Exhaustion, physical and emotional exhaustion, shooting through her bones like tiny missiles trying to find their way to the pillow and Cat still couldn’t fall asleep. Lights off, pitch dark, nothing but the sound of her beating heart, and a million thoughts began to intrude any peaceful moment.
The shouldas. The regrets. The daydreams of boys she hadn’t even talked to yet. The drunklust. The wanderlust. The lust.
And the masturbation.
The masturbation or the fury.
The orgasm or the incessant worry.
written in better form:
She was sitting on the shore of a flat beach at night. Sky was almost completely black except for the litter of twinkling lights. She felt a cool breeze rush by her but the air was mostly placid. She was wearing a light dress of some sort, white and sheer but she had no goose-bumps. Her hair was long. Her hair has never been long. This must be a dream; a vision of who she wanted to be. Everything felt just right. This place was familiar but distant. The feel of the sand underneath her dress was faintly reminiscent of the uncomfortable seat where she had spent so many nights drunkenly reflecting on the shit storm of her life. She used to wade into the water in her clothes, maybe roll her pants up, but mostly indifferent about the whole thing. This always scared J. The tide has always calmed her. She wanted to be swept away. J had always chased after her, afraid the pull would get too strong, drag her from the safety of the shore. There was no safety on shore. More amaretto and Slurpee for her to swallow. More self-pity to wallow in. More suicidal ideation. Her mother called her a “water bug.” This is where she wanted to live and die.
Tonight, she was peaceful .Relaxed. In the distant, a glowing orb of some sort began floating towards her. An orb shaped like Matt. He walked like he owned the planet, a direct descendant of heaven. She watched him come towards her and began breathing deeply. Serenely, her meditation tape said. This is not real.
He was big as the moon; big and round driving all the dogs crazy. She could make out his almond eyes. Her eyes. The freckles on his nose and cheeks. His pallid complexion. Afraid of the sun even in the afterlife. His arms spread out like an eagle’s getting ready to hunt for his squawking young. Those feeble arms had meat now. They took up the circumference of the Earth.
She could almost hear him say, “I am ready to embrace you.” Her body seized in terror. She was not ready. She had created this space to see him but she was not ready to embrace him. She closed her eyes and wished the tide could take them both away in separate directions.
Right on cue, he retreated. Ghosts are mind-readers, and the good ones are living people pleasers. Looking back at her, solemnly defeated, he walked back towards the horizon.
A thought ran through her mind as loudly as a hissed whisper: just for now, Matt. I’ll leave you but I’ll be back soon to meet you.
Soon is relative, a stranger’s voice said. Soon means nothing to the dead. How soon is now, darling?
Cat woke with a start. Was that really a dream?
No one answered.
What are you going to do without me when you get to LA?
What shithole will you set up shop?
Squat in some barren room
battering some barren womb
with some Broadway reject, some defective insect broad
leaching your savings to seal your financial doom.
Crash on your floor until she makes it “big”
& conveniently forgets what she owes you. Forgets who you are & what you did.
She only makes love when she’s hopped up on shit I can’t touch.
When she’s got it in with some fourth-rate director who promises her a real hot part
if she just takes off her real hot suit.
(She’ll kill you if you cum too soon).
Some floozy who leads you down the dark path.
Some nihilist with a bad imagination.
She won’t send you poetry or positive affirmations.
Some jitterbug wannabe actress whose only means of getting wrecked
is chasing vodka with uppers on borrowed yacht decks
& starving her weary, pretty little body halfway to death
to downsize her hips so she can knock some weight off her headshot.
Prays for auditions day & night.
Does porn in the meantime just to stay alive.
Just to make that resume glitter;
get that portfolio to really shine.
(She’ll give you AIDS).
I’ll give you baby sonnets wrapped in baby bonnets.
We’ll make love for days.
When we’re finally done, I’ll throw you a parade
full of rainbow streamers & haiku & fresh-made vegan cake.
Don’t fucking go to LA.
(She’ll kill you with her lies).
The City of Angels is full of liars
&hookers disguised as struggling artists.
We both know sucking dick is an easy way to pay the bills
while you’re waiting for call-backs & munching on someone else’s Chinese food.
