I was thinking of posting these pieces individually, but then I decided against it (obviously). Honestly, it would be cheating. Why use up three different posts back to back and carpet bomb someone’s tumblr feed just to make it look like I’m being a good blogger and posting more. Nah, I might as well post them like this.
These three poems were ones I’ve sent out recently to a couple of publications who have passed on using them. I’m making it a point to mention this in an effort to highlight the fact that I liked them enough to send out into the wild (not an attempt to garner pity from anyone reading these.)
Two are about Ladies (She Breathes Fire/Clarity Before Peril), one is about Fear (Everdark).
SHE BREATHES FIRE
I’m certain that I’ve never been infatuated with a being as much as I am with you.
You weren’t born, you were discovered
by a team of hungry young archaeologists.
Unearthed from the South American ground by pulleys and sweat
just to be lost and forgotten in a museum’s archival room.
There, you gestated. Came to term.
To one day walk out into the world of your own accord.
Bare feet touching the cold marble floor
The sunlight, that happy hot sizzle on your skin.
You are The Devourer. The magnetic field attracting The Wayward.
And I, am wayward.
Your words are majestic, the truth in them aggravates.
The sentences you spit are valid points that should have been realized long before but for some reason weren’t.
You speak in Revelations.
Yet behind the art, there is Thick Velvet Smoke.
There’s a fire raging somewhere, but you hide it well.
Well enough that I never bothered to look for it.
I just admired the black plume rising from behind your head.
Well enough that I never tried to find safety – as I know now I should have.
My muscles screamed out “Run!” as my heart anchored down at your feet.
My stupid child of a heart.
My heart, who constantly puts a hand on the stove-top even though I tell him
“No, it’s hot you’ll be burned!”
So here I a4m; my eyes on the Velvet Smoke
My heart’s hand searching for the Fire.
You tell me your name – it’s something simple.
Of course, this is a lie – and not the name I wanted.
The last time your true name was spoken Ancient tribes were trying to summon Ancient gods.
What you want with me, I don’t know.
It’s obvious now it wasn’t companionship.
So i assume: Amusement.
Once upon a time your lips were a welcome mat – now all that’s left is the wind chill factor.
The only music you know is the sound of souls breaking.
Well my heart is a stupid child and stupid children don’t break too easily.
Fall and fall as many times as they can they just cry, lick there wounds and start climbing again.
If somehow you’re reading this know that I am not talking to You.
I am not talking to those two unreadable eyes,
The freckles on your back,
That stretched rubberband of a mouth,
those two arms that offered false comfort,
those two legs, ever open, that betrayed me countless times –
I’m talking to The Fire in your chest.
The Fire and the Velvet Smoke.
You are young and will burn out quickly.
You’ve only been on this earth for a few minutes
and honestly i don’t know how much longer you have left.
But The Fire is ancient.
That flame was here long before you
and will use the lungs of some other pretty young thing long after you.
It’s easy to call you twisted and cruel when the Fire leaves you with a body like an ampersand.
So hail - and beware - the queen of Fire and Velvet Smoke!
She breathes in flames, sings with iron throat!
With a magnetic pull to attract The Wayward.
And I am still wayward.
This World is a decade old.
I am no more familiar with it, than I was
in those first few days after The Big Bang.
It’s just as frightening.
Just as bleak.
I used to have memories of another world
A much older world.
A world that I was fluent in.
But those images are gone now.
Not even a haze remains.
Just the smell of dissipated smoke.
The books on the shelves,
the articles on the blogs,
the verbal vomit dripping from the mouths of the sickeningly groomed,
interchangeable faces on television:
Subversive, of course.
They aren’t stupid.
You can only persuade the public opinion with subversion.
Their words are knives.
Shoved into the empty sockets of where their teeth once were.
They speak of Dictators.
They speak of Insurgencies.
They speak of Soldiers lost.
They use the word “Terror” until it’s empty and trite.
Jihad ad nauseam.
They never speak of Occupation.
They never speak of Responsibility.
