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.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: Nightmare

When I sleep I am a nightmare.
Stars don't know what to do.
The moon frowns so hard
it tilts over.  I swarm across
the planet with my mouth
wide open, each individual
fang with a dreamer in mind.
They try to ask the tree
outside the window to eat me.
They beg for witches to cast
a spell on my horrid head.
They'll admit to every failure,
every sin, if I'll fly away.
Except I have to feed
the snakes in my hair,
let them torture my victims
with each strike of poison.
Is there a text they can read
in my face, a few words
that can turn me back?
It would matter if they
owned the Bible, recited
each chapter and verse.  If
they wrote a hundred more
prayers, if they were chosen
as saints.  I have a black
tongue that closes their eyes,
that licks their foreheads,
that leaves a last symbol
when they wake, visible
only to them.  It means
I'm theirs, that each night
it glows, each time I taste.

NaPoWriMo #22: Hungry and Unkind

You imagined yourself breathing
underwater.  You could see the sky
through a distorted mirror.  Clouds
melted over you face, and the sun
was one big ray battering your eyes.
You could've paid attention to fish
swimming around you.  To the feel
of their fins on your skin, the tickling
of their gills.  Something hungry
and unkind could arrive to swallow
you whole.  To make believe you're
a seal or penguin.  Or the small boat
of a fishermen who don't know
what's beneath them, thinking the big
one is something they'll eat, not be
eaten by.  You wear your own skull
comfortably.   You understand it
carries your brain, but why can't it be
immaterial, spirit immune to dangers
of the flesh?  You feel that you're really
a ghost, submerged in cells, the body
a form of chains tying you to the world.
You will haunt someone when you
pass away.  Their breath will try to blow
you out, but you will be a wildfire.
Whole houses shall ignite instantly.
Neighborhoods shall drink from fire
hoses, but that won't slake their thirst.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NaPoWriMo #21: Terrible Moments

I mixed myself up.
I traded my ghost
for the love I hid
under the welcome
mat with the spare key.
I thought too hard
about fire, found
myself running around
in flames, begging
someone to spit on me,
put me out.  Even on
the airplane I wouldn't
look out the windows,
clenching so hard
on the armrests
I was the only one
left in the air.  Life
needed sorting out.
For someone to grab
my toy chest, dump it
on the floor.  For them
to group the desires
together, shove my
fears in plastic bags.
To teach action figures
to play together in one
world, to promised
stuffed dolls fun days
on my bed.  I'd swear
to sleep until playthings
became alive around me,
preparing paperwork
I forgot, calling a restaurant
to schedule an anniversary
dinner, giving my therapist
rundowns on anxieties
that slip out of my brain,
sand from an hourglass
that counts each terrible
moment as my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NaPoWriMo #20: Swamp

The will-o-wisps bounce their ghosts lights
across the swamp, attracting human beings
to investigate.  With their first steps inside
they realize they've made a big mistake.
The appearance of ground sinks into mud
and water, their legs trapped by a mouth
that will not give up swallowing its prey.
Bugs, gnats and stingers, surround their heads,
peppering their eyes and cheeks with bites.
A large snake slithers by a swamp oak,
alligators splash into water, snap their jaws.
If only they had ignored the signs of life
coming from this bog.  To let them survive
on their own, to let the stars live alone.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: Subject to Fire

Today I'm going to be
the destroyer floating
in my childhood's tub,
not a chance of sinking
under the water's tumult,
always there to fire
at my brother's animals,
made to float, to squeeze
out moisture like a sponge.
I will reenact battles
I barely recall, of ships
stomped by feet, monkeys
thrown on the floor, kids
chasing each other
as the tile becomes wet,
the rug soaked.  What do
these miniature disasters
tell me now?  We must
bear the swamped job,
taking on the ocean,
or the sunk faith, hit
by an unknown torpedo?
That the sky sees us
as a rainbow meant to come
soon, but not now, not
until we promise to color
our worlds again?  Sure,
I'd rather be soaked.
I have my gun still.
Everything and everyone
is subject to my fire.