Just look at her perfectly propped up chest
(that’s not her bra-size)
stuffed inside that knock-off whore-slut dress
(that’s not designer).
Face caked with black pencil & ugly beige in vain attempt to hide her blemishes
but you know once the Neutrogena goes on, out comes a real ugly mess.
Crack open a ribcage and you find bones built with bolts,
cells made of metal, nerves just gears & wires that run on amphetamine.
She sweats caffeine infused with saccharin.
Little pretty model running towards the rabbit hole.
In LA, the greatest sin is not to dabble in it.
In LA, every angel lies.
(She has no soul).
Stay. Just stay.
Your stuff’s all here anyway.
And me. I’m here too.
for your welcome back soiree
when she’s just too much &you have to leave
to retrieve your stuff from storage & visit patient little me.
(She’ll never let you leave).
Not like me.
I’ll let you leave then leave you be.
Just remember, my love, my light, my darling sweetheart.
In LA, you’ll never find a girl as genuinely loving & loyal enough
to faithfully worship all your mistakes.
In LA, no one will do your laundry, cook your lunch, or write you poetry.
Remind you when it’s time to eat. Rest my brain with you when it’s time to sleep.
In LA, you’ll starve for my warm empathy. All the girls look like night,
you’ll have no girl to save the day.
In LA, where will you even stay? Who will you even be?
In LA, you will be free.
Clubs & bars & backseat shots in your brother’s borrowed car.
I can’t drink anymore, I’m always the driver.
My silent contempt as loud as a lion’s mating call,
you as deaf & viperous as an adder
& dense like the brick I want to throw through this window
to grab some attention
while you peacefully rest your scales in the rough grass
just waiting for today’s catch to breeze on by us.
Drinks at six, dinner at nine.
Time doesn’t matter but I prefer to be late these days.
I prefer to be nowhere at all.
Where is the scene?
Where ever you are.
I’m not cool enough for this place.
Not broken enough to wear that forlorn face
that these trendy trollops have perfected;
that gaunt look of disaffected youth full of unearned inheritance
& broken conversation.
Name-dropping nymphs trolling the neighborhood
for understated music & arrogant art
& diffident dick to swallow with their lousy hearts.
Teetotalers always kill the buzz,
sobriety just bums people out.
Coffee doesn’t count.
Where are the drugs?
Where ever you are.
I’m haunted by prose.
You’re hunting for hoes.
What a charade: those threadbare clothes.
Charlatans’ parade the town as whoring hoboes.
Parrots led by drunken ferrets in fake furs
out to conquer the world in their sequined spurs.
Nylon knees, coiffed cocktease, cocaine sneezes.
No need to listen to them long as they do what you please.
They’re numb from the last stop,
they demand less than me & I haven’t spoken at all.
I haven’t even mentioned my feet hurt once.
Where are the girls?
Where ever you are.
Glued to the phone & your one-hitter
that you puff after the bartender retreats from the refills.
I’m forever a backdrop, I blend with the scenery.
I’m just a seat-warmer.
No one notices I’m squirming in that hot seat
watching you shoot your slimy seed
into every needy lead.
Every bad deed needs a super steed.
Every alcoholic needs a meeting or drink
& this place is painted like a relapse
out to sink the strongest support system.
This seat is hot enough, I should probably leave.
Where am I?
At the next bar warming my blood.
She moved to Vegas to become a dancer.
To become someone.
Someone almost famous.
To prance on stage with
all her snorted gumption & ill-fated patience
in seven-inch plastic & rehearsed coquetry.
To smile & prune & master the art
of legal thievery.
Vinyl corset stretched tightly across her ribcage
she only holds her breath for half a second
before she rips the costume from her skin
& floats under the lights like a ghost enticing
the living to explore
the darker corners of this bar.
She took ballet for nine years
but quit when she got to high school
& would rather spend her afternoons
on the phone with boys
trying to woo her to second base.
She spent most weekdays preening for a date.
Her lips greased like a slip n’ slide
she giggles on cue
luring men to refill their glasses & carry their tabs
to the illustrious champagne room.
Hands in pockets to conceal their wedding ring. Their wives at home
praying over a tumbler of their wayward man’s brandy.
The more prudent clutching their mother’s rosemary.
Perspiration drips dollars like a broken ATM machine.