Yet they call us Poison.
Rule Number One
For survival in the New World:
DO NOT READ THE COMMENT SECTION
There are days, my muscles tensed and readied by paranoia,
that I find myself sitting in my living room in a chair facing the front door
waiting for Them to kick it down.
Force a black canvas bag over my head
and drag my body out of my home.
Every scream inviting a mouthful of canvas at the inhale.
But of course, that will be of no use
because there are two men dragging me out
two others escorting them,
One attempting to shut me up by way of nightstick to ribcage.
There are others still.
Talking to my neighbors,
telling them that there’s no need for alarm
that I pose a threat
and that this is for The Benefit of National Security.
My neighbors listen to only enough feel to satisfied.
My friends, my neighbors.
I can’t see through the bag,
only blurs of light
but I know they are uncomfortably looking to the ground avoiding the honesty that eye contact demands –
or they’re quickly walking back into the safe warmth of their homes,
there they can continue to believe in a world where only the truly deserving are the ones publicly hung.
I’m thrown into the back of a van not knowing where I’m going,
but knowing for damn sure I’ll never return.
There are two types of days here in The New World;
Days when the van might come,
and days when I can hear it pull in.
So before my time here is up
let me declare with vim and vigor:
I AM NOT YOUR WORDS - these twisted metal pyres.
Colossal monuments to your fickle wars with Inanimate Concepts.
Some days it feels like we were born apologizing.
Those days it feels like They were born triumphant.
I will not let Them define me.
What I am is thus:
A ghost of a flag.
Clear summer sky Blue.
A single star at the center, white like an empty mind.
I am winter in Houston.
Running alongside my Father, my little Brother on his shoulders
water rising to my knees.
Grey skies and palm trees.
My fingertips are the open gaping mouths of baby pelicans.
All they know is to scream and consume.
Dirty Brown Sand pumps through my veins.
The taste of salt water permanently fixed to the walls of my nostrils
Oh sweet Galveston, do you hear me cry out to you?
I am the bruise on my forehead
from where I have knelt
placed head to floor
and admitted with all humility
with absolute certainty
that I know nothing of this universe.
That it is too vast.
To waste my time here anthropomorphizing it
I am the taste of dates and butter,
the first thing I’ve eaten all day.
I am two fists waiting.
Either to be pushed into the sky
or pushed into a face,
I am a dictionary,
worn spine and stained pages.
The children in class rereading the passage over again
so that they remember
the word “Revolution” means something.
Even when I’m sure it doesn’t
I am my Mother’s eldest son.
I am teeth clenched at the edge of shattering.
Waiting for my beliefs to be validated.
Waiting for something holy.
I still have my teeth; they wont take that from me.
I know that this world is ten years old
Going on a billion -
So, no sir, you don’t have to remind me.
I know that all searches
CLARITY BEFORE PERIL
But, I’d rather stick to the ash and the echoes
than be part of the party.
You can keep your alter of red plastic cups,
your pulsing mound of unclaimed bodies.
What did they promise you?
That they’d remember your name?
That you would live forever in tagged photos?
Immortality is wholly overrated.
Here, in the ash and the echoes – at least – I know what’s coming.
I can tend to my wounds in the shade, rather than on your stage.
There is safety in seclusion,
safety in rejection.
The depth of your sadism is profound.
You hunt not to kill, but to track.
You ask me for your harpoon back, but I don’t have it.
Its been digested.
I swallowed it whole with the new mouth you made for me when the dull steel tip entered my gut.
It is no longer a long metal rod,
just a heavy lump of wet anger weighing down in my belly.
Surprisingly you aren’t mad.
You rub my back and tell me “it will all be ok”
that the angry lump will pass in a hot blast of rage.
Leave me – like so many things – to be quickly forgotten.
You say this, kiss my forehead reassuringly and leave to return to your coveted collection of sleeping drunks.
But your lips are a lie.
Your kiss tastes of pestilence.
And I can see by the clouds of acid rain racing towards us,
that this party hasn’t even started yet.