Monday, April 18, 2011

NaPoWriMo #19: The Person

He was easy to recognize
with his two arms
and opposble thumbs.
It was said he wore
a coat when it was cold,
that mist formed
when he breathed out
winter, complaining
on a phone about its bite.
We couldn't look at
his heart, covered by skin
and muscles, an old symbol
of love's explanations.
We couldn't see into
his brain where symbols
piled up into car crashes,
forming a new wreckage
each time he spoke.
Whether there was
a soul was not for us
to ask:  we'd have
to decamp to the local
church, and they'd sing
a hymn about sin
and the overcoming
of it, while we smiled,
not sure what they
were talking about.
All we knew was he
moved around for years,
his hair falling out,
his teeth loosening,
and he never stopped
going, until the button
was pushed.  Then,
he was off.

NaPoWriMo #18: Banners

Branches sway back and forth,
reflect the sunlight in patterns
that are untraceable.  Each leaf
is interested in twisting in ways
that has never been seen before.
Wind, too, slides across grass,
wrinkling the hair of the earth,
messing with its natural combover.
I let fast breezes whip up
my shirt, spotlight my belly
in the sun.  Although it's chilly,
I stay outside without a jacket
so I can count dandelions,
wondering if there's enough
to populate an imaginary world.
Across the street an American
flag snaps back and forth,
making a crackling noise I love
to hear.  Nearby a bloody battle
was fought.  The soldiers raised
their banners in the aftermath
of a storm.  If I carried one
under fire, I'd have it be
of the earth, trees promising
pollen, insects carrying it
to where it needs to bloom,
saplings rising straight up.
I'd beg them not to mow us
down, promising them the faith
of youth, its impossible dreams.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NaPoWriMo 17: Into the Cave

Following our selves into the cave,
we separated so we wouldn't get out
unless friends with our spirits
kissed them in public, swore an oath
in front of a philosopher, showed them
the book we'd try to write and fail.
The paintings on the wall moved fast,
told us our secrets in basketball
scores and videos of a man floating
away in a tsunami. They prepared
to show us as the center of a family
they called the human race, our genes
not far from Mongolian hunters,
the tribesmen of Tanzania. We bought
buckets of acid, melted the colors,
unable to keep attached to the chemicals,
their lights no longer what we wanted.
An entire bookshelf whines its words
at us, spelling out nouns and verbs
we used without pressing them in ink.
We took them down, felt ourselves
regenerate, their hands and limbs
down their spines. It was our belief
in language that flowed. It almost
felt like drowning in the sun.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: The Sleep of Whistles

In their dreams the whistles
wouldn't stop. They tried
to freeze criminals, who
continued hiding diamonds
under their vests, or punching
and kicking the president
of the bank. Dogs wouldn't hear
them, shaking their snouts,
and children kept walking
across the intersection, despite
traffic. What they wanted
was to be hung on the neck
of a lifeguard, who aimed
her vision across the beach.
Someone was drowning.
Someone raised his hands
looking for a partner to breathe
his lungs into. Except they'd
blown themselves too hard.
There was no air left to start.

NaPoWriMo #16: Moonlit Windows

We pretended to be ghosts,
waving our sheets at friends,
making them run through halls
into torture chambers, where
the Iron Maiden hugged one
to her heart, and the rack
celebrated stretching their necks
and torsos, until even death
was impressed, showed up.
When that became dull, we
threw on old rags, thrust
our arms in front of ourselves,
moaning like zombies, actually
gaining a hunger for brains
we wished to pull out of skulls,
tasting blood for the first time.
It was only when we transformed
into werewolves that our pals
bought sliver bullets, when
all we did was wear thick furs,
when we didn't even follow
them, just lurked underneath
moonlit windows, howling
at a light we barely understood,
how the wounds that bore through
our chests formed the shapes
of stars, telling our future in
the way they moved their fires.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: The Coast

From here we could see whales
bringing down ships, harpoons falling
out, the captain sinking on the blowhole.
We also viewed nuclear submarines
surfacing, seeking a place to surprise
citizens with sailors in weird outfits.
Also, we noticed yachts racing
toward each other, rich men playing
a game of chicken, where one swerves,
puts up a J. Crew flag of surrender.
We'd like to tell, too, about picnickers
on shore who ate with sharpened
knives, the parents and children
aching to stab each other, given
a chance, a sign of disobedience,
or a bit of uncoolness.  Even birds
marched on the sand, wearing bottle
cap helmets, prepared to combat
the fish waiting under the high tide.
And us, we didn't desire a thing.
We planned on burying each other
so the waves could drown us, the last
light of the sun cool, our eyes closed.

