RatsWhen I was a little girl, I went to church. Our church was an illegal one: the building was unregistered.
We would sit on the benches made from stolen floorboards and listen to a man dressed in black as he read us tales of angels coming to save righteous men from evil, their swords clean and their trumpets blaring.
The man dressed in black was old. He was sick. His Bible was missing pages.
One day in March, my mother turned to me and said clearly, "Masha, I want you to remember something for when you grow up." Maybe she knew she was dying. "God loves murderers."
I just looked up at her, thumb in my mouth. My mother was still a beautiful woman. She was young when a man at an after-riot party had given her a child inside of her, a bruise on her face, and a few kopeks for her trouble before running away forever.
So I watched the dirty gray sunlight washing through her sickly blonde hair, watched it illuminate the dark hollows of her eyes, watched her face, and asked, "Why, mama?"
On the Unsuitability of Fairytales for ChildrenThe following essay will appear as an Appendix to the sequel of my fantasy novel, Her Unwelcome Inheritance, which is available for Nook and Kindle.
On the Supposed Unsuitability of Fairytales for Children
Shortly after supporting a local library event promoting fairytale literature, the folklore department at Lightfoot College received an animated communication from a very concerned mother regarding, in short, the "unsuitability of fairytales for children."
As this seems to be a rather widespread idea (I might mention the Daily Telegraph article of February 12, 2012) as well as an oddly long-lived one, I take the liberty of public response.
Though you may be unaware of it, your email represents sentiments that have been argued ever
red leaves and Robert Frost.When I was young, my virginity was sacred. Entire religions pray over it and my father bought a gun so long as it meant protecting it.
We throw away half of our refrigerator each week meanwhile, 24,000 people die of starvation every day.
Hardest part is, sometimes wasting things can't be helped.
At the bus stop, before I could drive, boys would ask for my phone number while I tugged up the neck of my shirt. Asked me how old I was while I crossed my legs under my skirt.
I told them I had a boyfriend even when it wasn't true, because they'll always respect another man more than my disinterest.
Hearing "I love you" for the first time is like getting hit by a train and only feeling the angel as they pull you up to Heaven.
People who are manic can jump off roofs or sell their house to buyers who don't exist.
For me, it was fucking six guys in four days and spending $150 in three.
That wasn't good enough, though, so instead of help all I got was a smiley-face sticker and long, quiet c
shhhwe are lurking too close to jesus,
on the empty edge of a lightless stage,
curved nails digging into the skin of our pale palms.
he asks as an afterthought
do you believe in something holy? and i think yes,
i think this is what i believe in.
to gather friends, family, and spouses
around that humble opposite of the Christmas tree,
the embalmed corpse.
It's brilliant to be there
in the first place, to acknowledge
the importance of passing -
and better still to call the thing a wake,
as though there is hope in the hollow home
and shining windows,
in the trees and the wind and the roaring night,
that something may happen
to undo slow deaths
and restore old sight.
001. beginnings.Beginnings are vague things. Quite often you can't pin them down to one event you have to trawl back further and further through foggy past, peeling apart what ifs and untangling strands of memories.
Eventually one has to go all the way back to the start of the universe, and that's a question even the experts have to shrug their shoulders at. It's not like you can plug it into a calculator and come out with a balanced algorithm. At least, not yet.
But it is true that sometimes you can fasten down an occurrence or a moment or even just a single breath, like sticking a thumbtack through a dead butterfly, and label it as a 'beginning' in your mind. Identifying that one moment makes us feel secure, like maybe it was destined to happen instead of just being a random sequence of events that fed off each other and tripped over each other and eventually fell like dominoes to the unlikely conclusion.
Cvusscha Mistbane has pinned down a moment. Of course she knows that there are plenty of
Write What You Know
Once upon a time, a young woman was so in love with books that she decided she wanted to become a writer so she, too, could create loveable stories. She read everything she could about writing. Then, one day, she found herself in a book store where she bumped into an old man among the shelves. Turning to apologize, she discovered it was a venerable, much-loved author.