She smells like cinnamon & looks like heaven. Nipple brushes on the arm,
tanning- bed thighs hovering above leg beginning to grind the knee
like she’s practicing for the club’s famous mechanical bull.
Fingers desperate to grab the sparkling Pinocchio
come to life at the bottom of a lube- up pole
more novice dancers bruised their hips on
before wasting all their tips at their therapist’s office
to flush out the things they did to earn that hour.
Their anxiety grows when they lie.
Our ballerina is master of that room. Her shiny lips always stay glued.
Her wallet grows when she forfeits the truth.
She spins around that pole like she’s back on stage
at “Riemann’s School for Girls.”
Mrs. Riemann was the first to teach her how to twirl.
It’s easier without the binding leotards & critics
that marred her boldness with their jarring lips.
For the better tippers, a card with a private number.
Girls with their own stage always make more.
The brazen performers will make a special trip to hotel rooms,
just leave a key at the desk & the rest up to her.
What happens in Vegas, stays buried in the caverns
of little ballerina’s souls
grown too old
to escape the benumbing grip of the nation’s brightest zip code.
Every street is a stage & the reviews are always good.
I knew I was being mean, a pure cunt, a true bitch, even before I was mean. When it happens, I can’t stop. I set out to destroy my toy, some unsuspecting boy, whoever it is that happens to be the unfortunate recipient of my snark. My bite is actually much harder than my bark. The words effortlessly drip from my two-forked tongue. My eyes narrow into tiny slits. Lids retire to hide the selfless soul that once was.
He never deserved it. They never do. I’m clever. They’re simple. I simply sit and observe, listen to their subconscious ooze out of their brain riddled with awkward pauses as they find themselves becoming self-aware in front of my refrain and filling my ears with ammo for future battles. Annoying psycho-babble. I comfort, I coo, I set out to soothe. A snake in the grass hiding her rattle. Then, I pounce on my prey, but only when provoked or confronted with my own weakness. I fancy myself a lioness, but I am more like an indolent, house cat; only fierce when forced or I have some small reward to reap. I don’t do it to survive, I do it because sunning myself in the window has gotten boring and I need a meek mouse to fuck with. Live game to pass the time. A poacher gone wild on human safari.
So I watch: I watch you eat, I watch you play, I watch you dance across the kitchen floor and from your pack, I watch you stray. Then I approach, Cheshire cat smile. Fur glued to the scales of a crocodile.
A smile. He hands me the lighter. Rodents aren’t naturally good fighters.
We go outside to shoot the shit. I sit down. I memorize your boring babble so I can later shoot that boring shit down. We talk politics. We talk religion. We talk race and gay rights and the fucked up justice system. We tango with taboo until our wants win and our tongues start to tangle. We are animals at the zoo stripped from our jungle. Kitties caged in desire and misdirected ire. If we’re not careful our misguided passion could set the whole town on fire.
But it doesn’t.
Back to your place. I live in a gutter. You live in your lust and a shared house and a life without structure. I’m here to comfort. Just lie on the bed and let me play therapist and hooker. I can be both; I’m a woman for starters. Start with your deepest fears, your childhood dreams, and your most recent remorse. I am your preacher. This is confession. The bed is our church, you’re dying of thirst. Have a drink of my unholy water. Come over here. I know that it hurts.
This whole thing is rehearsed. Same story, different stage. Each guy keeps getting worse. A bloke with no name and a penchant for blubbering. I get off on their troubles; a witch brewing concoctions that will inevitably burst every bubble. A hopeless endeavor but they keep playing lover. And, I, their hovering whore sent to uncover their truths and their lies and twist all their words in my selfless reprise.
Tell me your story.
I fucking love when they cry.
I’m here for you.
They fucking love when I lie.
Its power I consume. Like a starving drug addict dead set on a fix, any prick will do if it helps bring my kicks. You bring the sickness, I’ll bring the cure. A pretty crafty seamstress can fix any scar. A temporary solution to a permanent hurt. My love is polished and pure. I am polished and pure. I possess no flaws. I’ll hold you all night just keep calling it love.
