I thought it would be fun to share some of the other things I have written with you too! I’d like to introduce #WritingWednesday, a weekly meme where I will post a poem or short story for you to read. Hope you enjoy!
Without further ado, I give you…
outside she sits, outside she sees:
warm tulip light, the tree that grieves;
with ink and flash, the story weaves
her painting bright on turning leaves.
You wrote me letters, your tries at songs
I’d have to love (they came from you)
Always scrawled with that black fountain pen that longs
For a man of brighter inks, some hyperion yellow or electric blue.
And I, mole-like, kept them all,
Crunched them up, hid them in my secret nest
Until I had this one big You-Love-Me ball
Which made me feel (in secret) my eyes were brighter than the rest.
Sometimes I peek in there, even now
To make sure those horrid lyrics still exist;
I never read them—this my cat-brain (tail-up) won’t allow—
I just like to look at them, still crumpled from my fist.
I wonder sometimes, when I see your white hat float with hers,
If she actually likes your poems, or reads the words.
sandpaper place (original)
I have been here before, in this sandpaper place,
I have felt my feet airsuck the creaky floorboards.
I have stood here, fingers smelling the ridges of the walls,
and moved the little refrigerator magnets with my eyes.
That time, before, I’d swallowed a bowling ball
Carried it like a parasite baby, swelling my blood.
Now a comforter swallows me, swaddles me;
It is cream and polyester, but itchy, not like down.
Now I stand here again, in this sandpaper place,
where I have listened to the hum of the walls.
I remember them whispering, and the lights with their rumors,
and those tongues in the freezer that pretended to care.
They are awake again, the room voices,
They have followed me here.
Go Ask Alice
Go ask Alice, she’s got a tale to tell
you can find her in the back shelf in the dark.
Take her home, her covers seeping into your hands,
and in secret, hold your breath and read.
But with the opening cover, an opening world
one which can never be shut again—
you can burn your clothes, tear your skin, burn your hands,
but the infection can never be cured.
You cannot starve her, or leech her,
cannot run away to new rooms, or new homes:
these are games she scoffs at with glee.
She knows you were hers the moment you touched,
and she is inside you now, infinitely,
your world branded—incurably— with her name.
she was a lover,
I fed her my dreams, and we together drank shadows.
we were fairy light and pixie dust,
we were lighter than air.
I don’t write her name with a capital letter
because I know she wouldn’t want me to.
Capitals are too big and broad for her (my isla)
not fragile like she is.
she is so pretty and breakable,
we were so delicate, so small.
I miss her, my isla,
how her hand was so tiny,
how we could flicker, fade inwards,
how we could even disappear.
through her eyes, the world became smaller
and like spirits, we went where we wanted
in and out, there and here, eyelash to eyelash.
I dream of her at night (in the deep and the dark)
I see her in rose petals.
she dances, shimmers on yellow,
little nymph, tiny and frail.
If I come too close, my breathe blows her away;
just one of my tears could drown her these days,
things I see are too bright for her eyes.
Sometimes I see her when walking,
perched (so tiny, so pretty) on the eyelid of some other girl.
I watch them together, know they see and feel only in white—
and I remember.
I go to sleep tired, my clothes heavy,
and I leave my windows open wide.
In the morning, I walk, write my name with a B.
In black boots, I crunch fire-red leaves,
my hair loose.
I say it over and over, I am here.
I did see you, curled up like a cat
in the second row, your grey paws crossed.
I saw you wince when I couldn’t remember the words,
And flick-frown in that tongue-tip corner way you do.
It’s funny, really, because I love cats,
but you aren’t one to slip and sleek around my calves.
Instead, it is I who circle you:
I rub against and move around without ever losing touch.
It’s guttural, my pleading: I shake until I begging purr,
and press and press against your legs
though I find them hard and solid.
At night, my tiger stripes come out, and I scratch and tear those foul posts,
waking with splinters instead of claws.