As soon as she could find her voice to speak, she said, "Oh, sir! I know you are very busy, and so I would just like to ask you one small question: what is the best piece of advice you have for a beginning writer?"
The old man smiled and said, "Certainly, young lady. In fact, I will write it down for you." He took out a small slip of paper and a pen and jotted something down. Then he handed the paper to her.
She thanked him profusely and moved out of his way so he could go about his business. Then she looked at the little paper in her hand. She frowned.
"Write what you know."
Well she was very disappointed. In fact, it m
A Night at Pinetop's TavernSomewhere in the back alleys of the city's older section there was a crumbling brick building that had been around since before ragtime music was popular. Hanging above a faded green door that led down to the building's cellar was a wooden sign, and despite the peeling paint, you could still make out the bar's name: Pinetop's Tavern. Nobody really knew when Pinetop's first opened; local folks would tell you it had been there since time began, and the world had grown up around it. It was one of those places where the lighting was always dim and the cigarette smoke never dissipated and the cloud you were breathing now had probably been around since W. C. Handy was still alive.
Pinetop's Tavern was a blues joint, and it had been around almost as long as blues music itself. Blues music was a lot simpler than most kinds of musicsimpler chords, simpler lyrics, and most blues musicians couldn't read sheet music. The genre was born on some unknown plantation in the forgotten Deep
on velvet roads,
I impale a belated dawn
with my incisors and
shiver with perfect leaves-
I have no qualms
with the dark hills
and stagger into
a bed of scorched fly husks:
the thrum of the ground
with the rapids in
my clairvoyant ears.
moondust.we live in a world where our lungs are black and outlined with angry streaks of red. we plant diseases and destruction in the holes of our stomachs and watch them grow they shoot up fast and clog up our throats with ashy leaves.
our fingernails are ripped, jagged edges digging into pale skin and leaving white hot lines in their wake. our wings are crumpled, feathers bent and pressing into the expanse of our backs they're the weights on our shoulders, and there's no space left for anything else.
your tongue is cracked and so is mine. words no longer form, sounds no longer rise. dreams and wishes fall into the cracks as nightmares rush past them out into the open. that breathtaking sequel to life you were hoping for no longer exists we are now aimless, hopeless, and craving for sin.
we swallow moons and exhale moondust; we stray from orbits and into vacuums. but all we ever wanted were the touch of lightly powdered lips against our flesh.
on commuting with no hurrythere you go
lighting matches in the rain,
walking with two feet
that the gods gave you
because they cannot walk,
heading home as if with news
of some miraculous disaster,
counting the steps between yourself
and the clouds that disappeared
behind the grey veil of October.
thunder and lightning unfold
so close above
and you dream of a destination
somewhere in the south
where birds and stormy weather coexist.
behind you there is nothing,
running water will erase
every footprint you have left
on the dark sand of this metropolis.
before you there is distance,
enough to live your life
in a constant state of travel,
but not nearly enough signs
for you to know
where you are heading.
close your eyes
as not to be blinded
by the red lights and the yellow warnings,
those ever changing speed limits,
and open your arms
as to be looked at by the sun
that will soon peek out behind the nothingness,
ripping the veil
of the vast, unending
Lullaby"I've been waiting my entire life to tell you that I'm dying and I figured I'd finally get it over with.
So here I am, carving forgive me
into my teeth, so every time that I speak
I can still say that I'm sorry.
More years have passed in the last than I care to remember
but I could never forget:
In eighth grade my chorus teacher always told me,
'Michael, you'll never be good enough.'
and it always excited me. It reminded me of my mother.
On the last day of school she smiled,
her teeth jagged like a train wreck,
she didn't say a word,
but I knew exactly what she meant.
In high school I fell in love with a roadside bomb waiting to be detonated by a passing glance.
Every time she blew up,
she'd pick the pieces of herself off of bathroom floors
mixed with the medicine she never needed. She had
One day she caught me staring, smiled, walked over, and hugged me...
she smelled like a lonely night.