I fumble. The game fucking flips and I lose my shit. Some psychobabble Freudian slip slips from my lips after too much of your whining. I lose my wits after most of your weed and about all of my wine. My stained purple mouth spouts some imperfections I have been hiding behind perfect meter and unrivaled timing. Like how I hate and use men for money and a bed, in fact, I think I’m a love addict. It’s just some fucked up game I play to feel safe. And I’m drunk all the time and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t wake up with terrible pain in my head. I’m definitely an addict coming to her end. Some bullshit I never meant to tell anyone but when the wine hit my lips, my tongue spits regret.
You look shocked and confused, your ego is bruised. You say: am I being used? Are you just a drunk with something to prove? Some left over daddy issues too old to resolve so you find your solution in men and empty liquor bottles?
A shot hits the lion; the cat has been stunned by your word tranquilizer. You question my motives. What is this a trial? I’m here to serve you. There is no denial. You question my habits, my future, my plans. You question my lies.
And that’s when I’m mean.
Spit back what you said before you remember my professions. Carving your words in your face with a dull razorblade. Like how you told me you were molested by your uncle at eleven. Well, that’s why you’re a faggot and no women want you. Or the time you smoked crack just to try it. That makes you a crackhead; you’re a gay fucking crack addict who likes men to fondle your dick.
God, you’re fucking sick.
Cuz that’s who I am and that’s what I do. Fuck you and love you and heal all your wounds just to bite at the cuts with my bloody, sharp tooth. I’m a monster, motherfucker, and I hate men the most. They’re my favorite to hunt, my favorite to eat, and my favorite carcass to boast. It’s you that I loathe. I possess no flaws. I only came here to serve. How dare you rebuke me after I bore your cross?
But I’m still charming. I’m a woman remember. I’ll disarm you. I’ll cry now. How could you? After all that I’ve done? I’m sobbing into my wine glass. The game changes. Well of course that it does. I have breasts, and when I heave, my cleavage gets huge. You want to bury your face into my wet bosom. Of course you do, you’re a pathetic fucking dude.
You’re crying again. You’re sorry? Fuck you. You’re sorry alright. A sorry fucked up son of a bitch with a sorry fucked up life. I only came here to serve, I possess no flaws. How dare you accuse me of anything unclean? Yes, I can be mean. I mean it when I say you’ll never see me again. You better believe that I’m leaving. How dare you? How dare you?
My phone won’t stop ringing but I’m not going back. I have more traps to set, more rats to catch. Want to clean up the sewers like a good little cat. Lick the blood off my paws in time for my afternoon nap. They don’t deserve it but what can I do? I’m such a good huntress and healer of wounds. I destroy and I salvage all in one swoop. If there is a God, I think I’m his personal reaper. Raping the feelings of men that deserve to be eaten. I haven’t found a man yet cunning enough to beat me. And all my lovers will read this will think that I don’t mean it. But you’re all being slow-fucked by a monster with no feeling. I mean it, my love, it’s better to believe it.
I’m an angel, I possess no flaws, I was sent here by God.
On Martin Luther King Day
where do the untouchables stay?
I pass them on my work commute
en route to help foster independence with some elder
who broke a hip &could care less
that I have a degree in psychology
as long as I can work a dustpan & make a sandwich.
They pass a joint, I pass my judgment.
Huddled masses gather under tree branches,
a moth-munched cotton sheet hanging from the limbs
protects their sensitive appendages
against the sleet & snow singlehandedly.
Its Colorado winter, they must be tripping if they think that makeshift tent
would even protect them from a post-shower branch drip.
As I bike past, I hear someone in the distance go:
“The library is closed, all the homeless must go home!”
Tramps pushed out of their temporary camps;
droves of ponchos &knit caps
reeking of Schlitz & shake stomp out the courtyard.
Make their way toward Civic Park
to depart on their respective busses seeking shelter from the frost.
Scowls like Jack Lanterns cut deep in their lip lines to frighten children
out with their parents on their grown up errands.
Where is home? Isn’t today about justice?
About reverie for one of the most compassionate reverends
to ever grace us with his presence?
Must be hard for them to celebrate
when they can’t even hang at the library brushing up on their history
getting acquainted with one of their greatest advocates.
When they can’t even trust us.
When they can’t even ride the bus
more than once
without proper fare.
Curmudgeons on a budget, they can only ride one time
and then it’s “end of the line!”