The words forgotten like shredded newspapers
pad me as beetle-curled, I sleep.
Beneath me, no one will see them, or remember,
lining the catbox of my dreams.
i want to fall into myself,
to wrap my arms around me, and build a wall of bones.
i want to shrink my skin,
shrinkwrap my spine,
i want to be texture, ridges, thorns.
my core burns clear, contracting in,
it hones my spikes against the world.
i am sharp edges, protruding lines,
i am hard, and small, and taut.
at night, i run my hands across my skin,
i read my body’s Braille-like maps.
i ravish the spurs, caress the spine
and become my greatest lover.
i don’t need to see— i feel my past,
my history etched in tactile tattoo.
to write myself, i crawl inside and pull:
to read my stories, feel my bones.
for Katie, rip September
it happened in her sleep
on a faded couch, or maybe it was new.
I think there were tulips, white ones
(but that was later)
I would have brought a daisy.
I met the eyes, they were blue
and foggy (not like hers)
and in a church where life is sanctified
we sing a symphony of rosebuds.
Like figurines, we tiptoe, hushed,
eat tiny cakes, drink tiny drinks
(her dreams are too big to handle).
We toast with tea, hug the smaller, neater copy.
She is so pretty, sleepgirl.
I sit with memories (like hers, now mine)
my rosewood coffin clear as glass.
We reach out dreaming, each asleep, but our fingertips don’t touch.
It happened in my sleep
on a faded couch, or maybe it was new.
You look at me crisply as the world blurs out around us,
your eye filled with pictures I try vainly to see.
Do you not see the colors spilling together?
I want to jump into a river in winter, feel the ice freeze my bones.
I want to run into an intersection, hear the horns slice the air.
Can lightning catch images, make me a negative, white and black?
Can it print me, burn my edges,
in a room lit only by reds?
I reach out in the night and I catch the top of your arm—
it bleeds as my nails spin from the skin far too fast.
Like splatter paint, a horizon opens between us,
your canvas and mine.
I pick up my fountain pen, let the ink swirl and spill—
this is time in a prism.
Ride with me, Dad, trust my eyes.
I will write you a poem.
Why did you come, exactly, to sit beside me in my reading room?
to commandeered my precious, dust-edged volumes,
with the oily boot-trails of your fingertips?
In one gold-button moment, you annex Worlds
as if they’re stamped with mortgages and wax;
but those are veins you coil up, pack away,
those flags are memories you burn.
Did you know this when you entered, that you would erase me?
Could you accept it so lightly, my ink on your hands?
Your ruddy cheeks spoke pinkly of kindness,
and from my blue chair, you smiled vanilla: all eyes and no teeth.
Now I watch mute, behind walls of your language
as your hands, like peach bats, suck and fly.
My spine hears you digging your trenches,
paving everything over with the easy sludge
of New Ideas.
big black jacket
Maybe you think if you sit always inside it,
zipped up so the nylon scratches your chin, then
you will sweat out your nightmares,
and your whole mass will evaporate, squeezed
and pushed out through tightly-robed pores.
Or maybe you think if you are never without it,
(even when heat makes it slick where it touches the skin),
then the pigment in your chest will expire, sun-starved,
and translucent, you will stand spinally clean.
Or perhaps you don’t think; it’s a matter of feel:
that the air tastes safe (dark and smooth), poached by black;
that like petals or seed pods, the sleeves (silk-like) massage you;
that the chrysalis, from within, smells like rain.
It’s a galaxy, your jacket, you collapse ever inward inside,
pulled by the gravity of some siren-sung world.
it was too much today,
that neophyte din,
that spitting of ‘sickness’ from naive, shrewish lips.
their words gnarled and twisted, spider-creeping the room,
rings and things forcing forward,
glassless picture frames
jeering at me,
scenes of servile sterility–
my head crushed against the bathroom wall,
the silver ring i couldn’t understand–
and that white whiteness taunting me, goading me to spill myself,
crimson pools dying the tiles– impressionist pain–
white squares incarnadine, white veins releasing–
and then the yellow again, as before.
living my life under sniper light,
body bulging with toxins
they forced back inside.