NaPoWriMo #15: Hollow

In the city the wombs became hollow.
Women wondered who snuck
into their houses, removed
their one precious thing in the world.
Some fathers were happy.
Tests had indicated positive,
but now they were wrong,
and the men could flee into the wreckage
of the buildings, burrowing
like mice into new apartments.
There would be no naming of anything,
no unique moniker that would
label children through high school
until they tried to change it.
Cribs would be stashed in closets
filled with strollers and toys,
debris of the solar system,
the sun having closed down its heat.
Kids already here would write stories
about their siblings who disappeared,
Santa snatching them to be elves,
zombies transforming them into monsters.
None of them blamed God,
who was on vacation they believed,
sunning himself under a million stars,
when this could've been a punishment.
For what, no one knew?  He didn't say
anything like he did in the old days.
A grumpy old man, he didn't wish
to talk, to separate himself
from his enormous wordless thoughts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: Snow

The snow would've rather fallen
on sand, suicidal flakes begging
to melt.  Instead, it dissolved
on ocean waves, where whales
ignored chills, vessels feared ice
accumulating in their way.  It
hoped to confuse the distances
of objects with a blizzard, force
travelers to forget where paths
led.  To transform their bodies
into new human sculptures, ones
that terrorize rescuers walking
their way.  It thought to amass
a bulk that with one wrong echo
slides down a mountain's slope,
burying skiers under cold's face,
its suffocating, frozen expression.
It wants to be one of many
that causes its death or another,
to share the misery of being,
the feeling of breaking up again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NaPoWriMo #14: The Murder

At the site of the murder
I wanted to summon birds
from the sky, make them sing
a mourning song for the woman
who spotted stolen goods
in her co-worker's bag, saw
nothing but darkness after.
Listing the bloody blows
one by one won't help, or
remembering how the killer
lied to detectives, tying herself
up, pretending to be violated.
The police removed each piece
of her jigsaw, lay the real
picture on the judge's docket.
I think of how any of us
can try to do right, pointing
out a theft of life.  But death
doesn't like how truth
intrudes.  It's a lazy criminal
who breaks a face, carves
a wound rather than recalls
what it was like to live in peace,
a snake not in her mouth
justifying fangs and poison.

Extra NaPoWriMo: Crack in the Light

Erase the face with a space.
Fling the ring-ding through
a rose.  Admonish the dust,
task it with rising and falling.
Blitz the hits with a fact-proof
weapon.  Shock loyal troops
resting on stoops of presidential
mansions.  Present large maps
to runners taking laps.  Roll
the dice for spice in life.
Splice the film thrice to earn
an award.  Whip the hip
with a crack in the light.  Spray
hay with sugar for a horse.
Enforce the six-course dinner.
Sing the body with a ring
of flowers.  Smell them for death
to make him quit stealing breaths.

NaPoWriMo #13: The Mistake

We could hardly utter it, admit
we tripped over dynamite, fought
a heavyweight champion in disguise,
kissed a woman who turned out to be
a skeleton.  A person would have to
drag it out of us, with a team
of horses, a box of sugar cubes.
Love was not strong enough.  It
bashed itself against our citadel
but we hid our faults in dungeons
where the chains clanked together
in a language it wouldn't recognize.
If only laughter had arrived here.
It could crack a smile out of our
granite faces.  Bodies would start
to break down, chunk by chunk,
each piece containing our shame.
People would grab them, use them
for fuel.  Sadness would light up
the fireplace, the heat spreading
through the house, room to room,
where mistakes become useful,
warming the heart, the limbs, the soul.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Extra NaPoWriMo: Answer Yes

We thought we were young again.
That our faces didn't crack mirrors,
that our eyes were strong and bright.
It was like we were reborn
without the tics and bad habits
that wore down our eraser, broke
the pencil as we started to write.
This time we stood by our desks,
ready to give the right answer.
This moment we gave to pleasure,
replied yes to the hotel room,
yes to whatever touch was possible.
This life we called our lovers
from the trees, watched them perch
on our arms and shoulders, ready
to lift us up into the atmosphere.
This minute was our best chance
to get the joke, get the hairstyle,
get the chance to hold someone.
We would have the entire history
of the universe to be old.  We
were prepared to become stars now,
to disappear only when we burned out.