They’re not going nowhere
just hiding from the snow,
little college coeds dance right by them
hands full of hot cocoa, death grip on their iPhones
fingers sending texts bout being off of class
&how awesome it is
pretending not to notice one of the bums
just spit his dead tooth on the floor & is now snorting back the blood
from his open sore.
Their subsistence shows us how it’s done.
Remind us that technology is great
we can stay up late
posting pictures of battered gays & casualties of war
on our micro-blogs we so proudly prune
to lure strangers to adore our typed words.
Where we discuss the influence of Eastern philosophy,
the teachings of Rumi,
saints who have turned savages into sympathizers
but we still have so much work to do.
We love to pontificate the causes of poverty & obesity & all that jazz
with other middle class nobodies.
Nobodies who never done nothing
but think about life without ever setting foot in it.
But this is your backyard. Write this down, this is art.
Real life militia built from grit & shit, programmed to endure
using shopping center garden stones to sharpen their sordid swords.
Veterans of change
imploring each other to start a war
to prove which soldier’s still got enough wine & piss
to survive the impending apocalypse.
Bundled in found down-feather jackets;
feeding is erratic, sleeping sporadic.
Each lone soldier resigned to a life that is highly nomadic.
But how awfully romantic.
How do they not freeze?
Here I am, double tights over my knees
buckling below chattering teeth.
Sweaters got the thickest sleeves
& still I produce no body heat.
My shivers beg for sympathy.
There they stand,
three cuddling grown men under a shared afghan
swapping stories & Marlboro shorts,
rabble-rousers perfecting their retorts
& relaying the day’s report
about which restaurants waste what,
which street corner ‘s up
careful never to reveal how much booze they still got.
When they settle down for their wine-infused sleep
of what life do they dream?
They must imagine endless possibility.
They are the only folks I know
not already drowning in everything they need.
Mornings must be bittersweet when they scurry to their feet
to meet their primal needs
knowing if all else fails
they will soon have the solace of a drunkards’ sleep
where in dreams they can lie just as comfortably as me.
But do they even want that?
I mean, do they even imagine a life inside
away from the rodents that peck at their bread
when they are too stoned to remember to wrap it & pack it
tightly inside their knapsacks?
Once they meet their needs there is truly nothing left to seek.
Every reader knows the best stories are about overcoming some damned defeat
like King said in his famous speech.
Maybe they only see black when they sleep; nestled in the gentle caress of a midnight breeze,
their brain is fried from the day’s events. No images projected on their synapses
sending subconscious messages to their shut eyelids.
Safely arriving to their drunkard’s den at dusk may be their greatest feat
where they can rest their stockinged feet & attempt to just be
Maybe they dream of nothing in life that looks like the coveted consumerism
we aspire to deny during our credit card frenzies,
electronic ineptitude & a penchant for mead keeps them safe from spending sprees.
Maybe it is only King who had a dream.
Maybe they want to be left alone in their tents with their private stash of stolen library Kerouac & wind-chilled whiskey fighting the blur to remember the pleasure of reading.
Those who know nothing of life spend their time concocting elaborate schemes
in an effort to realize their unreachable reveries.
Only the weak waste time with such things.
The strong are unbridled; roaming free
dismissing us. They pity the arms that carry so much stuff.
Fingers soft like honeysuckle
beckon you to join the swollen roots getting lost up the crawl of the fence
exploding in the tangle birthing an exotic species no one can name.
Springtime blooms warm your winter bones.
Mouth coated in warm milk when you’re sleepy.
Hot soup when you’re sick.
Refreshing iced tea to replenish your body from all the sweat you have dripped
being smothered alive.
I will swallow your sadness.
Eyes like lily pads
you can rest your tired feet while you wait for your next meal
to cruise by over the murk of your habitat.
I will keep you safe and dry.
I call to you.
Fall asleep to my lullaby.
I’ll catch you if you start to fall,
my tongue is a pillow.
Rest your life.
Listen to my song.
I call to you.
careful wanderers to wild wanton beasts
kindergartners follow them
right off the ledge
clutching lunch pails and daddy’s ideas
about class warfare
wipe the crust from your eyes
wake up, wake up!
God needs you.
