To all my LA area friends. The Altar Collective will be publishing my poem, “Lent,” in its first book.To celebrate their inception they are inviting all contributers to read at the launch party. I cannot attend but if you are in the area please support local writers and buy a copy of the book!
Date: July 31, 2013
Time: 7 o’clock
Location: Gatsby Books, 5535 E. Spring St, Long Beach CA 90808
winged beauties celebration of life
living memorial to the cocoon that birthed
the airborne butterfly
rapid flutter race
reproduce a thousand tiny incubators
neon green crawlers
will crawl in & shoot out of
with sudden grace & appreciation
for the sky
knock into lamps & screen doors
that power human flight
buried among the detritus
of dehydrated flowers in binding pots
& bees that couldn’t find their hive
worms that dried out after a rainstorm
cricket legs, crickets were the cat’s lunch
slugs salted on the patio
baby bird tumbles atop a fire ant hill
squawking mercilessly for her nest
her skin chafes with millions of tiny nips
dozens of legs distraught that their stomach
is right side up. work boot getting closer
crunch of the exoskeleton drowned out
by a distant twig snap when the fox finally
get his rabbit
cicada shells clinging to the picnic bench
hundreds of unclaimed Easter eggs
rotting under rusty swing sets
perfect sacrficial balance
culling the excess, the unwanted soldiers
nature vs. nature, nature vs. man
everything vs. God
gawping eyes watch fawns die
half inside their mother’s backside
bloody baby’s head knocked up and down
as the deer prances off in despair
shamed, she is next to falter
colored wings spread toward the sun
triumphant for a moment
never noticing the oncoming car
grasshopper never notices the magnifying glass
or pesticide truck
God uses slaughter
to remind us we are only pawns
in the war of life
civilians without bomb shelters
wasting time on art
never truly understanding
spring is just a construct
we are but mercenaries
blindfolded, cigarettes in pouting mouth
spouting insults at our assassins
every beautiful thing is given a chance
to die a beautiful death
but most of us waste the chance.
I always meet them in winter
soak my slender frame
in their frozen slush
stuff me with homemade cocoa
wrap my goosebumps
in Oriental throws
better than soup
taste their wagging tongues
suck their searching
roots survive the frost
fingers like vines
to my own perpetual, linear
when the sprouts
death finally comes
for winter florae
to make room for
younger, fresher, greener
waiting to grab hold
of my fattened arms
& plant themselves
firmly in the deceased’s
I always name them winter
yellow blinding suns
of early dusk
melt all they touch
the plump moon
blue & proud
lover of the tides
move whole oceans
orchestrate a band of shells
to sing my praises
displace the hermit crabs
hush the gulls
with sudden gusts
prove I’m alive
the wolves nearby
hunting for a primitive blood
they will never find
our bodies burn away
the first cold front
ribs stay frozen
gums a tray of ice cubes
chattering, shattered teeth
at your white hot
I light up the night
with my conceit
keep the chill in us
she is the house on haunted hill
enticing young men to explore
twisted corners of her mouth
valley of her chest
climb mountains of areole & flesh
belly button dissolves weaker hunters
sore pelvis, tease the womb
slide down the veins of her thighs
bounce on her calves like a trampoline
arches like welcome home signs
groomed nails a victorious parade
ghosts between the muscle fibers
caverns sucking at the parts
nourishing the intestines
digesting the unwritten feelings
inaudible to the human ear
absorbed by a martinet
the missing last seen exploring her tunnels
trying to find a better way out
never to be heard from again
I am the new poetry editor for The Fat City Review.
Please submit, children:
I need poems to eat.
even it it’s garbage. Go back and read it aloud and laugh at your mistakes. Edit. Repeat. Edit. Publish for ridicule. Remove. Edit. Re-post.
Sit back and watch the non-money & non-poet critics roll in and roll right back out again trying to copy everything you did. You are a role model now. There are standards, you see.
Repeat and keep saying: one day I’ll be famous, one day I’ll be famous.
Delete your blog and start again.
“Mira! Mira! Princesa Adelmira!” the grade school girls had once shouted. “Nos encontramos con el oro para usted. Para usted, Princesa Adelmira!