Upon seeing an email from P to M
I think the words were “thrilling” and “beautiful”—
which, come to think of it, are not even such impressive gifts:
you cannot preen your beaver-fur with oils squeezed from “beautiful,”
and thrilling, leather-padded, is not so soft or warm to touch.
Maybe what stung more was that beacon light “epistle”
flashing, nude and stark, against the hurried, half-chewed sky.
“Epistle” maps a constellation, sends a star by huntress bow,
and like a Cepheid, you pulse together:
a brilliant standard candle.
So while you glide, metatarsals touching
and swirl the clouds with ash and sky,
I will scrunch up, an inchworm arclet,
and chew on a stalk of corn.
I will burrow in and out of the ground,
feel prickled roots on prickled skin
and come up with language all over my hands,
words slipping off my lips.
You slip like a fish
silver-darting in that circular cyclone of
If I touched you, I think you would peel like scales
(green and grey), and they would grow into a mountain under my shaking fingers.
I would climb you, sticking my pinky between your papery fish-bones,
and pry my way up and up toward your black, outward-fixed eye.
With my shell-knife, I would scoop out your pupil and put it in my pocket,
to later mix into soup, hot and watery—
which I would sip, very slowly.
Spider’s limbs; today I wear teardrops, the spilling of sorrow, as I stand, Skeleton Woman, fighting the wind; I am bone-strong and bare, pumpkin-silks pulled from my limbs; my leaves, lost and littered, are gone; only the last folds of taffeta, worn and clinging, strain at my veins; though they twirl, pirouette, this is no ballet— it is a tango, dance of death: my silks unravel before me.
I weep as I dance, for even my late glamour is going; Harvest ballgown shredded, yes, but also late-life diamonds washed away; I have been both May-Queen and Snow-Queen, and I now am washed bare, crystal ice melted, tattered gossamer caught in my arms; my limbs are laid naked, worn by water; I am stripped; I am aged.
My bark is my skin, and the rain beats it clean—see my veins, muddy tan, see my sides flake and peel; I am icicle-tracked, rain-stained with constellations of road maps long lost; I am hennaed by weather: pared down, peeled back, an uneven mosaic— deep-river russet, copper-sorrel, weaving browns.
See my spindles, reaching out, each a memory, each a moment—I have climbed in so many directions, reached into so many worlds; some of my lives are stillborn, infant stalks, broken at joints and caught in my hands; the Wind will soon claim these, my lost children, and carry them away from my arms; I cry in the night, but never can mourn; new directions must grow.
I search through the rain-veil, I reach up, I reach out; the Sun, rising higher, calls my branches; my sinews fan open and upward, and I wait for her, Life-Mother, through the freeze and the rain; I wait for her warmth to soothe windburnt bones, peeling flesh; I wait for her to grant me youth once more; crowned in green, I will dance in her light, birth new limbs, my new daughters, and stand Spring-Goddess once more.
But for now, and today, I must sway in my age; back and forth, back and forth, alone in the grey; I rock, Old Woman, to the lullaby of lives past, and I wait, Sleepy Dreamer, for the Spring to return.
Skeleton sleepwalker, I live in the dark; in this time, in night-time, I am covered in black; stripped and skinned, sallow-stalked, I now hate to be seen.
But the glass eyes still find me, open squares yellow and gold; they see me, they show me, stark bare and alone; my skin turns dark murky umber, my veins lost in the dark, but I am still Spider-Creeper; they know I am old.
In deepest nights, I scratch at those windows, fight the light; I show the sleepers my splinters, history written in bone; they cry out, share my nightmare, fear the rasp of the glass, but I push the panes anyway, etch out my pain; I wring my hands, dig my nails, long to touch a new story, but the picture’s unbreakable, I must stay outside; I crack and break, Wind drives me away.