As she pulled away she looked me dead in the eyes and said,
'Don't worry abou
6.12There are days when I recall the litany of your kisses over my shoulders and I wonder, numbly disconsolate, how I ever maintained my disbelief in god, when your movements over me were so profoundly biblical, when my name filtering between the fog of our joined breaths was so much like a prayer - when I would think, for those minutes or hours or days we spent locked in the grip of fever, unaware of the movement of those heavenly bodies outside the reach of our bed, that there was hope for me after all. That I could be saved.:thumb212748692:</i>
I remember so clearly the feeling of loving you and I wonder at what point, when it was, the exact moment, when that love became terror, when the realization dawned that I was wrong, all along, that, with or without each other, or our sighs that scraped like sandpaper while our bodies bruised at hips and ribs and our lips bled from the force of our desperate kissing - with or without the iliad of our romance, we were doomed.
I have always poisoned beautiful things.
relearning i. stardust scatters with the
direction of my pupils –
maybe secretly i am an
astrology teacher, waiting
for a sign to wink
happily at me.
ii. excuse the rambling
nature of forgotten question
marks, but tell me:
would you like to be the
object of handwritten clichés
would you like to whisper
secrets in my palm
and would you
like to be the possibility
iii. air brushes against my
skin like the torn petals
of a flower still standing.
[ hold your head up high, honey,
and tell tomorrow to wait just
iv. so you can figure out
the difference between
patience and having all the
time in the world. ]
v. stardust glitters from the
creases of my hands.
perhaps i am not the teacher
but the pupil,
relearning how brilliant
stars can shine.
la musica dulceheartbeats are psycho-
the ocean has swallowed
hay una guitarra bajo
mi almohada, y
sueño de música cuando
you came here with
city smoke in your lungs,
forgot to breathe.
WhitmanI am all that grows from me:thumb333525751:
and all that grows from me is sacred—
my hair, dirty roots reaching towards sky,
fed by sky, shifted by its undulating currents
my fingers, spiders, crescents, twigs,
gaunt, blunt, probing, inquisitive...prurient
my ears, awkward conch shells jammed on as if by mistake,
rigid and ridged, elven,
innocent like unexplored caves for children to bound gaily into
resounding with echoed cheers of courage wanting
as if a dozen more children waited within, fearless guides;
my nose, obdurate.
The reach of my eyes knows no bounds;
what walls are there to throw my body against?
The Nature of LungsThere's that
breathing in and
so concerned with getting
to fill them up
to inhale again,
that you forget
But when you do,
the emptiness feels
much better than all
the oxygen in the world
pressing out on that one
The Best is Yet to Comeif we grow old
there will be a sigh
an attention to the change
as your muscles slacken underneath
your faded, favorite shirt
the one that's threadbare, "holy"
in a sense less than divine
I'll have washed it for
the thousandth time
our eyes will crinkle, wrinkle
in ways that start to match
and we'll hold hands and ask:
when did the nerves and veins
begin to let our hands get cold?
-if we grow old
A ParenthesisYou were (a parenthesis, that paused
the daily, mundane stuff
a bundled breath
of fresh joy,
and borne in the wonder
Gasping and grasping,
'til in quiet you laid
and I, my Child,
lie in quiet, still
And now, that is all you are,
and still so much more.
This Is Why We Can't Be In LoveThe day we first met, she was naked. The empty gallery had turned the A/C off and she said, "it's hot, too hot for clothes," and she stripped down to skin. She was pink and raw from sunburn, shiny plasma peeking out of translucent cracks in her epidermis.
"How many times have you done this today?" I asked her. "Also, hello."
I know I flushed pinker than her, fully clothed in my capris and navy fingerless gloves even though it was already July-- burning for her, because she didn't seem to notice her own skin.
She smiled, asked, "Am I beautiful?"
"I don't even know you."
"Okay," she said.
"I have to go," I said.
* * *
She was still naked, our second encounter. I was eating a blizzard in the Dairy Queen and she was sitting at the counter with the tall stools. I tried to avert my eyes, to focus on whatever was outside the window in the parking lot, but she caught my gaze in hers and trapped me. As I watched her, she grinned and twirled, bare feet on the linoleum floor,
Liquid Cityhere, at the bottom - lovers.
there are lovers disassembling
themselveslost in and to the
desperate ryhtmn in
of - waves.
