Saturday, December 17, 2016

Never Had


Your grandmother would say  
his nose could chew its way out of a dense fog
or pea soup
or pea soup with ham and alpha bits of seconal. 
True, you added that last part 
because one of the following:

  1. You never really cared for your grandmother, but she seemed like a classy enough broad to swallow her oppression and sleep off the entirety of the 1950s with her head in an oven, unwittingly quoting Plath. 
  2. You never really cared for pea soup but read in a Buzzfeed listicle that William Jennings Bryan ate only pea soup laced with barbiturates while getting over the gold standard. 
  3. You think soup and barbiturates would be the theme for the greatest holiday party never had.
  4. You dated the bassist for the Japanese scream metal band Soup and Barbiturates in your early twenties.

And on mornings like this
when your toast has yet to settle,
you wonder if his collapsed lung
or fear of skydiving ever held him back
the way you thought it would. 


Posting this in response to Kerry's challenge over at Toads. The mission, write a poem in less than 25 lines using the poem "A Wolf" by Jorge Luis Borges as a reference. I had never read that poet before and was most struck by how well he captured the interplay of command and futility: how we can be in control, but still fall to the larger swirl-whirl of other forces. 

As always, work in progress....feel free to offer constructive feedback on how to improve. All poems on this blog are posted for that purpose.  Thanks. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rushdie in Broken Binary

She crash-landed 
from the birth canal
right to the city walk,
chain smoking 
and quoting Rushdie 
in broken binary.

No one taught her 
how to paint her toe nails.
She just always sort of knew
how to lacquer and file
her sharp edges 
down to someone
worth splitting
pancakes with
on a Thursday afternoon. 


Written for Kerry's 55 Flash prompt at Real Toads.  The challenge - write a poem in 55 words inspired by a clip from the movie Samsara.  Here is my offering to the well. with all poems on this blog, this is a work in progress.  Please let me know your thoughts, criticisms, feedback, etc.   Viva la. 


Monday, July 4, 2016

Austerity Measures

He will leave,
or I will leave 
when the thaw comes,
when the sun freckles 
and burns the bridge of my nose.

Until then, we are gargoyles,
perched on our cathedral couch
with noses cold and hands running,
our swollen cuticles stained yellow
with the ever expanding promise 
to be better,
tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Preflight Checklist

Behind the airlock door 
there is something keeping this rocketship safe 

Perhaps it is better left dead and unsaid 
perhaps I can teach my tongue to curl and figure eight
fancy and tight
or maybe this is a game of fetch
where your mother -
drunk
and babbly-
throws the steak knife
on the floor

and I bring her lilac breath mints,
flashing the smile I rehearsed 
during my vivisection lessons with the butcher. 

Holding Patterns

The pattern of the bathroom tile 
resembles the blanket 
you wrapped around your dollies 
when they took ill.
Martha, your favorite, had chicken pox
until the red crayon spots you inflicted on her
flaked off and faded away. 
You swaddled her tightly
and rocked her back and forth, 
singing your hush-a-byes.  
Her eyes frozen open.  
Her plastic body  
holding the heat of your folded arms.
You now understand 
how you rehearsed your futility
from such an early age. 

The cat can no longer stand.
She’s dying, the way old house cats do:
tongue paper dry, skin and fur 
sagging from the bone.
She’s chosen to curl up
next to the cool porcelain toilet base.
You bring her canned tuna 
and a water dish 
and swaddle her in your bathrobe.  
Her paws no longer holding heat
in your folded arms. 

County Lines Mean Nothing

The same sun that 
steal pigments from the billboards 
stretched along the freeway
blushes my cheeks, 
even in January,
when the salted roads crack
under black ice.