Phantom frame: morning dusts me in white; late last evening, lightning flashed the runway of youth, the shutter catch fire, the thunder applause; Wind and Snow, hand in hand, were out to torment me, howling echoes of things long ago passed; sheathed now in white, I awake from my dreams; I am frail, brittle-boned, stripped bare to the core.
My taffeta leaves lie in tatters, faded with wear; when they are brown and dry, they will slip through my spindles; they will fly out and away to some water-filled street, trampled and ground back into the earth; I can only sway, cold and lean, and stand, bare and strong, as I watch my glamour, my children, my memories, move on.
She’s stayed close by, mole-girl,
digging tunnels in the way she’s been carefully shown.
Light-blind, she reaches out scoop-hand by scoop-hand
tracing home routes anew from below.
I come home above ground, shadow-cheeked and dirt-poor,
with one notebook and a string in my hand.
Fumbling, I reach for the switch in the dark,
untuck the end of the fluffy white comforter.
Within moments, I am asleep with light on, bare hands splayed,
my grimy feet free.
She has a horse-face, you know, and she
is very bad at faking nice. She thinks she is good at it,
but I am a consummate actress, and it is obvious that she is not.
But nevertheless, you think she’s one of those Good People,
and when she whinnies, there you run, with a bucket of slop
you’ve mixed by hand, with just the right amount of spirulina.
You look into those dark eyes and see her smiling at your world,
and then you sigh as you scrape the crap out of her iron shoes
with that red-handled hoofpick she gave you.
I wonder how it happened, the carbon monoxide.
Like an old man, maybe, his back bent from
carrying sugar bundles on his shoulders:
they piled up so high they rot-dissolved his spine
melted it like teeth in coke (the way they showed to us in grade school).
Or if not like him, then like the skin that wags around
the oven handles of his cheeks: a soft decay
that smells of cigar rolling papers, and tastes
sweet and rancid, the leather casing of too-old pears.
I can see it in this way, the gas, seeping in old and yellow, as if
the room is black and I need to filter it with age.
There is nothing young left there (even the ghost,
asleep on the couch, has slept by now a lifetime)
only crooked, mismatched etchings on the inside
of the kitchen doorframe, to carefully mark
the height of a girl who never grew past purple.
the winding arm
the winding arm is spinning
and blazes, blazes, bursts—
Bone on bedpost,
reds drown blues,
eyes wide open: eyelids screaming!
Lightning hail, pour through my bones,
Silver blood strike now—
transmute this ash of sleeping eyes
so I, now purged, may grow.
If I named you mailap,
could you hear it as harana?
or would it keen pahimakas,
an end of words between us?
My songs are not pagasmo,
silakbo sirens, melodies to manipulate.
Poem-fingers do not form you, shape you,
only offer language, habiliu, into your curling palms
You alone will forge yourself
gunita is more malleable than a poem.
This kundiman, pula bughau tula, can bind us both
or simply effervesce,
so many fluttered wingbeats
fading from the soul.
She sits on the toilet,
and pulls her feet up onto the lid
so that no one will know she is there;
then she takes the magazine out from under her shirt
and lifts it to her face,
breathing in the glossy pages.
You sit, clean and tall,
orange on red, covered in maple leaves,
bold against the blue.
I carve you from the inside out, pull out the seeds
and toast them.
I cut a smile (no toothy grin),
I make your eyes wide and suspicious.
She trails sheets, blue sneakers peek,
his hair’s both black and red.
Here flutters a missing golden button,
two threads loose.
I breathe, leaves dance, you breathe.
Orange whitens brown, an inward fall:
Algae Air, you’ve won.
Cusp and creep, curl and cull,
we melt together.
Her halo is aluminum, her wings tin foil,
an angel gauzed in wax.