Just for the Fun of it

Every once in a while put on
every polka dot in the cupboard.
Make binder clip clothesline
displays of many monogrammed
handkerchiefs and scarves. Tally up
batches of both suspenders and braces,
garters and laces, patches, pocket
lint and spare change, stray
kites’ tails, rags, bones, and baby teeth.
Lay on layers like sediment of age and play-
ground granite, complete beaches of
microscopic boulders, bubbles
of air, molecules, subatomic
particulate tracery of every breath and
gesture for good or whimsical ill
or thought-mired sin of omission.

 

 

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Starfish Angel

Back from your ban-
ishment to the bottom of the o-
cean’s darkest tide, you lug buck-
ets of pearls back with you. Salt-
white and tear-stained all-
over, you’re small, still, but
ferocious. Play
blazes in you, an entire sea-
side of carnivals aflame.
Your several hands unravel re-
growing to grasp ever-
y stray particle of the un-
known and known universes
hung in so much sky
about your ears like a cawl.

Your yearning yawns and splits
the present day wide open. I am here
for you. My arms are wide
enough, unraveling to receive
you back, to wear
you like a living suit of
embers. I would fan
with your wings.
You are truly
not doused. Come, skin,
step into me,
pour your pearls into my
voice and we will sing
aloud with a single,
singeing cry.

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Gretel Again

little girl lost

Gretel Again

Lost herself on deertrails
and rabbit trails winding through
stands of snagged branches,
gloomy hemlock and witchwood
saplings, toadstool-strewn, the sort
of woods favoring cool pockets,
fragrant hollows bushy with rhododendron,
geography redolent with the ether of myth
and history seeped through the pores
like a sap. She places, so ginger,
a sole 
rolled to flat-footed in front
of the other, barely-progress amounting
incrementally to eke 
a murky way
between finger-like roots and burrows
of creatures who creep. Crevices
tempt with capacity and she dreams
herself sufficiently small to curl
within and rest. Waking where
darkness hollers: screech
owl-maybe, wishes she’d paid
closer 
attention, wonders what school
has given of use after all, what specific
implements of navigation or leverage
for the situation, what physics relative
to this something short of a trail. Thinks
of books back home, heavy trove
shelved square in place to squared walls,
and she, here, flung, flying  through snatches of stars,
brushy 
glimmers of a sky so vast, black and blue,
and swirling, its impossibility loses her wind.
Those remembered tomes tote ballast of sorts
to catch breath once more and, taking a step
forward, consider a 
multitude of heroines
well-wrought and writ to a T, finished,
pressed and bound
 with cloth and leather
and tresses of their own hair. Ingénues
both callow and scripted. She envies them
their castles for starters, their fabulous
duds or not so fancy but period, surely,
gifted in token by some monarch or author.
Those girls in and of themselves
retrospective of little, heroines regardless,
by what not-quite-womanly magics
still surviving, seemingly forever after
thrusting an older generation into oven or wolf
of precocious ingenuity, if convenient
occasion, despite mistakes with breadcrumbs,
weak character, epochs of hesitation or outright
slumber. The outrage! She stumbles, spluttering,
ungame for the current narrative, left to devices
of shift and typeface, exhausted by threadbare dilemma,
urgent with clumsy imagination in avenues of not-even
rumored footsteps,
 palimpsest of conundrum
and choice, all alien, terrestrial, other. Betimes
her own limbs
, branching, thrust down, forfeit
walking, take root and climb deeper.

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scribbles

someone I love lies sleeping, invisible to me, leashed by dreams.
I’ve walked in circles clockwise and still can’t seem to unwind.
all the loaves are stone and the sky is bitter with wine.
the stairs are so small I can’t step confidently,
and the flight disappears up and up around a bend.
I’m in the middle with no choice but to climb
or slip and maybe tumble. I’m afraid of falling
and all the spiny things like what birds carry
to build their wicked nests in bare treetops.
the sky hangs above, snagged by a thousand fingers
that drag down the grey light into evening.
somehow engines and lights roar through the dark
on flightpaths surpassing my understanding:
I’ve stood in those terminals, proceeded
faster than the floor moving under me,
and still failed to arrive. my baggage
begins to feel like ballast, so much sand
sealed up to stow against a flood. if I heave
it over surely gravity will let me go.
how is it my hands are so roped
to the necks of all these bags,
canvas sodden under my palms?

