prompt: a poem of farewell
I’m staring down the barrel of a dial tone,
leaning in and cocking my head to the sound of my own voice,
hello, hello, hello world,
this is my name, this is me.
Or perhaps the endlessness of vocals bouncing around in a satellite dish,
Curved perfectly to cradle my sound like the wings of metal butterflies.
I am hanging in a forest of impossibly tall trees,
One is a cellular tower disguised as wood,
As false as the grain on my IKEA kitchen table,
Whorled, repeating, wires instead of leaves,
Insidious black curls all the way up,
The branches simulate the loop of auxins where buds would have formed
and bisected to create endless patterns of growth and reach.
Like the other trees, and still, I whisper,
I’m aiming at my reflection in the curve of a windshield.
No longer in motion as the fog descends
There’s not a soul there but me on the road that I can see,
Faded static crashes wave-like in my ears, I am far from
Satellite, trees, familiar phones,
And still, I whisper,
Use excerpts from a news article: (a particular favorite, the selections are bolded)
Curiosity kicked the dog,
Sent him shivering out into the cold night.
The dog hunted with his nose to the ground but found himself
Stopped up with ether and the scent of jasmine.
explore the whole mass of this body,
Satisfaction won’t bring him back,
It will drag him down, it will perpetuate,
It will hang him from a tree and taunt his panting tongue.
Shackled to an inferior love, collared to a bipedal world.
Curiosity is his God, his mantra on a cold night,
His warm feathered elbows tethered to a telephone pole,
unable to speak, but to pray.
Care can do more things than kill the canine,
It can woo him to extinction at an early end.
The living embodiment of an inquisitive mind
Twitches in the night, chasing rabbits and jasmine just out of reach.
Teeth bared at the sound of looming thunder and flickering gaslights.
Prompt: based on a photo (it was a long time ago)
I never sleep restfully when we are together
But my waking moments are full of peace.
Prompt: a curtal sonnet
Funny how I’m still wooed by your false lashes,
Your real ones never hurt quite as much.
Naked eyes as the sun rises, dappled with our cream.
Your hands are cool in my warm unconscious thrashes,
I don’t know how to take a punch.
Golf umbrellas, magic numbers, rising to the surface and tearing at the seams.
Fickle is the eye that looks asunder,
Shy is the beauty of your touch,
Some years are questions, some are answers, some are never what they seem.
A lit cigarette sparks against the sound of thunder,
Prompt: an anaphora
My love is stronger for paid company,
My heart is lighter with hired staff,
Your removal with money,
Like counterfeit bills, like coins on the street,
Like parking tickets, police affairs, midnight bills slipped into shady, endless pockets,
I can love harder when money changes paws,
I can take harder, I can move harder, I can scream harder into a wall,
gloved hand, dumbbell.
Arm’s length as far as the wallet,
my love is paid to transfer strength.
So that when I leave, you’ll need nothing more than a blank check,
Like potential, like anger at my voracity, midnight chills slipping down a shaded spine,
Money! It will remove you
Long after I’ve held you at arm’s length and kissed you where it hurts.
A penny buys my thoughts,
But a check keeps you away.
My love beats harder when I scrawl my signature,
Tentative, never breaking our gaze.
these are all arranged excerpts from a journal I’d written when I was 18, circa 2008:
because you were in the news today and my breath tightened
hoping you were safe
back when your dog was three-legged and we kissed on christmas eve, alone in a cold world where every light was red and lingered.
and we exploded fireworks in the backyard at dusk.
I just left my mother’s house. We had medium-rare cookies and nobody left crying, so,
All in all, a good beginning to an evening of questions.
I have movies, I have a neverending supply of peanut brittle and limeade.
I have snark and lust and overuse the phrase ‘wowzers’
So let’s make a deal.
And we leaped out of the car at the same time, two sets of parallel footprints
to dance to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes in the middle of a blizzard with the gas light on.
Two people dancing invisible near the precipice of a storm that could consume us
or let us pass swiftly by and then our hands got cold,
and I grabbed his hands and I looked at them,
Clear and knotted to mine.
Inside my body there was an internal NOTHING going on and exploding, and the world told me
I sang low and slow to him,
He breathed his brilliance inside of me.
And the only thing I really had control over was the quickness of my grasp and even that was fading away like voices in a storm.
Later I stomped into my mother’s house and announced, ‘The snow was integral to my plan!’ but nobody cared because nobody was home and for theatrical effect, I screamed ‘damn you!’ into the wilderness but my face was still red from smiling.