poem


poem24 Sep 2018 08:00 am

My booth-thin box of glass holds Daddy dear,
Brown eyes lens-big, bald spot in jet-black hair,
Bemused and curious, with startled stare
And starting smile to find himself brought here,
As sudden as a dream, whisked back from time,
The youthful forty-nine I knew at three,
Saved from a death that he can’t even see,
Yet glad as ever for this family time.

My elevator-box is rich with hours,
Air fresh with life and hope, its strength renewed
By joy from those receiving its rare gift:
Reunion with our loved ones. Though the power’s
Limited, our glassed guests only viewed,
Our mutual spirits rise on my time lift.

illustration is portrait of the poet’s father
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poem10 Sep 2018 08:00 am

The shadow-man-outside-the-airlock,
in our sleep,                 walks outside our cave.
He shuffles,                   scrapes dead sticks,
pretends to be the wind, pretends
to be other                    than our dim selves –
glitch in our evolved mindware.

The man-creature-outside-the-airlock,
spider-eyed,                    dressed in bones,
alien                                in the flesh,
glowers, growls, and shakes a graven stick.
We have come                 to meet him.
Yet our shadow infests us.

Bogeymen still bewilder
us starmen.                    It is hard,
amidst our familiar ghosts,
to assay the alien,
to hear the voice            above the wind.
Eyes open, open the door.

illustration from Stories of Beowulf by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, 1908
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poem03 Sep 2018 08:37 am

Her wails draw rings of fire
around my bed; in combat

a psychic makes me wash my hair
with sea, and the roots come undone

almost as if by gratis. He says her wails will
travel the trenches occupying caves underwater –

the place where seafolks dwell:
(we whisper their names
lest they come to being).

It is how it is, he enunciates the air
with a low voice. And I travel into past
tense. It must be returned to

the throat that delivers these wails; as if by
skill of the dual-tailed living deep in waters

of the kind we bathe with to release
knots tied in our strands. The whole

point about blind belief is in questioning
nothing; is in letting the power of

an aging scry heal you; is to forget you
ever caused her empty promises. Now,

the sea begins to shudder on my wet scalp,
murmuring echoes like carbonite chemicals.

The psychic tells me this is initiation; the way
for dowsing to find home; her wails tell me

clearer of inhabitation – how her body is
a field of clovers, entities of the sea take her

as theirs every night. Drops of the sea
trickle down my back the length of my hair;

whispering back my understanding of how
I was a blank slate, of how she fell onto it

like braille, while he presses a dry cloth
to my forehead, invoking the jinn to cease.

By GO69 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65084170
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poem27 Aug 2018 08:14 am

books remember

abandoned
the roof falls in
and the walls cave in
and the floor cracks wide

the rain and the sun
touch their spines
and they remember
that they were trees
once
deep rooted and tall

and trees they become again
pages melting beneath water and light
falling
settling in the rich earth

and they grow
trunks engraved with the words
of cather and whitman
leaves shimmering
with the verses of basho and dickinson
branches whispering
whispering

winds rise and rush
storms carry word-seeds
high and far
forests of poem-ash and myth-maples
groves of tragic-oak and satire-thorn
grow deep-rooted and tall
a world of stories
nurtured
by a library of trees

 

Detroit Book Depository
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poem20 Aug 2018 08:24 am


I.

Before sunrise I tie rags around my ankles.

Blades of grass lick my legs as I fatten
with dew. Your fairy throat can’t swallow
the other kinds of water. Your lips soften
dough-like butterflies. I wring the

tatters of my homespun dress.
Your paralysis breaks, your hands
two dragonflies — they waver — your wings
cobwebs, encrusted in a woodland case of sores.

I bathe you, comb you, dress you
mimic your motions with a decade-old delay.
Raising children must be like
sowing yourselves in the ground.

II.

Before sunrise I tie rags around my ankles.

Blades of grass lick my legs as I fatten
with dew, as my calves grow slower
and slower, as I drag my feet
through dirt. Once I found your stolen shawl

Buttery-white, hidden by father so
you would not leave us. You said you didn’t want it
and smiled. Your teeth started falling
one by one. You crushed them into sugar

— for me. Your hair started thinning
braid after braid. You turned it into flour
— for me. Your eyes rolled on the ground —
you made them into soup — for me, for me.