- did you think the continents
moved themselves? see them slip,
in an open sleep. less go, come.
come and, and - again. trembling
here, at the bottom - their eyes
are lightless. hollow bodies left
the sea does not sleep.
crystallophonethere is a punchcard sin
like a queen of spades smoldering in an alley.
you hear how the gears churn,
singing faster than we did before
back when black magic dropped like a
pair of socks from the sky with supplies
taped to a note that said
(oh, look at you now)
such a beautiful brain:
runs on gasoline?
have a gallon
or we can call it a balloon,
and a new pair of glasses
for your tapered eyes
(you peel the bark back on the logs,
but you're not sure what you see),
and life says,
either nail jello to a tree,
or keep your
icicles hanging from the eaves,
caterpillars frolicking in the ashes,
your 'Sam, I still don't have your number,'
and your totaled passion:
someone to hang inside out with,
string you up like a steak with.
what the hunger
is trying to tell me
my brain churns like butter,
my insides aflare, my chakras combusting,
WaitingWe are still waiting for the thunder from the distant stars,
The echo of mortality,
the whispers of a storm, half-remembered,
in sepia-coloured hallways in buildings that smell like books.
Time gets slow in waiting,
ghosts are formed from the wanting,
taking shape in the spaces where sunlight,
or moonlight doesn't touch.
The stars shake from the vibration,
and the ghosts shimmer in anticipation,
but we can't hear your voice in the dead of the night.
Nothing to SeeI wouldn't have taken any notice if it hadn't been for the laughter. It wasn't merry or even cruel. It was the barbarous laughter of evil and vicious darkness and it chilled the marrow of my bones. Turning my head to look down the dim alley, I saw them: a semi-circle of four men focusing on their entertainment for the evening—namely, a fifth fellow and what I assumed was merely a cheap piece, some drugged up doxy earning a wage for her next fix.
Oh God, how I wish she had been a whore. Some pathetic moll who let herself be roughed up and down for a few bucks, but this was no whore. I wasn't innocent; I'd seen plenty of cocottes and the looks in their eyes that craved money or men or both and I'd witnessed the haunting desperation for something better, along with a resignation to what they had. This woman—so very young—this wasn't a two-bit cyprian, down on her luck, trying to make a dollar and feed a habit.
Bruises marred her
the day we diedIt started when space imploded
you pulled me back, landed me on the moon,
so we could sit in the vacuum silence
and watch suns spiral down to hell.
You radiated, my minuscule flare,
your worn heat baked my bones brittle,
but it somehow made me stronger.
It ended when your eyes slid lateral,
fractured feelings leaking out in tears;
it was the first and last thing
I ever saw again.
This ridiculous happenstance,
simple in its impossibility,
was what broke us apart:
While solar light is beautiful,
it blinds when reflected by
Epitaph for an Old Italian WomanWe walk into the apartment building. The building for old people.
It smells like old people.
We silently take the elevator to the second floor; her room is 205. Mom has the key, so she opens the door. The apartment is so empty. No little old ladies with white hair and a waggling crooked finger.
There's still newspaper on the floor by the door. Mom and I remove our shoes and put them on the newspaper, lest her ghost throw shoes at us. Or, maybe, hit us with a broom. She never did it to me, but Mom says she used to.
The pantry is full of food; mostly Fig Newtons. We always brought her Italian cookies when we came to visit, but she'd make us eat them while we were there. We would insist they were for her, but what good were cookies without someone to share them with? Italian cookies, Fig Newtons, and tea.