I’m going on a picnic & I’m bringing a bottle of wine that dribbles mind-numbing talk
to bond with your mom over pink teeth and salmon puffs
& a hidden flask of Jameson to escape from my thoughts
about the words that are pouring out my mouth
like the lemonade your Dad bought to cool us all down
when the alcohol heated our blood to the boiling point
like magma planning its destruction underground
before it shifts shapes under clouds to sweep through our idyllic town
to bring us bowing down before our higher power
& to crash the picnic you planned
to get your parents to fall in love with my babbling, bubbly sounds
like lava seeping from the cement cracks.
You’re going on a picnic to prove
hands smudged with germs and paper-cuts and no amour-propre
are still worthy of proposal but the ants can’t remember their peace treaty
& their teeth marks are itchy
& no one is laughing with me
&your mother proposes a new location
& I’ve completely checked out for this perfect moment
just watching the orange viscous bubble to the surface
to blanket our basket of treats & swallow my tongue
while you collect all the stuff I had mocked.
My hips can perform miracles if I was allowed to show your mother how.
Give her a grandson who can suck the dirty words from my breast
but we’re buried ten feet under molten rock
& they will find the precious in your pocket
& some lucky girlfriend will start sunbathing without her top
to blind the audience in her bleach-bright white.
Her vows are perfect, her words always come out so right.
Doorknob smeared with scraps of pink cartilage,
she’d been fighting the concrete again.
When she got bored tearing off wings
of nicer girls’ flying friends,
she really gave it to the street.
Stabbed at the wounds in seventh period
with her broken Bic pen, covered in
inerasable scrapes and spite. Lips caked in smirking spit
and falling flakes of dried skin.
They always tried to wash her hands when she came in.
They always tried to talk some sense into her.
This bloodlust is unreasonable, can’t you flip through Seventeen
like the other huffy teen queens?
Fancy boys who are repulsed by your acne
but wanna stick it to you anyway?
You know you have some tiny breasts, you should practice pointing them.
Practiced patience with her targets.
Black spots on her arms
from lying in the same position for hours
just making her mark on the younger ones
when she was done kicking rocks
at squawking nests
to test her footwork.
Nails just stubs of scabs and crust. Primal guns.
Knots of dead cells shoved into a dusty bun
to clear the hair from her eyelids. To better hunt.
Pus smothered her taste buds,
disheveled little runt burned matches on her tongue
to prove her might to boys. To prove she’s got some.
The day of her menarche
she lay in a stupor on the floor
fascinated by her own dead potential.
Self-affliction was a different war;
this was sudden death, a Vietnamese grass attack.
Paralyzed, cornered into combat.
She fingered the blood,
drew fairy tales on the ground
next to the worms she had spray painted red.
Squeezed the budding swells of her chest
to keep the pain tight inside,
her future life leaking iron down her thighs
covering the cross-stitching of debris and plasma
already etched up the sides.
Flesh circa 1975, post jungle-fight.
Copper-stained corners on her new Seventeen,
tongue pressed tight against cheek
lilac stockings covering the permanent bruises
stretched over permanently kneeling knees.
Wiped the curls from her flooding eyes so she could see
the pages the counselor suggested she read
about cramps and blossoming sexuality.
PB & J.
Quivering, glossy lips stretched over snarling teeth,
vagina howling for some fresh meat.
Shoved some cotton in its mouth
to keep the screams from pouring down
her new lilac stockings
so she could collect herself. To better hunt.
Point her swollen breasts
in any direction.
Shoot to live.
Live to breed.
My higher power told your higher power to go fuck itself.
My higher power said yours can take up residence
in a melting hotel
in the hottest city of hell.
They need a custodian
to wash all this wax;
the bodies of others who expired
in the reflection of the fires they made to admire
their cheekbones in bright orange flame. Love to watch the sweat
turn to char right before their perspiring eyes.
Narcissus in heat.
My higher power has my back.
Takes its earthly form
in wolf’s clothes guarding my goods
with thick pelage and pointed fangs
in a village with great vigilance and ferocity.
Keeps me full, I’ll never waste away in the forest it made me.
Keeps me fed with unconditional generosity.
Your higher power is a joke.
Takes its form as an imaginary friend,
some plaything you’ve created out of boredom.
