I write behind a veil Of golden mist. My presence Is obscured to the world; All its peoples and noises— The makebate-created welter Of clamors for attention.
But the Earth, it speaks to me When I write. Unfiltered. It laments the vanishing beauty Upon it. It rejoices in the mystic Abilities of the poet, a shaman of words.
We lay on leaves sacrificed in flames, And recount the marvel of ashes. When the creator’s bed is cold, We warm it with our tears. We, who mourn a world That seeks our destruction, Are pitied by a dying planet.
Are you sincere when you talk of having my children and the pleasures of forever? Or are you speaking in heat, taken far from your true feelings by the undertow of our coupling? Do you mean what you scream when I’m inside you, jackhammering through debris that has been discarded from ivory tower windows over the years? Will the passion on your lips remain after I paint your interior walls in a fresh coat of white?
A coward’s death Is left in a pool of vomit Beneath an underpass That leads out of the city. There’s chunks of pineapple And beef stew in the greenish fluid. A shadow crept forward And discharged the rest Of the body. Purge after the splurge. I’ve forgotten why I enjoy The taste of blood but not The scent of semen. Both are ingredients for life.
I’m not smart enough to own A smart phone. By that, I mean I’m not smart enough to figure Out how to turn poems into dollars, Words into status, and other feats Of literary alchemy. Still, I try. Still, I write. Still, I publish. Still, I share. Some would consider this the opposite Of success or an example of insanity. I prefer to call it the definition of perseverance.
Everybody hurts, but everyone doesn’t feel pain. I’m a veteran of mind wars in psych wards. Post-traumatic stress and night tremors Are the least of my worries. Ditto for the Apparitions that haunt my subconscious.
What will eventually kill me are internal wounds, The bullets lodged in bone. They severed Nerves as they ripped through my flesh; These projectiles—Depakote, Risperdal, Prozac, Lithium By name—tore gaping holes in my liver And decimated my killer T cells In their attempts to soothe the latent Killer inside me. Their metallic components Seeped into veins, arteries, causing Blood poisoning that will never fully heal.
It is not as painful as one would assume. I’ve been numb too long to even recall What pain feels like. Everyone hurts, But not everybody feels pain.
The sight of you concussed me; Turned my knees into brittle fossils, Made my world spin in a centrifuge.
You held up your hand. I saw five fingers spread open Instead of two fingers in V formation. I rolled into a ball, hands protecting My head, prepared to receive The slap that never struck.
I mistook your peaceful Approach as an act of aggression. Between fight or flight— I choose the latter.
As I ran towards This labyrinth of alleys (Which I now can’t find My way out of), I risked one final look at you. You didn’t give chase, As I had anticipated; Rather, you stood there, Hands on hips, and shook your head.
I, like you, Have been rejected. I’ve had my dreams Dashed upon a washing board And scrubbed clean. The gray stains of hope Removed, bleached away Until only the plain truth remained: It will never happen. I kept this whitened flag In my breast pocket, Folded into a handkerchief, At the ready to be waved At a moment’s notice.
I, like you, Have been deceived. I have believed lies, Even when they wavered Like distant images on a hot day. I had faith in what I saw, Though they were merely mirages, Because I believed in what I felt.
I, like you, Still cling to the promise of love. It is out there, for it is in me And it is in you. It was planted at the Earth’s conception, Watered by our experiences, And is now beginning to bud. I can tell you’ll care for this flower Growing inside me. That is why I like you.
Entire civilizations are built Upon the desire to categorize Whatever is experienced— In two options. Two is the minimum Number for there to be choices, And the ones who created The need to choose are not The sharpest tools in the set.
And if a person does not Fit into either neatly packaged box, Society doesn’t know how To categorize her. He’ll float on, Ignored as if a ghost.
This is one instance where being An apparition doesn’t seem Like that bad of an option.
My soul is empty. The nearest station Within 100 miles Is 15 miles behind me. I can only go forward, Hoping for a mystical Oasis of soul fuel To appear ahead, Replacing the barren Arid desert with an Undisturbed, bubbling spring.
Colors cascading and pooling Around reeds that grow As tall as words, Were swans gracefully Dance—dipping between The water’s membrane— And swallows echo A tune to the wind. If I could find this place, I would stand at its edge And pantomime whatever I saw.
Come all ye faithful! Forge ahead to a land Where coffee remains stale And cookies are salty. Brood with the poet, who sits At her window in Baltimore, As she listlessly gazes At the frost-coated plum Trees swaying in Sacramento.
When the red-eyed monster comes home, Do not question its purpose. At first, Wonder not about its presence— Simply mark the creases on its face And allow it to hunker down in its cave.
Give the beast time to sate Its hunger on the sack Of bitter yellow bones It returned home with. Allot half a shade or more For it to gorge itself on some Mindless task; during which its Grumblings of “I’m fine” will have Time to transform into A reasonable response.
A bloodied boon, Passed from giver To receiver, is too slick To grasp. It slips, Like an oiled egg, Along a rainbow’s curve— Rotating on a planet-like axis— Before crashing into a golden pot. The gift shatters, and the Soot-colored rains begin Falling anew.
Solitude would have feasted On my sanity had it not been For a colorful book about A very hungry caterpillar. As I consumed its tale of gluttony, The caterpillar feasted on the maggots That gnawed on my parietal lobe. This fictional creature, constructed From bright scraps of tissue paper, Saved me from a life of madness.
This road is littered with spiky balls The size of caltrops. They are discharges Of unruly brackens that encroach along The road’s edges. The razor-sharp fern Leaves can shred to bits even the toughest Leather, and one false step and a spiked ball Can through shoes and flesh effortlessly. Skin as impervious as Achilles’s or Nemean’s Is necessary to traverse this gauntlet.
This road is not for the faint of heart, Those easily swallowed by the snake-like Jaws of insecurity. These jaws are able To unhinge; even if your head is the size Of a deer, it can fit inside insecurity’s mouth. The key to prevent being consumed and dissolved By body acid is to thrash about wildly— Constantly move, never remain still. If you do go down, do not go passively.
Wardrobe to hang clothes Bug traps to kill infestation Shower curtain to protect modesty Small folding table to serve as writing desk Soap to clean my flesh Cleaning wipes to disinfect EVERYTHING Air mattress (?) Beer (?) A gift for Pat