The “nobly famous” had grown into “mal infame.” She always got to be the princess on the school playground because she looked the part. Beautiful and precocious, she was the envy of the neighborhood. The few times she actually joined them she played the part as a tyrant. Barking orders, she had the girls take turns brushing her hair or finding and squashing pill bugs beneath their Keds. One girl couldn’t handle the idea of murder and began sobbing hysterically calling her a bully and refusing to play. Adelmira slapped her and told her no one refuses Princesa Adelmira. A gang of girls looked on in shock but did nothing to stop the violence. They were all terrified of her. She just sat there all day, never saying a word, brushing her hair just staring. Smiling and staring and stroking her hair with her brush. Rumors circulated that she was born without a heart and made up for it with her long locks. If you cut it, you killed her. Even in class, teachers never scolded her for bringing out her brush even though grooming was strictly forbidden at the girls’ desk. No one ever stopped her. No one ever got close enough to stop her. There was a new girl, who on a dare to fit in with the more popular group waited behind her seat with a pair of scissors but Adelmira caught a glimpse of her in the reflection of the small compact she kept in her desk and the blade ended up straight through the new girl’s fingertip instead. She transferred shortly after that and Adelmira continued to brush her hair in class without bother.
Other rumors went around school about Adelmira. The boys said during Freedom Fridays her activity was poking and examining hearts of the mealworms in science class to see how they work or grinding the beetles under the bricks lining the front garden to make potions. She told the teacher she would read outside but instead searched for insects to murder. She never chose the “listening section” or library time. Every day she hung out by herself during recess: so she could plant her traps to catch her experiments. One girl caught her talking to a dead bird underneath the jungle gym. She said the language sounded foreign and that she was trying to bring it back to life so she could make it peck out the eyes of all the kids who messed with her. No one ever questioned this. One kid claimed he saw her in the basement eating rats. He never offered an explanation as to what he was doing there but he claimed he caught her gnawing at the rat’s neck. Flecks of flesh were stuck in her canines and blood was slathered on her hands and neck and cheeks. Someone corroborated this by saying once she flossed her teeth during the bathroom break to get the pieces of bone from between her teeth. A girl even found a dead rat eye in the hallway trash when she was throwing her gum wrapper away. The older ones had more believable tales. They claimed she was on the hunt for her father to cut out his heart, salt and fry it and wrap it in a burrito for lunch. They said she made churros out of fly wings and pigeon guts and dough and that’s why she never sat with anyone at lunch. This seemed completely feasible as she did sit far enough away from anyone else to get away with eating remains.
Adelmira’s playground victim also happened to think Adelmira wouldsteal her heart if she didn’t bring her a peace offering. In complete despair, the poor child sulked off to find a grasshopper or a butterfly, Adelmira’s rumored favorite sacrifice. She loved to hurt the most beautiful things. Watching pretty things die was what made her hair shine. The petrified girl carefully pinched the fragile insect by its hindlegs to pluck it from its grass blade. Holding it far away from her body, she slowly walked back to the circle of onlookers. Her biggest fear was failure. She did not want the wrath of Adelmira on her head. Gently and with utmost respect for her sacrifice, the girl squatted in front of her master, grasshopper cupped in both hands.
“Let me see it.” Adelmira commanded.
Timidly, feeling the poor insect leaping from palm to palm in a lame effort to escape, she separated her two thumbs slightly so that Adelmira knew her huntress had not returned empty-handed. Adelmira, a giant at this angle peered down at the girl with so much contempt she could have crushed the girl’s spine from the weight of her gaze alone.
“Do it.” She barked.
Shaking and terrified, the girl peered at the other children. Suddenly, they had all become engrossed with their feet or fingernails. None lifted even an eyebrow at the girl. She began to put the grasshopper on the concrete to crush it with her foot when Adelmira held out her hand to stop her.
“That’s not what I want. I want you to swallow it.”
“But…” the girl started. Her lip quivering, spit bubbles burst as she talked.
“Do it!” Adelmira hollered.
The boom in her voice jerked the others into action. Frantically, they began to look around to see if any authority was going to intervene. They were an island of themselves. Adelmira, Lord of the Grasshoppers, their reigning queen. Adelmira’s loyal throng watched in horror, muscles frozen, fists clenched. A dandelion fell to its unceremonious death at another girl’s shoelaces. Instinctively her hands went to her eyes to mask the real life horror scene in front of her. She could never watch the death scenes that her older brother liked. Snot was running down the victim’s nose onto her lips. Her eyes as big as a fat, fall pumpkin, filled with terror and salty, unbroken tears. Slowly, never taking her eyes off Adelmira, she opened her mouth to stick out her tongue to receive her prize for being painfully shy. She was never good at facing bullies. Adelmira’s big, brown eyes beamed with admiration for the girl and her mouth turned into a smirk. The girl with her eyes covered still swears to this day she could hear the loud crunch and choking moan whenever she spots a grasshopper at her daughter’s playground. The smell of vomit and sweat permeating the air. The poor girl couldn’t keep the bug down. And Adelmira’s face; a look of completion, of absolute euphoria. That day haunted her the rest of her school days. Especially, when Adelmira made the child scoop up her own vomit and try again.