NaPoWriMo #12: Collapse

We learn to collapse in a pile, to make funny
what people do on an ordinary day, to mimic

leaves that are raked up for children to fall in,
to show that people are interchangeable parts

that can fit together when comedy is needed.
Networks put us on, where we've become a symbol

of unpredictable friendship, of people who could be
enemies in other circumstances, who choose

instead to gather in a thick clump, skin and clothes
meeting like a bonfire that can't be extinguished,

too late for anger to rise up, to freeze us all.
We end when we remember we are separate,

that we should reenact love with our families,
not each other.  We draw together one last time.

It feels like our legs are one leg, our arms
pointing in the same direction, our chests rising

to supply identical oxygen to everyone's bodies,
our minds stuck on one channel, soon to go black.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Extra NaPoWriPo poem: The King

He slept in his palace with his dishonest advisers scheming, his heart too royal to care.  If they told him to boil the fool, he'd snap his fingers for the cauldron, watch the atrocity himself.  The artists really made him upset.  Anyone writing on a piece of paper was subject to search, to make sure it was really a laundry list and not a poem.  Sometimes it was a list -- soup, baking powder, pork chops -- and she'd still be brought to court to answer for her subversion.  The dungeons below were filled with rhymes and sonnets, with laureates and outsiders shocked with electrodes, which made them laugh.  Somewhere someone was picking up lettuce and tomatoes.  Someday that salad would start a revolution.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

NaPoWriMo #11: The Blue

I try hard not to look at the sky,
to remove myself from its watchers.
Can you get a load of these clouds,
though, can you think about anything
but these stars when you see them?
The ground has interesting things,
cars and dirt, lovers and vomit,
but even the vehicles' exhaust
rises up into the atmosphere.
I can attempt to love the sea,
to gather its waves in my arms.
The reflections are what stop me.
Of myself surrounded by animals
floating above my face, in the blue.

NaPoWriMo #10: The Future

Everybody’s always pointing to it,
even Lenin. It’s a great big bunch
of time on our hands that will end
up digging our graves as well as
claim the winning ticket. It’s a fire
that will erupt as soon as we’re
finished sitting inertly in a chair,
trying to keep breath from igniting
by being slow enough to freeze.
Meanwhile, historians are busy
counting dying heroes and villains,
putting events in their chronicles
like dropping candied apples and pears
in a fruitcake. They know days
will run faster than they can follow,
that a book will never appear that carries
everything that happens, its text
speeding by instantly when the moment
changes. We all want to find out
when we can stop reading, occupy
a solid block of time that begins
and ends, the only milestone showing
we were here, numbers and names
chiseled into stone, another breadcrumb
in infinity’s walk through its maze.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

NaPoWriMo #9: No One Will Go Hungry

You will be spotted
singing an obscene song
in an exquisite voice.
Angels will follow along,
the bouncing ball jumping
each word that accompanies
your performance, frying neon.
Splashing the biker movie
you can't stop watching,
blood will form credits
no one pays attention to
except you. The choir
behind you will explain
they'd rather be at
their own show, but
your subconscious
will pay too much
for them to separate
their lives, their spouses
asking them to repeat
the sounds of money
with their purple tongues.
Local churches will ban you,
a corrupt government
of secret chalices requests
you be tossed in the slammer
for not paying full taxes
on beauty. You will decide
that the pancake houses
need to hear you, replacing
the syrup as the stickiness
they paint blueberry with.
No one will go hungry
that day. No one will
remember what that was like.