Cuts at the first sign of freedom.
Coward sprinting from its shadow
under the glow of a crescent moon doomed
to trip and fall on its face
in the center of its biggest fear.
My higher power is a leader. I revere it
through silence and listening.
Your higher power is delinquent
making mischief in the corners of your mind.
You dismiss it with noise and selfish insistence.
Compete with each other for a corner of your heart’s time.
My higher power is a God in its own right.
It carries me across valleys
on winged fur and magic carpets of light
to climb mountains, conquer troubling heights.
Promises of paradise in sight
for those who don’t flee.
Procuring triumph by my side if I just stay.
Your higher power is your inner child
crying out its angries in the lonesome dance of night.
A kid, an Id gone wild. An bored boxer picking fights
with your conscience eager to win with might.
Your self-esteem a punching bag. He’s strong now. He won’t let you win.
My higher power goes big,
when given the chance, yours goes home.
Your higher power has left you
to fend in my forest on your own.
To fall in every trap and be spit out from the volcanic core
of cruel Earth. Pray for rain.
Just tell someone you’re too hot
and not ready to be the puddle of wax
you’re supposed to clean up.
Your higher power’s reflection
is some blond boy suffocating in sweltering air.
Face dripping, only cooled by hot tears.
Too proud to extend a hand for some small droplet,
some needed reprieve. Relief from the molten world he’s tried to master.
You can’t rule that place, there’s no law there.
Uncertainty. Unabashed loyalty to himself.
You get nothing with ego,
you can’t worship yourself.
My higher power takes it back.
You can take what you need
once you drop the machismo.
The tired magic act
proving you can disappear completely
from most scenes and most jobs and most things.
Most people you leave.
Once you drop to your knees.
Once you learn to beg next to the bed
of your new orphanage.
Once you say please, they come. They give you what you need.
They won’t let you melt to an unidentifiable wax figurine
bubbling on carpet in some dark underworld.
We’ll construct a new face, just ask.
My higher power has your back but it likes manners.
Just learn, learn to say please.
Backyard tag in humid twilight, slipping into safety,
muddy toes, future scars on our knees, howling at the moon.
Collapsing in belly laughs atop wet grass
connecting the bright dots into people we knew.
Being in love with being young.
Searching for worms under garden bricks to feed our pet store turtles.
Drawing chalk lines round our fingertips, leaving our impression
until sprinkler run-off washes our aspirations
into the sewer. We sailed oil rainbows on mini ships.
Being engulfed in summer rain to cool our steam.
Remembering the terror
of that homicidal clown-spider “It”
and avoiding all gutter drains.
Being scared of the unknown abyss. Being remiss
to ever go in.
Candy cigs hanging on our lips. Tough like real
street kids stealing nickels from our parent’s hidden drawers
to buy more Slurpees and Bubblicious bubble gum;
the kind with all the swirls that tastes like a carnival.
The boys discovering Daddy’s hidden porn.
Hyper speed on our rollerblades and bikes
tearing up pavement. Racing to get back out
after our roast chicken and potatoes
to finish playing Indians in the ditch
taunting the weak to fall in
the septic system creek. Water never ran clear.
Neighborhood strays followed us everywhere we went.
Leaders of the pack. Spent all summer
seeking solace in shadows
hiding from the house.
Often, we pondered what would come of us when we grew up
and returned to see the tags we left, the forts we built
out of fallen limbs and twigs from the trees we claimed.
Can gumption stand the test of time? We were brave enough to spit in wind
and curse out bullies with sticky fists
when they weren’t that big and we had each other
to form a shield.
Alone we always come back
to taste a pinch of the past.
Approach the drain to face It.
Those streets still smell of future schemes
and melted Skittles.
Those streets still sweat in summer heat,
the ghosts of blistered feet chasing dreams.
Whispers in the breeze sing amazing future plans.
Impractical things, plans never made sense.
Face the sun and hope for a good day.
Together we took to the scorching streets
planning our escape,
blowing dreams in bubbles through our teeth.
You went to the pond
to feed the water fowl
even though it’s not allowed.
a new disillusioned mother duck.
Steal from her ducklings
so you can get a good pluck in
before you abandon her
the same time her babies learn to swim.
Wrap your torso in the warmth
of her wings.