If you could cut yourself in pieces and
bake them in the oven — one arm pie, one leg roll —
you would, you would — for me. Because
fairy mothers think their

children ought to devour them.

III.

Before sunrise I tie rags around my ankles.

Blades of grass lick my legs, as I fatten
with dew, as my calves grow slower
and slower, as I drag my feet
through dirt, as I listen to the rust

of tatters, of my homespun dress
of the rags around my ankles, heavy
with dew — for you, for you. Mother,
you always tasted bitter. The songs

you didn’t sing, the flights
you didn’t fly. This is my dowry
and this
is my inheritance.

IV.

Before sunrise I tie rags around my ankles
— I breathe, I breathe —
blades of grass lick my legs
my rugs, my chains, as I fatten

with dew, as my calves grow slower
and slower, as I drag my feet
through dirt
and walk
through meadows
and my lips crave

for morning dew.

Illustration for ” Drottningens halsband ” (The queens necklace) by Anna Wahlenberg in “Bland tomtar och troll” (Among gnomes and trolls), 1914.
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poem13 Aug 2018 08:11 am

Rainy nights in my Neon-966
white seats awash
the color of day-glow pearls,
a can of Rainier tucked
warm between my legs.

Sadie in the backseat
swears she saw a mutie
last Friday night in Denny Park,
sulking in the shadows
with the ghost of Mia Zapata,
(so she’s clearly already fried)

Easy Street Records,
drinks at Sakura’s [桜],
then on to Jaron’s house
where he sells us something
that’s supposed to be like Syth-2.

Pill popped and pinpoint pupiled
and we’re finally cooking
bass thudding
with the drug in our ears
the city comes to life,
even the bums cast
indescribable tremors of light
with their every movement,
vivid auras in the dark.

Off of Yesler
we stumble across
an abandoned-house party,
some local wailers playing inside
probably talentless
but to us it resounds
an orgasm in minor key
so shots and beers
and someone gives Carter
a long wet kiss,
but when empty kegs
put the band to rest
we end up driving down the road,
chests ahum with the buzz
of truthful and passionate
and pointless conversation.

Later,
smoking and throwing bottles
off a cliffside near the highway
we can just barely glimpse,
through the ocean’s spray,
the clean white blinking lights
of the new city
hovering out above Puget Sound;
all alloy and pretension
a hundred thousand people,
kids of six or seven
whose feet have never
touched the ground,
automated, self sustained,
and from where we stand,
the whole thing smaller
than my hand held up to the sky.

Somehow it seems
higher and higher each day,
proof maybe that the old city
is still sinking,
after all these years
succumbing to the soft
wet maw of the earth.

illustration is from Unsplash and was published under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
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poem06 Aug 2018 07:46 am
1. Taliesin

 

I am the blank space inside
the first word you ever spoke.
I am an extraordinary
nothing,
less than shadow,
less than silence.
Beautiful boy, riddle me this.

 

2. Ambrosius

 

I know every spell you ever cast.
I know your secret, too. You
were always drunk on everything,
on champagne sunlight, cigarette
butts spelling secret messages
on sidewalks, in gutters
but looking at the stars; your magic,
late afternoon smell of Chinese
banyan leaves rustling in cracked
concrete, gasoline breezes. Those trees
clinging through earthquake, through fire,
waiting for a riddle, a night,
a rush, a car, a boy
so drunk on everything that he
could hear the dragons fighting in their roots.

 

3. Merlin

Whosever pulls this sword
from this three-in-the-morning
stab of insomnia, right here

between my eyes,
between the whine of the train on the bridge
and the car alarm in the parking lot,
between me and you and
regret, regret, regret
is probably a myth, and sorry to tell you,
pretty boy,
but I’m fresh out of faith,
imagination, dreams.

 

4. Emrys

 

Beautiful boy, riddle me this.
Pretty blackbird eyes
birdsong Welsh-poetry boy:
how fast were you going that night,
and what was the name of the neighbor
who woke and called the police
and did she cry, later, and
did you know how fast you were going,
and what is the sound
a tree makes when it’s being
enfolded
by the world?