Friday, April 08, 2011

NaPoWriMo #8: Thousands and Thousands of Bones

When he began listening to the speech
he was confused: how did the man
in the sky get up there, did he leave a ladder
for us to follow? And all the prohibitions
which most people ignored, almost celebrating
each sin with parties filled with clowns,
their makeup running from tears, happiness
or sadness, he couldn’t determine. He wanted
to interrupt on behalf of science, but it
could handle itself. All the facts joined its club,
showing membership cards to reality,
constructing the battering ran to knock
down the party’s piñata, spill all the candy
forever, no other explanation for its fall.
He loved a well told story, though, how
these biblical figures fell into prophecies,
how God was only a trickster, changing
what he wished for on a crazy whim.
Somehow he learned things about humanity
that surprised him, which revealed a ghost
in his cells that pretended it wasn’t there.
How could he reconcile life and death?
He would have to both pray and cross
his fingers, knowing a strike could hit them
without sense or reason, while others think
they’re lifted out of their cars and wheelchairs,
brought up in a rapture he couldn’t believe.
Wasn’t it enough that the sun sticks around,
like a patient guest who will come in
when we’re finally ending the festival
of rising dead, a brand new civilization
ruled by a man who returned from his grave?
This guy told his friends you better believe him,
though it was impossible, a heart can’t begin again,
the body must keep its functions going,
not interrupt the cemetery with its recharging,
the breath misting the cold, afraid of the stars,
thousands and thousands of bones about to erupt.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

(Early) NaPoWriMo #7: The Pledge

Everyone was asked to stand up,
repeat words that should've been
secret, a mass colony of language
threatened by the extinction
of revelation.  We also raised
our hands, which couldn't be
trusted, which aimed trigger
fingers at humankind and called
the ensuing destruction "good."
The only thing we could depend on
was the song we sung after,
at the cock fights and medal
presentations, blaring at circuses
before clowns in fatigues rose
out of their cars, played delicately
at the performance by the prodigy
who wore a flag pin on her lapel.
In our dreams we escaped these
notes temporarily, but they dragged
us back, too sweet for any to resist.
In this way we believed in an "us."
In this way we could call it love.

NaPoWriMo #6: The Answer

The answer was discovered at the bottom of the well,
a child tied to it, who was either lost or a ghost,
who said it was okay if we left him there, life
had passed him since the 1970s, he couldn't survive
outside them.  When we read the solution, we knew
it would take a team of disgruntled clowns, a crew
of heavyweight fighters on their last bouts, a group
of angels who had knowledge of our secret lusts.
They began building, punching out the abode
we'd live in, where we'd install our high-powered
microscope and place a telescope on top to see
the stars and what promises they gave to others.
Meanwhile, we sketched out on paper our scheme
to defeat those who'd wreck our strategies,
the old man in the valley who sent smoke signals
to rampaging rattlesnakes, the lady with a rat
tattoo who summoned vermin to do her bidding.
When the hurricane came knocking on our door,
it was part of our caper, not an obstacle to it.
Its wind helped us float to the top of a skyscraper,
where we pretended to be UFOs, probe every
person who was left inside the building.  We found
the old stock market ticker, and replayed 1929
in slow motion, this time with exquisite knowledge
of the market's fall.  When we had made our dough,
we slid through the glass to our Batmobile,
which directed us to our new mansion, where
the circus had opened up, the acrobats flipping
on our roofs, the fights happening in rings, halos
glittering over our new heads, which could feel
the body now, which didn't have to pretend
they were skulls without motives or sense.
We understood when we opened the front door
that no butler would be there to welcome us,
just the cobwebs and skeletons wound in chains,
some of them wearing our watches, set to our time.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

NaPoWriMo #5: Wolves

Wolves should've snacked on someone else.
They should've identified the perfect victim,
crunched her bones, or tore off her skin.
Instead, I'm a pile of scraps by the cave,
the warm memory of meat inside them.
Even in my agony, I can admit a thrill,
to be part of the muscles that leaps fences,
that tears apart chicken bodies, swallows
brown eggs without pausing to taste them.
Or to form the ear, which hears a rifle
crack, the bullets right behind hind legs,
which impel the beast to run faster
from danger, to no longer recognize
the sound of ammo firing through icy air.
Even I can imagine being part of its voice,
discovering myself in the solo howl rising
toward others which join in, telling the dark
there will be nothing that can conquer them,
when fangs and speed propel them towards
blood.  What I can't remember is my love
who hiked these hills, wandering somewhere,
who never knew what became of my life.
She can't kiss what's become of me, we can't
make love in different shells, my consciousness
buried, soon to be burned off in attacks.
Another person who had little to live for,
a house sinking, a lover dead, a job denied,
could be devoured instead, an improvement.
She could wake up in the canine's skull, recall
she was always a hunter, a ripper of hearts.
I would be freed to race toward my beloved
who has already tromped herself through ice,
where polar bears greet strangers with hugs
that crush them with the passion of their hunger.

