I really exicted to be doing ONE MORE last co-feature with my dearest poetry dad, G. Murray Thomas at Poetry Bleeding on Friday, April 6, at 7 pm. This one will have special guest host, Dave Russo, while Alan Passman recovers from a kidney transplant (GO ALAN!!). The divine, Robin Axworthy will also be joining us. The event will be at Viento Y Agua Coffeehouse, 4007 E. 4th St. in Long Beach. Check out the FB page for more details.
It’s Christmas outside, green/red lines stretch out like a cat at noon. I am galloping in the stars, cutting holes in the sky like crescent moons. But it’s almost morning and I need a place to rest, be quiet and color my pages in rainbows, like silver trees in purple lakes. Hey, Kitty, did you get over your grudge? Green/red eyes you keep blinking at me. I’m not listening to it anymore. I’m choosing to throw my reins out the window and not look back. I can bring you back flowers from windowsills stolen from dreams of honeycombs and lucky charms and horseshoes (yes, I get the irony. I always get the irony, it’s what I do). So are you in or out?
First published in Pyrokinection.
Honored to have my poem, “5:38”, included in Picture Show Press’s first anthology of poetry from the best of Carnival, the online literature magazine. Edited by Shannon Phillips, this beautiful book includes my poetry friends, Karie McNeley, Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo, Scott Noon Creley, K. Andrew Turner, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Thomas R. Thomas, Kevin Ridgeway, Suzanne Allen, and many more. Find out more on Picture Show Press.
I stand on cinderblock walls barefoot
holding my hands out
over the edge.
He says he gave me his eyes
so I close them, walk brick to brick.
My heels, calloused, a line of infection
is growing. If it reaches my heart,
I will die at age seven.
I count to ten, then one hundred seventy.
South of me is demolition, a chain
of commune houses sunken into grass.
It is always so tall here.
The pain in my foot is muffled, a woman
held captive, screaming silent.
I toe-to-toe down the cinder line
towards our junkyard neighbor.
We built a fort into bamboo soldiers.
When we leave here, we will forget how
we need to burn everything still standing.
This place will not be for children, but
black tar parking lot.
That way, it won’t have to remember us.
Remember my seven-year-old hands digging
nails from my feet. A tree house
of death threats can die here or
lie buried under asphalt.
First published in In-Flight Literary Magazine.
I am wet paint
shine on the edges
round with anticipation
I am smear
dragged up and across
the pores of daylight
I am gradient
my density spread
transient as lost family
I am blend
my purple sister
always yellow brother
red child unborn
I am gel thick
squeezed from tubes
swirled and diluted
still knowing my name
I am image
landscape and portrait
abstract or Dutch photographic
I am frame
wood carved and gilded
mat-less and bare skin
open to the elements
dust and finger oil
sunlight, loving sunlight
I am dab and dribble
splattered and flick
I am classic Nuevo
I am rainbow and cloud
I am brush desire
First published in In-Flight Literary Magazine.
I’ve changed my mind
I want the blood bath
the tar-stained fingernails
the gut-black stairwell
I’ve grown too good at defending
It’s too quiet and forgetting
I want to pull out eyelashes
lick the spiny hairs
I’ve already been smattered
I learned to breathe in smoke
find oxygen hung on particles
I want to sink my teeth in
crack the porcelain
kiss the blood from the edge
of his full dark mouth
First published in Camel Saloon.
I learned the names of all my family demons
gave them faces instead of shadowing ache
bottled them in jars of science
labeled, set in rows on the shelf
But the devil,
I sat down for dinnerfed him chicken soup for his soul
He drank for days and months
and now, we live like roommates
share the kitchen and household chores
I am not naive—
I know his claws are sharp
and his teeth still bleed
I sleep now
with only a pen at my bedside
But always leave a light on
in case he feeds on the dark
First published in East Jasmine Review.
In 1984, every girl
wore those jelly shoes.
Glitter plastic in pink
and blue and yellow
seemed so frivolous.
They hurt, they pinched,
gave no heel or arch support,
I wanted them.
Flimsy buckles and basket-
weave spilling toes out,
leaving sharp red grooves
like a map for hours.
I wanted to be that frivolous,
to squeeze the surface of
my nine year old feet, marking me
like every girl.
First published in Like a Girl: the Pre-Show!
We dance under the belly of the elephant
Not the dance-floor dance, but the slow move
around the words we won’t say
Move in and out of her shadow
Her dark cast allows our mouths to press our breath
around it, around the letters lost in open windows
I want you to press me full against elephant legs until
deep grooves of skin catch light
Her skin is your skin and the skin of your children
heavy with memory, pachyderm heavy
She shifts her weight and I wait for you to name her
call her out of decades, twenty-two years
You push off one finger to the other hand but
there it is in simple gold elephant eyes
Will you step out from under her
I cannot lean crouched here
swaying to your resonate voice
to the arch of your teeth
to the groove of your sleeve soft
underneath my fingertips
sliding down corduroy red
First published in velvet-tail.
my clicking mouth
these tiny earthquakes
on the surface of my bones
shaking shaking shaking
it is hanging claws
deep on the mantel of my neck
razorblading into my spinal cord
until my gut swallows, shudders and gasps
all the futures in my belly ache
rope-miles of my insides lunge
like tiny airplanes
I have to write notes
to my lungs: expand and release
expand and releaserefuse to drown, already!refuse to be sunk