After that, they stopped inviting her and she went back to sitting close to the building, back against brick, outlining dead bees in chalk on the concrete pretending to be somewhere else.
Friedrich Nietzche (via thelittlepyro)
Skip, spin, grin. Click, flash, repeat. Laugh real loud in your black dress.
The one cut real low in the back in the shape of an obtuse triangle;
a sharp contrast to the absent angle of your scared straight spine.
Don’t waste your bleached teeth on anything less than an audience.
Orthodontists paid for with the blood of your parent’s missed vacations.
Stand out like your grandmother’s antique watch you wear to keep time
at those places where you’d rather be feigning a face somewhere else.
Somewhere different. Somewhere more vacant.
You’re only lit in pixels on the front page of someone else’s feed.
Babe of bulbs blown up bigger than a pregnant moon
penetrating some glowing screen that can’t compete with your electricity
seeping in the room of some boy you once knew
when your fingertips tasted like purple Play-Doh, ends caked in dried glue
picking at your ruffles trying to blend in with the carpet.
Auburn hair blazes like a forest fire in cropped pictures,
cut to hide some scratch on your arm. Some unscrupulous scar.
Some painful self-affliction only covered in colder breezes.
Silver sparkles ornament your throat, diamonds plunge from hooked ears
like fish enticed with the promise of an easy meal.
A misplaced Christmas fir struggling to shine in July’s shade.
Neon knees, fingernails like gilded plates.
He remembers you from school where you wet your pants most days
but he never knew your name.
They called you sprinkles and every afternoon you raced to your mother’s lap
skipping snacks to sob and practice the act of holding it in
so she could finally stop bringing you extra pants
to help you more comfortably soak in shame.
You’re the bomb leaving flecks of glass and dead cells from burned rebels
in his freshly formed wounds. Breathless, esophagus lit like a torch, choking on
the insurgent’s emphasis on territory, dick blown off so he can’t even piss.
This is it.
Smile real big to help him remember your name.
Sprinkles is the bomb exploding in his face.
You’re not a real writer until you absolutely abhor yourself, quickly licking up the unworthy vomit that has spilled out of your mouth.
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.
I must have swallowed something nasty;
some expired culpability
that tasted like rotting grain
covered in soy sauce and curry
to disguise the odor.
Smelled the container,
reeked of sickness;
an animal that had ruptured an important part
of its organism
and was now sort of flailing in its misery
but wasn’t dead yet.
I eventually threw it out
but I knew
that’s not how this works.
I knew there was some payback
for refusing to waste
even the worst of things.
Vibrating nails scratching the toilet seat.
Retching violently. My throat is giving birth
to a Florida summer storm.
The kind that takes whole neighborhoods hostage
and leaves the dismayed picking through the remains
to find their family albums while their babies are holding an empty leash
and finally understanding their environment’s severity.
Enemy gaining ground, mocking
my insistence on hoarding everything
even when it could kill me.
Maybe some things are better left untouched.
Undignified, naked and panting, regretting
everything, all my life choices up to this moment.
My mother was nowhere to be found
in this un-agreeable town.
My cries sound like a mourning monster
yelling for its young
that some men in black suits discovered.
She has yet to be found.
My body is a raincloud
over some other lucky town.
My tongue is the crop
dying of drought.
Cold and hot all at once.
Sweat and shivers, slimy,salty goose bumps
dancing over pallid skin.
This must be the climate of hell.
Yes, this must be hell that I’m in.
Bruises on my palms
from clutching the porcelain
like a steering wheel
in an attempt to control a homicidal bus
trying to avoid any further accidents.
I questioned hospitalization
just til the bad stuff passed.
I remembered when I sat with stale coffee
watching your heart rate on the screen in ICU.
I kept asking the on-duty questions.
Studious little sister.
Your agony and yellow skin,
your Vaseline covered eyelids
to keep them moist in your dying silence.
The hurt you kept in
because you couldn’t make a sound.
My cries sound like a bratty toddler
who lost her favorite plaything and best friend
all before naptime.
All your hurt coming out of me.
Cursing Jesus and other awful things
for taking you at your most willing,
your most desperate,
your most vulnerable.
My stomach feels like a civil war
and no one really wins.
Massacre at Gastric Acid Hill.
My leftovers have taken a stance
in the middle of my intestinal tract
and they have decided to turn back.
You waved the white flag
on the battlefield too late.
Your body is ash on a pedestal
preserved for us to gawk at
during an uncomfortable wake.
My body is your shooting ground
back firing its own mistakes.
My cries sound like your insides
spilling out. Noises that your feeble body couldn’t make.
My belly fighting the battle you refused to wage.
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.