You need to warm up before you take off.
She’ll transform you , teach you how to fly.
She’ll nurture your progress,
let you grow feathers before her doubting eyes.
But she won’t let you go either.
Fingers are stretched, ready for departure.
Ready to discover new ponds, a new nesting ground.
Want to try those wings out.
She’ll wrap her wings tighter.
She nursed you, you’re her baby and her ducklings have tired
of her pecking. You are her one remaining child.
These mother ducks are all over
disguised as professional cuddlers
waiting their turn,
waiting to smother.
Can’t leave now.
She’ll try to drown you.
Press her wings hard on your head.
Dunk you lower and lower til your feet stick to the mud
and you’re stuck blowing bubbles out of your nostrils
suddenly forgetting how to breathe.
Nothing floats down there.
Only the fish and microbes and disease
and other creepy crawly scary things
that scavenge for particles of flesh for feed
know how to breathe.
They hate to cuddle, they love to eat.
Gain a legion of leeches,
suckling your perfect prince skin.
They also like to peck on rich white bread
and your lifeless body fits the bill.
beneath mama duck’s feet
while she searches for a new baby boy
to teach how to swim.
She wants to go to Denver
to suck off the wedding ring of a gentle fellow
out celebrating a Tuesday
with his other ball and chain chums.
Take him to the alley bathroom
where there is more privacy.
She tiptoes over puddles.
Those shoes are from the thrift store
but they make her appear taller;
make her legs look longer
like a gazelles before they are some hungry kitty’s chew toy.
She always wears them when she wants a boy.
He has hypnotizing green eyes and one kid at home,
a Subaru out front and a small stock portfolio.
He’s still wearing his work clothes.
Blue button up and a shit eating grin.
He works somewhere downtown
brainstorming ways to brainwash the public
into buying more environmentally friendly paper products
from his environmentally destructive company.
She is his environmentally incompatible plastic chew toy.
She is the forest he will destroy.
She wants to run a marathon.
She wants to sweat out all her unrequited love
on a course in Orange County
where the backdrop is stunning
and the weather is perfect
for chasing dreams on concrete.
B y the end of her training
she could serve brunch on her stomach
and her legs are cut like the canyons
to find better scenery.
She wants to be admired
in her spandex shorts
by the little runner boys
that she wouldn’t dare approach.
She wants to make great distance.
She wants to start her own bakery
so other mourning mistresses
have a quiet place to go
to chew on their feelings in solemnity.
She can barely cook an egg
but she heard it’s a good way
to get discounts on chocolate and other girly things.
She’ll name it something weird
like “Saccharin Solution”
and it will attract the hipster crowd
who are kinda into that sort of stuff
and they want to see what this new place is all about.
It will be popular for less than an hour
because she really can’t bake
and a new bar just opened up
right next door to her.
They have $5 dollar wings and $1 PBR.
True sullen girls would rather chew on that
with their hand rolled cigarettes.
She wants to be disappointed
into new justifications
that she is no good at things like this.
She wants to fail again.
She wants to spend the whole summer
holed up in her one bedroom
spewing out sonnets and sickening hate notes.
Eyes sore from late nights
scouring the internet for better adjectives
to paint her domestic travesty
than she could ever pull out of her public school vocabulary.
She wants to be crippled with carpal tunnel
by the time the leaves start to change in September.
She wants to write his effigy
so critics can dissect and burn his character defects.
Cheer her, jeer him.
She wants to be discovered
as a brilliant recluse
who doesn’t deserve to take on this misery
She wants to remind him of his part.
She’s gotta do something to stop herself
from pressing her ex-boy’s switchblade to her veins
and guzzling glass after glass of 7-11 Cabernet.
She stole that blade from him to cuddle with at night
when she thought he might leave her
a forgotten fuck toy on her hardwood floor, broken in half
like an aging girl’s discarded Barbie doll
left for the dog to discover.
She’ll sit in her daydreams, legs crossed, on her queen-sized bed
too big for her now
in placid twilight
creating worlds where she is needed,
men by whom she is wanted.
This lethargy will leave her
if she could just come up with a plan.
If she could just get some sleep.
If she could just remember the names of the islands
she always thought she could explore.
If she could just, if she could just quiet her head.