The cookie jar on the counter is full of tea bags. You could never have Italian cookies and Fig Newtons without
harmonizei'm built on broken bones and metronomes
her alto trills, his hollow tones
a second verse she'll never know
so sweet and sweet and down we go
the cords stretch and scratch but never match
the off beat tears he'll surely catch
the droplets lead a song of their own
recorded on heartstrings, a song i know
his words they ring and the hurt they bring
it's been so long but i choose to sing
and maybe he'll hear the music we make
( it's been so long but i choose to break. )
The Price of Dying“I want to be interred after I die,” Mr. Peters said. He made that clear to his family while he was still lucid, before old age and illness rendered him unintelligible. Seventy wasn’t that old, but he recognized the symptoms that were creeping up on his ailing body – the aches, the fatigue, the feeling of helplessness and despair. Despite his daughter’s attempts to assuage his concerns, he sensed his own mortality.
The worst part about dying, Mr. Peters thought, was what happened afterwards. Even since he was a small boy, he had been afraid of fire. He could never forget the scorching heat of the orange flames searing his skin, the dark billowing smoke entering his nostrils. The time that his house burned down, the fire almost took him with it. How ironic then, to escape the fire only to be fed into it after death.
So one day, he sat his son and daughter down after dinner. “I want to be buried whole,” he said, emphasizing the
The Lost PianistThe Lost Pianist</i>
Tears reminisce mahogany boxed memories,
Of ecstatic crescendos and tearful diminuendos.
For deep in eternal sadness lies the lost pianist,
Who once dreamt of glorious symphonies.
As he caresses the goddess of the piano,
She moans of rhythmic joy and pleasure,
Executing works that rival the Siren's song,
Echoing the lost voices of her past masters.
But in time's command, their hearts went astray.
Each lying in their own pool of heartfelt miseries.
While he walks asunder, away from melodic Eden,
She beckons to him, yearning to be loved.
Her sorrowful notes whisper his name,
When he contemplates sweet nostalgia.
They swore to eternity to unite in bliss.
A promise that surpasses a mere forevermore.<i>
FiftyPlease understand: I do not want
to want this (you).
I realized at poem nineteen-of-fifty:
You (college-borne) are a new you,
I (weaponized) am a new me,
and the new me still wants the new you.
respiration.i am shipwrecked fever;
& she is denied oxygen.
i taste sirens on the shore
of her collarbones,
& salt-licked sea limbs.
but, it's the natural disaster
wrapped around her coral spine
that really has my lungs
6:30:09what i wouldn't give
to have my body sink down
into yours, cocooned
in the tumultuous quicksand
of human flesh.
i have never been so moved
as by your touch, the slinking seeping
brush. the universe dispels
and in the absence of everything,
i am less alone
than i have ever been.
Nathan TurnerNathan Turner, aged thirty, was a modest earner, if nothing other. Son of no
father and a flighty mother, and raised in most part by troubled brothers, he was never
one to put his trust in those upon whom the dust of age had scarcely settled. For a time,
he had meddled, even peddled, looking for the light in his own eyes. But never enough was
it, just as well, in his own mind, for the brand of fire which he desired was the sort a
man might chase until he dies, and even at the gates of Hell, never find.
But one cool evening in July, he chanced to meet - just walking by - a woman with
an empty stroller. "Empty stroller?" he asked at once, fearing himself a trifling dunce,
and followed quickly with, "Expecting children?"
In that moment, he wished she'd killed him.
"No," she said, smiling instead, "but I do so love collecting."
Then the dots Nathan Turner began connecting.
"Collecting? Whatever for? Though, your hobby I shan't and can't condemn, I'm more
used to the habits of my fellow men
blue rose into the city backdrop
like balloons, a million for the
morning sun prelude.
i've not slept a dream
but i have cried a salty face
and letters spilled like beans
into my moleskine,
almost as virgin as i once was
with few stories between my covers.
the kettle's belly boils
like my head upon a pillow.
i am guilty for rarely finishing my tea
even when i use the small mugs;
pour, rinse, repeat.
perhaps today i will play dead.
perched behind my blinds
it dawns on me that i am surrounded
by walled neighbours, strangers,
they're just preludes to lovers
the way i am always
prelude to the one.
The Hungry SeasonThe Hungry Season
The next season will be the hungry season.
Moses M. Kolinmore
A stem, a leaf, a stem,
a stem again,
and the army of our bodies
hanging from the branches
of the Dahoma trees.