 

5. Cambion

 

I looked away.
Only for a moment, I looked away.
The tree opened its arms and
        wrapped
itself
                 around
         you
(the world).
Page of an edition (1907, J. Gwenogvryn Evans) of the Black Book of Carmarthen (1250).
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poem23 Jul 2018 08:00 am

In a move against the rebels,
The Capitol sends sentient stars
Nearing supernova to destroy
Any star systems refusing
To comply with their regime.

As a reward, they are promised
A safe zone for their starlings,
To grow and thrive without
Being harvested or destroyed
For fuel — protected.

These stars are too massive
To be captured as dark matter
In Singularity Jars,
Requiring far too much power
Than anyone can harness.

Even Bella cannot get close enough
To negotiate. A sordid business,
She thinks. The stars are protecting
Their young — a Universal trait.
She is just like them.

News comes in of an insurgence
In her star system and now the Capitol
Has sent a red supergiant to destroy them.
She ports to its nursery, gathers
Its starlings into a Singularity Jar,

And channels their energy
To open a wormhole ahead of it.
Bella releases the starlings
Into its path, watching,
As the star sweeps them up

Into its tremendous orbit,
And turns back to the Capitol,
Away from the star system
It was heading to destroy,
Bella’s home planet inside it.

The dying star ushers its starlings
To the safe zone, and as it enters
The galactic centre, it supernovas,
Destroying both the Capitol and
The planets surrounding it.

Bella returns home to a new world
And a new hope. No more overlords.
No more bounties and chasing stars.
No more coercion and world destruction.
She is finally free to be a child again.

illustration By ESO – http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0644a/, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28966525
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poem16 Jul 2018 08:00 am


This was me before, when I was
Lilah Jean
Two-seat top down smoothest ride around.
Buttercream sunscreen coins in my bra,
the sand on my skin a doublesweet nip,
sucralose and spice.

Queenie, they called me,
or Jeanie-baby, bikini brown and round
as a golden egg.

(But what’s a cocktail without some lime
to scald those sunkissed lips?)

This was me offering myself
westward, oceanbound, altarbound,
a sunlight sacrifice
tender to the bite of a highway
coiling out to catch
everything warm, anything soft.

(What’s the fun in the hunt
if you’re never the prey?)

Packs of cars in a gridlock snare
cleaved mountains to flee,
and every last one hummed
run little one run.
But the zip-tie freeways bound me tight
and the sunlight lashed me raw.

(Eat like a bird, never a buzzard.
Let the carcass lie.)

Look at me now.
Brown roots and sinkholes
swallowing plum-rouged bone.
Do you see the shade of hate
I use to line my lips?

Do you know my name?
Call me Queenie Cast off Her Throne.
Call me Jeanie-baby-cold-as-shale.

(Black your eyes after sundown strikes.
Prey needs camouflage.)

I’ll tell you the secrets I’ve learned
of this place:

By day it’s a vagabond liar,
a vaudeville ne’er-do-well villain clad in rags,
coaxing doubloons from tourists and dunes,
pawning castoff souls.

But damn, does it clean up nice by night.
Black tie, white-heat summer-boy smile
to kiss the days right out of your veins,
and it mixes a ruthless mojito
heavy on the lime.

(Beware the venom in a gentleman’s kiss
if you’re still warm, still soft.)

This is me after. They call me
Lilah
lily-white
ash skin and opium wit,
pale as undeath, thin as woe.
Get fucked Friday midnight closing time couture
in vinyl black as the absent moon.

There’s sugar-white sand on my lips
and poison in my teeth,
and I know now
how to squeeze someone tight.

illustration is Koga Badende by Koga Harue
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poem09 Jul 2018 02:29 pm

The latest storm is fingering
The star-craft door, wanting
Access through the air lock:
Seeking the turbulence of our nightmares,
The chattering logic of our fears.
Storm algebra is building
To storm calculus, inferentials
And differentials calculating us
Awake all night. Each storm
Seems more focused on points
Of ingress, the weather learning
Our ways, and its own limitations.
Angry air takes measurements,
Aggressively projects pressures,
Seems to imagine
What use there is to our appendages,
How they are applied against air-lock doors.
I have warned the crew
That even a clear day is thinking about us:
Hide your locomotion, repurpose
Your grasp, lie with your ways,
Admit no limitations.
Listen, as the fingering becomes scratching.

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