Monday, April 04, 2011

NaPoWriMo #4: Forehead

I looked at my tremendous forehead
in the mirror and decided that love
was impossible if I crushed the faces
of my dates when we tried to sleep.
A monstrosity, that's what I was,
the beast in that movie, though I did
nothing wrong, wanting to shave off
the layer of flesh I never needed.
It wasn't always like this: once
my head was puny, it hung
on the sad stalk of my neck.
I wished for a more important look
that others would be inspired by.
I woke up in the morning feeling
hurt, as if someone had stapled
stone on top of my weak body,
as if my time for a grave
came early, and I was going
to have to say my own eulogy.
Now all I do is seek out
a hammer than can break
me down, that will not be
too noisy for the neighbors,
but will perform the job quickly.
I desire more human contact
than being brushed next to
on the subway, passengers deep
in their gadgets and newspapers
so no one notices my suffering
at all, as if I was a natural
wonder that had become mundane,
my geysers of pain spraying each hour,
constant enough for life to ignore.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 3: The Machine

I added on to my body
In the most mysterious way.
Attached a microwave
to my chest, an electric
toothbrush to my hand,
a pair of waxed skis
to my desperate feet.
No one knew I’d do this
until I showed up
in the morning, a burrito
cooking, my incisors
frothing and clean,
seeking out a long hill
to speed down, arrive
at the bottom refreshed
and happy to do it
again. My friends
were willing to go along,
they put in frozen meals,
borrow me at close
of day for dental health,
helped me climb up
stairs to reach my room.
Others took photographs
so they could show
strangers how I spent
my time, to post online
for me to join the weird
and the wonderful.
If I could say anything
it would be to watch
the phone, the TV sets,
the door and widow,
every piece of your home.
They whisper, “Take me
with you. One day you
won’t be able to say no.”

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Additional Day 2 NaPoWriMo poem: Ray

Help me form one solid ray of light
that the people will recognize me in,
their eyes staring straight ahead at what
can't be denied or diminished.  Let me
be the one from the sun that's stopped
for its beauty, that has stained glass
made for it, or a diamond that waits
only for my power to pass through it.
If I can be this laser for creation,
allow me to glorify everything here
and not here, visible to the child,
invisible to the most far reaching science.
If I can do this I ask for no pleasure,
only for the fire that inhabits us all.

NaPoWriMo #2: Spacecraft

When I offer you a light today
you don’t even look at me, staring
at the concrete steps near a door
that leads into the pressroom,
your name stinging the air, stapling
their lips together. It’s a seismic
shift of your losing your love,
the editor who now destroys
both your heart and your stories.
I’d like to give you some advice,
but I always drift away from
personal issues, crawling
in a Viking boat to hope they
won’t spot me from the shore,
wade in after me, burn me up.
We could have been lovers, too,
if I was the sort of man
who ripped wings off butterflies,
or whipped a group of reporters
with the backslash of his voice,
and you were type of woman
who boarded a spacecraft
with no knowledge of why
you decided to soar, but felt
it was worth it for those stars
that came closer every day.
When you finish smoking
in silence, I want to give a hug,
but I push by you instead,
to clack on my keyboard, to make
that bird fly with my words.
If only I could’ve written you
a ghost letter that would haunt
you at night, so you’d be forced
to open it, to read how I feel
in the blue ectoplasmic light
of my affection, making you wish
you could become a phantom,
join me in the world of the dead,
chew the pomegranate, discard
spring, let me be your only touch.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Day 1, NaPoWriMo: Blue

What your eyes used to be, before worry bled them out. How the sky behaved each time you faced another winter day, almost bleached of color. Where you located your body's music, in the ancient guitars of old southern gentlemen who sang to fill the heart with falling wings. Who hid in the spectrum I selected from the rainbow, thinking he could lose me in the battered brains of clouds. When it followed me around town, volunteering my personal information to strangers, and I had to shut it up, no matter how much it suited my mood. Why the ocean is so confident, why it blasts through obstacles in green, red, and brown. Why it understands every soft piece of me that folds when her voice arrives, drops into her arms.