08 June 2015

preach

the sky is a damp and
mealy gray.
the engine of the bus roars,
inescapable and
deafening and
i can barely see out
of the rain-flecked windows.
the city is dark and
slick with almost-ice:
fat white heavy raindrops
congealing in the gutters,
in muddy holes dug by great
groaning yellow-black
anonymous machines,
in droplets on my glasses and
my waterproof.
I know my own mind, my own
soul, and
it is heavy like this
rain. it is cold like this
rain. and
i do not limit myself,
but i am limited
nonetheless.


02 June 2015

Mariana II

it's useless, trying:
every hour slips by cold as a fish
slippery as a hagfish
burrowing into the belly
of a whale.
let it be known that i have only
resisted this darkness
insofar as darkness has resisted
me.
except it isn't only darkness.
it is the deep pressure of the sea floor
it is the crush of a thousand atmospheres
it is the silent, unyielding flow of brine
and picked-clean bones settling in silt
and numbers falling forward
across the face
of a clock.

29 May 2015

knock thrice and fall back

measure out the rest of your life
in ounces and pints--
cups, gallons, CCs, liters--
all of your memories bitter-bitter-sweet
beginnings tasting like endings
endings tasting like rum hot
in the back of the throat and
wadded kleenex and
dust.
it takes thirty seconds to shed
a lifetime of cold
hot flashes prickling the skin in waves
leaving you colder than before
and contemplating darker shadows.
sleep is a myth
and dreams, rest, peace, comfort,
all of its fabled trappings:
sirens calling unwitting soldiers to come
bleed themselves dry upon the rocks.
do not succumb to the light
that flashes outside of your window.
it signals helicopters.
it does not even know that you exist.

05 May 2015

fortissimo

there is nothing i can say
     that hasnt already been said

there is nothing i can do
     to silence voices in my head

so i lean back on the anger
     of deflection and cliche

hold back hot tears and

(for the sake of rhyming) pray

...to no one in particular,
     no god, goddess, soul, or spirit

even my own reflection seems
     too ill-disposed to hear it

ive been cornered--captured--caged
    insulted--made so small

i suppose it is a wonder i have
     words left in me at all

letting go is hard
     holding on is harder still

warmth seeps thru to my fingertips.

ive naught but time
(and hope)

to

kill

20 March 2015

theory of mind (WIP)

I

hulking skyscrapers leer at each other in the glinting sunlight
filled to the brim with an exquisite unhappiness, resignation,
muddling complacency...
sometimes I need this concrete-block-built biodome
and sometimes I can't handle it at all.
I am a poet
but I am told it is against my nature.
There are many reasons given.
I am of two minds about it:
it is true that I do not see what other people see--
but, then again, I see what other people do not see.
like when my eye catches on the red light
clinging like a tick to a brick smokestack in the distance
framed by muddy damp gray groaning sky
and the voices, the silences, in the room that my body inhabits
tumble over each other, splintering against my rocky countenance;
ossified society (ancient structures draped in the elaborate masks
that people wear, by choice or otherwise, scaffolded by
a strange belief in some grand and inscrutable ideal)
finds me unbearable and insubordinate.
meanwhile i find myself trying to decide
what the red light is for and
what it means

II

e e cummings ripped a hole
in the space-time continuum
because i didn't like his poetry.
i didn't say anything to him about it.
it would have been impolite
to make a scene, and besides
the damage had already been done

III

between ragged glimpses of hours torn to shreds
and flapping in the air

i can hear something, but i cannot make it out.
i feel it in the fibers of my muscles.

this silence-emptied cache of dreams
holds secrets, inopportunities, for the listening ear:

so close to superstition and empty graces,
seated at our table when we're not there.

i cannot remember dropping off to sleep without
the cliff, the painful drop and shatter at the end.

it's time to root my teeth, to fortify my skull;
replace my eyes when i awaken.

to shout into darkness, make it hear me--
sit and wonder while i exhale my old inflections

Words are my Weapon, and my Wound,
and they are all i've ever had.

IV

cast-iron pall on a stony bitter night.
the same vagaries resurfacing. as always.
feel your way around it: i cannot help you from here
my tongue, my teeth, are burning;
my throat is filled with flames.
if i were a dragon, this would be reasonable,
but i am not. make of it what you will.
inspiration curls around my ears,
spreads over my skin like blood
leaking from an outstretched, accidental proto-scar.
whether i heed its call, or not,
whether i breathe this fire, or not,
sometimes i see the Great Gears turning
(or, rather, imagine that i see them, as they are
metaphorical in nature)
and i know that i know nothing
yet i feel that i feel everything.
and the difference between knowing and feeling,
between feeling and knowing,
is the difference between the keening cry
of heedlessness 
and the texture of formality.

keep it down

keep your head down
they said,
and it will all blow over.

keep your voice down
they said,
we can hear you just fine.

keep your eyes down
they said,
for we are your superiors,
and to look us in the eye would be an insult.

so I keep my head down,
and I keep my voice down,
and I keep my eyes down,
like they said to.

and all I can see is the ground--
and my shoes.
All that I can see are my shoes,
and the ground,
and I cannot see anything
else.

15 March 2015

stabilized

i wore the same bra for six days
because they gave it to me
and it fit
and i was captive there
and had no choice

what little i remember:
harsh light
thin sheets
blue clothes like
crackling paper
clinging to the new arrivals
with static electricity
and fear

i escaped that place
through a pharmaceutical fog
playing the game just so
nodding along to every word
they said
and pretending
that i wasn't trapped

outside
the corners of these buildings cut
into my consciousness
gnarled fingers rising up
from cigarette-strewn streets
to scrape the sky
and i
am still wearing the bra that
they gave me
and all the labels that
they gave me
and the world seems
just
that
much
smaller