Saturday, April 30, 2011

NaPoWriMo #20: Mild Island

On delicate sand I sing to no one
but myself who criticizes notes
missed, almost captured by the voice
which is lonelier by the minute.
The water is peaceful, no argument
with the wind.  It's a waiter
who's prepared to let me order
whatever's on the menu for free.
The palm trees' leaves play softly
a lullaby I resist with all my strength,
because I know that the stars
will entertain by diving off the sky
into the soft, green sea.  I want
no one to land near me, to ask
that I help him get rescued,
each of us in it together to reach
the crowded, broken world. 
No, I'd rather breathe slowly,
not thinking, centered in my chest
which is a celestial cabinet, letting
spirit rise and fall perfectly.
If he discovers a boat, hails it
with fires, I'll consider strangling
him, extinguishing the sad lights.
Except I know the earth is not
an enemy, and my island lives
wherever I go.  Even as rescuers
try to squeeze a name out of me,
I am on the spot where the sun
doesn't move for hours, the clouds
stand still, nothing but white puffs,
the animal shapes having run away.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NaPoWriMo #29: Pencil

I thought about myself as a cartoon character
who was never seen that much, sometimes
in the background when the heroes walked
toward their dates with dynamite, or in a rare
episode where I rang up their hotel rooms,
in a nervous, odd way.  I believed I could
find a way to tie the damsel to the tracks,
or rescue the chick from the mean coyote.
The animators would draw medals around
my neck, reward me with my own TV show.
Color would always fill me, alive on screen,
as I mooched off the eccentric millionaire
or beat out the cat or dog for pet of the year.
It would feel hollow to win, though, when
I know flesh and blood is out there, laughing,
only God controlling where they end up,
while a pencil moves us from cell to cell,
each one a square prison for our movements,
a place where we're not allowed to breathe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NaPoWriMo #28: Eraser

Last time you were the zero.
I was forced to defend you
against beasts in every cage
that wouldn't accept your whines
and the horn you used to fight
anyone who said you weren't real.
I could've told the people
who came to see you, that life
itself wasn't sure it should
back your heart in combat
against all the forces of hate.
The secrets of your origin
weren't hidden to us:  a youth
who kissed every creature
in the garden until it received
his name, which meant proud
and weak depending on
how you slid your tongue.
We wanted the entire zoo
to be broken into, the gates
letting the clawed and spiked
to enter the ordinary world,
while you made up excuses
for why you couldn't help
the keepers gather them up,
behind fences where they were
understood by nobody but themselves.
Eventually, your fame will fall.
You'll be moved to the end
of a path, that's so steaming
in the summer you'll forget
what cool is:  only those fools
desperate for prophecy come,
messages that you fail to give
that you feel are erased from
your head, what's left of you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NaPoWriMo #27: The Song

We thought about the song
we're not allowed to sing.
One that inspects our happiness
and gives it a gold star.  The tune
our secret lives are wound
around, like unstoppable yo-yo's,
or python vines snapping trees.
The authorities are clear it's forbidden.
We've seen the singers return
without tongues, have heard
some were killed for their hearts.
There's no revolution in the lyrics,
which point to the four corners
of the earth, which celebrate coming
together for music, though the weather
is strong, though no one can see
beyond the storm.  Some of us wish
to bury the words, to plant them
in a deep jar in our minds.  But some
of us keep whistling it to ourselves. 
We look at each other and we know.

Monday, April 25, 2011

NaPoWriMo #26: Shades of Blue

In those days everything was blue.
The trees, grass, sun -- all shades
brilliant in their color, from light glass
to the darkest dyes of the universe.
We didn't want to see anything
else.  We were used to walking
through this world by recognizing
the subtle distinctions between
life and death, a shark's hard fin
and the surface of a kiddie pool.
When other hues arrived we were
blinded, slipping into campfires,
going to sleep on top of volcanoes.
The best we could do was to stand
very still, and hope a bird soared
overhead.  We could follow its call.
We could try and learn how to fly.

NaPoWriMo #25: Destruction and Love

We introduced ourselves to destruction
which wore a tuxedo, handed us flowers
in the hope we'd continue burning, flames
dancing on the balance beams of our souls,
the scores high enough to earn us a place
in the dark.  Love wanted to greet us,
but it came in sweat pants and a t-shirt,
barely listening to us talk, because
conversation wasn't all that important,
only the kiss of someone we wouldn't
expect, the embrace that was a secret.
The everyday world was virtually ignored.
It wished to show how the sun rises,
how the earth brings it forth from the brink.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: The Complete Ghost Dictionary

Late at night we attempt to find one
twirling itself through the cemetery
stones, swirling in the Fall mist,
silent, without cries to be recognized.
Our flashlights tag one, and we rush
forward to introduce ourselves, drag
it into our light with flattering words
about its ability to scream and fright.
When it tell us its history we record
the day when hell refused to take it,
and mystery inhabited it, at play
with a spirit that should return home.
That's all we need for the dictionary
that will define the history of ghosts,
so someone will find a phantom,
know his heart's completely done.
Each page will show how our journeys
discovered the essence of the dead,
how slow they rise and their defense
against the living; floating as spies
in last resting places, remembering
what they hear, but not getting too near,
just enough to mimic voices and faces,
to make us think about our awful pasts.

NaPoWriMo #24: I Should Have Been A Fire

The reason I'm not fire
is God didn't know what
to do with me. Would I start
a blaze that would engulf
the animals and the trees
he had spent so much time
populating the world? Or
would I help humankind
reach their potential, make
the earth a lantern shining
across the universe? He
only knew about the human
form he had poured so many
souls into, how tough it'd be
to thread me through flames,
knot me into the inferno
that would either save or kill
this planet. I owe this flesh
to indecision, and I know
one day it will want to act
like a torch for you, helping
you see, but all there will be
are my own blind eyes, a night
that fears almost nothing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: Wait Till I'm Dead

Don't measure me for a coffin.
Don't tell people my last words
were peanut butter.  Skip reading
my will to homeless in the park.
Refuse to swear on my grave
when I'm not in it yet.  Don't
ransack my closets for the shoes
you like, or show my property
to people who are interested
in buying.  Stop asking the church
for blessings, hoping that I'm
in heaven.  Don't speak of me
as if I'm past tense in third person.
Don't tell me to my face I'm a ghost.

NaPoWriMo #23: Crisis on Infinite Earths

If I could've chosen one,
it would've been one
where the stars were closer,
where we could feel like
one big family.  Where I
could've grabbed a hold
of one of the gods, planted
a huge smooch on her lips,
while being able to hide on
our globe from her revenge.
Our cousins the planets
would come by to play poker
or gossip about the moon,
how he romanced each girl
he met, striking her with light
which is inescapably romantic.
Better this than another earth
where we were painstakingly
formal.  Silverware all polished
the tuxedos chosen, the china
tossed to the far corners
of the universe.  I'd refuse
to come, except in my black
gag t-shirts, my unwashed shorts,
and slippers.  The heavenly
bodies would get stuck up
within me, refusing to notice
or answer my questions.   I'd
have to scream to get heard.
I'd quit when my throat hurt,
when all I became was noise.