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talking to myself

Paid nearly a hundred
bucks for boxes while
a storm rolled in
dark out of the west, entire
horizon gone steel-
grey and rumbly. My stomach these days
is unsettled– I drink bubbles
to distract it from its own inner
misery or whatever
shenanigans it might get up to.
I swallow the largest doses
of vitamins, mouthfuls, wash them down
with enormous waves of faith–
Stay well. Healthy in all the ways
necessary: sane, calm, steady,
self-posessed, hale and god-damned
hearty. Do not let a few buzzards
pester with persistent circling
inquiries– dial down the periphery
and keep putting forth
that next foot
into tomorrow, through the murk
and glare of the present–
Just move onward.

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Angel

Back from your banishment to the bottom of the ocean,
you bring buckets of pearls with you. Salt-white
and tear-stained all over, you are still small,
but ferocious. Play blazes in you
like an entire seaside of carnivals aflame.
Your hands and eyes reach to grasp
every particle of the unknown universe
hanging in the sky about your head.
Your yearning yawns and splits today’s world
wide open. I am here for you. My arms are
wide open, yearning to receive you back,
to wear you like a living suit of fire.
I would fan with your wings.
You are truly not doused.
Come, skin, step into me,
pour your pearls down my throat and we will sing
aloud with a single, singeing voice.

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ocean

when the urgency blows in,
comes over me, threatens to overcome
what landlubberly steadiness I’ve build up
with alphabet block by block, primary colored
illustrations of trains and toy sailboats aboard,
I seek to duck it, to dull it, to
drive it from the beat of blood in my ears
with great gulps of seawater– make it some way less
poignant by melting the edge with salt–
anything I can swallow might solve it,
cool me or at least lower the melting
point that hovers at my throat– that thrill
for more than I ever believe I can have–
what stalls me, oh choke of distrust–
and while I’m riding so wave-high, the fear
mounts as well, borne on swells of hope–
vertigo urging ever higher while I cast
for sandbags to shore myself,
my coastlines too loose
to hold, too available to erosion–
but always the what-if hovers
like some blazing promise just above the horizon,
big enough to grab, and I reach and fall
over and again into the curl of what is wet
and bears me up once more in its own tidal time.

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Suspension of Disbelief

Reach for the rabbit and all you get is the foot,
keychained and spent of luck, oblivious of kicking
as you’ve been kicked in the groin by adulthood
and gradeschool classmates alike. Softness yields
to steel-toed workshoes of tough kids like Rick
and Tony who never learned to aim higher.
The quickest route to victory best, and you
spitting blood (probably bit your tongue) and
seeing black and so you learn the hard way.
The way that pain tells truth, needle to the lobe,
direct and vivid. Softness yields to nothing lasting,
all flummery and bosh, sleight of hand,
hose that run, colors that run, amok in the wind
that blare through the small of every night,
pillow under your head ablaze and saturated
with wakefulness and possibly vermin. You
imagine their microscopic legs scaling you,
plated bellies grazing your ears now, your
cheek, now your eyelids– you’ve heard
how fleas drive for the eyes once in every
twenty-four hours to drink from your tears.
This is salt, and you scratch it in, search
for another cooler side. And for a moment,
before it goes stale, you imagine you fit,
tucked snug inside that top hat. You can hear
the audience’s howl and hunker down
where it’s dark and safe in here, for now.

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dust bowl.

I’m saving myself in a covered dish beside the bed. every night I slough and gather. I’ve done this for more than a year and at last detect drifts of me forming. I begin to have topography, emergent, unmapped. I can’t quite make out the bedouins who cross my expanse, pitching tents by lash-ringed oases, but I blink and their tents fly under the gale. camels moan. I am host and whimsical. when I roll over, entire villages go extinct. there is a price for my imnipotence: my dreams are haunted by what writhes underground. it moves and hillsides shudder, and I know it wants out, the several of it– out, up, away from me. the waiting disturbs my rest. but every next night, once again, I slough and gather.

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