We come to this as moths
on Saharan winds
with no malice but the wings
direction, our caterpillar mouths,
our waiting numbers
cocooned in dirt. We are
aching and glutted
but hungry still, even as
we strip the canopy bare of leaves
and foul each river black
with waste below us
our gruesome chatter asking,
as we fall into the dirt
to reshape what we are,
can you imagine the hunger?
But of course you can; of course,
you hunger the same as we.
GlassI always laugh when you refer to me as glass.:thumb340512213:
Not just because of the way you say it,
Or because I know it's a crack at my fragility.
Glass is pure.
I am like granite -
my body nullified from too many clashing traits.
Glass is transparent.
I am like clay -
illegible from all the plastered smiles.
Glass is unyielding.
I am like chalk -
easily broken and scuffed away by meagre things.
Glass is hung up on walls and in great cathedrals,
tinted for enhancement, but only ever painted on by fools.
I am hidden behind keypads and camera lenses,
coated in a thick paste of deceptiveness.
No, my love,
I was never glass. (Despite my fragility)
Call me granite or clay or chalk
and be done with me.
darwin's revengein the embryo of the city
in their cage
they paint their nails not
that the sun is watching
from his trap door
in the cloud ceiling where
whales can't swim but go
and drop down their weight in rain
not measured in pints
but lives overflowed
in lost archipelagos full
of automatic islands
that catch the eyes like needles
when viewed from further away
than the end of the world
the trans-, the pan- and the asexual. i.
He couldn't feel like a boy
And a girl
At the same time.
So he grew his hair long
With colorful dreadlocks
And wore eyeliner
But kept his name.
They told her that
She could either love boys
So she fell in love
With the boy who
Was born as a girl.
He didn't feel love
For the girl with the large chest.
Or the boy with the sparkling eyes.
But that didn't mean
He didn't love them
In his own way.
If that boy's way of loving is
And the boy with the long hair and eyeliner's way of loving is
And the girl who had a taste for personality, not gender's way of loving is
Then aren't we all just
Golden Ink and Going BackI thought I was in love with that four-year old red-haired boy
Shining in a silver knight costume with a black dragon sewn on
Because I was in the pink Sleeping Beauty Dress
I was a good Belle, too
(Back when I hadn't picked up a book
Except for the blue one with the golden pages
Brimming with witches and fairies and magic)
I wanted to be a princess, back then
They were the ones who always found love, at the end
I wanted to be Wendy, too
Because she wore a blue nightgown and learned to fly
Now, I'd rather be Peter Pan, honestly
Because he managed to swerve this whole ordeal of growing up
(And maybe a little because of the flying)
Now, I just want to go back
Back when the only kissing I thought about
Was in The Princess and the Frog
And the only houses I had to be weary of
Were houses made of candy
Back when the only disappointment
Was when my parents were too tired to read me a bedtime story
Or when I found out that the real Little Mermaid
Dies by Hans Christian Andersen's hand
All the Things You Never KnewIt was your favorite thing to say. “We know everything about each other. Not just the good things, but even the bad ones. We have no secrets.” And the way your eyes lit up when you said it, how your arm would curl around my shoulders and squeeze me against you… I couldn’t say anything. I promised myself that I would when we were alone, but the moment always seemed wrong and eventually the fact that I still had secrets became a secret itself.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one.
I never told you about the crying or the cutting or the nights I spent awake staring at the bottle of pills. I was terrified it would be too much for you to handle, so I didn’t mention the time I ran away, or the first time I ended up in the hospital. I locked the memories up in a box inside my head with “For Tom, to open later” written on the outside.
And you, in turn, never told me about the cancer, fearing it would be too much for me to handle. Well, you were ri
a second skeletoni. introduction
i was born 4425 miles away from here.
my heart still lingers there.
i don't want to have it back.
i go through the motions,
don't ask me for emotions.
i once thought i could be happy,
my mistake can be forgiven;
i was so much younger.
now i know better
than to expect anything.
because the only time you can lose,
is when you love something.
that's why i love myself.